The Pure Missouri Post: 5/2/21

Vol. 1, Issue No. 1

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Pure Missouri Post. We’ll begin with a few brief mentions of what’s happening in, or related to, the Show Me State right now. 

After reading those anecdotes, the “Time Machine” photograph will take us back for a weekly nostalgic look at Missouri’s past.

Our “Pure Missourian” profile features everyday Missourians—or, in today’s case, a former Missourian—and their connections and thoughts about their home state.

“Show Me Links” is a curated list of Missouri-related news articles, features and offerings from local, national and international organizations and media outlets. 

And finally, our “Pure Missouri MOment” is video inspired by the “Moment of Nature” segment from one of our favorite television shows: CBS Sunday Morning. We’ll feature short clips, without narration, of life and happenings around the Show Me State.

On the horizon: Feature-length interviews with well-known Missourians, expanded image galleries, and more. And, of course, we’d love to hear from you in the comments here or in our private Facebook Group: Pure Missouri Post Subscribers. 


Missouri Theatre photo by Grey Wanderer under Creative Commons license

The world-renowned True/False Documentary Film Festival, which begins this week in Columbia, started 18 years ago at three downtown theaters: The Blue Note (an old vaudeville house), Ragtag Cinema (opened in 1935 as a Coca-Cola bottling facility), and the palatial Missouri Theatre (inspired by the Opéra Garnier in Paris). This year, due to Covid-19, the event will temporarily be held only outdoors. 

The Missouri Theatre was designed by the Boller Brothers Architects of Kansas City, and includes an 1800-pound Italian chandelier in the auditorium. When the theater opened in 1928, actors Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson sent congratulatory telegrams and, among those performing on opening night were St. Louis’s Missouri Rockets—precursor to the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. 

Today, the True/False Film Festival utilizes several venues in addition to the original three, in order to host the 15,000 documentary lovers who meet in mid-Missouri from all parts of the state, country and world. 

JOIN THE DISCUSSION HERE, OR AT THE PRIVATE “PURE MISSOURI POST SUBSCRIBERS” FACEBOOK PAGE: Have you been to True/False? How do you describe the festival to people who have never been?

Today is the birthday of actress Ellie Kemper, born in Kansas City in 1980. The star of “The Office” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a member of the well-known and affluent Kemper banking family of Missouri (her father David is reported to be worth more than $424 million). 

At age five, Ellie and her family moved to St. Louis where her father assumed leadership of Commerce Bancshares (developed by her great-great-grandfather in Kansas City). Growing up in Ladue, she attended John Burroughs School, where she learned improv from another John Burroughs alum who was freshly graduated from the University of Missouri: Future “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm. 

This year celebrates Missouri’s bicentennial. The first Europeans to set foot on the land that would later become Missouri arrived 348 years ago, but the area would not earn statehood until August of 1821. James Monroe was in the White House when Missouri was admitted as the 24th state, and St. Charles served as the state capital until Jefferson City was designated to serve that purpose beginning in 1826. 


Bluff at Ha Ha Tonka, Camden County, c. 1925

Credit: Domino Danzero Family Photograph Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Missouri State University, Springfield

This photo of the Ha Ha Tonka Castle shows the famous Ozarks home built by Kansas City businessman Robert McClure Snyder, Sr.

Snyder started the home in 1905 but was killed in an automobile accident in 1906. After their father’s death, Snyder’s three sons completed the construction and used the home mostly in the summers and on weekends, until the 1929 stock market crash. It was later used as a hotel.

Of note in this photo is that it not only shows the castle before it was reduced to ruins in a 1942 fire, but at the time this image was taken, the nearby Lake of the Ozarks did not even exist. The springs at the bottom of the bluffs and the Niangua waterway graced the landscape, but the big lake wasn’t created until 1931.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION HERE, OR AT THE PRIVATE “PURE MISSOURI POST SUBSCRIBERS” FACEBOOK PAGE: Ha Ha Tonka State Park has often been called the most beautiful spot in Missouri. What places in Missouri do you think belong in the “most beautiful” discussion?


Karin Erickson Bradford lives in Arlington, Texas, with her husband and two sons. Originally from Kansas City and schooled at Westminster College in Fulton, she has a family history that is certainly Pure Missouri.

What’s your connection to Missouri?

I was born and raised in Kansas City, on the Missouri side — please do not confuse me with a Kansan (not that there is anything wrong with that).

My grandfather, Lewis "Olie" Erickson, came to Missouri as a child from Sweden because his father secured a job at Anheuser-Busch in St Louis. Years later, Olie had to decide if he wanted to be a hog farmer near Bowling Green or become a music teacher. Fortunately for me, he chose music education.  

He worked in Grant City, then Smithville, and finally for North Kansas City High School as the band director. He eventually created the instrumental music programs for the growing NKC school district. I have heard stories of how he carried a dozen violins in the trunk of his car and drove from school to school to hold music lessons. I can also recall meeting hundreds — yes, hundreds — of people at his funeral who all stated how much they enjoyed his violin lessons when he would go to the district’s various elementary schools.

What are you doing now, and where?

I am now living in Arlington, Texas, so the Rangers are now my second-favorite baseball team. I travel weekly to Tyler, Texas, (near Whitehouse, Texas — hometown of Patrick Mahomes), which was great these past two years, because the entire city is decked out in Kansas City Chiefs flags and banners. I work in healthcare consulting and am always delighted when I meet people who work for [Kansas City-based] Cerner, because we can share stories about Cascone's [Italian restaurant] and In-A-Tub [tacos].

What do you miss about Missouri?

I miss the seasons, especially winter and autumn. 

I miss the energy of the city in celebrating the Royals and the Chiefs.

I miss In-A-Tub tacos, Topsy's popcorn, and Arthur Bryant's burnt ends.

I miss everyone gathering on the Plaza on Thanksgiving, regardless of the weather.

What makes you proud to be from Missouri?

The history of the American Royal, Harry Truman, BBQ (especially burnt ends) and jazz music. The industries of Hallmark, Anheuser-Busch, Bass Pro, O'Reilly, H&R Block, Enterprise, Panera, Build-a-Bear and Helzberg. And Churchill's Iron Curtain speech at Fulton.

What makes your “perfect day” in Missouri?

A perfect day in Missouri would start in KC with a QuikTrip coffee, then a road trip east on I-70, honking as we pass Kauffmann Stadium. We must stop for pictures of the bluffs along the Missouri River near Overton / Rocheport, then roll down the windows to shout “MIZZOU-RAH” as we pass Columbia. 

The next stop is for a late breakfast at mile marker 148 (Kingdom City / Mexico / Fulton), where I would love to have a breakfast of biscuits and gravy at Gasper's truck stop (sadly, no longer in business, I believe.) We would then head south to drive through the campus of Westminster College, stopping to take pictures with the statue of Winston Churchill and to see his granddaughter Edwina Sandys’s sculpture "Breakthrough", crafted with portions of the Berlin wall. 

Continuing south on Highway 54, the next stop would be Jefferson City for a tour of the capitol, which is as much an art gallery as it is living history. Pictures of the Jefferson City Bridge are essential. Even if we are not hungry for lunch yet, we should at least stop for ice cream at Central Dairy before hitting the road. Next stop: The Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum in St. Charles; finishing the day with dinner and specialty cocktails at The Fountain on Locust in St. Louis.



The St. Louis Post-Dispatch commemorates the completion of Bagnell Dam at the Lake of the Ozarks 90 years ago:

The eMissourian in Washington, Mo., tells about the 10-day-long Augusta Plein Air Art Festival, which culminated in a public sale and awards ceremony yesterday. Although the festival was just completed, we want everyone to catch a glimpse of this special event.

The Springfield News-Leader shares news of a big upgrade for Missouri’s visually impaired library users:

The Wichita Eagle writes about this unusual year for the True/False Film Festival in Columbia:

NPR takes a look at the fading use of Paw-Paw French, spoken around Old Mines, Missouri:

Missouri Preservation is offering a free webinar: House Story: How to Research Historic Sites & Structures:


Who would’ve thought that just 12 days ago, many Missourians would awaken to huge snowflakes—accumulating in some places—in mid-April? We close this inaugural issue by featuring our very own neighborhood right here in Possum Trot, Missouri, on the surprisingly wintery morning of April 20, 2021….

JOIN THE DISCUSSION HERE, OR AT THE PRIVATE “PURE MISSOURI POST SUBSCRIBERS” FACEBOOK PAGE: Did you ride streetcars or trollies where you grew up in Missouri?

Thanks for reading The Pure Missouri Post — stay in touch, and see you next week!

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