Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Visiting with Friends in Sedalia, MO, 8/24/2015

The Story: Forty-five years ago, my husband, John, met Mike Williams, in Chu Lai, South Vietnam during their tour of duty for the Army. John was from North Carolina and Mike from Missouri. Coincidentally, Mike had a 17-year-old girlfriend named Kathy, and I was John's 17-year-old girlfriend (named Kathy as well). To make a long story short, Mike and Kathy got married when he returned home and got out of the Army, and have been happily married ever since (just the way it's supposed to be!)

John and I broke up while he was in Vietnam in 1970 and went our separate ways, living in different states for most of the time since. Fast forward to 2010 when my brother told me one day that John Hester had sent him a friend request on Facebook. I promptly looked him up as I had thought of John so many, many times over the years. I proceeded to send him a private message; he responded; we exchanged phone numbers; we talked; we met up (he was still living in NC and I was living in PA); and we married 6 months later. He was a wonderful man then and now. After divorces and widowhood, it is our fate and destiny to be together (finally). I have never been happier!!

John and Mike had spoken on the phone a couple of times over the years and when Amanda (our daughter) was at Webster in St. Louis in 2011, we met Mike and Kathy for dinner several years ago. We have stayed in touch since, primarily via Facebook, and when they saw we were in Missouri, they contacted us to see if we could arrange a hook up. 

That's how we ended up in Sedalia, MO, a lovely town between Platte City (where we were staying) and Osage Beach (their retirement home). We agreed to meet at the Katy Depot, a railroad heritage site and Sedalia Visitor Center. 

Katy Depot: There is a small museum inside and we enjoyed learning about the history of this town. It was founded in 1860 when Union Pacific Railroad decided to build a depot here. When the Civil War broke out shortly thereafter, westward expansion of the railroad was halted, making Sedalia the "end of the line" until 1865, 

Because of the huge demand for beef in the East, in 1866 the cattle drive was born to get the longhorn cattle roaming the open ranges of Texas to market. Many followed the Sedalia Trail to the town where the longhorns were loaded on cattle cars and shipped by rail to Chicago and further east. The period of the trail drive only lasted about 20 years but is a significant part of the heritage here. The well-known 1960s TV series "Rawhide" was based on this part of history.

The Depot has been restored. Here is the Women's Waiting Room (where women and children waited). Today it can be rented for private or corporate functions.

Here are some of the interesting displays in the museum.

We continued our visit to the exterior of the Depot.

The railroad ceased operation to Sedalia in 1986 after severe flooding caused extensive damage. The last passenger train was in 1953.

Scott Joplin played and composed ragtime music here in Sedalia. This piano at the Depot is a tribute to him. There's Mike ... what a good sport!

Katy Trail State Park is home to the 240-mile recreational trail. It runs along the right of way of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad and is open for hikers, joggers, and cyclists. Katy Trail is the longest rail rail-to-trail conversion trail in the country.

Sedalia was selected as the location of the Missouri State Fair in 1899 and it has been held here ever since. The 396-acre grounds have many buildings; the first constructed in 1903 and the most recent completed in 2013. Unfortunately, it was over by the time we visited. 

Historic Sedalia: We drove to the Downtown Sedalia Historic District (that was placed on the Register of Historic Places in 1992). Below is the Pettis County Courthouse, built in 1924, and memorials surrounding Courthouse Square.

Mike and John at the Vietnam Memorial.

Two beautiful old buildings near Courthouse Square: the First Methodist Church and the Sedalia Trust Building. Both were built of Missouri limestone. The Trust Building was built in 1889 in the Romanesque/Chateauesque architectural style. Sedalia Downtown Development is seeking a qualified developer to restore the building to is original appearance. 

Hotel Bothwell:  We entered the Hotel Bothwell for a drink at the Ivory Grill (but it was not yet open). However, the lobby was beautiful. One of the two phone booths has a vintage phone that still works (not sure who would be using it these days...)

Harry S Truman, Bette Davis, as well as Hollywood stars, Clint Eastwood and Eric Fleming, stayed here! The hotel is named after John Homer Bothwell, a visionary philanthropist in the early 1900s. Also, the Bothwell Lodge is now a State Historic Site and tours of the lodge are offered Thursday through Monday. The surrounding area was his farm, Stoneyridge. 

Dinner: Kehde's BBQ restaurant gets high scores on Trip Advisor so we decided to have dinner here. First we had a cocktail in the main dining room and then had dinner in the 1920 Pullman rail car that has been converted to a dining room. The food was good and the service excellent. 

What a wonderful day. It was fun to visit Sedalia, but, of course, the best part was spending time with Mike and Kathy. What a great couple. We parted ways agreeing to keep in touch and get together the next time we are in the area. 


  1. I enjoyed the tour very much! Your photos are great too!!
    It has been many years since my visits to MO. ...forgot how pretty it is!!
    Thank you..!!!

  2. I enjoyed the tour very much! Your photos are great too!!
    It has been many years since my visits to MO. ...forgot how pretty it is!!
    Thank you..!!!