Tuesday, July 23, 2013


From Liberty we drove north to Far West.  Nothing remains of the Saint’s stay in this area except for the cornerstones which were laid for the Far West Temple back in the 1830’s.  We took pictures and it was a beautiful day for our drive.  We also had to wait for the green shirts to move so we could take our pictures.









The cornerstones are protected under these cases of glass so it was hard to actually take a picture that didn’t have reflections


We had to stand directly over the cornerstone to see it through the reflections in the glass so these pictures didn’t turn out very well




Far back picture of the monument on the east side of the temple lot which is the close ups at the first of this post.


It was wonderful to just stand on this ground and remember the important events that took place in this area and on this very spot.  So many important events and so little evidence remains.


We went to the visitor’s center in Liberty which is built on the site where the original Liberty Jail stood.  The original was torn down years ago but before it was torn down, a historian made some very detailed descriptions of the jail and even took some photos of how it was built.  The replica of the jail, located inside the visitor’s center, is as accurate as possible.


Stone walls two feet thick.  Log walls one foot thick and between the two was a layer of loose stones.  Pretty hard to break out of.  Notice the green shirts.  This was a family of about 15-20 who were all dressed in the same shirt and seemed to be just ahead of us wherever we went that day.


Ceiling of top floor is layered with loose rock and there is only a little opening into the dungeon below which is where the prisoners were held for several months.  Filthy conditions and horrible food.  Read an account of the experience and you will understand how they suffered.




Front door of the jail


One of the paintings in the visitor’s center


When we got to Independence, it was hot but not so humid which made us very happy.  Our first place to go was the Visitor’s Center in Independence, which ended up being just through the fence and shrubs from our RV park.  Very nice.



Since there are no sites in Jackson County that actually belonged to any of the Saints, the visitor center has created these displays to give us an idea of how the people lived back in the 1830’s.


Pioneer cabin


Replica of the printing press where the Book of Covenants was being printed which was destroyed by the mob



One of the first 5,000 copies printed of the Book of Mormon


Christ statue with a beautiful mural background


The visitor’s center and a nearby stake center are built on a portion of the temple lot purchased by Edward Partridge back in the 1830’s.

Across the street to the west from the LDS Visitor’s Center is the headquarters of the Community of Christ Church (formerly RLDS) and directly across another street to the north is the Community of Christ temple.  They had a museum there and a gift shop which we wanted to go to but they closed early and we ran out of time to make it before we had to move on to Winter Quarters.


Across the street kitty corner from the LDS Visitor’s Center is a building for the Church of Christ.  All of these buildings are built on a small portion of the original temple lot.


Sorry, I should have posted this one first so you could read the next post first.  There are so many things to see and do at the Arch so I’m making more than one  post.  The museum was huge and we were too pooped to walk more than was necessary because we knew we still had to make it back to the parking terrace and find the truck.  It was a long walk back, even with some shade, and it really was uphill both ways!

We saw two movies in the theaters there.  One was about the construction of the Arch which was amazing.  The other was a movie shown on the IMAX screen about Lewis & Clark’s Expedition to the Pacific northwest which was very, very good.  Both theaters had comfortable seats and lots of AC.  Here are some of the pictures we took in the lobby of the Visitor’s Center.


A wall mural sowing the Arch in the center with the designers and builders and the scaffolding and cranes they used as they fit the final 4 foot section into the very top of the Arch.


Then compared the height of the Arch to other high places like Mt. Rushmore and Washington Monument.


The Redwoods, the Statue of Liberty and Rainbow Bridge

We also shopped in the two gift shops they have there and bought a drink to help us recover enough to make the long hot walk back to the truck.  It WAS uphill both ways and we should know!

We had a really fun day but were very tired when we finally got home.  We later went out to dinner and had St. Louis BBQ.  I had ribs and Bob had beef brisket and we both had the turkey.  Very good!  We also went to a soda fountain where they made us a root beer float and we bought some Gooey Butter Cake to take home.  This Butter Cake is sold at a place called “Gooey Louie” and is unique to St. Louis.  It seems that years ago a German bakery made a butter laden coffee cake but failed to bake it as long as they should have and produced a cake with a gooey center.  They sprinkled it with powdered sugar and sold it anyway.  It became an instant favorite and they have been making it ever since.

The following day we were both stiff and sore and still tired from all the exertion but we had to hitch up and move on anyway.

We could have stayed a week longer in St. Louis and still not seen everything.  We would have liked to take a free tour of Grant’s Farm where the Budweiser  Clydesdales are kept.  They have a place where the children can pet the babies and watch the colts frolic and take a tour of the stables.  And, funny thing, they also give out free samples of their wares.


After we left Keokuk, we drove down to St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch.  My, what a place.  The bad thing was that it was so humid we about died.  They were having a heat wave the three days we were there and the humidity was about equal to the 90+ temperatures.  The arch involves lots of walking and lots of stairs.  We bought a combo ticket that gave us a riverboat ride tour of the riverfront of St. Louis plus the tram ride to the top of the arch.  As always, there were great crowds of people all wanting to do the same thing we were.  We walked a long distance and went down a huge flight of stairs and finally ended up on the riverfront in time to get on board the riverboat.  We opted to watch it all from the large windows in the air conditioned dining room.  No hot sun and humidity on the outer decks for us.  We enjoyed the narration and stayed cool for the hour we were out on the water, then we had to get off.   Here are some of the pictures we took.


We went on board the “Tom Sawyer”



Base of the Arch from out on the river


We went under many bridges


Saw a barge being loaded.  Notice how it is tilted in the water as they are loading one end first


One of the many bridges with Arch in the background


Another bridge with Arch in background


Arch and St. Louis downtown


Tiny windows of the observation deck


Best view of the Arch is from out on the River

We had forgotten something so we had to walk all the way back to where the truck was parked and we also had to climb back up all the stairs we had gone down earlier.  When we finally got back to the truck we sat in the air conditioning and ate our lunch, then we had to walk most of the way we had walked before for the second time.  Here are the pictures we took of the arch as we approached and stood near it.


That’s a long way up


As we approached the Arch along a tree lined (thank goodness) walkway


Hard to fit the whole thing in the view finder

We finally made it to the arch and had to go through security, just like at an airport.  Bob had more trouble getting through than I did with my hips.  We finally got inside the visitor’s center for the arch.  The Arch is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and is under the direction of the National Park Service.  There is a Museum of Westward Movement as part of the Visitor’s Center that focuses on Lewis & Clark, Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase.  We were so pooped from all the walking in the hot sun that we just had to sit down and soak up the AC.  We bought tickets for 1:30 and had to wait until our time was called to board the tram.  It was quite a long wait but we really didn’t mind since there were places nearby to sit down.

The tram was something else.  To get to the loading area for the tram, we had to wait in line down a long ramp.  Then we had to go down stairs and then some more stairs and then wait some more.  We were divided into groups of not more than 5 people each.  We stood in front of these little doors in groups and when the little doors opened, the people coming down got out and we got in.  Crowded and squeezed in was more like it.  They are not made for handicapped or large people, so we did the best we could.

Here are some pictures.


We had just gotten out and others had gotten in.  We took these pictures before the doors closed.  We had to step up as we turned sideways and bent our heads to fit through the narrow door.  The inside of the module is round and we couldn’t set up straight.  Definitely not a place for someone with claustrophobia



After the doors were closed.  The doors inside the module were clear so we could see all the stuff passing by as we went up and down.  It took about 4 minutes to reach the top, then the doors opened and we climbed out and went up yet a few more steps then walked a few yards up a slop to the observation deck.  The observation deck is shaped like the arch at the top so it was very uneven and a little hard to balance and walk around up there.  Here are some pictures we took from the top.


Old courthouse and St. Louis downtown


More St. Louis downtown with Cardinal’s Stadium


Zoom in of the courthouse


Mississippi River and Illinois


Inside the observation deck.  We only had these small windows to look out of and we had to lean over to do it.  This sign marks the center of the curved observation deck and thus, the center of the arch.


Mississippi River and Illinois.  I thought the shadow of the clouds on the water was interesting