The Pure Missouri Post: 11/28/21
Twain's last visit to Missouri, Arabia Steamboat YouTube Channel, Dinosaurs in the Ozarks and more....
Happy Holidays! 🎄
We’re all busy with The Season, but I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve dug up (or stumbled across) for this abbreviated Pure Missouri Post this week.
And, don’t forget: I’m now publishing The KC Downtown Loop, an online publication that shines a light on Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, for those who call it home, office, or playground. If you’re a KC Downtown dweller, 9-to-5’er, or urban explorer (or even if you don’t live in KC), give it a look!
Tuesday is the birth date in 1835 of one of Missouri’s most famous natives: Mark Twain. In 1902, almost 50 years after the man born as Samuel Clemens said goodbye to his childhood home of Hannibal (he was born in Florida, Missouri), he returned to the Show Me State to receive an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Missouri. In planning a return visit to his home state, Twain wrote a friend from his mining days in California, urging him and his brothers to reunite with him during his Missouri visit.
“How should I imagine that you & Jim & Steve could still be above ground,” he wrote to Jim Gillis, whom he called “Dear old Unreconstructible” in the salutation, “when I haven’t had a line from any of you for ages? … Come as far as Columbia, Missouri, you three, & strike hands with me there the 4th of June; otherwise we shall not meet again on this side of the grave—& certainly not on the other.”
It would be Twain’s last visit to Missouri. He would die at age 74 in April 1910 at Redding, Connecticut.
Tomorrow is the birthday of Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor Don Cheadle, born in Kansas City in 1964. Beginning around 1970, he moved around a lot with his mom (a teacher) and his dad (a clinical psychologist), but told an interviewer a few years ago that he still considers Kansas City home, due in part to having several family members there who he continues to visit as often as he can.
This past Monday marked the passing of a true Missouri legend—former Major League Baseball player, coach, and manager Bill Virdon, at age 90. Virdon was born in Michigan, but his parents were from Missouri, and they moved to West Plains when Bill was 12, and he later attended West Plains High School. Despite West Plains not fielding a baseball team, he would attend an open tryout hosted by the New York Yankees in Branson, where he was signed by a Yankees scout. Unfortunately, Virdon wouldn’t see playing time in New York, because Mickey Mantle was the center fielder there. Virdon was traded to the home-state St. Louis Cardinals before the 1954 season and debuted with the Redbirds in 1955 after Stan Musial was moved to first base. In St. Louis, Virdon earned National League Rookie of the Year honors before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1956, where he played until 1965, with one additional year in 1968. He was a two-time World Series champion with the Pirates, and a Gold Glove winner in 1962. Virdon and his wife had lived in Springfield since 1960.
SHOW ME LINKS 🔗
The Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City has launched a YouTube Channel. Still in the early stages, it’s worth a look, a like, and a subscribe, because I know there will be amazing things to come:
Suddenly, Missouri is the center of the dinosaur universe: A southern Missouri dig site "at the bottom of a glen in the Ozarks" and looking "like a frog pond," is not only unearthing dinosaur bones, but never-before-seen species of the extinct creatures. USA Today has more:
Thanks for reading and sharing this Pure Missouri Post. Don’t forget to check out The KC Downtown Loop, too. In the meantime be well, stay in touch, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.