From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ozark Ghost Town

Somewhere between Mountain Grove and Lebanon


Over the last twenty years, I've made around forty trips through the Ozarks of southern Missouri, either going to or coming home from my sister's house. She lives about fifty miles north of Springfield, Missouri, and I live in Kentucky.

On my trip up there last summer, I took a route I'd never traveled before and probably won't travel again. I turned north on Highway 95 at Mountain Grove, Missouri, thinking I'd see Dove Mountain which is just east of 95, according to the road map. But the hills were so big that I couldn't see the mountain. Or maybe one of them was the mountain? I couldn't tell.

Then I learned that a bridge was out on my planned route, so I took a long detour down some county blacktops. These roads followed every curve of the old wagon trails they were built upon, all the way to the top of every ridge and all the way to the bottom of every valley. Some of the scenery was beautiful, but I couldn't take pictures. If I had stopped in the road, someone might have come around a curve and hit me.

This little Ozark ghost town dates back to a time before
blacktop roads. Farm folks came here to buy things
they couldn't make and to hear the news of the world.
Everything changed after the Depression and WWII.
At an intersection somewhere along the way, where the blacktop road made a right-angle turn, I saw this little ghost town and pulled over to get a photo.

The main road that runs by this village was blacktopped sometime, but the street in front of these stores never saw that improvement. Maybe the brick building in the center was the last business to close.

I didn't explore. I saw vehicles at a house (the metal roof at far left in the photo), and I didn't want anyone to think I was snooping around. I drove on through the hills and valleys, and finally I came to a somewhat wider and straighter state highway that led to Lebanon, and eventually, I arrived at my sister's house in Hickory County.

The scenic route and the detour made my trip a little longer and slower, but I always enjoy backroads and the curiosities along them.

2 comments:

Collagemama said...

Reminds me of my many trips from Dallas to Lincoln and back. When I got off the beaten track I usually found a detour.

Genevieve said...

I believe in never backtracking (if it can possibly be avoided!)

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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