Saturday 28 June 2003
Pix of the Day: Lewis & Clark via Tandem Bicycle
MAP: Clayton, MO. Click copyright links or thumbnails to visit image source pages.
CREDITS (left to right):
© MO State Parks/2002 Katy Ride © Chuck Robert/SW Missouri Rail Site
© J.&P. Mayberry/www.Great-Trails.com © MO State Parks/Katy Photo Galleries
Earlier today I received an email from a reader in Clayton, Missouri, a place that is unfamiliar to me. Old habits and training become ingrained, so first I found a map, which allowed me to check out the geography. Then I did some searching for the town's history and current development. At this point I must warn you that if you start behaving like this everyone under thirty years of age will think you are a BOF, along with about half of the people over thirty. If you fall into either category skip to the next paragraph: those still reading will be interested to learn that Clayton lies approximately equidistant between the towns of St. Louis on the Mississippi River and St. Charles on the Missouri River. The confluence of these two mighty continental drainage systems lies just a few miles north east, and when what is now known as the United States of America was beginning to form, this is where the frontier lay.
Clayton was founded when St. Louis withdrew from the county bearing its name to become an administrative area in its own right in 1876. It became necessary for the original St. Louis County to find a new location for its own administrative buildings. One hundred acres of land was donated by a local settler, the only proviso being that the area around the new courthouse was to be named after him: thus Ralph Clayton from Virginia hoped that his name would pass into local history, which was assured when the City of Clayton was formally incorporated in 1913. Martin Franklin Hanley who donated four acres of land to the project is less well memorialized. Clayton has experienced something of a building boom in recent years with the development of the Forsyth Centre [sic], Clayton on the Park, and the Plaza in Clayton.
In contrast to the grandiose big ticket developments in downtown Clayton, nearby there is a Rails to Trails (R2T) development called the Katy Trail. Although the official trail terminus is in St. Charles, I have it on good authority from the photo album of the Johnson County Bicycle Club from Shawnee Mission, Kansas, that the physical trail ends in Clayton. Mostly it has been my experience in life that persons on bicycles are trustworthy and reliable.
The name Katy was the fond nickname for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad. Closure of the railroad, which followed the Missouri River then continued west where the river swings north, made the land available for R2T purposes under Federal legislation. After gifts from Edward D. 'Ted' Jones Jr. and the railroad company, the State Parks authority was able to begin a change of use to establish the longest R2T in the USA, 225 miles of trail dedicated to foot and cycle travellers, all the way from St. Charles in the east to Clinton in the west of the state.
The 2003 Katy Trail Ride finished yesterday, and you may read ride reports at that link, and see the photo album, or find out more from the Katy Trail State Park web site. There is also an interactive town by town web guide, and Charles Hansen has an interesting personal account of the trail. Much of the trail follows the Missouri River corridor, the route for the great exploration undertaken by Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery, which left civilization behind at St. Charles as they headed into uncharted territory. The 2002 Katy Trail Ride was themed around the Lewis & Clark connection, which produced the humorous logotype in the first link picture.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)