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Submitted by Judy Sharp
Summer is almost here? Summer is almost here! The Depot Museum doors will open for the season in another month. Generally, we’ll plan to be open two Friday–Saturday times per month. Although we decided not to have the Smorgasbord again this year, we’re already planning on it for sure in 2022. Instead, we’re coordinating our schedule around events planned by the Hall Museum, Lancaster (June, August, September dates are set); Scotland County Antique Fair (late August); Downing Appreciation Days (early September). So here’s our tentative schedule:
SUNDAY, the 6th (no smorgasbord, but we’ll be open in case some people miss the notice)
FRI/SAT, 11–12 (Hall Museum, Lancaster is having special tours on Saturday, 6/12, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.—visit both of us)
FRI/SAT, 2–3 (for the July 4th celebration and fireworks in Downing)
TUESDAY, 10th (Missouri Statehood Bicentennial—Hall Museum will celebrate with an ice cream cone social, and an art competition with Circus theme—plan ahead on your art entry, it has to be in for judging on Monday the 9th—check with the Hall Museum for the rules)
THURS, FRI, SAT, 26–27–28 (Downing Depot will have a booth at the Scotland County Antique Fair on the square at Memphis; instead of the Depot building being open, look for us on the west side of the courthouse near the main door)
SUNDAY, 5th evening before and after the Appreciation Days church service
ALSO (tentative plans are to have an afternoon program in September, maybe on the 5th, “Saluting Our Veterans & Families,” with sharing of memories, songs, light refreshments, and an open house for our new Veterans Room. We hope to gather many veterans and their families for this special event—firm details will be coming.
THURS, FRI, SAT, 9–10–11 (open during Downing Appreciation Days)
FRI/SAT, 17–18 (Tour Schuyler County History—Hall Museum, Lancaster; Lauer Blacksmith Shop, Queen City; and our Depot Museum, Downing, will all be open for tours, 10 a.m. to time? Glenwood–Schuyler Co. Community Center will be serving lunches, as well as local restaurants.
FRI/SAT, 22–23 (closing for the 2021 season)
Recently I’ve been inventorying books and such that Terry Arnold donated to the Depot Museum, from the SCGS organization. As you may know they are closing down due to lack of attendance and lack of people requesting information from them. It seems that today’s genealogy researchers believe they can get everything useful online. Let me tell you, the SCGS building has a wealth of information that just isn’t part of anything microfilmed or transcribed into digital. Our Downing Depot Museum is the same way. I’m often amazed at the old, but fresh information found there.
Local history museums are given lots of documents as well as the many physical items and photos—bits and pieces of this and that. Bonnie Hayes did a great job with preparing the rural schools’ binders, but in the past few months I found quite a few additional papers to add to the four binders she’d organized. They became stuffed and hard to browse. Now they are split to seven binders, plus Downing has its own set and Glenwood and Schuyler R-I each have their own set of binders. There’s lots of old and interesting info to review in the history of 60+ schools—their original names (you’ve probably heard of Pull Tight, but how about Backaction, Possum Hollow, or Mud-Head?), dates they were established, and surnames that are still around today. And of course, there were schools in Scotland County that connected to Downing as their hometown.
History is a funny thing. You may like looking at some old thing someone’s great-grandfather had, but you’ll remember it longer if you know why he had it, what it was used for, or how it had to be used. If you can relate that great-grandfather to your neighbor’s mother’s family that lived… well, it hangs around in your head and you’re probably better off for knowing there were different ways of doing things long ago, people struggling to make livings in kinds of jobs that may now be rare—blacksmithing, weaving, threshing, delivering mail by rail.
We hope to see you sometime when we’re open (see above schedule), but if at another time you’d like to research something or bring a visitor to the Museum, just give one of us a call. We’ll be glad to help out. Call Jerry or Margaret Scurlock, 660-379-2467, Carol or Don Scurlock, 641-929-3915, or Judy Sharp, 660-342-1454. We’ll see you in Downing, at the Depot.
Additionally, can you ever have enough old railroad pictures? What engines ran through Downing? The Museum has pictures of the last train through town and the Doodlebug, but those aren’t the old steam engines and trains. There are pictures of bridge crews working near Centerville, an agent with some men standing at a mail car, and some men posing on a hand pump car. Ah, but new information came along the other day. Terry Arnold is closing down the Scotland County Genealogical Society (SCGS) building and allowed me to scan some railroad postcards that Helen Louise Depuy of Mobile, Alabama, had donated to them.
So now the Depot collection has two pictures of steam locomotives and coal cars pulling trains—one east and one west of Memphis; the CB&Q depot at Crawford in 1953; the railroad track with a bridge over the track far in the background, labeled “Broadwater Cut and Wagon and Foot Bridge, Memphis, Mo.” (does anyone know where this was?); and a color card of a wagon bridge over the Fabius River, Memphis, Mo. On this card a wagon and team are stopped on the left end of the bridge with a man looking across the river toward us (the photographer). It’s great to find new information.