Historic Charleston, MO- First Steps into the Louisiana Purchase

Historic Charleston, MO- First Steps into the Louisiana Purchase

1584 1200 Laura (Abernathy) Huffman

The dogwoods and azaleas are the star of the show during the third week of April in Charleston, MO. Just like Hollywood or Broadway, the stars are surrounded by a supporting cast that has merit of its own. The history that surrounds this small town in the Upper Delta Region of the Middle Mississippi River Valley makes Charleston a worthy stop any time of year.

By Laura (Abernathy) Huffman

“First Steps into the Louisiana Purchase” near Charleston, MO. Image by Laura (Abernathy) Huffman for Population 91.

“First Steps into the Louisiana Purchase” marker is located inside Major Harry Whipple Park. Signage taught us that the six beautiful limestone columns that frame the four murals were originally part of the 1903 Mississippi County Courthouse that burned in 1997. We nodded approvingly at that tidbit of information. Symbolism is prevalent at this historic marker site. A Spanish flag, a French flag, and an 1803 United States flag normally fly at the tribute. The three flags represent each country who once laid claim to the land.

“First Steps into the Louisiana Purchase” Image by Laura (Abernathy) Huffman for Population 91.

First Steps into the Louisiana Purchase” Image by Laura (Abernathy) Huffman for Population 91.

The murals were painted by Joan Nash Robbins and Glenda Manche. Each began as a 5×7 drawing that was projected (and enlarged) onto the panel. The image was then transferred onto the panel using vine charcoal and then painted with acrylics. Each panel is protected with a protective coating. Each mural depicts a scene from Lewis and Clark’s encampment at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

THE JOURNAL WRITER

“The Journal Writer”  Image by Laura (Abernathy) Huffman for Population 91.

Depicts Lewis, with his faithful dog Seaman nearby, writing in his journal as he faces the river.

FIRST LANDING

First Landing” Image by Laura (Abernathy) Huffman for Population 91.

LEARNING THE INSTRUMENTS

“Learning the Instruments”  Image by Laura (Abernathy) Huffman for Population 91.

Second Lieutenant William Clark practices with a sexton in a canoe at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Captain Meriwether Lewis makes notations in his journal.

PUSHING AWAY

“Pushing Away” Image by Laura (Abernathy) Huffman for Population 91

*During our Charleston, MO adventure Population 91 dined at Bread + Butter (Poplar Bluff), City Limits Grill (Charleston), and Waffle & Pancake House (Charleston). We lodged at Quality Inn. Plan your trip at www.charlestonmo.org.

Our trip was not hosted or sponsored and all opinions are those of Population 91 staff.

Learn more about the history of Charleston, Missouri:

The Moore Home

Laura (Abernathy) Huffman

Content creator for www.population91.com Traveler, Historian, Explorer, Discoverer, Storyteller, Blogger, Wanderer, Ozarkian, Ingress Resistance Agent, Master Naturalist, Caver, Persimmon Picker

All stories by:Laura (Abernathy) Huffman
4 comments
  • Sandi Struwe Gillum April 30, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    I grew up on Charleston but left 50 years ago. The Molly French garden club held sales of dogwoods and azaleas each year so many of the shrubs and trees that you gazed at this weekend were ones that i watched these ladies sell and plant long before the first festival. My sister recently returned to Charleston to live and bought a small house on Commercial St which reportedly has some of the oldest azalea plants in town. I hope to return next year for the big 50!!

    • Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories. I’ll be writing a small bit about the garden club in a future post- so stay tuned! Best wishes to you and your sister. Enjoy the 50th! —Laura

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Laura (Abernathy) Huffman

Content creator for www.population91.com Traveler, Historian, Explorer, Discoverer, Storyteller, Blogger, Wanderer, Ozarkian, Ingress Resistance Agent, Master Naturalist, Caver, Persimmon Picker

All stories by:Laura (Abernathy) Huffman
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