Tag Archives: Missouri

Historic Preservation Weekend in Sullivan, MO

 removing invasive euonymus and honeysuckle
Tom and I are pictured removing invasive honeysuckle and euonymus from the Shamrock Courts in Sullivan, MO. In the center all the volunteers are having a lunch break.

On November 7 and 8th, 2020, members of the Route 66 Association of Missouri and other volunteers worked on a historic preservation project at the Shamrock Courts in Sullivan, MO. The Shamrock Courts were an historic Route 66 motel that was later converted to apartments and then left empty for over a decade. The goals of the volunteers on this cleanup weekend were to preserve the buildings, get the property cleaned up and looking good to help it find a good buyer who will restore it, and to look for artifacts and history to pass on to the new owners and to the historic record of Route 66.

I was only able to go on Sunday the 8th because I had a lot of homework, but was nevertheless very pleased to make my contribution. My husband Tom joined me. I concentrated on removing invasive vegetation from the building and the surrounding property. Removing the invasive vegetation helps with preservation because it prevents fast growing trees and vines from gradually prying apart bits of the buildings.  In addition taking seeds and parts of the plants that can grow away from the property helps to prevent regrowth and the cost of future labor to remove it. I may be back because there is a lot more to do!

Artifacts that thrill Route 66 fans
Artifacts that thrill Route 66 fans

When you can find actual historic details and artifacts, it’s an extra reward. For Route 66 fans, to see the outside of buildings like this is exciting, but it’s even better when you can get permission to get close and even go inside to discover things that you may not ever see during a “drive-by” photo op visit, or in a book. Historic finds, like the neon sign tubing we are holding up in the center photo, add to the historic value of the property as well as the satisfaction for history-loving owners and volunteers.

Personally, the day I spent at the Shamrock was extra special because it was on the 21st anniversary weekend of attending my first Route 66 Association of Missouri meeting and the first weekend of exploring Route 66 in Missouri with my Mom and Dad. We stayed at the Boots Motel and stopped for classic roadside sights for the first time such as Red Oak II and Bill’s Station. The following year I became a lifetime member of the Route 66 Association of Missouri!

Experience some of the thrill of discovery with these videos by Roamin’ Rich Dinkela, President of the Route 66 Association of Missouri!

Day 2 of saving the Shamrock

Finding the neon sign tubing!

New Electronic Display Installed At Schnarr’s Hardware Webster Groves Store


Pictured at the right is Mark Rice of Displays That Pay installing the SHOWCloud interactive marketing display at the Schnarr’s Hardware Webster Groves location. I’ve been working with Mark since 2005. I work for both Schnarr’s Hardware and Displays That Pay which gives me an exciting opportunity to experiment with Display’s That Pay’s SHOWCloud marketing communications application to best serve Schnarr’s customers.

If you want to stop by Schnarr’s Webster at 40 East Lockwood to see the new display, it’s located on top of the drinks cooler across from the registers. It’s also been playing for some time toward the bottom of the front page of the Schnarr’s web site – my presentation can be embedded within a web page. That’s one of the things I really love about using SHOWCloud – versatility. A wide variety of devices that have the capability of running a web browser or that have an HDMI port can run my SHOWCloud presentations. Such devices include laptop computers, desktop computers, iPads, smartphones, e-book readers, and flatscreen TV’s. Sometimes when the computer in the paint department at the Schnarr’s Ladue store is not in use I’ll go over to the paint counter and open a window to this url so that paint department customers can see it:
http://www.daasx.com/chasenfratz/ladiesnightpreview

SHOWCloud on a desktop computer monitor
SHOWCloud on a desktop computer monitor

As you might guess from the URL (web address), I started out using this presentation to promote one of Schnarr’s past Ladies’ Night events. Over time the content has changed and will be ever evolving and updating. If needed I can make multiple presentations tailored to different locations or different devices within one store. For example, if a store has different departments there could be different content at each station. The application can show more than just slides – I can add in web pages, video, live content and fun interactive applications.

Any place with access to wireless Internet can display SHOWCloud. Here is a picture of me last fall at Missouri Botanical Garden using an iPad to show a presentation promoting the Master Gardener program and the topics prospective participants would study. If you want to see the slides close up, here is the url:
http://www.myshowcloud.com/chasenfratz/stlmg

SHOWCloud displayed on an iPad
SHOWCloud displayed on an iPad

Below is a picture of me and my Displays That Pay colleague Jason at the Startup Connection 2016 event held in November at Washington University. There are a variety of examples in our booth showing how SHOWCloud can be used on different devices, including a multi-screen variation that gives additional flexibility, functionality and impact.

Displays That Pay at Startup Connection
Displays That Pay at Startup Connection

I can also update these presentations from anywhere that has an internet connection – from home or on the go. That’s very convenient and is a quick way to get timely information to our customers. I’m excited about the possibilities! Stop in to Schnarr’s Webster to see how we’re using this great new tool!

Prairie Restoration at Litzinger Road Ecology Center

I’m a volunteer at the Litzinger Road Ecology Center in Ladue. Volunteers and on some occasions the public are invited to educational events on the premises. I recently attended a session for volunteers to learn about why the prairie sections at the center are periodically burned and an introduction about how to start a fire, control the fire, and perform the burn safely.



Tallgrass Prairie at Fort Bellefontaine County Park

An example of a restored tall grass prairie at Fort Bellefontaine County Park

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My Handmade Greeting Cards are Available at Schnarr’s in Ladue

Carolyn's cards on the rack at Schnarr's Ladue
Carolyn’s cards on the rack at Schnarr’s Ladue

The Schnarr’s Hardware store at 9800 Clayton Rd., St. Louis, MO 63124 has a very active shipping department that does UPS shipping and sells a selection of shipping supplies. Greeting cards are also offered and I have some of my own cards on the rack there for sale now. They are all handmade and blank inside. The current selections include cards for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, as well as Birthday, Thank You, and multiple occasion cards. I decorated the cards with a variety of paper craft techniques including collage, stenciling and rubber stamping.

Some of my cards are also available with other handcrafts in my online store in the Handmade by Carolyn section.

Book Review: Birdies, Bogeys, & Bipolar Disorder

Birdies, Bogeys, & Bipolar Disorder by Michael Wellington
Birdies, Bogeys, & Bipolar Disorder by Michael Wellington

I have a loved one who suffers from Bipolar disorder. A friend of mine who also has the disorder lent me this book so I could get a better understanding of what the illness is like and how to best be a help to someone who has this illness. My loved one will not talk to me much about his treatment, what it’s like when he’s in the different stages of the disorder, what it’s like to be hospitalized and what are the warning signs of symptoms escalating and how to help the sufferer put the brakes on. This book gave me a much better understanding of what he is going through. There is a limited amount of what you can do for a person with this illness because unfortunately much of the hard work has to be done by the patient. This book will however give you some guidance about whether you’re doing the right thing, what to encourage the person to do and how to recognize behavior that precedes different stages of the illness.

Unless you abandon the sufferer (and I’m not recommending that!), this disease is going to affect your whole family. You will need patience, empathy and education. I recommend Mr. Wellington’s book for friends and family members because it will help you in all those areas. You’ll feel less alone learning how people in the author’s life reacted to his situation. Bipolar patients should also read it to get some insight into their own symptoms and get guidance and encouragement in their own treatment. You will be inspired by this memoir of a true sportsman with real heart for the game and for life who has persisted against great odds to achieve and to help others.

You don’t have to be a big sports fan or a golf fan to enjoy this book – I finished it in two sittings because it was so gripping. The writing is top quality – I was excitedly turning pages waiting to learn the outcome about each tournament and each round of battling the illness. Although I like outdoor activities and fitness I don’t follow sports much nor do I know a lot about golf. I’ve never played though I do have a lot of family members who love it, so I did know that birdies are good, bogeys are bad, you use different clubs for different things and you are supposed to keep the ball out of the water and trees – but not much more! If you play golf or follow pro golf you’ll probably enjoy the book even more than I did. If you know someone with bipolar who is also a golf or sports fan, this book may get through to them better than any other book they might read because they will be able to relate to the author. After reading my friend’s copy I bought two more copies to give to family members.

Like the author, I’m a native of St. Louis, Missouri and geographical references in the book did help draw me in. Although I’m not the type to hang around in country clubs or golf courses I do recognize the names of a lot of places where the action takes place and I at least have a vague idea of where they are. Mr. Wellington is involved in charitable activities in the St. Louis area and elsewhere through the nonprofit organization Birdies4Bipolar. As someone who also does some work for a nonprofit that helps people with mental illness, I appreciate his efforts and those of others in that organization. Mental health consumers and their families need a lot of support!

Here are some of my older book reviews.

Volunteer Work at Artists First Studio in Maplewood

Supplies in the paint room after I organized them
Supplies in the paint room after I organized them

I recently lost the art studio I had been renting and combined with some other much worse sad things that happened in my life around the same time, I have had a rough time lately. When you’re feeling bad, one of the quickest ways to make yourself feel better is to help someone else. Artists First studio in Maplewood is a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities. Their mission is to foster independence through self-expression. These clients need access to an art studio even more than I do. Helping them reminds me that I have a lot of blessings even though I’ve had some bad losses also. I’ve been doing some volunteer work on my last couple of visits helping to organize supplies in the paint room. I don’t know what my next assignment will be but it’s likely in the future that I’ll be teaching the clients how to use some of the supplies. I have some previous experience teaching art on a volunteer basis to people with mental illness and mental disabilities.

For more information about the Artists First studio, here is their web site: artistsfirststl.org. This is a great cause if you have any time or resources to contribute.

paint_room_2

Fit and Healthy on Route 66: Operation Clean Stream at Ozark Outdoors in Leasburg

finished_leasburg_map

On August 14, 2016 I joined a number of other paddle sports enthusiasts at Ozark Outdoors Riverfront Resort in Leasburg, MO for a day of cleaning trash from the local streams as part of Operation Clean Stream. We had our choice of different route lengths. I selected the 9 mile route which placed me with a few recreational floaters on the Bluffs section of the Meramec River. Other volunteers who opted for shorter routes were taken to put-in points on the Courtois and Huzzah rivers. Ozark Outdoors provided breakfast, trash bags, vessels, paddling gear and transportation. At the end of the day we dropped off our trash and equipment on the beach at the resort. Since I was the only volunteer to choose the long route, I was one of the last if not THE last to finish.

It rained for nearly the entire day, which I didn’t find to be a bad experience at all. My nylon rain poncho eventually soaked through but it was warm enough for me not to get cold and my torso was warmed by my life jacket. The rain was quite soothing and beautiful and it’s nice to see the river in different conditions. Rainy weather proved to be no impediment to picking up trash, in a way it made it a little more pleasant because at least the trash was fairly clean! Every time I stopped to clean up a sandbar I had to bail out the canoe with a Gatorade bottle that I found but that was no big deal. I didn’t bring my phone because it doesn’t hold a charge very well these days so my only photo of the day is of the trash pile (at the end of this article) when I was able to recharge the phone enough to get a picture. The Ozark Outdoors Facebook Page has some photos of the event.

The Bluffs section is very scenic and I recommend it for a great float. I have floated that stretch before but did not use the same outfitter so my put in and take out points were not the same. Ozark Outdoors used land they own for both so I’m not exactly sure where the put-in point is on the map at the beginning of this article. It was at the former site of a resort called The Bluffs which no longer exists.

Ozark Outdoors is practically right across the river from Onondaga Cave State Park. If you’re camping at the park, the resort has a well-stocked store if you need to make a run for more provisions. The resort is large and has a lot of services – cabins, camping, pay showers, ample restrooms, canoe and kayak rental and more. The staff seemed to be organized, friendly and committed to promoting responsible enjoyment of our streams.

ocs_081416
I found the space helmet and the chair, plus three bags of this trash!

There are more water and land based cleanup opportunities on August 27, 2016 – here is more information if you want to get involved!
Operation Clean Stream August 27
Operation Clean Stream 2016 Facebook Page

Crafternoon at Studio:art on February 2, 2016

Crafternoon at Studio:art
Crafternoon at Studio:art

Crafternoon is a regular gathering of crafters who bring projects to work on while doing a bit of socializing with each other. Studio:art is hosting Crafternoon on February 2. I’ve been to a couple of these before and had a lot of fun. I hope you can join us!

Date: February 2, 2016
Time: 12-3 pm
Location: 7403 Manchester Road, Maplewood MO, 63143
Fee: None, but bring your own refreshements

Studio:art Grand Opening Saturday December 19, 2015

Studio:art co-op grand opening

Studio:art Grand Opening this Saturday!

New artists co-op and retail store in Maplewood!

I’ve joined a new artists co-op in Maplewood Missouri and I am excited to invite you to our grand opening! It takes place Saturday, December 19 from 10am – 6pm. The address is 740 Manchester Road, Maplewood, MO 63143.

Local art and crafts (including some of mine) will be for sale, plus refreshments and a chance to win a $50 store gift card! It’s not necessary to RSVP, but if you’re a Facebook user you can RSVP at the event page or invite any of your friends that might be interested.

If you can’t make it on Saturday, the store retail hours are:
SUN: 11AM-7PM
MON: Closed
TUE: Closed
WED: Noon-8PM
THURS: Noon-8PM
FRI: Noon-8PM
SAT: 11AM-8PM

I hope to see you there!

Fit and Healthy on Route 66 – Castlewood State Park

Castlewood State Park in St. Louis County, Missouri
View from bluff at Castlewood State Park in two different seasons

Castlewood State Park is located along the Meramec River in the southwest portion of St. Louis County between the Manchester and I-44 alignments of Route 66. Parts of the park lay on either side of the Meramec River. The part that lies north of the Meramec River is accessible by car south of the Manchester alignment of Route 66 and includes one of the most scenic views in all of St. Louis County. The photos above were taken from the River Scene Trail.

In the days before air conditioning, one way people used to cope with the heat was by visiting swimming beaches at the numerous rivers in the region. Caves were popular too. Route 66 fans will recognize the names of the fun places “Times Beach”, “Sylvan Beach”, Meramec Caverns”, “Stonydell” and Joplin’s “Lakeside Park”. Fort Bellefontaine County Park was formerly such a destination – the area that is now Castlewood State Park was another.

According to the book “Walks & Rambles in and around St. Louis” by Robert Rubright, the heyday of Castlewood as a resort was from 1915-1950. The swimming beach was washed away by the river in 1945. Some other amenities such as clubhouses, nightclubs and taverns persisted a bit longer. The state of Missouri converted the land to a park in 1979. Signs at the park indicate that while swimming in the Meramec River is not forbidden, it’s not encouraged either and is something to undertake at one’s own risk. Drownings do occur here so be careful.

The River Scene trail is so nice that I have explored very few other areas of the park despite many visits. I need to correct that oversight! There is a steep climb to the top of the bluff but after that the trail is not too difficult because it is mostly flat or downhill. You will have to watch your footing because the trail is rocky in spots and it’s possible to trip on tree roots. Sturdy hiking boots and a walking stick are helpful for safety and comfort. There are multiple scenic overlooks, historic ruins from the resort days and a well-traveled railroad corridor to see along the way. Rail fans will normally get a chance to see a train or two while hiking here and a portion of the trail even goes under the railroad bed in a cool tunnel.

Map of Castlewood State Park in St. Louis County, Missouri

As you can see from this map, the portion of the park that is South of the Meramec River is accessible only by hiking, biking or by horseback. You can take a trail to Castlewood from either West Tyson County Park or Lone Elk County Park.

It’s not shown on this map how it connects but if you take the Stinging Nettle Loop at the base of the bluff, you can follow that trail westward to a portion of the Meramec Greenway, Sherman Beach County Park and the Al Foster Trail which begins in Glencoe. You can also take a side trip on the Rock Hollow Trail, also known as the “Zombie Road”. The Stinging Nettle Loop is great for mountain bikers like me who are pretty much at the beginner level. There are some hills but they are not too high and if you fall you’ll probably land on dirt most of the time. I took a minor fall and didn’t get hurt. More challenging trails that I have not worked up to trying on a bike yet are in the area if you’re up for it. If you are getting the impression that you can spend days or weeks here exploring all the trails that connect near here you are probably right! Bring maps because it can get confusing!

Castlewood State Park official web site

My photos of Castlewood State Park and the nearby Wildlife Rescue Center