Friday, October 15, 2010

Onwards to Illinois

Stone Mill Meadow Farm
We had a very full day making our way from Wentzville, Missouri where we stayed last night, to Collinsville, Illinois. We first head south along along very scenic Highways Z and F, to Daniel Boone's home near Defiance, Missouri. The area is lined with picturesque barns and and historic homes, and this time of the year, some very colorful trees. Before we get to Boone's old homestead, we pass by the historic Stone Mill Meadow Farm. Absolutely gorgeous, very historic, and is for sale. Now, if I was looking to move, if I was willing to give up my lake view and wonderful neighbors, if I had 3 million dollars to purchase the property and probably another million to keep it maintained, I just might have to look at this. But, all those ifs being a negative, we move on.

Daniel Boone home near Defiance, MO
 A few more miles down the road, we land at the Historic Daniel Boone Home and Boonesfield Village. A registered National Historic Site, the Boone Home, nearly 200 years old, is large even by today's standards. It rises four stories with limestone walls 2 ½ feet thick and a kitchen in what most would consider would be the basement. The historic home overlooks the Boonesfield Village which is comprised of over a dozen 19th century buildings including the Old Peace Chapel, grist mill, schoolhouse, several homes, a carpenter’s shop, an more. Each building has been moved to the site from within 50 miles of the local area. The buildings offer visitors a glimpse into life as a frontiersman and the chance to witness the hard work and dedication these men and women possessed. I most definetely need to expand my short summary of Daniel Boone, who is more often associated with Kentucky, into his family and life in Missouri.

Kirkwood Depot
Then, to St. Louis, where we do a short allignment of Route 66 that we've never traveled before, exiting off of US Highway 64 at Frontenac and heading south to Sunset Hills. This allignment is almost completely residential until reaching Kirkwood, Missouri, which provides a couple of glimpses of history including its old depot, city hall, and Spencer's Grill.

Then eastward to Jefferson Barracks, a U.S. Army post from 1826 to 1946. Soldiers of this very large installation served the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, Indian Campaigns, Spanish-American War, Philippine War, and both World Wars. After Jefferson Barracks was decommissioned, portions of the grounds were sold off and visitors today can still see these many buildings being used for housing and business purposes. Some of the grounds were held, however, housing the very large Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, a National Guard Base and the Verterans Administration hospital. The rest of the old property is now the Jefferson Barracks and Sylvan Springs County Parks.
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
We began our tour at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, one of the oldest interment sites of the Department of Veteran Affairs, established in 1866. Containing some 20,000 gravesites, the cemetery continutes to accept the remains of soldiers today. Acre after acre of white stone marked hills both sadden my heart, as well as making it swell with pride. We then move past the active installation of the National Guard, which features a number of historic buildings and drive through the park, where yet more buildings can be seen, some of which feature museums. Definitely have to get a story up on the barracks, as it is not only filled with history, but is also said to be haunted by a number of ghosts.

Gateway Arch From across the River
Then we're off to downtown St. Louis to take a ride up the Gateway Arch and visit the Museum of Westward Expansion. Packed like large sardines into a little pod, five of us make our way up to the top of the 630 foot arch in about four minutes. Well worth the trip for the great photo opportunities. Then back down the tram to visit the museum, which features westward expansion from Lewis and Clark, to explorers, Native Americans, hunters, and miners. This was a great stop. Then across the Mississippi River we go, for photos of the Gateway Geyser and more pictures of the St Louis Arch.
Monks Mound at Cahokia Mounds
On down the road, we make our way to Cahokia Mounds, the largest archeological site north of Mexico. Best known for large, man-made earthen structures, the city of Cahokia was inhabited from about A.D. 700 to 1400. Built by ancient peoples known as the Mound Builders, Cahokia's original population was thought to have been only about 1,000 until about the 11th century when it expanded to tens of thousands.

Catsup bottle at Collinsville
One last stop before we call it a day. Must have a picture of the world's largest catsup bottle in Collinsville, Illinois. Once the home of multiple coal mines, Collinsville is now a busy bedroom community of St. Louis, but one of its most popular features is the large catsup bottle. This unique 170 ft. tall water tower was built in 1949 for the G.S. Suppiger catsup bottling plant - bottlers of Brooks old original rich & tangy catsup.

Now, that, was busy day.

To see many more pictures of our journey, visit our Legends Fan Page album HERE. (You don't have to be a Facebook member, to look at the pics.

Tomorrow, we start up Illinois Route 66 to Chicago.

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