] Around Columbia: 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kingdom City Tourism Center and Firefighters Memorial

Located at the intersection of Interstate 70 and U.S. 54, at Kingdom City, is a tourism center and firefighters memorial about twenty minutes east of Columbia.

The firefighters memorial is a unique attraction, and is maintained by the Firefighters Association of Missouri. The associations web site has a lot of pictures of various events at the memorial. There are restaurants nearby as well as other amenities so it makes a good place to make at least a brief stop.

The best information I could find about the history of the memorial was from www.waymarking.com and this is a direct quote from that excellent web site:

This fire fighters memorial was dedicated May 18, 2002. On the black granite walls the names of all the Missouri fire fighters who have died in the line of duty since the first Fred Turnbull, St. Louis VFD, 1838 to the present. The Fire Fighter in Prayer statue is actually the second one. The first one was in transit through New York City on September 11, 2001 enroute to this memorial. On September 19, 2001, the New York Fire Department accepted the gift of the first Fire Fighter in Prayer statue from Missouri Fire Service. The gift was in honor of the 343 fire fighters who died in fall of the World Trade Center. The original remains in New York City at 8th Avenue and 41st Street and is probably one of the first 9/11 Memorials.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Providence South Bikeway

The south Providence bikeway, funded by the Federal Highway Administration Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program, is near completion. It is a project of Getabout Columbia which advocates alternative modes of transportation with an emphasis on walking and/or biking.

The walkway runs parallel to the west side of South Providence. When completed it will be a beautiful addition to the city, and I am lucky in that I live less than a hundred yards from it - without having to cross a busy South Providence street.

Here is a picture I took  when the project first started, and I was still unsure what it was going to be.  This was even before the signs were put up:

But then things started to take shape.  Keep in mind that construction and landscaping has been on again, and off again, for over a year now.  


 Here are some pictures of the project as construction continued:

Now it seems that all that remains is landscaping and fixing the drainage.  I think this is going to be a popular feature here in the neighborhood.  I just wished it stretched all the way to the Mizzou campus, and downtown.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Laws Observatory and the Central Missouri Astronomical Association

Approaching Laws Observatory

Every Wednesday night from 8 - 10 p.m. members of the Central Missouri Astronomical Association volunteer their time to open and host visitors to the Laws Observatory.  I think this is an exceptional public service by the group, and frankly by Mizzou, to make this resource available.  I suggest going closer to 9 p.m. when it gets darker.  Last night, when we visited, the view of the moon was stunning and we were able to view Saturn and some of its moons. Most paid family activities are not this worthwhile.  Highly recommended.

Approaching the Physics Building

If you take the stairs this is the entry to the top floor where the telescope is located.

The ramp leads up to the telescope.

This is a visitors room with displays and other educational material for visitors.

This is a blurry view, handheld shot in the dark, from inside the observatory.  The moon is visible through the roof slot and the telescope itself is to the right of the picture.

Views from the Roof
The following pictures were all taken from the roof.


Scenic View
Although you are limited to a small area where you still have some nice views of the campus, and the Columbia, skyline.

This is the kind of attraction you might not otherwise hear about, and is one that works nicely with some other activity since you really only need to spend thirty minutes there.  The key with most activities is not to prolong it to the point that it becomes a chore rather than an adventure.

Here is a map to help you find your way:

View Larger Map

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blackwater Missouri Part I: The Pie Lady

The Picket Fence

Imogene Mersey is 90 years old and will be 91 this March.  She is the owner, and proprietor, of The Picket Fence which is "home of the pie lady."

Imogene Mersey (the pie lady)
 Mrs. Mersey is indeed the pie lady and she offered up a menu of chili, sandwiches, cookies, and more importantly five different kinds of pie the day we were there.
Chocolate Pie
My mom tells me that the hardest part to get right with a pie is the crust and that Mrs. Mersey has mastered the art.  Her crust was perfect.

We traveled to Blackwater as a day trip with all of our family and my parents.  Everyone had something to eat and enjoyed the atmosphere including visiting with the folks that came in for some pie.  The pie is the best seller.

Before the pie: my parents having some chili.


Where's the pie?
I suspect that Mrs. Mersey makes most of her money on pies but that her passion is quilting.  She is a master quilter and her work is beautiful.
     Blackwater is located approximately 40 miles West of Columbia on Interstate 70.  It is about three miles from the interstate and appears to be about three miles outside of Arrowrock which is another local attraction I will be covering in some detail on these pages.   To check on hours or to order pies for a special event you can call Imogene Mersey at (660) 846-2263.

     This was a wonderful trip.  My kids had a great time - we all had a great time. I will be sharing more things to do in Blackwater with my next post.