Visit the Old Stagecoach Stop- Virtually!

The Old Stagecoach Stop on the Square in Waynesville, Missouri is closed due to coronavirus and stay-at-home orders. You can still visit this beloved Pulaski County landmark online though!

Pulaski County Tourism Bureau caught up with the Foundation’s president, Jeannie Porter, and past-President Jan Primas, on how the organization is still meeting their mission- and how you can teach your kids Pulaski County history during the pandemic.

Exterior of the Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville, Missouri.
Exterior of the Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville, Missouri.

Pulaski County Tourism Burau: It is easy to see that the coronavirus crisis has brought travel to a standstill. How has that affected your organization?

Old Stagecoach Stop Foundation: Sadly, we were not able to open the Museum on April 4th as scheduled. Nor were we able to complete our cleaning and preparations for opening. We always look forward to the many traveling visitors and military families who are looking for things to do while here for graduations. 

PCTB: The Old Stagecoach Stop Museum usually opens the first Saturday in April. What was it like for the docents when they learned they would not be able to throw open the doors and welcome visitors on schedule?

OSS: We were disappointed but knew that delaying our opening was the right thing to do. At least one county in Missouri had put a “Stay at home order” in place when we made our decision. Docents at the OSS are all volunteers, many are Seniors, we have no paid staff and our visitors come from all around the US and overseas. Considering all those factors, it seemed a sound decision. We all look forward to our tourist season which runs from April thru September. We were beginning to fill out our calendar for the 6-month period and dates were filling up. We will need to do some adjusting to the calendar when we are able to set our opening date, after allowing time to do our spring cleaning. 

PCTB: Your organization has transformed the Old Stagecoach Stop building from an unloved crumbling mess to a beloved Waynesville treasure. How is the building being cared for during Missouri’s Stay-At-Home order? What are some of the associated challenges?

The Old Stagecoach Stop as it appeared in 1977. Image by James Reist.
The Old Stagecoach Stop as it appeared in 1977. Image by James Reist.

OSS: Stay-at-Home order or not, our old building takes lots of loving care year-round. Luckily, we have talented board members that can help with the maintenance of the building. The Old Stagecoach Stop is 165 years old. It seems there is always something to be done. The front exterior of the building was painted this fall, and the chimneys had some sealant applied. This summer/fall we plan to have the rest of the building painted. A new water heater was also installed this spring. Building maintenance is a never-ending process.

PCTB: Does the OSS maintain any other buildings on the property? How do they fit into the Old Stagecoach Stop’s story?

Yes. In 2003 the Foundation purchased the lot behind the Old Stagecoach Stop. It had been a part of W. W. McDonald’s property in the 1850’s. The yard extends back to highway 17. A.S. and Lulu McNeese built the two-room brick building during WW II to provide rental rooms. When acquired, the McNeese Building, as it is now named, was used for storage. Plans were to eventually make it part of our tour after some restoration. We soon discovered that not to be feasible. In the past year we have been working to make it the monthly meeting place for our Board of Directors meetings. Some repairs and painting the interior and a new roof have made that possible.

The McNeese building on the Old Stagecoach Stop property in Waynesville, Missouri. Image by Laura Huffman, August 2019.
The McNeese building on the Old Stagecoach Stop property in Waynesville, Missouri.

PCTB: When the OSS can open again will you continue to offer free admission?

OSS: Absolutely. We have never charged our Saturday visitors an admission fee, though we do accept donations and we sell souvenirs. We do however charge for tours scheduled at times other than our scheduled hours. We try our best to accommodate tour requests from groups, bus tours, and families. We charge $2 per person for those tours.

PCTB: Do you have any projects that volunteers can help you with virtually right now? Historical research, grant opportunities, transcription work, brochure design, etc.? If so, what are your needs and how can someone sign up to pitch in?

OSS: Currently, due to COVID 19, there is nothing. Once we reopen, there will be opportunities. If interested you could stop by on a Saturday or contact our President, Jeanie Porter at (573) 336-3561.

PCTB:  For parents who wish to add more Pulaski County, Missouri history to homeschool lesson plans what parts of your website would you recommend they use? Any other sections of your website that would be especially interesting and helpful?

OSS: There are three sections of the website that could be used to develop lessons. They are: Route 66 Auto Tour, Old Settlers Gazette Archives, and the Podcasts. All lend themselves to the lessons of history and one could develop some interesting lessons around them. Even the Vintage Image Gallery could be used for some creative writing activities.

Historic marker outside the Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville, Missouri. Image by Laura Huffman.
Historic marker outside the Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville, Missouri.

PCTB: How happy would it make your heart to see pictures of the OSS from past visits prior to the COVID-19 crisis? How can they get them to you?

OSS: We would be delighted to accept photos visitors have taken during a visit. Contact our webmaster by email at tprimas@mac.com.  He can let you know the best way to send them.

PCTB: How can people stay in touch with the Old Stagecoach Stop during this time? How can we find out when you are ready for visitors again?

OSS: Visit our website (www.oldstagecoachstop.org)  or our Facebook https://www.facebook.com/oldstagecoachstop) page.

History & Heroes- Hector John Polla

Hector John Polla was born in Lexington, Missouri in 1916. He graduated from Higginsville High School and Wentworth Military Academy Junior College before heading to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1937. Upon his graduation from West Point in 1941, Lt. Polla was deployed to the Philippines and stationed on the Bataan Peninsula.

He was there when the Japanese attacked on December 8, 1941. His courage and gallantry during the defense of the Bataan resulted in his being awarded the Silver Star Medal. He survived the Bataan Death March and spent nearly three years in Japanese prisoner of war camps. Survivors of the war camps praise him for the leadership, fortitude, and skill he demonstrated during the hard years of captivity. Lt. Polla died tragically in January 1945 after the Japanese ship on which he and other prisoners were being transported was bombed by American forces.

1LT Hector J. Polla (1916-1945)

In addition to the Silver Star Medal, Polla’s military medals and other citations include the Purple Heart Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, the Prisoner of War Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze service star, the American Defense Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, and the Philippines Defense Ribbon.

1LT Hector John Polla is the namesake of Polla Road. Polla Road connects Fort Leonard Wood’s west gate with the town of Waynesville.

History & Heroes is an occasional series of interesting facts regarding namesakes and historical figures in Pulaski County, Missouri.

Historical sketch of 1LT Hector John Polla provided by Fort Leonard Wood.

Purple Heart Trail in Pulaski County, Missouri

Take a drive along Missouri’s interstates and highways and you are bound to notice signage depicting various counties and cites as Purple Heart communities on the Purple Heart Trail.

The purpose of the Purple Heart Trail is to create a symbolic and honorary system of roads, highways, bridges, and other monuments that give tribute to the men and women who have received the Purple Heart medal.

Pulaski County was the first county in Missouri to receive the Purple Heart County designation.

The Purple Heart Trail accomplishes this honorary goal by creating a visual reminder to those who use the road system that others have paid a high price for their freedom to travel and live in a free society. Signs placed at various locations annotate those roads and highways where legislation has been passed to designate parts of the national road system as The Purple Heart Trail.

The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 by the Military Order of the Purple Heart to be a symbolic trail throughout all 50 states to commemorate and honor all men and women who have been wounded or killed in combat while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Purple Heart Trail originates at a monument in Mt Vernon, Virginia. Mt Vernon is the burial location of George Washington. This monument marks the origin of the Purple Heart Trail.

Saint Robert & Waynesville

During January 2013, Saint Robert, in Pulaski County, became the first city on the Interstate 44 corridor to become a Purple Heart City on the Purple Heart Trail. In March, Saint Robert’s sister city, Waynesville became the fifth city in Missouri to receive the Purple Heart City designation, joining in Missouri’s effort to honor those veterans who have been wounded or killed while in military service to our country. The declaration follows legislative action which made Missouri’s entire sections of Interstate 44 and 70 a Purple Heart Trail.

“The City of St. Robert seeks to recognize veterans who are recipients of the Purple Heart veteran. The Board of Alderman desire to proclaim the city of St Robert to be a Purple Heart city, honoring the sacrifices of our nation’s men and women in uniform serving to protect our freedoms.”

City of Saint Robert City Administrator Anita Ivey

Missouri’s First Purple Heart County

History was made March 25, 2013 when Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department of Missouri, Everett Kelly made his third trip to Pulaski County in as many months to present Pulaski County Commissioners with a plaque and flag recognizing the county as a Purple Heart County. Pulaski County was the first county in Missouri to receive this designation.

History was made yet again June 3, 2013 when Disabled American Veterans Harry L Herron Chapter No 49 was recognized as a Purple Heart Supportive Chapter by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. D.A.V. Chapter 49 becomes the first service chapter to receive this designation nationwide.

Crocker, Missouri was also designated as a Purple Heart city in 2013.

“The City of Waynesville is honored to be included in this designation, as we honor the service of our valiant military.” 

City of Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman

These designations are another indicator of the prevalent patriotism that runs deep in Pulaski County, Missouri- home to heroes!

For information on booking your next military reunion in Pulaski County USA (a Purple Heart County and home of Fort Leonard Wood) please visit https://visitpulaskicounty.org/groups-reunions and email Karen Hood at karenh@pulaskicountyusa.com.

Various forms of this article were published in 2013.

Grocery Stores & Pharmacies

The following information is provided during the COVID-19 threat as a courtesy to Pulaski County residents by Pulaski County Tourism Bureau & Visitors Center. Availability and hours of service are subject to change at each grocery store and pharmacy’s discretion.  Contact each location directly with questions and for the most up-to-date information.

Crocker

Town & Country Supermarket
573-736-2245
IN-STORE PURCHASING

Dixon

Country Mart & Pharmacy
573-759-6212
IN-STORE PURCHASING

Richland

Town & Country Market
573-765-3226
IN-STORE PURCHASING

York & Co. Pharmacy
573-765-3321
LIMITED LOCAL DELIVERY (Crocker & Richland), USPS/UPS DELIVERY/ON-SITE CURBSIDE DELIVERY

Saint Robert

Blue Earth Market
573-336-2583
ON-SITE CURBSIDE DELIVERY/IN-STORE PICKUP

Gulf Fresh Seafood Restaurant & Market
719-427-9935
IN-STORE PURCHASING

Healthy Avenue Nutrition
913-669-8448
ON-SITE CURBSIDE DELIVERY/MAIL ORDER

Kim’s Oriental Food Store
573-336-5590
IN-STORE PURCHASING

Mercy Pharmacy
573-336-2180
LIMITED LOCAL DELIVERY/DRIVE-THRU

Oriental Market
573-336-2119
IN-STORE PURCHASING

T’s Meats
573-451-2100
TAKE-OUT MEAL PREP

Walmart
573-336-5103
ON-SITE CURBSIDE DELIVERY/IN-STORE PICKUP

Walmart Pharmacy
573-336-4323
ON-SITE CURBSIDE DELIVERY

Waynesville

Price Cutter Plus
573-774-8489
ON-SITE CURBSIDE PICKUP

Price Cutter Pharmacy
573-774-8469
DELIVERY

Sinks Pharmacy
573-433-2552
DELIVERY/DRIVE-THRU

Public Fishing Access in Pulaski County, Missouri during COVID-19

A Resource Guide For Locals

Updated 4/8/2020

Missouri Department of Conservation announced Tuesday that it will waive requirements for fishing permits or trout tags from March 27 through April 15 to help Missourians looking for recreation while maintaining distance from other people to fight the spread of the coronavirus and Covid-19, the disease the virus causes. 

Spending time with Mother Nature during this time of crisis is sage, and recommended, advice.

Pulaski County Health Center has urged residents to “enjoy the outdoors on your own property.”

Trout fishing the Roubidoux in downtown Waynesville

Pulaski County Tourism Bureau has created this reference for Pulaski Countians. The bureau reminds you to proactively practice social distancing while enjoying your time outdoors. Avoid groups and include soap and water and/or hand sanitizer in your tackle box.

Via Missouri Governor Mike Parson. Click image to see original post.

MITSCHELE ACCESS

Located between Interstate 44 and Richland, Mitschele Access has a parking lot and a boat ramp. Fish for Black Bass, Rock Bass, and Sunfish in the Gasconade River.

RIDDLE BRIDGE ACCESS

Located north of Saint Robert at the end of Y Highway. Riddle Bridge Access has a parking lot, boat ramp, privies, and a stunning view. Fish for Black Bass, Catfish, Crappie, Rock Bass, and Sunfish in the Gasconade River.

ROSS ACCESS

Ross Access, located south of Fort Leonard Wood, is the only public access to the Big Piney River in Pulaski County. The access has a parking lot and a boat ramp. Fish for Catfish, Crappie, Sunfish, Black Bass and White Bass.

Fishing near downtown Waynesville, Missouri

ROUBIDOUX CREEK CONSERVATION AREA

Located just north of the heart of Waynesville, Roubidoux Creek Conservation Area has a fishing jetty and parking lots. Anglers can fish for Black Bass, White Bass, Catfish, and Sunfish in the Gasconade River and for Trout in Roubidoux Creek. Not an angler? Roubidoux Creek CA covers 179 acres for you to explore.

SCHLICHT SPRINGS ACCESS

Located west of Crocker, Schlicht Springs Access has a boat ramp, a parking lot, and privies. This area is disabled accessible. Fish for Black Bass, Rock Bass, and Sunfish in the Gasconade River.

LAUGHLIN & ROUBIDOUX PARKS

Located in downtown Waynesville, Laughlin & Roubidoux Parks have parking lots and privies and are disabled accessible. Fish for trout in both white and red ribbon trout areas of Roubidoux Creek. Anglers can also hook Black Bass, Rock Bass, and Sunfish. Bird watching is also a popular activity in both parks.