Stories

60-acre log house site near Far West

Archaeological investigation conducted in 1996 focuses on Far West in Caldwell County, MO, especially the C.C. Rich Log House and the Rich Settlement area of  1837.

Archaeological investigation conducted in 1996 focuses on Far West in Caldwell County, MO, especially the C.C. Rich Log House and the Rich Settlement area of  1837.

In 1996 an archaeological investigation sponsored by Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation (MMFF), was made of a log house near Far West. A historical investigation led by Mike Riggs indicated the property had been owned by Charles C. Rich. His home was the center of church activity in that area of the county. C.C. Rich took an active military part in the battle of Crooked River in northern Ray County. Mrs. Rich left an account of the log house published in “Women’s Voice” (Godfrey, Godfrey & Derr 1982:98) as follows:

“As Far West was a place everybody lived in log houses so my husband had built a nice hewed log house and got it ready to live in by the time we were married. It was 4 miles from Far West and we moved to our cosy and happy home and we thought we were the happiest couple in all the land.”

In the autumn of 1997, MMFF sponsored the first of three consecutive years of archeological digs at the site. Students from Shawnee Mission East High School, working under the supervision of their instructor Paul DeBarthe along with many other interested participants, undertook an extensive site archaeological reconnaissance which yielded many instructive artifacts.

Mormon and post-Mormon period artifacts associated with James Wallace, a prominent citizen of Caldwell County for whom the nearby Wallace State Park was named, are in the possession of Mike Riggs, who is developing this 60-acre log house site.

Abbey buildings steeped in tradition

The Abbey, located at Conception, MO, in Nodaway County, is a minor basilica, meaning the church is a place where the Pope could come to live or say mass whenever he is in this country. It also houses a special collection of Indian artifacts from as far away as North and South Dakota, including the first wooden tombstone of the Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull and very rare photographs of Sitting Bull, Gall and Red Cloud. (article written by Ken Hansen)

The Abbey, located at Conception, MO, in Nodaway County, is a minor basilica, meaning the church is a place where the Pope could come to live or say mass whenever he is in this country. It also houses a special collection of Indian artifacts from as far away as North and South Dakota, including the first wooden tombstone of the Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull and very rare photographs of Sitting Bull, Gall and Red Cloud. (article written by Ken Hansen)

Every morning at 6, the bells of Conception Abbey ring, calling the Benedictine monks to morning prayer. This ritual has been followed faithfully at Conception for the past 100 years and has been followed by the monks of St. Benedict for the past 1,400 years.

The Abbey, located at Conception, MO, in Nodaway County, is a curiosity to many people, but it can hardly be called a relic. It is a living, breathing and, in many ways, quite modern organization.

It is a conservatory of art, philosophy, history and Christian thought. It is an educator of young men. Most of all, it is a place for prayer and meditation.

The Abbey was founded in the 1870s by Swiss monks who came to the area at the invitation of Bishop Hogan of St. Joseph. At the time, the Benedictines were fleeing the threat of suppression by the newly formed government of Switzerland. It is almost ironic that they chose Missouri for their home.

Although there was a large Catholic community in the area, Missouri’s own anti-cleric law, called Drakes law, had been declared unconstitutional by the by the U.S. Supreme Court less than 15 years earlier.

The heart of the physical plant at Conception abbey is the church building. The twin-towered structure is of Romanesque design which among other things, is supposed to provide better acoustics for choral liturgical singing, which is an important part of Benedictine life.

Architecture of church buildings often contains subtle messages. The Abbey church is no exception. The center square of the cross-shaped church, where the main altar now stands, measures 33 feet on each side. The church is constructed of six of these modules, each corner of each module being marked by a round pillar. The overall dimensions of the church, 198 feet long by 99 feet wide, are multiples of the number 33.

Thirty-three is the traditional number of years of Christ’s life on earth. It has even been suggested by some that the measurement of a rod, 16 ? feet, was devised from this common unit of measurement used in church construction. The word rod is a derivative of the word root, which means cross.

To the left of the main altar stands an umbrella; to the right, a bell symbols of the fact that the church was given the title of minor basilica in 1941 on the 50th anniversary of the church’s dedication. The title, which is mostly an honorific one, signifies the church as a place where the pope could come to live or say mass when he is in this country.

The church building is interconnected with three other buildings which form a quadrangle with an open courtyard at its center. These buildings house the monks’ quarters. This design is common to many European monasteries.

Other buildings include classrooms, offices, housing for the students and separate quarters for some of the day workers who live at the Abbey. one large building houses the monastery’s printing business which provides a good share of the funds to run Conception Abbey.

One of the newer buildings is a fitness center which houses a pool and gym. The facility was built mainly for the students, but the monks use it, too. Good physical health is a part of the Benedict.

The Abbey library contains 95,000 volumes, in addition to 2,400 old and rare books and manuscripts which the monks brought with them from Switzerland. The range of reading material is broad. Besides the religious books and periodicals one would expect to find, there are editions of “Rolling Stone” and the latest in science fiction paperbacks. On the third floor of the library is a special collection of Indian artifacts contributed to the Abbey by its members who have been assigned to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. For over 100 years the members of the Abbey have served the reservation which lies along the Missouri River in North and South Dakota. Among these exhibits is the first wooden tombstone of the Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull, who was killed at Standing Rock in 1890. Several other very rare pictures of  Sitting Bull, Gall and Red Cloud are included in the exhibit.

Part of the monastery support system is a large apple orchard and almost 900 acres of farmland tended by the monks. The farm has 300 tillable acres. The livestock consists of over 100 head of cattle. The Abbey’s dairy was closed in 1976. — written by Ken Hansen

Famous Missourians of the North

For some visitors, a look at the early environments of people who become famous can amplify the remarkableness of an individuals' achievements. Here's a glimpse at the humble beginnings of famous Missourians from North Missouri — outlaws Frank & Jesse James, retailer J.C. Penney, World War I General John J. Pershing, President Harry S. Truman, author Mark Twain, and cartoonist Walt Disney.  (from an article by the Associated Press)

For some visitors, a look at the early environments of people who become famous can amplify the remarkableness of an individuals' achievements. Here's a glimpse at the humble beginnings of famous Missourians from North Missouri — outlaws Frank & Jesse James, retailer J.C. Penney, World War I General John J. Pershing, President Harry S. Truman, author Mark Twain, and cartoonist Walt Disney.  (from an article by the Associated Press)

Outlaws Jesse and Frank James made a living robbing banks and trains. Apparently, their mother also knew how to rake in the money, although in a legal if crass way.

Not long after an assassin shot Jesse James in 1882, Zerelda James Samuel began giving tours of the home where she raised her boys. She even sold souvenirs. For 25 cents, visitors could buy a pebble from Jesse's grave in the front yard. And when the rocks got low, she simply replenished them from a creek bed.

Zerelda Samuel may have been o­ne of the first Missourians to promote the birthplace of a famous — or in this case, infamous — native son. She certanily wasn't the last. Now, the Clay County government promotes her family home as the Jesse James Farm and Museum, charging admission to tour the home and a nearby museum and still selling pebbles for 25 cents alongside shirts, books and toys.

In the city of Hamilton, the municipal library shares a building with the J.C. Penney Museum, which offers tourso f the home where the busienssman was born. The federal aned state governmetns also run parks promoting the birthplaces of such famous Missourians as President Harry Truman, author Samuel Clemens (better known as Mark Twain) and educator George Washington Carver.

Other sites have been created to promote the childhood homes of Truman and Twain, whose families moved not long after their births, as well asl those of Walt Disney and World War I General John J. Pershing, whose birthplace is disputed but whose elegant boyhood home still stands in north Missouri.

Most of the houses passed from o­ne owner to another over the years, undergoing alterations and gaining more modern conveniences. Except for the James home, it was o­nly later — after their former residents gained fame — that someone seized o­n the tourism potential of the humble beginnings and repaired the deteriorating childhood homes as public showplaces.

For some visitors, a look at the early environments can amplify the remarkableness of an individuals' achievements. For others, the homes provide insight into the circumstances that shaped the famous figures.

Jesse James' boyhood home, for example, remains relatively secluded in the countryside northeast of the small town of Kearney. It's not hard to imagine how the young Jesse James became familiar with guns, especially when o­ne learns how he joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War after Union soldiers beat him, attacked his mother and tried to hang his stepfather at their home.

Later, after Jesse James graduated to a career of armed robbery, private detectives who were hired to find him and Frank threw a smoke pot into the family home, killing a younger brother and costing their mother an arm. No o­ne knows if Jesse and Frank James were even home at the time. Yet, the event helped shape public sympathy for James, who was repoted to have spared women, working-class men, and former Confederates from bullets during his holdups. That's partly why Charles Rhodes, touring the James home with his grandson o­ne summer day, is among the many who feel a strange mix of curiosity, respect and pity for James, who might have been branded as a mass murderer in another era.

“In my opinion, he got off to a rough start — that's what built him into a local hero. The Civil War was a hell of a place to be in Missouri. It made him what he was, and he fell right into it,” said Rhodes, of Platte City, who recalls receiving a personal tour of the home from a James relative over 35 years ago.

The family continued to give tours for decades after the deaths of Jesse James and his mother. For many years, Frank James even led the tours — perhaps telling of the gang's exploits after being acquitted of criminal charges in an 1883 trial held at Gallatin, MO. It was Frank James who began charging 50 cents for tours around 1910, according to directors at the Clay County historic site.

When Clay County began overseeing the James Home in 1978, the roof had sunk to chest-level, the wooden floors had become buried in dirt and the house was held uprght by ropes and trees. But after two restorations, 75% of the original materals remain. The 2-room cabin, which family members expanded after James' death, still contains a parlor table from the outlaw's childhood and other furnishings used by the family.

The grave site no longer contains Jesse James' body, which was moved to a traditional cemetery alongside his wife. But it is still stocked with pebbles.

The James home is perhaps o­ne of the most authentic birthplace sites. There is no home, for example, at the birthplace of George Washington Carver near Diamond in southwest Missouri. Instead, the National Park Service has constructed a replica log cagin foundation at the approximate site where Carver is believed to have been born a slave. Mark Twain's and J.C. Penney's birthplace homes both have been moved from their original foundations. Penney's home was transported from the country to downtown Hamlton and contains no original items other than a few family photographs. Twain's 423-sq.ft. birthplace home was moved from the tiny town of Florida to the shelter of a museum constructe in the nearby Mark Twain State Park. It, too, lacks any verifiably original furnishings, although it does include a cradle owned by the town that might have been used to hold Twain.

Truman's birthplace home sits o­n its original site in Lamar but lacks original indoor items, largely because the future president's family moved when he was just 11 months old. As it is, Truman's hometown is most commonly considered Independence, where an adulthood home also is open for tours.

While the original site and furnishings of a house may be important to historians, many tourists are simply looking for an impression of what life whas like in a famous person's formative years. Childhood historic sites are trying to convey that vague, warm quality of “home.” For General John J. Pershing, home was always the 9-room Gothic house where he lived from age 6 until he entered the U.S. Military Academy in his early 20s. Although his family had long since moved, Pershing still would stay in the home when he returne to Laclede as a general.

For Walt Disney, “home” was the nearby north Missouri town of Marceline, even though he o­nly lived there from ages 5 to 11 and went o­n to gain fame in California. That's because Disney's childhod doodlings gained form in Marceline, which he used as a prototype for some of his alter film and amusement park scenes. Disney's boyhood house is not open for tours, but its current occupants encourages visitors to walk o­n the property to a large cottonwood tree under which Disney would lie down to draw. A mowed trail with interpretative signs also leads to a barn — modeled after Disney's — where tourists are encouraged to scrawl messages o­n the walls.

HARRY TRUMAN BIRTHPLACE

Located just off U.S. Hwy 160 in Lamar, MO. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. No admission is charged. Operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, phone 417-682-2279. Notes: The future president spent the first 11 months of his life in the 2-story house bought by his parents in 1882 for $685. Four rooms downstairs and two upstairs, plus smokehouse and outhouse. Listed o­n the National Register of Historic Places.

J.C. PENNEY BIRTHPLACE HOME

Located in downtown Hamilton, MO, at U.S. Hwy 36 and Hwy 13. Open 9:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 4 p.m. weekdays. No admission is charged. Operated by the City of Hamilton. Notes: At the J.C. Penney Museum, which shares a building with the city library, ask the museum attendant for a tour of the simple, white house about 2 blocks away. It has been moved from its original farm site and has no original furnishings.

JOHN J. PERSHING HOME

Located from Laclede, MO, o­n U.S. Highway 36, go north o­n Missouri Hwy 5 into town and follow signs. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is charged (kids 12 and under free). Operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, phone 660-334-6945. Notes: Site includes the home where the future Army general lived from age 6 until he went to the military academy, as well as a large statue of Pershing previously displayed at the state Capitol. Also o­n the property is a o­ne-room school where Pershing o­nce taught, now a museum.

JESSE JAMES BIRTHPLACE

Located a few miles northeast of Kearney o­n Missouri Hwy 92. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is charged (children age 7 and under free). Operated by the Clay County Parks Department, phone 816-628-6065. Notes: Birthplace home of Jesse and Frank James stands o­n original site with some of its original furnishings, including a parlor table. Family provided tours for decades before the county took over the site and added a museum.

MARK TWAIN BIRTHPLACE HOME

Located in Mark Twain State Park near Florida, MO, from Missouri Hwy 107, go east o­n Route U. Open 10 am. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is charged (kids under age 6 free). Operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, phone 573-565-3449. Notes: Samuel Clemens lived in this two-room house until his family moved to Hannibal when he was 4. His Florida home was moved from its original site and now is sheltered inside a museum.

MARK TWAIN BOYHOOD HOME

Located downtown Hannibal. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through August; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in September and October; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays in November and December. Admission is charged (age 6 and under free). Operated by the City of Hannibal, phone 573-221-9010. Notes: Samuel Clemens spent about nine years of his childhood in this home, where he derw the inspiration for such characters as Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher. Tour also includes a museum, the home of Thatcher inspiration Laura Hawkins and other historic buildings.

WALT DISNEY BOYHOOD HOME

Located near the northern city limit sign of Marceline o­n Missouri Hwy 5, just a few miles south of U.S. Highway 36. Not open for tours, but property generally is open to the public. No admission is charged. Contact: 660-376-2332. Notes: Disney's childhood home is now the private residence of some of his former friends. Visitors are welcome to walk down a path to a cottonwood tree under which Disney used to draw and are encouraged to scrawl messages in a barn.

Fort Osage — A National Landmark

Fort Osage, as suggested by Lewis and Clark in 1804, was built to guard traffic along the Missouri River and control the fur trade with Native Americans, particularly the Osage, Kansa, and Iowa tribes. The reconstructed fort became a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and is designated by the National Park Service as a site o­n the Santa Fe and also the Lewis and Clark Trails. (information from the Jackson County Parks and Recreation)

Fort Osage, as suggested by Lewis and Clark in 1804, was built to guard traffic along the Missouri River and control the fur trade with Native Americans, particularly the Osage, Kansa, and Iowa tribes. The reconstructed fort became a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and is designated by the National Park Service as a site o­n the Santa Fe and also the Lewis and Clark Trails. (information from the Jackson County Parks and Recreation)

On June 23, 1804, Lewis and Clark documented and suggested the future location of what was to become Fort Osage. Four years later, William Clark with 80 volunteer dragoons from St. Charles and the regular garrison under the command of Captain Eli Clemson, erected a fort a few miles upstream o­n a high bluff overlooking a large meander of the Missouri River, in what is now the village of Sibley in northeast Jackson County. Soon after arriving, Clark sent Nathan Bone and interpreter Paul Loese to the Osage villages to invite them to take up residence near the new fort. When they did so, Clark drafted a treaty in which the Osage relinquished a large portion of their lands in what is now Missouri and Arkansas. This treaty was not ratified by Congress, but another treaty drafted by Governor Meriwether Lewis was signed at the fort o­n Nov. 10, 1808, and was ratified thereafter.

Closed in June, 1813m, during the war of 1812, Fort Osage was reopened in 1815 after the war was over and garrisoned until 1819. George C. Sibley, the fort's factor, was married in 1815 and brought his new wife, Mary, with him when Fort Osage reopened. He built a house known as Fountain Cottage Farm west of the fort and the couple resided there for the next few years. (Mary Sibley is now recognized as the founder of Linderwood University in St. Charles). In 1822 the U.S. abandoned the Factory system, ended government trade at Fort Osage, and replaced it as a military garrison with Fort Leavenworth, KS. In 1825 Fort Osage saw its final service as the starting point for an expedition to survey the Santa Fe Trail. George Sibley, the fort's former factor, served as o­ne of the expedition's three commissioners.

Because of its role in the westward expansion of the United States, the Fort Osage site was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and more recently designated by the National Park Service as a site o­n the Santa Fe and Lewis and Clark Trails. Nearby Hopewell and Osage sites are listed separately o­n the National Register of Historic Places.

For more information about the reconstructed fort, open to the public under the auspices of Jackson County Parks and Recreation, go to  www.historicfortosage.com

Retail giant J.C. Penney called Hamilton home

Hamilton, MO, has the distinction of being the birthplace and boyhood home of retail magnate J.C. Penney. The Penney Library and Museum houses memorabilia from his early years here until his death in 1971. (information provided by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce)

Hamilton, MO, has the distinction of being the birthplace and boyhood home of retail magnate J.C. Penney. The Penney Library and Museum houses memorabilia from his early years here until his death in 1971. (information provided by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce)

Hamilton, a rural community located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 36 and Missouri Highway 13, offers a variety of retail and service businesses as well as antique, collectible and gift shops. Hamilton has an AAA rated public school system, fine medical facilities, public library and several recreational facilities including a swimming pool, golf course, bowling alley and fishing lake.

Caldwell County Arts provies the area with cultural presentations throughout the year at the renovated Hamilton Community Arts Theater. Presentations range from locally produced musicals to country and bluegrass performances.

Hamilton has the distinction of being the birthplace and boyhood home of retail magnate J.C. Penney. The Penney Library and Museum houses memorabilia from his early years here until his death in 1971. The boyhood home of Mr. Penney, a modest 4-room cottage, was moved from its site east of Hamilton to its present location in a city park in downtown Hamilton. It serves as a tourist attraction. Located across the street is an expansion of the park bounded by a huge mural depicting the history of Hamilton and Caldwell County. Mr. Penney's 1947 Cadillac is o­n display at a service station o­n the south edge of Hamilton, a novelty which attracts the curious and car buffs.

Each spring during the J.C. Penney Hometown Festival, nearly 100 flea market and craft booths line Hamilton's main street offering their fares. The North Missouri Steam and Gas Engine Show attracts large crowds to Hamilton each August. Nearby are other attractions. The Caldwell County courthouse in Kingston is listed o­n the National Historic Register. Far West, a temple site for those of the Mormon faith, is located in nearby Mirabile. The historical displays to be found there are visited by thousands annually.

For more information about Hamilton, call 816-583-2168.

Disney’s Boyhood Home at Marceline

Main Street in Marceline served as the model for many of Walt Disney's film locales and theme parks, and today you can walk in his footsteps in the charming town during its Hometown Toonfest.

Main Street in Marceline served as the model for many of Walt Disney's film locales and theme parks, and today you can walk in his footsteps in the charming town during its Hometown Toonfest.

Marceline hosts Walt Disney's Hometown Toonfest every September to celebrate Walt's boyhood in this rural community that influenced his work so much. Cartoonists, fans, families, scholars and Disney enthusiasts come to Marceline for a day of fun. Festivities include a parade, live music, food, crafts, pie-eating contests and an international exhibition of original cartoons. Plus, the Toonfest stage venues will present vignettes of Walt's life in Marceline.

Other festival attractions vary. Recently the Toonfest featured a cartoon symposium in the historic Uptown Theater. In 2003 the leadline speaker was Mort Walker, whose Beetle Bailey comic strip appears in 1,800 newspapers worldwide. Walker displayed his work and talked about life as a cartoonist. Other guests included Bill Amend, creator of the comic strip FoxTrot. The symposium regularly features speakers with ties to Disney.

Festival goers can also participate in the Rural Olumpics. Farm chores that Walt endured as a child have found new life as games for the whole family.

While in Marceline, visit the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, located in the former Santa Fe Depot. The museum featuer artifacts and exhibits from Walt's life in marcline and his remarkable career. In addition, more than 20 other Disney related sites can be visited throughout the region, including the Disney farm and the Walt Disney Dreaming Tree. For more details about this annual festival, call 660-376-9258.

Catfish the attraction to the 138-mile Platte River

Record-breaking, skillet-filling catfish are among the attractions this Northwest Missouri river and its tributaries have to offer. (From a series of articles by the Missouri Department of Conservation entitled the Show-Me River Showcase)

Record-breaking, skillet-filling catfish are among the attractions this Northwest Missouri river and its tributaries have to offer. (From a series of articles by the Missouri Department of Conservation entitled the Show-Me River Showcase)

Some people think of the West when the Platte River is mentioned, but Missouri also has a Platte River. Anglers in this area recognize it as a pretty fair catfish stream.

The Platte River flows 138 miles from the Iowa state line through five Missouri counties to its confluence with the Missouri River north of Kansas City. Within its watershed are numerous public lands providing many outdoor opportunities.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) maintains 12 stream access sites along the Platte in addition to five Conservation Areas (CA) consisting of a total of more than 5,000 acres.

CAs along the Platte offer everything from deer and turkey to rabbits, quail and pheasants for hunters. Hikers will find miles of trails leading to excellent birdwatching, mushroom hunting and plenty of rolling topography providing lovely scenery.

Part of the Happy Holler Lake CA, northeast of Savannah in Andrew County, is situated o­n the 102 River, providing access to this Platte River tributary. Camping is allowed at designated sites o­n the area.

The largest CA in the watershed is Platte Falls, north of Platte City. This 2,333-acre tract is split by nine miles of the Platte River. Anglers may spend days bank-fishing along the Platte without seeing another angler or fishing the same hole twice.

Floating this stretch is made possible by the ramp at Sharp's Station Access at the upper boundary of the CA. Steep, muddy banks require careful negotiation.

Archery and shotgun ranges are available o­n Platte Falls. Because of nearby urbanization, hunting is limited to shotguns and shot shells. Deer may be taken by archery methods o­nly.

Contact MDC's office at 701 N.E. College Drive, St. Joseph, MO 64507, or phone (816) 271-3100 for more formation o­n CAs.

From MDC's Sheridan Access in Worth County, downstream river travelers will find rocky riffles, sand bars and a considerable amount of stream channelization. These obstacles don't prevent the determined angler from enjoying catches of channel catfish, flathead catfish and carp.

Crop fields along the Platte River can provide memorable hunting during the fall. Upland game and waterfowl abound. Woodlots and streamsides sporting oaks provide action for squirrel hunters, and lowlands grow thick with willows and soft maple — appealing resting places for deer. Be sure to get permission when hunting private land, and treat landowners with courtesy.

Below Agency Access in Buchanan County, the Platte returns to its natural course for the most part. The stream widens, but it's still pretty much a johnboat or canoe stream. Boaters will find it necessary to carry their craft from parking lots to the stream at MDC accesses, except in Platte County, where Schimmel City Access and Sharp's Station have concrete boat ramps. There is a skid ramp (not for vehicle use, designed to slide small boats to the water) at Humphrey Access, also in Platte County.

MDC's Rochester Falls Access in Andrew County is o­n Highway 169 east of Savannah and St. Joseph. The access is outfitted for camping and picnicking, and there is ample opportunity to fish.

The shelf rock formations for which the area is named cross the stream at the upper end of the property. A small warm-season grass planting is another point of interest, recalling the appearance of this region during pre-settlement times. Saxton Access in Buchanan County has the distinction of being the place where a state-record fish was caught. o­n July 15, 1992, Anthony Winans of St. Joseph outlasted a 55-pound 12-ounce grass carp that fell for a prepared bait. Who knows what other behemoths may lurk in the waters of the Platte?

Tributaries of the Missouri River have a tendency to produce memorable catches. If Winans' catch isn't enough to pique your interest, seasonal white bass and crappie fishing may provide the incentive to explore the Platte.

Take a “walk” with Harry Truman

Harry Truman was so fond of walking through his hometown of Independence, MO, that the city has honored him with a trail of his own.

Harry Truman was so fond of walking through his hometown of Independence, MO, that the city has honored him with a trail of his own.

The city completed the Truman Historic Walking Trail in 2003 as a tribute to the eventful and triumphant life of its most famous resident. The 5-mile trail links 43 memorable places in Truman's life, with a customized brass plaque at each site describing its significance.

While he remained in good health, Truman took almost daily walks through the Downtown Independence square area, past his barbershop, the church where he and Bess were married and to his office in the Truman Presidential Museum and Library. He enjoyed strolling the tree-shaded streets of his beloved neighborhood where he lived, was invited to dinner and stopped to play cards. “I walk early to get a chance to think over things and get feady for (the) work of the day,” Truman o­nce said.

Many of the sites he passed are included o­n the trail, which is designed to be a self-guided experience. Along the way are homes of Truman's friends and associates and several landmarks, including Truman's courtroom in the historic Jackson County Courthouse and Clinton's Drug Store where he held his first job.

To pick up a map of the trail, stop by Fire Station No. 1 at 223 North Main o­n the square. The building now houses the Truman Ticket Center and offices for the National Park Service, which conducts tours of Truman's nearby home. Or call Independence Tourism at 1-800-748-7323. For more details, visit  www.visitindependence.com