I took a little drive near Lake of the Ozarks, which followed windy roads and afforded great views. The tour was in a brochure that I found at a visitors’ center.
Details of the Drive Near Lake of the Ozarks
On this leg, we started at Lake Ozark and went southwest on Hwy 54 toward Linn Creek. We took the A Road due east and drove until we saw signs for the Missouri Trapshooters Association Home Grounds. We pulled into the parking lot of the Trapshooters Association. What seemed like hundreds of trap houses lined the course, and the parking lot appeared to extend forever in two directions.
And here it comes … this is why I just love living in Missouri. On the west end of the parking lot lay a little fenced graveyard, with the graves of 3-6 African American slaves. According to the state-produced brochure that we followed for the tour, the Mace Graveyard was established in 1820. The brochure states, “Visualize what a lonely spot this was back in 1820 when the cemetery was established.”
Actually, the site held the homestead of the Mace Family in the 1800s, who were also once buried here. Later, the family graves were moved to a cemetery in Linn Creek. The African-Americans were left behind, with only sandstone markers to call attention to their plots.
We pressed onward to another church, which was located on down the A Road and on the right-hand side. According to the brochure, The Freedom Church and Cemetery boasts a “life-size birddog headstone” in the cemetery. Well, I found the dog, but I’m not sure it was meant to be a headstone. No markings explained why the dog stood pointing toward the woods across the road. I once read where dog statues have been used to guard gravesites of their owners. This might be why this dog stands here, solitary and looking very cold.
After poking around in the cemetery, we traveled down the A Road and took a left at A-42 for a little more than five miles, until we found a swinging bridge built in 1930, similar to the swinging bridges in Miller County that I wrote about last spring.
I’m sure the same builder constructed this bridge, and we enjoyed the opportunity of standing on it, jumping up and down on it, and feeling it move. Since the wind blew hard that day, the visual effect of standing on the swaying bridge while looking down in the Glaize Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks made me feel a bit dizzy.
After checking out the bridge, we went back to A, headed south to E and took E to Montreal. We meandered by Buffalo Wallow, which is south of Montreal on Highway 7. A store marks the spot where the buffalo used to roam, and it obviously tries to capitalize on the tourist trade that comes by this area. From that point, we followed 7 south to I-44.
Missouri holds so many delightful side roads that offer opportunities to view some of the state’s finest scenery. Also, these little drives offer folks the chance to sit and talk about things, in the comfort and confines of their vehicles. Although a lot of folks won’t even think about venturing out during this time of year, I highly recommend it. The views during this season are unsurpassed.
First published in Dec. 2002.