Featured

Precipitation

Here in the “almost desert”, we get pretty excited when we are treated to any kind of precipitation. Here is what’s happening in our neighborhood today:

Living in a snow globe.

This is the red oak tree just outside of our front window:

So pretty…

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Mike and Kellye

 

Featured

More Kicks on Route 66

More Kicks on Route 66 – Eastern Oklahoma

Our recent Route 66 trek began in St. Louis, Missouri and ended in Amarillo, Texas. We drove about 800 miles between the two cities over four days. Traveling Route 66 truly is a kick, but navigating it is sometimes tricky. Although, having to get on and off of the interstate highways when the route ends or backtracking because it’s easy to get lost is just part of the adventure.

Now, on to our first stop…

OK-KS-MO Tri-State Marker

Three state corner – Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma – stand in all three states at once!

Thanks to Google Maps, we had to backtrack to find this off-route site. While Google took us close to it, we kept ending up at a casino and resort in Oklahoma. We finally found it on an almost hidden gravel road next to the resort. Sadly, after all the time and gasoline spent looking for the marker, we found it to be quite unremarkable. We got the cheap thrill of standing in three states at once though, so the stop wasn’t a total failure.

The original marker was built in 1938, but it is about 50 feet from the actual point.

Tired and hungry, we got on the turnpike, paid our toll, and headed west. We couldn’t find a place to eat, so we got back on Route 66 near Afton, Oklahoma hoping to find food. All we found was barbecue, so we paid another turnpike toll and headed to Catoosa which was our stop for the night. Just when we were both on the verge of becoming hangry, we were gifted with a spectacular Oklahoma sunset. Oh, how nature’s beauty soothes the soul!

Shot with an iPhone while driving 80 mph down the interstate! Not too bad for a couple of tired and hungry amateurs.

Catoosa, Oklahoma

Catoosa is located on the banks of the Arkansas River and is home to about 7,100 residents. A couple of museums, the Hard Rock Casino, and the Tulsa Port of Catoosa also call the city home. The reason for our stop? The Blue Whale of Catoosa, of course!

The Blue Whale of Catoosa, Route 66, Catoosa, Oklahoma

In the early 1970s, Hugh Davis built the whale on the edge of his family’s swimming hole as an anniversary gift for his wife Zelta who collected whale figurines. Local residents showed so much interest in the site that the Davis family eventually added a picnic area and opened it to the public. The swimming hole was closed in 1988 due to Hugh’s failing health. He died in 1990. When Zelta died in 2001, the park fell into disrepair, however, local volunteers joined forces to restore the beloved whale. The City of Catoosa purchased the property in 2020, and today it remains a favorite stop for travelers on Route 66.

Signpost showing other Route 66 icons and their distance from the Blue Whale.

Oklahoma, the eastern part of which was known as Indian Territory
prior to becoming a state, has some of the greatest place names ever. Most of them are from Native American names or words, such as: Quapaw, Catoosa, Pawhuska, Chickasha, and Watonga, just to name a few. Our next stop got its name from a derivative of the Creek tribe’s word tallasi which means “old town.”

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Windshield shot of Tulsa’s skyline as we pulled into town. We apologize for the bugs.

With only a couple of things we wanted to see in Tulsa, we didn’t spend much time there. Our goal was to see relatives who live just south of the city. Luckily, we were able stop long enough to learn about Cyrus Avery, the “Father of Route 66.”

Sculpture “East Meets West” – Robert Summers, 2012 – Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza, Tulsa

This beautiful bronze sculpture depicts Avery stopping his Ford on the 11th Street Bridge as the automobile startles two horses pulling a wagon carrying oil barrels.

U.S. Highway 66 Association

In 1927, while serving as a member of a board appointed to create the Federal Highway System, Cyrus Avery successfully advocated for the establishment of the U.S. Highway 66 Association. The association was instrumental in ensuring that the road was paved in its entirety, a major undertaking which was completed in 1938. Furthermore, the association continued to promote Route 66 tourism for more than forty years. In 1970 the association changed its name to Main Street of America Association. However, with new interstates bypassing the old highway, or replacing sections of it completely, the association dissolved in 1976. Click here for a short National Park Service article about the origins of Route 66.

The 11th Street Bridge, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Note the art deco railings.

One picture, three eras. The photo above shows the current Route 66 Bridge (left) crossing the Arkansas River, the original Route 66 Bridge (middle) also known as the Cyrus Avery Memorial Bridge, and Interstate 44 (right). Cyrus Avery Memorial Bridge is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pedestrian bridge over Route 66, Tulsa
University Club Tower, Tulsa, Oklahoma

We found the 32-story University Club Tower apartment building to be intriguing with its retro vibe and location overlooking the Arkansas River. Completed in 1966, the tower is supposedly the first major building in the U.S. to be designed using a computer.

Moving on Down the Road

Mainer Ford in Bristow, Oklahoma. The building, while delightfully deco, was actually built in 2010 and features a very cool retro neon sign. We applaud Mainer Ford for keeping the spirit of Route 66 alive.
Here’s the cool retro sign for the Skyliner Motel in Stroud, Oklahoma – an oldie but goodie – and the motel is still in business!

Trivia: Indian Territory, which was comprised of most of the eastern half of Oklahoma, almost became the state of Sequoyah. Tribespeople living in Indian Territory held a constitutional convention and overwhelmingly voted for Sequoyah’s statehood. However, due to party politics on the national level, the plan failed. The people of Indian Territory were forced to see their lands merge with Oklahoma Territory to become the 46th state as Oklahoma officially joined the union on November 16, 1907.

Route 66, The Mother Road, America’s Main Street, Will Rogers Highway – they’re all names for America’s U.S. Highway 66.

Chandler, Oklahoma

Chandler, Oklahoma helps to preserve its Mother Road heritage with the Chandler Route 66 Interpretive Center. The center is housed in the Chandler Armory building which was constructed in 1937 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. While the center is part museum, it also has a gallery that features videos and artwork depicting the history of the route. We enjoyed watching the videos from the unique seating the center has installed for the comfort of its guests. It even has vinyl beds to lounge on while watching the videos. Needless to say, it is a very laid back, relaxing experience, especially for weary travelers.

Chandler Route 66 Interpretive Center
We found this painting of Chandler’s Phillips 66 Cottage Gas Station in the interpretive center. The actual building is pictured below.
The colorful Phillips 66 Cottage Gas Station in Chandler, Oklahoma was built in 1932 and continued to function as a gas station until 1992.

Warwick, Oklahoma

Eight miles west of Chandler is Warwick, Oklahoma, home of the Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum. We spent over an hour in the museum where we saw some unique motorcycles and learned the history of the building as well.

Seaba Station

The building was constructed for use as a gas station in 1921 by John Seaba and his wife, Alice. Later John turned the building into a machine and engine rebuilding shop but sold the business in 1951. In 1995, the building was sold again, refurbished, and reopened as an antiques store. The current owners purchased the property in 2007 and have restored the front to look like the original gas station. The addition of the motorcycle museum was completed in 2010.

Inside the motorcycle museum
This bike is outfitted with a Johnson Motor Wheel which turned an ordinary bicycle into a motorcycle and cost about $80.00. Circa 1920.

Trivia: Oklahoma’s official state meal includes barbecued pork, chicken fried steak, sausages and gravy, fried okra, grits and squash. The state bean is the black-eyed pea, and the state fruit is the strawberry. Pecan pie is the official state dessert.

This is where we close the post but stay tuned for more of our Route 66 adventure coming soon. Thank you so much for joining us on the eastern half of Route 66 Oklahoma.

If you like American road trips, we think you will enjoy these posts:

Route 66 – Missouri

Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

Death Valley National Park

 

Travel safely, and we will see you on the road!

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2023

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

Where is it?

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is located at 5242 S. State Hwy ZZ,
Republic, Missouri.

The thistle and other wildflowers were showing off their end of summer beauty when we visited Wilson’s Creek.

The park features:

  • Visitor center with gift shop
  • Museum
  • Self-guided auto tour
  • Hiking and horseback riding trails
  • Civil War research library – by appointment only

When using Google Maps for directions to this park, be sure to use the address above in Republic, Missouri. This public service announcement is brought to you by our wild goose chase through Springfield, Missouri’s industrial district.

Here is a link to the park’s website: Wilson’s Creek 

Wilson’s Creek

Why is Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield significant?

The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, which took place on August 10, 1861, was the second major battle of the Civil War and the first battle west of the Mississippi River. Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon was killed in the battle and was the first Union general to die in action in the Civil War. Confederate troops, who outnumbered the Union troops by almost double, won the battle giving the Confederacy control of southwestern Missouri.

Interesting map showing Civil War battles in the western U.S.

Trivia: Nearly as many men died in Civil War prison camps as died in the Viet Nam War.

Did the battle at Wilson’s Creek result in Missouri’s secession?

No, although the state remained deeply divided throughout the Civil War. While some Missourians wanted to secede from the Union to join the pro-slavery Confederate States, others chose to side with the pro-abolitionist Union. Missouri, according to Wikipedia, “…sent armies, generals, and supplies to both sides, maintained dual governments, and endured a bloody neighbor-against-neighbor intrastate war within the larger national war.”

The Ray House

Ray House, Wilson’s Creek

An excerpt describing the Ray family and their house from the National Park Service’s wayside information board:

“The Ray House is the only park structure on its original site that dates back to the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Postmaster and farmer John Ray built it in the 1850s. For ten years it served as the Wilson’s Creek Post Office, a stopping place on the old Wire Road that connected Springfield, Missouri with Fort Smith, Arkansas. In 1861, twelve people were living here: John and Roxanna Ray, their nine children, and a mail carrier. Their slave “Aunt Rhoda” and her four children occupied a small cabin to the rear of the house. On August 10, 1861, they found themselves in the path of war.”

The Ray’s original springhouse still exists today.

The Ray family used the cool springhouse as a place to store perishable foods, and it also provided them with water. Their house served as a Confederate field hospital during and after the battle. Water from the springhouse was vital to the wounded soldiers as well as to the surgeons tending to their injuries.

John Ray stood on his front porch and watched the battle take place in his cornfield and on Bloody Hill. The rest of the family hid in a cellar, but when they emerged hours later, soldiers who lay wounded and dying were everywhere in and around their house.

Trivia: Senator John J. Crittendon of Kentucky had two sons who became generals during the Civil War – one for the North and one for the South.

Bloody Hill

This is an unnamed section of Bloody Hill where Lyon began his advance. The Ray House is located near the barely visible clearing on the horizon at center right.

The Battle of Wilson’s Creek began and ended at Bloody Hill. Union soldiers managed to hold their ground for a while, but they were dreadfully outnumbered. Finally, with a quarter of their men lost after five hours of courageous fighting, the Union soldiers were forced to retreat. Among the dead was their leader, Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon. Lyon was a fearless warrior though. He was shot in the knee and in the head, and his horse was also killed. Even after suffering two life-threatening wounds, he mounted another horse and continued to lead his men in the battle. A third and final shot to the heart was the mortal wound.

A three-quarter mile trail at Bloody Hill takes visitors through the Union line and other areas where the battle took place.

In the chaotic aftermath of the battle, Lyon’s body was somehow forgotten on the battlefield. Confederate soldiers found his body and took it to the Ray house where they placed it on a bed in their living room so a surgeon could assess the wounds. (The bed is on display in the park’s museum.) Lyon’s final resting place is in a family cemetery in Eastford, Connecticut, although he was initially buried on a farm in Springfield, Missouri. Click here to read some interesting personal recollections of Lyon’s post-mortem and first burial.

Trivia: The Gettysburg Address is one of the greatest and most famous speeches of all time, but it contained just 272 words and was only two minutes long.

Thank you for joining us on our visit to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield!

 

Need more road trip inspiration? Click on these great destinations:
Antietam National Battlefield
Portland, Maine
Gettysburg National Military Park

Travel safe, and we will see you on the road.

Mike and Kellye  

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Mammoth Cave National Park

Where is it?

Mammoth Cave National Park is located at 1 Visitor Center Parkway, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.

Highlights of the park include:

  • Visitor center, museum, and gift shops
  • Cave tours – most require advance reservations and fees
  • Hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails
  • Paddling and fishing
  • Ranger-led programs, including night sky programs
  • Picnic areas
  • Three campgrounds for tents and RVs in addition to backcountry campsites
  • Mammoth Cave Lodge which includes dining options
  • Lodging options also include historic cottages and woodland cottages
  • Grab and go food options near the visitor center
  • Day boarding kennels for dogs and cats

Mammoth Cave is a on the National Register of Historic Places, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve, and an International Dark Sky Park. Here is the park’s website link: Mammoth Cave

We fell in love with this backroad barn we found just outside the park.

Wi-fi and cell service can be hit and miss at Mammoth Cave, though we had some luck at the visitor center. We also do not recommend using Google Maps for directions to this park. Google took us on a much longer route than necessary. Though the best thing about the Google route is that we got to take the Green River Ferry across the river. That was definitely a first for us!

Mammoth Cave’s Green River Ferry

“Within National Parks is room — glorious room — room in which to find ourselves, in which to think and hope, to dream and plan, to rest and resolve.”  — Enos Mills

Historic facts about Mammoth Cave

  • The cave has been known since prehistoric times. Artifacts such as bowls and woven sandals have been found inside.
  • An ancient burial site containing the preserved remains of a Native American woman was found in the early 1800s. At one time, the remains were on display for visitors to the cave but are now in the possession of the Smithsonian Institute.
  • In 1935 the remains of another ancient Native American, a man who had been crushed by a large rock, were found by Civilian Conservation Corps workers in the cave. His remains were also displayed until public distaste for viewing them caused the park to remove them from view. The man was then buried in a secret location inside the cave.
Beautiful drive through the park.
  • During the War of 1812, saltpeter, an ingredient used in making gun powder, was mined by enslaved African American workers at Mammoth Cave. Remains of the mine can still be seen today at the Historic Entrance.
  • Tourists began arriving at Mammoth Cave as early as 1816, and the former miners who were familiar with the cave served as tour guides.
  • In 1842, Dr. John Croghan established an experimental tuberculosis treatment facility inside Mammoth Cave which he had previously purchased for $10,000.00. After several patients died, Croghan ended his experiment. Dr. Croghan died of tuberculosis in 1849. Two of the huts he built for his patients to live in can still be seen today.
  • Mammoth Cave is the longest known cave system in the world. About 400 miles of the cave have been explored, with 600 additional miles left unexplored!
  • After years of work went into acquiring the land and creating the park’s infrastructure, Mammoth Cave National Park was dedicated on July 1, 1941.
The Green River really is green.

Green River Bluffs Trail

Our visit to the park started with a hike on the Green River Bluffs Trail, which came recommended by a ranger in the visitor center. We had only a couple of hours to spare before our Frozen Niagara cave tour began, so this turned out to be the perfect hike for us. We were even back at the visitor center in time to enjoy a parking lot picnic lunch.

Although the park was crowded, we only saw one group of three people and a dog on the trail.
On the bluffs overlooking the Green River
Another view of the trail

We found this trail to be easy with only a few steep inclines. After the Green River overlook, we took the Dixon Cave Trail as part of the loop back to the visitor center.

Dixon Cave

According to park information, Dixon Cave was part of Mammoth Cave about a million years ago. The collapse of a sinkhole caused Dixon to be cut off from Mammoth, however, the event created Mammoth’s Historic Entrance. This cave is not accessible to humans due to the endangered Indiana bats that hibernate there in the winter months. Interestingly, Dixon Cave maintains a steady temperature of 44 degrees F (7 degrees C), which makes conditions perfect for the bats to hibernate.

File:Mammoth Cave Historic Entrance NPS.jpg
Historic Entrance – photo courtesy of the National Park Service and Wikimedia Commons

Trivia: There are 14 species of cave dwelling animals in Mammoth Cave that are found nowhere else in the world.

Frozen Niagara Tour

Advance reservations for cave tours are highly recommended and can made through Recreation.gov. Click here to see detailed tour listings as well as pricing for each of the tours. We made our cave tour reservations about a month before our trip and got the last two places in our preferred time slot. To begin many of the cave tours, ticketed visitors meet in a pavilion near the visitor center. Park buses then carry the groups to the cave entrance to begin their tour.

Our ranger-guides told us on the bus ride that we were going to see the most beautiful cave entrance in all of Mammoth Cave National Park. While we envisioned something similar to the Historic Entrance, that is not what it was at all!

Here it is. It sure doesn’t look like a cave entrance, does it? While there are other accesses to Mammoth Cave, the two main entrances are this one, which is manmade and the Historic Entrance, which is natural.

The photos above and below are views from the Frozen Niagara tour. Flash photography is not permitted in the cave, and the guides keep the tour groups moving which makes it difficult to get good shots. Our photos do not do justice to the way it really looks; the cave is much more beautiful and interesting in person.

Unfortunately, our shots of the Frozen Niagara formation did not turn out, so we have borrowed one from the National Park Service and Deb Spillman. Her shot shows the beauty of the incredible formation.

Frozen Niagara flowstone formation.

Thank you so much for joining us on our visit to Mammoth Cave National Park! We hope you will join us again for another great national park or road trip destination.

If you would like to visit more national parks, click on these:
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Devils Tower Road Trip: Things to Do
Death Valley National Park

Travel safe, and we will see you on the road.

Mike and Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Cahokia Mounds

Where is Cahokia Mounds?

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is located at 30 Ramey Street in Collinsville, Illinois. The grounds are open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset. The site features:

  • Interpretive Center, museum, and gift shop
  • Hiking trails
  • Guided tours – reservations required
  • Self-guided tours of the site

Cahokia Mounds is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a National Historic Landmark, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Here is a link to the website: Cahokia

This view of the grounds shows some of the smaller mounds which may have been used for individual residences.

Why is Cahokia Important?

Dating to 1000 AD, Cahokia Mounds is the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico. The site encompasses 2,200 acres of what once was an even larger ancient settlement occupied by a culture of people who were farmers, hunters, and traders. At one time mound complexes reached as far as current day St. Louis, Missouri. Today’s site contains 120 mounds. The Mississippians who built the mounds did so by digging earth from “borrow pits” and hauling it in baskets on their backs or by hand. Cahokia’s mounds contain an estimated 50 million cubic feet of borrowed earth. As the mounds grew, so did the community, and Cahokia became a center of Mississippian life and culture.

Mound view at Cahokia. This may be one of the twin mounds shown at the bottom of the grand plaza in the image below.

Cahokia’s Mounds and Buildings

Most of the mounds at Cahokia are rectangular pyramid shapes with flat tops although there are some round mounds that were used for burials. The people buried in the round mounds were probably chiefs or others of great importance to the community. Cahokians were usually buried in cemeteries. The exception to that point may be Mound 72, which is covered later in the post.

This artist’s rendition shows what Cahokia might have looked like at its peak.

Buildings at Cahokia were constructed of poles and thatch though some were also overlaid with a combination of clay and grass. Archaeological excavations have uncovered lodges, grain storages, and communal buildings. Evidence also shows that residences usually housed one family. The tops of the largest mounds were reserved for ceremonial structures or the homes of rulers.

Another site image showing what the buildings may have looked like as Cahokia grew.

Interestingly, professional anthropological studies and archaeological excavations did not begin at Cahokia until the 1960s. So in the grand scheme of things, what is known about the site is relatively new. Studies continue today, so there is a near constant stream of up-to-date information and theories. Undoubtedly, the examination of Cahokia will go on indefinitely.

Monks Mound

Monks Mound is the largest prehistoric earthwork in the Americas. Its name comes from the French Trappist monks who lived nearby and farmed the terraces of the mound in the early 1800s. The Cahokian chief, Great Sun is said to have ruled from the top of Monks Mound, therefore, Cahokia is sometimes referred to as City of the Sun.

Monks Mound

While construction of Monks Mound began around 950 AD, workers continued to enlarge it over the next 300 years. The building on the top terrace measured 48 feet by 104 feet and some believe it reached 50 feet high.

Monks Mound:

  • has a base that covers 14 acres
  • is 100 feet tall
  • contains 22 million cubic feet of earth
View of Monks Mound from the second terrace looking toward the stairs that lead to the top. In all, 156 steps lead from ground level to the top.
The “Birdman” is now the historic site’s logo.

Monks Mound once had four terraces. The artist’s rendering below shows how it may have looked at Cahokia’s peak.

Cahokia’s Stockade

The stockade was a two-mile long barrier, most likely used for defense. However, some theorists believe that it may have served as a barrier to separate the elite from the other residents of Cahokia. The portion we see today is obviously a replica, though the Stockade Trial follows the boundary line of where the eastern part of the original stockade stood.

Cahokia’s stockade probably looked similar to this but on a much larger scale.

Mound 72

While Monks Mound is the grandest because of its size, Mound 72 is probably the most anthropologically interesting of all of Cahokia’s mounds. In 1967 excavations of Mound 72 revealed 270 ceremonial burials. The majority of the bodies were discovered in mass graves and were determined to be young women who died sacrificially.

Cahokia’s Mound 72 was reconstructed after extensive excavations.

Excavations of Mound 72 also revealed two bodies, probably great leaders, atop a cache of 20,000 marine shell disc beads formed in the shape of a large falcon. Six additional bodies, which anthropologists determined were elite men, were found with a large number of burial offerings. Offerings included arrowheads, jewelry, and other artifacts, some of which came from as far away as the areas that are now the states of Tennessee and Oklahoma. Further excavations revealed the bodies of 39 people that, unlike the others, had met a violent end. Anthropologists studied their teeth and determined that those 39 unfortunate souls were probably immigrants or enemies of the Cahokians and not locals.

Cahokia’s Woodhenge

Woodhenge is a solar calendar that the ancient Cahokians used to determine the equinoxes and solstices for agricultural purposes and ceremonial dates.

Reconstruction of Cahokia’s Woodhenge

Excerpts from the site’s information board:

“At least five large post-circle monuments were built at this location from AD 1100 to 1200, each with a different diameter and number of posts. Woodhenge III is the circle most extensively excavated and is the one reconstructed here, in the original location.” “The most important alignments are the winter and summer solstices, marking the southernmost and northernmost sunrise positions, and the fall and spring equinoxes, when the sun rises due east, midway between the solstice posts. Also, at the equinoxes the sun appears to emerge from the front of Monks Mound, perhaps confirming a link between the sun and the chief who ruled from the top of the mound.”

Chief Great Sun atop Monks Mound at sunrise

Cahokia’s Demise

Scientific evidence finds that Cahokia’s inhabitants had begun their departure by 1250; however, the city had been completely abandoned by 1350 – 1400. The once thriving City of the Sun had been home to an estimated 20,000 people at its peak. No one really knows what happened to the Cahokians, but one theory suggests that flooding led to the demise of the great city. Another theory suggests that drought caused the residents to move elsewhere to grow their crops. Still others believe that disease or a 13th century earthquake may have been factors. Most likely, we will never know the reason, but the ancients did leave us with their legacy, one that piques our curiosity and inspires our desire to know more.

Trail and small mound

Our visit to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site was great, but it would have been even better if we had been able to visit the Interpretive Center to learn more about the site. Unfortunately, the center which houses the museum is closed for renovations until the spring of 2023. Therefore, in our quest to “pass along the knowledge”, we have included a link to the introductive video from the interpretive center here.

Thanks so much for joining us on our tour of Cahokia Mounds!

We have more Native American history! Check out these interesting sites:

Pecos National Historical Park
Washita Battlefield National Historic Site
San Antonio Missions

Travel safely, and we will see you on the road.

  Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022                  

Featured

Gateway Arch National Park

Where is it?

Gateway Arch National Park is in downtown St. Louis, Missouri on the west bank of the Mississippi River. Park highlights include:

  • Visitor center
  • Museum
  • Theater and introductory film
  • Gift shop
  • Cafe
  • Tram rides to the top of the arch – advance reservations recommended
  • Riverboat Cruises – advance reservations recommended
  • Historic Old Courthouse (projected to be closed for renovations until sometime in 2023)

Link to the park’s website here.

Gateway Arch

Why is the park significant?

Gateway Arch National Park, originally the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, commemorates the western expansion of the United States. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson purchased the land stretching west from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and south from the border of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The $15 million acquisition from France became known as the Louisiana Purchase, and it doubled the size of the United States. One year later, Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on a two-year expedition to explore the lands west of the Mississippi River. The expedition party, known as the Corps of Discovery, included about 45 men, most of whom were in their mid-twenties and single. Their journey began 34 miles north of present-day Gateway Arch National Park at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

The Old Courthouse as seen from the top of the arch.

The Old Courthouse

A significant portion of the park is the old St. Louis County Courthouse, now generally known as the Old Courthouse. It was there in 1847 that Dred Scott, an enslaved man, and his wife, Harriet, sued their owner, Irene Sandford, for the right to be free. The trial was dismissed on a technicality, and the case was retried in 1850. Although the Scotts were awarded their freedom in the second trial, their emancipation was short lived. In 1852, Irene Sandford appealed the case to the Missouri Supreme Court and won, making Dred, Harriet, and their children enslaved to her once more.

Reflected image of the Old Courthouse dome taken from in front of the courthouse

Scott appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1856, but in March of 1857, he lost his quest for freedom once again. In what became known as the Dred Scott decision, Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote that all people of African descent, whether enslaved or free, had no right to sue in federal court because they were not citizens of the United States. He also stated that the Fifth Amendment protected slave owners’ rights because slaves were their legal property. The Scotts were eventually freed in 1857 by a man who had purchased them from Irene and her second husband. Sadly, Dred died of tuberculosis just sixteen months later in September of 1858.

Trivia: In an ironic twist, it was Justice Roger Taney who swore in Abraham Lincoln as President in 1861.

Looking west with a shadow of the arch

History of the Park

In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt designated a 62-acre tract of land on the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. Louis for a national park site. The site would later become the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. While workers began clearing the land to make way for the memorial, it was decided that the Old Courthouse would also become part of the park. In 1948 architect Eero Saarinen won a national competition with his design for a stainless-steel arch. Construction on the arch began in 1963, and it was completed in 1965. The north and south trams would not be completed until 1967 and 1968.

The sun kisses the arch in this mid-morning shot.

Visiting the Park

Upon entering the visitor center, visitors will find the ticket counters where they can pay the entry fee ($3.00). Tickets for the tram, riverboat cruise, and “Monument to the Dream” film, may be purchased at the same time. Advance reservations are highly recommended, however, as they frequently sell out, especially the tram to the top of the arch. Purchase tickets online and see options for package deals on all three of the paid attractions here. Visitors must pass through an airport-style security area before entering the section of the facility where the museum, cafe, trams, theater, and gift shop are located.  The Old Courthouse, park grounds, riverfront trail, and museum are free for everyone to enjoy. Free parking may be found on the streets and along the riverfront near the park, however, most visitors take advantage of paid parking garages. Click here to see the park’s recommended parking options.

The circular building at the bottom center is the underground visitor center as seen from the top of the arch.

Ride to the Top of the Arch

The arch features a north tram and a south tram which both end up in the same place at the top of the arch. Built similarly to a Ferris wheel, tram pods have to shift with the curve of the arch in order to keep passengers upright. Each pod holds five people, and the ride to the top takes about four minutes. The floor of the observation deck arcs upward with the curve of the arch.

Trams to the top of the arch. Each tram car is only five feet in diameter.

At the top there are sixteen windows on each side allowing views east toward the river or west toward downtown St. Louis. Visitors spend about 8 minutes at the top before reboarding their pod and taking the ride back down.

The viewing windows at the top of the arch are 7 inches tall and 27 inches wide. The slanted wall below them allows visitors to lean forward to see the views.
Mississippi River barge as seen from the top of the arch.

The Museum

The museum features six galleries:

  • Colonial St. Louis
  • Jefferson’s Vision
  • Manifest Destiny
  • The Riverfront Era
  • New Frontiers
  • Building the Arch
Beautiful tribute to the builders of the arch.

Note in the above photo that the last piece at the top is missing and there are contraptions attached to the incomplete arch. In order to set the last section into place, engineers had to jack the legs of the arch apart. If the measurements had been off as much as 1/64th of an inch, the final piece would not have fit. Gateway Arch is truly an amazing feat of engineering. Perhaps even more amazing is that no lives were lost during its construction.

The Missouri Fur Company

The Missouri Fur Company was established in St. Louis in 1809 by a group of fur traders and businessmen from Missouri and Illinois. Over the next twenty years, the company’s expeditions explored the upper Missouri River and began trading with Native American tribes. With the navigable Mississippi River on its doorstep and the ability to ship furs north to trade for manufactured goods, Missouri Fur Company was instrumental in the establishment of St. Louis as an important trading center.

Jefferson’s Vision section

With Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase and access to riverways to explore the country’s newest lands, St. Louis became known as the “gateway to the west.”

Riverboat Era diorama

In 1817, the first steamboat arrived in St. Louis. By 1840, riverboats began rolling into St. Louis’ port daily. The city had grown into an important distribution center for imported goods from foreign countries as well as other parts of the U.S.

Riverboat Cruise

Gateway Arch National Park is home to two riverboats, the Tom Sawyer and the Becky Thatcher which were brought to the park in 1964 so interested onlookers could watch the construction of the arch. Since that time thousands of park visitors have enjoyed the boats, and it doesn’t look like Tom and Becky are going to retire anytime soon.

The dock features a cafe and bar.

Basic cruises last approximately one hour, but the park offers several other options, including dinner and specialty cruises. Visitors will learn about the points of interest along St. Louis’ waterfront as well as the history of some of the interesting bridges that cross the Mississippi River near the park.

View of the arch from the river
Three bridges and an arch!

The image above shows the Martin Luther King bridge (foreground), Eads Bridge (middle) and MacArthur Bridge (back). Here are some interesting facts about the three bridges:

  • Martin Luther King Bridge was named Veterans Bridge when it opened in 1951. Though after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, the name was changed to honor the slain civil rights leader.
  • Historic Eads Bridge opened in 1874 as the world’s first steel arch bridge. Eads Bridge is a combined road and railroad bridge.
  • Originally named St. Louis Municipal Bridge, MacArthur Bridge opened in 1917. Built as a double-deck bridge, one for automobiles and the other for trains, the bridge once carried Route 66 across the Mississippi River. Although the road deck was closed to vehicles in 1981 and eventually removed, railroads continue to use the bridge today.
Bridge number four, the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, opened in 2014.

Thanks so much for visiting Gateway Arch National Park with us! 

While you’re here, check out these other great national parks:

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

10 Amazing Things to See and Do at Big Bend National Park

Happy, safe travels, y’all!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022                  

Featured

Christmas Party Time!

Christmas is our favorite time of year, and when we’re not traveling, we love welcoming family and friends to our home. Today we’re sharing some of our decor and entertaining tips and tricks as well as a few of our favorite party food recipes. Come on in and stay awhile!

Christmas tree full of memories. Not all of the ornaments are from our travels, but we stopped counting them somewhere around 2,000.

Let’s Party

Decide what type of entertaining you want to do, pick a date, and send out the invitations! We enjoy having our friends and neighbors in for come and go open house type parties which avoid meals but include heavy hors d’oeuvres along with drinks and sweets. Our timeframe is usually from 7:00 – 10:00 in the evening, but with open houses anything goes. Think: brunch, cookies and cocoa, s’mores in the back yard, desserts only, or let your imagination run wild. In the following sections, we will show you how we do it at our house.

Photo by Nubia Navarro

The Bar

We put a table in an out of the way area of our living room away from the food and non-alcoholic drink tables. This is to keep traffic flowing and keeps the hard stuff away from the kid-friendly areas. Keep extra ice in a cooler hidden away in the garage, or outside. Tucking a box containing extra mixers under the bar makes them easy to replenish and keeps the bar top from being cluttered with too many bottles and cans.

This folding table bar works well for us, but a bar can be set up anywhere. Think: kitchen counter, entryway, patio or back porch, laundry room, or use a card table or bar cart.

Our bar includes one bottle each of scotch, blended whiskey, bourbon, tequila, gin, vodka. Mixers include still water, tonic and mineral water, ginger ale, and mini cans of Coke, and Sprite. Add cups, a bucket of ice, straws and/or swizzle sticks, napkins, a bar mat, and lemon and lime wedges for a great self-service bar.

Ranch Water: In a highball glass pour 1 shot of tequila, add ice and mineral water (Topo Chico is the brand we use), then finish with a squeeze or two of lime juice, stir and enjoy.

Photo by Timur Saglambilek – Pexels

We serve chilled wines in the kitchen, along with reusable acrylic wine glasses, napkins, and a corkscrew. Finally, we fill a galvanized tub with ice and beer and keep it in the kitchen too, along with an attached-to-the-tub bottle opener, a towel to wipe down the bottles, and plenty of napkins.

Party tip: Don’t chill bottled water. We have found that it cuts down on wasted bottles when guests have to pour it over ice in a cup.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks Bar

Hot cocoa bar along with iced tea, and cookies.

One of our newest holiday traditions is a hot cocoa bar, and now we’re including it in our parties. Try this delicious hot chocolate recipe. (Thank you, Diane!) Keep cocoa hot in a crock pot on low or warm but stir occasionally, then transfer to an airpot for serving. Accompaniments include Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips (it’s possible that you will never drink hot chocolate without them again!), peppermint stick stirrers, and mini marshmallows. Serve unsweet iced tea (or hot tea, cider, or coffee) and add a tray with sugar, artificial sweetener, and spoons for stirring. Provide guests with a dish in which to place used spoons.

Party tip: Bar mats under your drink dispensers will keep messy drips off of the table.

Bring On the Food

In this section, we’re sharing some of our favorite dishes to serve on a Christmas open house buffet along with their recipes. Nothing we serve requires silverware.

Christmas party buffet

Hand Helds
  • Mini shrimp cocktails served in shot glasses. Pipe about a tablespoon of cocktail sauce in the bottom of the shot glass, add two chilled shrimp per shooter, and serve on a tray of ice.

Mini shrimp cocktails

  • Make ahead mini cheese balls with pretzel stick handles. Buy ready-made cheese balls, then use a spoon to scoop out enough to make a 1″ ball. Roll into ball with your hands. Insert pretzel sticks just before serving. Two medium store-bought cheese balls should make about 2.5 dozen.

Caprese Skewers

  • Make ahead caprese skewers. Alternate grape tomatoes and mozzarella balls on bamboo skewers. Just before serving, drizzle with store bought balsamic glaze (not vinegar) and sprinkle with fresh chopped or dried basil.
  • Cocktail Meat Balls: 16 oz jar of grape jelly, 16 oz bottle of Heinz chili sauce, 32 oz package of frozen meatballs. Mix jelly and chili sauce together in slow cooker, add frozen meatballs and stir until coated. Cook on low 3-4 hours. Provide toothpicks for serving.
  • Smoky bacon wraps: 1 lb sliced pre-cooked bacon, 16 oz package of little smoky type sausages, 1/3 cup brown sugar. Cut each bacon slice into thirds and stretch to wrap one piece around each sausage. Secure by poking a toothpick through the sausage to hold bacon in place. Place bacon wrapped sausages in a large foil lined baking pan or cookie sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until bacon is crisp and sausage is heated through. Note: we use the pre-cooked bacon because it crisps better and faster than uncooked, but uncooked bacon may be used with a longer cooking time. (Consider doubling the recipe because these will be gone in a flash.)

Party tip: Place a large, labeled tray near your kitchen sink where guests can set reusable items such as the shot glasses and wine glasses.

Grab a Plate
  • Meat and cheese tray. Serve along with mustard, mayonnaise, and slider buns for make-it-yourself sandwiches.

Party tip: If guests will be making their own sandwiches, leave a space on the buffet table for them to set their plate down.

Veggie tray with ranch dip

  • Veggie Tray with store bought ranch dip. We slice the vegetables and arrange them ourselves. Try carrot and celery sticks, three different colors of bell peppers sliced into sticks, mini cucumbers, radishes, sugar snap peas (blanch then refrigerate sugar snaps before adding to the tray).
  • Seven-layer Taco Dip. Layer: one large can of refried beans, one large tub of guacamole dip, one large container of sour cream mixed with 1 package of mild taco seasoning, 2 cups of shredded cheese of choice, chopped tomatoes – blotted dry with paper towels, large can of sliced black olives – drained, sliced green onions including tops. Serve with tortilla chips. (Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated but wait until just before serving to add the tomatoes, olives, and green onions.)

Chunky Cranberry Salsa

  • Chunky Cranberry Salsa: 12 oz package of fresh cranberries, 1 cup sugar, 6 green onions – chopped, 1/2 cup cilantro leaves – chopped, 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped, 8 oz package of cream cheese – softened. Pulse cranberries and sugar in food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir in onions, cilantro and jalapeno. Refrigerate at least two hours but better if refrigerated overnight. Place cream cheese block on serving plate, drain salsa then spoon about half of it over the cream cheese. (The remainder will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but don’t expect it to last long because this stuff is addicting!) Serve with crackers and/or tortilla chips.

Party tip: Place a lined trash can near each drink and food area so guests can easily dispose of their trash.

Other Buffet Table Ideas
  • Mixed nuts and/or mints
  • Chips and salsa
  • Dips, spreads and assorted crackers
  • Pickle/relish tray

Desserts – Photo by Laura James

Oh, How Sweet

Desserts don’t have to be fancy, so we keep ours hand-held and simple. Here are some of our favorite store or bakery bought desserts.

  • Assorted chocolates arranged on a tiered serving tray
  • Brownie bites or fudge – place in pretty Christmas themed paper baking cups and arrange on a tray
  • One bite petit fours or mini cupcakes on a cake stand or tiered tray
  • Christmas cookie assortment

We are fortunate to have a little countertop in our dining room that works perfectly for a small dessert buffet. Dessert buffets can be set up anywhere though. Think: kitchen countertop, coffee table, entry table, desktop, bookcase etc.

Thank you so much for allowing us to share our Christmas entertaining tips and recipes. Whether you celebrate Christmas or other holidays, we hope we’ve given you some ideas that can be used for any party or family get together.

Five of the reasons our Christmases are merry and bright!

We hope each and every one of you are blessed with a joyful and safe holiday season.

Mike and Kellye

 

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!)

©2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

We Are Thankful

We originally made this post in 2019. Nothing has changed with us since then as we are still very thankful – perhaps even more so. For those of you who are not celebrating Thanksgiving this week, we hope that you find time in your busy schedules to reflect on what you are thankful for.

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We are thankful for our freedom, and grateful to those who have served and sacrificed to keep our country free. We are proud to be Americans. We fly the flag proudly, and we pray for the wisdom, judgment, and vision of our leaders so that we and future generations can continue to live happily and peacefully in this land of the free and the home of the brave.

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We are thankful for the freedom to roam. Free to travel with a sense of security. To see for ourselves the beautiful and historic lands that our forefathers preserved for us to admire and explore. Why leave this country when we have such magnificence in our own back yard?

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Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon on a crisp September morning

We are thankful for our home. We are blessed with the good fortune to have a place to land after a trip. A place where we feel at peace after a long day’s work. A place for family to gather.

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We are thankful for you. One for the Money Two for the Road blog would not be worth the time and effort if it weren’t for our friends and followers. Words can’t express how appreciative we are for your support of our site and our posts.

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We are thankful for each other. After forty-six years together, neither of us can imagine being without the other on this crazy journey we call life.

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We are thankful for our friends and family. Our lives are so very blessed with our children, our grandchildren, Kellye’s mother, our siblings, our in-laws, our nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as all of our other wonderful extended family, including good friends who we consider part of the clan.

We give thanks and praise to God. We would have nothing to be thankful for if not for His undeniable grace. May each and every one of you be blessed with a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Mike and Kellye

 

©2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Chasing a November Sunset

We were driving home from Dallas when we saw this spectacular sunset out in the middle of scrub brush and ranch land. We were fortunate that it lasted over an hour, and we got to chase it home! Just wanted to share it with you.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Mike and Kellye

Featured

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

About the site

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site preserves the history of White Haven, the 200-year-old estate that was once home to Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant. The park is located at 7400 Grant Road, St. Louis, Missouri.

The house was painted Paris Green in 1874 during Grant’s presidency and was repainted the same color during its restoration in the 1990s. The red buildings behind the house are the icehouse and chicken coop. We only took a couple of non-post-worthy pictures inside the house because our guide, Ranger Evan, was extremely interesting to listen to as she led us through the property.

Highlights of the park include:

  • Visitor center and gift shop/bookstore
  • Introductory film
  • Museum
  • Self-guided walk through the grounds
  • Self-guided tour featuring the historic trees on the property
  • Ranger-led tours of the house
  • Junior Ranger programs
  • John Y. Simon Research Library – by appointment only

The park’s website link: Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

Importance of the historic site

Ulysses S. Grant was not only the victorious commanding general of the Union Army during the Civil War, but he was also the 18th President of the United States. Grant served two terms as president from 1869 – 1877. His wife and First Lady, Julia Dent Grant spent her childhood at White Haven. Her father, Frederick Dent, who was a successful merchant and land speculator, purchased White Haven in 1820 as a country get away from the family’s city home in St. Louis. It is hard to imagine today that the family’s second home was only twelve miles from their primary residence.

Historic photo, White Haven, circa 1860

Another view of the house that we almost matched to the historic image above. The white structure behind the house is a kitchen and laundry.

Ulysses and Julia at White Haven

Ulysses met Julia in 1843 when he visited White Haven with his former West Point roommate who happened to be her older brother, Fred. After courting for only four months, Julia accepted Ulysses’ proposal, which they kept secret for over a year. However, due to the outbreak of the Mexican-American War they wouldn’t marry until 1848. Ulysses served in the U.S. Army for eleven years prior to resigning and joining his wife at White Haven in 1854 to try farming. He built a cabin on an 80-acre plot that Julia’s father had given the couple as a wedding gift, and they named the property Hardscrabble. While Grant owned one enslaved worker, a man named William Jones who had been given to him by Julia’s father, he also hired free men to work on the farm.

Hardscrabble – photo from the Library of Congress. The Grants lived in this cabin for only three months. Upon the death of her mother, Julia’s father asked her, Ulysses, and their two children to live in his White Haven home with him. They never returned to Hardscrabble. The cabin can now be seen at the family amusement venue, Grant’s Farm, which is next door to the historic site.

Grant’s Pre-Civil War Years

By 1858 Grant, now with four children, was unable to support the family by farming, but instead of selling his one slave to make money he freed the man. Slavery was a topic on which he and his father-in-law greatly differed, as Frederick Dent’s White Haven was a slave plantation. Nonetheless, after failing at farming and on the verge of being penniless, Grant leased Hardscrabble and moved his family to St. Louis where he began a real estate venture. Unfortunately, real estate was not a successful career either, so he moved his family to Galena, Illinois and went to work in his family’s leather goods business. During this time Frederick Dent lost much of White Haven to foreclosure. He also began deeding acreages to his children. Then in December of 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. By February 1861, six other states had seceded and had formed the Confederate States of America. The Civil War had begun.

This view of the back of the house shows the kitchen and laundry that was separate from the house.

Grant’s Civil War Years

After the war began, the governor of Illinois appointed Grant to lead a regiment of volunteers. Grant was so successful in training the men and gaining their respect that President Abraham Lincoln promoted him to Brigadier General. As the war continued, Lincoln became displeased with the North’s military leadership. Therefore, in March of 1864, Lincoln appointed Grant General-in-Chief of the U. S. Army, a rank that had only ever been held by George Washington. Over the following year Grant, who sometimes joined his subordinates in battle, successfully led the North to victory. Despite heavy casualties, he settled for nothing less than unconditional and immediate surrenders, which earned him the nickname, “Unconditional Surrender Grant”. The war ended on April 9, 1865, with the South’s General Robert E. Lee surrendering to Grant at Virginia’s Appomattox Courthouse.

Lee surrenders to Grant – Library of Congress image

Grant’s Post-Civil War Years

After the war, President Andrew Johnson appointed Grant Secretary of War of the reconstructing nation. During and after the war the Grants had purchased White Haven from Julia’s siblings and father and regained Hardscrabble. In 1868, Grant was elected President of the United States, having won against incumbent Andrew Johnson. The Grants moved into the White House in 1869 and hired Ulysses’ cousin’s husband to manage the farm at White Haven. By this time, Dent’s former enslaved workers had left, and French and German immigrants were hired as laborers. Grant had a barn and stables built at White Haven and began buying horses. The Grants visited White Haven as often as possible and planned to spend their retirement years there. However, the farming and livestock operation failed to make money, so in 1875, Grant sold White Haven’s assets and leased out the property. They would never return.

This stable housed Grant’s thoroughbreds. Today it houses the park’s museum.

Trivia: General Grant and Julia had been invited to join President Lincoln and the First Lady in the balcony of Ford’s Theater on April 15, 1865, the night the President was assassinated. However, the Grants had declined the invitation due to Julia wanting to visit relatives in New Jersey.

Ulysses S. Grant standing next to his wife Julia Dent Grant, who is sitting
Ulysses and Julia in 1864 or 1865 – National Park Service photo.

Grant’s Post-Presidency Years

Julia had wanted her husband to run for a third presidential term, but he refused by publicly renouncing his interest. The former President and First Lady set off on a two-year world tour, fulfilling Grant’s lifelong dream of travel.  Upon their return to the U.S., he sought to win the Republican nomination for president in the 1880 election, but the party chose James A. Garfield as their candidate. Ulysses and Julia settled in New York to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Grant was diagnosed with throat cancer in the summer of 1884. Early in 1885, the former president began writing his memoirs. Three months before his death, Grant found that he had lost his fortune to an investment scam perpetrated by his son Jesse’s business partner. Because of the swindle, the Grants also lost White Haven. He completed his memoirs just three days before his death on July 23, 1885.

Ulysses S. Grant

Museum Exhibits

Click on an image to view as a gallery.

The Grant Family: Nellie, Ulysses, Jesse, Frederick, Julia, and Ulysses, Jr.

Trivia: Ulysses S. Grant is not the former president’s actual name. His given name was Hiram Ulysses Grant. However, when his congressman submitted Ulysses’ application to West Point, he mistakenly wrote down Ulysses Simpson Grant, Simpson having been Ulysses’ mother’s maiden name. After attempting to correct the mistake at West Point to no avail, Ulysses finally gave up and signed his name as Ulysses S. Grant. The name would follow him throughout the rest of his life and into history.

Thank you so much for joining us on our visit to Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. We learned a lot during our visit, and we hope you did too.

Want to learn about other American presidents? Click on these great parks:

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Eisenhower National Historic Site

Monticello

Travel safely, and we will see you on the road.

Mike & Kellye

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As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2022