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 →

The Genealogy Bug

Last week while I was preoccupied with other projects and not paying attention, I once was again bitten by the “Genealogy Bug.” While not usually life-threatening, these bites can cause irritability, distraction, blurry vision (computer induced) and headaches. I also have reports from my wife that she has noticed a certain amount of hearing loss. As of right now the outlook is good and I should make a full recovery (some of the hearing loss may be permanent…ehhh!). As I mentioned in previous articles, I come from a long line of amateur genealogists, so much of the ground work was 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 →

Hunting & Fishing in the Ozarks

  A few times a year I volunteer with The Missouri Department of Conservation to teach Hunter Education. I always enjoy the enthusiasm of the kids (and the adults) as we discuss and learn about the history of hunting and fishing in the Ozarks. For me this is a great time to pass on some of our Ozarks heritage to the next generation. Until then, most of them don’t realize that the Ozarks as we know it would probably be much different if it wasn’t for our unique hunting and fishing heritage. One of the first settlements in what Continue Reading →

CCC Camp Palace, MO

As we often do on the weekends, my wife and I were browsing a local antique store.  This weekend we were at Memory Lane Antiques in Ava, MO when we noticed this picture of a CCC Camp at Palace, MO. I walked away that day, not buying this picture, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how neat it was.  I loved the look of the barracks with the white posts spaced neatly in front and around the driveways.  I love the old water tower and the water tank with wheels that look like they came off an old cannon.  Continue Reading →

Old Photographs – Look Into the Past

A photograph is a glimpse at a specific moment in the past.  A moment that will never occur again.  A place that no one can ever go back to or change.  I am fascinated by old photographs and those brief moments that they capture. The first time I looked at this photograph (actually a Real Photo Postcard or RPPC), I looked at the intended subject just like the photographer wanted.  The subject of this photo is a Fourth of July wagon. This is the intended subject.  This is what the photographer wanted you to look at…but look closer.  There is a lot 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 →