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” 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.
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
Depicts Lewis, with his faithful dog Seaman nearby, writing in his journal as he faces the river.
LEARNING THE INSTRUMENTS
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.
*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: