Saturday, December 9, 2023

150 Years Is A Long Time- Finale

 Another long hiatus, this one wasn't planned.  I was a little busy with a few things and just now got around to finishing up this 3 parts series.  Not much to say, as parts one and two talked about the town history a bit.  Today I will show off the parade and the museum, and the items inside.

We'll begin with the parade.  Our town has 2 yearly parades, one at Christmas like most towns do, and one the third weekend in July, which is when the 2 night rodeo is held.  This year we added a third one for one time only.  It was a longer one than the other two (this years Christmas one clocked in at around 3 and a half minutes).

Like most parades, you will always see fire trucks, and ours is no different.  Ours also has tractors.  Sometimes they will be decorated and other times just want to be in the parade.  When my dad was around he would sometimes drive his lawn mower (his garden tractor used for tractor pulls) if he didn't have a float which my sister and I would usually be involved with.  Our parades sometimes have floats, and while most are short, you never know what you will see.  The ones that participate in the parade at times can be creative, like this last picture indicates.

What was nice about this parade was some of the car and tractor show participants decided to enter as well, which made it a much longer parade than normal, and it was fun to see.  The last picture was interesting not so much because of the family float (which was really nice), but because of after the parade.  After the parade was over and I was walking back to my apartment, I noticed across the street was a carport in the neighbors yard.  I thought it was odd because I never noticed it before.  The neighbors moved in a couple months prior so adding a carport wasn't odd, just that I knew it wasn't there 2 hours prior.  It wasn't until going through the pictures a few hours later did I realize it was the same one they used in this float.  Its been 6 months since the parade, and I'll be honest, I've never seen them used the carport which I assumed they would use as a canopy like they did in this float.

As you can see, its not much, but it does excite me when we have a parade. However there was one highlight of the parade that was what excited me most.  A celebrity!  One I've actually met on a few occasions, though on this day I didn't get to meet him.

It had been a few years since I've last seen him, so it was cool to see him again.  Now when I say I've met him, I mean not only KC Wolf, but also Dan Meers, the man behind the mascot.  I think the first time I met him was in middle school or maybe high school and have met him a couple times since.  I have his autograph, and actually read his book, which I believe is also signed.  He is a man of deep faith, and a very nice guy.  When my nephews were in school, my youngest nephew even got to try on the outfit, and there is some pictures of it.  One day I might post those.  This really was a cool moment.

I took photos of every entrant in the parade and they are still posted on my Facebook page under the albums.  If you want to see them and can't find them I have the links in the first of these three posts.

As I've stated a few times, the museum was the thing I was most interested in besides the tour of above the funeral home.  As it turns out, I visited the museum three different days despite nothing being added each day.  The first two were really crowded so I got to see most everything, however I didn't get to spend a lot of time there.  On the last day, many of the events were rained out, but they decided to open the museum one last time, and I talked my mom into going.  She really didn't want to, but I figured with less of a crowd she might change her mind.  As it turned out, while we was there, nobody else was there, so we got to spend as long as we wanted looking at what was on display.  My mom takes her time so after I looked at everything I wanted, she was still looking at the first items.  I decided I would take pictures of as much of the stuff as I could, which in the end was EVERYTHING!  It was right at the end of taking pictures when others started to come in, but by then we had seen it all.  So for those not from the area, this may not excite you, but I loved it all, especially seeing signage long forgotten and advertising of long gone businesses.I wish there was a way to scan all the photographs that were there but oh well, I took pictures.

So let's begin.

Three tables may not seem like much, but there was plenty there for everyone.  Items dating from the 1800s to a lot more modern.  The bingo card from the American Legion was nice to see because I don't know the last time I've heard about the Legion.  Its sad to see it die out and I'm afraid the Lion's Club is seeing much of the same fate.  MFA has deep roots in our town, and is headquartered in Missouri.  MISSOURI FARMERS ASSOCIATION dates back to 1929, and in 1985 saw the debut of Break Time convenience stores.  Our town had a gas station supplied by MFA for many years until the gas tanks were removed (the station still operates as a mechanic shop and has tires still supplied by MFA).  When the tanks were removed, they built a station just outside city limits with no attendants and is one of only two places to get gas in town (the second being the Casey's). The older gas station was ran by a man named C.R. who did many things for the town including being a vital part of organizing the parades and the rodeo.  His son now runs the station.

One thing I liked about this look back at history was learning and seeing some of the really old stuff, like this pottery from 1885.  I wasn't aware of Hoffman Pottery before though I heard the name Hoffman all around the area, so it wasn't totally surprising.  If I do decide to deep dive into the town history one day the pottery might be something I'll look into more.

I mentioned the grocery store and my friend's grandpa running it.  Here is a jacket that many of the workers used on cooler days in the fall and winter.  The grocery store was in a time when they had people carry out your groceries for you, and while it isn't really needed these days, it is a small thing I miss about grocery stores especially in smaller towns. The grocery store also supported many local events including little league and other youth baseball teams.  If I remember right they also sponsored adult baseball league teams in the summer.  I miss those summer league teams, though to be honest I doubt I would go to many games.  I don't make it to many high school games as it is (as I type this I think our town hosted a high school basketball tournament this week with the finals being today).

In the parade pictures you may have seen a truck with GoNetSpeed on the side. They bought out I-land internet services and Otelco, which had bought Mid-Missouri Telephone Company. Mid-Mo Phone Company has very early roots in the phone industry, and it was odd to see them in such a small town during the early days of phones.  The top photo is a logo which was used for many years.  The picture on the bottom is the fleet of vehicles they employed in the 80s and 90s.  They didn't just serve Pilot Grove, but many other small towns in the area as well.  The building is still there and they actually have a second building for their bigger vehicles, but today GoNetSpeed doesn't employ as many workers as in the past (in fact I don't think they have a live receptionist as a voice recording with prompts greets you today).  The building I think is even locked.  Its sad to see when they were another vital part of the towns history. They at one time not only handled landline phones, but also cell phone service and the towns cable system.  They did away with that around 15 years ago.

C.R.'s was the gas station I mentioned a bit ago and the first picture is a drawing of the tow truck you would see whenever it was needed.  On the side it said service was available "23 1/2 hours a day".  The second is a mix of items lent by the family to display including photos and hats as well as a framed photo of an overhead shot of the station.  Located on the main highway as you entered town and across from the school, the place was like a second home to my dad.  He spent many days just shooting the breeze with C.R. and Randy. The third photo is what was referred to as "The White Knight" and in the 80s and 90s was seen everywhere when an event happened or otherwise at the station.  I rode in it a few times as my dad drove, and I might have even rode once on a long ride when my dad helped hauling walnuts.  Before the local CO-OP took over, C.R.'s also each year pay you for picking walnuts.  Walnuts are abundant in the area and he would pay you for them.  After he would get a gooseneck trailer full of walnuts, someone (a few times my dad) would drive down to Stockton, Missouri to I guess sell them to this other place (I don't know all the details as I was quite young when this was going on).  One time I remember going with my dad down to Stockton to unload them.  I didn't have to do anything, they had forklifts doing all the work.  It was fun to do though and we went pretty late at night.  My dad took photos one time, and that sounds like another blog post to show.

The last item is a very early program from the Rodeo (and horse show).  Before having a dedicated Rodeo arena 4 miles NW of town, the rodeo was held at the school.  The Pilot Grove Range Riders put it on, and it is the biggest event of the year for the town.  I thought this was funny to see because for the last at least 2 decades they've always stated "ALWAYS THE THIRD WEEKEND IN JULY". As you can see that wasn't always the case.  I don't know when the switch occurred but at one time, July was a very busy month for the town because the first weekend was usually a Truck and Tractor Pull, and it was probably the second biggest event of the year.  However, as the event grew, they needed more space so the event was moved to the neighboring town.  I would love for it to return again here, but I don't see that happening.

A lot of items were donated by the Quinlan family and I was glad they were.  The top item is about the death of a Quinlan in the 1930's, from one of a few newspapers the town supported in the early years.  Today, the school puts out a monthly newsletter, and that's about it.  Even local newspapers around us don't have much coverage of our town, one does at times and the other (which I once delivered around town) totally cut out coverage.  I mean there isn't a lot of news, but it would be nice to have some local coverage.  One day I would love to start a newspaper for the town again, either in a monthly digital form or some other way.  I imagine 95% of the coverage would be based on the school and the sports, but also would include obituaries, town meeting news, and business news.

One of the greatest things to see was all that was donated about Wilbur Quinlan.  He was the town barber (one of the last men's barbers, even though our town had many throughout the years).  I believe he was close to 90 when he retired, and I have some stories about him.  Maybe another post.  Anyways, he was pretty much the only barber I ever went to, until I one day bought a hair cutting kit.  It wasn't because his prices were rising (a haircut for 5 bucks even in the 2000s was unheard of), but because I briefly moved out of town and also knew he would be retiring sooner or later.  It was nice seeing the pictures of the old barber shop, and even some when he moved (which as I found out some items are still inside the building where he last cut hair).

As a bonus it was nice to see a car tag from 1949 as well.

In the top photo, the building with the white facade is where Quinlan's Barber Shop.  The building would be demolished to build a new bank which I think I mentioned in the first post.

In 1988 that bank celebrated 75 years, and had a lot of items as giveaways.  These items brought back memories because I remembered that cup, and wish I still had one.  As a advertising collector, those would be awesome to display.

Speaking of displaying, could you imagine winning a contest for a new bicycle in 1954 and near 70s years later still having the bicycle and the photos to prove it?  Talk about the wow factor, that was one of the coolest things I saw.  On its own, showing off a bicycle doesn't have the appeal, but then factor in it is near 70 years old, and one in a contest held by a local business.  AWESOME!

More advertising, the pens are from Wessing Motor which you saw a truck from in the first post.  Next is an FFA jacket and if you live in a rural area you know all about the Future Farmers of America.  FFA was a huge part of the school for many decades, and this was from the 70s I believe. The bottom are from 50 years ago, when the 100th anniversary was held.  Like I stated, I know having a multi day yearly event is a bit much, but a one day festival would be nice to have, and also bring people into the town.

The top photos are from when they tore down many buildings in the downtown district in the 90s.  Some was because they were building the new bank, the other was after a fire destroyed the old Flower Shop.  Many of the building were unused at the time, but still sad to see them go.

The next set are photos of parades of yesteryear, which in the one with the fire truck in the background is an old Standard Oil sign.  That brought back memories.  As I said all advertising I like so it was nice to see in the background.  I really wanted to scan these photos.  The firetruck in that photo was used for many more years after this photo was taken.  It was crazy to think how old our fire trucks were when they were replaced.

The bottom photos is from over 100 years ago from building no longer in existence.  My mom has mentioned many times how upset she was when they tore down the depot, and how dumb it was to do it.  As my friend and I went on a tour another townperson said pretty much the same thing that I thought it was my mom in disguise saying it.

A drawing of the depot, we have some very good artists in the area.  Next is some items of local businesses old and new.  The apron from the lumber company was nice to see.  The Pamphlet from Katy Manor was also nice.  Katy Manor is a nursing home that opened in 1988 and my mom worked there for 26 years.  It was a very big deal when it opened and there were quite a few pictures from not only the groundbreaking but of the opening as well. 

I will wrap it up with pictures of the current school though many years ago when it looked a lot different.  It used to have more than one story, and I think it would have been fun to roam the halls.  It was torn down around the time I started elementary school, and after that the school saw many renovations and upgrades.  It has changed a lot in just the last twenty years since I graduated. 

The final item to show is one of the many trophies the sports teams have won over the years.  I didn't play sports outside of 5th grade basketball, but in high school I took stats for the teams and filmed a lot of the games.  Being a VHS collector now, it would have been fun to made a copy of some of those games.  Maybe they still have them hidden under the bleachers.

Well, I know I rushed a bit at the end, but that wraps up this series, and again if you want to see more or all of the photos I took, at the end of the first post is links to my facebook page which has public albums to view.  It was a fun week taking in the town history, and it was fun writing these posts.  I hope you all enjoyed them, and hope everyone has a great holiday season.  I hope to have 1-2 more posts before the end of the year, but you never know.  Thanks for reading.


  1. I've never been a parade person. Even as a kid, the couple of times my mom tried to take me to the Rose Parade, I was bored out of my mind; and didn't mind telling everyone around me. That being said, I do like that parades are still a thing, and I like knowing that there are people out there who still enjoy going to them.

    Given all of the history that your town seems to have, I'm really surprised that there isn't small museum being run by a local historical society. A lot of towns have them, so I don't see why yours can't. Most of them have websites too, where things like those photos are scanned for folks who can't attend to see -- or for those who are doing online research.

    And I love your idea to start a local paper. It probably wouldn't be all that difficult to do an all digital edition. And if you wanted physical copies, doing it in newsletter form isn't nearly as expensive as you might think (I've got an idea bouncing around in my head which has seen me looking into this sort of thing, so I actually kind of know what I'm talking about for a change).

    1. The county has a historical society and it is run from our town. I think they have some stuff on display, but I've never been there. I think with a larger space they could display more stuff.

      The only problem I have with starting a paper is I'm not real active in the community so I don't know how to find out the news. The only thing I can really keep up on is some of the school sports which games are live streamed at times. I think it would be an all digital edition if I did it.