Getting America Working
How Much of What We Hear is True?
by Lee McCain
Numbers, figures, calculations, speculations, divinations, and expectations that are usually followed by damnations. It just gets to be too much and in a 24-hour news-cycle world there's plenty to go around. And goodness gracious is it ever consumed. Voraciously. I write of the negative news beast that is always ready to pounce, and never has he been as active as during that past four years of unemployment and economic malaise.
Most of us do not live under rocks, although the Henry David Thoreau method of clocking out and living off the grid is fast becoming a more appealing option, all things considered. But assuming that the majority cannot or is unwilling to head for the hills or otherwise return to nature, it falls upon each of us to figure a way back. I'd like to offer my take, if I may be so bold.
First, there is no denying that these are difficult times. But you know what? All times are difficult. There has never been a time when unemployment was a zero, and there have always been and will always be societal and social problems that can be directly traced to financial concerns. While we like to lionize the post-WWII decade as one big wonderful era akin to American Graffiti or Happy Days, the fact that one of the longest recessions we experienced as a nation was from 1955 to 1962. That's a long time.
So what does this tell us? What is the relevance when so many are feeling the pinch and are worrying about next month's rent and this week's groceries while the unimaginative partisans that we sent to Washington continue to do nothing while playing games of brinksmanship with the budget? There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and thankfully it's not from an oncoming express train. The light is this: We can and do have an answer to whatever our particular challenge happens to be — financial or otherwise — and if you'd like to see it, just look into a mirror.
Am I being glib? Uncaring? Simplistic? Not really, when one subscribes to the fact — and it is a fact — that all problems are solved on an individual platform.
Look, the 1930's were about as bad as it gets. Mass unemployment, rumors of war, and general nationalistic dyspepsia. But there were those who made money. There were those who overcame. Progress was made in spite of the playing field. It really was all about attitude. It really was all about the person staring back from the mirror.
There are things we can do right now — immediately — to effect change.
Grousing about the economy? When is the last time you truly bought American when out shopping? Every American product that you buy keeps another American employed. Every American business that you patronize keeps scores more in economic stability. And the good thing about stability is that it spreads, like a pebble tossed in a pond. The wavelets become waves, and such is the economy.
But it all begins with attitude. Defeatism isn't defeat; it's just the belief that defeat is the only possible outcome when that is the farthest thing from the truth. Defeatism is a self-fulfilling prophecy if ever there was one. And such prophecy has plenty of prophets. Just turn on the news. Or don't, and see what you can do on your own to improve your particular situation. It's easier than you think.
Oh, and there is one other ingredient in this fix of mine. Education. Whether it is traditional, college-related, or self education (or the gathering of new technical skills), education is the key.
So take a look in the mirror and take back what is yours. You don't deserve anything less. And then let us know how it's going for you a year from now. It all begins with you. And that's the true American Way.
Betcha didn't know there are Car Jokes!
END OF THE LINE
Near the end of their racing careers, a Ford and a Chevrolet made a pact. The first one to reach racing heaven would let the other know if heaven even had car racing. As luck would have it, the Chevrolet was demolished in a fiery wreck. A few days later, it revealed itself to the Ford in a vision.
"I have some good news and some bad news," the Chevy told the Ford. "The good news is that heaven is crazy about auto racing. They have everything here—NASCAR, Indy cars, Formula 1, you name it."
"So what's the bad news?" the Ford asked the deceased Chevrolet.
"The bad news is that you've won the pole position for next Saturday's race."
OH YEAH? TAKE THAT!
A motorist runs a red light and is photographed by an automated police camera. In the mail a short time later, he receives a photo of his car committing the infraction and a citation for $60. Instead of paying the fine, the motorist mails the police department a photograph of three 20-dollar bills. Several days later, he gets a letter back from the police department. Inside is a photograph of a pair of handcuffs.
APOLOGIES TO BLONDES
A not-too-bright but beautiful blonde was driving home one night when she was caught in a terrible storm. The hailstones were as big as golf balls, and her car was dented badly.
Next day at the auto shop, a repairman decided to have a little fun at her expense.
"To fix the dents in the body," he said, "drive home, park the car, and when the tailpipe is cool, get down on your knees and blow really hard into the tailpipe, and the dents will pop out. Later, a girlfriend of the blonde is driving by and sees her friend on her knees, blowing hard into the tailpipe. She asks what's going on and is told the story. The girlfriend laughs.
"Well, duhhh! You need to roll up the windows first, silly!"
ALL ANGLES COVERED
A couple of young tourists are pulled over by a highway patrolman. The officer walks up, asks for the driver's license and registration, and when he doesn't get it quickly enough, whacks the driver in the head.
"That's for not having your driver's license ready," he snaps. "I ain't got all day." After he issues the driver a ticket, the patrolman walks around to the other side of the car and whacks the passenger in the head.
"Owwww!" hollers the passenger. "What'd you do that for?"
"That's to make your dream come true," replied the cop. "I know that when you'd gotten a half-mile down the road, you were gonna say to your friend here, 'Wish he'd tried that with me!'"
THE BANKER AND THE JAG
A banker is proudly driving his brand-new Jaguar sedan around New York City. On reaching his destination, he parks the car at the curb and gets out on the traffic side. Just as he opens the door, a taxicab slams into it, ripping the door right off its hinges. The cabby drives off as if nothing extraordinary has occurred. A policeman who witnesses the whole thing walks up to the banker, who is now wailing loudly, "Ohhh myyy gaaawdd! Look what that idiot did to my new Jaaaaggguuuaar!
The cop looks at the banker, shakes his head, and says, "You bankers are so damn materialistic! Here you are whining about your expensive car, and you don't even realize the cab tore off your arm!"
The banker looks down at where his arm used to be and begins to wail loudly, "Ohhhh myyy gaawd, my Rolllllleeeexxx is gone!"
EVERYTHING'S BIGGER IN TEXAS!
A Texas rancher was visiting a farmer in Israel. The proud Israeli showed him around.
"Here is where I grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. Over there I built a play set for my kids, next to the doghouse," the farmer said. The land was tiny, and the Texan was surprised by its small size.
"Is this all your land?" he asked.
"Yes," the Israeli said proudly. "This is all mine!"
"You mean this is it? This is all of it?" the Texan said incredulously.
"Yes, yes, this is really all mine!"
"Well, son," said the Texan, "back home I'd get in my car before the sun'd come up and I'd drive and drive and drive, and when the sun set, why, I'd only be halfway across my land!" "Oh, yes," replied the Israeli farmer wistfully, "I used to have a car like that."
UNLOCK YOUR BRAIN!
Someone at the auto repair shop locked the owner's keys inside his car. While the locksmith was working on the driver's-side door lock, the anxious owner walked up and tried the passenger's-side door. It opened. The locksmith looked up. "Yeah, I already got that one."
Q. How many car salesmen does it take to change a light bulb?
A. He doesn't know; he’ll have to ask his manager to see what he can do.
What Makes a Successful Auto Dealer?
By Lee McCain
What if you were told that there is a place where you can purchase a new or pre-owned vehicle without the usual, stereotypical car dealership theatrics; the kind of negative experiences that have become ingrained in our car buying experiences over the years? And what if you were given the customer service courtesies that have long become a thing of the past? Finally, what would you say if you were shown a dealership that actually believes that if a customer is truly taken care of in every way—from sales to service—that success for the dealership is a given? Too good to be true? Not in the case of University Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Columbia. Ever since Dave Drane and Danny Burks assumed ownership of the impressive lot (one of many locally owned by the University crew) located at 1310 Vandiver Drive, the sales have risen steadily right along with local consumer satisfaction.
Of course, it all starts with a good product. Chrysler has continually improved its product line to the point that they consistently receive some of the highest owner approval ratings in the industry, something that would make Walter Chrysler—who founded the Auburn Hills, Mich. carmaker back in 1925—very proud were he here to see all that his company has accomplished over the decades.
Customers are Everything
But as good as the car may be, it's all about how the customer is treated at the dealership level that ultimately determines the success of a brand. And at University Chrysler customer loyalty is rewarded by attentive service, the ability to deal based on the buying power University has, and by the excellent specials offered at the University service department. For instance, right now University Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep is offering an incredible deal for oil changes. How about this: buy one full service oil change for $39.99 and get three more free. It's an unheard of deal, but one that University is offering as a thanks to all the wonderful customers they've been honored to serve over the years. Customers just like you.
So if you're in the market for the highest quality new or pre-owned vehicle you'll find locally, stop by University Chrysler at 1310 Vandiver Drive in Columbia. You can reach them by phone at . And if you'd care to take a look at their extensive inventory, log on to www.universitysubaru.com and see what's there. Then come in for a test drive. Once you've experienced the University Chrysler way of customer service, no other dealer will do.
Looking for that nostalgic Ozarks Lodging?
Stay where your parents and Grandparents stayed!
The Rockwood Resort Motel, located in Lake Ozark at the top of the Bagnell Dam Strip is one of the very few Mom & Pop roadside Americana motels remaining at the Lake of the Ozarks. While updating and additions were made over the years, it has managed to preserve the nostalgic, family owned, quaint atmosphere that we remember from the past. The Rockwood while being one of the oldest such facilities in the Lake area, also has 2 outdoor pools that are boosted to be the best pools in the Lake area, with one of them being an original “Esther Williams” swimming pool that is still in use today!
The Rockwood also has quite a storied past-
Cloyd and Clara Perrin purchased the property from William E. and Marie P. Foersterling who had bought the property from Union Electric in July 1945 from Union Electric when they were selling off their property holdings after the completion of the construction of Bagnell Dam. Shortly afterward they built their rock home. Being just after WWII, building materials were scare, and most all the materials, except for the rocks and the flooring for the house came from demolished barracks buildings at Fort Leonard Wood. Clara tended the business of the old Deer Motel next door. The Deer Motel had been built by John Deere, (JB Deere Cedarcrafts) and as he was busy with his other business, Clara ran the motel for him. Clara also owned a gift shop on the Bagnell Dam Strip next to the White House. She and her daughter made cement pottery to supplement their income. Cloyd was also a boat captain and piloted excursion boats at the dam like the Larry Don, and the Miss Edgewater.
In the early 1950’s Clara and Cloyd decided that they could have their own small motel. In 1953 they built the three little stone cabins that had 2 units in each cabin, which still exists today. The name of their new motel was called the Rock-Wood Court. They named it so simply because of its’ construction. Rock and wood. A few years later, they renamed it the Rock-Wood Motel. In 1957 they installed an in-ground “Esther Williams” pool to compliment the business, and in 1958 built another building with 4 more units. In 1965 another building was built adding 2 more units. In 1972 Clara and Cloyd retired and their grandson, Jim Sexton, purchased the Rock Wood Motel from them. They added on to the house and also added 4 more units to the Rock Wood. In 1978 Jim and his wife bought the motel called the Capri, which was next door to the Rock Wood and combined the two businesses into one. Hence was born the Rock-Wood Capri. The Capri Motel’s past is even more storied than the Rock Wood Court.
The Capri was originally built by Hatfield and Ethel Frazee in the 1940’s. (Anyone remember “Frazee’s Rock Garden”?) The original house was an old Sears-Roebuck catalog home which still stands today. He also owned and operated the drive in theaters in Osage Beach (where KRMS Radio station is) and the one in Camdenton (where the School is now). He eventually sold to a man by the last name of Hoffman. The name was then changed to Hoffman’s Cottages. He and his wife also had a restaurant on the strip. They sold to Jimmy and Pat Moore. The Moore’s changed the name to Moore’s Motel and added a pool. The place was sold again to a Bill and Juanita Whitfield and the name changed again to the Frontier Motel. Bill was a teacher at the old Osage High school building behind the motel. The Frontier was then sold to Bob and Lauralee Ford in 1965. They changed the name to the Capri Motel. Originally the Capri was a small home (the old Sears Roebuck catalog home) with 2 small units behind it and also two units, and two small cabins facing 54 hwy in front. In 1967 Fords’ also built another building housing 7 more units in it, and in 1969 another building with 2 units in it. The Ford's demolished the two old cabins and built the two story building in 1972. To separate the Rock Wood from the Capri, there was an 8 foot solid wood fence between the facilities and ran between the two pools. The Capri was then sold to William T. and Vergie M. Harl.
On April 7, 1977, the Sexton’s (the Rock-Wood Motel) purchased the Capri Motel from the Harl’s. Hence the name change of the combined facilities to the Rockwood Capri Motel. Since 1980, the Rockwood Capri ownership changed several times, and in 2001 was purchased by Jeff and Donna Van Donsel. They changed the name to simply the Rockwood Resort Motel, which it still remains today.
The Van Donsel’s restored and updated the Rockwood while maintaining the old time atmosphere and appearance of days gone by. The Rockwood offers clean affordable lodging and good old time Ozark hospitality with units that range from a basic single unit that accommodates 1 or 2, to units that will accommodate up to 7 with full kitchens and all the comforts of home, and everything in between. It is located at the top of the famous Bagnell Dam Strip within walking distance to all the eclectic stores, arcades and curio shops there, and only minutes to all the major attractions at the Lake of the Ozarks. The Rockwood has 2 out door pools, hot tubs, picnic area with grills, coin wash, and even though it maintains that nostalgic and old time appeal, has many modern touches such as cable TV and free WiFi for it’s customers. The Rockwood is now again one of the favorite family oriented lodging facilities at the Lake. Staying at the Rockwood is as close as you can get to stepping back in time and enjoying the way it was years or decades ago when families vacationing at the Lake looked forward to meeting up with friends made while staying at the mom & pop family facilities like the Rockwood. That is the Rockwood appeal. Family, friends and a nostalgic trip back to the past and a simpler time. So, the next time you are at the Lake of the Ozarks, we recommend you “stay where your parents and grandparents stayed”!
Missouri Cave Resources
by Dwight Weaver
Most Missourians are aware that the state has abundant cave resources, but cave locations in Missouri are considered proprietary data because most of the caves are on private property or in protected areas and accessible only by permit; therefore it can sometimes be difficult to obtain individual cave locations.
For a general discussion, however, it is possible to explore the subject of cave regions within the state and to evaluate the nature of the caves within each region.
Missouri has 12 cave regions that include 82 of Missouri’s 114 counties. Counties currently without recorded caves are located in the glaciated portions of northern Missouri. Definitions of what constitutes a cave vary somewhat between scientific disciplines but for practical purposes, a recordable cave is generally considered a void (tunnel, crevice or other natural opening in the bedrock) that is extensive enough for a human to penetrate beyond the reach of natural daylight. A man-made void or cavity in the rock is not by definition considered a cave although media sometimes portrays them as such. Missouri’s catalog of caves therefore includes caves of many different lengths and dimensions ranging from 10 to 20 feet long to massive cave systems containing 10 to 20 miles of intertwined underground corridors that may be on more than one level.
Cave records for Missouri are collected, stored and maintained by the Missouri Speleological Survey, Inc., (MSS) a private umbrella organization that cooperates with various state and federal land management agencies and individual Missouri caving groups. The MSS has been in existence since 1956 and through its cooperators and members has created one of the largest cave data base collections in the United States. Missouri currently has more than 6,300 recorded caves but the statistics change almost weekly as more caves and new data is added to the data base. The collection includes information from multiple disciplines and sources and consists of cave maps, detailed descriptions of caves, research papers, cave photographs, and a wide range of other types of material.
Missouri libraries are woefully inadequate for would be cave researchers because few books have been or continue to be written about Missouri caves and most cave literature appears in small publications, newsletters and journals produced by caving organizations. The MSS produces a monthly newsletter called the MSS Liaison for coordinating the activities of its member groups, and a journal called Missouri Speleology that publishes cave studies, descriptions and maps. These periodicals are available to the public but are rarely subscribed to and shelved by public libraries. Today, the internet is a valuable resource for anyone wanting information about Missouri caves. First, check out mospeleo.org and then use the search words “Missouri caves.”
To learn about the history and legends associated with Missouri caves as well as the 12 cave regions of Missouri, see the book “Missouri Caves in History and Legend” by H. Dwight Weaver. Published by the University of Missouri Press in 2008, the book is widely available in book stores, on the internet, and at
the author’s website: lakeoftheozarksbooks.com
32819 Highway 87
California MO 65018
As most family businesses, Burgers’ Smokehouse started small. The company’s roots go back to 1927 when E. M. Burger, a Moniteau county farmer, cured and sold six hams. Today the family-owned corporation is run by third-generation members on the family farm three miles south of California, a small town located in Central Missouri. Remaining faithful to Grandpa and Dad’s standards for quality and service, the company has grown to become the largest specialty purveyor of smoked and cured meats and poultry in the United States. Grandpa’s little Ham House now produces over 650,000 hams annually as well as a wide variety of other meats and poultry products
It would take ten pages of copy to do justice to the entire list of “one of a kind” entrees offered by this unique meat company. Take for example their tender St. Louis Style Ribs. Burgers’ Smokehouse uses just the right amount of steam, laden with hickory smoke, and smothered with one of Kansas City’s most popular sauces to create this exceptionally tender, juicy rib.
Another favorite is their Country Cured Bacon. Carefully selected sides of bacon are dry cured using Burger’s old-fashioned sugar-cured recipe (salt, brown sugar, and black pepper). After the slabs are slowly smoked with natural hickory, they are hand trimmed and cut 6-8 slices per inch. Center slices are vacuum packaged in one- and two-pound sizes. Unopened packages of bacon store for months in the freezer, so you can stock up and save when the bacon goes on sale in the fall of the year.
Burgers’ cured and smoked Canadian Style Bacon turns an all-time breakfast favorite from simple good to exquisite. This product can be purchased in one-pound chunk or sliced and it also comes pepper coated.
Beef can also be purchased from the smokehouse. Their Filet Mignons are carefully carved and individually hand trimmed from the center of the finest aged tenderloin. They are flash frozen to maintain their freshness and individually packaged. Every shipment contains a complimentary package of steak seasoning and steak baste. Bacon-wrapped filets are also available.
Burger’s Boneless Prime Rib Roast is tender, juicy and absolutely delicious. The roast is very easy to prepare as it comes with a cook-in roasting bag to keep all the juices around the meat as it cooks, a view-temp cooking timer, and instructions. The roasts are available to two sizes and shipped frozen.
At Burgers’ you are sure to find the perfect selection. Choose from the extensive menu on line at (www.smokehouse.com) or from their Early Autumn catalog that can be ordered on line or by phone (1-800-624-5426). For quick and easy meals, all you have to do is make the selection:
country ham, city ham, Italian ham, and German ham
country bacon, city bacon, Canadian bacon, and cured jowl
breakfast sausage and Polish sausage
beef, venison, buffalo and beef/pork summer sausage
turkey, chicken, duck, pheasant, quail
Pork: ribs, pulled pork, roasts, chops and loins
Beef: filet, strip, T-bone, porterhouse, rib eye, veal and brisket
Beef Roasts: Prime Rib and Chateaubriand
lamb, veal, brisket, and fish/seafood
cheese, desserts, and sweets
gift assortments – samplers – monthly plans
Only the finest and freshest meats and ingredients are used in every preparation.
When you want “a cut above the rest,” whether you dine alone or with guests, call on Burgers’ Smokehouse. You and your guests deserve the very best.
GUESTS ARE WELCOME. The Visitors’ Center located on the premises features dioramas depicting the sessions of the year in the Missouri Ozarks. The free video, that includes family and company history, also gives the visitor insight into the production of country-cured meats. Sliced meats and sandwiches are available at the Snack Bar. Most on line and catalog items are available for sale at the door as well as gift assortments and gift certificates. Visit Burgers’ Smokehouse and do your Christmas shopping early this year.
Burgers’ Smokehouse is open to the public Monday-Friday (except for holidays) from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the fall of the year from the third Saturday in September until Christmas, the smokehouse is open on Saturday as well from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The smokehouse is located three miles south of California on Highway 87.
BAGNELL DAM – THE ELECTRIC DREAM©
In 1912, Kansas City attorney Ralph W. Street conceived a plan for building a hydro-electric dam on the Osage River near the village of Bagnell in Miller County, Missouri, but it wasn’t until 1924 that the project began. Street teamed up with Walter Cravens, president of the Kansas City Joint Stock Land Bank, to form the Missouri Hydro-Electric Power Company (MHEPC). Their goal was to generate cheap electricity for Kansas City and create a recreational playground where hunting, fishing and boating opportunities would attract tourists.
After nearly five years of work and millions of dollars in expenditures, which produced the infrastructure needed to build the dam but did not produce the actual dam itself, the MHEPC was deeply in debt and the project came to a halt. Debt and the inability to raise more funds forced MHEPC to sell the project. Union Electric Light & Power Company of St. Louis bought the project and with the help of Stone & Webster Engineering began dam construction in August of 1929. Bagnell Dam’s superstructure was complete by the spring of 1931. By October of 1931 its hydro-electric generators were on line producing electricity.
Completion of the Dam created Lake of the Ozarks. At the time of its creation, the reservoir was the largest artificial lake in North America and was ready to fulfill its purposes – to provide additional electrical power for Union Electric’s vast distribution system, power the mining industry in southeast Missouri, and create a recreational playground in the northern Ozarks. Union Electric Light and Power Company, like its Kansas City predecessor, wanted to stimulate tourism for the northern Ozarks as well as generate power.
To accomplish its tourism goals, it created a subsidiary known as the Union Electric Land and Development Company. This entity proceeded to convert a building on top of the bluff overlooking the dam into a luxury hotel called Holiday House. They next created a nice eating establishment at the west end of the Dam known as the Lakeside Casino Restaurant. Adjacent to the restaurant and Dam they installed the Union Electric Bathing Pavilion and Excursion Boat Dock where fast, powerful, mahogany-trimmed boats gave early visitors a thrilling way to see the Lake. All of this was accomplished within about three years.
The first people to enjoy the electricity produced by Bagnell Dam were the people of St. Louis and southeast Missouri, not the little town of Lake Ozark that sprang up adjacent to the incorporated area around the Dam known as Lakeside and owned by Union Electric. While the Lakeside Casino Restaurant had electricity to light its facility and run its appliances, the cafes, gift shops, service stations, hotels and lodges less than half-a-mile away from the Dam were still using small private generators to produce electricity for their individual businesses a year later. It would be several more years before Union Electric would have lines delivering electricity beyond the west end of the Grand Glaize Bridge in Osage Beach.
In 1936 while touting its success at building the Dam and creating Lake of the Ozarks, the Union Electric Magazine said: “Small wonder that this land developed so rapidly into a popular vacation country. A multitude of resorts have sprung into being – hotels, cabins and cottages, to provide pleasant accommodations for the increasing throngs who have found here in Missouri a vacation land of sport and beauty second to none. But that is not all. Having sprung almost fully grown into existence, the Lake of the Ozarks resorts have been able to take advantage of all new and modern developments in providing guests with the last word in convenience and comfort. . .it is natural that these resorts should have utilized electrical conveniences . . . hot and cold running water, modern electric ranges and hot plates . . . In the hotels and lodges, electric cookery provides appetizing food . . . Go to Lake of the Ozarks where electricity has created an electrical wonderland.”
Well, not quite. It depended on how far you were from the Dam and if you happened to be close to U. S. Highway 54. In the article the company printed six photos depicting resorts that had electricity. One of those was Holiday House in Lakeside. The others -- Pla-Port Resort, Jack Frost’s Cabin Camp, Malibu Beach Resort, Osage Beach Tavern and Golden’s Resort were along or near the highway and not far away. Most were in Osage Beach near the Grand Glaize Bridge. Many other resorts, especially those a greater distance away from Highways 54 and 5 down lengthy winding lake roads would wait several decades before electricity from the Dam reached them. In fact, many of them had to finance the building of their own lake roads from the main highway. It wasn’t until the 1950s following the Great Depression and then World War II rationing that the sprawling tourist industry of Lake of the Ozarks began to truly mature, modernize itself, and attract vacationers and tourists in vast numbers.
The electric dreams of Ralph Street and Walter Cravens finally came true but unfortunately they did not live to see it become the recreational playground that it is today.
For more information about the history of Lake of the Ozarks, see the author’s books on Lake history available at: lakeoftheozarksbooks.com
(Illustrations: Bagnell Dam nearing completion, photographer unknown, circa summer 1931. Note dredging equipment in water below powerhouse and lack of development along distant Lake shoreline; Union Electric Bathing Pavilion and Excursion Boat Dock, photographer unknown, circa 1932; Early street scene along the Bagnell Dam Strip, photography by L. L. Cook, Milwaukee, circa 1930s. )
THE MIRACLE CITY OF THE OZARKS – LINN CREEK©
By Dwight Weaver
Less than one mile northeast of Camdenton on U. S. Highway 54 is the town of Linn Creek, a community called “The Miracle City of the Ozarks” or “New Linn Creek” in the 1930s and 40s.
The Linn Creek of today is not the original Linn Creek but a re-birth of Old Linn Creek that once sat one mile upstream in Linn Creek valley from the confluence of the creek and the Osage River. The town is now three miles from that confluence and the waters of Lake of the Ozarks fill most of the valley’s lower three miles. The original site of Old Linn Creek is now beneath 40 feet of water.
Old Linn Creek was first settled about 1841 by Benjamin R. Abbott, who operated the first store. Before that, Aaron Crain operated a ferry at the mouth of Linn Creek. A second confluence nearby was that of the Niangua River. Crain ferried passengers across both the Niangua and the Osage rivers. By the early 1850s Joseph W. McClurg had settled at this location. The settlement of Linn Creek grew and after the Civil War, McClurg became the governor of Missouri. He was Linn Creek and Camden County’s most distinguished citizen of the late nineteenth century. By the time Bagnell Dam was built and Lake of the Ozarks formed in 1931, Old Linn Creek had a population of approximately 500.
The people of Old Linn Creek had the choice of selling their house and property to Union Electric, who built the dam and formed the Lake, or they could sell their land and have their house moved to a new location. Many of the people chose to sell out and build a new home in the new town of Camdenton. A few actually had their houses moved to Camdenton while others had their houses moved a couple of miles up Linn Creek valley to the location of New Linn Creek. There are today more than a dozen occupied houses in Linn Creek that were originally located in Old Linn Creek.
“Mounting their residences on rollers and skids, wrecking and re-building other structures, moving stocks of merchandise and places of business, Linn Creek was transplanted . . .up the valley out of the reach of the rising waters,” said The Daily Capital News and Post-Tribune” newspaper in Jefferson City in 1931. “This was done virtually overnight. New values, new ideals, new visions were created, and thus the new Linn Creek gained the appellation of “The Miracle City of the Ozarks.”
Linn Creek Cove, its shores not burdened by towering bluffs and precipitously sloping hillsides, was conducive to development and hosted several of the Lake’s earliest fishing camps and resorts such as Art Luck’s Fishing and Hunting Resort. Art’s place was located right above the former site of Old Linn Creek. His guests could boast of fishing in the waters over Old Linn Creek, thus it was that fanciful myths and legends were born, stories often believed by people unfamiliar with the history of the moving of Old Linn Creek. It was said you could see the buildings of Old Linn Creek beneath the water and that when the Lake was low a church steeple jutted above the surface and the steeple’s bell could be heard ringing on dark, windy nights. The stories were completely untrue but added a lot of spark around the campfires of fishermen at night.
Among the first merchants in New Linn Creek were J. H. Bruin, J. W. Garrison, Lon King, O. H. Evers, Thomas Moulder, J. A. Bunch, J. R. Neal, R. F. Houser and E. C. Shifflett.
J. H. Bruin opened the Bear Den Grocery and is said to have carried on his back, piece by piece, all the lumber used in the building of his grocery store from a lumberyard in Old Linn Creek up to his New Linn Creek location.
J. W. Garrison opened the Green Lantern Café while Lon King, merchant and realtor, operated a jewelry store and served as the town’s undertaker.
O. H. Evers opened the Linn Creek Hotel, which was described as “a quaint, little all-stone structure” with a mantle over the dining room fireplace that was 100 years old. It was made from walnut that came from the Methodist Church parsonage in Old Linn Creek. Evers also built separate tourist cottages overlooking the Lake. The Evers stone hotel building still stands in Linn Creek and is now a private residence.
The Moulder family operated a drug store and general dry goods; J. A. Bunch operated a filling station and the Camden Motor Company; J. R. Neal operated a lumberyard; R.F. Houser had the Lakeside Barber Shop; and E. F. Shifflett had Fat’s Bar-B-Q.
The First National Bank of Linn Creek had a capital surplus of $50,000 and deposits of $450,000. The bank was organized in Old Linn Creek in 1905 and John M. Farmer was cashier when New Linn Creek was established.
These merchants and their businesses are long gone but some of their buildings survive. Houses in Linn Creek’s residential areas in the old part of town are showing their age, but southeast of U. S. Highway 54 along the banks of the North Fork of Linn Creek the commercial landscape has a newer look in the town’s industrial area.