By Sue Loudon
Missouri will celebrate being a state for 200 years in August. Now is a good time to investigate some events and sights that are close to home.
Truman Library & Museum Renovation
A good place to start is the $29 million remodel of President Harry Truman Library and Museum at 500 W. U.S. Highway 24 in Independence. Truman was the 33rd president of the United States. The Missouri native had been vice president for only 82 days when President Franklin Roosevelt suddenly died in 1945 during World War II. Truman told reporters, “I felt like the moon, the stars and all the planets had fallen on me.”
Truman worked as a farmer, opened a haberdashery shop and served as a captain in WWI before entering politics. Although he never earned a college degree, he studied history and was an avid reader. As president, he faced difficult decisions that many people didn’t think he was prepared to make, including the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. He also desegregated the military and helped rebuild war-torn Europe. His thoughts about these decisions are displayed in the museum.
Because of Covid restrictions, visitors must purchase timed tickets online. The cost is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and veterans, $8 for college students, $5 for 13-18 years old, and free for 12 and under. There is free parking on the grounds. Be prepared for security screening to enter. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
This is a good summer to enjoy some special activities for the Bicentennial. How about a train ride from Kansas City to the events in the state capitol in Jefferson City? You can leave Kansas City about 8 a.m. on the Missouri River Runner Amtrak train and arrive 3 hours and 10 minutes later in Jefferson City, spend the day touring the capitol building and/or attending special events and then catch the train back to Kansas City, arriving about 9:30 p.m. Amtrak has different schedules on different days and different costs for various age groups and levels of service. Go online to get the latest information for the days you want to travel. This is a nice short trip to introduce yourself and/or your children to train travel. You can enjoy the scenery and not be strapped into a seat. It’s a good way to get to Statehood Day on August 10 in Jefferson City.
The main celebration in Jefferson City will be August 8-10 and will include a naturalization ceremony, a quilt and photo display, and a giant ice cream social. Organizers are encouraging other cities to have ice cream parties at the same time to celebrate.
The First Capitol
St. Charles is definitely joining in on the fun. After all, it was the first capitol of Missouri from 1821 to 1826 until the Capitol building in Jefferson City was built. The original Capitol building has been restored in the Historic District at 200 S. Main Street in St. Charles. There are historical re-enactors in costumes to help you understand the difficult decisions on slavery and other issues made in this building and what life was like in the 1800s. The St. Charles Historic District, which has received good reviews from visitors, is just a short drive north of I-70 on the Missouri River. You can read more detailed information at discoverstcharles.com.
The Katy Trail is getting in on the celebration with a 25-mile family fun ride on August 7. Participants will join the riders of the Century Cyclists (100-mile riders) for their last 25 miles to North Jefferson City. Both groups have the option of enjoying live music at Jefferson Landing State Historic site and camping in Memorial Park on Saturday night followed by breakfast Sunday morning. The fun ride is limited to 50 people from each direction. For more information visit mo/stateparks.com/90626/2021- bicentennial-ride. Reservations end the Thursday before the ride.
Sooner and closer to home is the Kansas City Bicentennial Celebration on Saturday, July 24, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Francois Chouteau and Native American Heritage Fountain, 3904 NE Chouteau Trafficway, Kansas City. The event will feature Native American dancers, period fiddlers and banjo players, fur trapping re-enactors and the unveiling of a bronze sculpture. Francois Chouteau, the French explorer and fur trader, is widely acknowledged as the Founding Father of Kansas City since he established the first fur trading post on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River.
Celebrations continue into September with the Bicentennial of the Santa Fe Trail on Saturday, September 18, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Trailside Center, 9901 Holmes Road. There will be displays of trail items, music and speakers, including Diane Euston, local historian and columnist for The Telegraph. For more information contact the Trailside Center at 816- 942-3581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still more events are being planned for this statewide celebration. The Telegraph will keep you informed (both online and in print) about them as well as other interesting places to see and things to do during this Bicentennial year in the state of Missouri.
Sue Loudon will continue her column devoted to Missouri’s Bicentennial Celebration for the next few issues. Sue is a former travel writer for the Squire Publications.