The Candy Bomber

A cold corridor in the Truman Library recreates Berlin’s postwar reality: refugees who didn’t freeze to death had nothing to eat. Enter the Berlin Airlift. A photo captures the spirit of that humanitarian armada: an American plane flies one hundred … Read More

Requiem for an Old Broadway Star

The demolition ran into a snag. A piece of equipment broke, and the wrecking of the old hotel stopped for a few days, leaving a solitary four-story turret rising above the rubble. Maybe it was an elevator shaft, I couldn’t … Read More

Retirement Reversal

He said, John, in your life, there won’t be 10 people who you can really count on. That may be true for most of us. But he was a teacher. And one of his most important lessons wasn’t something from … Read More

Ava is a palindrome. It looks the same coming from any direction. The water tower sits atop a hill off the center of town, shouting “Ava Bears” from its steel sides. This garden spot in the middle of the Mark … Read More

Devils and Elbows

I found a hideaway. When I rolled to its door, a thundershower was beating down on the low slung structure made mostly of logs with mud chinks, its back wall standing just a couple of feet above the swollen Big … Read More

Seven Wonders of Shannon County: Devil’s Well

Paraphrasing Jerry Vineyard, Missouri’s preeminent geologist-explorer, Devil’s Well is a big stomach. It’s mother nature’s idea of an indoor pool, except that it’s cold and dark and scary as hell, hence the name. It is perhaps the world’s most dramatic … Read More

Seven Wonders of Shannon County: Welch Spring

Upriver from Akers Ferry, which connects the wilderness north of the Current River to the wilderness on the south, Welch Spring is home to an abandoned country hospital. Nearly a century ago, a physician built a stone sanitarium at the … Read More

Seven Wonders of Shannon County: Round Spring

Highway 19 crosses the Current at Round Spring, another wonder to the eyes, but also a wonder down under. That’s because geologists believe the spring crosses under the Current before it empties into the river. Just north, two towns named … Read More

Seven Wonders of Shannon County: Blue Spring

Most of these half million floaters miss Blue Spring, even though it’s only a quarter mile from the Current, an easy hike beside the spring’s gushing stream. Called Spring of the Summer Sky by native inhabitants, the water charges from … Read More