Kansas City, MO Wednesday Nov. 13
This post will cover Tuesday and Wednesday. Last night was a rare day off from blogging. Our traveling profession is time-consuming, usually no days off. (I hear you crying for us.)
Tuesday we went to the Clinton Presidential Library. It took us over three hours to review the displays. Eight years of presidential history takes a long time to review. There are portions devoted to Bill’s early life and Hillary’s work. A traveling exhibit seemed out-of-place, it focused on their friend Oscar de la Renta. We saw the replica of the Oval Office and of the Cabinet Room. We finished up with lunch in their cafe.
Even at three hours, the mass of detail seemed overwhelming and difficult to absorb fully. Each year of the presidency had a separate area. Other displays covered topics such as the economy, the budget, world affairs, education, the two elections and inaugurals,etc. The impeachment was included.
The place was busy. School buses brought high school students. Numerous adults were touring. The staff was helpful but we purchased the audio guide which was wise given the number of students present. I can’t say we walked away profoundly awed. We are both in favor of Clinton but we like our politicians squeaky clean. The Lewinsky, et al incidents tarnish the image while reminding us that people have multiple facets, some good and some not so good.
We returned to the Arkansas State Capitol after Clinton’s Library. The Capitol has the usual adornment of granite and marble with wide staircases, etc. However, it lacks the adornment of several recent capitol visits such as Utah, Virginia, and Missouri. This may well be due to the relative income in the state versus other states, particularly at the time of building.
Arkansas today is the 12th most rural state in the union. I don’t have stats for the early 1900s when the building was being built but from the little information available in the few displays, it was poor and rural then. Basically, the only tour is a self-guided one. It did not take long. Cass Gilbert who designed the Minnesota Capitol was called in to complete the work of the first architect. Corruption and poor quality worked plagued the first effort.
Today was a driving day from Little Rock to Kansas City. The distance was about 420 miles but we had good Interstates most of the way. The George Washington Carver National Historic Site in Diamond MO was our only detour. Hopefully you recall the story. GWC was born a slave, had to go to several locations to obtain an education after the Civil War due to poor or non-existent education for blacks and discrimination by several schools.
GWC ended up getting his B.A. and M.A. from what is now Iowa State University. He had numerous offers for jobs but spent the rest of his life teaching and researching at Tuskegee University in Alabama. His life was a series of success in helping to recreate the agricultural ability of the South after its soil was decimated by decades of cotton growing.
He never applied for patents on any of his inventions. He wanted the people to be able to use his methods and creations to improve the South. He was a genius and great teacher motivated by his religion to help others. This National Monument is the first birthplace monument to anyone other than a U.S. President; the first dedicated to an American for services in agriculture; the first established for an African-American; the first for an educator; and the first for an American scientist. He died in 1943.
So, Kansas City is our home for the next three nights. Probably off to the Truman Library in Independence tomorrow.
Ed and Chris Nov. 13 9 pm