Historic Missouri Roadsides is a richly illustrated travel/history/photography book, consisting of several
tours of Missouri on mostly two-lane roads and highways. Varying greatly in length, most of the tours mark their
beginning points near Kansas City and St. Louis, making them attractive to Missouri “staycationers” who are eager
to get out of the city. One tour travels almost exclusively on Missouri Route 79. Dubbed the River Road tour, the
route along Highway 79 closely follows the Mississippi River north from St. Charles County to Lewis County, near
the Iowa border. A second tour that closely follows the Mississippi River is El Camino Real, which travels along US
Highway 61 southward from Jefferson County to New Madrid in the Missouri Bootheel. The Gottfried Duden/Lewis
& Clark tour traverses Missouri Highway 100 from Gray Summit in Franklin County westward to tiny Bonnot’s Mill
on the Osage River in Osage County. The Mostly Route 24 tour begins in Excelsior Springs in northwest Missouri
and travels eastward across the state to New London. Finally, the Osage Hills and Prairies tour travels through southwest
Missouri from Lebanon in Laclede County, follows a part of Old Route 66 to Carthage, then ends at Nevada in Vernon
County. Places to eat, stay, and visit are listed in the book and include only small, Missouri-owned businesses. Don’t
look for McDonald’s here—only real places owned by real people and keeping it local. This book is richly illustrated
with photographs by the author from his personal collection.
The second edition of Historic Missouri Roadsides includes six new “destinations,” where you might consider spending a long weekend or even an entire week. These destinations include the Boonslick Area, Fulton and Glasgow in Central Missouri, the Arcadia Valley in Southeast Missouri, Sedalia in West Central Missouri, and St. Joseph in Northwest Missouri.
Bill Hart grew up in Perry County in southeast Missouri. His interest in small town and roadside Missouri was fostered
by his work for the past several years with the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation (Missouri Preservation),
where he currently serves as executive director. He holds a degree in Historic Preservation from Southeast Missouri
State University and did his graduate coursework in Architectural History at the Savannah College of Art and Design
in Georgia. Bill is particularly interested in vanishing Missouri building types, including roadside and countryside. He
was one of the founders of the Missouri Barn Alliance and Rural Network (Mo BARN), advocating for documentation
and preservation of Missouri’s historic farmsteads.