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Winter 2010 Vol. 15 No. 1 $3.99

Illinois Tugs at Iowa’s Pride Town rivalry fuels festival

Unearthing Cahokia

World Heritage Site provides peek into prehistoric Indian culture

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EDITOR Dear Readers, A misconception of the Midwest is that we lack history. We don’t have Ellis Island or the Washington Monument, but scattered throughout the Midwest we have our own hidden treasures. In this issue, we wandered away from traditional museums and disovered the past elsewhere.We found history under farm fields (pg. 26) and in baseball stadiums (pg. 44). In Illinois, we discovered the largest prehistoric Indian settlement north of Mexico (pg. 40). In Missouri’s capital, we found an abandoned state penitentiary that houses 74 years of memories and, today, paranormal possibilities (pg. 12). In more recent history, Iowa and Illinois faced off for the 24th year in an epic battle of tugof-war (pg. 6). This winter, discover what’s hidden underneath the snow covered tri-state region. Don’t forget to take pictures along the way to enter in next issue’s photo contest: Return to Your Roots.


Keep taking Detours,


Stephanie Hall Editor in Chief





Stephanie Hall Shawn Shinneman Sarah Neuman Rebecca Fels Andrea Hewitt Patrick Gross Alexandria Witt Angela Scheperle Dana Bruxvoort Megan Burik Cassandra McCarty Jessica Rapp Shawn Shinneman Amanda Goeser Elizabeth Koch Shawn Shinneman Megan Burik Jessica Scheetz Jennifer Brownell Rebecca Fels Rebekah Gates Huyen Dinh Erin Semple Emily James Allie Topfer Andrew Donigan


James Cianciola


Detours is a copyrighted publication. No material from this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written consent of the Detours adviser and staff. Detours is distributed in the tri-state region of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. Opinions expressed in Detours are not necessarily the views of the Detours staff. Detours is not responsible for the full cost of an advertisement if an error occurs.

100 E. Normal Barnett Media Center Kirksville, MO 63501 Phone: 660.785.7438 Fax: 660.785.7601

Vedic astronomical instruments, located in Vedic City’s observatory, are used to calculate the movement of the sun, moon and stars.



Cover photo by Jessica Rapp




06 Illinois Tugs at Iowa’s Pride 12 Haunted Memories Town rivalry fuels festival

Missouri State Penitentiary closes its doors to felons, opens them to tourists

16 Classic and Quirky Eats Vedic City Rises Above 18

Detours editors pick top eats in the Midwest Iowa town built on tranquility and environmentalism

24 Snagged in Time

Museum displays treasures from a sunken steamboat


26 Nature’s Wild Ride Fantastic Caverns offers a drive-through adventure

30 Tivoli Traverses Time 1920s theatre perseveres through multiple ownership changes

32 Back to Basics in 38 Botna Bend The Forgotten


Photo contest winners

Iowa park expands activities to build community during economic decline

40 Unearthing Cahokia

World Heritage Site provides peek into prehistoric Indian culture

Innings Immersed in 44 Nine Wrigley Tradition A Cubs fan’s encounter with baseball’s oldest stadium

49 Calendar

Upcoming events in the tri-state region



Town rivalry fuels festival


STORY AND PHOTOS BY DANA BRUXVOORT It’s a weekend that involves a 2,700-foot-long rope, a 2,200-foot-wide river, more than 50,000 tourists and two intensely competitive towns. This is a tug-of-war of epic proportions. The contest between LeClaire, Iowa, and Port Byron, Ill., spans the Mississippi River. The tug is the culminating event of Tug Fest, a three-day festival in mid-August that takes place in each town. The competition began 24 years ago when someone from Port Byron challenged someone from LeClaire to a tugging contest. Since then, the tug and the festival have grown in size and popularity. Going into this year’s competition, Illinois led the rivalry 13-10, and Iowa hadn’t won the contest since 2006. “The camaraderie of all the people, the enjoyment that they have, the competition across the river. … It just brings the whole area together better,” said Tom Tomlinson, who was enjoying his third Tug Fest in LeClaire. During Tug Fest, 35,000 visitors swoop down upon LeClaire, a town with a population of 2,700. The festival takes place on the town’s riverfront, where colorful carnival rides and games line the levee. Families and children enjoy attractions such as a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, ring tosses and a carousel. Further along the levee, the scent of tenderloins and popcorn wafts through the summer heat while country music resounds from speakers. In addition to carnival rides and food vendors, LeClaire’s festival features a parade, a 5K run, live music and




One Iowa team exerts effort in its round of the competition. Tuggers plant their feet and hold tightly, periodically 133 stepping and pulling back together.



Tug Master Matt Thoene (front) leads an Iowa team during Tug Fest.

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An Iowa tugger squints in the sun as he watches the clock count down to the end of another tug.

Children in LeClaire, Iowa, participate in their own tug-ofwar during Tug Fest.

entertainment, a children’s tug and fireworks that are shot off from a barge situated in the river between the two towns. Port Byron offers a separate festival with food and craft vendors, a motorcycle show, children’s games, live entertainment and inflatable rides. Tony DeCap, president of Port Byron’s Tug Fest, said the town doesn’t have room for the type of carnival LeClaire hosts, but that their festival still draws between 20,000 and 25,000 visitors. Despite the numerous activities at the festivals, the tug is the main event. Training for the competition begins months before the contest because, as LeClaire tugger Sara Griffin from Davenport, Iowa, said, it’s much harder than it looks. “It is pretty intense,” Griffin said. “We start practicing in May and we go all the way up to the Wednesday before the tug.” In an effort to improve their performance from the past few years, the LeClaire teams started training earlier this year and held practices twice a week. Griffin said she made close friends during the training process and that her fellow tuggers came to feel like a family. There are ten male teams with 20 members each, and one female team with 25 members. Sometimes one or two women pull for a men’s team. The Iowa teams are coached by three tug masters.Tug Master Matt Thoene said practices consist of tugging on ropes with weights attached to the end or pulling on a rope that is tied to a tree. He said there aren’t tryouts or requirements to be on the teams but that most participants are at least 16 years old. Thoene said practices are important because there is a definite technique and form to tugging, especially since the rope is 2,700 feet long and weighs 750 pounds. “It’s 90 percent about technique and 10 percent about

strength,” he said. “It’s the longest three minutes of your life.” As the time of the big event neared on the Saturday of Tug Fest, the entire crowd on the LeClaire riverfront migrated toward the tug pit, an elevated strip of the riverbank held up by a retaining wall. The contest is comprised of 11 three-minute rounds, and the winner of each round is determined by how much rope the respective sides pulled. Whichever side wins the majority of the rounds is the overall winner. LeClaire won the first round of the contest by a 25-foot margin, and then the two towns alternated wins for the next five rounds. The Iowa fans erupted into cheers and waved pom-poms in the air each time their tuggers gained more rope. During the tugs, Thoene paced around the pit, enthusiastically coaching and encouraging his teams. The teams stepped and pulled back in rhythm as the rope skimmed across the surface of the river. The clock ticked down each round and the crowd counted down the final seconds. Illinois gained momentum during the second half of the contest and, in the end, Iowa had won only four of the eleven rounds. After 24 years of tugs, the score stands Illinois: 14, Iowa: 10. Scott Stubblefield, another Iowa tug master, said he wasn’t disappointed with Iowa’s loss because this year was a definite improvement over the past few years. “I think with a little bit more work and a little bit more effort next year from our guys, we’ll be able to bring the trophy back,” Stubblefield said. Iowa hasn’t possessed the traveling trophy since LeClaire’s last win in 2006. Stubblefield said the mechanics of the renovated tug pit,






the longest three “ It’s minutes of your life.


which added stability to the tugging, made a huge difference in the outcome of this year’s contest. Similar to Port Byron’s, the new LeClaire pit runs parallel to the river instead of perpendicularly, and the rope is fed through a pulley system at a 90-degree angle. Also, the surface of the tug pit was a changed from a clay base to a sand and dirt mixture. Another major reason LeClaire won more tugs this year, Stubblefield said, was the amount of practice they put in. As a tug master, he organizes the practices and trains tuggers on technique. This was Stubblefield’s second year as a tug master but his seventh year attending the festival as a tugger. “You come out and try it once and it really hooks you in, and it gets in your blood,” Stubblefield said. “You’ll be back every year.” Angela Mapes, president and events coordinator of LeClaire’s Tug Fest, said that after two years of losing 11-0, she also was happy with this year’s tug results. Mapes has been president of LeClaire’s Tug Fest for thirteen years, and she said planning for next year started soon after this year’s festival ended. CNN and ESPN are planning on covering the tug in 2011, in celebration of its 25th year. Mapes said she thinks next year’s festival will be another highly celebrated event. “Tug Fest is a one-of-a-kind, unique family festival that’s the only human tug-of-war across a body [of water] like the Mississippi River,” she said. With a rope spanning the widest river in the country and two small towns pulling with all their pride and strength, this is one of the only occasions that warrants shutting down the Mississippi River to boat traffic. Anyone in attendance would say there’s nothing small about it.

OPPOSITE: An Iowa team lines up in preparation for a tug.



BELOW: LeClaire’s festival, which has carnival rides and games in addition to the tug, draws 35,000 visitors.



Missouri State Penitentiary closes its doors to felons, opens them to tourists STORY AND PHOTOS BY ANGELA SCHEPERLE

The two main reasons [people visit the penitentiary] are the historical value and the kind of mystery behind it. [People are] kind of intrigued by what goes on in there, what it looks like inside a prison.


OPPOSITE: After nearly two centuries of housing the state’s most serious offenders, the Missouri State Penitentiary still stands tall.




Touring the cells, the group didn’t notice the storm brewing outside. Suddenly, a huge gust of wind slammed the massive unit door shut. Random noises sounded throughout the cells, creating a strange and uncertain clamor. The tour guide attempted to assure the group that the noise was simply loose cell windows blowing open and shut in the violent bursts of wind, but the sporadic nature of the sounds made it seem like something unnatural or supernatural was responsible. Inside the walls of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, the possibility of paranormal existence seems promising. In fact, several visitors have reported seeing a woman wearing grey in the women’s prison area on different occasions. Mark Schreiber, a former deputy warden at the penitentiary, said he has not had any personal encounters with other beings but does not discount the possibility. “If any place should be haunted, this would be the place,” Schreiber said. “Certainly with the thousands of lives that were impacted and the hundreds of people who died here, both for violent and nonviolent reasons, then this would certainly be a place where you would expect for that kind of activity to exist.” The Missouri State Penitentiary was built in 1836 in an effort to establish the city as the capitol of Missouri. It was the oldest continuously operating prison west of the Mississippi River when it closed in 2004, replaced by thewmodern Missouri State Correctional Facility. The former prison holds an abundance of memories and stories created during its approximately 170 years of operation, which tourists have been able to experience since its May 2009 opening. “The two main reasons [people visit the penitentiary] are the historical value and the kind of mystery behind it,” said Sarah Stroesser, communications manager for the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau. “[People are] kind of intrigued by what goes on in there, what it looks like inside a prison.” Tourist Eva Yeager had never seen anything like the Missouri State Penitentiary before the tour. “I was just curious to see,” Yeager said. “You always see movies and TV, but to actually get to see the places people were held and get the real stories behind them — I wanted to know more about the existence of it.” The penitentiary has five head tour guides, all of whom experienced working inside the penitentiary during its operation.

Numerous inmates called this cell home throughout the 170 years of operation.

“ If any place should be haunted, this would be the place. ” WINTER 2010



One of the penitentiary’s tour guides, Mark Schreiber, worked inside the walls for a total of 36 years. Schreiber draws from his own memories at the prison to make each tour unforgettable. “I have 10,000 memories,” Schreiber said. “Every tour is very similar in a lot of ways, but it’s also different because people may say something to you that sparks something in your memory that brings a story to mind.” One story Schreiber likes to share is the first murder he ever witnessed at the penitentiary. He describes how one inmate chased another inmate across the courtyard with a prison-made shank and backed him against the outside wall of a building before stabbing him to death in the flower bed. Along with the personal and sometimes gruesome stories, another highlight of the tour is the four-story A4 Housing Unit where several notorious inmates were held. The famous boxer, Sonny Liston, learned to fight in the prison, where public boxing matches were held periodically. Another inmate held in the housing unit was James Earl Ray Jr., who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. one year after escaping from the prison in 1967. The penitentiary also has a dungeon intact below the housing unit. Although half of it was converted into showers, the untouched half is still equipped with shackles. In the early days of punishment systems, inmates were held for months in these large, cavernous cells with absolutely no light, sometimes resulting in blindness. Visitors are able to experience the utter darkness to get a hint of how torturous this incarceration would have been. The last part of the prison tour is the gas chamber, housed in a small building located outside of the courtyard. Thirty-nine people were executed in the gas chamber, which is now open for exploration. Tourists will have no trouble picturing executions or any other operation of the former prison, because it has been practically untouched since its closing in 2004. Any maintenance or changes to the penitentiary are under the control of the Missouri State Penitentiary Redevelopment Commission in the Office of Administration. Schreiber said there are currently no funds to maintain the prison. However, it has become one of the largest tourist attractions in the area. “The penitentiary has the ability to make Jefferson City a huge draw to tourists,” Stroesser said. “I believe that if we can continue to grow the tours and expand our offerings, it really will grow to be something close to what Alcatraz is. It’s such a great treasure for Jefferson City, but also for the state of Missouri.” There are two types of tours offered at the penitentiary — a two-hour walking tour and a more in-depth four-hour walking tour. Typically people start by taking the two-hour tour and come back again for the four-hour tour, Stroesser said. The longer tour allows people to hear more stories and see more buildings, including the women’s prison.


“ Former inmates want to see what it looks like now, how it’s changed since they’ve been here.


Once tightly locked, doors and gates swing wide open at the penitentiary these days.


Winter 2010

Stroesser said the tourism aspect of the penitentiary could be expanded to focus on the paranormal. Several paranormal investigator groups have contacted the Jefferson City Tourism Board about exploring it, including the Travel Channel’s new series, “Haunted Places in America.” All plans for such groups are pending approval from the Missouri Office of Administration. Aside from the tourism value, the facility also retains an emotional value. Many former employees and even former inmates have a deep connection to the penitentiary, and they sometimes come to take tours. “Former inmates want to see what it looks like now, how it’s changed since they’ve been here,” Schreiber said. The personal connection inmates felt toward the prison was most apparent when it closed in 2004. “A lot of the men in there actually left me little notes and said, ‘You know we understand how you feel about this place. We feel the same way,’ or ‘I’ve been here for 30 years and this was still my home,’” Schreiber said. “And so it’s kind of like when you go from an old school to a new school. You have a lot of memories of that old school.” The Missouri State Penitentiary holds the memories of the people who lived and worked within it, and some think that it holds the ghosts of those who lost their lives within it. Visitors can decide for themselves if they think paranormal activity exists within the walls.

Classic and Detours editors pick top eats in the Midwest

Fong’s Pizza Des Moines, Iowa When the owners of Fong’s Pizza took over the location of Des Moines’ oldest Chinese restaurant, they incorporated the Asian history of the building to their menu. The result: Crab Ragoon pizza, Iowan Pizza and Chinese Cheesesticks. The décor is as diverse as the food, with Chinese, Polynesian and Italian influences and a ’40s and ’50s style tikki bar. Photo Courtesy of Fong’s Pizza

Korma Sutra Kansas City, Mo. Boasting fresh chicken and ingredients, Korma Sutra calls itself Kansas City area’s best Indian dining and catering experience. A relaxed atmosphere accompanies the authentic Indian food. The restaurant serves a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals paired with genuine Indian beverages. Photo Courtesy of Korma Sutra


Charlie Gitto’s St. Louis, Mo. Family owned and operated for three decades, Charlie Gitto’s provides authentic Italian food to St. Louis patrons. The original location in downtown St. Louis has attracted sports celebrities, but Charlie Gitto’s ‘on the hill’ sits in the middle of St. Louis’ Italian neighborhood. The restaurant is known for its toasted ravioli, a St. Louis favorite. Photo Courtesy of Charlie Gitto’s



Eats Harry Caray’s Tavern Chicago, Ill. Located in Wrigleyville and now also on Navy Pier, Harry Caray’s Tavern is a classic sports bar and grill, loaded with Chicago sports history. Dozens of flat screen high definition TVs are scattered throughout the spacious dining area. The bar is the same length as the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate — 60-feet, 6-inches — so there’s plenty of room for sports fanatics to take in the spirit of Chicago. Photo Courtesy of Harry Caray’s

Bluecat Brewpub Rock Island, Ill. The Bluecat Brewpub is a relaxing local pub located in the heart of downtown Rock Island, one of the Quad Cities. This independent microbrewery serves up some interesting flavors of beer, including Off the Rail Pale Ale. It’s a local watering hole with a low-key atmosphere, great for groups and families.



Photo Courtesy of Bluecat Brewpub

Vedic City Rises Above Iowa town built on tranquility and environmentalism

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The Maharishi Tower of Invincibility, located on the campus of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, serves as a monument for leaders in the TM’s movement to obtain world peace.



Rush hour in Vedic City, Iowa, is an understatement. Every day, just minutes before 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., its main street transforms from a desolate country road into a gently moving caravan carrying approximately 1,900 passengers intent upon achieving world peace. This common objective attracts visitors from all over the world to the heart of the Hawkeye State, many of them followers of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement and believers of the tranquil lifestyle. They eat organicallygrown foods, live in housing built according to natural principles and make sustainability a priority in the 2,200 acres of land bordering Fairfield, Iowa, that they call home. Twice a day, they make the pilgrimage to two shimmering gold-domed complexes to cross their legs in the lotus position, close their eyes and meditate, to improve not only their own health but to better the society surrounding them. The TM organization cites numerous studies that it says proves its method works and distinguishes the program from other common forms of meditation or yoga. Jeffrey Cohen, director of the Invincible America Assembly at accredited Maharishi University of Management (MUM), said TMers demonstrated their method in Washington, and even as far away as Lebanon. Cohen said that in Lebanon, statistics showed a “direct correlation” between the size of the groups meditating and the amount of crime and violence in the area. “In Washington, D.C., large groups of TM mediaters convened to show that [their technique] would lower the crime rate in D.C.,” Cohen said. “And in fact, statistical analysis showed that it lowered violent crime by… a very significant amount. And again, it was reviewed by experts and sociologists.” Since the 1950s, six million people worldwide reached a consensus that the program developed by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, famed guru to the Beatles, is worth following. In fact, their dedication and belief is so strong that adults pay up to $4,000 in fees to enter the three stage TM-Siddhi program, even though they likely won’t advance past stage one. The reason most TMers remain stuck in the first stage is because of Newton’s law of universal gravitation. That idea doesn’t hold down some TMers, who hope one day to levitate after following Maharishi’s mind-over-matter Vedic Science principles. Until then, some manage the stage one concept of Yogic Flying by physically hopping in lotus position during meditation, an experience Cohen said links to inner bliss.

Although the effects of TM are said to benefit the individual, Cohen said Maharishi had good reason for wanting group participation in meditation. He described how it works like this: Listening to music on just one quality speaker probably wouldn’t destroy an eardrum, but the addition of a second speaker results in music that’s doubly loud. Two more speakers double the volume again. Eight speakers result in an exponentially more deafening sound. People meditating in close proximity to each other create this same effect, Cohen said. Some TMers call it nirvana. Others call it the “unified field.” Cohen said there are many names for the state of mind people transcend to when practicing TM. Those who devote time and patience to the process — and who don’t fall asleep while doing so — could attain the ability to reach the “source of thought,” a mental dimension he said is comprised of an infinite field of energy, creativity and intelligence. Individuals can walk away from the meditation feeling less stressed and enjoying numerous other health benefits. “You get very deep rest, and rest is a way to get rid of the impurities in your nervous system, chemical and structural imbalances,” Cohen said. “The benefit of that is when you come out of meditation, you feel better, you have more energy, you think more clearly, you’re happier and your relationships are better.” Maharishi’s ability to fully internalize and utilize the effects of TM probably had a lot to do with how the movement proliferated, said Chris Johnson, city councilmember of Vedic City and manager of Rukmapura Park Hotel. Maharishi developed TM in India during the 1950s and traveled to the U.S. a decade later, attracting mostly young followers looking for spiritual alternatives and self-improvement. At that time, Johnson became one of Maharishi’s staff members in San Francisco, watching his leader

work almost around the clock. “His energy was very dynamic,” Johnson said. “He only slept a couple of hours a night. I worked on his staff for a few years, and he would have two or three staffs working around him because he would go 22 or 23 hours a day, and no one else could do that.” Johnson’s family of real estate developers brought TM’s hub to Fairfield in 1989 with the intent of building a Sthapatya Vedic development, a settlement that uses ancient Vedic principles for construction based on “sacred formulas,” similar to the concept of Masonic building traditions, he said. With Maharishi’s guidance, he and other developers built houses using specific dimensions and room placement to produce positive, healthy effects for the environment and the homeowner. In most of the residences, the kitchen is located in the southeast corner of the structure, while the house itself faces the sunrise. Vedic City became an official city in 2001, boasting an outdoor Vedic observatory that features a complex system of sundials, two hotels and The Raj, an Ayurveda health spa known for its gem light therapy and herbal treatments. Tourists can drive through the town to view the uncommon structures, visit the nearby Maharishi University of Management and enjoy an organic meal at one of Fairfield’s many restaurants that feature Indian and vegetarian cuisine provided by the farm located four miles north of the city. Dean Goodale, manager of Maharishi Vedic City Organic Farms, said its fruit and vegetable growing operation is one of the largest of its kind in Iowa, with nearly two acres of greenhouses occupying approximately 160 total acres of farmland. The greenhouses are operated by a wind turbine, which was partially paid for by a USDA grant for renewable energy.


The little things don’t matter as much. DIANE VANCE MUM STUDENT

All of the 50 varieties of fruit and vegetables grown at the farm are USDA-certified organic and grown in soil without chemicals or genetic modifications. These vegetables are then shipped out to stores and restaurants in the southern and central portions of the state. During the early stages of Vedic City, developers also set aside 50 acres of the property that served as the best areas for conservation and preservation. Within a few years, they had transformed these acres from cornfields and a few trees to lakes, restored wetlands, prairies and forests. “It’s loaded with all kinds of birds, geese, deer and rabbit, which in turn makes a nice environment for the people who live out here,” Johnson said. “Aside from people’s vegetable gardens, everyone enjoys the presence of the animals.” They also introduced drought-resistant plants and other greenery that could offer a habitat value, such as food or areas for nesting. Johnson said that thanks to the combined efforts of Vedic City, the university and the Fairfield community toward new-age sustainability, this patch of green in Iowa is becoming known nationwide as more than just a TM center — it’s a location for sustainability, “green” building, energy efficiency, the arts and spiritual development.



This Vedic City mansion is topped with a golden kalash on the rooftop. The residence faces east to satisfy Vedic principles.

This street sign directs those making their daily pilgrimage to the domes for TM.

Vedic astronomical instruments, located in Vedic City’s observatory, are used to calculate the movement of the sun, moon and stars.


Newcomers can enjoy the benefits of the alternative lifestyle without purchasing one of the properties that can cost anywhere from $60,000 to one million dollars. The university accepts students of all backgrounds and provides a long list of degrees for those with interests other than Vedic Science. Former journalist Diane Vance moved from Keokuk, Iowa, to Fairfield and was accepted to MUM. She said a divorce and other unexpected life turns left her wanting a new career and lifestyle. “I wanted to come here because I knew it would be nurturing,” she said. “Some of the other students said they Googled the most stress-free place in the U.S. and this came up.” As Vance pursues her degree in education and does some soul searching, she looks to the TM program to make her feel more grounded. “The little things don’t matter as much,” she said about the personal effects of post-meditation. “You don’t get so dramatic over things that happen that otherwise might really be setting you off.”


Residents of Vedic City abide by the state’s organic farming standards when planting gardens or any other vegetation on their property.

Although not a skeptic herself, Vance said she’s aware of the reputation Vedic City gained from certain members of nearby areas — “Some people thought this was just too weird.” But Vedic City councilmember Johnson said he hopes to address these reservations by improving marketing tactics during the next few years to make the perks of the town accessible to more people. Director of Invincible America Assembly Cohen, who has spent portions of his life in other big U.S. cities, said living in Vedic City is not as strange as some might think and provides a restorative and comfortable experience compared to other locations. “When I leave Fairfield and I’m traveling back to Vedic City, I can actually feel myself settling down, feeling more relaxed as I get closer to town,” he said.

Raj hotel and spa



“The Mansion”



Vedic City Capital




Museum displays treasures from a sunken steamboat

I A myriad of artifacts line the walls of the museum.

Museums need to be “educational, but they also need to be entertaining. ” WINTER 2010




In 1856, a walnut tree stump wedged into the muddy bottoms of the Missouri River abruptly halted Steamboat Arabia’s churning upstream journey. The stump opened a fatal hole in the hull, causing the ship to begin to sink. The travelers and crew members from the steamboat ferried themselves to the riverside, leaving behind the westward-headed freight, boxes full of personal possessions and a doomed donkey. Engulfed by the river, the Steamboat Arabia became an accidental time capsule, sealed off from the elements for years under layers of sediment. Instead of reaching the small towns along the river, the contents of the Arabia now provide a slice of life in the 1850s for visitors to the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City, Mo. As many do, the course of the Missouri River has changed throughout time. The Hawley family’s course changed as well when stories about steamboat hunting from a business client inspired David Hawley, now Arabia excavator and museum manager, to hunt for the buried treasure of the Arabia. While Hawley fixed his client’s furnace on a service call, the client told him stories about searching for steamboats. Hawley left the call ready to start his own adventure. “I checked out boat books at the library and I’ve been looking for ‘em ever since,” Hawley said. “The Arabia was one of many that sank on the river.” After researching and test-drilling to find the exact site, Hawley located the Steamboat Arabia. It was buried under fertile northeastern Kansas farmland that bordered the Missouri River. “At the time my brother and I had kind of a young family, little kids growing up and doing all the things that young families do, and taking on a big steamboat project like that was a lot to take on,” Hawley said. “But it was exciting, it was fun. ... It was allconsuming, and we loved that too.” Following the discovery of the sunken Arabia came months of careful digging, dewatering and demudding. Hawley hired an Iowa mining company to build the equipment necessary to clear out the ground water. The work took place during the winter, because the heavy trucks required the frozen farmland to be able to cross the two miles between the county road and the dig site. Then treasures began appearing from beneath layers of thick Kansas mud.


Top & Bottom: Restored artifacts are set up as they would have been in a Western general store. Middle: Eternally stalled, these machines once propelled the Arabia. “We found 5,000 shoes on the boat,” Hawley said. “It takes four months each to do those.” Hawley said they are looking for a larger space to house the entire bulk of the objects and to display some of the bigger items like pre-fabricated houses — items that do not fit in the current museum space. But in the meantime, the museum offers an aesthetic slice of life from 1856. “Museums need to be educational, but they also need to be entertaining,” Hawley said. “We have 20,000 school kids come through throughout the year... they get a sense of what life was like 150 years ago.” The museum even houses the fateful snag, an acknowledgement that because of it, all the cargo and all the stories of Steamboat Arabia did not reach their intended destinations. Instead, they laid in wait for the right man with the right passion to exhume, preserve and exhibit them for visitors for years to come.



“One day we found cases of pie fillings and I took pictures of those,” Hawley said. “[I] realized that was the first color photograph ever taken by any photographer anywhere ... of a pre-Civil War blueberry or pre-Civil War cherry ... that was like time travel.” Barrel after barrel, crate after crate, the Arabia revealed more of its wonders, all 200 tons of them. “It was a fully loaded, 1850s steamboat,” Hawley said. “You don’t see that anywhere … None of us around today were around when the steamboats traveled, and none of us have ever seen a steamboat unload, so we don’t have a sense of the huge volume they carried.” The exhumed items now fill the Steamboat Arabia Museum and invite visitors to step into 1856. Tour guide Paula Rose directs visitors around the first part of the museum, providing an introduction to the time period and the Arabia itself before leaving the group to explore the carefully preserved artifacts for themselves. “I think people get really excited just when they see the vast quantity of objects,” Rose said. “Some of the technological innovations that they didn’t know existed in the 19th century.” Row upon row of doorknobs and dresses, pickles and pins line the walls, along with approximations of the lives of those typically traveling by steamboat in the 1850s — merchants, families and crew. A replicated general store and dining room display some of the everyday items in their practical 1800s use. Personal objects like buttons and dolls that westward bound settlers brought with them evoke a sense of frontier life in the museum, although the artifacts have not been used for over a century. Keith Nelson, a first-time visitor from St. Louis, found the quality of the items displayed intriguing. “They have the brown doorknobs that are very ornate and they’re really nice looking,” Nelson said. “I was really surprised how good of shape they were in. That and the old padlocks are neat.” Amid the vast quantities of cargo, large steamboat parts placed throughout the museum offer a glimpse into the mechanics of an 1850s steamboat. The original paddle wheel churns water in a pool, echoing sounds from the Missouri River. The Steamboat Arabia Museum boasts repeat visitors along with visitors from around the world, each with their own individual enthusiasm for the time period. David Hawley, Arabia excavator and museum manager, has seen visitors find niche interests in the wide array of cargo displayed. “People who collect things tend to gravitate to those things they collect, like sewing people go to sewing supplies — the buttons, the needles — tool guys go to the tools,” Hawley said. “For everything we’ve found, there’s a group that collects it.” Some visitors have an interest as specific as counting how many threads per inch were in the fabric at that time in history, Hawley said. Civil War re-enactors also come to study the collection. To ensure visitors can enjoy the artifacts for years to come, the museum uses meticulous preservation methods. Keeping the items in top shape started from day one of the winter excavation. Bringing the items out of the ground into cold air minimized damages. The artifacts require further preservation to prevent deterioration when exposed to oxygen. Hawley said the preservation methods vary in manner and difficulty, depending on the item. “If you’ve got just leather, or just wood or just fabrics then, you know, that’s not tough,” Hawley said. “But when you have dissimilar items like a gun... To take it apart would mean damaging the artifact. So now you’ve got to work on two much different types of material, but at the same time.” Hawley said the preservation of all the contents of the Arabia will take a total of about 30 years to complete, with about 10 years still to go. Those items waiting to be eternalized sit in blocks of ice in a room the size of a railroad caboose.

Fanstastic Caverns offers a drive-through adventure

Stalactites covered in calcite deposits hang from the ceiling of Fantastic Caverns.




Sometimes I like to put a little fear into [the tourists], just momentarily, just to make it interesting.



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Winter 2010 WINTER 2010


The year was 1862, and a farmer chased his dog over the rolling hills of the Ozark Mountains. When the man finally caught up to his pet, he found the dog nudging at a spot hidden under the dense foliage. Upon further inspection, the farmer, John Knox, discovered that underneath his rural farm a vast cave waited to be explored. Once hidden by nature, Fantastic Caverns, as it is known today, is now the highlight of Springfield, Mo.: a half-mile long cave, buried 130 feet underground. Missouri is home to approximately 6,300 caves, but Fantastic Caverns has distinguished itself as one of only four drive-through caves in the world and the only one in North America. When John Knox first discovered Fantastic Caverns in 1862, Missourians were violently divided by the Civil War. Due to the possibility that the cave housed valuable saltpeter, a mineral used to make gunpowder, Knox worried that it would be commandeered by soldiers, either of the North or South. Determined to keep the cave secret, Knox waited until 1867 to place an advertisement in a Springfield newspaper calling for explorers to investigate his cave. Twelve female members of a Springfield athletics club responded to his appeal. The friends, armed with makeshift lanterns and dressed in petticoats, were the first people to enter the cave. As they walked deep into the darkness, it was not an animal or a human that caused them to turn back but a dangerous sink hole. Tourists today can witness for themselves how far the explorers went inside the cave because their names, the date, and the claim ‘First Explorers’ is inscribed on the wall. Throughout the years, Fantastic Caverns became a revolving door for various enterprises. Knox opened his cave to tourists shortly after the initial exploration. In 1887, Knox sold the property to Alfred Rogers, who named it Percy Cave after his son. Rogers wired the cave for electricity and built a bandstand inside for live music. The cave was sold again in 1911 to J. W. Crowe, a cattle broker who installed a dance floor, thus establishing the Percy Cave Speakeasy. Due to the cool temperature of the cave, 60 degrees year-round, Percy Cave was the perfect location for the lounge. It was very popular until a man was shot by his brother-in-law during an argument over property, forcing the police to close the establishment. Afterward, the property was sold to local farmer Ira England, who closed the cave to the public and unintentionally opened it to lawless vagrants, who then used it as a hideout from 1923 to 1927. England’s wife reopened the cave after his death and dubbed it Fantastic Caverns.

Fantastic Caverns is one of only four drive-through caves in the world.


[The cave] is very impressive. It is quite a natural wonder.


After the death of England’s wife in 1955, the cave was sold to the Trimble family, who was already in the entertainment business. The family continued to improve the facilities and introduced the popular radio show Farmarama, which was nationally broadcast live by ABC in the spacious Auditorium Room of the cave. The variety show featured music legends such as Buck Owens, Ray Price and Bobby Lewis and also pioneered the type of “hillbilly comedy” that is popular in the region to this day. Recently, Fantastic Caverns was sold to the Campbell family, who managed the cave under the Trimble family. The site has drawn visitors from all over and in large masses. But still, it is ever-evolving and facing new challenges. Kirk Hansen, marketing director of Fantastic Caverns, said the recession has been a challenge. “We have to try and come up with more ideas and things to do,” Hansen said. “But our crowds have held fairly steady over the past few years, and in this business, that appears to be good.” Another priority of the Fantastic Caverns family is to educate the public about land conservation. Fantastic Caverns provides entertaining Jeep-drawn tours in an effort to educate visitors about the cave. Guests are invited to take pictures and ask questions as tour guides like Don Paul Pirwitz maneuver their passenger-laden wagons across winding paths throughout the cave. Pirwitz is a retired radio personality who loves to entertain and make people laugh. He works humor into his tour and especially enjoys debunking popular myths about caves, such as the fear that bats frequently attack. “Sometimes I like to put a little fear into [the tourists], just momentarily, just to make it interesting,” Pirwtiz said. Throughout the tour, guides also describe the thriving ecosystem teeming under the dark, dripping walls of the cave. Bats use it as a cool bedroom during the day. Fish, salamanders and crayfish creep through the pools of water that stem from a spring and small river on the park grounds. Due to the extreme darkness of the cave, these amphibians are all blind, and many are colorless, never having been exposed to sunlight. The rooms of the cave consist of many kinds of geological phenomena. While many of the cave’s rooms are inaccessible by automobile, guests are treated to seeing some of the largest and most beautiful chambers. The Auditorium Room is an enormous space that holds huge crowds of people. The Paradise Room is filled with spectacular formations covered in sparkling calcite deposits. The Hall of Giants is home to many floor-to-ceiling formations, created from stalactites growing from the ceiling to meet stalagmites reaching up from the ground. Throughout the cave, other interesting types of formations are displayed, such as small, delicate soda straws that eventually become impressive stalactites descending from the ceiling like giant chandeliers. Ed Wakeman from Ohio found the cave to be especially beautiful. While visiting the area, he and his wife were looking at brochures for various attractions in a hotel lobby. As someone who has visited other caves throughout the country, Fantastic Caverns caught his eye. “[The cave] is very impressive,” Wakeman said. “It is quite a natural wonder.”




1920s theatre perseveres through multiple ownership changes


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was a photograph of “ There the Tivoli Theatre box office window with a handwritten note in it that said ‘Closed Forever,’ and that just broke my heart.


auditoriums to the theatre. Although he faced a huge project, Edwards said he wanted to create an atmosphere that reflected the way in which movies should be viewed. He said his favorite part of going to the Tivoli is the moment when the curtain rises as the movie begins. Even though Edwards purchased the Tivoli theatre in order to provide St. Louis with a piece of history, he did add his own personality to the place. Edwards owns several buildings located on Delmar, and within each building he installs display cases that reflect whatever theme that specific business is about. In the case of the Tivoli theatre, Edwards added the display cases in the lobby that hold statues and figurines. “I also did movie collages of movie posters that I got out of old catalogues,” Edwards said. “I collected a bunch of original St. Louis-related movie posters that are originals that either have St. Louis in the title or have St. Louis actors or actresses.” Today, the Tivoli theatre is leased by Landmark Theatres, which specializes in showing foreign and independent films. Tom Anson, lead assistant manager of Landmark, said that although the Tivoli is no longer a venue for the vaudeville acts the theatre was used for initially, it does make use of the orchestra pit for special occasions. “Landmark chooses to play foreign and independent films because we try to cater to the customer looking for something that the big multiplexes don’t, or won’t, play,” Anson said. Landmark Theatres originally operated the Tivoli from 1977 to 1991 and resumed its lease in 1999. Anson said the company could not continue running the business in 1991 because of the deteriorating appearance, stemming from the lack of attention to the building’s physical needs. However, when Edwards bought and restored the building in 1994, Landmark Theatres reconsidered its initial decision to vacate the Tivoli Theatre and entered into negotiations to reclaim it. St. Louis resident James Thomas said he has been coming to the Tivoli Theatre for more than six years. He and his colleagues were attending a press screening for a film not yet released and he said he really enjoys watching movies at the Tivoli. “I love everything about this place, like the grandeur and how it was refurbished,” he said. The theatre hasn’t always been so highly regarded. However, once again, looming in the distance, the 25-foot sign is bright with a neon light. The Tivoli Theatre is open.

OPPOSITE: After almost 90 years of business, the Tivoli retains its place on Delmar Loop in St. Louis, as well as its 1920s glamour.




Through the great glass doors, large circular lamps with an orange tinge hang from the ceiling. Above the hanging lamps, elaborate designs painted with soft greens and blues decorate the ceiling. The walls are peach-toned marble with spiraling shots of brown and black- and grey-speckled linoleum covers the floor. On either side of the lobby, glass cases are positioned against the walls with doll-like figurines such as Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind greeting the crowds who will enter the movie theatre. The Tivoli Theatre, located on the Delmar Loop in St. Louis, closed its glass doors in 1994 until it was purchased that same year by St. Louis resident Joe Edwards. On May 19, 1995, Edwards reopened the theatre, revealing a space restored to its former 1920s glory. When the Tivoli originally opened on May 24, 1924, the giant red velvet curtain parted to reveal the sounds of the Jules Silberberg Orchestra. However, the effects of the Great Depression left the theatre’s auditorium seats empty. Even though the theatre survived the economic downfall, the numerous changes in ownership ultimately hindered the creation of a successful business. Instead, multiple owners let the place fall into disrepair, never updating or making repairs because of the cost of restorations. “In 1994 I picked up the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and on the front page there was a photograph of the Tivoli Theatre box office window with a handwritten note in it that said ‘Closed Forever,’ and that just broke my heart,” Edwards said. Edwards, who also owns the restaurant Blueberry Hill, said he wanted to restore the theatre because of its historical value to the area. After seeing the photograph of the Tivoli in the newspaper, he decided he couldn’t allow a place that had been a part of the St. Louis landscape for so long to end up as rubble. Almost immediately, he entered into negotiations with two banks to take out loans for the restoration process. In the end, the renovations would cost approximately two million dollars. Today, the Tivoli theatre is registered as a historic landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. During the restoration, the destroyed Tivoli sign was taken down, the marquee was torn up and replaced with tacky signage and there was a gaping hole in the roof of the main theatre, Edwards said. In order to save money, the previous owners did not repair the hole in the roof over the screen in the main auditorium, Edwards said. Instead, they moved the screen forward and cut out approximately one-third of the seats in the audience. He said he made some interesting architectural finds while restoring the theatre. “The air conditioning duct work was right down the center of [the main theatre], and they put a drop ceiling and covered up the beautiful ceiling and recessed domes,” Edwards said. “In fact, nobody knew the recessed domes were there until after I bought the building.” Despite the degradation of the theatre, Edwards was able to salvage several original features of the building, including the medallions that adorned the walls. He said there were enough of the medallions left to make molds and recreate the image throughout the building. He also brought in a color specialist to create a palate of red, gold, green and blue paints for the walls and decorative designs and replaced the old theatre curtain with a new red velvet curtain. Originally, the theatre had only one room for viewing films, but when Edwards took possession of the building, he added two more


FIRST PLACE “Neutral” by Krista Goodman Taken in Millersburg, Iowa



Honorable Mention



“Old Stone Table” by Melody Mahder Taken in Aran Islands, Ireland


RIGHT: “Morning Light” by Jessica Jenkot Taken in Walhalla, Mich.


Honorable Mentions


LEFT: “Hope” by Megan Ondr Taken in St. Louis, Mo.


Winter 2010

BELOW: “Lone Cart in Mongolian Grasslands” by Jessica Rapp Taken in Inner Mongolia, China

Honorable Mentions ABOVE: “Prize Every Time” by Blaise Hart-Schmidt Taken in Elizabethtown, Kentucky


OPPOSITE: “Forgotten Treasure” by Melody Mahder Taken in Aran Islands, Ireland



Winter 2010


Iowa park expands activities to build community during economic decline


Despite the nation’s sluggish economy, one type of travel Diane Eggers and her family have been regulars at the park destination has seen growth in recent years. Or perhaps for more than 20 years. The Eggers started the tradition by bringing it is because of the economy that campgrounds and parks their children, and now their grandchildren often join them. like Botna Bend Park in Hancock, Iowa, have seen more “We just enjoy the natural beauty of it all,” Eggers said. visitors in the past few years. “There are wild animals and all different types of plants and “People are not able to travel as far [these days],” park vegetation. Being close to the river is also nice.” ranger Jon Fenner said. “Camping, in my mind, is kind of Botna Bend offers fishing, sand volleyball pits, bicycling like fishing — you can make it expensive, or you can make and hiking trails, a playground, horseshoe pits and a newly it a pretty cheap, fun thing to do. You don’t have to buy an renovated community center. In addition to outdoor activities, expensive camper to go camping.” Botna Bend also has begun offering children’s activities. The park has seen a 50 percent “There are several of us that increase in campers during the are regulars at the park and we do last eight years. Botna Bend’s a lot of volunteerism,” Eggers said. community center has seen almost “With also having a [volunteer] a 100 percent increase in use during park host, we do a lot of crafts and recent years, as well, Fenner said. movies for kids. So we have more Botna Bend Park was activities that are out there and established in the 1960s to provide available for families.” space for camping and outdoor Botna Bend has expanded activities. Situated approximately its activities in recent years due one hour from Omaha, Neb., and to volunteers like the Eggers. less than two hours from Des DIANE EGGERS Another volunteer, Al Conyers, Moines, Iowa, the park attracts REGULAR VISITOR TO BOTNA BEND stays at Botna Bend with his wife visitors from across the Midwest. during the summer. Instead of being state-run, Botna Bend Park is part of the “This is my favorite park and it has been for many Pottawattamie County Conservation Board — meaning the years,” Conyers said. “I got shut out of my job a few years park is operated on a local level only. back and brought my camper to the park.” “We have a lot of parks and a lot of spaces for people to Conyers assists Fenner by checking on campers, visit, like [Botna Bend],” Fenner said. “A lot of places in Iowa, feeding the park’s animals and maintaining the more than and even the Midwest, don’t have a lot of public land. We 100 acres of the park’s land. grow corn and soybeans or have pastures. It is really important Botna Bend is located on the West Nishnabotna that we have that public land for people to enjoy.” River, providing more activities for park guests while


We just enjoy the natural beauty of it all. There are wild animals and all different types of plants and vegetation. Being close to the river is also nice.




also adding to the upkeep needs of the park and local community. In order to keep the river in a usable condition for recreation, clean-up efforts are required. In July 2010, Botna Bend received help from Iowa’s Project AWARE (A Watershed Awareness River Expedition), where 130 volunteers removed more than nine tons of trash from the river in one week. “It’s a really good program,” Fenner said. “Any trash they can get in a canoe, they haul out. …They did have some people from eastern Iowa that came over and stayed all week. There is a lot of dedication.” In order to keep costs low, Botna Bend’s staff includes two seasonal employees, just one volunteer and the park ranger, Fenner said. A small crew doesn’t stop Botna Bend from providing a variety of things to see and do. In addition to tent and motor home camping, the park is also home to approximately 20 adult bison and elk and a herd of their young. The animals are often a highlight for visitors, Fenner said. “When the male elk is growing his antlers, people will drive through every day just to see how much bigger they are,” Fenner said. “We do get a lot of people who didn’t know we have animals, and then they will come back to

bring people with them.” Because of Botna Bend’s location on the river, the park is also a beginning and ending point for many water-based activities. Rubber Duck Outfitters arranges activities such as tubing, tanking, canoeing and kayaking trips. Brian Leaders and his wife created Rubber Duck Outfitters because the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board was planning either to update water equipment or to do away with water services altogether at Botna Bend. One of the float trips that Rubber Duck Outfitters offers is called tanking, an activity similar to tubing, but participants don’t get wet. The group sits on a bench around the outside of an eight-foot-round-metal tank for the trip down the river. Up to five adults can float in one tank. Leaders said not many people have tanked before, but that those who try it really enjoy it. “I think the most exciting part of it is, one, being able to provide a fun service to people, and two, getting to meet so many different people,” Leaders said. Park regulars enjoy the increase in visitors due to expanded attractions. “[The water trips] give the park another dimension,” Eggers said. “It really attracts a lot of different people for different reasons. Some come to go canoeing and others come just to relax.”



Visitors to Botna Bend Park enjoy water activities like tubing, tanking, canoeing and kayaking on the West Nishnabotna River in Southwest Iowa.

World Heritage Site provides peek into prehistoric Indian culture

TOP: Visitors climb to the the top of Monks Mound, the largest at Cahokia, to view the entire site and beyond.

14 40

BOTTOM: The Interpretive Center’s exhibits show advancements in the Cahokian civilization.




The Cahokians were workers. They dug vast pits and transported the earth to a different location, creating a mound. They carried the dirt in woven baskets, usually weighing approximately 50 to 60 pounds, on their backs. But the small communities of Cahokians and the seemingly endless areas of grassy hills are now surrounded by concrete structures and roads. Today, visitors take tours of the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico, located just minutes from a bustling metropolis, looking at the mounds and exploring the interpretive center to learn about Cahokian culture.

Cahokian Civilization The Cahokians were late Woodland Indians that first settled in the Cahokia area in approximately 700 A.D. They were considered Mississippian Indians because they settled approximately 12 miles from the Mississippi River, near present-day St. Louis in Collinsville, Ill. They hunted, fished and farmed, surrounding the outside of the city with crops such as squash, sunflowers and corn. This growing community developed structured social classes and political and social systems. Cahokian civilization peaked from 1050 to 1200 A.D. and became a central area for surrounding towns. It was the largest city north of Mexico, spanning over six square miles and housing anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 people. Lila Vick, volunteer and tour guide, has worked at Cahokia Mounds for 16 years. “It’s the idea of telling people about who was here before them and about the way they lived and what they believed in,” Vick said. “What happened here helps us understand any society ... There’s lessons to be learned from knowing about past civilizations.” Cahokia Mounds was a community that once covered approximately 4,000 acres and boasted more than 120 earthen mounds. Seventy of these are still present and protected on the now 2,200-acre site. The reason for Cahokia’s decline, around 1300 A.D., is still unknown, but experts think it might be a result of climate changes, lack of resources, overpopulation or societal conflicts.

The Cahokians built several types of mounds, each with a specific purpose. Researchers think that more than 50 million cubic feet of earth was transported to create these structures. Ridgetop and conical mounds were used for burials of important people or to mark important locations. Rectangular-based mounds had buildings atop them. The largest mound is Monks Mound, which was possibly intended as housing for the paramount chief or for ceremonial purposes. Vick said a visitor favorite is climbing to the top of Monks Mound. She said the awesomeness of the more than 14-acre base, 100-foot high mound can’t be fully comprehended until visitors stand at the top and imagine what it must have been like to build it. Gazing out from the top of Monks Mound, visitors can see the St. Louis skyline and a view of other mounds scattered throughout the site. Monks Mound is the largest man-made earthen mound in North America and originally had stairs and four terraces to the top. Excavations have revealed that a building was once at the top of the mound, indicating it was possibly the home of the Cahokian leader or used for ceremonial purposes. Kathy Miles said the most interesting fact she learned during her visit was that Monks Mound might have been where the paramount chief lived, because she would have expected the largest mound to be for something else, like burials. She said it was unbelievable that the Cahokians built the mounds themselves by carrying dirt on their backs. “It’s amazing what [they] did with no modern tools — no bulldozers,” Miles said.



Site Highlights

not like Indiana Jones. “ It’s It’s hard, it’s dirty, but when your trowel hits something that hasn’t seen the light of day in a thousand years… you have a connection.


The recreated village includes life-sized replicas of Cahokians and their homes.



Visitors can view the St. Louis skyline from the top of Monks Mound.

Excavations of one ridgetop mound have shown that approximately 300 burials took place there, almost completely of women. The sole exception, an elite male, estimated to be approximately 45 years old, was buried there upon 20,000 beads made out of seashells that were in the shape of a bird, Vick said. Besides the mounds, there are other nearby Cahokia attractions. Woodhenge, built from 1100 to 1200 A.D., is a large circle of posts built from 1100 to 1200 A.D. that is seven-feet tall, more than two-feet wide and was used as a sun calendar by the Cahokians. Posts were aligned with the winter and summer solstice and the spring and fall equinox. Other posts might have served as markings for festival dates and observation posts. In the 1960s, Dr. Warren Wittry found oval-shaped pits arranged in circles, revealing that Woodhenge was built possibly as many as five times. In 1985, the third circle, 410 feet in diameter, was reconstructed so visitors could view it and get a sense of what Woodhenge might have originally looked like.

Discovering Cahokia Assistant Site Manager Bill Iseminger said the site has changed dramatically throughout the years. In 1921, researcher Warren Moorehead came to Cahokia Mounds and excavated core samples from Monks Mound to establish that the mounds were manmade, putting an end to the debate of whether the mounds were natural to the landscape. Since then, more than 100 excavations or research projects have taken place at Cahokia. The site is continually expanding to include more mounds — since 1925, the site has grown from 244 acres to 2,200. There has been some type of archaeological project on the site each summer since the late 1960s. Iseminger said they are still working to acquire more land for the site to protect additional mounds on other property. Area universities have had groups of students and faculty at the site to excavate. One group reopened an old dig that contained evidence of a copper workshop that might have been used to produce various religious items. Cahokia Mounds was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1982. Cahokia Mounds is one of 21 World Heritage Sites in the United States, including the Statue of Liberty and Yellowstone National Park.

Mounds aren’t currently being excavated because excavations virtually destroy the mounds, Vick said. However, visitors can take tours of the other excavation sites in the areas around the mounds on Archaeology Day to see artifacts that have been found at the site and watch artifact processing. Volunteers from Cahokia Mounds, like Vick, can participate in excavations. The archeologists have found a bit of everything, from pottery pieces and stone tools to animal bones and fish scales, she said. Other researchers are using a variety of remote-sensing instruments to try to determine features below the surface and help direct future excavations. “It’s not like Indiana Jones,” Vick said. “It’s hard, it’s dirty, but when your trowel hits something that hasn’t seen the light of day in a thousand years ... you have a connection.”



Cahokia Today

Nine Inn ngs

mmersed in


In one of baseball’s oldest stadiums, everyone is young




This is Wrigley Field, and you can see the history. You can feel the history.


There’s something about the first at-bat for the home team that creates a feeling unmatched the rest of the game. Fans are yelling with excitement. They are screaming with hope. Reality elsewhere doesn’t really mean anything. The Cubs — the reason we are here — have struggled all season, and now they’re well behind the Cardinals in the division race coming in. Nobody seems to care right now. Nobody remembers the standings when that first guy carries his bat to the plate. No, the fans always scream hard for that first batter. The Cardinals head to the outfield after a double-play ends the first half of the inning, and here is Tyler Colvin, our rookie who earned his way onto the team with a strong camp showing, strutting to the plate to lead off for the home Cubs. And suddenly it’s happening. Two months ago, we were buying the tickets. Yesterday, we were driving 10 hours through traffic, across states. This morning, we were sitting in a Wrigleyville bar immersed in the rivalry, fans of both teams thrown together in tight quarters. One hour ago, we found our seats, and we stared in awe down onto the field. About 20 minutes ago, my brother, Drew, looked at me, and I looked at him, and without actually speaking, we both confirmed that yes, this is real. We are finally here. And now here is Colvin stepping into the batter’s box, and the ballpark is alive. Ball. Strike. Ball. Anticipation builds. Foul. Foul. Wild cheers. Ball. Foul. Rampant energy. On a full count, Cards pitcher Blake Hawksworth throws a sinker on the low, inner portion of the plate. The crowd is buzzing as Colvin swings. He connects. We jump to our feet. Everyone jumps to their feet. Gone? That looks like it might be gone! The ball sails eight rows up into the left center-field bleachers. Home run. 1-0 Cubbies. Pandemonium at Wrigley. * * * My brother and I are at our first Wrigley Field game in 13 years. The last time we were here, Mark Grace was playing first. Sammy Sosa was in right, and he hadn’t yet engulfed the country in home-run fever by hitting 66


homers in 1998. So much has changed since then. In the 1990s, Cubs baseball was something I supported at a distance, simply because my diehard uncles did. When you’re eight, a trip to a historic American landmark doesn’t mean so much. But now I know. My brother knows. Ernie Banks has crushed homers here. Ryne Sandberg has electrified crowds at second base. Ron Santo has poured his heart into thousands of Wrigley Field ballgames. Sosa has chased history. Grace has been a picture of consistency. Fans have been devotedly cheering here for nearly a century. They’ve been crying some, too. It’s become a part of us. This is Wrigley Field, and you can see the history. You can feel the history. * * * My friend came with me for the game today, and he’s from St. Louis, which of course means he’s an obnoxiously avid Cardinals fan. Most all of my friends are hardcore Cards fans. It’s sickening, really. Since I attend college with hundreds of Cardinals fans, I’m used to having nobody to talk with about the Cubs. My brother, who also attends school in Cardinal country, is in the same boat. And we recognize this. But Cards fans living in the eastern half of Missouri don’t.

They are always talking Cardinals baseball, regardless of the team loyalties of their audience. In the top of the fifth, when Cards rookie Jon Jay hits an effective sacrifice fly that pulls the Cardinals within a run, 4-3, my friend does what’s natural for him. He starts in about how great this Jay fellow is, how bright his future is and how hot he’s been. I sink back in my chair and turn away to strike up a conversation with Drew about Tom Gorzelanny, our underrated fifth starter who’s on the mound. This is Cubs country. We are in section five today, which is exactly where I want to be. From up here, you can see much of the Chicago skyline. Buildings tower over the scoreboard. In the distance beyond right field is Lake Michigan. Throughout the years, the Wrigley Field bleachers have developed the reputation for being a giant frat party. The bottom level can tend to be uppity. The top level — sections four and five — are for the real fans. We are baseball people. There are a couple of middle-aged women in our row, and they tell us they come to the games as often as they can. They bleed with the Cubs. This is the right company to soak in Wrigley with. Below us a section, but still on our level, are the folks in section four. There is a guy down there wearing a black tank


Winter 2010

Fans crowd the corner of Clark Street and Addison Street after exiting Wrigley Field.


The Chicago skyline rises above the bleachers during a July day game between the Cubs and the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

top and jeans on this hot July day, and he has a bald head, a hefty gut and intimidating shoulder tattoos. It would be hard to tell whom he supports, except that here, every time the Cardinals contingency starts to cheer or chant, he stands up and waves his middle finger at any of them he can find. And he yells down at the field that the Cardinals suck, and Go Cubs! I love this guy. As we are talking about Gorzo, the Cards’ Albert Pujols is standing in the batter’s box, looking like he’s about to hit a game-changing bomb. Pujols always looks like this. He stares at the pitcher like he’s a high school bully and the pitcher is some scrawny freshman who said something under his breath a little too loud, and Pujols caught it. I hate it when Albert Pujols is facing my poor freshman pitcher. Pujols gets a high fastball on a 2-1 count, and he harmlessly hits a pop fly to Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd. He doesn’t look like he’s seeing the ball quite as well lately, my friend says. This is Cardinals information I’ll gladly listen to. * * * Beer. It’s the sixth inning now, the Cubs have scored two more runs and lead 6-3, and even though we are young men of age, none of us have made the walk to the concession stand for beer. This is a disgrace. This must change. My friend and I leave our seats and walk to the concession stand, conveniently right around the corner. We stand in line for 10 or so minutes. We are not the only people here who need a sixth inning brew. I notice a guy in the next row for concessions who’s wearing the disgusting red jersey of Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter. He gets up to the front of the line and feels the heat from the impatient employee at the register. He orders a Bud Light and she laughs. For decades, Old Style has been the only beer sold at Wrigley Field. We are about the history here. * * * Our beers are low now. It’s the top of the ninth, two outs, Cubs still grasping a lead, 6-5. Drew and I aren’t speaking. We aren’t cheering. We are just barely breathing. Up to bat, staring


toward the mound like he’s about to beat up our closer, is the bane of my existence. It’s the high school bully, Albert Pujols. This is fitting. This is what I get for loving the Cubs. Heartbreak. Pujols will hit a homer, and the Cardinals will come back and win. I can picture this playing out. Luckily, though, the Cubs’ managers are slightly calmer and infinitely more rational than I. They give Pujols nothing to hit. They walk him on five pitches. Next up is the Cards’ Matt Holliday, a four-time all-star. He’s not exactly the type of guy teams want to see with the game on the line, either. The first pitch is called a ball, and the butterflies in my stomach have turned to boulders. Our closer, Carlos Marmol, throws some unhittable pitches. But he’s wild, he always has been. So when he starts the at-bat off with a ball, it is cause for concern. Strike one. A fastball catches just enough of the lower outside corner of the plate. Strike two. Holliday can’t catch up to a low fastball. The count is 1-2, and even now I can’t feel anything but dread. Marmol throws another fastball, and Holliday hits it. For a second, it looks like a sure single into rightcenter field. But the ball floats safely into the glove of second baseman Ryan Theriot. Cubs win. Cubs win! The crowd is roaring. Drew and I are joyously yelling and high-fiving. The victory song comes on. Hey Chicago, whaddya say? The Cubs are gonna’ win today! Nothing has ever sounded better. I look down and see my black tank-topped friend doing the exact same thing as us. All over the stadium, Cubs fans are doing the same thing. We are screaming a victory song. We are dancing like fools. We are young and carefree. For a second, black tank top and I lock eyes, and he notices the “C” on my shirt. He points and smiles and I point and smile and keep singing and yelling and high-fiving the people around me. We’re all doing it. In one of the oldest stadiums in baseball, everyone is young.



Summer 2010 By Andrew Maxwell

First Place Winter 2010 By Krista Goodman

The theme for the Summer 2011 photo contest is Return to Your Roots. The contest is open to any and all types of photos. Entries must include the photographer’s name, address and telephone number, as well as the location and title of the photo. We also encourage contestants to include a short caption. The deadline for entries is February 18, 2011. The winning photo will be published in the Summer 2011 issue, and the winner will receive a free, two-year subscription to Detours. For full rules and regulations, visit Submissions may be e-mailed to:






DECEMBER Roaring Twenties Party at The Village Tavern Dec. 4 • Long Grove The third annual roaring twenties party will be put on this year to celebrate the 76th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. Music will be blaring and prizes will be handed out at the Village Tavern, a Long Grove restaurant around since 1849. For more information, call 847-634-3117. Springfield Holiday Parade Dec. 4 • Springfield The annual holiday parade brings together area residents for music and floats. Admission is free, but don’t forget to bundle up! For more information, visit

Ottawa’s Ice Odyssey Dec. 11 • Ottawa A holiday farmers’ market is surrounded by professional ice sculptors creating masterpieces in front of a crowd. Visit merchants for more information.

Blue Suede Shoes, the Ultimate Tribute Jan. 8 • University Park Scott Bruce and Mike Albert impersonate The King, Elvis Presley. The concert includes favorites such as “Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and many more. For more information, call 708-235-2222.

Chicago Sports Fest Dec. 18-19 • Chicago What began10 years ago as simply a basketball tournament is now a festival that attracts approximately 85,000 visitors during its two days. The event ranges from football to fencing and basketball to boxing, as young kids compete in tournaments and enjoy interactive sports zones. Visit chicagosportsfest. us for more information.

Volo Bog’s WinterFest Jan. 9 • Lake County All things winter are packed into a single afternoon. Outside, go cross-country skiing or create snow sculptures. Inside, enjoy cookies and hot cocoa while listening to stories and live music. For more information, call 815-344-1294. Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition Jan. 19-22 • Rockford

Watch as enormous blocks of snow are formed into works of art. Teams from all over the world come to compete in this four-day event. For more information, call 815-987-1603. Quincy Progressive Art Gallery Crawl Jan. 20 • Quincy Go from gallery to gallery, taking in the local artistry. For more information, call 217223-5900. Civil War Civilians Conference Jan. 28-30 • Springfield Come learn about civilian life during the Civil War era during a weekend filled with fun, educational workshops. Visit

FEBRUARY Central Illinois Jazz Festival Feb. 4-6 • Decatur The Juvae Jazz Association puts on this festival, which combines dancing and partying with live jazz music from local and national talents. For more information, call 217-422-8800. Married Alive Feb. 11-13 • Sullivan This hilarious new musical

shows newlyweds’ first reactions to some of marriage’s speed bumps while getting a much more colorful opinion from some “oldyweds.” For more information, call 217-7287375. Coffeefest Feb. 18-20 • Chicago Coffeefest has three annual shows across the country specializing in specialty

beverage industry. For more information, visit

lead. For more information, call 708-747-0580.

Casey Driessen and the Colorfools Feb. 19 • Park Forest Grammy nominated Casey Driessen brings his fiddle to Park Forest to perform a concert with his band, the Colorfools. Driessen uses his fiddle as a percussion instrument as well as a melodic

Salute to Gospel Music Feb. 26 • Waukegan Come celebrate gospel music by listening to some of the best performers the genre can offer. For more information, call 847-782-2366.




The Wizard of Oz March 3 • Waukegan See the classic with your entire family at the 80-year-old Genesee Theatre. For more information, call 847-782-2366.

runabouts and lazy, comfortable pontoon boats will be shown. Factory representatives will be on hand to answer questions. For more information, call 815877-8043.

Rockford Boat Show March 4-6 • Rockford Boat lovers and novices alike can enjoy this event. Everything from computer designed pro-fishing boats to sleek, high powered

Festival of Arts and Crafts March 5-6 • St. Charles All crafts sold are handmade in the USA and include furniture, photography, stained glass, holiday and everyday home decor items,

jewelry, doll clothes and much more. For more information, call 880-777-4373.

silent auctions add to this special event. For more information, call 217-585-5172.

Style of Hope March 11 • Springfield The 6th Annual Style of Hope is a professionally produced fashion show that gathers proceeds for The Hope Institute, which aims to help children with emotional, behavioral and intellectual disorders. Live music and live and

Spring Fox Valley Antiques Show March 12-13 • St. Charles Dozens of antique dealers gather to show and sell their high quality antiques and to share their knowledge about the business. For more information, call 815-838-0606.



IOWA DECEMBER Main Street Lighted Christmas Parade Dec. 2-3 • Oskaloosa This magnificent annual event, held on the Thursday and Friday following Thanksgiving, draws as many as 10,000 visitors. For more information, visit Christmas by the Lake Dec. 3-5 • Clear Lake Surf Ballroom celebrates

Christmas with a festival of trees, trolley rides and a tour of homes. Stay all evening to enjoy a lighted parade and fireworks over Clear Lake. For more information, visit surfballroom. com/2011Schedule.html. The North Pole Express Dec. 3-5 • Mt. Pleasant Thousands will ride the Midwest Central rail to the

“North Pole” during the first weeks of December. For more information, visit PAGES/northPoleExpress.html. Holiday Thieves’ Market Dec. 4-5 • Iowa City More than 100 artists display and sell their handmade paintings, ceramics, photography, woodworking, drawings and artwork at the Iowa Memorial Union at the University of Iowa.

JANUARY Da Vinci: The Genius Oct. 2-Jan. 16 • Des Moines Des Moines Science Center offers the inventions and artworks of Leonardo da Vinci. It’s the most comprehensive collection of Da Vinci’s works in the world. For more information, visit Slow Down and Savor Washington Jan. 1 • Washington Stroll through downtown, enjoying cheap dishes from local restaurants at an event that concludes at the Coffee Corner for after-dinner entertainment. For more information, visit Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival Jan. 7-9 • Cherokee Festival-goers enjoy a variety of jazz and blues musicians.

For more information, call 319335-3393. Guideone Imagineve! Dec. 31 • Des Moines Des Moines’ free, nonalcoholic, family friendly New Year’s celebration, complete with carnival games, bounce houses, a toddler zone and family style activities. For more information, visit


You can also get into the music during music clinics at the 11th annual festival. For more information, visit The Emperor’s New Clothes Jan. 14-15 • Mason City Stebens Children’s Theatre presents the classic story of a proud Emperor and a crafty tailor who spins magic tales by Hans Christian Andersen. For more information, visit Chinese New Year Wine Dinner Jan. 29 • Leighton Tassel Ridge Winery hosts events for holidays including the Chinese New Year. The celebration is complete with a special dinner. Reservations required. For more information, call 641-672WINE (9463).

B-rrry Scurry 4-Mile Race Feb. 2 • Clinton Enjoy a four-mile run in this 30-year tradition. For more information, visit Winter Dance Party Feb. 2-5 • Clear Lake Surf Ballroom pays tribute to rock ‘n’ roll legends like Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. For more information, visit Extreme Storm Lake Winter Festival Feb. 4-5 • Clear Lake Visitors will enjoy both indoor and outdoor activities including broom ball, poker, a hot chocolate bar and much more. For more information, visit The Magic Flute Feb. 10 • Chariton Back by popular demand,

Chariton hosts a performance by Opera Iowa, Iowa’s traveling opera aimed at young audiences. For more information, call 641-774-4059. A Tribute to the Carol Burnett Show Feb. 10-20 • Mason City Reenactions and parodies of favorite scenes from the Carol Burnett Show. For more information, visit Exhibit: The Oxford Project Jan. 22-March 20 • West Branch Hoover Presidential Museum & Library in West Branch presents an exhibit of small town Oxford, Iowa, through photos and stories from residents. For more information, visit hoover.


Doll, Toy and Bear Show and Sale March 13 • Des Moines

Dealers from six states gather at the Jackson County Fairgrounds, where thousands of modern and antique collectibles wait to be discovered. For more information, call 563-242-0139. Antique and Collectibles Show March 18-20 • Cedar Falls Cedar Falls UNI-Dome will be packed with jewelry,

memorabilia, tools, furniture and much more during this March weekend. For more information, visit Iowa Piano Competition March 31- April 2 • Sioux City Free to the public, watch 12 pianists compete for a $14,000 prize. The contestants play with local musicians and with the Sioux City Symphony. For more

information, call 712-277-2111. Wizards of Pop: Sabuda & Reinhart Jan. 22-May 1 • Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids Museum of Art presents an unusual exhibit about pop-up books. The exhibition shows techniques used in pop-up illustrations with two- and threedimensional pages. For more information, visit



Des Moines World of Wheels March 11-13 • Des Moines The Championship Auto Show, Inc. (CASI) is known for bringing out the latest custom car ideas and products. For more information, visit




DECEMBER Missouri Livestock Symposium Dec. 3-4 • Kirksville An educational event featuring nationally known speakers with lectures on agricultural topics. For more information, call 660665-9866. WinterFest Visual and Performing Arts Festival Dec. 3-5 • Springfield The lobby of the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts is filled with local visual artists during the weekend festival that includes three separate showings of White Christmas. For more information, call 417-836-7678. St. Louis Holiday Magic Dec. 3-5 • St. Louis A shopping and entertainment

event set in downtown St. Louis. The three-day festival has everything from ice skating rinks to children’s arts and crafts. For more information, call 314-992-0652. Adoration Parade and Lighting Ceremony Dec. 5 • Branson This 62-year tradition focuses on the reason for the season, as the parade concludes with the lighting of the nativity scene in downtown Branson. For more information, call 417-337-5887. First Night Columbia Dec. 31 • Columbia This alcohol-free New Year’s celebration includes a run/walk, live music, fire jugglers and a countdown with fireworks. For more information, call 314-992-0652.

Kenya Safari Acrobats Jan. 15 • Rolla The Kenya Safari Acrobats put on a show infusing Kenyan culture with impressive feats of mind and muscle. They are traveling the country performing but are coming to Rolla in mid-January. For more information, call 573-341-4219. Chainsaw Ice Sculptors Challenge Jan. 15-16 • Branson Some of the world’s greatest professional ice carvers will be joined by aspiring amateurs in contests of talent, skill and imagination. Kids and parents can watch the action up close and marvel at the fantastic creations that emerge from shapeless 250-pound blocks

of ice. Visit for more information. Border Showdown Ice Hockey Jan. 20 • Independence The rivalry between Missouri and Kansas runs deeper than the feud between the football and basketball teams. For more information, call 866443-8849. Lebanon Shrine Circus Jan. 26 • Lebanon Experience all the sights and sounds of the circus at the Kenneth E. Cowan Civic Center. For more information, call 417-833-3588.

FEBRUARY Hot Winter Fun Big Show Feb. 7 • Branson A full slate of shows and performances packed into a single night at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater. For more information, call 417339-3003. Missouri Organic Association Annual Conference

Feb. 10-12 • Springfield The three-day conference is a celebration of organic and sustainable farms and an opportunity to learn through lectures and discussions. For more information, visit Soulard Mardi Gras Feb. 18-March 8 • St. Louis St. Louis’s historic Soulard neighborhood is the venue

for a three-week celebration including a Cajun cook-off, a pet parade and a grand parade. For more information, call 314771-5110. Chocolate Wine Trail Feb. 19-20 • Hermann Each of the seven wineries along the scenic Missouri River offer wine and food pairings for visitors to sample. For more information, call 800-932-8687.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Feb. 28 • Rolla Come watch the Shakespearean classic, which centers on the theme of love and all its complications. For more information, call 573-341-4219.



Hot Tuna Blues March 3 • Springfield A band consisting of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, blues icons and Grammy winners puts on an extraordinary evening filled with blues, jazz and bluegrass music. For more information, call 417-836-7678. The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza March 4-6 • Kansas City


A wild theatrical take on Greek mythology in Kansas City’s Crown Center. For more information, call 816-474-6785. Kansas City Ballet Guild’s Ballet Ball March 5 • Kansas City Come and celebrate the 44th Annual Ballet Ball with the Kansas City ballet. Enjoy dinner, dancing and cocktails. For more information, call 816-931-2232.

Irish Village March 12 • St. Louis The Irish Village hosts a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in conjunction with the afternoon parade. Come for live music, family activities, food and drinks. For more information, call 314-241-PATS. Mid-Missouri Relief Auction March 18-19 • Barnett

The Mennonite Central Committee puts on a festival with a variety of things to do and see, from antiques to crafts to music. For more information, call 573-378-5555.


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Detours Magazine Winter 2010  

Detours is a Midwest travel magazine produced by students at Truman State University. We cover events, towns, people and places in the tri-s...