In the aftermath (afterglow?) of the recent US elections I’ve been giving some thought to discussions about rural America that have been bouncing around. I drove through quite a bit of this ruralness on my way to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch this past weekend for a climbing trip with friends. Don’t worry, I didn’t think too much about all this while we climbing. But we did have some good conversation around the campfire.
On my drive home from the Ranch yesterday I decided to stop at a couple of historical markers along Highway 7. I’ve driven this road several times, and have seen the signs for the markers, but had never stopped before. Here’s what I found.
The first marker at which I stopped was a commemoration for the Arkansas marble used in the Washington Monument.
This marker commemorates the Arkansas marble in Washington’s Monument, taken by Beller and Harp bros. from this hill in 1836. This marker erected in 1954 by Newton Co. History Society. W.F. Lackey Pres, Manda Hickman Sec.
A quick Google search (Arkansas marble Washington Monument) returned some great sites and information about the stone, the Washington Monument, and even the roadside marker itself.
Boone County Caravan Spring
The other marker at which I stopped on my journey was a commemoration of a much less successful journey from the mid 19th century.
Near this spring, in September 1857, gathered a caravan of 150 men, women and children, who here began the ill-fated journey to California. The entire party, with the exception of seventeen small children, was massacred at Mountain Meadows, Utah, by a body of Mormons disguised as Indians.
I came across these two markers, commemorating the actions of people just a couple of miles, and a couple of years, apart in what many people would call “the middle of nowhere”. No real point here except a reminder that there is a lot of history all around us in this big wide country of ours. Not all of it makes it into the history books, but it is all a part of how we got to where we are, and where we are going.