The Pure Missouri Post: 5/23/21

Vol. 1, Issue No. 4

Another Sunday, another slew of history, trivia, happenings, photos, videos and entertainment from the Pure Missouri Post. Please forward and share to help build our Pure Missouri community.

Yesterday marked 10 years since an EF-5 tornado struck Joplin on Sunday, May 22, at about 5:41 pm. The government reported 158 direct fatalities from the twister; more than 162 people died as a result of the storm. More than 4,000 homes were destroyed, the high school was partially demolished, a hospital was seriously damaged, and so many buildings and landmarks were destroyed that longtime residents had a hard time orienting themselves in their own city.

Following the tornado, Cunningham Park—destroyed by the twister—was rebuilt to include memorials to victims and volunteers and others touched by the tragedy. Among the poignant symbols are the “outlines” of former homes destroyed in the storm.

The Butterfly Garden and Outlook at rebuilt Cunningham Park (the city’s first municipal park) features “outlines” of the homes lost in the 2011 tornado. Credit: Drury University Architecture
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Kansas Citians don’t take kindly to anyone criticizing their barbecue prowess, but being left completely off of one magazine’s list of the nation’s best barbecue sparked a viral (and often outraged) response online. I, for one, am simply ignoring the clickbait, and I don’t even know the name of the publication.

Now, to decide about dinner between Gates or Arthur Bryant’s or Q39 or Joe’s Kansas City or Jack Stack or Smokehouse or LC’s or….

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Mizzou softball is hosting its regional in the NCAA tournament in the hopes of advancing to the College Softball World Series. The Tigers are 40-15 this year and the No. 8 overall seed in the tourney. The Tigers run-ruled the University of Illinois-Chicago on Friday night (8-0) and beat the University of Northern Iowa 4-0 on Saturday. In both games, the Missouri pitchers barely lost no-hit bids late in the games. Both ended in one-hit efforts for the Tiger starters. Mizzou plays in the regional final today at noon on ESPN.


“…we had a wonderful museum. The St. Louis Art Museum is a wonderful museum. My mother was one of the founders of a very progressive school called St. Louis Community School, and we visited the museum all the time….”

—Actor Vincent Price, born May 27, 1911, regarding his lifelong love of the arts that began in the town where he was born and raised 

Source: Oral history interview with Vincent Price, 1992 Aug. 6-14. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Town: Florissant

Resident: Adam Wayne, meat cutter/photographer

PM: Adam, tell me about yourself—where you grew up, where you live now, what you do, and your connection to Florissant….

AW: Well, I'm 38, born in Dallas, Texas, parents moved to Hazelwood when I was two years of age, and then to Florissant when I started junior high—and they still live there. Grew up in this area and currently I live in Old Town Florissant with my girlfriend and kids. My occupation is a journeyman meat cutter, but since 2020, due to Covid, I've been pursuing freelance photography as a career path. I've been taking photos for over six years very frequently. Florissant is my roots, and as a nature lover, it's near two of our main rivers, the Mississippi and the Missouri. 

PM: What do you know about Florissant’s history?

AW: The first thing that comes to mind is that Florissant is one of the oldest settlements in the state of Missouri and in the nation, founded around 1786, the name "Fleurissant", which came from the French farmers, means blooming and flourishing. The city used to be named Saint Ferdinand when it was ruled by the Spanish. The symbol representing Florissant is the fleur-de-lis which means lily. The city hosts an annual Valley of the Flowers Festival every year in May since 1963, a very historical parade and carnival.

PM: What makes Florissant a place worth visiting—or living in—today?

AW: For me, I like that the people of Florissant hold to their roots. Some of the original founding families still reside here generations later, maintaining some of the oldest homes and structures, giving Florissant a sensation of living history. It’s one of safest sides of North County, where people still wave as they pass by sometimes, and it has an old town charm in areas. If you have kids, there are several parks in the area, two of which hold military vehicles: Bangert Park, oldest park in Florissant, has a military tank kids can play on. Also, James Eagan Community Center has a military jet, an ice rink, and an indoor swimming pool with a water slide that extends from inside and outside the building.

PM: Name a few places that you would point visitors to in Florissant, and why?

AW: I would say it’s best to start any day with a homemade donut, like at Old Town Donuts. Or you could get some real down-home cooking, either breakfast or lunch, at City Diner. Both Old Town Donuts and City Diner were, voted #1 just recently in some top food magazines in Saint Louis. 

Next, take a stroll down Rue Saint Francois, which is the same path of the festival parade, past City Hall and ending at Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine in the heart of Old Town Florissant. Another great attraction is Sunset Park on the outskirts of Florissant, some of the most breathtaking views of the Missouri River and landscape, where I've discovered nature in a whole new way with a great walking path along the river.

PM: What draws you to the Gateway Arch as your muse, and how do you invent so many different ways to create such original, interesting images?

AW: There is no other place on Earth that has a structure like the Gateway Arch, with so much simplicity and brilliance all in one. Prospectively, simplicity is open for creativity. I have found the shape of the Arch in the curve of a leaf or a wave in the water. The number of arches in Saint Louis architecture puts me in a more creative mindset on how to capture every angle imagined while walking around, thus showing a state of mind, a "Show Me State" of mind [in my photographs]. 

PM: Outside of St. Louis metro, what areas of Missouri interest you? 

AW: Both northern Missouri farmlands and the Ozark Mountain areas interest me, but I've never even seen either. We have such a wonderful state with lots of different types of landscape. I don't travel much because Saint Louis has a lot to offer, if you just appreciate what you have around you.

PM: Tell me more about your craft and business….

AW: I specialize in fine art photography, city images, and nature images for print and commercial. I’m completely a freelance photographer, building a portfolio of unique, creatively done images of the Saint Louis area. You can purchase prints and view my full gallery on Instagram. I had a vision as soon as I started, with no background in photography or how to use a camera, that this journey I'm on would be bigger than me, and I plan on a Big Picture Art Gallery one day or art showing. 

PM: Any other thoughts?

AW: I like to say, even though it's cliche, that if you can imagine it, you can achieve it. I have a simple point-and-shoot camera, a Canon PowerShot SX-540hs. You can pick it up at your local Best Buy for $350. I've been published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, multiple art commissions via companies like PWC in Ballpark Village, and personal art sales. Been on a local radio show and a few local podcasts—the point being: With passion and determination, you can design your life.

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Mother and child, FSA (Farm Security Administration) clients, former sharecroppers, just before moving to Southeast Missouri Farms

This photo of a share-cropping mother and child in Missouri is from May 1938. The Southeast Missouri Farms Project, to which this family was moving, was a federal depression-era program implemented to provide better living and working conditions for sharecroppers. The agricultural economy of the Bootheel crashed soon after the Depression began, and sharecroppers bore the brunt of land that yielded less, crops that earned less, and landowners who demanded more of the workers in return for “rent” of the increasingly primitive living conditions.

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Watch this breath-taking “Got Milk” commercial, done KC style! Love that opening shot—we could even spot our humble abode right here in downtown Possum Trot!

The Cardinals found out the hard way that The Wave is not appreciated by many fans (a few sample replies below):

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Pure Missouri MOment

This week’s Pure Missouri Post concludes with a trip to Blackwater in Cooper County. A good amount of Blackwater, especially the quaint downtown district, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

But the town was nearly lost before it became the destination that it is today. On the brink of being lost to the types of forces that turn small towns into ghost towns over time, the citizens of Blackwater had to decide in the 1990s whether to abandon the town, or try to save it.

Having observed the success of nearby Arrow Rock as a historical-tourism destination, the Blackwater Preservation Society was formed, funding and investment was secured, and the town was spruced up and shown off. The Iron Horse Hotel now serves as an anchor for downtown, a county schoolhouse was moved into town and restored, a theater was built inside an old church, and the Mid-Missouri Museum of Independent Telephone Pioneers is still baffling young people who’ve never known anything but a cell phone.

Another Blackwater claim to fame: In the 1930s, so locals claim, the druggist’s wife, Minnie Morgan, won a candy bar-naming contest sponsored by the Mars Candy Company. She won a small car. Her winning entry? Snickers.

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