As a child, I was blessed to have parents who enjoyed going places and not just traveling out of state (see my series of “Over the Rainbow” posts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five) but in our “own backyard” so to speak. These were destinations of up to 2+ hours away from our home outside of Dayton. I think we went to Hueston Woods at least once a year on a day trip to hike the area. One of the last pictures of my parents still together was one that I took in the woods that fall.
In the 30 odd years I lived in the Dallas area, I didn’t have “time” to be a tourist in my own backyard. Never went to the Texas State Fair – mainly because large crowds and the crime was not something I wanted to deal with. It was also not budget friendly for a family with four kids. The closest I came to San Antonio was 45 minutes away when we took our kids to camp in New Braunfels. I saw Austin as we drove through the city. During long weekends the only thing I thought about doing was staying at home and relaxing. The kids didn’t want to spend any more time in a car than necessary (“she’s touching me,” “he’s looking at me,” etc.) plus we had a dog at home to take care of (and the cost of pet boarding was out of the question). Vacations were to see family – not to see the sights.
Now all these years later, we are living in a new place with many historical and natural sights to see and explore. Last year, we started by visiting towns located under a two hour radius. They had the “old time” Main Street feel and buildings had been restored. In fact, the City of Marceline has Main Street U.S.A. It is the place that Walt Disney spent a few years of his childhoood, and it meant so much to him that when he created DisneyLand, its Main Street U.S.A. is modeled after the one in Marceline. I want to explore more of what is in “my own backyard.”
Last summer, after walking the old part of Moberly during a light summer shower, and window shopping at the antique stores, we made our way back home to the farm via Hwy 24. Our first stop was Salisbury where the Chariton County Historical Society and Museum is located. I had already checked out the website so I knew what was in store for us. My husband and grandson thought we were at a place only I would enjoy because upon entering the building there is a big room full of file cabinets that hold vital, historical and genealogical records. Definitely a place I want to spend some time doing research by myself. But then, the lady told us she would turn the light on in the museum so we could explore. The men’s eyes grew wide when they saw what awaited us in the other rooms.
Large picture is a horse drawn carriage; top right picture shows a blacksmith shop; next ones going clockwise: the MFA display; church room; my grandson in the old time jail; the wagon used by George Friesz when he left Illinois for Missouri; a saloon; and an old Fire truck.
The MFA (Missouri Farmers Association) display is important to my husband’s family because his paternal grandmother’s brother, Earl Smutz, was one of the founders in 1914. The wagon owned by George Friesz also has a connection to my husband. His maternal great-grandfather, William Enderle, was the brother-in-law of George Friesz. A display that I couldn’t get a good picture consisted of a news article about Rebecca Schmidt Enderle. She was married to my mother-in-law’s uncle, Rudolph Enderle. Rebecca was one of the nurses who kept Tojo alive after his suicide attempt in order to be tried for war crimes at the end of World War II (News Article in Baltimore Sun).
The museum houses military uniforms, ephemera, and displays from the wars and conflicts Missourians took a part. There is also a room that has displays of very old dresses, books, home goods, quilts, etc. One could easily spend longer than the hour we did.
This spring and summer after the museums open for the season, we hope to spend more time exploring and learning about this area.
When was the last time that you went traveling in your “own backyard?”
(Original digital images taken by Wendy Littrell; address – for private use)
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