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Jefferson City Trips

 
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
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Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:04 pm    Post subject: Jefferson City Trips Reply with quote

(Originally posted February 6, 2009)

The state capital of Jefferson City was always a great place to visit, particularly the classic domed Capitol building overlooking the Missouri River. For some reason, Jefferson City seems to be a favorite topic in the state capital category of quiz shows such as Jeopardy! Did you know that it is the only state capital named after a vice president? (One tends to forget the Thomas Jefferson was a vice president before becoming president.)

Back when I was in elementary school at St. Paul's, it was always the destination of the eighth grade class trip. The students eagerly anticipated the trip weeks in advance, planning who would sit next to whom on the long trip. When the day arrived, either Alvin Bokelman or Nups Schnakenberg would show up with one of their cattle trucks. Of course, the bed would be cleaned up and fresh straw scattered around on it. We would climb on board the back end and settle down for the trip. (Can you imagine the howls of protest by today's safety advocates about such transportation arrangements?)

When we arrived at Jeff City, the primary objective of the trip was a tour of the Capitol building to observe our legislature in action. But first we would explore the building to admire the beautiful architecture and paintings, particularly the Thomas Hart Benton murals, and test the whispering gallery. (An excellent video tour of the building can be seen at http://www.missourinet.com/Capitol_Building/ and pictures of the murals at http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Exhibit/5437/Benton.html.) Then we would climb up into the visitors gallery of either the House of Representatives or the Senate chamber to watch a session in progress (if it wasn't in recess). Actually, I wasn't that impressed with these sessions. Perhaps I expected a dramatic speech being given by one of our legislators to an attentive audience, followed by a crucial vote. But all one would see were some people scurrying around and others sitting quietly at their desks or talking with other.

A highlight of the trip was the chance to browse the museum in the Capitol building. It was filled with interesting artifacts. Strange what one remembers. After all these years, I still retain two visual images. One was a stubby mortar used to fire cannonballs, presumably during the Civil War. The other was a display of clothing, shoes and photos of a young woman who, being well over 7 feet tall, was supposed to be the tallest person that ever lived in Missouri.

At the end of the tour, we would visit the state penitentary. There we would get a glimpse of the cells and a lecture on what happened to the bad guys. Finally, we would climb back on the rear of the truck for the long trip home doing what kids of that age do.

I'd enjoy hearing other's memories of these trips.
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