A Day in the Arcadia Valley of Missouri

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Welcome Center Fort Davidson Pilot Knob, MO

My long time friend David Tripp journeyed from Texas to visit his parents and he got in touch with me and we decided to take a trip to the Arcadia Valley in Missouri.  The temperatures were bitter cold but we didn’t let that stop us.  We decided to start our day with lunch at the Fort Davidson Restaurant in Pilot Knob, MO.

After an excellent lunch we headed to the site of Fort Davidson. The only thing left of the fort is the earthworks of the fort, surrounding the huge hole that was caused by a powder explosion.  The site is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The Civil War Trust (a division of the American Battlefield Trust) and its partners acquired and preserved 41 acres of the battlefield that are now a part of the state historic site.

The Battle of Fort Davidson, also known as the Battle of Pilot Knob, was fought on September 27, 1864.  It was the opening engagement of Price’s Missouri Raid during the American Civil War.  Price had the Union army  outnumbered by more than 10 to 1 but Thomas Ewing’s men held off Price’s Confederate army during the day and when night time fell they were able to slip away leaving the Confederates with possession of the fort.

On the site is a granite monument that marks where a mass grave is.  Maps are available at the Visitors’ Center that can be used to do a self-guided tour.  The visitor center offers a narrated version of the battle and its context within the Civil War.

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Dam of the Iron Mountain Lake  in Missouri

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Wooden bridge spanning the creek that handles the overflow.

After visiting Fort Davidson we headed over to see Iron Mountain Lake in St. Francois county of Missouri.  It is located in the city of Iron Mountain Lake whose population was estimated in 2016 to be around 736.

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View from the top of Taum Sauk Mountain in Missouri

Our next stop would be Taum Sauk Mountain which is a part of the St. Francois Mountains.  It is the highest natural point in the state of Missouri coming in at 1,772 feet.  It is believed that Tom Sauk Mountain was named after Sauk-Ton-Qua a Piankeshaw chief.  The view on top is quite breathtaking in the least.

There is a state park on Taum Sauk that is made up of 7500 acres.  There are a series of trails in the park including a portion of the Ozark Trail.  There is a 12-site basic campground and a special use area for non-profit youth organizations.  For day use there is a picnic area.

The park has its own legend.  It is a Native American “Romeo and Juliet” story.  The daughter of Piankeshaw chieftain Sauk-Ton-Qua’s daughter Mina Sauk fell in love with an Osage Indian warrior.  They met secretly and one day she was caught in his arms.  There was a trial and he was found guilty and he was executed.  Mina Sauk was so heartbroken she plunged from a cliff and took her own life.  This tragedy unfolded at a place on the mountain now called Mina Sauk Falls.

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View on top of Tom Sauk Mountain

We loaded up and headed to Elephant Rocks State Park, a geologic marvel. The park encompasses an outcrop of Precambrian granite in the Saint Francois Mountains.  The name comes from a line of large granite boulders that resemble elephants.  Recreation is available in the form of picnicking, rock climbing and trail exploration. It is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  The land that makes up the park was donated by geologist John Stafford in 1967.

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Elephant Rocks

 

The last stop was the historic Caledonia, MO., a small town located in Washington county.  The town was laid out in 1819 and was named after the Roman Empire’s Latin name for Scotland.  The town has had the presence of a post office since 1819.  The 2010 census showed a population of 130.  The town is also known for its annual Pumpkin Festival.

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Two historical homes of  Caledonia

It was a good day and there is so much to see in the Arcadia Valley.  There is also Johnson Shut Ins, Royal Gorge, Marble Creek Recreation Area and Immanuel Lutheran Church 1861.  There are places to camp or one can choose to stay in one of the many Bed and Breakfasts, Inns or motels.  The towns of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob are located within the valley.  It is a great way to spend the day or weekend.  I highly recommend Fort Davidson Restaurant if you are looking for some great cooking.

Spread the love and be kind to each other.

 

Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, MO

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On March 4, 1826, Major General Jacob J. Brown, Commanding General of the Army, issued Special Order No. 13 which he instructed Bvt. General Henry Atkinson, Commanding Officer of the 6th Infantry Regiment , and Bvt. Major General Edmund P. Gaines, Commander of the Western Department of the Army,”…to select some position near the mouth of Missouri River [net exceeding a range of 20 miles] which in their judgement may be deamed [sic] the best for the establishment of an infantry school of instruction.”That was the inception of Jefferson Barracks Military Post.  It was an important and active U.S. Army installation from 1826 through 1946.  It is the oldest operating U.S. Military installation west of the Mississippi River.  It is presently used as a base for the Army and Air National Guard.The first conflict that the soldiers of Jefferson Barracks were involved in happened in 1832 and it was known as the Black Hawk War.  During the Civil War it was used as a military hospital for both sides as well as a recruitment center for the north.  By the end of the war they had treated well over 18,000 soldiers.The Jefferson Barracks Military Post Cemetery was established in 1826.  The first known burial was Elizabeth Ann Lash, the infant child of an officer stationed there.  In 1866 it became a United States National Cemetery.DSC_0007July 31,2018, my daughter in law, grandson and myself visited the Missouri Civil War Museum located in Jefferson Barracks located in the old Jefferson Barracks 1905 Post Exchange Building.  Since its opening in June 2013, it has become one of the largest Civil War Museums in the U.S.  Its focus is entirely on Missouri’s role in the American Civil War.45.The 22,000 square foot museum is filled with over one thousand artifacts and several films are available for your viewing.  Each gallery and exhibit tells a story of Missouri in the American Civil War, from guerrillas and jayhawkers to life on the home front.  There are also galleries on Jefferson Barracks history and the post-war era.6312Pics above are of some of the displays located inside the museum.Personally I think the museum is well worth the visit.  Inside the gift shop is a fine collection of books written about the civil war along with souvenirs.My hat is off to the Missouri Civil War Museum group that was formed in 2002.  They managed to raise 1.7 million dollars for the restoration of the building.  When you see the before and after pics you will see what an enormous undertaking it was to restore the building.  A big thank you to everyone that made this museum possible.The museum is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  You can find out more at mcwm.org.

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My daughter in law who really enjoyed the museum.