Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pittsburg, Kansas & Western Missouri

May 11-15.  We are in Pittsburg, Kansas, home of Pittsburg State University, using it as our base to see Joplin, Carthage,and Nevada,(pronounced Nev-aid-a) Missouri, as well as West Mineral, Ft. Scott and Pittsburgh, Kansas. Another hail storm hit on Wednesday, pea size for nearly 10 minutes.  This time we suffered no damage.
We visited Big Brutus in West Mineral, Kansas, which was the second largest shovel ever built.  Debbie and I walked up the 160 stairs to to cab, where Debbie sat at the controls.  I stood in the massive bucket to show you how big it is.    One scoop holds 190 cubic yards, and they could do one scoop every 55 seconds. It was very impressive.  They had a museum filled with photos, models, and old machinery which was also impressive. 

Fort Scott, Kansas was our next stop.  It is a beautiful little town, out on the prairie.  We took a trolley tour of the city, then went to the fort. The fort was a beautifully restored property. 

 In Carthage, we attended the 150th anniversary re-enactment of the Civil War battle of Carthage.  The battle started in the central park and went down the streets to the courthouse square.  At one point, I got too close and was almost run over by a horse soldier!  It was great fun. Oh, also see Debbie with the Lone Ranger and Tonto, quite a trio.

 We went to Joplin and went went through the courthouse.  We were going to Grand Falls,
but the water was rushing near the road, so high, we didn't dare try to cross it.  We went to George Washington Carver National Monument and Park.  If you ever have time, look him up online.  This man was a giant in our history.  He was a botanist, inventor, painter, teacher, and a genuine American hero.  It continued to rain, so we only visited the museum, not the grounds.
In Nevada, we again toured the local courthouse.  Nevada, Missouri is a pleasant small town that houses the Bushwhacker Museum.  A bushwhacker was just a person who lived in the brush or woods. This museum was in the basement of the public library and we were really surprised how extensive the collection was.  The museum had rooms from local homes that were donated as well as thousands of local artifacts.  It was impressive.  We also toured the Old Jail, which was a block away.  In the last town, Debbie fought for law and order with the Lone Ranger and Tonto, but in Nevada, once again, bad Debbie ended up in jail.

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