Part 2 - Sedalia to Hermann
AMTRAK ROUTE GUIDE #50b -- Kansas City, Missouri to St. Louis, Missouri
Kansas City to Sedalia
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Hermann to St. Louis

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94 SEDALIA station, Pacific Street and North Osage Avenue.  Elevation approximately 893.  Sedalia is the county seat of Pettis County, and the 6th largest city in the State.  It was founded by General George R. Smith, the “father of Pettis County,” in 1857, who named the town “Sedville,” after his daughter Sarah, whom he called Sed.  In 1860, the town was incorporated and the name changed to Sedalia.

  During the Civil War, the U.S. Army had an installation here, and after the War, 2 railroads began in the area.  Sedalia soon became a railhead for cattle drives and stockyards began developing in the area.  Sedalia was the destination of cattle drives on the CBS television show Rawhide, which aired from 1959 to 1966.  In the late 19th Century, Sedalia was well known as a center of vice, especially prostitution, which accompanied its large floating class of railroad workers and commercial travelers.  By the 1870’s, brothels were common in town, but they had moved to one certain area along Main Street by the 1890’s.  These establishments also employed musicians, particularly piano players, contributing to a thriving musical culture.  It fostered the development of many artists, including the renowned ragtime composer Scott Joplin, who lived in Sedalia. In 1886, the Salvation Army began operating in Sedalia.

  During the 20th Century, the economy of Sedalia improved, and one industry it is now known for is its many trailer manufacturers and dealers.

  Sedalia is the home of the Missouri State Fair, held here each August.  Each June, Sedalia celebrates the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival.  In addition to Scott Joplin, Sedalia was also the home of country musician/comedian Leroy Van Dyke, best known for his song “The Auctioneer.”  Sedalia is also the home of Bothwell State Park and the Bothwell Lodge, the country retreat of lawyer John Homer Bothwell.  In 1974, Sedalia hosted the Ozark Music Festival, and in 2006, hosted the Delicious Rox Festival.  In 1909, one of the first Boy Scouts of America troops was organized here.

97 On the left (eastbound) is Sedalia Regional Airport, formerly known as Sedalia memorial Airport.  It is a city-owned public use airport.  The biggest plane ever to land at Sedalia was Bill Cosby's plane when he performed at the Missouri State Fair.  The second biggest plane ever to land here was Hank Williams, Jr.'s plane when he performed at the Missouri State Fair.

101.5-102 Pass through Smithton, named after General George R. Smith.  Then town was laid out in 1859.  It was the original county seat of Boone County, but the seat was later moved to Columbia because of Smithton's inaccessibility.

103.5 Briefly enter MORGAN County, which was created in 1833 from a part of Cooper County.  It is named after Revolutionary War hero General Daniel Morgan.  The county seat is Versailles.  In 1858, the Butterfield Stage Line passed through Morgan County, and in 1887, the courthouse in Versailles burned down, but most of the county records were intact.

  We are now slowly traveling into the Ozark Plateaus Province.  The Ozarks are a large hilly area in Missouri, in which the bedrock is much older than the bedrock we have been traversing since Kansas City.  The railroad will be crossing the Salem Plateau section of the Ozark Plateau, and is underlain by rocks of Ordovician age (450-500 million years old).  The Salem Plateau is also characterized by filled-sink structures, which are small, circular structures, primarily observed in Ordovician-aged limestone and dolomite, in which the rocks inside them are younger then the rocks surrounding them.  They have been attributed to stream channels eroded into the Ordovician rocks or ancient sinkholes formed by collapse.  Another explanation is that they were formed by ground water dissolution of dolomite which created voids in the rock layers, thus allowing overlying younger sediments to slowly sink into the voids left by the dissolution of dolomite.

106 Enter COOPER County, which was created in 1818 and named after Sarshell Cooper, an early settler who was killed by and Indian through a hole in the wall of his fort.  He had a child on his lap at the time, who was not injured.  The Cooper County seat is Boonville.

  We are now traversing an area underlain by Early Ordovician-aged dolomite.

107 Pass through Otterville, which was platted in 1837 as Elkton, named after the many elks in the area.  When the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (the “Katy”) came through the area, the name of the town was changed to Otterville, named after nearby Otter Creek.

108 Cross Lamine River, a 64-mile long tributary of the Missouri River.  It is believed to have been named by French explorer Sieur de Bourgmond, who called it “Riviere de la Mine,” in reference to lead mining in the area by Native Americans.  Because of the wide flood plain, it is believed that the outlet of the Lamine River was also blocked by ice during the Pleistocene Ice Age, as were other rivers between here and Kansas City.

112 Pass beneath Old U.S. 58.  We may be passing through a large filled-sink structure (see MP 103.5 above) here, developed in Middle Devonian-aged limestone.

112.5 Re-enter MORGAN County (see MP 103.5 above).  We are again traversing Early Ordovician-aged dolomite, primarily the Jefferson City Dolomite.

114.5-115 Pass through Syracuse, laid out in 1858 and named after Syracuse, New York.  It was originally known as Pacific City, since at that time it was the western terminus of the Missouri Pacific Railroad.

116.5 Enter MONITEAU County, which was created in 1845.  The county is named after Moniteau Creek, which flows through the county.  Moniteau is a French spelling of “Manitou,” which is an Algonquian Indian word for “Great Spirit.” The county seat is California.

119-120.5 Pass through Tipton, named after businessman W. Tipton Sealey, who donated the land he received for his part in the War of 1812 for the townsite.  He surveyed the townsite in 1858.  Also, in 1858, the Butterfield Overland Mail began, and Tipton was its eastern terminus.  In 1968, Ewald Fischer started the Fischer Manufacturing Company here, which built billiard tables.  When the pool table company started, the water tower in Tipton was painted like a huge 8-ball. Fischer’s company went on to become the largest builder of pool tables in the Nation, but the company was eventually sold.

  Tipton is the home of the Tipton Correctional Center, built in 1913.

122-124 We are now traversing Mississippian-aged sedimentary rocks.

126-127 Pass through Clarksburg, which was incorporated in 1882 and named after Hiram Clark of Kentucky, who was the town’s first postmaster.

132-133 Pass through California, the county seat of Moniteau County.  California was established in 1834 and named after California Wilson, a local citizen who offered the construction crews of the first buildings in town 2 gallons of whiskey if they would name the new city after him.  The first Moniteau County seat, however, was not California, but Boonesborough, named after Daniel Boone. When Moniteau County was created in 1845, Boonesborough was to be the county seat; however, the county court was unwilling to pay for land at Boonesborough, so decided on California as the county seat.  California was incorporated in 1848.

  California is the home of the annual Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival, held each September, the annual Cinco de Mayo Festival, the California Balloon Invitational, held annually in July, and Christmas California Style, annually held the first weekend in December.  California is also the home of the Cultural Heritage Center, Burger’s Smokehouse, the Eitzen Mansion, the Gray-Wood Buildings, and the Rice House, an 1867 Victorian mansion.

134-136 The hilly terrain we are now traversing area is underlain by the Ordovician-aged Jefferson City Dolomite and other Ordovician-aged formations of the Ozark Plateau.

138 Pass through the unincorporated community of McGirk, named after the family who owned the land on which the town was built.

141.5 Enter COLE County, created in 1820 and named after Stephen Cole, an early settler who built Cole’s Fort in Boonville.  The county was created from a part of Howard County.  The county seat is Jefferson City.

142.5-143 Pass through Centertown, named for its location near the center of the state.  It was originally known as Lookout, inspired by a nearby railroad sign saying “Look out for the [railroad] cars.”  The town was surveyed in 1867 by William Vogdt.  It is the home of the Garnett Farm Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

144-146 We are continuing to travel across the outcrop area of the Ordovician-aged Jefferson City Dolomite and other formations.

148 Pass through the unincorporated community of Elston, named after politician A.M. Elston.  Like Centertown, Elston was also surveyed by William Vogdt in 1867.

153 Gray’s Creek is adjacent to the tracks on the right (eastbound).

153.5 Cross Gray’s Creek, which was reportedly named by James Colgan, an early pioneer, who lost a old gray mare near here one fall, but then found the animal the following spring, in good condition.

155 The Missouri River is now adjacent to the railroad on the left (eastbound).  The Missouri is the longest river in North America, and begins in the western Rocky Mountains in Montana, and flows into the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis.  The combined Missouri and Mississippi River watersheds are the world’s 4th longest river system.  From 1804 until 1806, the Lewis & Clark Expedition followed the entire length of the Missouri River.  We will be following the Missouri for much of the remainder of this trip to St. Louis.

  We are entering the Jefferson City metropolitan area.

155-156 As we travel along the river, the bluffs on the right are composed of Ordovician-aged Jefferson City Dolomite.

157.5 JEFFERSON CITY station, 101 Jefferson St.  Elevation Approximately 562 ft.  This station is located in the old Union Hotel, which is a part of the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site.  Jefferson City is the county seat of Cole County, and also the capital of the State of Missouri. The Missouri State Capitol Building is located just west of the station.  The original capitol building was constructed in 1826, but burned down in 1837.  The second capitol building was immediately started, but it too burned down in 1911, after being struck by lightning.  The present capitol building was constructed in 1918.

  Jefferson City was the first city in the Nation named after President Thomas Jefferson, and was originally called Lohman’s Landing, then later Missouriopolis.  In 1821, the city was chosen as the State Capitol, but was not incorporated until 1825.  During the mid-1800’s, German immigrants settled here and began growing vineyards on either side of the Missouri River, and thus the name “The Missouri Rhineland” was applied to the area.

 The Missouri State Penitentiary was built here in 1836, and has housed both James Earl Ray, assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and bank robber Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd.

  Jefferson City is the home of Lincoln University, a historically black university, plus campuses of Columbia College and William Woods University.  It was also the home of travel writer William Frommer. Jefferson City is the home of the Safety Education Center and Law Enforcement Museum of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and also the home of the Cole County Historical Society Museum, the Missouri Veterinary Museum, and of course the Missouri State Capitol building.

158 On the right (eastbound) is the Missouri State Penitentiary (see MP 157.5 above).

162 Cross Moreau River, a tributary of the Missouri River, whose junction with the Missouri is just north of the railroad here.  The French word “Moreau” means “black,” and the river was likely named for its dark color.

163.5 On the left (eastbound) is the Museum of Missouri Military History.  Cross Rising Creek.

164.5 On the hill on the left is the Algoa Correctional Center, a minimum security prison, which is the only all-male correctional institute in the State which offers an IFI Program (InnerChange Freedom Initiative), a nonprofit Christian-based program, which begins 18 to 24 months before a prisoner’s scheduled release.

165.5 Pass through the unincorporated community of Osage City, which was surveyed by William Vogdt and platted in 1867.  It is named after the Osage River.

166 Cross Osage River and enter OSAGE County. The Osage River is a tributary of the Missouri River (see MP 171 below), named after the Osage Indians.  Its headwaters are southwest of here, in the St. Francois Mountains.  Both the Harry S. Truman Reservoir and the Lake of the Ozarks are impounded stretches of the Osage River.

  Osage County is also named for the Osage River, and was created on January 29, 1841.  The county seat is Linn.  Osage County has the highest percentage of white residents in the State of Missouri.  The Missouri Rhineland (see MP 157.5 above) extends along the Missouri River through the county.

167 We are now at the edge of the flood plain of the Osage River. On the right (eastbound) are bluffs of Jefferson City Dolomite.

170 Pass through the unincorporated community of Bonnots Mill, named after Felix Bonnott in 1852.  The community is also known as Dauphine.

171 On the left (eastbound), the Osage River enters the Missouri River.

174 Cross Loose Creek.  This name has been corrupted from L’ourse Creek (“Bear Creek” in French), which was named by Frenchman August Pickineaud.  The railroad crosses the confluence of Loose Creek with the Missouri River.

175.5 We are now bending away from the Missouri River for a few miles.

178-179 Pass through the unincorporated community of St. Aubert, platted in 1855. On the left (eastbound) is St. Aubert Chute.  St. Aubert was originally known as Medora, and named after Medora Morrow, the wife of the first settler J.M. Morrow.  In 1893, the railroad changed the name to St. Aubert.  Across St. Aubert Chute is St. Aubert Island.

179 Cross Deer Creek.

182.5-183 Pass through Chamois, named by Swiss pioneer Morgan Harper, who named the town after the small antelope which is common in the European Alps.  The town was laid out in 1856, by James Shobe.  Chamois is the home of the Alvah Washington Townley Farmstead Historic District, also known as the Osage County Museum.

189.5 Enter GASCONADE County, named by the early French settlers, who came from the Province of Gascony.  The county was named after the Gasconade River. Originally, Gasconade County included a large portion of the state to the south and west of here.  The county was created on November 25, 1820, and is located in the Missouri Rhineland area (see MP 157.5 above).  The Gasconade County seat is Hermann.

190 Pass through Morrison, which was named after early settler A.W. Morrison, a legislator who once lived here. The first permanent settlement in town took place in 1828 by Robert Shobe.

194 The Missouri River is again adjacent to the railroad on the left (eastbound). Pass through Gasconade, which was the original county seat of Gasconade County, and lost by 2 votes to become the state capital. Gasconade was platted in 1857, and also named after the Gasconade River.  It was the county seat until 1825, when it was flooded and the county seat was moved to Bartonville.

  On November 1, 1855, the Gasconade Bridge train disaster took place, when the Gasconade railroad bridge collapsed under the weight of its locomotive. 31 people were killed in the disaster.

194.5 Cross the Gasconade River, originally known as the Blue River.  The river is 280 miles long and is a tributary of the Missouri River, which it enters just left (eastbound) of the railroad.  The French Gascons were noted as being braggarts and very boastful, and it is said that the waters of this river are also very “boastful.”  The Gasconade River begins south of here, in the Ozark Mountains.

196-198 The bluffs on the right (eastbound) are still composed primarily of Ordovician-aged Jefferson City Dolomite.

202 HERMANN station, 301 Wharf Street.  Elevation approximately 517 ft.  Hermann is a German community founded in 1837 by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia, who wanted to start a town whose customs and lifestyle were more like the “old country.”  George Bayer and Edward Hermann led the early settlers here in hopes of establishing a utopian society of traditional German culture.  The city was likely named after Hermann der Cherusker, a Germanic leader who defeated the Romans at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 AD. The German settlers who moved to Missouri took up viticulture in the Missouri Rhineland (see MP 157.5 above), and the area today is still abundant with vineyards and wineries.  The industry was shut down during Prohibition, but flourished again starting in the 1960’s.

                                                                                               Hermann is also a center of fine craftsmanship, due in part to the establishment of the Deutsche Schule in the German School of Arts & Crafts.  Hermann is also the home of the Deutschheim State Historic Site, the Hermannhof Winery, the Stone Hill Winery, as well as the historic Hermann Museum.  The city celebrates a traditional German Maifest in mid-May, and a large Oktoberfest and craft show in October.