The Pure Missouri Post: 6/6/21
Vol. 1, Issue No. 6
The Pure Missouri Post has been a way for me to dip my toe into eNewsletter publishing. Missouri is a topic I know and love, and the results have been good. With this sixth issue, I’m confident that there will never be a lack of places to go or stories to pursue within the borders of the Show Me State—and I’m comfortable with my ability to remain consistent with its publishing.
However, this newsletter has been more of a hobby, and it’s time for me to use what I’ve learned here for my next entrepreneurial venture.
So, I’ll be paring down the frequency of the Pure Missouri Post. I might publish every other week; I might publish once a month. But it’s too much fun to give up, and I like having an excuse (and responsibility) to connect with other people and other places in other parts of this diverse state.
The new venture? It’s an eNewsletter, but the concept is under wraps for now. A few of you will be highly interested in the content; I suspect many of you will not.
I’ll introduce the new product in the next few weeks—possibly as soon as this week, if all goes well. There will be a level of free content for readers, but the ultimate goal will be to monetize this new publication (in the form of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising), because it will require much more original content, more freelance contributors, more resources, and more actual news reporting.
Thanks for being a part of the Pure Missouri Post community, I’m looking forward to continuing this connection.
And you folks in Kansas City: Keep an eye out for my upcoming announcement.
THE PURE MISSOURI POST: ISSUE NO. 6
After what seemed like three straight months of rain and cool temps, it appears that summer is re-establishing itself in the Show Me State. Here’s wishing you great fun in the sun (be sure to wear your sunscreen and check for ticks).
A Missouri suburb has again been named best place in the country to raise a family, according to highly trained sociologists (I assume they’re sociologists) at a website called WalletHub.
Okaaaaay, so the suburb is actually in Kansas. Overland Park, to be exact. But we all know that all of Johnson County, Kansas, (and at least 2/3 of the entire Sunflower State) is just one big suburb of Kansas City, Missouri.
Without KCMO—founded by the Chouteau family of St. Louis and other folks hanging around Missouri at the time—the Kansas-Missouri border around the City of Fountains would pretty much look like the present-day Kansas-Colorado border.
According to the article, among the many criteria earning OPKS the top spot in the nation for family-living is “median family income of $119,957.”
Now, knowing that the median income is nearly $120,000 per year, why are we all not moving there? Clearly, making six figures is a real benefit to living in Overland Park.
Plus, with all that extra cash, you could easily do something about Overland Park’s lowly #100 ranking for “family fun”:
Just take the family across the state line to Missouri for the Kansas City Zoo, Royals and Chiefs games, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Worlds of Fun, Kaleidoscope, the City Market, First Fridays, Science City at Union Station, The Country Club Plaza, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum, Sea Life aquarium, or LegoLand (not to mention the Lake of the Ozarks, Branson, Columbia, Springfield, St. Louis, and the rest of the state).
[This paragraph serves as a formal, heartfelt, mostly non-sarcastic apology to my friends who live in Overland Park, Johnson County, and other Kansas suburbs adjacent to Kansas City, Missouri, for the snarkiness of the above article.]
This Wednesday marks the date 110 years ago that Carry Nation died at the age of 64. She took her last breath at a Leavenworth hospital, and was returned to Missouri thereafter to buried next to her mother.
Her radical advocacy for the temperance movement included smashing alcohol bottles at bars and saloons—first with rocks, and later (at the suggestion of her second husband who later divorced her) with a hatchet. Her life story included growing up partly in Belton and Kansas City, and living as an adult in Holden. She attended the Normal Institute in Warrensburg (now the University of Central Missouri) to earn her teaching certificate in 1872.
While notorious for her hatchet-wielding, hymn-singing attacks on saloons and bartenders, Nation’s story also included a slave-holding father, a mentally ill mother who may have believed that she was the Queen of England, an alcoholic first husband (who likely spurred Nation’s temperance radicalism following his death two years after their wedding), plus many thoughtful and generous acts, including her establishment of a shelter for wives and children of alcoholics in Kansas City—an early model for today's battered women's shelters.
The Belton Historical Society Museum in the Old City Hall building at 512 Main Street has Carry Nation information and artifacts, and the hearse that allegedly carried her body from Leavenworth to Belton is reported to be nearby.
“To each man is reserved a work alone he can do”
—Susan Elizabeth Blow, born June 7, 1843, in St. Louis. Three decades later, she opened the first successful public Kindergarten in the United States, a model for all those that followed nationwide.
Pythian Home of Missouri
Also known as Pythian Castle, this nearly 40,000 square-foot structure in Springfield was built from 1911 to 1913 by the Pythian Knights as a home for its needy members, including orphans of the men who had belonged to the fraternal society.
Despite being a source of food and shelter, the home’s strict rules, requirements of labor—and prohibition of widows to live in the facility—made for harrowing stories (along with some good memories at times) from those who lived there as children.
During World War II, the United States military commandeered the facility to serve U.S. troops in cooperation with the adjacent O’Reilly General Hospital. Some German and Italian prisoners-of-war were also detained at the site.
In 1993, the military put the castle up for auction. It sold to a farmer for $4,000.
Today, under new owners, the castle is available for rental and occasionally offers public tours, but currently visitors must attend one of the castle-hosted events—escape rooms, ghost events, murder mysteries, a princess ball, and such—in order to see the inside of the facility that is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
SHOW ME LINKS
The Washington Post reports about the discovery of a handful of “lost” Charles Schulz comic strips, known collectively as the “Hagemeyer” strips. Not much is known about the cartoons, which—unlike Schulz’s world-famous “Peanuts” strip—depicted adult characters. But we do know this: Elmer Roy Hagemeyer was Schulz’s military buddy from St. Louis, and Sparky Schulz was no stranger to the city on the Mississippi.
Some sorrowful news: Kyra Reeves, who just finished her freshman year as a forward for the Mizzou soccer team, lost both of her parents to Covid-19 in February. The NCAA has granted permission for the university to establish a GoFundMe page to support Kyra's ongoing expenses. All proceeds will go directly to support those essential needs. You may contribute here:
PURE MISSOURI MOment
In honor of the beloved hound that they called “Old Drum”, and considering that the Old Drum Days Festival to benefit Warrensburg Animal Rescue and Johnson County Missouri Historical Society is this Saturday, we close today’s newsletter with very brief footage (19 seconds) of downtown Warrensburg, including the Old Drum statue—one of the most famous dogs to ever call Missouri home.
TILL NEXT TIME….
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