On Saturdays, May through the end of October, you will find people out of the ordinary roaming the streets of Independence, Missouri. The Original Trailblazers have taken the streets of Independence to make learning the history of Independence fun and interactive for visitors.
See Independence Missouri with The Original Trailblazers
“”Mom, who are all these people walking around town and why are they dressed like they live in the past?”
At first my 7-year-old was a bit confused by the unusually dressed people roaming the streets of Independence, Missouri, but after a few hourshe began to make friends with the folks from the past.
In the 1840’s and 1850’s Independence was a launching town for the folks heading west; the town flourished, and still today much of what history laid out still stands. Each Saturday (May through end of October) the Original Trailblazers have taken the streets to add some charm to the history of Independence, Missouri.
We are Heading West
Just outside the Historic Truman Courthouse we met the wagon lead by two mules, Becky and Bess. The driver informed us that we would be heading for California as prospectors have found gold. We boarded his covered wagon and headed out. Our first stop was the restored 1827 Log Courthouse.
Meeting the Folks at 1827 Log Courthouse
At the Log Courthouse we were greeted by two more Trailblazers, who educated us on such things as the new mayor, the reason the courthouse was built from black walnut, and their plans for making it rich in 1849. “Watch out for the wild hogs!” they warned our family, citing a recent problem in town. Immediately my children started looking for swine scampering through the streets of Independence.
We also learned that we had worn the wrong shoes for heading west. Apparently we would not be riding in the wagon and would be walking. Flip flops were not good walking shoes in 1849. The Trailblazers made what could have been a boring stop for my 7 and 11 year old fun, and believe it or not the kids actually listened to what they had to say.
Learning at The National Frontiers Museum
After saying our goodbyes at the courthouse, we boarded the wagon again and made our way to the National Frontier Trails Museum. At the museum we learned what heading out on the trail would really be like. Inside the museum we got a close look at artifacts remaining from when the frontiersmen were really heading west.
My son was quite intrigued by the knives, guns, and animal hides. My 11 year old daughter, on the other hand, took great interest in reading the diaries and journal entries of folks on the trails. She couldn’t fathom the idea of what it would be like to walk all the way to California – especially at her age.
At the museum we also had the chance to pack our own wagon. I got quite tickled when my son declared, “How is mom going to drink, if we don’t pack cups?” Very insightful for a 7 year old! I suspect if we really were headed west those cups would come in handy. The kids were intrigued on how differently we pack now compared to those that journeyed west. No iPod chargers needed in 1849.
Trains and More at The Chicago & Alton Depot
As we departed the museum, we took a short stroll to the Chicago and Alton Depot to learn about a better form of transportation than mules and wagons. This was right up my 7 year old’s alley – something with wheels and noise. The Chicago and Alton Depot is one of the few two-story depots. The building has been beautifully restored and is full of history and artifacts.
After touring the depot our ride arrived (the covered wagon); the driver informed us that we would returning to Independence, Missouri, but unfortunately the mayor would not be there to greet us as he was out of town. This was the same mayor that was supposed to being doing something about those wild hogs running loose on the streets of Independence. My son disappointed he was not there, as he wanted to learn more about these wild hogs he could not find.
We arrived back at the Historic Truman Courthouse – where we left 1849 and returned to 2015.
Each Saturday (May through the end of October) the Original Trailblazers (live interpreters) can be seen roaming the streets of Independence. They offer free rides in a mule drawn wagon to historical attractions around town and add a fun twist to learning about what Independence, Missouri, is all about.