Mondays with Morie–Episode 34–Towne Park

In our on-going quest to find activities that are not sorely compromised by Coronaitis, we decided to visit a couple of our county parks, one of which we’d never been to before. Our original destination was Indian Camp Creek Park located in the northwest part of our county. It’s a park I’ve been to several times, and I’ve always enjoyed the time I’d spent there.

indian campp creek

Unfortunately, once we got there, we found that a majority of the park, especially the most interesting part around the Loop Road, was closed. No reason was given as to why it was closed. I did take note of the large sign at the entrance of the park which said they “enforce” social distancing. I’m really not sure how that works…how do you enforce something that is not a law? That’s not for me to know or really want to find out.

We decided then to go to the Towne Park which is just about a mile or two south of Indian Camp Creek and on the opposite side of Highway 40/61. I didn’t even know this park existed. The St. Charles County Parks Department has only been in existence for about twenty years and it has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception. What a wonderful thing!

towne park

From the St. Charles County’s Parks website:

Rich in St. Charles County history, this 109-acre park features a reconstructed 1800s historical homestead and features paved and natural surface trails, a large fishing pond, picnic areas, a forest-themed playground and a series of interlinked scenic rain gardens for the public to enjoy. Experience history, nature and education all coming together at Towne Park, including the only Certified Nature Explore classroom in St. Charles County.

Donated by the late Mrs. Betty Towne, the property was to be preserved and turned into a public park. For its efforts to restore the homestead, the Parks Department was recognized at the Missouri State Capital in Jefferson City by receiving the 2007 McReynolds Award from the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation.

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The Boyd Family story on the signage reads:

In 1829, Willaim Boyd ventured from Spencer County, Kentucky and made his way to St. Charles County. He was looking for a suitable place where he could relocate his family and set up farm. Upon viewing this land William decided this would be the perfect home for him, his wife Ruth and their eleven children. Mr. Boyd returned to Kentucky to prepare his famly for the move; however, he became ill and died before he could return to Missouri and fulfill his dream of teaching his children to farm. In 1830, Ruth decided to carry out her late husband’s wishes and relocated her family to St. Charles County where they built this home.

The Boyd family did quite well farming in St. Charles County. The farm was operated in a typical fashion as most other farms owned by slave holding families in Missouri during the mid-19th century. By 1850 the farm was valued at $3000 with 120 acres of improved land and 300 acres of unimproved land. The Boyd’s livestock was valued at $600 and included 7 horses, 4 milk cows, 2 working oxen, 20 other cattle, 30 sheep and 100 swine. In this year, the family raised 150 bushes of wheat, 300 bushels of oats and 3000 bushels of Indian corn. Additionally, 60 pounds of wool, 200 pounds of butter, and 7 tons of hay were produced.

Ruth Boyd died sometime between 1860 and 1870 but the farm remained in her family until about 1905 when it was purchased by Henry Nathe.

 

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The Towne’s “Pink Plantation

Hale and Elizabeth (Betty) Towne of St. Louis purchased the former Boyd farmhouse and 202 acres in 1960. The home quickly became one of St. Charles County’s most identifiable dwellings after the Townes remodeled the old plantation house. Spurred by her love of the color pink, Betty had the original hand-made bricks and the wrought iron painted pink. They installed wall to wall pink carpeting and put up pink draperies. They called the home the “Pink Plantation”, a name that is still familiar to many citizens of St. Charles County. Betty turned the home into an antique shop and the chicken house was made into a country store selling old fashioned candy among other things.

Betty Townes owned the property until 2001 when she donated the home and 109 acres to St. Charles County in order to create a public park. Betty passed away in December of 2003 and plans for Towne Park began. Unfortunately, in March of 2004 a fire gutted the structure and completely destroyed the home’s roof and floors. In November of 2004, the decision was made to rebuild the home using both modern materials and original materials that were salvageable. When the original brick was reused the painted pink side was turned around to expose the original brick color.

The Pink Plantation as it was more commonly known was originally located less than fifty yards away from Hwy-61. When the home was reconstructed in 2004 it was decided to relocate the structure farther away from the highway.

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Unfortunately, when we got to the park, we learned the home was not open. Again, no reason was given, neither at the park nor the County Park’s website, so I can only assume it has something to do with coronaitis.

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We were able to look through the windows and see some of the historical decor. This, obviously, was a dining room that we could see from the back porch. I love the color and the white woodwork!

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I don’t remember what this little building was, but it made a perfect backdrop for Earl’s photo and our Mondays selfie.

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Until next time!

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