Zeb the Duck Visits the Birthplace of George Washington Carver

Near Joplin, Missouri we stopped in Diamond, Missouri to visit the George Washington Carver National Monument.

George Washington Carver National Monument

George Washington was born a slave on January 1, 1864.

Building dedicated to George Washington Carver

OK mom.   Let’s go inside now, I’m getting off the bench.   Inside this building we watched a short movie about his life and wandered through the museum.   When George was very young, he and his mother were kidnapped.   Moses Carver, the slave owner, got George back, but his mother was never heard from again.

Choose what to remember and what to forget

What does George know or remember about this bleak time of his life?  After learning about this episode of his young life, George began to realize that he was important and his life had worth.  Moses Carter had given a $300 racehorse for his return.  George was born in this house.

The foundation and frame of George’s birthplace

All that is remaining is a foundation and the frame of the house.   As a young boy, George was fascinated with plants.   He learned as much as he could, just by studying what he saw in the woods and asking a few questions.   George became known as “the plant doctor.”  He had a secret garden where people could leave sick plants and he usually was able to make the plants healthier.   He also made plant house calls.

Young George Washington Carver

This is George Washington Carver at a young age.   This statue is located by the bridge crossing this creek.

Bridge over creek

I, Zeb the Duck, love water and plants, so I insisted on being photographed here. More water.

Peaceful lake

Isn’t this a pretty lake?   I love sitting on the bench and just watching the lake.

Turtles sunning on log

And here is lake company.   These two turtles are enjoying the autumn sun.   At the museum, we received a map of the grounds.   Following the trail, we came to the Carver farm house.

Carver farm house

I’m going inside.   We entered through the back porch.

Inside Carver farm house

I, Zeb the Duck, met a new friend.   This man, another tourist, entered the house and was very nice and friendly.   My new friend was traveling from Oklahoma to North Carolina.   Continuing on the path, we discovered the family cemetery.

Headstones of Susan Carver and Moses Carver

The graves of Susan Carver and Moses Carver are here.   Moses and Susan are the owners of this farm and also of the slave, George Washington Carver.   The American Civil War has ended, so now all slaves are free, but George stays here and Susan teaches him to read.   George is incredibly curious about everything and he loves to learn.   Many schools still did not allow black students.   George finally graduates from Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis, Kansas.   After many disappointments and much racial prejudice, George becomes the first black student at Iowa State University and receives his Bachelor of Science Degree.   George is a botanist and inventor.   He teaches alternative crops to cotton so farmers can rotate the crops to prevent soil depletion.   He works with peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and pecans.   Back near the museum, we see this bust of George Washington Carver.

Bust of George Washington Carver

He soon joined Booker T. Washington at the African American Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama.   George Washington was an extremely important figure in agriculture and nutrition.   He was an advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt, and also to Mahatma Gandhi of India.   Carver taught farmers how to grow different crops and also invented hundreds of products from these new crops.   Although he is remembered as a botanist, he was also a talented artist.

He was also an artist

This painting by George Washington Carver is displayed in the museum.   And he had more talents.

His violin

He loved music and was an accomplished musician.   This is his violin.   His monument is located the wooded area of southwest Missouri.  Upon his death, January 5, 1943, Carver is buried in Tuskegee, Alabama near Booker T. Washington.

Beautiful setting in the Ozarks

We hope you visit here soon.  The Monument is very interesting and the wooded area is beautiful.


Zeb the Duck With a 40 foot Wild Goose

I, Zeb the Duck, have to se this.   A 40 foot tall Wild Goose.   She is in Sumner, Missouri.

Sumner, Missouri

Meet my new friend, Maxie.

Huge Wild Goose, Maxie

She is 40 feet tall and has a wingspan of at least 61 feet.  And something women don’t usually tell me.   She weighs 4,000 pounds.   That is 2 tons!   In 1976 Maxie was sculpted by David C. Jackson, a Kansas City architect.   During the annual Wild Goose Festival, Maxie was dedicated.  Some people say parts of Maxie were delivered by helicopter.    Maxie is watching me.

Maxie is looking at me. With huge eyes

With huge eyes.  Maxie is supposed to turn a few degrees if the wind is strong enough.   No wind today.   Maxie lives in a great park in Sumner.   There is a picnic area and a sports field.   If I lived here, I also would spend a lot of time in this park.   Soon mom says it is time to continue driving.   Next point of interest for us is a state historic site.   Here we are at Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site.

Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site

We need to walk to the bridge.

Walking over the bridge

First we must cross the river using an uncovered bridge.

Walking down the road

Then a short walk down the gravel road.   And here it is.

We found the bridge

Locust Creek Covered Bridge.   We will see more bridges in a couple days.  This bridge is closed to vehicle traffic.

Walking inside the covered bridge

Let’s walk inside.   This is great.   We can see the support beams.  We can also hear the river below.   I like this bridge, but why did people build covered bridges?

Why Covered Bridges?

This sign is a little difficult to read, but covered bridges were easier for animals, mostly horses and cows, to enter.   Humans believe the animals felt like they were going into a barn.   Covered bridges also served as emergency shelters.  Weather in Missouri, like most places, is unpredictable and can change quickly.   And importantly, covering a bridge helped strengthen and protect the bridge structure.   I like covered bridges and am eager to see more.   Do you like covered bridges?

Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck Visit Missouri

After leaving St. Louis, Missouri our first stop was St. Charles.   St. Charles is a pretty town located on the banks of the Missouri River.

On the bank of the Missouri River.

Visiting Frontier Park we explored the old train station.

Picnic area at old St. Charles train station

Isn’t this a nice place for a picnic or to sit while eating lunch.   We enjoyed beautiful warm, sunny weather–perfect late summer and early fall days.  We ducks love to be on old trains.

St. Charles train car

While looking at this train car, we found a painted rock.

Zeb and Soapy Smith with rock on train car

The back of the rock suggested that we rehide the rock and wait for someone new to find it.   We were to post all this on social media, but we did not.    We photographed it and returned it to the original location.   Maybe you will be the next to find it in Frontier Park in St. Charles, Missouri.  This train station looked inviting.   We, Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck, are between the letters U and M.

Train station, St. Charles, Missouri

St. Charles is also famous as the starting point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In 1804, shortly after the United States completed the Louisiana Purchase, President Thomas Jefferson asked Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to travel through the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean. Congress authorized $2,500 ($48,867 in 2016 value) for the expedition.   The purposes were to establish US presence in the area to prevent other countries from establishing colonies here.   Also to study the area’s plant and animal life and the geography.   And to establish trade with the local Native American tribes.   After reaching the Pacific Ocean, they were to return to St. Louis.   The two explorers, and their dog, Seaman, left St. Charles on May 21, 1804.

Lewis and Clark with dog Seaman

They traveled about 8,000 miles (13,000 km) by boat, by foot and by horseback.   Lewis kept a detailed journal and collected samples of plants and animals he encountered.  Along the way they met and received help from a Native American woman, Sacagawea.   October 1805 they reached the Pacific Ocean in present day Oregon.   They returned to St. Louis September 23, 1806.   Their journey was a lot more difficult than ours.   We drove a car on I-70 and stopped whenever we needed gas, wanted food and beverages and stopped at some souvenir shops.   When Soapy’s mom was very young, she and my mom, also her mom, took many road trips.   They both have fond memories of Stuckey’s.   This was a perfect stop while traveling.   They bought gasoline, ate, did a little souvenir shopping, and savored delicious pecan logs.   Now, unfortunately, we do not see Stuckey’s along the highways.   But we were looking!  Then we saw a sign for Stuckey’s.   In we went.   It wasn’t exactly a Stuckey’s, but another company may have purchased the rights to Stuckey brands.  This was our treasure today.

Stuckey’s T-shirt and some of our snacks

Hey moms, we had more pecan logs.   Somebody ate them.   Yummy!

St. Louis, Missouri with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, and Soapy Smith Duck had part of a day in St. Louis.   What should we do?   We drove downtown and parked across from Busch Stadium.

Busch Stadium

The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team plays here.

St. Louis Cardinal at bat

The Cardinals have won many World Series of Baseball and the fans are very loyal.   Then we heard fireworks.   A man on the street said that means someone hit a home run.   Well, what are ducks and moms to do?   We bought tickets, went into the stadium, found our seats and then bought hot dogs.   For a last minute idea, we had pretty good seats.

Watching the baseball game

This was an exciting game.   The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburg Pirates 7-0.   Lots of action in this game and the crowd was happy and cheering as their favorite hometown team continued to score.   The game ended and as we left our seats, we noticed the cardinal on the end of each row of seats.

A cardinal on each row of seats

Isn’t that great?  We like this stadium.   We did need to take a quick look at the Cardinals store inside the stadium.

Store inside Busch Stadium

Here we are perched on a can by the doors.   Outside more fans were celebrating.

Cardinals Nation. Across from Busch Stadium

Across the street from Busch Stadium, Cardinals Nation was feeding and refreshing many fans. The weather was warm with the sun shining through the beautiful blue sky.   What could we do next that would not seem like a let down after that great game?   The sidewalk had the answer.

St. Louis has an arch

St. Louis has The Gateway Arch, the world’s tallest arch, located on the banks of the Mississippi River.  The Gateway Arch opened June 1967.   This, the tallest monument in the United States, is dedicated to “the American people” and a tribute to the westward expansion of the United States.   Our moms have been here before and they loved this area.

The Arch

That is a big arch!  The Gateway Arch is 630 feet tall, compared to the Washington Monument at 555 feet.   The arch has a stainless steel skin and glimmers in the sunshine.   Before we ducks joined the family our moms went inside the arch to the observation area.   There is a tram in each leg of the arch to go to the top.   With 8 cylindrical 5 seat compartments with a small window in each compartment, 40 humans ascend at a time from each side.   The cars, or compartments, swing like Ferris wheel cars, half Ferris wheel and half elevator, it takes 4 minutes to arrive at the top.   At the top observation area each side has 16 windows, 7″ x 27″ (180 mm x 690 mm).  Through these small windows, you can see up to 30 miles (48 km) into Missouri and southern Illinois.   We did not go inside the arch this time.  Near the arch, we saw Harry.

Harry the horse and his carriage

Harry pulls this carriage.   We wanted to ride in Harry’s carriage.  We are riding with the Mississippi next to us.

Mississippi River and bridge connecting Missouri and Illinois.

That bridge over the Mississippi River goes to southern Illinois.  This is graffiti wall.

Graffiti wall. We love it!

We enjoyed the pictures painted here.   We must like artful graffiti.   After a ride along the river and through part of downtown St. Louis, Harry, who likes apples, carrots and peppermint candy, took us to our car.   We were asked not to feed Harry as he is not done working for the day.   If he gets fed, even a snack, he wants to go back to the barn.   So we petted Harry, paid and tipped our driver and left our carriage.   Our car was parked across from  White Castle hamburger restaurant.   Naturally we went to White Castle for a light dinner.

White Castle hamburgers. Arch in background

Looking through the window of White Castle, we liked seeing the Gateway Arch.   We enjoyed our time in St. Louis.