Lincoln’s 81 Bottles of Champagne

by Andrew on April 25, 2011

I recently had the chance to visit Vandalia, Illinois.  Our stories from that city will air next week on the American Countryside.  You’re beginning to hear quite a bit about Abraham Lincoln since this is the 150th anniversary of his presidency and the beginning of the Civil War.  Most people don’t realize that Lincoln’s political life began in Vandalia.

Bill fron Lincoln and the Long Nine's Party in Vandalia

Vandalia was the state capital when Lincoln held his first elected office back in 1834.  One of Lincoln’s greatest accomplishments while serving in the state legislature was…moving the capital from Vandalia.  His political friends in the state house were known as the “long nine” because they were all over six feet tall.  The group helped pass legislation to move the capitol to Springfield.

When that legislation passed, they held a party at Capp’s Tavern in Vandalia.  The bill of $223 included $162 of champagne at $2 per bottle.  You can see the bill on one of the wayside exhibits here.  In fact, the city has done a nice job providing ten unique stories about Lincoln.  Each is told on a storyboard that surrounds the old state capitol here.  It’s a great place to take a break and explore a bit of history behind one of the nation’s greatest presidents.


Living in the Land of Oaks

March 19, 2011

I had a chance this week to gather some radio interviews for our American Countryside broadcasts in southeastern Missouri.  The state’s bootheel has thousands of acres of flat fertile farmland.  It is quite a contrast to the Ozarks that bound the area on the north and west.  If you have a chance to travel in […]

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DeSoto and the National Park System

March 5, 2011

This week I was in Bradenton, Florida and did an interview at De Soto National Memorial.  It tells the story of the Spanish explorer and his expedition that landed near this spot in May of 1539.  The story will be a feature on one of our upcoming American Countryside radio programs. There are over 360 […]

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Growing Food for a Growing World

February 18, 2011

I had the chance to speak to a couple of agricultural audiences this past week, one in Florida and the other in central Missouri.  I really enjoyed both stops.  I’ve found people have been surprised at a graphic that I show them about world population.  We all know that China is the most populous nation […]

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The Magical Express

February 11, 2011

I recently spoke at the Walt Disney World complex and instead of renting a car, I used the resort’s free shuttle bus, Disney’s Magical Express.  While riding the bus, the onboard video told me that Disney has now developed a downloadable app that you can use to locate Mickey, Donald or any of the Disney characters.  […]

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Recovering from the Blizzard

February 3, 2011

The air temperature this morning was -13, but the day warmed into the mid-20s.  Yesterday was a difficult day for everyone, humans and animals alike.  As this picture shows, it was quite a dig to reach some of the pastures to feed our cattle.  Notice there are another three tractors on the hill in the background […]

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Where is the Ground Hog?

February 2, 2011

The wind chill is -15 but the sun is shining.  Not sure if the ground hog will see his shadow.  With as much snow as we had here, I’m not sure the ground hog can be found.  He is probably buried underneath a snowdrift somewhere. I’m a bit worried about our home.  Our daughter, Alison, decided […]

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Digging Out…Again

January 31, 2011

The winter of 2009-10 was the worst winter in more than 30 years for much of northwest Missouri.  So, it was logical to expect a milder winter this year.  That was the certainly the case until the second week of January.  We’ve almost received our annual average snowfall in just the past three weeks and […]

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