Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Back Roads of Missouri...

Last weekend we were fortunate enough to be invited to the wedding of the daughter of some of my oldest friends and it was a fun trip. They are dairy farmers like I used to be and she married a dairy farmer from Wisconsin. The newlyweds have purebred Guernseys and some good ones too. The bride's parents have a mostly purebred Holstein operation. 
I got to the Joplin area in the afternoon and took some old back roads to do some reminiscing before it was time to change clothes and get ready.
I wanted to go see the area just south of Joplin along the oldest version of 71 highway. There are currently 3 versions of this road in existence in some places if you know where to look. My late grandad helped build the oldest one. 
We soon arrived at Seligman which has a few homes and a small park. A small creek of clear water runs thru the middle of town. It is spring water coming out of the hearby hills.

At their park is this nice shelter which is an old fraternity lodge or secret society known as the "Anti-Thief Association".
I have tried to do some research into it and it appears to have been formed in the 1800's to help capture horse thieves which as everyone knows is one of the worst crimes possible back in those days. I found this building and it's builders interesting...
I do not know if they are still active but I would doubt it. I would guess this is now a public or community building used for holiday events and the like. 

Just down the road from the tiny village of Seligman and along the twisty curvy drive along the shores of Shoal Creek is the well preserved Lakehill Farm. 
Percy Smith was the original owner of this beautiful farm and had a very famous purebred Jersey cattle farm. He most likely would have sold bottled milk with the rich Jersey cream being very much in demand. His cattle won championships in the show ring and did well in the milk production area too and were in demand. He would hold "production sales" where other dairyman could buy new breeding stock with his bloodlines to improve their own herds. And of course he would have sold young bulls the year round to a customer base on a waiting list.
I am lucky enough to own one of the sale catalogs from his 1949 sale and it is in new condition. 
The farmstead and home sit near the curvy road and over look wonderful creek bottom fields of hay and crops. I never get tired of looking at this nice farm.

A set of railroad tracks run near the road on the other side and I stopped to take a photo of this nice old tunnel.
And I just loved this old ice cream sign still standing for the last 50-60 years or so along a farm.

We also saw an old church camp that would have built in the 30's most likely and was purchased by the current owner's in the 1960's.

and just beyond this neat old railroad underpass...
Was another nice old dairy farm with the old rock house on one side and the barn on the other. Sadly the round barn I have admired so many years has fallen into disrepair and rot...

and near the house was this very cool spring house with fresh cold water flowing from the rock formations in the hill and as damned up to form a pool for cooling household goods and of course milk cans from the dairy. There were rock steps to allow you to walk down into the water to place your cold items. While not the perfect 40 degrees we seek now for refrigeration, it was adequate for the times and served it's owners for many years.

This natural spring water would have been used for drinking purposes too and would have been jugged in bottles or carried in buckets to the farm house. I guess it would be fair to admit this was a natural habitat for snakes during hot summer weather too.  We talked to the current owners of the property and they gave me permission to look around. They had a nice pond with geese on it too.
Then we continued the pleasant drive soon to arrive at one of my all time favorite eating and drinking establishments known as the "Undercliff Bar and Grille" and is at the junction known as Tipton Ford. We did not have time to eat there this time but love the cave like interior of the place. When I was a kid I remember and old grocery store built at this same location that served fried chicken but it had burned down long ago.

The overflow crowd on this Saturday afternoon included alot of bikers who enjoy the back roads and character of this old area...
I went just around the corner from there and looked for the old dairy barn of my old friends the Schilling family who had a purebred Jersey dairy herd and were such nice folks. Their nice home is still in good shape although it looks empty but not much is left of their old rock barn...
The I turned around and went back towards Shoal Creek and the Undercliff Campgrounds. The manager told us to drive in and have a look around and take all the photos I wanted with no charge and I did.

It is one of those peaceful areas that rent canoes and hosts family campers as well as home to a biker rally with bands in the summer. I thought the water looked clean but the manager said it was cloudy due to recent rains.

A young family was setting up camp for a birthday party and their kids were playing with the dog and the parents let me take a photo of their party table.

Sadly it was time to head back to our hotel for the evening and I took one last photo of the Tipton Ford bridge. Not many of these long narrow bridges are left and it is a pretty one.
Thanks for riding along again and helping me relive some old memories of the places of my youth. We are back in Kansas now and having a good time as usual. Stay tuned next time for more travels with Poverty Flats...


  1. Great photos of Tipton Ford. This is really a unique area with great scenery.

  2. I believe the old red barn in your pictures is near Saginaw, as is the Anti theft Association, I pass by this barn frequently as I live in the area, and was looking for pictures of the area, we are sorry to see the red barn go. I remember passing it when I was 8 to 10 years old.