…and Betty Grable too
It was time to leave Branson.
Setting out northwards on a long straight road was a good chance to catch up on my journal.
Whilst the driver and co-pilot were well equipped with plentiful supplies in the front
I was quite comfortable in the back, thank you
After a while, we reached our first scheduled stopping point, high above the Lake of the Ozarks.
The Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a recreation area where there’s the ruins of a castle, too.
There’s an Italianate Water Tower which was burnt out by vandals a few years ago.
and the relics of the castle itself, anther burned out shell.
The views are pretty good –it would have been a great place to build your dream home, Mr Snyder.
It was a beautiful morning and the sky was rather interesting.
People were out and about both here in the park and down there on the lake too.
I was playing about with my camera.
But we had further to go, so we jumped back into the car and headed a bit further on the long straight road towards Jefferson City.
Oh, look, we’re on the Lewis and Clark trail! We’ve come across them before on an earlier road trip.
As we parked near the Missouri State Capitol building sure enough, there they were.
Jefferson City – or at least, this place (because the city didn’t even exist then) was the start of their journey.
Mr Wade, the docent by the memorial, was only too pleased to tell us the story of York, Lewis, Seaman the dog, Clark and Georges Drouillard (from left to right in the picture above) We wondered where Sacagawea was – until Mr Wade explained that they didn’t meet her until a little further along the trail.
We had our eye on the Capitol though, and knowing the guided tours were on the hour, we bade Mr Wade bye for now and found our way inside.
Oh, wow. this is the kind of state capitol we like to visit!
Our guide, Patty, was great and explained everything in detail at just the right pace. I liked the state seal with the two bears representing courage and strength and was interested to learn the significance of the moon in the design. I didn’t know that the symbol is normally associated with the second son – and in the Missouri seal, it represents the state being second in the Louisiana Purchase. Fascinating.
We were enjoying Patty’s stories, including the one prompted by the painting of the bridge in St Louis above. When the bridge was built, the owners of the ferry boats put about stories to dissuade people from using the bridge, claiming it was weak and badly designed. When a circus came to town, then, the bridge designer/owner invited the elephants to cross it, proving his point and allaying all fears of it being too dangerous to use.
It was the Thomas Hart Benton murals which were the star of the show, though.
As soon as Patty opened the door and invited us in, we were lost in the scenes painted on the wall.
A history of Missouri, the scenes included several controversial images, including one above. But more than that, they showed scenes from history, figures and activities which represent the state during different eras and the development of life here up until 1936 when the murals were completed. There’s a full description here.
The windows of the Capitol gave us a glimpse of the Missouri river and the railroads alongside it.
Patty’s last stop was the House of Representatives, a grand space where the elected politicians meet from January to May each year. They get together again in September to revisit any issues the Governor has vetoed, but otherwise, it’s a five month a year government.
Having seen this, we were set free by Patty to explore one more floor of the Capitol; the bronze portraits of people who have made Missouri proud.
Here she was. Sacagewea. Lewis and Clark’s companion was remembered here.
What made us smile, was that she was placed so close to Ginger Rogers! What a fun juxtaposition.
Other figures included Virginia Louisa Minor, founder of the first women’s suffrage organisation in the US.
Josephine Baker was there too.
And lest you think we’d left her behind, there across the way was the hero of our trip, Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Oh, and yes, of course, there was Betty Grable too (but sadly, no legs)
What a lovely day, how pleased we were that we didn’t listen to the doubters who couldn’t understand why we’d bother visiting Jefferson City. It’s a great place, really interesting and the State Capitol ranks amongst the most attractive we’ve seen. Thanks to those murals, all three of us know far more about the history of Missouri than we did, as well.