Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Old Postcard Wednesday--Missouri

Having worked for Oregon's Secretary of State for ten years in my last job I know what a rich information resource it can be. So, I decided to take that track in searching for information concerning the 11 views on this old postcard, and went straight to Missouri Secretary of State's website. Using just this one source, let's see what luck I had going down the list. (Note: long post follows—not for those pressed for time or those caring not a whit about Missouri!)

1—Missouri State Capitol   The building shown on this old postcard mailed in 1950 still stands. I think the history of state capitol buildings is important, so I am posting the full write-up from the Missouri Secretary of State Archive's page:
What is the history of the Missouri State Capitol?

The first state capitol building in Jefferson City was built in the period of 1823-1826 and was destroyed by fire in 1837. A new capitol building had been approved at the time and was completed in 1840. The second capitol was destroyed by fire on February 5, 1911, when a bolt of lightning struck the dome. The present capitol was built in the period of 1913-1917 and stands upon the same spot as its predecessor, high atop a bluff overlooking the Missouri River.

The structure, covering nearly three acres, is a symmetrical building of the Roman renaissance style, surmounted by a dome of unusual beauty. It stands upon 285 concrete piers which extend to solid rock at depths from 20 to 50 feet. It is 437 feet long by 200 feet wide through the wings. The exterior is of Carthage, Missouri limestone marble, as are the floors of all the corridors, the rotundas and the treads of the stairways. There are 134 columns in the building - one-fourth of the stone used in the entire structure.

The grand stairway is one of the capitol's outstanding features. It is 30 feet wide and extends from the front portico to the third floor. It is more than 65 feet from the wall on one side of the stairway to the wall on the other side. At the entrance is a mammoth bronze front door, 13 feet by 18 feet.

Atop the lantern of the capitol dome, 260 feet above the ground, is a classic bronze figure of Ceres, goddess of grain, chosen to symbolize the state's great agricultural heritage.

Inside the building, the view of the dome from the first floor rotunda is magnificent. A huge bronze chandelier, weighing 9,000 pounds, hangs from the dome's eye, 171 feet above. The paintings of Frank Brangwyn on the eye, panels and pendentive of the dome are clearly visible from the ground floor. Artwork throughout the building dramatically depicts scenes of Missouri's history, countryside and people. Especially famous are murals by artist Thomas Hart Benton in the House Lounge. The Missouri State Museum on the ground floor is another popular feature.
2—Bagnell Dam and Lake of the Ozarks   Fascinating! I am publishing the full text from a pdf version of the Winter 2010 edition of the Missouri State Archives newsletter.
Bagnell Dam Construction
Photographs Now Available

The Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative, an
effort to provide free, online public access
to historical records from repositories
across the state, was first proposed by Secretary
of State Robin Carnahan in 2007. Since that
time, hundreds of collections have been made
available on the initiative’s website. One of the
website’s latest additions is the Missouri State
Archives Bagnell Dam Construction Photographs

The Bagnell Dam Construction Photographs
consist of 845 aerial and general views of all
phases of the Bagnell Dam construction project.
Within the collection are images documenting the
workers, the buildings erected for housing and
other needs, and views of areas around the construction

Bagnell Dam was built between 1929 and 1931
by the Union Electric Light and Power Company
of St. Louis, now known as AmerenUE. The
dam was designed and constructed by the Stone
and Webster Engineering Corporation at a cost
of more than $30 million. Named for the closest
town when construction first started, Bagnell Dam
is a 148-foot tall, 2,543-foot long concrete gravity
dam, with a 520-foot long spillway and 511-foot
long power station.

Construction of the dam required damming
the Osage River, thereby submerging timber and
farm land. The dam also resulted in the flooding
of Old Linn Creek, then the county seat of
Camden County. Union Electric Light and Power
Company bought the land of many residents,
and the inhabitants of Old Linn Creek moved
to Camdenton or relocated to the newly-formed
Linn Creek.

Bagnell Dam’s construction also created Lake of
the Ozarks, one of America’s largest man-made
lakes. Lake of the Ozarks stretches 92 miles from
end to end and has over 1,150 miles of shoreline.
With a surface area of 55,000 acres, the lake
brings in millions of dollars in tourism each year.
If you would like to learn more about the
Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative or view the
Bagnell Dam Construction Photographs, please
3—Post Office and Federal Court Building  The Post Office Building in Jefferson City is not noted specifically at the Secretary of State's website, but the Corporation's Division (under the SOS) St. Louis Branch Office is located at in the U.S. Customs & Post Office Building in St. Louis, MO!

I acquired the following information on the Federal Court Building from the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, known as the Blue Book, published by the Secretary of State, 2009-2010 edition.
Other Federal Courts
Immediately below the Supreme Court are
the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. District
Courts. The Courts of Appeals operate in 11
regions and the District of Columbia. Missouri
is served by the Eighth Circuit. Appeals Court
judges earn $179,500 annually.

There are 94 U.S. District Court districts with
federal jurisdiction. Two of these are located in
Missouri: the Eastern Missouri District and the
Western Missouri District. Eastern District courts
are located in St. Louis, Hannibal and Cape
Girardeau while Western District courts are in
Kansas City, St. Joseph, Springfield, Jefferson
City and Joplin. Federal charges stemming from
both civil and criminal suits generally begin in
U.S. District Court. Judges in these courts earn
$169,300 annually.

For information on other agencies or programs
of the U.S. government operating in Missouri,
contact the Federal Information Center,
Room 2616 Federal Building, 1520 Market St.,
St. Louis 63103, phone (toll free) 800-333-4636
((800) FED-INFO).
*All salary information provided by the 

Congressional Research Service.
4—Main Gate, Scott Field   I did not find anything about Scott Field at the SOS website. In fact, it took some hunting to find out what the place actually was.  From the Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register, I found that, "One possible destination for military pilots in the St. Louis area was Scott Field, which became Scott Air Force Base in 1948." Click on the Field Register link to see two old photos of the airfield. Scott Air Force Base has an extensive website here

5—General MacArthur Bridge   Nope, the SOS website didn't have anything, at least that I could find, about this bridge. I learned everything I would want to know about it from a website maintained by John A. Weeks III. Mr. Weeks notes his material is copyrighted so if you want to learn more and to see some great photos of the bridge go see the man (Weeks, not MacArthur).

6—Liberty Memorial   The State Library link at the SOS website did get me to a shared library site called MOBIUS that lists a book that refers to the Liberty Memorial.....but that is too esoteric to count as a good research hit. The Liberty Memorial is too important to U.S. history to leave it at that.
Founded in 1919, the Liberty Memorial was established to honor those who fought and lost their lives during World War I. The City of Kansas City after the war wanted a medium through which they could pay their respects and showcase the cruelty of the same. In a two week public drive, it raised over USD 2.5 million and built the Liberty Memorial. The Memorial is divided into a North Wall, Exhibit and Memory Halls, a Sphinx and a 217 feet Memorial Tower. Carvings across the walls depict the story of the war and its various transitional phases. The list of sculptures increases as there is also a Pantheon replica which was donated to the Memorial. [Source: Bing]
The Liberty Memorial has undergone major restoration since depicted in this postcard. The following is from the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial website:
Over time the physical structure of the Liberty Memorial deteriorated, and in 1994 it was closed due to safety concerns. In 1998 the public voiced its support for the Liberty Memorial once again by passing a half-cent sales tax for 18 months to support the restoration. While revitalizing the Liberty Memorial, plans took shape for expanding the site by building a museum. The Liberty Memorial Association had been collecting objects and documents related to World War I since 1920, and the new museum was envisioned as an inspiring and engaging experience for visitors showcasing the collection, much of which had never been viewed. Prior to the expansion, the institution had only 7,000 square feet to present exhibits. The new museum was built as an 80,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility. . .

In 2004 the Museum was designated by Congress as the United States’ official World War I Museum, opening to the public on December 2, 2006, as the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial. The Museum presents a comprehensive interpretation of World War I (1914-1919) and its lasting consequences, providing a vivid and memorable experience for all.
7—Old Matt's Cabin   From the Secretary of State, State Library site, I found a Wolfner Library recommended reading list of books about "The Way We Were." On the list is this.....
Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright
RC 29860
This is a sentimental and religious tale of the Ozark country. The main characters are two mountaineers, old Matt and young Matt, a girl named Sammy, and Jim Lane who is young Matt's rival for Sammy's hand.
.....which led me to Old Matt's Cabin website (absolutely charming!), with this tantalizing beginning:
Since the early 1900s, “Old Matt’s Cabin” (the home of John and Anna Ross) has been of interest to people visiting the Ozarks from all over the world. Today, it remains a central feature of the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead. Why is this small, seemingly insignificant structure such an important place in the Ozarks? Why are tourists so interested in this modest, turn of the century home? History reveals the answer. . .
8—Traffic-Bridge   The bridge on the old postcard must have been a first, or one of the first, to be important enough to be listed with the other notables on the card! I don't care to search for more beyond the obvious information at SOS's 2009-2010 Blue Book, in which it's chapter for the Department of Transportation says, "The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is responsible for maintaining 33,685 miles of highways and 10,249 bridges throughout the state."

9—Steamer Admiral   Well, I am disappointed. The SOS Archives Digital Heritage library has information on a number of great steamers, but nothing I could find on the Steamer Admiral. Therefore, I resorted to Wikipedia for the following:
SS Admiral was an excursion steamboat operating on the Mississippi River from the Port of St. Louis, Missouri. The vessel had a 1930s streamlined, Art Deco style, similar to the MV Kalakala and in contrast to the "gingerbread" ornamentation of more traditional Mississippi passenger and pleasure steamers. At 374 feet (114 m) long and 92 feet (28 m) feet wide, the Admiral was longer than a city block, and the first all-steel inland steamer. At the time of its construction, the Admiral was the largest passenger vessel on U.S. inland waterways.
Currently, the boat is undergoing disposal of, as scrap metal.

10—Memorial Tower   The SOS Archives Digital Heritage library has numerous great photographs of Memorial Tower, with captions describing it as being on "the campus of the University of Missouri."

11—Statue of St. Louis   I struck out at the Secretary of State's website for any information about the statue, again going to Wikipedia. The statue has an interesting history:
Apotheosis of St. Louis is a statue of King Louis IX of France, namesake of St. Louis, Missouri, located in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park. Prior to the completion of the Gateway Arch, the statue was the principal symbol of the city. It has served in the iconography of St. Louis for more than a century.

The bronze statue that stands in Forest Park today was donated to Forest Park by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company following the 1904 World's Fair. It is a replica of a plaster model that stood at the entrance to the fair (where the Missouri History Museum now stands). The original artist, Charles Henry Niehaus, offered to create a bronze version of the plaster model for a $90,000 commission. However, the company took a lower $37,500 bid from a local artist, W. R. Hodges. Niehaus sued the company for infringement of his intellectual property rights, and he was awarded $3,000 and "designed by C. H. Niehaus" inscribed on the pedestal. It was unveiled on October 4, 1906.

On the north side of the pedestal is the inscription, "Presented to the City of St. Louis by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in commemoration of the Universal Exposition of 1904 held on this site." On either side is, "Saint Louis."

The statue featured heavily in St. Louis iconography until the completion of the Gateway Arch in the 1960s. It was used as part of the logo for the St. Louis Browns in the 1930s and 40s. In 2008 it was resurrected by St. Louis Soccer United for use on their logo and converted to Joan of Arc for the St. Louis Athletica. This transmutation was made legitimate by the reconciling of Arc with Arch.

Over the years, Saint Louis' sword has been broken or stolen a number of times. It was replaced in 1970, 1972, 1977 and 1981. Stealing, and later returning, the sword was considered a rite of passage for students in the engineering program at nearby Washington University. The statue was restored in 1999 by Russell-Marti Conservation Services for $23,000.

To sum: information -- ranging from partial to extensive -- about seven of these 11 postcard features was available at the Missouri Secretary of State website. Of those not noted on the website, the only I am surprised by is the Steamer Admiral, given the great photographic history it has on other steamers. I would not expect to find the remaining three features discussed by that particular agency.

This became a lengthy post and probably not of much interest to most readers. (If you stuck with the whole piece I thank you immensely for reading it!) Missourians might like it, though, and I satisfied my curiosity about attempting to use one State agency website as a research tool. I must add that I am impressed with the Missouri Secretary of State's online capabilities, which, under the leadership of the current Secretary of State, Robin Carnahan. has been a top priority. Secretary Carnahan's bio is impressive. I will end this post with a portion from her bio, while reminding you that your own state Secretary of State's office (and other state agencies) can be wonderful sources of information on numerous state issues/policies/history, etc.
Secretary Carnahan believes good customer service means making information more acces­sible to Missourians. As the guardian of Missouri’s State Archives, she has not only ensured the pres­ervation of historical documents and treasures, but also expanded access to those records by making tens of thousands of records available on-line for the first time. These pioneering efforts have earned praise from historians and genealo­gists worldwide.

In 2008, Carnahan unveiled the Missouri Digital Heritage website, which digitally links historical information and resources from the Mis­souri State Archives, the State Library, and local organizations together for the first time. Since its launch, Missouri Digital Heritage has been named one of the 101 best websites for genealogy by Family Tree Magazine and has been visited over 70 million times.



Don't Feed The Pixies said...

he he - you weren't kidding! That's a post and a half!!

You never know when you will need trivia - "The second capitol was destroyed by fire on February 5, 1911, when a bolt of lightning struck the dome." - handy if you're travelling back to the future in a Delorian and are short on juice

General MacArthur bridge - i wonder who Mr Weeks thinks would be taking his info to make money? The MacArthur family?

I'll be honest and say I didn't read the whole post word for word, but did stop at anything that grabbed me along the way.

What it mostly did was remind me that British film makers Pathe have put their entire archive of public information films online at

From where I found this link to "a tribute to General MacArthur" - which i hope you will be able to see in the US and enjoy

Helen said...

Of course you found a follower who will read anything and everything about Missouri and neighboring Illinois! Loved this post. I didn't know you had worked in OR. It's a great place to live.

Looking to the Stars said...

Wow, this was great. I found it fascinating! Thanks for sharing it :)

mythopolis said...

You sure know how to get the most out of a postcard! You should be on 'The History Detectives'! I enjoyed poring over this info you dug up. I have a daughter who lives in St. Louis, and I've been there numerous times, but I didn't know all these aspects of the city's and the state's history.

Rob-bear said...

It was, indeed, a long read. I did it, including many of the links you provided. You have been very thorough with this, and I commend you.
Mostly, though, it was just fun to read. The kind of thing Bear would like on an easy autumn evening.

Muhammad Israr said...

wow...10 years job in the and what a wonderful post...i think it could be used as a wikipedia entry or something so that more and more people can benefit from the immense info you compiled about the place..and i am astonished...why the place burnt 2 times? its like sad to lose the original building which would have been an immense asset to our generation... never the less... the new structure sort of compensate for it... with so many columns... would be a marvel when seen live...i wish only i had some postcard and try to write something on it :) thank you very much for sharing...someday when i visit the state, i will use your post as a tour guide so that i can enjoy it :)

Lydia said...

Pixies~ How funny your comment about traveling to the future in a Delorian, among other things you wrote!
The link worked! Thank you so much. I bookmarked it to read over the weekend. I wish my Uncle Jim was alive to read it with me, as he was a huge fan of the General.

Helen~ Oh, I am glad you found the post. I had forgotten your ties to the area (and hope all is well with your loved ones there).
Not sure if you are aware that I live in Silverton. One of my (infrequent) trips over to Bend should include coffee with you in the future!

Looking to the Stars~ Wonderful to "see" you. I am way behind in reading other blogs, which is why I am posting a quicky post for Thursday so I can spend time catching up. Thank you for reading this post!

mythopolis~ I would really like to see St. Louis, as it seems like an interesting city to me. I have been in Missouri, but only as a child when we went to Kansas City for my grandmother's burial there. I remember the Truman Memorial as being awesome.
History that would have been a good match of a job for me!

Rob-bear~ I am so happy that you thought it was fun. Originally, I thought it would be a quick one to write, but then I got all caught up in it, as sometimes happens.
I would love to see Old Matt's Cabin (wonder if bears wander around there)!

Muhammad Israr~ Thank you for reading the post. I'm glad that it gave you some ideas for places to tour when you come to the U.S. Maybe you can do a second PhD at one of our universities!
Re: the Capitol fires...I wonder how many U.S. capitol buildings burned in the early days when they were wooden structures. Quite a few that I know of, including Oregon's! Our second capitol building had the most beautiful dome, and it is sad that it was lost for us. Old postcard picture here.

Muhammad Israr said...

hahaha...2nd Ph.D ...lets see if i come alive after the 1st :) i got these were wooden structures so easily caught fire... of course...those were the early days so very much possible..thanks for enlightening me :) yes sure some day i will visit the US... a great history and so many cultures and people... thats one thing which separate USA from the rest of the world and that is it belongs to everyone can be american... there is no concept of foreigners and all humans and cultures are valued and thats why i think they are advancing in so many fields because of equal opportunities for all :)

Helen said...

If ever you get over that mountain, I am in the phone book. Helen Dehner ... also feel free to email.

Lydia said...

Helen~ I'll certainly let you know. My cousin, Ann, has lived there nearly all her life. My last overnight visit with her was two years ago, so I am due one in the spring.



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