After 3 days in St Louis we headed out of town driving north along the Mississippi River. Not too far outside St Louis is Alton, IL. Alton is home to Miles Davis, but also the tallest person in the world coming in at 8"11". Instead of playing baskerball Robert Wadlow joined the circus, dying at 22 he was till gaining height. Of less glamor we visited the Lyman Trumball House, a Landmark. Trumball coauthored the 13th amendment to the Constitution. The one that abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.
Grabbed a couple of neat sites in Alton.
Just outside of Alton on the bluffs of the Mississippi River is the cave to the Legend of Piasa.
"One morning, Owatoga's son, Utim, and a friend were fishing when they heard a terrible scream. They looked and saw a huge bird rising from the edge of the river. The legend states that the bird was of such dimensions that it could carry away a full-grown deer in its talons, and that once it obtained a taste for human flesh, it would eat nothing else. The creature the two men saw had a young man gripped in its claws and it carried him away and out of sight. Quickly, the two young men returned to their village and found their people very frightened. They waited all day for the young man to escape from the bird and return, but he never did.
After that, nearly every morning, the great bird would appear in the sky and carry away a member of the tribe, a man, woman or a child. Those who were carried off were never seen again. The people began to call the bird the "Piasa", which meant "the bird which devours men"."
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A little further north on the Great River Road is the town of Elsah, IL. In Elsah is Principia College, which is also a Landmark. It is a landmark, for the buildings that Bernard Maybeck designed. Bernard was an Arts and Craft era architect with most of his work done in the San Francisco area. At the gate we were told no pictures or stopping except at the lookout over the Mississippi. Of course I snapped off a few more than just the overlook.
In addition to collecting National Park cancellation stamps, I also collect Blue Goose passport stamps. These are for the National Wildlife Refuges. We stopped at Two Rivers for a stamp and a looksee.
When researching the places we were going to hit, the Goldenrod Showboat presented a bit of a problem. The research indicated it was moved from St Louis to Kampsville, but didn't really say where. So I spent a bit of time using Google, using Earth view looking up and down the Mississippi. Well it was time well spend and found it in a non descript spot along the Mississippi. Even the turn off from Illinois River Rd was pretty oblique.
Goldenrod was built in 1909 by Pope Dock Company of Parkersville, West Virginia for W.R. Markle. The Goldenrod was the last showboat to work the Mississippi. Under the ownership of Capt. Bill Menke, she was moored at the St. Louis riverfront in 1937. By 1950, she had been partially sunk and salvaged twice. Sometime in the last 5 years, the Goldenrod was pushed upstream from St Louis and tied off in Kampsville, IL.
Finding our way to Hannibal, MO we watched how a bunch of boys painting a fence white, while being watched by the other kid giving directions on how it should be done. Then there was this other kid in really tattered clothes hanging around talking to the supervisor kid. Talked about building a raft to sail down the Mississippi.
Back on the road grabbed this classic Texaco station.
In Keokuk stopped for the Geo M Verity towboat. A National Historic Landmark. Built in 1927 at Dubuque, Iowa by the US Government as SS Thorpe, she inaugurated barge service on the upper Mississippi. The first of four steamboats built for the revival of river transportation, she was the first to move barges from St. Louis north to St. Paul. She remained in service there until 1940, when she was sold to Armco Steel Corp. and put in service on the Ohio River. Armco renamed her after their founder, George M. Verity.
Couple of ad hoc shots while on the road.
Stopped at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge for a stamp but they were closed.
Last shot of the day, an overworked barn. Wasn't sure how this would turn out, but it was eye grabbing from the road. Enough to make me pull over for some camera action.
Stayed at the Isle of Capri Casino on the Mississippi in Bettendorf, which is right next to Davenport. To view a slideshow which includes features not in the main show CLICK HERE