Silver Dollar City Postcards

SDC train

Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield, MO, and the Annual Brown Family Reunion held at Alley Springs; these were the places I would go almost every year during summer vacation.  Kids these days wouldn’t even call these day trips a vacation, but for us…this was the highlight of the Summer. Going through a stack of old postcards recently brought back a lot of memories from one in particular. A trip to Silver Dollar City in the 1970’s & 80’s was an all day adventure.  Highway 65 was a two-lane and Highway 76 was Continue Reading →

Glade Top Trail – Missouri’s Fall Colors

Glade Top Trail Postcard

The air is turning crisp and it’s time to load up the “Family Truckster” and take off on the road to adventure.  One of the best Missouri destinations in the fall is The Mark Twain National Forest’s Glade Top Trail.  A member of the National Forest Scenic Byway system.  It was the first National Scenic Byway designated in Missouri.  The Glade Top Trail is one of only 51 National Scenic Byways in the nation.  Located just south of Ava, Missouri the trail extends through the Mark Twain National Forest, with a 25 mile stretch of it across the top of Continue Reading →

Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 4

The new logs were notched and ready. The old sill logs had been carted off and reused for other parts of the project. One crew had been out all day collecting rocks large enough to act as foundations. It was time to put everything back together. After the new sill logs were in place it was time to move the foundation rocks under them. With the sills in place it was time to move the log floor joists back into place. And finally….the last log! After all the logs were in place, the floor and porch went back rather Continue Reading →

Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 3

The weather was perfect, the volunteers were motivated, and the setting was beautiful, everything was perfect. Everything except a certain Forest Service chainsaw that was assigned to our project (we’ll call him Husqvarna…although I have no idea if he was Swedish or not.) This particular chainsaw hated me and would go out of it’s way to make me look stupid by starting when I didn’t need it and then refusing to when everyone was waiting on me. I tried to have Husqvarna replaced. I heard of this guy named Stihl who was a great worker and I figured the Continue Reading →

Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 2

The 25 foot U-Haul truck on a dirt road in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest looked really out of place. But it was the three extra feet of huge pine logs sticking out the back that really caught my attention. The driver of the truck turned out to be Doug Stephens, a Director for Recreation Solutions, a historical restoration company from Colorado that works with the U. S. Forest Service. Doug had been brought in to coordinate this PIT project and explained that he had to drive the logs in from Colorado due to the difficulty Continue Reading →

Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 1

After a two and a half hour drive, and one wrong turn (thanks Google Maps), here I was at the Winona Ranger Station looking for the “bunkhouse” that I would be staying in for the next week of my historic preservation adventure in the Mark Twain National Forest. What I didn’t know at that moment, was how much the next week would affect me personally.  I would meet some really great people that quietly take care of the historical places we all love.  I would also get to learn a lot about my own family history.  And as so often Continue Reading →

If These Walls Could Talk

On June 12, 1990, a former cook walked in to the Missouri State Penitentiary for the first time. Everyone of his senses was assaulted at once. The smell of sweat, urine and hot pavement made him nauseas. The sounds of yelling, cussing and the constant clanging of metal surrounded and trapped him. He looked around and tried to figure out what part of hell he had just stepped into. He wondered to himself if he would ever get out of this place alive. Well, that former cook was me and I was 22 years old, wet behind the ears Continue Reading →

Breakfast at the Hotel Seville

I love breakfast! There I said it. I have admitted my addiction. Breakfast is another one of those taboo things that I have had to give up as I get older. Not the meal itself, just the best parts of it. The eggs…fried, the hash browns browned in butter, the biscuits slathered in gravy, the pancakes with generous amounts of syrup…this is what I have had to give up. I have replaced it mostly with sensible oatmeal. Sometimes I get a little crazy and drop some walnuts or raisins in it, but mostly just oatmeal. Today though, I fell Continue Reading →

Grandma & Falling Springs Mill

A large part of my knowledge and interest in Ozarks history started with my Grandmother. She was a wonderful oil painter and especially loved to paint the many mills scattered around the Ozarks. One of the things I cherished most after her passing was a set of mills that she painted from Ozark County. I have Rockbridge, Zanoni, Hammond and Hodgson (We were not able to get the Dawt painting). After getting home, I was pleased to find a small mill painting that I had initially overlooked. My pleasure soon turned to surprise though when I turned the painting over Continue Reading →