- April 11, 2016: We headed west from Pittsburg, pausing briefly to
take photos along the way. The first planned stop of the day was Circle's
Pecans & Country Store in McCune. The Circle family's pecan orchard
and retail store had been on our list of spots to check out for some time.
In addition to pecans and walnuts, there were jams, jellies, homemade pies,
cookies, fudge, canned fruit, and a small selection of meat & cheese.
They also serve deli sandwiches. We bought a number of items to enjoy during
the trip and later.
next stop was to photograph a waterfall created by an overflow dam on the
Neosho River south of McCune. We first tried approaching from the east,
but the road that Google Maps shows, no longer exists. We were able to
reach it from the west.
our spot below the dam, we could also see the abandoned Neosho Steam Electric
Station Bridge, farther south. The railway bridge was constructed from
parts from other, older bridges in 1953, but has not been used for many
years. The approaches have been removed and people are not permitted to
approach the bridge from land.
west, we toured the Parsons Historical Museum and adjacent Iron Horse Historical
Museum. Before going in, we admired two rows of purple martin houses, between
the museum and the street. The sign for the museums, also proclaims that
Parsons is the "Purple Martin Capital," though we haven't been able to
find much else about that elsewhere.
of the Parsons Historical Museum will be of primary interest to people
who live in Parsons, but there is MKT Railroad memorabilia and there is
a sandstone paving rock, which was the stepping stone into the cabin of
the Bloody Benders. I found the most interesting exhibit to be a collection
of photos of famous residents of Parsons or southeast Kansas.
Iron Horse Museum houses its collection in a replica of a Katy Missouri–Kansas–Texas
Railroad depot, reproducing the appearance from about 1900. There is also
a MK&T locomotive, caboose and a few other railway cars.
leaving Parsons, we photographed a number of attractive older buildings,
including the magnificent First Presbyterian Church. Wish the church had
been unlocked so we could photograph the interior!
was at the St. Paul Cafe, which had been recommended for our Best Kansas
Burger page. It doesn't quite make the top 10, but they serve one of the
best burgers in the state. I often kid my wife that we can't go anywhere
without seeing people she knows. We were only there a few minutes when
one of my step-daughter's classmates from grade school came in with her
mother. It took a while to remember the names, but we said "hi" as we were
getting ready to leave.
made it to the Osage Mission - Neosho County Museum before it closed
for the day at 2PM. The museum sits across the street from the site of
the original Osage Mission, where the beautiful 1884 Saint
Francis de Hieronymo Catholic Church is located today. The museum provides
Neosho County history, particularly that of the early mission.
recently built separate building house about 60 taxidermy specimens and
head mounts which were hunted by a local resident, John Born, who recently
passed away. There were several other buildings on the museum grounds that
were not open, including the Lone Elm School, a one room school house that
operated from 1867 through 1951, and a building with signs saying it is
a blacksmith shop and harness shop.
drove on to Erie, to revisit Erie Dinosaur Park, where the grassroots art
of Robert Dorris was moved a few years after his death. This is one of
the two days a month that the park is open, but even at the times it is
closed, most of the amazing collection of dinosaur skeletons created from
old car parts can still be viewed.
a lot into one day, we turned back to Parson, where a new art instillation
by Stan Herd is in progress. Having so many of Herd's finished works such
as the Amelia Earhart Earthwork in Atchison and Prairiehenge near Sedan,
it was seeing the Indian head and turtle limestone sculptures being erected.
south, we finally made it to the principle goal of this trip, Fairview
Cemetery in rural Fairview Township. This cemetery came to our attention
when a second cousin, once removed, of President Obama, recently placed
a headstone on the graves of their mutual ancestors' graves. Fulmoth and
Charlotte Kearney Graves were President Obama's Great-great-great-grandparents.
continued on to Riverside Park in Independence, where we photographed as
diverse landmarks as a replica of the U.S.S. Saint Paul, a life size Corythosaurus
(dinosaur), and a carousel.
spent the night at the Appletree Inn in downtown Independence. The modest
independent motel is very comfortable and a good value. It is our go to
motel in Independence.
the hotel, we walked a couple of blocks to have supper at the latest incarnation
of Uncle Jack's Bar & Grill. We discovered the original Uncle Jack's
in 2008 and it was one of my favorite restaurants. That restaurant closed
in 2009 and today's restaurant (while occupying the same space, is quite
different. The current version of the restaurant is still a decent place
to eat, if not the special, unique restaurant which it once was. We had
the filet and the ribeye, and were satisfied with our meal.
Neosho River overflow dam
Neosho Steam Electric Station Bridge
Bloody Benders stone
Cheeseburge with grilled onions
Stan Herd stone head
- April 12, 2019: After spending Saturday night in downtown Independence,
Kansas, I had 3 dam/falls lined up to photograph on Sunday. My wife's sharp
eyes spotted a fourth while we were driving, so we ended up photographing
first overflow dam was on the Verdigis River in Independence. I had photographed
it before, but at that time there was so much water that the dam and falls
were almost invisible.
second falls was in the Elk City Lake spillway and looked more like a rapids.
It may look more like a waterfall when the water flow is lower. Still,
it is a pretty spot with a couple of large boulders in the middle of the
spillway. One of them is very large and shaped a little like a walrus.
third falls was on the Fall River, just west of Neodesha (this is the one
we spotted while passing on US-75), and the fourth was on the Fall River,
west of US-400, about 5 miles north.
was at one of the few places open on Sunday in the area we were visiting
and turned out to be the best meal of the trip. Tri-Corner is a combination
Restaurant, Bait & Convenience Store located a mile off Highway 400
on the way to Fall River Lake near the town of Fall River, which has a
population of only 162. You enter the restaurant through the bait shop
and the coolest thing may be that the dinning room looks out on a field
filled with cattle.
Sunday the special is fried chicken, but they don't cook allot of the chicken
and if you want to make sure there will be chicken for you, you should
call before 9:30AM and they will but your name on a serving. We had called
and reserved a breast for Linda.
pan fried chicken is good and a meal is a cheap as most people would spend
to make it at home - $7.50 for a leg quarter, large serving of real mashed
potatoes & gravy, vegetable, a mini loaf of homemade bread and tea
or coffee. The breast was another dollar.
double bacon cheeseburger and home fried potatoes were good enough to make
my best Kansas Burgers list, even if there only 10.
owner spoke to us as we were finishing the meal. As we chatted, we learned
that his wife (who was out of town that day) went to school in Topeka with
my wife and graduated with her brother. Like I said yesterday, we can't
go anywhere without seeing people she knows.
Elk City Lake spillway
Tri-Corner Restaurant, Bait & Convenience Store