Stepping Into the Road
January 19, 2013
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."~Bilbo Baggins
After recently watching The Hobbit, I've pondered the courage of Bilbo Baggins leaving his comfortable Shire. Amazingly, a well-told story can inspire and launch me "down the road," so to speak. Okay, I'm middle-aged, and it's not that I dislike change, it's just that the tried and proven has some powerful momentum. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is another film delightfully proposing that some of life's best surprises happen when we dare to change the status quo.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be "swept off" to a library position in Platte County, just a few miles from where I live in Clay County. I may have only traveled 12.5 miles, but I have entered a new, interesting world. For years, we've dragged our kids to history museums on family vacations. Just say the word Smithsonian and their eyes glaze over. Now, not only am I enjoying getting acquainted with the friendly folks of Camden Point, but I have been learning that Platte County is rich in history.
To become acquainted with the area, I went to the MCPL's Research Databases. My search here linked me to The State Historical Society of Missouri. On their webpage, I found "Platte County Place Names." Did you know that the well-known Barry Road is named for the town Barry? And was one of the oldest towns in this section of the country? It was established as an Indian trading post in about 1830. Another invaluable resource is the American Civil War Research database. Here I found my great-great grandfather's name on the list of Ohio soldiers and read about battles in Platte County.
Camden Point, established in 1848, has some intriguing history of its own. Its past includes a boarding school called "The Female Academy," Civil War skirmishes, a Confederate soldier memorial, and cemetery. Also, the famed Interurban Railroad Line had a station/stop here. The Platte River runs about three miles to the east and used to be an important means of transportation when trees were abundant and roads were scarce. At one time, Hamilton's Ferry operated on the Platte River.
I'm sure I've only scratched the surface of local history. We may never be a part of an archaeological dig, but with a little "digging" on MCPL's databases, you can unearth some amazing information about the places you live and work in every day. It's a little bit like Bilbo adventuring through middle earth.
Camden Point Branch