Back in Missouri for outlaws and giraffe rock

Today was a gray-skied, soupy-aired, yellow-air-quality kind of Midwestern day, the kind of day that makes it seem like you're looking at everything through a slightly out-of-focus lens. And I'm back in Missouri, giving this Route 66 trip another try. 

First stop today was Stanton, Missouri, for a visit to the Jesse James Wax Museum. Personally, I think wax museums are creepy but I can't resist them. And in Missouri you have to check out the Jesse James history! The museum has a 10-minute video, mainly presenting Rudy Turilli's (of Meramec Caverns fame) evidence that Jesse James lived on as Frank Dalton until the ripe old age of 102, vignettes with wax figures, and a big room of firearms on display. All for the price of $7.42. You know, Missouri has Jesse James, like Illinois has Al Capone. They each slept, ate, robbed, carried on, virtually everywhere, each in his own respective state, at least according to local lore. In fact, one restaurant in northern Illinois actually had a sign in a restroom claiming, "Al Capone passed gas here." But back to Missouri.

A quick visit to the Mule Trading Post just north of Rolla reminded me that just about anything you might be looking for could be found here. This business was established in 1946 in Pacific, Missouri, and moved to Rolla in the 1950s when the interstate bypassed Pacific. 

Next stop - the Devil's Elbow Bridge south of Rolla. I just missed friends Josh and Wendy Friedrich here by about an hour. There was a big crowd at the Elbow Inn, and the Doors' tune, "Riders on the Storm," was blasting from the place. Transported me right back to my playing-in-a-band days. Well, almost. It was good to see the bridge open again after some reconstruction. I also love driving on that old four-lane down through Hooker's Cut, which was the new and improved highway after traffic got too heavy for the Devil's Elbow segment.

Around Lebanon is a great place to spot "giraffe rock" buildings, but you can also find them in Arkansas and Oklahoma - the Ozark Mountains region. One look and you'll know why they're called that. This beautiful building style featured native rock in bungalows, cabins, and other structures. Constructed mainly during the first half of the twentieth century, Ozark Giraffe style building was most concentrated during the Arts and Crafts Movement. Here are a few examples. I failed to get a photo of one of the best examples, the Wagon Wheel Motel, as I came through Cuba, Missouri.

And did I mention the humidity?

(Note:  This is Monday's post, but the wifi I was on last night wouldn't support getting the photos in, so this is being posted on Tuesday morning.) 


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