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Lewis and Clark popularity grows in Jefferson City

Monday, October 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
In this Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009 photo, Pat, left, and Loren Holmgren of Clancy, Mont., look at the Lewis & Clark Trailhead monument in Jefferson City. Nearly 1,800 visitors learned about the Corps of Discovery's Captain's Mess from Jefferson City-area volunteers this travel season. The anniversary of the Lewis and Clark military expedition may have passed. But the local Lewis and Clark Task Force has remained faithful to its mission, which is education, said chairman Charlie Palmer.

JEFFERSON CITY — Nearly 1,800 visitors learned about the Corps of Discovery's Captain's Mess from Jefferson City-area volunteers this travel season.

The anniversary of the Lewis and Clark military expedition may have passed. But the local Lewis and Clark Task Force has remained faithful to its mission, which is education, said chairman Charlie Palmer.

Docents made more than 470 presentations, mostly at the preset weekend times, from mid-May to mid-September. However, home-school families have found this a rewarding field trip, and bus tours from Missouri's metro areas are beginning to include the five-figure monument at the corner of Jefferson Street and Capitol Avenue.

"The docents are there to talk about the personalities and accomplishments of the figures," such as Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, York, George Druillard and Seaman the dog, Palmer said.

The Department of Natural Resources also has Lewis and Clark-related information permanently posted at the site for everyday visitors.

"The docents add another friendly face that gets people more engaged," said Steve Picker, executive director of the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Only about 660 visitors during the docent's presentations were from within 25 miles of the capital city and nearly 60 were international visitors.

"We don't have a comparison of whether these numbers are good, bad or indifferent," Palmer said. "What we do know is we reached a lot of people who would not have known otherwise. I think we did all right."

The task force will hold its quarterly wash and wax of the Katy Trailhead monument Saturday.

And they will continue to care for the five figures, including ongoing group presentations, until they resume scheduled docent presentations in the spring.

"We'll do it again next year," Palmer said. "This thing is too good to let it end."


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