When I was writing my second column, I had this idea of including brief snippets of Blue Springs history – you know, on this date in Blue Springs so-and-so built a rocket ship powered by cow manure, effectively ending the space race with the Soviet Union.

When I was writing my second column, I had this idea of including brief snippets of Blue Springs history – you know, on this date in Blue Springs so-and-so built a rocket ship powered by cow manure, effectively ending the space race with the Soviet Union.

I even had a book that I would reference, A Pictorial History of Blue Springs, which The Examiner published in 1992. It’s a decent book, a quick read, more impressive for its photographs than anything else.

There are some shocking photographs in it – Missouri 7 in the early 80s, for instance. In one, the photographer stood on the side of the road where present-day McDonald’s is and shot south. There are trees alongside the road. Trees.

There is also a series of photographs depicting the downtown area, specifically Main Street which, compared to today, looks like 5th Avenue in Manhattan. It’s sad that so many downtowns have been reduced to a few speacialty shops here and there, a bank, a hair salon. Why do downtowns die, replaced by bland shopping malls?

After I wrote my last column talking about the new disc golf course at Wilbur Young Park, I received an e-mail from Steve Young, son of – you guessed it – Wilbur and Esther Young, a farming couple memorialized after the city named the park after him.

I had thought during the writing of the column that I would like to find out who Wilbur Young was and use that as my first snippet. There is a picture of him in the Blue Springs history book, but there’s no explanation of who he is or why the photo was included. He’s just sitting in a chair in a side yard. I think he was wearing a hat. There’s a bush crawling up the side of the house. The sun was high and he is squinting. And time was passing.

So Steve writes me after the column ran, thought he would let me know that he enjoyed the column. Here’s a little bit of what he said, some words that got me thinking about history and the blinding shock many people must feel when, opening a newspaper, they are suddenly thrust into memory.

“I live in Blue Springs, my brother in Peculiar, and my sister lives in Maine,” Young wrote. “Besides the farm my dad operated an auto repair garage in Kansas City for 30 years. When we moved here from Kansas City, Blue Springs had fewer then 1,000 people.

“I have certainly seen a lot of changes to my home town during my 69 years of life. I remember seeing steam powered passenger trains. In 1946 some monkeys from an adjoining farm escaped and climbed up in our maple trees. The Adams Dairy Parkway was named after the Adams Dairy that used to be just south of the Home Depot and Wal-Mart. The land across from the Young Park used to be the Speas Farm.”

From another e-mail he sent, Young wrote:

“I frequently think of how thankful I am to see what has happened to our family farm. When I see families enjoying “my park” I think that gee, I was the first kid here to enjoy that land. The north part of the park where the disc golf course is used to be a cow pasture. Adams Dairy Parkway was a country road called Taylor Road. AA Hwy was U.S. 40. The fishing pond in the park is named “Marian Esther Young Pond” after my mom.”

Young also expressed how he feels about golf, a sport that I poked fun at in the same column. Turns out he doesn’t like golf either – but he invited me to play disc golf with him some day.

“Who knows,” he wrote. “Maybe we might both enjoy it.”

What I would enjoy even more is if readers of this column would send me some stories plucked off the Blue Springs memory tree.

If you do, I’ll mention each and every one.



Get down at Railroad Park

I’ll be honest – I didn’t think Blue Springs could hold a candle to other towns that host music events, be it concerts in the park or whatever. I mean, let’s be honest: Blue Springs is a sleepy, suburban settlement known for its parks, schools, churches and relative safety.

Then I stumbled on the Music in the Park Concert Series at Railroad Park off Vesper Street. There’s some serious get-down at this event, held Sunday nights from 6:30-8:30 p.m. beginning this weekend and going through Sept 5.

To start the season off, the Krazy Kats will play a mix of popular ’50s and ’60s tunes May 30. Other bands include the BluzBenderz (June 20), Thin Ice (July 4), the Big Woody Blue Band (July 11), Mary Goes Round (July 25), Trampled Under Foot (Aug 15), the Mighty Moe-Joes (Aug. 22), and a double bill on Sept 5, the Doghouse Daddies and Cold Blue Band.

Seriously, people. You can’t ask for a better four-course meal of entertainment. Good music, good scenery, some food, sky, humidity, playground equipment, a shelter with grills, a pond, and some guy that drives around on one of those stand-up scooters.

What are those things anyway and where can I get one?



Loose End police reports

At the end of each of my columns, I will include a police report that catches my eye.

Here’s the first:

At 5 p.m. on May 18, unknown subjects stole a victim’s credit card number and used it to purchase pizza in California.