Sense of Place

Profiling historical people, places and things throughout the Ozarks. Until recently, Sense of Place had been a long-running series on KSMU. We're re-launching the series in August 2017 to capture unique stories on history throughout our region. Below, see archives of our reports from over the years.

Michele Skalicky

A monument, installed nearly 100 years ago and marking explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s journey in the 19th Century to the area that’s now Springfield, is now accessible to the public.  

When explorer, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, arrived at what is now Springfield in early January, 1818, the land was yet unspoiled.  He described prairie grass so tall that a man could ride a horse through it without being seen.

Mike Smith / KSMU-FM

KSMU Producer Mike Smith:  “As the KSMU Sense of Community continues to celebrate the Centennial Year of the National Park Service, we travel a little over 140 miles east of Springfield to Van Buren Missouri, where the Headquarters of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways is located.  ONSR was created by an act of Congress in 1964 to protect and preserve the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers.”

Mike Smith / KSMU-FM

Audio:  As we enter the building a large wooden door closes, followed by the voice of Holly Baker: 

“We are in what used to be the 2nd Infantry Barracks, but right now is serving as our museum and theater.  And this is where we have our brand new exhibit The Fight Over Freedom, the story of Ft. Scott during The Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War periods”

Scott Harvey / KSMU

This once popular road, as described by Troy Banzhaf, was equivalent to modern-day highways as it connected several states and was highly traveled. A portion of this road is also infamous in the role it played in a dark time in history. Banzhaf is the chief of interpretation at Pea Ridge National Military Park in Garfield, Arkansas. This site is best known for its Civil War history and the battle that occurred there in 1862.

Kathryn Eutsler/KSMU

From the street, it doesn’t look like much. On one side, a privacy fence contains overgrown weeds that resemble mounds of green and yellow spaghetti. On the other side, rows of white and grey houses. Cars whoosh by.

"There’s an old railroad bed that runs through there.”

That’s Terry Waley, executive director of Ozark Greenways. He says the organization first acquired this land years ago, and figured:

“Someday we’ll turn it into a trail.”

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