Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Some Dirt Road Exploring in Southeast Kansas

Recently I had the chance to take a day trip to explore parts of Labette and Cherokee counties in southeast Kansas.

I began by following the Neosho River valley in far eastern Labette County. I headed south from the small town of Strauss and crossed Litup Creek a number of times. Shortly, I arrived at Oswego.

I spent some time exploring around Oswego noting some of the murals, the 1867 log cabin, the Labette County Courthouse, John Matthews park, and the Carnegie Library. I noted that Commercial Street was wide enough for people to park in the middle of the street.

Also in Oswego, I was amazed at the view off the bluff above the Neosho River in Riverside Park. This is one of the most picturesque spots for a city park that I've seen.

After leaving Oswego, I headed over into the southwest corner of Cherokee County to finish my Dare to Do Dirt loop. I had made a previous trip around the northern, eastern, and southeastern parts of the county in 2007.

This afternoon, I visited three old cemeteries, and the communities of Faulkner, Melrose, Treece, Neutral, Sherwin, and Hallowell. This will perhaps be my last visit to Treece, as the residents are now eligible to receive buyouts of their property and be relocated out of this area that is contaminated from the former mining activities. Then the town will be closed.

During the afternoon, I found two (2) low water bridges that I photographed. The Cherry Creek bridge southwest of Hallowell was flowing a substantial amount of water; so much so that I didn't try to cross it.

In the extreme southwest corner of Cherokee County, I came upon a low water bridge over Fly Creek. The most interesting aspect of this site was the remnants of an Iron Truss bridge left there beside the concrete slab of the low water bridge.

I finished my loop around Cherokee County, then headed west on US-160 back across the rolling hills of Labette County.

I decided to stop in Independence for dinner at the Brothers Railroad Inn. I had tried their Italian food the last time I was there, so this time I tried a steak dinner. I was very impressed with the filet mignon. It was very tender and cooked just right. It was well worth the wait on a Saturday evening since I didn't have a reservation.

Then, I had a 2 hour drive back home to Wichita. It was a long daytrip of about 380 miles that ended at 9:45 PM, but was very satisfying anyway.

For more information:

Oswego: http://www.oswegokansas.com/

My photo galleries:

Labette County:  Labette County Dirt

Cherokee County: Cherokee County Dirt

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