Monday, June 29, 2015

Historic Sites II – Headed West on US 50

Continuing along US Hwy. 50 from St. Louis to Kansas City…and checking out the railroad depots and historic and/or interesting structures along the way…

While I wouldn’t call this “Eight-Ball” Water Tower historic, it sure is different…and original too!  It can be found in the town of Tipton Missouri.
This water tower originated in 1968, when Ewald Fischer (a native of Tipton) built his billiard table factory, the Fischer Manufacturing Co., a major U.S. builder of pool tables.  The company was purchased by Spalding and the plant closed when Spalding sold it in 1976.  By then, the water tower had been repainted. But the residents of Tipton wanted to have their eight ball back, so it was painted again.  The water tower is generally regarded as the world's largest eight ball!

Tipton is named for William Tipton Seely, a businessman from nearby Round Hill.  He’d received the land where the town is located for his military service in the War of 1812.  FYI…Tipton was an eastern terminus of the coast-to-coast Butterfield Overland Mail when it was launched in 1858.

This dilapidated structure is the former Missouri Pacific freight depot in Otterville Missouri.  It was moved to this site adjacent to the grain elevators from its original location and its being used for storage.  The nearby tracks are now used by the Union Pacific Railroad.  Given the construction details/timbers evident underneath the exterior shingles, this is a very old structure.

Otterville was platted in 1837.  The town was named from a nearby creek which once had large numbers of otters in and around it.  Otterville’s estimated population is right around 450 residents…

This beautiful old railroad depot is located at 600 East Third Street in Sedalia Missouri.  The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, (The KATY Line), came to Sedalia in 1873.  This limestone and brick Romanesque Revival Style depot officially opened on May 10, 1896.  This popular gathering spot served the community for more than 60 years.  The last passenger train departed from the Depot in 1958, 57 years ago! 

The old KATY Depot was offered for sale in 1983.  The Missouri Department of Natural Resources took title to the building in 1987 as part of the Katy Trail State Park.  If you were to follow the path of the old MKT railroad, you'd see that the tracks have been removed and the route has been converted into a walking and biking trail.

The exterior of the Depot was restored in 1998 and the interior renovation was completed in 2001.  The Depot is now the home to Sedalia's Welcome Center and proudly features “Heritage Exhibits”, which opened in June of 2003.   The exhibits are designed to represent the way railroads influenced the community.  The Depot also contains a gift shop that sells Sedalia related souvenirs as well as Missouri made products.  As you might imagine, this beautiful depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

On the other side of the coin, this is Sedalia’s Amtrak Station.  It is served by the Missouri River Runner with 4 trains daily, 2 going east and 2 going west, connecting St. Louis and Kansas City. 

How old do you think this depot is?  I was stunned to learn that the Missouri Pacific Depot was constructed in back in 1886!  However, in 1951   it was drastically remodeled, shearing off the second floor, rebuilding the ground floor and adding new space, completely doing away with any traces of the station's Queen Anne past.  The depot’s look can now more appropriately be termed as “Art Moderne”, the industrial streamlined architecture that was popular in the United States from the 1920s to the 1950s.

This is the Amtrak passenger waiting room in Sedalia.  It was unattended but it was clean and orderly.  This depot served 12,322 passengers in 2013.
Sedalia, the county seat for Pettis County Missouri, has a population of about 21,500.  It is the home of the Missouri State Fair and the annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival.


·       Renowned Ragtime musician Scott Joplin was from Sedalia.
·       Notorious old west gunfight, Clay Allison was also from Sedalia.
·       In the 1983 TV movie “The Day After”, Sedalia is destroyed when the Soviet Union attacked the Minuteman II Missile silos around the area. At the time of the movie's release, 150 of the missiles were located in the Sedalia area in underground silos.
·       Sedalia also was featured in 2 films from 1977: “Heroes”, starring Henry Winkler and Harrison Ford; and the TV movie “Scott Joplin”, starring Billy Dee Williams.
·       In the TV series “Rawhide”, Sedalia was featured as a destination for cattle drives.
·       The first Boy Scout Troop in Missouri (and one of the first in the nation) was formed in Sedalia in 1909, a year before the national organization was officially chartered. 

To learn more about Sedalia and it’s interesting history, you can go to,_Missouri.

I just liked the look of this building, the former J.A. Lamy Manufacturing Company.  It sits right behind the Amtrak Depot near downtown Sedalia at 108 West Pacific Street.   

It was built in 1893 as the Mackey Shoe Company.  Hundreds of Sedalians worked and supported their families as employees of the J.A. Lamy Manufacturing Co. since the business moved into the building in the late 1800’s.  The company was a traditional apparel contractor, manufacturing garments for such companies as Montgomery Ward (my former employer), J.C. Penney, Sears Roebuck and the United States Military.  Then for 50 years it was a contractor working exclusively for Levi Strauss & Co. before closing in 1998.  The interior has been greatly modified and the building is being used by a number of businesses. 

That’s it for this posting… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a tour of a small part of western Missouri.

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, June 26, 2015

Casual Dining at “The Local House”

Our St. Louis area family visit continued with another outing in a local restaurant.  This time, we’d driven south on I-55 to Arnold Missouri…

This is The Local House Restaurant and Bar.  It’s located at one end of a modest strip shopping center.  From what we were told, this is a very popular restaurant among the area residents.

There is an outdoor patio dining area but it was unoccupied when we were there.  The Local House had 15 reviews on Yelp…and has achieved a rating to date of 4.5 out of 5 possible stars.

This is the bar portion of the restaurant.  Much to everyone’s surprise, The Local House wasn’t very busy.  It was a Holiday weekend, it was early afternoon and the weather was great…so most folks must have been out running around enjoying the day or picnicking. 

This was our table at The Local House… From the left, Kasey, her husband Kevin, Kevin’s mother Carole, Kasey’s brother Kyle, Kyle’s son Collin, Kasey and Kyle’s dad Bill, Kyle’s son Keaton, Kasey and Kyle’s mother Bonnie and yours truly.  As usual Laurie took the photo…

If you look very closely, you will see a big reason for our gathering!  Kasey and Kevin were about to become parents…of a 3rd daughter!  (Charlie was born on May 31st.  Mother and child are doing great!)

A lot of food was ordered for this large group.  These are the hand-breaded Fried Pickles. ($7.99) They were served with a nice spicy chipotle ranch dipping sauce.  They weren’t special, but they were good.

Another appetizer was the Fried Cheese. ($7.99) I’m not ‘into’ fried cheese but these were different and better than average.  Provel cheese is a St. Louis region obsession so these were hand-breaded wedges of provel cheese that were deep fried and served with house marinara.

The third appetizer was this bowl of Pretzel Nuggets. ($7.99) These soft pretzel bites were topped with butter and kosher salt and served with homemade cheese dip.  This is great comfort food!

I had the Pretzel Burger. ($10.49) The burger is lightly seasoned, topped with homemade Queso, crumbled bacon and fried jalapeños and served on a toasted pretzel bun.  It was a good burger with lots of flavor going on.  For my side, I tried to pay homage to healthier eating…and ordered the steamed broccoli. 

Laurie ordered one of her very favorite sandwiches, a Patty Melt. ($9.99) She reported that it was cooked just right and that it was very good!  For her side she’d ordered apple sauce.

Since we spilt up the check, I can’t tell you exactly what each of the proceeding meals was… That second burger appeared to be an outrageous creation!  I do know that Kevin’s mom Carole ate that healthy salad.  Those pizzas were really loaded with goodies!  The second one didn’t leave out many possible ingredients…

The Local House Restaurant’s menu is expansive!  There are 17 appetizers, 6 salads, 9 pizzas plus you can ‘build your own’, 18 sandwiches, 4 wraps, 12 burgers, 11 pasta offerings and 12 entrees.  The most expensive item on the menu cost $21.99.

For a casual restaurant serving lots of comfort food, bar food, etc., the Local House is a cut above the average.  It’s a good place to relax and eat more food than any of us ever should.  Service was good and the prices and quantities were right on…

The Local House Restaurant and Bar is located at Exit 190 off of I-55 south from St. Louis Missouri.  Address: 3946 Jeffco Boulevard, Arnold Missouri.  Phone: 636-467-9900.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Historic Sites - Headed West from St. Louis Missouri

The visit with Laurie’s family and our friends in the St. Louis area was over and it was time to head west to our next destination…the Kansas City Missouri area. 

Whenever we aren’t under any particular time constraints or deadlines, we avoid the Interstate System and use secondary highways.  In this case, I decided to follow US 50 across Missouri.  As is my norm, I’d plotted out a number of depots and historical buildings to check out along the way…

This is the former Gerald Missouri Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad depot.  It’s now located next to a very nice Veteran’s Memorial and park just south of US 50.  The tracks are just north across the highway. 

Gerald was platted in 1901 along a railroad line.  I’d guess that the depot was built between 1903 and 1908 but I couldn’t determine an exact date. The town was named for a local family of pioneer settlers, the Fitzgerald family.  The current population of Gerald is about 1,350.  The Chamber of Commerce now occupies the depot.

This is the Zewicki House at 402 East Main Street in Linn Missouri.  This nine-room house was designed by Dr. E. T. Zewicki, a Linn dentist, and his wife, Amy. Construction was completed in 1895.  The porch was added prior to WWI.  Before 1927, the home didn’t have either plumbing or electricity.  The family owned the home until 1986 when it was donated to Osage County Historical Society.

Linn was first organized/platted in 1843 and the town is named after former Missouri US Senator, Lewis F. Linn.  Linn has a population of roughly 1,400 and it is the County Seat for Osage County.  Back in 1870, Osage County had 10,793 residents and the 2010 census recorded a population of 13,878.  The county has about 1,000 farms, averaging 266 acres each…and for those of you who love touring wineries, Osage County has 3 of them!

This is the Moniteau County Courthouse on Courthouse Square in California Missouri.  Note the domed octagonal cupola behind the round dome that's part of the entry portico.  The Courthouse was built in 1867 and it’s now one of the oldest courthouses in Missouri.  

Nearly all of the county’s business is still conducted inside this building.   Moniteau County has a population of a little over 15,600.  The county was named after Moniteau Creek.  Moniteau is a French spelling of “Manitou”, Algonquian for "the Great Spirit."

Factoid: In 2016, the Moniteau County Fair will celebrate its 150th anniversary. It is believed to be the oldest continuously occurring county fair west of the Mississippi.

This is the Finke Opera House with the attached Finke Building to the left.  The opera house is located at 315 North High Street in downtown California Missouri.  It was built in 1885 and the adjacent building was built in 1899. 

The two-story brick Opera House was California’s main entertainment center for the community.  From 1885-1897, it was known as the California Opera House and then the Finke Opera House from 1897-1922.  While it was the opera house, the building was home to stage shows, plays, musicals and school performances.  ‘Blind’ Boone played the piano at the opera house in 1893.  Cole Younger, an associate of Jesse James, lectured at the opera house in 1909.  The theater was reopened in 2010 for special events…

I discovered that John William "Blind" Boone, 1864 – 1927), was an American pianist and composer of ragtime music.  Boone was born in a Federal militia camp near Miami Missouri to a contraband slave, Rachel Carpenter, who had been owned by descendants of Daniel Boone.  His father was a bugler in the 7th Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Union). Doctors removed both of Boone's eyes when he was six months old in an attempt to cure his brain fever.  To learn more about Blind Boone and his life’s trials and tribulations, you can just go to

These are the Gray-Wood Buildings at 401 – 407 North High Street in California Missouri.  They date back to the late 1890s.  Due to their architectural significance, these buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. 

The County Seat of Moniteau County was founded ca. 1845 and it was originally known as Boonesborough.  In 1947, the town was renamed California after the new US territory on the West Coast that, in 1847, had just been annexed by the United States.  The current estimated population of California Missouri is a little over 4,300.  

That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, June 22, 2015

Quincy Street Bistro – St. Louis Missouri

Continuing with our trip to St. Louis Missouri to visit family and friends...  After a tough day of shopping and wandering around the area, it was time for lunch.

Laurie and I went with Bonnie and Bill and their son Kyle to try a restaurant in St. Louis that they been interested in but hadn’t been to before.  This is the Quincy Street Bistro. 

The building was built about 110 years ago.  It was formerly a bar known as Jimmy’s Saloon.  The upstairs was occupied by 4 separate apartments with bathrooms down the hall.  That area is now all open seating for approximately 100 diners.  This family operated business has been open since the spring of 2011.

This is the downstairs bar area of Quincy Bistro. 

Our table was in the second floor dining area.  As usual for us, we were dining in ‘off hours’ between normal meal times.  Business picked up a bit while we were there, with a wedding party taking over the space behind the curtains on the left.

We had a corner table with a view of the Gravois Avenue and the neighborhood.  This old area on the south side of St. Louis is quite densely populated.

We started out with a couple of appetizers for the table.  This is the Butchers Board, the kitchen’s daily selections of hand crafted meats, cheeses, pickles, mustards and jams. ($12.00) It was a very nice way to start out our meal.

Our other appetizer were the Crispy Cheese Curds, cornmeal battered local cheese curds served with buttermilk dressing. ($8.00) Laurie loves cheese curds but me not so much.  However, I did enjoy this version very much!

I ordered the Buttonwood Farms Fried Chicken. ($14.00) This entrée consisted of a boneless chicken breast and a thigh soaked in buttermilk, tossed in seasoned flour, country-fried and served with smashed potatoes and sawmill gravy.  I chose coleslaw for my side… This was a very good meal!

Bill ordered the Country Fried Steak. ($12.00) This was hand-cut sirloin pounded until tender, then tossed in seasoned flour, country fried and served with smashed taters and sawmill gravy.  He opted for the pickled beets on the side.  It was another winner!

Laurie and Bonnie split the “A Mighty Fine Grilled Cheese”. ($9.00) This luscious creation consisted of Muenster and Gruyere cheeses, apple compote, local honey and thyme laced butter, all on toasted Italian bread.  Laurie’s choice of sides was also the pickled beets.  Both she and Bonnie were happy campers!

Kyle ordered the Pastrami Gone A-Rye. ($10.00) This beauty layered house smoked pastrami, bread and butter pickled cabbage, Gruyere cheese and Thousand Island dressing on toasted rye bread.  Wow! 

Of course, we should have stopped there but hey…we were on vacation!  Laurie and I shared the Bread Pudding with Bourbon Glaze. ($7.00) It was excellent!

Another choice was the Key Lime Pie. ($8.00) It was so good it had been partly eaten by the time Laurie took the photo…

To summarize…Quincy Street Bistro has good food, an interesting setting and nice service.  Our waiter was very helpful.  The Bistro also has a nice selection of beers.  This restaurant is located at 6931 Gravois Avenue in Saint Louis Missouri.  Phone: 314-353-1588.  The restaurant’s website can be found at

Just click on any of the photos that you’d like to enlarge…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sightseeing and Shopping – Kirkwood Missouri

Laurie and I met in the St. Louis Missouri area on a blind date over 37 years ago…and all of her immediate family still resides in the metropolitan area.  Needless to say, we have close ties to this part of Missouri. 

Kirkwood is one of the larger and better known suburbs that constitute the ‘greater’ St. Louis.  Amazingly, St. Louis County is made up with a total of 93 separate towns and that doesn’t even include the City itself which is a separate entity.

This handsome depot at 110 West Argonne Drive in old downtown Kirkwood is a living breathing Amtrak station on the main line between St. Louis and Kansas City.  The depot was built by the Missouri-Pacific Railway 122 years ago…back in 1893.

There are a number of railway related displays inside the station.  Among them are a large number of model railroad locomotives, passenger cars and related ephemera.  There was a constant flow of curious visitors in and out of the depot during my time on the premises.  As this is a busy main line for the railroad, there were a couple of train ‘watchers’ just enjoying their hobby as well…

This is part of the Amtrak waiting area in the station. 

Back in 2002, Amtrak was considering closing the Kirkwood Train Station as part of on-going cost-cutting efforts.  The City of Kirkwood didn’t want to lose this key ingredient in the overall hometown ‘feel’ of the downtown area.  So the city negotiated with Amtrak to purchase and staff the station and it has done so since April 2003.  At the beginning the city issued a call for volunteers to man the station…and nearly 200 people responded!

Today the station is staffed by a dedicated group of volunteers who answer questions about schedules and the sights and scenes in Kirkwood, help passengers embark, issue parking passes and keep the station open from approximately an hour prior to the first passenger train of the day until about an hour after the last one.  The volunteers do not sell tickets or collect any payment but as you can see to the left of the photo, there is an automated ticket vending machine on premises.

In 2009, downtown Kirkwood was added to the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places.  The area near the railroad depot includes a wide variety of shops and places to dine. 

Kirkwood is an ‘inner-ring’ suburb of St. Louis.  The city’s population is roughly 27,500.  The town was founded in 1853.  Given the town’s commitment to the railway and the depot, it’s appropriate that it was named after James Pugh Kirkwood, the builder of the Pacific Railroad through that town.

Factoid: Actor Scott Bakula, "Quantum Leap", "Star Trek: Enterprise" and NCIS: New Orleans, is from Kirkwood.

For the most part, I hung around the depot or wandered the streets nearby watching people… However, despite the fact that soap and candle stores are usually the types of places that I avoid, (the scents can be overwhelming), I did venture into the store shown above.

This store occupies one of the buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places in downtown Kirkwood.  This is Old Firehouse #1, which was built in 1920. 

I must admit that this was an interesting store... We were treated to an educational tour of the factory portion of “sammysoap” by a very well informed and dedicated employee who actually makes the soap.  One of the photos in this collage shows the natural oils used to impart the desired scents and another photo shows many of the other ingredients used in the process.  Examples of the latter include such items as turmeric, calendula, parsley and black cohosh root… The cost for some of the oils used were in the hundreds of dollars! 

This store’s natural artisan soaps are made from organic or ‘wild crafted’ ingredients wherever possible.  Every bar is cruelty free, chemical free, vegan, never synthetic and made in small batches.  To quote from the website, “…each bar of sammysoap is packed with purpose.  Sammysoap is a job creation machine for adults with developmental disabilities disguised as the world's best soap company.  We are not a training facility.  We are not an agency or a not-for-profit.  We are not supported by local, state or federally funded programs of any kind.  We provide real, gainful employment to adults who need jobs and want bigger lives."

What a concept… Helping people by making safe and useful products while making a profit too!  The “sammysoap” Store and Factory is located at 123 West Argonne Drive in Kirkwood Missouri.  Phone: 314 287-7020.  Website:

This is a view of the railroad side of West Argonne Drive.  It’s another series of shops…too ‘girly’ for me to shop in…but occupying and repurposing another long and historic structure.  This is probably the only area that Laurie and I visited during our 2-week trip where there were ‘enough’ shops to satisfy her ‘shopping’ urges.  She loves to look even when she isn’t buying much. 

To learn more about the restaurants, shops and events in downtown Kirkwood Missouri, just go to

I just had to throw in this photo of Laurie’s great nephews Collin and Keaton enjoying their flavored ices in Kirkwood.  Their dad Kyle is sitting in the background. 

It’s obvious that I like trains…as well as planes, ships and automobiles.  In this case, the ladies were still shopping when Amtrak’s “Missouri River Runner” stopped at the Kirkwood Depot on its westerly run to Kansas City Missouri.
The Missouri River Runner is a 283-mile passenger train route operated by Amtrak running between the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center in St. Louis and Kansas City Missouri’s Union Station.  Four trains, 2 westbound and 2 eastbound, operate daily.  Stops between St. Louis and Kansas City are in Kirkwood, Washington, Hermann, Jefferson City, Sedalia, Warrensburg, Lee’s Summit and Independence.

WOW!  Look at the crowd getting on the train!  I haven’t seen this many passengers boarding a train since we lived in Chicago… It was the Memorial Day weekend so that probably upped the number of Amtrak patrons for the day.  In 2013, 59,770 passengers passed through this station.  A total of 199,470 passengers rode the “Missouri River Runner” in 2013, for an average of 546 passengers per day.

That’s about it for now.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by to see what we’ve been doing!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave