We saw a number of interesting homes as we drove about the town, many of which seemed to be nicely maintained. Some were obviously old; others not old but build to blend in with the surroundings. I particularly liked this "rustic" home at the edge of town next to the woods.
Once known as the "old Shelby place," this 1838 cabin stood in the country near Marshall, Missouri. It was later dismantled and moved to Arrow Rock. Yes, it is a log cabin, though not what you normally envision. Rather than stacking the naturally round logs to which chinking was added, the builder squared off all of the logs before stacking them. He then covered the logs with walnut siding which he covered with linseed oil. For several decades, this cabin housed a small museum of doctors' equipment, but I'm not certain if it is use in present.
Two story business buildings sprung up along the main street of this important river port during the 1850s. The whole block was destroyed by fire in 1901, but rebuilt as you see it today. As you stroll the boardwalk, you almost expect to see old-timers sitting on cracker barrels, whittling and telling tales. But I guess espresso and whittling don't really mix.
This beautifully preserved old home occupies a full block by itself. Walking from the small downtown to the Lyceum Theatre or to the Bingham home, you walk around or past it. I was unable to find a date for this home.
A brief word about Bingham for those unfamiliar with his work - He has been described as America's "first outstanding artist from the west." A number of his works are significant not only as paintings, but as historical documents which tell us a great deal about life on the frontier, particularly along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. To view a number of his best-known works online, visit www.georgecalebbingham.org/bio.
The Bingham family lived in the Arrow Rock house shown here for a period of about five years following the death of George's father. During that time, George was tutored by the local Methodist minister who was also a cabinet maker.
We were unable to tour the home during our visit which was on a Monday, the day before the 4th of July. We were disappointed, but not like the time in 1978 when we attempted to visit El Greco's home in Toledo, but found it closed (on Monday).
In 1834, Virginian Joseph Huston constructed this two-story tavern and mercantile to accommodate the hordes of travelers heading to the western frontier. Now, Huston's is the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi River. As with other sites in Arrow Rock, we were unable to gain access on a Monday.
The Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre is Missouri's oldest professional regional theatre, presenting outstanding productions during a five month season. Scheduled for 2007 are: "Into the Woods," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "Sugar," "The Sunshine Boys," "The Philadelphia Story," "Misery," "Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming," and "Children of a Lesser God."
Arrow Rock is pretty low key. It's a good twenty mile drive off I-70 to get here; Kansas City is about 2 hours away, Columbia about 45 minutes. It's not a major stopover for antique hounds or craftspeople. But I can appreciate a place that is off the beaten track. There are a few shops in Arrow Rock that are interesting: an excellent antique, crafts, and a gallery with some very fine pieces.
Just don't come here expecting that it's a kind of "quiet Branson"!
The Lyceum is the re-incarnation of an Arrow Rock tradition. There has been live theater here since the 1820s. The Lyceum puts on a busy summer schedule of music and drama which regularly fills its 400 seat auditorium.
Interesting displays from Arrow Rock's colorful history. The Daniel Boone family settled nearby and played an important role in early frontier society here. An early resident of Arrow Rock - and someone who always looked fondly upon it - was the painter George Caleb Bingham, who depicted scenes of Missouri River life on his canvases.
The Visitor's Center is in a new building, constructed in a ravine just to the south of the main street in Arrow Rock. Follow the signs down the gravel path to the short footbridge - it's just off to the side.