|Howard Co, Missouri||North America||1,103||English||39.227/-92.847||3,992 miles|
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the fourth largest in the United Kingdom. Situated on the River Clyde in the country’s West Central Lowlands, it is also one of the largest seaports in the world. In the 1700’s, Glasgow was a major player in the tobacco trade, which resulted in creating a new breed of wealthy Glaswegians know as Tobacco Lords.
Glasgow grew exponentially during the Industrial Revolution, eventually becoming one of the world’s pre-eminent centers of heavy engineering, most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industry, producing numerous innovative and famous vessels.
Today, trade is still important in this Scottish city. In fact, on a smaller scale, Glasgow is also known for it’s Barras Market, which, like a mega flea market, sells everything under the sun, and then some.
Personally, I would love to stroll through the Barras – pick up a few things. Paul says, “We have no money.”
So, we decide to travel a bit closer to home.
We set off for Glasgow on a chilly March day. Shivering, we warm our hands by the car heater vents as Shadow, our faithful lab-mix, whines in the back seat of our CRV. He’s desperate to stick his head out the window, but we don’t cave in right away. Not until we warm up a bit, and even then we only open the window for a short period of time as the cold air immediately eliminates any warmth. Ah, Missouri weather. It may be spring on the calendar, but today it’s more like winter.
Because Glasgow is located at the junction of Highways 240, 87, and 5, once again we travel I-70 West, where by now we know all the landmarks by heart. In fact, I’m pretty sure we’ve created permanent tire tracks in the I-70 bridge by Rocheport.
Like it’s Scottish counterpart, Glasgow, Missouri is located on water. So it’s not surprising it grew up as a commercial shipping center, in this case exporting hemp and tobacco from its steamboat port. Today, Glasgow ships corn by river barge and also by rail line but I find the tobacco coincidence between the two cities fascinating.
Glasgow is one of the few towns left in Missouri with its commercial business district located right on the river bank. The Missouri River, famous for changing its path periodically due to flooding, has historically sucked up river frontage or completely destroyed towns, even in the not so distant past. Being from St Joseph, Missouri, I’m quite familiar with the river’s fickleness. During the Great Flood of 1951 (before my time), the river changed its course and cut off Rosecrans Memorial Airport. So today, you have to go through Kansas to get to it!
From I-70 we take the 106 exit at Boonville and go north on highway 5 (aka 87). This turn off also takes you to our “neighborhood” gambling establishment, The Isle of Capri where you can have fun spending your money, and the proceeds will ultimately save our schools. Or so the story goes.
We pass by Franklin (or Old Franklin to some since New Franklin is just three miles up the road), cross the Missouri River again and the road meanders a bit around the flood plain before we climb into the sloping hills. Houses are far apart surrounded by acreage and often small ponds. The road rises and falls as I close my eyes to experience the roller-coaster effect as Paul drives on.
Glasgow is only 30 minutes from Boonville so the time goes fast. We turn left on 240 West and follow the signs to Stump Island, one of the attractions we were hoping to see on this trip.
Once covered in stumps, this area was named by Lewis and Clark when they camped there from June 10-11, 1804 when this area was actually an island. But once again, because the Missouri River changed it’s course, it’s part of the riverbank now. As in testament to this truism, there’s a rusty barge (which Shadow enjoyed sniffing immensely) on the shore that looks like it’s waiting for the water to rise again and set it afloat.
According to the Glasgow website the park hosts “12 campsites with electric hookups, a dump station (good to know), a modern bath house with hot showers, and a newly renovated boat ramp with access on the Mighty Mo”.
After visiting Stump Island we ventured into Glasgow proper, which begins at the river, marveling at the way it slopes upward into the hills. In some ways it reminds me of San Francisco (where we lived for many years), except on a much smaller scale.
It didn’t take us too long to locate the Museum.
But because it was Sunday, it was closed. This happens a lot to us. Too bad, because the building housing the Glasgow Museum, at 100 Market, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was originally constructed as a Baptist church in 1861. Then, the Baptist’s built a new home across the street and gave the building to the Presbyterians, whose church was destroyed during the Battle of Glasgow in 1864 (which I talk more about further down in this blog). The upstairs is said to period-based furnishings and even has a slave balcony with an exterior entrance.
We also discovered the Lewis Library of Glasgow, 315 Market, which was established in 1866 and is the second oldest library in the State of Missouri. In fact, it’s the oldest library building in continuous use west of the Mississippi. But naturally, it was also locked tighter than a drum as well, and by virtue of the abundance of wrought iron, basically impenetrable.
But as an odd coincidence, while trying to break in (so to speak) we ran into a retired priest we knew from days gone by. He gave us a brief but fascinating history of the city and an introduction to Glasgow’s role in the civil war. Paul researched this later and discovered the city was the focal point of a significant battle, the Battle of Glasgow, on October 15, 1864. Four hundred union and 50 confederate soldiers lost their lives when Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price tried to liberate weapons and supplies reportedly stored in the city. Price’s men did find rifle-muskets, overcoats, and horses, and ultimately defeated the Union forces who were under the command of Col. Chester Harding. This battle raised the Confederate morale for the time-being. Of course, the rest is history.
Glasgow is a pretty cool town and really worth seeing, if nothing more than to get a feel for what Missouri’s true river communities once looked like. And although they don’t have a Barras Market, they do have a Riverport Market, and an awesome Knights of Columbus Bowling alley…
And a really cool bridge!
Feel free to drop us a line if you know other Glasgow highlights we (probably) missed.
Our next destination: Iberia – No, not Siberia