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.

Mike Smith / KSMU-FM

For the KSMU Sense of Community series, I’m Mike Smith….

Just south of Branson, in Point Lookout Missouri where I talked to Kansas City resident Joan Scatt about her just completed visit to the Smithsonian of the Ozarks, The Ralph Foster Museum.   “It was highly educational, very informative, very well put together and I enjoyed it very much.  We’ve been in there 2 and a half hours and have to come back.  My favorites were the cameos and the stones, but I’m excited to see a (Rose O’Neill) Kewpie Doll for the first time, and I’m 68 years old”.  

Anna Skalicky

Eureka Springs has a long and fascinating history.  In this segment of KSMU's Sense of Community Series, KSMU's Michele Skalicky goes on a walking tour of an entire town that has been designated as an Historic Preservation District.

Ralph Wilson is working to keep the history of historic Eureka Springs, Arkansas alive by sharing stories about the city.  The Denver native, who came to the Northwest Arkansas in 2006, is one of two people who get paid to give tours of historic downtown.

Michele Skalicky / KSMU

Two local organizations are keeping alive the amazing accomplishments of a woman who helped pave the way for female artists.  In this segment of KSMU's Sense of Community Series, Michele Skalicky takes us to Bonniebrook and to the Rose O'Neill Museum.

Set along a flowing stream, complete with waterfalls in the middle of the Ozarks woods, it’s easy to see why Rose O’Neill loved Bonniebrook.

Nicholas Carter / KSMU

Built in 1929, the Lyric Theatre in downtown Harrison, Arkansas originally served as a venue for “talkies.”  Talkies came after silent pictures and were the first films to incorporate dialog, music and other forms of sound along with the film. Over the years the theatre has experienced several changes, but for many people it remains a vital part of the community’s history, culture and memories. 

Wilson's Creek NPS

Wilson’s Creek Battlefield is well recognized for its link to the site of the third major battle of the Civil War, which happened on these grounds in 1861.  The National Park Service cares for and maintains this historic land.  But as Ted Hillmer, superintendent for the NPS at Wilson’s Creek explains, there is much more here to preserve and share.

“It is a national battlefield, but it is also a cultural resource.  And because it is a cultural resource there’s things out here that we want to preserve,” Hillmer says.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Bob and Barb Kipfer know how to keep busy. It’s understandable when you take into account the 400 acres of land they own and maintain in southern Christian County. 

Originally from Kansas, the two are quick to point out how little they knew about this property known as Bull Mills before buying their home in 1995. But you wouldn’t know it by talking with them today, or sitting in on a presentation about the land, for that matter.

Smallin Cave
Scott Harvey / KSMU

Standing under a tin-roof pavilion in rural Christian County, several historians and I watch closely as Dr. Milton Rafferty thumbs through a series of topographic maps. Laid out over a picnic table, the retired emeritus professor of geography at Missouri State University is retracing the steps of the famous explorer whose geologic survey helped map much of the Ozarks.

“Well we’re looking at Schoolcraft’s destination when he came out to find the lead mines which were near present day Springfield. And he’s at the mouth of Pearson Creek on the James River,” Rafferty explains.

Randy Stewart / KSMU

After taking you on a short whirlwind tour of some of the preservation efforts going on here in the Springfield area to commemorate U.S. Route 66 (see story "Keeping the Legacy of Route 66 Alive in Springfield"), we're now going to travel up the road apiece--about 50 miles northeast of Springfield along Interstate 44, but along a path that would have utilized Route 66 at one time.

(Photo: Randy Stewart)

When the U.S. government approved the federal highway system in 1926, two businessmen—Cyrus Avery of Tulsa and John T.

Springfield’s Jewish community played a crucial part in shaping our region…but the community’s role is largely unknown to the public.  A new book aims to change that, and give that religious community the recognition it deserves. As part of our ongoing Sense of Place series on local history, KSMU’s Julie Greene has more.

MSU began the Ozarks Celebration Festival as a way to create a sense of place for its students, as well as to celebrate and honor the Ozarks’ history and culture. Since its inception 16 years ago, the weeklong festival has become the university’s largest yearly event, which attracts around 20,000 people from across the country and beyond.

The Many Lives of Phelps Grove Park

May 16, 2013

In our local history series, Sense of Place, we examine times gone by to understand how our community has grown and changed. In her final piece for KSMU, Emma Wilson brings us the story of a beloved city park that has evolved dramatically over the past century.

For our local history series, Sense of Place, we examine the pieces of the past that have formed the culture of Springfield and the Ozarks. For this installment, KSMU’s Emma Wilson explores recent writings on a lesser-told history of the area.

It wasn’t a typical day at Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks—with temperatures only in the 40s and light rain and sleet falling, vendors were set up in only one tent.  But tomorrow, with highs expected to be in the 70s and sunny, FMO will have many more vendors and, likely a lot more customers, too.

The market has 110 members this year.  Market manager Lane McConnell says they never expected to grow so quickly…

Memories of Majors

Feb 26, 2013

For our local history series, Sense of Place, we profile people, places, and events that have made this region what it is today. KSMU’s Emma Wilson brings us the story of a man who looms large in Springfield’s public memory.

The year is 1901 and you’re walking home from church across the downtown square. Through the hooves clopping and the wagon wheels grinding you hear a rumbling sound. It turns out to be wagon propelling itself forward without the aid of a horse.