Thomas Brown PIT Project – Part 4

The new logs were notched and ready. The old sill logs had been carted off and reused for other parts of the project. One crew had been out all day collecting rocks large enough to act as foundations. It was time to put everything back together.

After the new sill logs were in place it was time to move the foundation rocks under them.

With the sills in place it was time to move the log floor joists back into place.

And finally….the last log!

After all the logs were in place, the floor and porch went back rather quickly.

And finally the finished restoration.

We had done it!

What seemed impossible to me just days ago, was now standing before me finished.  A group of volunteers with a common desire accomplish something worthwhile had come together and preserved a piece of Missouri’s and my historic past.  This pristine little picnic spot in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest was now ready for a few more visitors, a few more picnics and a few more years thanks to the sweat, cooperation and will of a few special people.

Afterward

The tools were quiet now and what had been a worksite now seemed like a picnic spot again.  People slipped off into small groups to enjoy a liitle quiet time with their friends and talk of the weeks accomplishments.  The sound of hammers and saws was replaced by the sound of laughter and the smell of sawdust and “Krud Kutter” had been replaced by the smell of Bar-B-Q (Thanks Forest Service guys!)

I was tired and exhilerated all at the same time.  I had worked hard and helped to  preserve an important part of  Missouri’s history.  It felt good.

The quality of the people I met and worked with during this PIT project was another special par of this project.  Not only the voluteers, but the Forest Service Employees and locals as well. One of the people that I met this week was a 94 year old local man named Ray.  He was a wealth of local historical knowledge.  He had known some of my family when they lived at Falling Springs and we talked about much of the history of the place and the people who had lived there before.

One of the memories he shared with me was how all the neighbors would come together when there was a barn or a house to build.  It was impossible for one man to have all the knowledge and the tools needed to build a barn or a house by himself.  Coming together, helping each other and working as a group was what formed a strong sense of community in those days.  He said that “sense of community” is what was missing from the world these days.

Even though the volunteers I worked with that week did not live in the same area, I wondered if maybe that strong sense of community was what I had experienced during the last week.  Each one of us had individual strengths.  Each one of us had a special skill that was needed.  And each one of us respected the others contributions to the project.  Thanks to the Passport in Time Project, I think we had the chance to develop and experience our own “sense of community.”

Thanks guys!  For everything!

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Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 3

The weather was perfect, the volunteers were motivated, and the setting was beautiful, everything was perfect. Everything except a certain Forest Service chainsaw that was assigned to our project (we’ll call him Husqvarna…although I have no idea if he was Swedish or not.)

This particular chainsaw hated me and would go out of it’s way to make me look stupid by starting when I didn’t need it and then refusing to when everyone was waiting on me. I tried to have Husqvarna replaced. I heard of this guy named Stihl who was a great worker and I figured the Forest Service owned lots of chainsaws, so I would just get another. Surprise, the Forest Service doesn’t own a lot of chainsaws. So Husqvarna and I battled for most of the week. I won’t say who won, but I’ll bet his spark plug still hurts!

Okay, let’s get back to the work. While some of us were outside notching the logs, sawing boards and moving rocks in the fresh air and sunshine. Many of the volunteers were working diligently inside the cabin scrubbing away years and layers of graffiti.  The vandals had really defaced a lot of the cabin with every type of paint imaginable.  Keri and Bruce had brought a large selection of cleaners and paint removers, but in the end I think a product named Krud Krutter was the crowd favorite.

The mill was getting a face lift of it’s own.  Volunteers were replacing siding and floorboards that had rotted or been carted away by vandals (we found pieces of boards in the firepits.)  Luckily Keri and Bruce had found some matching siding that someone had carefully squirreled away for just such an occasion.  It matched great! 

There was also a lot of discussion about the mill wheel in the water. The mill was designed as an overshot, meaning that the water would turn the wheel by coming over the top instead of under the wheel. There would have been no reason for this mill wheel to have originally been in the water. The water would have just caused drag and kept the wheel from working as well as it should.

It was determined that this problem has been building for a long time since it was Walter Brown who sold the Brown homestead sometime in the early 1960’s to a Mr. Slovik.  Mr Slovik was the one who had added the new larger berm to the original mill pond thereby raising the level to where it is today.  Over the years, this has caused some of the rot and mildew on the mill and some of the rusting and pitting of the mill wheel.

Back at the cabin the new sill logs were notched and ready to be moved into into place…

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Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 2

The 25 foot U-Haul truck on a dirt road in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest looked really out of place. But it was the three extra feet of huge pine logs sticking out the back that really caught my attention.

The driver of the truck turned out to be Doug Stephens, a Director for Recreation Solutions, a historical restoration company from Colorado that works with the U. S. Forest Service. Doug had been brought in to coordinate this PIT project and explained that he had to drive the logs in from Colorado due to the difficulty of finding suitable length lumber in Missouri. Needless to say, I was impressed. I don’t think I realized until this point the scope and level of this project.

My next introduction was with Keri Hicks and Bruce Gibson, both are Forest Service Archaeologist and the leads for the project. I had communicated with both of them by e-mail, but it was a pleasure to finally meet them face to face. Keri started the morning with introductions of the staff and a short mandatory safety lecture. She then had all the volunteers introduce and give a little information about themselves. Listening, I was impressed by where everyone was from. Many of us were from Missouri, but others came from as far away as South Carolina, Colorado & Wyoming.

Keri mentioned that many of the volunteers knew each other and had worked together on the Sinking Creek Fire Tower PIT project in 2008. And from what I could tell, I was one of the three PIT “rookies.”

Then it was Doug’s turn to lay out our plan of attack for the week. He calmly explained that we were going to jack up the cabin, notch the logs, replace the floor, remove the graffiti, replace some siding, secure the roof tin, move large rocks for footings, replace the porch boards, move the 28 foot logs into place by hand, replace the sill logs, control the national debt, bring about world peace and have fun…all in the next five days with about a dozen volunteers, 1 pet dog & a cat. On the outside I was all smiles…on the inside I was thinking “This is Missouri – You are going to have to Show-Me.”

After the logs were unloaded from the U-Haul, it was time to stabilize the cabin in preparation for removing the flooring and floor joist (logs).

The joist logs were removed from the cabin and notching was begun on the new sill logs. Even though we used some modern power tools along with hand tools, I quickly developed a new appreciation for the amount of work it took to build these log cabins.

After the removal of the floor logs, it was decided that a lot of the accumulated dirt under the cabin would need to be removed to make way for the new sills and foundation rocks. As the dirt was removed it was sifted and the artifacts were collected for further research. A couple of the interesting finds were a plate that was marked R. N. Allmon (a possible relative) and a medicinal bottle containing Foley’s Honey & Tar…sounds like it will either kill you or cure you.

The project was moving along faster than I could have anticipated. Like a bunch of worker ants, everyone was moving, working in unison with no need for prompting or supervision. The thing I was most impressed with was the level of self motivation that I saw. Most of the time, someone was there to help you before you could even ask. If you asked for a hammer…you could expect that two or three people would hand you one. I must say it was refreshing, to work in such an environment with such a motivated workforce. I’m here to report that volunteerism is alive an well in America….

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Thomas Brown Cabin PIT Project – Part 1

After a two and a half hour drive, and one wrong turn (thanks Google Maps), here I was at the Winona Ranger Station looking for the “bunkhouse” that I would be staying in for the next week of my historic preservation adventure in the Mark Twain National Forest. What I didn’t know at that moment, was how much the next week would affect me personally.  I would meet some really great people that quietly take care of the historical places we all love.  I would also get to learn a lot about my own family history.  And as so often happens when we learn about history, I learned a lot about myself too.

A few months ago my wife noticed a call for volunteers in the local newspaper.  A project called Passport in Time was accepting applications to work on the restoration of a 150 year old cabin in the Mark Twain National Forest. The cabin to be restored just happened to be the Thomas Brown Cabin at Falling Springs…Thomas Brown was my Great Great Great Uncle.  I really wanted to be part of this project.

I went to their website http://www.passportintime.com and began researching what I needed to do. The moment I went to their website, I knew that I had been missing out on something special for years.

“Passport in Time (PIT) is a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program of the USDA Forest Service (FS). PITvolunteers work with professional FS archaeologists and historians on nationalforests throughout the U.S. on such diverse activities as archaeological survey and excavation, rock art restoration, survey, archival research, historic structure restoration, oral history gathering, and analysis and curation of artifacts. The FS professional staff of archaeologists and historians will be your hosts, guides, and co-workers.

  Over the years, volunteers have helped us stabilize ancient cliff dwellings in New Mexico, excavate a 10,000-year-old village site in Minnesota, restore a historic lookout tower in Oregon, clean vandalized rock art in Colorado, survey for sites in a rugged Montana wilderness, and excavate a 19th-century Chinese mining site in Hell’s Canyon in Idaho.” 

I had no archaeological experience and the closest I had ever been to doing historical restoration was putting the door back on the barn at our old farm.  Still, I filled out the application, sealed it, and walked away from the mailbox thinking “wouldn’t that be neat.”  Three weeks later I was accepted and asked to report to the Winona Ranger Station on April18.

Monday morning found me up early and at the worksite first.  I had been to Falling Springs Mill and The Thomas Brown Cabin many times, but I wanted a good look at what we were going to do.

The first thing I noticed was the creosote treated railroad ties that were supporting the cabin. Those smelly railroad ties were really out of place and detracted from the looks of the cabin.  I found out later that high-water had came through a couple of years ago and had moved the rotten sill logs that were the foundation of the cabin.  The Forest Service had been faced with doing a quick fix (railroad ties) or watching the cabin deteriorate even more.

The second thing I noticed was the graffiti!  There had always been some carvings on the logs and a little spray paint, but the last few years had really added to the amount of vandalism the cabin had endured. A lot of the inside walls and floor even had “layers upon layers” of spray paint where vandals had written things you wouldn’t say in front of your Grandmother or want your children see.

The Falling Springs Mill had a few issues also.  The siding was missing several boards and a couple of broken floor boards needed replaced.  There was going to be a lot of work to do this week…

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The Genealogy Bug

Last week while I was preoccupied with other projects and not paying attention, I once was again bitten by the “Genealogy Bug.” While not usually life-threatening, these bites can cause irritability, distraction, blurry vision (computer induced) and headaches. I also have reports from my wife that she has noticed a certain amount of hearing loss. As of right now the outlook is good and I should make a full recovery (some of the hearing loss may be permanent…ehhh!).

As I mentioned in previous articles, I come from a long line of amateur genealogists, so much of the ground work was laid before I came along. This has left me the time & opportunity to chase down some of the more interesting family mysteries, instead of the more mundane census searches.

One of these mysteries is my Great Great Great Grandpa William Taylor. According to the family genealogical diaries and the only known picture, William Taylor was born in 1831; was a soldier in the Civil War and stationed at Fort Riley, KS. He never returned from the war and was presumed dead. Simple. Right?

Well, as people did back then, when they found a good name they stuck with it. There were well over a hundred William Taylor’s in the Civil War. Like some kind of mascot, most Civil War regiments had at least one on their rosters. After 10 years, sometimes I feel like I’m on an episode of To Tell The Truth – “Will the real William Taylor please stand up.”

I know that you are now expecting me to tell you how I solved this mystery, but I didn’t. I’m still looking and chasing down leads. What I did find was a piece of Civil War history that I didn’t know much about until now…pensions.

I found that there have been Federal pensions in one form or another since the Revolutionary War. These first pensions were limited to those who were wounded in battle and veterans and their widows who were impoverished. In the 1830’s these benefits were expanded to include all military veterans and their widows.

In 1861, the government began offering pensions as a recruiting tool. But these pensions had taken a step back to the old idea of providing pensions only for those wounded or killed in battle and their widows. In 1862, the maximum a veteran or widow could draw was $8 a month with full disability.

After the Civil War, one thing the government had not planned on was the political power of so many Civil War veterans and their families. The next forty years, would continue to expand the pension system until 1904 when Theodore Roosevelt decided that old age itself was a disability and basically extended benefits to any honorably discharged veteran. Any honorably discharged Union veteran that is.

Despite many years of political haggling, the Confederate veterans were never allowed to draw benefits from the Federal Government. Their benefits were provided by the states of the Confederacy and were substantially less than those of their Union counterparts. Normally, Confederate veterans would apply for these benefits when they became disabled or they or their widows became indigent.

Many states went beyond that and provided Confederate Homes for those that were disabled or those that became disabled or indigent in their later years. Missouri was one of those states and the Confederate Soldiers Home of Missouri in Higginsville, MO was caring for more than 380 veterans and their families at it’s peak.

On May 8, 1950, the last surviving Missouri Confederate soldier, Johnny Graves, died at the home at the age of 108.

The State of Missouri, recognizing the significance of the home and its memorials, made it a Missouri State Historic Site.

Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites: Exploring Our Legacy, Second Edition 

Today, the 135-acre Confederate Memorial State Historic Site is memorial to the more than 40,000 Missouri soldiers who fought for the Southern cause. You can visit the chapel, cottage, a farmhouse and the old hospital.

As these pensions provided for many of the soldiers, their pension records have provided me with several leads and I believe William’s wife Susanah may have even drawn a Civil War pension.  Now, I just have to find out which Susan Taylor married to a William Taylor (there are 3 so far) is mine…..

~ This blog reprinted from my original site. Copyright Ozark History Buff 2017 ~

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If These Walls Could Talk

On June 12, 1990, a former cook walked in to the Missouri State Penitentiary for the first time. Everyone of his senses was assaulted at once. The smell of sweat, urine and hot pavement made him nauseas. The sounds of yelling, cussing and the constant clanging of metal surrounded and trapped him. He looked around and tried to figure out what part of hell he had just stepped into. He wondered to himself if he would ever get out of this place alive.

Well, that former cook was me and I was 22 years old, wet behind the ears and scared to death. I had never visited, been in or even thought much about a prison before that day. I had applied for a cook job at the prison and a lady from personnel had politely told me that they didn’t need cooks…they needed Correctional Officers. I asked how much it paid and signed on the dotted line without another thought. I should’ve wondered why they needed Correctional Officers.

Lesson Number 1 for you young people out there…anytime someone offers you a really good job that no one else wants…there is a reason no one else wants it!

It’s been 20 years since that first day and I never escaped. I still work in prison. As I look back now and reflect on those days, I realize that I played a small part in a unique piece of Missouri’s history. Many may not think of Missouri State Penitentiary (AKA “The Walls” ) as something to celebrate in our history, but those of us that walked those tunnels know. We have heard the walls talk. We know that history is as much defined by the bad parts as it is by the good parts.

Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) was completed in 1836. It was the first penitentiary built West of the Mississippi River. To put that in perspective, 1836 is the same year that Davy Crockett died at the Alamo, that Pa Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie fame) was born, and that Samuel Colt received a patent for the Colt Revolver.

The prison that started with a Warden, a guard, and 15 prisoners from St. Louis., would eventually house more than two-thousand men when it was closed 168 years later. During this time it was home to some of this Missouri’s most famous outlaws and criminals. Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Frank James, The Young Brothers Gang, Sonny Liston and James Earl Ray just to name a few.

In 2004, it looked like this piece of Missouri’s history was gone forever. A new prison had been built to house Missouri’s toughest inmates and “The Walls” was to be torn down. But just as it has always done, MSP adapted.

This place that stood guard over Missouri’s citizens for more than a century and a half, would now get to tell it’s own story. Missouri State Penitentiary is now open to the public for tours. You can now view this unique piece of Missouri’s history from the inside. You can walk along the dark halls. You will be able to see the cramped cells. But most of all, you will get the chance to hear the walls talk.

For info about Missouri State Pen Tours go to:  http://www.missouripentours.com/msp.html

Want to read more about Missouri State Pen from an officer that worked on the inside. Click the book cover below for my writing and poetry.

~ This blog reprinted from my original site. Copyright Ozark History Buff 2017 ~

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Hunting & Fishing in the Ozarks

 

bill

A few times a year I volunteer with The Missouri Department of Conservation to teach Hunter Education. I always enjoy the enthusiasm of the kids (and the adults) as we discuss and learn about the history of hunting and fishing in the Ozarks. For me this is a great time to pass on some of our Ozarks heritage to the next generation. Until then, most of them don’t realize that the Ozarks as we know it would probably be much different if it wasn’t for our unique hunting and fishing heritage.

One of the first settlements in what is now Missouri was a fur trading post at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers where present day St. Louis is. Some of the first explorations into Missouri were for trapping and hunting. This trapping heritage continues in the Ozarks even today. As a matter of fact, between 1920 and 1950, cash paid to Missouri trappers amounted to more than the original purchase price of the entire Louisiana Purchase. Presently the furs harvested in Missouri are valued at more than $8.5 million annually, which in turn generates more than $60 million to the state’s economy (2003 MDC).

In the picture above, my uncle Bill stands proudly with the skunks and opossums that he trapped and hunted that year. You might think, “What’s the big deal about a couple of dead skunks?” Well, in 1939, a good skunk pelt could bring between $2.00 – $4.00 and the possums could bring $1.00 – $2.00. That barn wall looks to me like there is somewhere between $17.00 – $34.00 hanging there. Good money for 1939 in Shannon County, Missouri.

But, trapping isn’t all of our outdoor history in the Ozarks. Hunting and Fishing has played a huge role in making our state what it is today. The start of tourism in the Ozarks was brought about by fishing and the Ozark “johnboat.”  People from the larger cities in the East would travel by train to the Ozarks to experience “float-fishing” on many of Missouri and Arkansas’s pristine rivers and streams, something the “tube-floaters” and conoeists still enjoy today.

Fishing continued to be a boon for the Ozarks as Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock, Beaver, Norfolk and Bull Shoals Lakes were built.  These lakes not only brought power to the Ozarks, they brought a new flood of tourisits who wanted to fish, swim, recreate and explore the Ozarks we love.

Whether it be turkey, deer or mushroom, the tradition of hunting has been a way for Ozark families and communities to connect and remain close.  Many traditions like “deer camp” have been passed down for generations now.  One of the traditions I miss the most was the “Check-In” stations during deer and turkey seasons.  I think the younger generation is really missing one of the best parts of the hunting experience without these.

Even if Dad and I came back empty handed that day, we would always go by the little convienance mart and see how our friends had fared.  Dad would get a cup of coffee (hot chocolate for me), and the next hour would be spent leaning on tailgates, counting “points” and listening to stories of past hunts, tall -tales and the days news from around the county.

As a Hunter Education Instructor, teaching the new hunters about safety, ethics and responsibility is the most important part of my job.  Teaching them about their Ozark hunting and fishing heritage is the part I enjoy the most.

 

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CCC Camp Palace, MO

As we often do on the weekends, my wife and I were browsing a local antique store.  This weekend we were at Memory Lane Antiques in Ava, MO when we noticed this picture of a CCC Camp at Palace, MO.

I walked away that day, not buying this picture, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how neat it was.  I loved the look of the barracks with the white posts spaced neatly in front and around the driveways.  I love the old water tower and the water tank with wheels that look like they came off an old cannon.  I also noticed that there is no one shown in camp.  Just one car.  I am guessing that this was taken while the men were out working on some project in the National Forest.

A perusal of the internet didn’t turn up much on this particular camp at Palace, MO.  Apparently, Palace is now part of The Mark Twain National Forest near Fort Leonard Wood.   I don’t know if remnants of the camp are still there and the only mention of the Palace CCC Camp was in a Crocker, MO history.  It states: “The Great Depression hit hard in Crocker just as through out the rest of the United States. In addition to the hard economic times caused by the Depression, they were increased in this area due to grass hoppers and drought. Many Crocker residents went to the CCC Camp at Palace (located in the area now comprising Fort Leonard Wood). The WPA also provided some relief as well.”

As always, these little bits of history drew me in further.  Caused me to learn a little more.  Made me realize that this is a bit of Missouri’s history that is just starting to be rediscovered.  Started me to think a little more about the Civilian Conservation Corps and what they contributed to our state.

I learned that on March 31, 1933 the CCC had its first enrollee and by 1935 there were 505,782 enrollees in 2,650 camps across America.  During this period, Missouri had 4,000 men assigned to work projects in 40,000 acres of Missouri park lands.  Many of the park projects are still with us today.  Most of the buildings at Roaring River State Park are CCC made and the shelter, bridge and dining hall at Bennett Springs State Park are all CCC projects that still stand today.

These were Depression Years and these young men would earn $30 dollars a month. Five dollars of this was theirs to keep and the other $25 was sent to their families back home. The economic  impact was not only felt by the small towns around these camps, but was felt by the towns were these young men’s families lived.  Although, probably most noticeable at the time, the impact of the CCC was not just economic.   Many were taught trade skills as well as basic education.  Teachers were set up in these camps and many illiterate men were taught to read and write in their off time.

Even though the CCC lasted only about 10 years, it’s achievements during that time are staggering.  There were 3,470 fire towers built, 4, 235,000 man days devoted to fighting forest fires, 97,000 miles of fire roads built and over 3,000,000,000 (that’s billion) trees planted.  Wow!

As you have probably guessed by now, I returned Memory Lane Antiques the next week and bought this picture.  Another piece of Missouri history that I just couldn’t live without.

If you have more history on the CCC Camp at Palace, MO or know of someone that worked there, drop me a line or post in the forum.  I would love to hear from you.

 

~ This blog reprinted from my original site. Copyright Ozark History Buff 2017 ~

 

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Old Photographs

A photograph is a glimpse at a specific moment in the past.  A moment that will never occur again.  A place that no one can ever go back to or change.  I am fascinated by old photographs and those brief moments that they capture.

The first time I looked at this photograph (actually a Real Photo Postcard or RPPC), I looked at the intended subject just like the photographer wanted.  The subject of this photo is a Fourth of July wagon. This is the intended subject.  This is what the photographer wanted you to look at…but look closer.  There is a lot more going on at this moment of time.

Did you notice that one of the girls on the float is dressed like The Statue of Liberty?

Did you notice the flags on the porch behind the wagon?

How about the lady on the porch?

Did you notice that the horse behind the wagon has been decorated also?

Did you notice that his rider is in uniform?

Did you notice the baby carriage under the shade tree?

Did you notice the boy in the foreground wearing knickers?

Did you notice the wagonmaster is wearing a bowler hat?  A black arm band?

Did you even notice that he was a black man the first time?

Many of the things in this photo are as interesting as the intended subject.  Did the photographer intend for us to see these things when he took the picture?  Probably not, but they are captured along with everything else.

Sometimes history is staring right back at us and all we have to do is take the time to look.

So, next time you are looking at an old photo…look at it again.  There may be some history in there that you missed the first time.

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Breakfast at the Hotel Seville

I love breakfast! There I said it. I have admitted my addiction.

Breakfast is another one of those taboo things that I have had to give up as I get older. Not the meal itself, just the best parts of it. The eggs…fried, the hash browns browned in butter, the biscuits slathered in gravy, the pancakes with generous amounts of syrup…this is what I have had to give up. I have replaced it mostly with sensible oatmeal. Sometimes I get a little crazy and drop some walnuts or raisins in it, but mostly just oatmeal.

Today though, I fell off the wagon. I had been listening to my wife and daughter talk about Gailey’s Breakfast Cafe downtown. They told stories of large plates of fried breakfast food at reasonable prices. I needed a real dose of breakfast and this sounded like just the fix I needed.

Gaileys is located on Walnut Street in what used to be Gailey’s Pharmacy according to the cashier. As you enter one of the first things I noticed was the stools and counter. The only thing missing was the soda fountain. Although I was tempted to sit at the counter, this was going to be a “real” breakfast day. I needed a full size table.

A quick right,  took us into a very open room with high ceilings that gave me a slight sense of deja vu.  I loved the atmosphere. This place was old a you could feel it.  The waiter was there quickly with the menus and a glance told me that I had found the Holy Grail of breakfast. One of the specialties of Gailey’s is Sweet Browns. These are hash browns, but made from sweet potatoes. Interesting, but I was sticking with the classics today. Eggs, pancakes and biscuits and gravy.

I was not disappointed. Gailey’s serves a quality breakfast in generous portions that will delight any breakfast addict. I was content. I didn’t think the day couldn’t get any better, but it did.

Now about the only thing I love more than breakfast…is history. My wife and I collect and sell postcards and one of the areas we collect is Springfield, MO. So I was really surprised when I saw a picture of one of my recent postcard finds next to the register at Gailey’s. I recognized the card as being from the Hotel Seville. I pointed out the card to the cashier and told her that I had a similar one and I wondered if she new where the Hotel Seville used to be located. She looked at me and said your standing in it.

Like a switch had been turned on, I looked around and I could see that I was in the Hotel Seville.

Many things in the postcard had changed little over the years. The cashier is located where the hotel clerk checked guests in and out. The stairs in back lead to rented lofts above the cafe. Our table where I indulged my breakfast fantasies that morning was located right where the yellow couch is. I also think the wooden French doors are possibly the same ones as shown in this postcard.

I love it when history comes to life. When we can experience it for ourselves. When we can stand where others stood and maybe experience just a little of what they did.

As with all historical finds, they usually bring about even more questions than they answer. So, as I left Gailey’s Cafe with my belly full and happy with my little lesson in local history, I still had one nagging question…

What do you think they served for breakfast at Hotel Seville?

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