"It's like, how did Columbus discover America when the Indians were already here? What kind of shit is that, but white people's shit." ~ Dick Gregory
My time in Kansas City was to spend a bit of down time with my mother-in-law, Marilyn Sullivan, to see some of the Bloody Kansas and Civil War sites, try some good espresso, beer, and, of course, BBQ.
First was Lexington, MO, where Confederate General Sterling Price had invaded Missouri in 1861. We visited the Anderson House, a wealthy local supporter of the Confederacy, whose house was occupied by the Union Army. The Confederates used bales of hemp in order to get close to the house and take it from the Union Army. Apparently, it changed hands numerous times and the bullet holes remain as evidence of that struggle. Some photos:
Back Door To The Anderson House...And Our Guide.
This is made from human hair...
Room where surgery was done...note the holes in the wall.
Bullet hole in the staircase.
Entry way from the front door...
Library in Lexington, MO...
Sign on the front door of the Lexington, MO, library...Eileen needs one for the Silver City, NM, town library!
I have more photos of the house, but won't bore you with those. Marilyn and I went to see the Steamboat Arabia museum, http://1856.com/, where the cargo, remnants of the steamboat, etc., are stored. This was dug up by some local amateur archaeologists, just folks from two families who were interested in it. They started searching for it in 1987. In 1991, they opened the museum with what had been dug up by that time. To complete the total excavation...they expect it to take at least another 30 years, which includes cleaning what they find and preserving it. Amazing collection. A few photos:
Another day, we went to see Fort Osage, a fort on the Missouri to encourage trade with, and protect, the Indians (http://www.jacksongov.org/fortosage/).
One of my wishlist things was to try breweries on this trip. So, based on the recommendation of the guide at the Anderson House in Lexington, MO, we went to Weston, MO, where the oldest brewery in the U.S. outside of the East Coast is located...oh, and we could see how people lived/worked back in the 19th century. Well, they had a brewery, so life was pretty good, I think...
No visit to Kansas, particularly to see Bloody Kansas, is complete without seeing Lawrence, KS. William Quantrill led the infamous raid in 1863 that resulted in the deaths of about 200 men and boys, aged between 14 and 90. In retaliation for this raid, the Union General, Thomas Ewing, Jr., ordered the removal of about 10,000 civilians in 3 counties bordering Kansas, along with the total destruction of homes, buildings, planted fields, and livestock to prevent any of this support to get to the raiders or the Confederacy. Hard to see anything in Lawrence today, since it's a thriving college town with a well known basketball team. However, the original Jayhawks were a different breed altogether, as you can see...
One of the best finds in Lawrence was the Z's Divine Espresso (http://www.zsdivine.com/).
And it was divine. Fabulous espresso...had two double espressos there. Went to one of the two brewpubs in town, the Free State Brewery, but found the food just average and the stout I ordered was bland, and the barman didn't fill it to the top of the pint glass either, a major pet peeve of mine.
At the university in Lawrence, they have the stuffed horse, Commanche, who survived the battle of the Greasy Grass, known by whites as the Little Bighorn battle where Custer and his command were almost wiped out.
In the evenings, Marilyn and I went to see a big band group from Germany at the Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts (http://www.kauffmancenter.org/?ignoremobile=y). They were quite good and fun to listen to. Some photos...
Near where Marilyn lives is the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (http://www.nelson-atkins.org/). We went there one gloomy day to see the American Folk Art exhibit, which was very good. I love that stuff. No photos were allowed, but I took some outside. There's a glass maze that Marilyn had tried before and she'd walked into one of the panels, hard enough to give herself a bloody nose! So, she was encourging me to give it a try. With no bloody nose, I managed to make my way through the maze.
Glass Maze at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Shuttlecock sculpture outside the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art..there are four of them. Two on one side of the museum;two on the other side to make it look like a game is being played.
Next on our list of things to do, go see the musical, HAIR, well, a retrospective that included some of the orginal cast members from the first and other early productions of HAIR on Broadway. It was very good and in a small theater on the UMKC campus near where Marilyn lives.
No visit to Kansas City is over with until the BBQ is tasted. Based on good recommendations from my step-son, Isaac, as well as Marilyn, we headed to Joe's Kansas City. Now, Isaac raved about this place. Seems like it's rated one of the best in the country. The line of people waiting to get in was snaking out the door. It took us over an hour just to order and get a table. Yes, I'm snarky here, but no place is worth that. And it was a short wait, according to others, since we were there before 4pm on a Saturday. I ate BBQ at a place in Meade, KS, which is nowhere near Joe's place, reputation wise, that this place is, but, to be honest, I liked their BBQ better. So, no more Joe's for me. And, like the Free State Brewery, they won't care if I don't show up again.
One of the things that I love...donuts. Cake donuts. I know there are all kinds, but the cake donuts, plain and cinnamon are my favs. And apparently have the most calories, too. Who knew? So, on my last day in Kansas City, I went to Lamars and got a dozen cake donuts, plain and cinnamon, to chow down on. What we didn't finish then, I ate on Monday morning, the day I headed to Fort Scott, KS, on my bike. I haven't figured out how to turn photos yet on my iPhone. When I do, I'll come back and replace this one with one where you don't have to turn your head sideways!
A tune to exit with...some Kansas City jazz. Lester Young and Charlie Parker doing "Embraceable You". Hope you like it...http://youtu.be/T9cZF2dOZPM Adios for now. Off to Fort Scott, KS, where I've been before...in 2010, on my ride across county. I stayed at the Cortland Hotel and enjoyed my time there and in Fort Scott. Working my way towards Vicksburg, MS. To Maril (what Marilyn would like to change her name to), enjoy the jazz I picked out and thanks for a great week in Kansas City. I'll be back with your daughter, so we can travel to more sites, like St. Joeseph, and eat more BBQ! I appreciated your hospitality and the conversations.