Archive | tourism RSS feed for this section

Monett Strawberry Festival

22 May

1st Annual Monett Strawberry Festival

June 3rd and the 5th, 2011 5:00- 10:00PM • June 4th 8:00AM- 10:00PM

In the early 1900’s Strawberries were shipped from Monett all over the U.S.A. from the railroad, just one block south of Broadway.  With that extensive history, and the fact Strawberries are in season in early June, Monett is presenting a sweet fun Festival.

The attendance to the Monett Strawberry Festival is free to the general public.  All events are accessible for people with disabilities.

Here is a listing for some of the events that will be part of the Strawberry Festival

Music:
There will be local bands and musicians playing during the day on the stage at the east end of the 400 block of Broadway.
Friday evening will feature a concert by Mark Chapman
Saturday evening will feature a concert by The Timberline Bluegrass Band
There will also be performances by Captain’s Son, Angela Bennett, Robert Pommert and The Bootkickers.
All music events are free to the public.

Drama:
A play about the history of Strawberries in Monett has been written, and will be performed each evening.

Talent Show:
There will be a “Talent Show” each day, featuring acts of all kinds, from dancing and singing to juggling, it’s open, as long as it is “Family Friendly”.

Karaoke Contest:
A Karaoke Contest will take place on Saturday.

Children’s Pageant:
A “Petite” Strawberry King and Queen will be crowned at the Strawberry Festival.  Children from infants to 5 years old can enter.

Poetry, Prose, Song, and Poster Contests:
In April and May we will be having contests for Grade School, Middle School, and High School students for Poetry, Prose, Songs and Posters relating to Strawberries in Monett.  The winners will be showcased on stage during the Festival.

Car Show:
There will be a Cruise In Car Show on Saturday.  The public will get to vote for their favorite cars, trucks and motorcycles in “Decade” categories.

Art Show:
Friday and Saturday there will be an Art Show in one of the stores on Broadway.  This art show will feature Children, Teen, and adult categories.  This will include Paintings, drawings, wood carvings, sculptures, photography, and “Other Media” catagories.

Bake Off:
There will be a contest for the best Strawberry Preserves, Jams, Pies, Cakes, Cookies, and any other Strawberry related foods, as well as best “Non-Strawberry” Berry foods.  This will be simular to the old County Fairs.

Inflatable Kid’s Rides:
There will inflatable kid’s rides provided by the Fun Zone from Cassville.  There will be a charge for these rides.

Vendors:
There will Craft Booths, Food Booths, and Non-Profit Organizaing Booths.  For information.

Our goal is to bring a fun event to Monett that is as refreshing as a step back into the past and relaxing as well as entertaining.

Come downtown, eat some strawberry ice cream or maybe some strawberry shortcake, enjoy the show.

Visit the website!

Advertisements

Piney River Brewing Company

12 May

I just found this while stumbling through twitter…thought I would share it with all you beer aficionados.

Founded in 2010, Piney River Brewing Company is a microbrewery dedicated to making distinctive craft beers that celebrate life in the Ozarks. Joleen and Brian Durham, owners, have lived and farmed in Texas County for many years, and they have enjoyed craft beer for a long time, too.

Today, Joleen and Brian live up the hill from the Little Piney River that flows into the Big Piney. They benefit from multiple fresh water springs and a waterfall on their farm, and they continually find themselves drawn to the rivers that flow around their farm and throughout the Ozarks.

Joleen and Brian first made beer on the kitchen stove, fermenting it in the basement of their 100-year old farm house. In July 2010 they partnered together to revive a 70-year old barn made from red and white oak trees harvested off the farm, and Piney River Brewing Company was born.

The barn, rechristened BARn, is home to Piney River Brewing Company. Joleen and Brian are currently brewing on a 10-gallon Sabco system, officially a nanobrewery. They are filling growlers at the brewery.

Plans are already underway for a larger brewing system and distribution throughout the Ozarks. Soon, you too can enjoy a handcrafted Piney River Brewing Company beer when you enjoy a day in the Ozarks. Keep track of our progress on the PRBC Blog.

Insane?  No…we’re having the time of our lives.

Visit the website.

Missouri State Parks of the 1960s

3 Mar

In this video we go back in time to the 1960s with a visit to the state parks of Missouri. This promotional film shows the exceptional recreational and natural opportunities offered by Missouri State Parks and enjoyed by families, fishermen and fun-seekers.

This was before iPods, cell phones, fax machines, texting, and yes, YouTube videos. There wasn’t some woman suing over burning her mouth on a hot cup of coffee and I can’t remember ever hearing about a single recall of a ’57 Chevy. No one ever mentioned terrorist or chatted over an Egg McMuffin. These were the good old days…bring ’em back.

80 Years Ago Today

1 Mar

Roaring River on opening day 1931. I guess it’s always been busy on opening day!

Current River – The Vanishing Ozarks

26 Feb

The Vanishing Ozarks from Missouri History Museum on Vimeo.


This film by my estimation was produced  somewhere between 1958-1961 after seeing the Pontiac on the ferry.  It was hard to quickly research the year, the shot went by pretty quickly but I know I am in the ballpark as there were a couple of early Volkswagon’s spotted as well on the riverbank.

By the third decade of the twentieth century, the loss of the forest resulting from the hinterland development threatened traditional ways of living along the Current River even more than had the many social and economic changes of the lumber and railroad era. Timber, the resource that attracted the railroads and many people to the Current after 1880, showed signs of playing out soon after 1900. The forest was the foundation of the uplander culture. It housed the game that the uplander hunted and fed the hogs that the hill families ate. The uplander-frontier culture’s economic tradition was based on a reactive relationship with nature. Before the introduction of large-scale lumbering, the settlers made few visible changes to the natural environment. Their hunting practices helped to deplete much of the big game but their open range livestock grazing had little impact on the forest. The loss of so many trees through unbridled lumbering, however, damaged the natural and thus the cultural habitat of the traditional homeland.

Some Ozark and state leaders saw tourism as the economic salvation of the region. The early development of modern recreation on the Current and Jacks Fork rivers accompanied the introduction of railroads into the southeast Missouri Ozarks. There were two trends in the growth of recreation. First, the railroad and lumber companies encouraged sport hunting and fishing. The depletion of the wildlife and the exodus of the large pine lumber corporations limited this activity and, by 1914, the promotion of recreation began focusing on attracting tourists to the areas scenic beauty. Although tourism boomed around the springs of southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas during the previous century, it was slow to develop in the more isolated Courtois Hills. Unlike lumbering and hunting, tourism was an unfamiliar concept to most residents of the Current River region.

Urban businessmen formed several hunting and fishing clubs and built cabin retreats on the Current River after the Current River Railroad laid its tracks to the mill of the Missouri Lumber and Mining Company. In 1888, the year that the railroad was completed, businessmen from St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield, Missouri, established two clubs. Sportsmen in St. Louis chartered the Current River Fishing and Hunting Club with a five-dollar membership fee. Another group from Springfield and Kansas City organized the Carter County Fishing and Shooting Club and charged its members twenty dollars to join. The Current Local reported that the club had 125 members and that Alex Carter, a leading political figure in Carter County, appeared to be the only member from the county. The incorporators of the club were mostly officials of the Kansas City, Ft. Scott, and Memphis Railroad, the parent company of the Current River Railroad. With lumber from the Grandin mill, the members built a clubhouse six to eight miles south of Van Buren on a bluff overlooking the Current.

In 1912, another Springfield group incorporated a club, Shannon County Hunting and Fishing Club, and built cabins on the Jacks Fork. Again, as the purpose of the corporation stated, it solicited an exclusive membership:

“The object and purpose of this club shall be to furnish facilities for bringing together as often as may be, gentlemen in commercial, manufacturing and professional pursuits throughout Southern Missouri for educational, and for recreation and improvement . . . [and] to develop the mental and moral faculties of its members.”

The Shannon County Hunting and Fishing Club out lasted the other organizations and continued to exist into the 1980s.

The records of the Carter County Fishing and Shooting Club described something of the logistics and recreation activities of late nineteenth century float trips down the Current and Jacks Fork rivers. Because of the club’s association with the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railroad (later part of the Frisco line) and because of this railroad’s partnership with area lumber companies, club members had ready access to the main KFS&M lines and the lumber trains. The sportsmen often traveled by train to Chicopee or to Chilton and from there headed the short distance downstream to the clubhouse. The favored pastime was floating and fishing down the rivers and, at least until 1930, most parties recorded in the club registry their catch and sometimes highlights of their trips. A 1907 entry by sportsmen from Carthage, Missouri, stated:

Put in Jack’s Fork about 3 miles above Eminence May 24, 1907, and floated to Club House. River about 18 inches high. Caught 60 bass, one jack salmon, one shad. Saw first engine cross Jack’s Fork. E. B. Jacobs caught a double consisting of two 3-pound bass. Had a fine time and good ride with Andy Pitman (guide) in gasoline boat.

This brief trip record noted an important transportation improvement furnished by the lumber railroad crossing the Jacks Fork. Before the construction of the tram in 1907, the fishing parties heading for the upper Jacks Fork had to depart the KFSM track at Birch Tree or Winona and travel overland by wagon to the river. They then floated downstream in canoes or johnboats, the latter was most common on the Current. The early johnboats were built of pine planks sixteen to twenty-four feet long. They were narrow (often three feet wide), flat bottomed, with slightly beveled sides. “Bow and stern [were] blunt, and the bottom at both ends tapered upward so that the boat [could] be swung easily in the current by a boatman operating with a single paddle from the stern.” Boards for making boats were carried to the departure point, along with the other sporting gear, and local woodsmen/carpenters built the boats on the spot for the fishing parties. The club records indicated that members organized float trips of varying lengths. Some excursions started up at Round Spring, on the Upper Jacks Fork, at Van Buren, or a number of other locations.

During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the tallies of fish caught boast of the Current and Jacks Fork as a “fisherman’s paradise,” but a marked decline appeared after 1900. In 1946, Charles Callison, secretary of the National Wildlife Federation, demonstrated the decline by examining the number of fish caught by members of the Carter County Fishing and Shooting Club during the decades 1890-1940. The last column of the table, displaying a person’s average catch per day, reveals two dramatic declines: first, after 1900, the catch dropped from 13.5 to 7.3 and then, after 1920, fell from 8.8 to 5.9. The number of recreational fishing trips, themselves, decreased sharply during the Great Depression decade of the 1930s. Yet the trend reflected more than just the extensive removal of fish by sportsmen. The gigging and illegal dynamiting of fish by the residents of the Current River basin also contributed to the decline.

(Excerpt From the National Park Service)

White River Monster

15 Feb

The City of Newport is located in Northeast Arkansas it’s a sleepy little river community of about 8,000 where industry, education and community leaders are working together to create a great town. Newport has been involved in numerous programs that are aimed at keeping our community the kind of place everyone would be proud to call home. From being a Keep America Beautiful Affiliate to being and Arkansas Community of Excellence, they do what it takes to live up to their motto, “Proud Past, Bright Future.” But in it’s early days sometime during the civil war things changed the town forever.

The White River Monster is a legendary large creature reportedly first spotted off the banks of the White River near Newport in northeastern Arkansas.

Some believe the White river monster may have had an impact on the Civil War. The river was used for transportation, and the monster was supposedly responsible for overturning a boat. Sightings of the monster began in 1915. On July 1 of that year, an owner of a plantation near the river saw the monster. He reported it having gray skin and “as wide as a car and three cars long.” As the news spread construction of a rope net began, but ended due to lack of money and materials.

The White River Monster was sighted again in the summer of 1971. That year, eyewitnesses who encountered the creature described it as “the size of a boxcar” with a bone protruding from its forehead. “It looked as if the thing was peeling all over, but it was a smooth type of skin or flesh,” said one, and it made strange noises that sounded like a combination of a “cow’s moo and a horse’s neigh.” Other accounts of the White River Monster described three-toed tracks, 14 inches (360 mm) in length, on Towhead Island leading down to the river through a path of bent trees and crushed bushes

The monster gets national attention.

From season 2 of The “Lost Tapes” episode. Lost Tapes depicts fictional, traumatic scenarios in which cryptids, aliens or supernatural creatures attack people. Although the series is shot in a documentary style, it is a fictional work. The series never states that its footage is real, only that it has been “inspired by the possibility that hidden creatures exist.” Normally, the episode with a quick fact introduction with conducted interviews by experts explaining the science and folklore behind the creature; however, by season 3, the factoid introduction is omitted in favor of a violent prologue committed by the episode’s creature, which set up the events in the episode.

Time Magazine in 1937 reported…
One hot morning early in July the wife of Dee Wyatt, Negro sharecropper living on the banks of White River near Newport, Ark. shuffled out to her backyard pump, drew a bucket of water, groaned a mite as she paused to rest her back. Casually she glanced across the turgid river, then shrieked and scurried into the ramshackle house after her husband. Dee Wyatt popped his head out, took one look, and straightway headed for the home of Bramlett Bateman, nearest white farmer. He and his wife, he informed Farmer Bateman, had seen a monster. Neither of them had been drinking. Farmer Bateman skeptically stepped over to the river, then let out a whoop. Sure enough, there was a monster, “as big as a box car and as slick as a slimy elephant without legs.” Farmer Bateman rushed off to Newport, six miles away.

This White River story was warmly welcomed by the nation’s press, for 1937 has been a dull year for monsters. Preliminary indications were that Newport’s might be the monster-of-the-year. Twelve reputable citizens bore out Discoverers Bateman and Wyatt. Farmer Bateman and the Newport chamber of commerce built a fence around the viewing spot, charged 25¢ admission. Signs were tacked up on all roads—”This Way to the White River Monster.” The story skyrocketed when the chamber of commerce announced that Charles B. Brown, a diver from Memphis, had been hired to investigate at the spot the monster was seen.

After talking to the discoverers, Diver Brown said, “In my opinion it’s nothing more than a large fish—maybe a catfish.” He had a razor-edged, eight-foot harpoon prepared. In Washington, the Bureau of Fisheries said it might be an alligator gar, which reputedly grows, sometimes, to be 20 ft. long. Other guesses: water-logged tree trunk, sunken barge, eruption of subterranean gases throwing up leaf accumulation, devil fish, sturgeon, or Old Blue, the legendary giant catfish of the Mississippi who every so often gets stuck in a canal lock or nudges in the bottom of a barge. As Diver Brown prepared for his first descent, Newport called an unofficial holiday. Lining the shore were hundreds of out-of-towners munching Farmer Bateman’s barbecued goat sandwiches and sipping his cold drinks. A loudspeaker was erected and after much ado on the great morning, Diver Brown went down into the swirling river, rendered muddier than usual by recent rains. He reported that visibility was only three inches, came up after 75 minutes of fumbling around. In the afternoon he descended again, returned with no report. Far into the night spectators amused themselves at a “Monster Dance” beneath flickering lamps. Next day attendance fell off, but Diver Brown descended again. When an air valve jammed in the helmet of his diving suit, he popped unexpectedly to the surface, still having seen nothing. By this time the crowds had melted completely away and so, presently, did Diver Brown.

A River Monster in Arkansas?
by Dale Cox

In a deep eddy of the White River near the town of Newport, Arkansas, believers say that the South’s version of the Loch Ness Monster resides. The White River Monster has been reported since at least the early 1900s, although some monster fans have vaguely suggested that it might have been involved in the sinking of a boat on the river during the Civil War. Boats were sunk in the White River during the war, but nothing in the official records of the Civil War armies and navies suggests a monster was involved.

The first documented case of something strange in the river actually dates from about 50 years later. In December of 1912, an Arkansas newspaper reported that timber workers floating rafts of cedar on the White River below Branson, Missouri, had seen something large and strange on the bottom. At first they thought it was a boulder, but then they became convinced it was a gigantic turtle: They estimated its weight at 300 pounds. The report of the big river monster created quite a sensation among the sportsmen of Branson, and Tom Brainard, one of the local anglers, organized a party to go and capture it. As it will be impossible to gig the turtle they took a number of strong ropes which they will endeavor to loop over it and land it in that manner.

The White River Monster? This aerial photo appears to show a large mass moving across the White River, trailed by a barely visible serpentine wake.

One thing is certain, the nation’s newspaper editors were looking for an exotic story to splash across their pages and the White River Monster fit the bill. The story spread across the United States and by July 13, 1937, even the Trenton, New Jersey, carried the story of a state bridge toll collector’s effort to snag the beast: Newport residents fashioned a big rope net today in the hope of being able to snare a mysterious “monster” whose presence in a 60-foot deep White River eddy six miles south of here has frightened Negro plantation workers. W.E. Penix, State toll bridge collector, directing the net making activities, ordered it be constructed 40 feet long and 15 feet wide with meshes of six or eight inches. He estimated it would require a week or 10 days to complete the net and said a convoy of motorboats would sweep the eddy with it. Six days later news went out over the Associated Press that a “river bottom walker” was going after the monster. Hired by the local Chamber of Commerce, Charles B. Brown of the U.S. Engineer’s Office in Memphis reported that he did not expect to encounter anything dangerous in the White River, but would carry along a giant harpoon just in case. He was convinced the monster was a fish of some sort, most likely a giant catfish.

 

When will the next sighting take place? Could the monster have moved up river before the dams on the White River were built? Could the monster be in the stretches of James River below Hootentown? Only time will tell.

Ozarks Jon Boat Plans & Information

6 Feb

If you google Jon Boat you’ll find a good amount of information on these boats, building plans, stories and information. Looking through it all I began to notice references to Ozarks Jon Boats and many different articles with authors claims as to where it originated. Stating they came from Arkansas to Pennsylvania but in almost every instance the word “Ozarks” is used. I imagine the name Ozarks Jon Boat is named Ozarks Jon Boat for a reason and it would have to be because it was originated right here in the Ozarks. At least that’s what I am going with because I want to believe that to be true. Whether it is or it isn’t really doesn’t matter the White and James Rivers were the hot bed and that’s a fact. 

No one was more responsible for popularizing the Jon Boat and float fishing than the Jefferson City newspaper  advertising manager Jim Owen who visited the Ozarks in 1933 and built a thriving guide business from the mid 1930’s through the fifties. Owens publicized his business all over the nation and attracted wealthy business men and famous folks. He brought in reporters from Life, Look, Outdoor Life and Sports Afield who wrote articles about their adventures and spread the fishing gospel to the masses. Owens was smart enough to hire local colorful guides to shuttle those people down the White River on eight day floats. The floats were quite the elaborate set up including expensive equipment and provisions and of course the famous, custom made “Ozarks Jon Boats”. The guided trips generally had what is known as a commissary boat that would accompany the trip and float ahead of the fishermen to the next camp site and set up tents and prepared for the evening meal. Owens guides had $2.00 a day rates when they started around 1935 with a fleet of six boats and a truck to haul them. At it’s peak Owens had 40 boats and 35 guides which made a whopping $10 a day.  His last float trip was in 1958. A Cotter, AR, trout dock bought his equipment soon afterward. Owen suffered a stroke in 1966 and died in 1972.

For the day the boats were something special, they were built wide enough to allow folding chairs to be used to increase the customers comfort rather that sitting on the standard old wooden plank we are all too familiar with. The business and the boat builders thrived through the fifties until the Army Corp of Engineers dammed up the White River and sealed the fate of the industry. Looking back now it’s easy to see what happened to the Jon Boats popularity after Table Rock Dam was built, it simply all but disappeared with the exception of a few die hard builders on the Big Piney and the Current Rivers. No disrespect to those builders and guides but we all know the party was over.  Jim Owen made the Jon Boat, James River, White River and float fishing business famous from coast to coast, make no mistake about it. Towns like Galena never really recovered their tourism business when he shut the doors.  The romance of the river as it was is gone as the crowd made it’s move to the new large impoundments and for as much as the music industry made Branson the lake didn’t hurt.

If you are interested in building your own Ozarks Jon Boat here are some resources.

PDF Document on Ozarks Jon Boats

THE OZARK JOHNBOAT by Stephen Hough

OZARK JOHN BOAT by Townsend Godsey

Ozarkian by Jim Michalak

Would you like to take a guided trip in an authentic Ozarks Jon Boat? Contact Kyle, he can make it happen, make sure to request a Hootentown launch! We’re in the designated trophy smallmouth section of the river.

LongBoat Outfitters or drop Kyle a note.

You also might be interested in this interview about Kyle and Longboat Outfitters.

 

Thanks to Kyle for the entertainment!