Thursday, July 28, 2011


View out the front door of, My Old Historic House.

Every morning I peak out the window and see what the Mississippi is up to.

Clarksville,Mo. Mississippi River front park.

Steps to the Mississippi where you can touch it or dangle your feet in it. 

  Right in front of ,My Old Historic House, about 100 feet away ,is the Mighty Mississippi River. It is the largest river system in North America,flowing entirely in the United States. The River rises in  Western Minnesota and meanders slowly  southwest for 2,320 miles to the Mississippi Delta, at the gulf of  Mexico. With it's many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains into all , or part of, 31 US States. The Mississippi River is the 4th longest and 10 largest, among the world's rivers.
   For 10,00 years Native American's have lived along the Mississippi. Most were hunters,gathers and herders. A few were mound builders. The Indians depended on the River for  many things, water, fish,furs and travel.The Mississippi River  Valley is one of the most fertile agricultural regions of the country,formed from thick layers of the Rivers deposits of enriched soil. There has been a saying for years, that the soil along the Mississippi is so rich, all one needs to do, is throw down a seed and it will grow. We have a large burial ground of Early Native Americans ,here in my town , Clarksville.

One of the many amazing views as you approach our town.

     White settlers were soon settling along the river banks as well as the Indians. This brought trouble and tribulations to both parties. The Indians having been there for many years, felt the land was there's. The leaders  of the United States felt different. War soon came and many lives were lost. The White man won in the end and the Indians  were soon ran off the land. With the White man came the  Steamboat.A giant on the water. It changed the travel of the river for ever. Soon it was discovered that the river bottom was not always deep enough  for the steamboats, so dredging had to be done. This  fixed the river depth problem, but opened a whole  new can of warms. FLOODING. You know the old saying,"Don't mess with Mother Nature."After the steamboats came barge traffic and then Locks and Damn. And the biggest problem yet, LEVEES. When Levees are built to hold the water back, the river has to expand where it can, often in small towns , that were built on the river banks ,to take advantage of the river travel. Even with out, all the man- made problems, the Mississippi River would flood. It is a right of passage and almost sure to happen in the spring, especially after a long hard winter, filled with heavy snow amounts. Because of all the dredging, levees and locks and damns, the Mississippi  River has moved forward and this brings  the river closer to towns than it was originally. My Old Historic House, is one that through the years, has been burdened  by the  ever changing River banks.When my house, The 1845 Historic Elgin/Cottrell house was built in 1845, the Mississippi was a good mile and a half away from the front door. Today it is only about 100 feet. Records show that since 1873, floods have been all around my home. In 1873 the flood crest was 36.70 feet. Flood stage in Clarksville is 25 feet. To get into my house the river has to flood to 38 feet. Other floods on record are: 1983-33.24 ft.1866-33.24 ft.-1993-37.50 ft.(largest yet) -1973-36,70 ft.-2001-34.70 ft.-2008-36.70 ft. I have owned the house since 2006, so I have been through one major flood. I have learned a lot since then and know a little more about what to expect when that old  river begins to swell. My town, Clarksville, purchased a temporary flood wall since the flood of 2008. We put it up this spring, when there was a threat of flooding. We did not get to test it, and for that I am happy. Plans and drawings are in the works for a real flood wall. I can only hope it will happen soon.

The River bank as it looks today, minus this years flood water.
Boat docks dot the banks of the Mississippi.

    For years there has been a Romance connected to this old  Mississippi. Books, plays, musical and movies have all been written,produced and filmed about the river and its people. Some as early as 1835- when Samuel Clemens,better known by  his pen name, Mark Twain , wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in 1886.Twain grew up in Hannibal,Missouri, about 35 miles from me here in Clarksville,Missouri. That town and the Mississippi River provided the setting for his Tom and Huck books. Twain became a master riverboat piolet as well and often traveled up and down this river. Twain is often called, "The Father of American Literature." In the book, Adventures of Huck Finn, Huck and Old Joe, a slave, run away -to find Joe's freedom. They travel down the Mississippi on a home made raft. They leave Hannibal and are headed to Cario,Ill. Illinois was a slave free state. To get from Hannibal to Illinois, they had to travel right through Clarksville,Mo. I am sure, had the story been true, they would have spotted, My old Historic House, right there on the banks.Millions of people, especially students, make a trip to Hannibal every summer to see where this story took place and Mark Twain lived.

Missouri home boy, Mark Twain.

   The second Romantic chapter in the Mississippi River fame is with a Musical called;"Showboat". Showboat is a musical in two acts with music by Jerome Kern,  and words by Oscar Hammerstein.It was originally produced in New York in 1927. Based on the 1927 novel  with the same name.. The plot chronicles the lives of those living and working on the,"Cotton Blossom",  a Mississippi River showboat in 1880. The shows dominant theme include racial prejudice and tragic enduring love. Showboat is widely considered one of the most influential works of the American Musical theater.Show Boat won a Tony award for best revival of a musical in 1995. There were no awards on Broadway in 1927. The song, "O'l Man River',music by Jerome Kern, words by Oscar Hammerstein, from the musical, "Showboat", expressed the African Americans  hardships and struggles on the Mississippi River.The song is from the point of view of a riverboat dock hand, "Joe".

A luck fisherman and is grandson on the Mississippi River bank in Clarksville.,Mo.

I find these little fishermen shacks all up and down the banks. I think it would be fun to spend the night with only an oil lantern . Wonder if there is any spirit?

A view from Clarksville,Mo. town hill,

    Many other famous movies, musicals and plays have been written and produced about the Mississippi River, far to many to mention. A small list include; The Flame of New Orleans, 1941.--- Naughty Nineties, 1945----The Skeleton Key, 2000. Frankie and Johnny, Elvis Presley.---- Tammy,1967, with Debbie Reynolds,------And, Mississippi -the musical on Broadway.
    Today the Mississippi is alive with many activities. Fishermen make there livings fishing for:  Cat Fish, Carp and Buffalo. Weekenders bring out the boats and skis on beautiful days. Barges travel every hour or so, locking through Locks and Damns all the way, carrying grain, coal and other needed supplies. Riverboats carry passengers as they travel from port to port. The activity on the river in endless and is assuring that that Old Man River is alive and well. People come and just set on His banks and watch the  River Roll By. There is a suttle   peacefulness  about it's waters. Sunset comes and we never want to go home. I often set on my upstairs porch and listen, late at night ,as the water slaps the banks. In the distance a light from a barge or boat. I always feel at home, right there on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, the Father of all Water. Come by any time for a tour. I will fix us a glass of sweet tea, we can set on the porch, catch a Blue Heron fly by and hear the steamboat music in the distance,. And, Sissy Dog will be waiting with a jump and a kiss.
    "Rolling, Rolling on the River."
I guess is does! Want to try it and see if the road really ends?

2008 Flood downtown Clarksville,Mo.

Sandbags in front of, My Old Historic House, Mississippi River flood 2008.

This is the view my visitors  have as they approach ,My Old Historic House.

This was taken last night  from my side porch .

This is how, My Old Historic House, looks as you pass by on the river. 
The Mississippi at sunset!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Antique Shopping in Missouri Wine Country.

Cafe Bella, Agusta,Missouri where we had lunch.

We saw this shop across the street from Cafe Bella while we having lunch.

This is a beautiful shop.It covers a whole block and is full to the rafters.

There was a large selection of hand painted china. a favorite of mine.
    Last Friday, my friend Nancy and I went on an antique shopping adventure. Nancy has a shop, nine miles up the road in Louisiana,Mo. We run off together, every now and then and take a day and do serious antique shopping. I had a call about a private estate sale, of a former antique dealer friend of mine. So I asked Nancy if she would like to go with me and see what they had.  The sale was only a few miles from an area in Missouri, known as wine country. The little town of Agusta,Mo. has several  wineries that are well known world wide.Many of the wineries are  top award winning and  are considered  choice  wines by many critics. I counted at least 5 wineries with in a few miles of the main road. I don't drink wine, I think it taste nasty, so I for one, could not tell you if there were good or not. I had no interest in the wineries except to soak in there beauty and charm and take a few pictures for this blog post. So after we checked out the estate sale, made our purchases and  packed and loaded them up, off we went to  Missouri Wine Country. It was a beautiful, blue sky day and a warm 102 degree  in the shade. I think we were the only people in the whole town. Some shops were open and we managed to find the two antique shops that were in the town  and had  a nice lunch. We ate at a small little restaurant called, "Bella's." It was in an old brick historic building.Rather plain inside, put clean and the main thing, it was cool and the food was good. We both had the chicken salad. The waitress said it was there best seller. It  had nice chunks of fresh chicken, dried cranberries, bacon, celery,pecans and onions.It was really good and served along side it was slaw ,made of purple and green cabbage and apples.A generous helping of home made chips finished it off. I had fresh brewed sweet  ice tea and boy did it taste good after being out in that heat. All the time we were eating we were looking  out the window  at this most interesting shop right across the street. So needless to say we had a kinda hurry up lunch so we could get at our shopping.

Vintage cloths and hats.

Beautiful silk flowers.

A fun wacky-do sofa.

I wish I had a rope so I could  drag this statue home  with me behind Nancy's truck. Isn't she beautiful?

Agusta ,Missouri visitors center.

This wonderful old mansion was for sale. Of course, I wanted it.

   That shop is owned by another long time dealer friend of mine. I had not been there, but knew it would be fun and nice as  she always does such a good job. In the past ,I used to do a lot of antique shows, in and about St.Louis and Ruth, the shop owner, did them as well. We just missed Ruth, so that was a little disappointing.I was hopping to say hello and give her a hug. She had two sweet ladies working in the shop and they both went all out to make us welcome and help us with our purchases. The good thing about this shop ,was that the air conditioner was really doing a great job. This shop is a combination of old, vintage and new. Has a little something for everyone. Lots of fun vintage hats and cloths displayed and mingled among the other goodies. There was really fine antiques mixed in with 20's retro and one never knew what might be around the next corner.  Beautiful silk flowers and fun containers, also finished off the look of this shop.Like in most retail antique shops, dealers are given a slight discount, so that helps make it affordable for resale. I find a lot of my mercandise this way. I hardly have the time nor patients for auctions or  yard sales .  I found a few items that I think were priced well enough that I can resale them in my shop. At least, I hope I can. Nancy found a wonderful Victorian art glass brides basket  and I am sure she was taking it home for her own collection.
    After we left there we were directed down the street to  the only other antique shop in town.We saw lots of sweet buildings on the way. Nancy was driving and I was hanging out the window taking pictures for the blog. Every house and shop in the town had a sign that said, "Bed and Breakfast." I guess the little town would be busy on weekends as it is only about 50 miles from St.Louis. I am sure a lot of people venture out to taste the wine and have a romantic get away. Besides the wineries,cafes, the two antique shops, and many B and B's. I did not see one other business any where in the town.It is a 17 mile drive to the main highway and I am not sure how far after that before any stores for food shopping. I think it is even more isolated than here in Clarksville where I live. We only have to go 9 miles for food and gas.
   The second shop was not as great as the first. The air conditioner was not doing a good job and I was starting to doubt my freshness. I kinda just sat in a chair while Nancy looked around. One thing that did  catch    my attention was a glass case full of pearls. It was a true sight to behold. I am sure they were faux, but so much fun and so many strands. We left there and headed home. I spotted a little place with a sign that said ice cream. We stopped and got a cone, which seemed to melt faster than we could eat it. Home we went with all our treasures. I was greeted at home with many jumps and kisses from my Sissy Girl. She stayed in the shop while I was gone. Her Uncle Bruce, the town dog walker came by and gave her two outings. She seemed to manage just fine.

B and b sign's were everywhere. Even above the grain elevator.?

The second shop.

Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Grape vines were everywhere. I did not seem to get a lot of pictures of them.

     I hope you enjoy my antique shopping adventure. If you are interested in any thing I found ,just give me an email. -  or call 573- 242 -9688. I have everything priced and would be glad to wrap it and ship it. I am in the shop most days, 10 to 5, Missouri time. I wish you could come by and see the shop and take a tour of, My Old Historic House. I will leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will always meet you with a jump and a kiss.

This beautiful estate , that we went past on the way home,was a show stopper.

I bought this wonderful piano scarf. It is one of the prettiest I have seen. Silk.

I bought these bronze candlebra at the estate sale
This English silver meat dome came home with me and is for sale now in my shop. Richard's Great Stuff. Call if you are interested. Only $200.00

The workmanship on this cloth is wonderful.

Perfect condition. For sale in my shop now  for $125.00 

I did not buy these, but thought you bloggers would like to see them. Beaded hand bags from the late 1800's, early 1900's.

One of the many B and B's. in Agusta, Missouri. 

This beautiful wash bowl and pitcher set came home with me and is for sale now in my shop for $95.00.

I bought this 3-d Jasper ware plaque at the estate sale.

Hand painted vases from the state sale. They are for sale also.

Antique print of a beautiful lady and cherubs from the estate sale. Wouldn't you just love to buy it? It is for sale. Call or email. 573 242 9688

My favorite purchase. A Fritz and Floyd Pig tureen. Ain't it special. Now for sale in my shop. Only $85.00 plus shipping.

Any owl collectors out there? This one is one of two that I got at the estate sale. Both are from Italy.

Just love this little set, hand painted in Italy.

Lots of Hand Painted plates from the estate sale. These are Royal Viennia and are for sale now in my shop. 573 242 9688.

A special ending of the day, ICE CREAM!
Sissy was in her chair at the shop waiting for me when I finally made it home. Thanks to Uncle Bruce, Clarksville's dog walker, she was just fine.