Civil War Soldier

When IT director Eric McGowen, Friend Shari and I were on our way up to the Jackson County Courthouse’s bell tower, public works director Don McQuay mentioned something about a figure standing in a dark corner. To be honest, I was more interested in getting up to the dome where the neat stuff was before it got too hot, so I didn’t stop to look at it. (I’ll show you the neat stuff later.)

On the way back down, Don pointed him out again, prompting me to take a closer look. “Know who he is?” Don asked.

Sounded like a trick question to me, so I said, “Not a clue.”

“He’s the Union soldier who used to on the fountain at the Common Pleas Courthouse.” Don said.

A tree limb hit the statue May 12,2003, and broke it into more than 200 pieces. “I picked up most of them in a five-gallon bucket, he said.” At first it looked like the old soldier, erected by the Women’s Relief Corps, and dedicated on Memorial Day 1911, was a goner.

Alan Gibson to the rescue

Alan Gibson, a Dexter sculptor, said he’d try to put the martial Humpty Dumpty back together. Once he did that, he made a mold of the original and recast it with polyester resin and bronze.

Here is a Fred Lynch gallery of photos of the soldier being lifted back up on the fountain.

Shari and I were amazed at the job Gibson did. We couldn’t feel a single joint or seam where the pieces had been put back together.

Tree shadowed statue

When I shot the statue as part of a story on Common Pleas memorials in October 2011, there was a large tree behind the statue. It might have even been the Killer Tree itself (not to be confused with Jackson’s Hanging Tree).

Grounds look naked

When I shot this photo July 13, 2012, the tree was gone, leaving a gap like a missing tooth. You wouldn’t think a missing tree would cause the grounds to feel out of balance, but it did. I guess I just got used to seeing it there even if I never really noticed it until it was gone.


Carol Ann Browning, 1964 Miss Missouri

Carol Ann Browning, Miss Missouri of 1964, paid a visit to Jackson on Aug. 6, 1964, if the date on the negative sleeve is correct. I can’t believe that I don’t remember shooting this beautiful young woman. Click on any photo to make it larger.

I particularly like what’s happening in the background here: the expression on the guy on the right and the oblivious diner in the left  who is dutifully sawing away at his meat.

Awed onlookers

The Cape County Courthouse in Jackson was located across the street from The Jackson Pioneer, the paper I was working for in 1964. I wonder if I saw these women gawking at the hubbub on the courthouse steps and went over to check it out or if I just banged off a frame on the way over to the event.

He has to be a politician

I don’t know who the fellow on the right is, but he has to be a politician (and, if the boy in front of him is his son, I bet he grew up to be a politician, too). Only a politician would mug the camera when he’s four feet away from Miss Missouri.

A story in the Oct. 8, 1999, Nevada Daily Mail said that Miss Browning, a former Miss Eastern Jackson County, was given a two-year college scholarship and the use of a new Oldsmobile for her travels. If every day was as full of grip and grins as this one, I’d say she earned every penny of it.

Larry Winburn won a bet and a date

The Daily Mail story said that Larry Winburn was taunted by a buddy who bet Larry couldn’t get a date with Miss Burns. Larry accepted the challenge and won the date, the bet and the girl. After the Miss America pageant was over, the two got married.

She helped her husband’s father raise greyhound dogs, became a substitute teacher, then served as vice president and president of Nevada’s Boatman’s Bank; in 1998, she left the bank to become an insurance representative and did accounting work at a Sear’s store co-owned with her husband.

Gave free shows behind dad’s hardware store

Miss Browning, her five sisters, two brothers and mother put on free musical shows on a platform behind her dad’s hardware store. They became so popular that they bought a bus and spent much of the summer months and weekends on the road performing.

Her dad, Eugene Browning, died June 5, 2010. His Lee’s Summit Tribune obituary mentioned that the had partnered with Carol Ann, his first-born, to produce a book, Remembering the Browning Family Show – A Father’s Legacy in Photos and Philosophy.