Monday, July 6, 2015

Historic Sites III – Headed West on US 50

One of the advantages of getting off the Interstate highways is the opportunity to see a bit of America that most travelers skip by.  I double down on that idea when I plan one of our trips by putting together a list of historic buildings or sites to search for that are in relative close proximity to our route.  In most instances, in order to find the places I’ve listed, we either have to go into the center of these small towns and/or explore a neighborhood or two…

This is the Missouri/Sedalia Trust Company Building at 322 South Ohio Street in downtown Sedalia Missouri.  This Romanesque/Chateauesque structure was built in 1890 and it served as a bank for many years.  Impressive bank buildings like this symbolized economic success at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1997, the Sedalia Trust Building was severely damaged by a fire that burned through the roof.  The Sedalia-Pettis County Redevelopment Corporation is now marketing the building at no cost to a qualified developer who can return this architectural icon to its original glory.  I found a posting on-line that showed volunteers were working to clean up and secure the inside of the building when we took this photo.  The roof and windows have been repaired and/or replaced as necessary in order to prep the building for a new owner.  You can take a closer look at the building by going to this website:

This is the Hotel Bothwell at 130 East Fourth Street.  As you can see this classic revival building is located right across the street from the Missouri/Sedalia Trust Building.   This 7-story 109 room hotel was built in 1927.   By 1927 the population in Sedalia had reached 21,144, (today’s population is about 21,500), and the city was served by two major railroads, the Missouri, Kansas and Texas as well as the Missouri Pacific.  Both railroad depots were within 4 blocks of the hotel which had to be good for business…

Famous people including Harry Truman, Jack Oakie, the old time movie star, Gene Autry, and Sally Rand, the famous fan dancer have all stayed at the Bothwell Hotel.  Actress Bette Davis dined here and Clint Eastwood once promoted the TV series ‘Rawhide’ at the hotel. 

The beginning of the modern American hotel industry can be traced to an 1829 Boston hotel, the Tremont House.  Unlike earlier inns, which consisted of 1 or 2 rooms with 3 to 10 beds and usually two guests per bed, the Tremont provided private rooms, trained hotel staff, had French cuisine, bellboys, and many other "modern" amenities. The Tremont spurred a widespread development of similar hotels in American cities where a fine, luxurious hotel was viewed as essential to the continued growth and success of a community.

Today, the Bothwell Hotel has been totally refurbished.  It’s a Boutique Hotel and Spa that is associated with the Choice Hotels Group.  Guests can have a drink in the restored and updated Oak Room Lounge and dine in The Ivory Grille.  A King Suite costs $135.00 per night.  Patrons can ride in a chauffeured 1930 Chrysler Imperial 8.  To see some photos of the interior of the hotel, dining room and lounge, or to book a room, just go to

Note: The Hotel has 132 positive reviews on Trip Advisor vs. 10 negative reviews.  The Ivory Grille has 51 positive reviews vs. 2 negative ones… Both would easily make my personal criteria of 10:1 positive to negative reviews. 

This is the Senator John T. and Lillian Heard House at 200 West Broadway in Sedalia.  This Classic Revival style home has some Italianate accents.  The iron fence and the carriage house at the back left are both included as part of this property’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  In addition to his role as both a member of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, John Heard also served as the President of the Sedalia Trust Company… The home is furnished with Mrs. Heard’s original belongings. 

It now serves as the “Club House” for the Sorosis Club branch in Sedalia.  I’d never heard of this organization before but as it turns out, the Sorosis Club was founded in 1869 as the first professional women's club in the United States.  Sorosis meant "aggregation".  Its objective is to further the educational and social activities of women, and to bring them together for mutual support.

From Sedalia, we continued along US 50 to the city of Warrensburg Missouri.  We drove through some very heavy rain and our photos in Warrensburg were limited to those we could take from the comfort of our car. 

This is the old Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot in Warrensburg Missouri.  The portion nearest to our position was originally opened in 1890.  Construction of this sandstone structure is in the Richardsonian- Romanesque style.  This end of the building currently houses the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce.

Warrensburg was founded in 1835.  It is the county seat of Johnson County Missouri.  The town has a population of about 18,900 and it is the home of Central Missouri State University.  Johnson County is the home of Whiteman Air Force Base, the base for the 509th Bomb Wing, assigned to the Eighth Air Force of the Air Force Global Strike Command.  The 509 Bomb Wing operates the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber. 

This is the other end of the combined structure.  It serves as Warrensburg’s Amtrak Depot.  Unfortunately, this 1984 addition lacks much charm and in my opinion, it totally clashes with the classic look of the original depot.  On the positive side, the Missouri River Runner passenger train stops here 4 times a day…2 trains eastbound and 2 westbound.  In 2013, 17,189 Amtrak passengers utilized this depot.


  • Errett Lobban Cord, U.S. automobile manufacturer and an early advocate of front-wheel-drive vehicles was from Warrensburg.  He founded the Cord Corporation and established a holding company that produced the Cord Automobile along with the Auburn and Duesenberg Automobiles.  The corporation also controlled Lycoming Engines; New York Shipbuilding; Checker Cab; Stinson Aircraft Company; and American Airways (later American Airlines).

This building with the “keyhole” shaped barn door is the Jones Brothers Mule Barn at 101 North College Avenue in Warrensburg.  It was built in 1912 as a Mule Sales Barn and it later served as a hardware store.
In the early 20th century, a strong regional mule market and the barn’s proximity to the Missouri Pacific Railroad helped the Jones Brothers build one of the better known mule dealerships in the state.  Business peaked during World War I, when the firm is said to have shipped hundreds of mules a month.  In the days before motorized transportation became almost universal, mules were an invaluable part of military operations.  Missouri-bred mules were considered among the best in the world in the early decades of the 20th century, and tens of thousands were shipped overseas to support the war effort. 

Next stop…Kansas City for dinner with one of Laurie’s high school classmates. 

Thanks for stopping by to check out our progress along US 50…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. You knew I had to look up Warrensburg's claim, right? There appears to be some dispute over the Old Drum case being the first usage of "man's best friend:"'s_best_friend_(phrase).

  2. I like the old buildings and the desire to save them.