Sense of Place

Explore the mystery and folklore of the Ozarks region by taking a step back in time. This series focuses on true stories from the vaults and attics of local historians.

KSMU Archives

Although much of the culture of native tribes has been lost in translation, scholars and archeologists have pieced together a retelling of the Midwest’s native people. They’ve done so though artifacts, journals and a sheer motivation to know more. 

Missouri may not seem like that big of a place, but William Meadows can list over ten historical tribes of Missouri with ease. 

Meadows is an anthropology professor at MSU. And he says the state has a rich record of Native American tribes.

Left photo: Gage Skidmore, Flickr / Right photo: Jennifer Moore, KSMU / Flickr via Creative Commons

On a cold winter week in 1925, two babies were born in a hospital in West Plains, Missouri. They shared the same doctor and even the same first name.  But one would grow up to stroll the red carpets of Hollywood, and the other would retire as a horse farmer in one of the most rural places in the Ozarks. 

Michele Skalicky

Tucked away off Highway 76 just north of the entrance to Silver Dollar City is an old one-room clapboard building. Next to it, a two-story house, which must have been quite grand in its day, sits abandoned.  The roof of the porch has caved in, and ragged curtains hang at the windows.  There’s also an old smokehouse on the property, a building that was constructed several years after the other structures and the remains of a trail ride that operated there in the 1980s and 1990s.

Rick Gunter / Dora Public Library

A tiny town in south-central Missouri was once a refuge for bank robbers and outlaws.  92-year-old Dick Deupree remembers when Dora had its fair share of bandits. 

Dick Deupree recalls how, when he was a child, his father worked in the general store in Dora as the assistant postmaster. While life may have seemed normal in the shop front, there was a lot of drama in the background as his father dealt with notorious bank robbers.

Michele Skalicky

The Ritchey Mansion, east of Neosho in Ritchie, MO, stands tall some 168 years after it was built.  The two-story brick house is in a bucolic setting not far from Newtonia, surrounded by fields and farm roads.  But the area hasn’t always been peaceful.  During the Civil War, the house, built by Matthew E. Ritchey, served as a hospital for casualties of two Civil War battles that raged nearby.  And both Unions and Confederates used the house as their headquarters at different times during the conflict.   

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