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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day Trip Through Kansas

Coffeyville, Kansas
    It was a perfect day last Thursday when Bruce and I went to Coffeyville, KS to attend a funeral. It was overcast so the sun was beaming through the windows making it hot. We stopped in Joplin, MO for a late breakfast, had either Frank Sinatra or Big Band music on XM radio, and both were completely enjoying the scenery.   
   Bruce knew exactly how to get there, he turned onto US 166 from I-44. (US 166 is the old historic Route 66) This takes you through a few small rural towns, some nothing more than a few houses, convenience store and a church.   
Baxter Springs Heritage Center & Museum
  The first town of note is Baxter Springs, KS. There are some beautiful old houses another the highway, I’ve made myself a mental note to research the city of Baxter Springs and it's history. They have a historical museum, wonder if they have a local diner or tearoom.
  One of the prettiest areas we went through was around Chetopa, KS. There are big pecan farms in the area, plus the Spring River. According to their website Chetopa is known for pecans and catfish. Again, I enjoyed looking at the old buildings, I like to observe the architecture and think about what the building looked like when first built.
  We got to Coffeyville about noon. Bruce has been to Coffeyville many times, in fact lived there 50 years ago for a year or so. He used to go there often because Campbell 66 Express had a terminal there. The company closed in the late ‘80s; it had been that long since he’d been in the area. He was shocked at the changes. I kept asking him what did he expect in 25 years. He went straight to the old terminal building, which was not being used and was boarded up. Then we took a ride down memory lane; he told story after story of his experiences in Coffeyville.
   I do believe that Coffeyville has some of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen in a rural city. As with most Midwest towns, every domination is represented within a block or two of one another. The service we attended was held in the First Baptist Church, it is a newer style building. The church across from it was majestic old brick building with beautiful stained glass windows. I didn’t have a camera, wish I did.
   One thing I find so sad for small towns is the lack of businesses. It seemed everywhere we looked were empty buildings with for sale or lease signs of them. Coffeyville is large enough to have several business areas, so probably their old downtown area has taken a back seat to progress. There is a brand new Walmart; we passed the old building now empty on the opposite side of the city.
   Yes, the ride through SE Kansas was very pleasant. I am not a small town person, but did enjoy my day.
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