It’s Your Museum--Enjoy!
By Carolyn A. Larsen, Curator

Organ Concert
Recently, on a very lovely sun-filled autumn day, I
had the chance to go to Lincoln, Nebraska, with
a friend, Brenda Hamby. While there, we were
honored to be given a private organ concert at
First- Plymouth Congregational Church by the
son of Brenda’s friends from Kentucky.
The church is in itself, something of a museum,
certainly historical. Organized in 1866 it is the
oldest continuing congregation of any kind in
Lincoln. Construction of the church started in
1929 and was not completed until 1931.
Since then it has had several additions and is
quite a huge church. I believe, its architecture is
considered Art Nouveau. (Although I am not
certain of that and forgot to ask while there.) I do
know that it has a lovely courtyard with cloisters
and equally lovely plantings. The interior is truly
something you must see rather than read about.
There is a “Singing Tower”, so named because
of the carillon within the tower that can be heard
for miles when it is being used.
First-Plymouth Church is also home to the Lied
Organ and the award-winning Abendmusik:
Lincoln concert series which has brought
countless world-renowned composers, soloists,
ensembles and conductors to Lincoln.
John E. Cummins is, and has been for a little
over a year, the director of music programs at the
church. There are vocal choirs, handbell choirs
and a resident brass ensemble. John is hoping
to get an active children’s choir going soon.
From Kentucky, John got his start in music as a
young boy when his mother gave him piano
lessons. From then he knew he had to play the
organ and would continue to do so all his life, if
he were lucky.
Dr. Cummins (did I mention he has a doctorate
in music?) is a well-known organist and has had
concerts across America and in Europe. He also
has several CD’s in circulation.
It is John E. Cummins who gave the private
concert for Brenda and me. He played the
humongous pipe organ known as the Lied organ
and you could see and hear the enjoyment he
gets from being able to play.
Though I am no music critic, I am certain that Dr.
Cummins’ parents and friends can be justifiably
proud of his talent and his warmly generous
Should you find yourself anywhere near, or
actually going to, Lincoln, stop and see the lovely
church and organ at First-Plymouth
Congregational Church, 2000 D Street, Lincoln,
Nebraska. Perhaps you’ll even see and/or hear
Dr. Cummins.
The Historic town of Weston has
many popular events scheduled
throughout the year.  
For more information
copyright 2009
Weston Historical Museum
web design
By Carolyn A. Larsen, Curator

Spring Street
Having given you a bit of the history of the
Thomas Street bridge, I have been also
researching for information on the Spring Street
In May of 1869 Weston was busy building
bridges on both Spring and Thomas Streets. A
storm accompanied by torrential rains that
month caused damage to both bridges.
July of 1869 saw the new bridge on Thomas
Street completed.
September 24, 1886 an item in the local
newspaper had this to say: “The Chronicle has
at last succeeded in inducing the city council to
fence in or tear down that “man trap” on Spring
street. Now for a new bridge, either iron or stone.
At the same time we would advise them to
condemn the Thomas street bridge as it is not
safe. If any of you don’t believe it ask some
bridge commissioner. If we can’t have a new
bridge, for the taxpayers sake, save the city a
damage suit.”
Two different weeks in November 1886 The
Weston Chronicle wrote scathing editorials
aimed at the city council urging them to build a
new rock or iron bridge across Spring street and
also the bridge across Thomas Street.
A May 6, 1887 issue brought the following: “On
Monday last the County court was presented with
a petition, as predicted by The Chronicle last
week. The petitioners prayed for aid from the
county to help the City of Weston build a good
substantial bridge across Thomas street. The
court appropriated $3,000.00 provided the City of
Weston would build a $6,000.00 bridge. The
County court never appropriated money to a
better advantage. The next problem for our city
dads will be: “How will the farmers get to town
while they are having the new bridge built.” We
would suggest that a bridge be built across
Spring street from the old Thomas street bridge.
As everyone knows it will take some time to build
the new bridge and the farmers must have some
way to get to town.”
March 3, 1930, The Chronicle reported “Last
Saturday during the continual rain the fill of the
west approach of the new Thomas street bridge
caved in on account of the pipe which carried the
water from the gutters through the stone
abutment leaking. Last Saturday afternoon
during the rain and all day Sunday many of our
citizens viewed the damaged bridge, and the
opinions expressed were many and somewhat
different, but all hoped that it would be repaired
at once.”
Then on July 29, 1887 The Weston Chronicle
noted “Work on both bridges (Thomas and
Spring Streets) is progressing rapidly. The
Spring street bridge is expected to be completed
tomorrow evening.”
It would appear that these bridges were of wood
and perhaps some stone as was the case in
many bridges throughout Platte County.
The Weston Chronicle again notes, on
December 22, 1899 “The new iron bridge across
Mill creek on Spring Street was completed
Wednesday evening and is now ready for travel.
The bridge is an iron span 58 feet long and 12
feet wide. The cost of the iron works to the city is
$475 but the material if bought now would cost
about $600. The bridge is first class in every
respect and the city officials deserve some
praise for erecting such a structure as it is
greatly needed for the convenience of many.”
From an earlier column about the Thomas Street
bridge, we know that the iron bridge there was
completed in 1888. It stood until 1925.
How did the bridge on Spring Street fare?
October 27, 1922 we find: “Work on the new
concrete bridge to be built over the Mill creek on
Spring Street was commenced recently and the
foundation is going in this week. Our own Mayor,
M.R. Waggoner, is superintending and
engineering the job, in an effort to save money
for the city. This bridge was badly needed and
will be a valuable addition to one of Weston’s
finest streets. We are anxious to see the same
thing repeated in regard to the Thomas Street
bridge which is by no means in first class
condition and which has much travel over it.”
Thus it would seem that the Spring Street bridge
lasted until 1922 just three years before the
Thomas Street bridge was replaced by Mayor
Lastly, in September 1942 we find this item “The
pedestrian side of the Spring Street bridge has
been torn up, this week. Oscar Holland, city
street man, is putting in some new braces and
otherwise repairing the framework. He will relay
the floor and make it safe for those who use it.”
Unless I find more, that seems to be the history
of the two bridges on main thoroughfares in
It’s Your Museum--Enjoy!
By Carolyn A. Larsen, Curator

Tobacco Show
This morning as I sit at my computer, it is cloudy,
drama of the trees turning colors. These days
return me to the years of the tobacco shows we
used to enjoy here in Weston.
Needless to say the smell of tobacco permeated
everything, being held in the tobacco warehouse.
The floor of the warehouse was generally
covered with booths ringing the edges of the
area.  The Weston Chronicle always had one to
the paper, but also to gather news from those in
attendance. Their were extra chairs in the booth
for those who just wanted to visit a bit and take a
load off their feet for a few minutes or so. Often
times there was a cot or crib to help out when
little ones got tired and were in need of a place to
The Weston Garden Club ladies were quite
prominent in the tobacco show. There would be
shelves of garden produce (peaches, pickles,
applesauce, mincemeat, etc.) that had been
canned and were up for judging. Pies, cakes
jams and jellies were also on display and being
There would be music from different local bands,
booths with cotton candy, balloon throws,
shooting the ducks as they went by, as well as a
type of duck pond. People could see
demonstrations of cooking,  dress-making, etc.
There might even be a style show by the Home
Ec. gals from the Weston High School.
When TV came to town, several TVs were set up
for people to view. You could also see the latest
in refrigerators, ovens, etc.
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts also did their bit with
flag presentations, exhibits and demonstrations.
Your writer, as a then Girl Scout, once had to
demonstrate the art of cake making. Twice that
afternoon I demonstrated making a “silver layer
cake” and by the time the batter got home and
was actually baked, the layers came out flatter
than a pancake. Tasty, but flat! So we made a
boiled brown sugar sauce, poured it over the
cake and added ice cream on the side. Not bad,
even if very, very flat.
Square dancing, regular dancing, bingo and
other entertainment could be enjoyed. The
sounds of laughter and chatter of visiting along
with the aroma of hotdogs and hamburgers filled
the evening air. Neighbors met and visited;
young people brought their dates for the sights,
sounds and entertainment; school children
brought their parents to see their artwork or other
school projects displayed in the school’s booths.
In retrospect perhaps it was a time when folks
were a little kinder, a little more courteous
towards one another, a bit friendlier. A time of
innocence perhaps, when parents could let their
children run around all over the warehouse,
knowing that others would help look out for them
too. It was certainly a good family time and there
are lots of good memories for many of the
See what gray autumnal days can bring to mind?
Save this date! November 11, 2007 is the Annual
Museum Dinner. Even if you are not a member,
you are invited to attend. The time is 5:30 p.m. in
the Weston United Methodist Church Fellowship
Hall at 533 Main Street in Weston. The dinner will
be catered by the Avalon Cafe and cost is $15.00
per person. Reservations need to be made
either by mail or by phone and the deadline is
Weston Historical Museum
Weston Historical Museum
601 Main Street - Weston, MO  64098
a German Lithograph painted late 1800's, depicts Weston, Mo when the town was a busy river port
Weekly columns written by a former curator
Carolyn Bless Larsen,

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