“Many are always praising the by-gone time, for it is natural that the old should extol the days of their youth; the weak, the time of their strength; the sick, the season of their vigor; and the disappointed, the spring-tide of their hopes.”
- George Caleb Bingham
Shooting our documentary, The American Artist: The Life & Times of George Caleb Bingham, has given us the wonderful opportunity to shoot in and around Arrow Rock, Missouri, Bingham’s hometown on and off throughout the 1840s. A quaint, historic village surrounded by a beautiful midwest landscape, Arrow Rock is a filmmaker’s delight.
It’s also a historical tourist’s delight. Given its association with Westward Expansion, the Santa Fe Trail and Bingham, it’s no wonder the whole village of Arrow Rock is a designated National Historic Landmark. With many restored and/or preserved lodges, churches, farm houses and homesteads, Arrow Rock is significant for both its history and its architecture.
Here’s just a sampling of the many things to do in Arrow Rock:
Bingham’s House - Honestly, even if we weren’t there to shoot a documentary Bingham and were just visiting the town for fun, we’d still start by visiting this modest, Federalist-style house built in 1837.
Lyceum Theatre - Formerly a 19th Century Baptist church, the Lyceum is now home to one of Missouri's oldest professional regional theatres. Every year top-tier professional actors, directors, designers, and technicians come from around the country come to Arrow Rock for put on top incredible musicals and plays in this fantastic old building. You can find out more about the Lyceum here.
J.P. Sites Gun Shop - Gun enthusiasts can have a rifle repaired, converted from a flintlock to a percussion rifle, or purchase balls, lead, powder and caps to fire it. A fixture on various tours of Arrow Rock, at the Gun Shop you can watch as gunsmiths practice their craft as well as take in the Christopher Collection of Early Missouri Firearms is on display throughout the year in their Main Street Office.
Dr. Sappington Museum - A Greek Revival-style structure, the museum honors Dr. John Sappington, entrepreneur and pioneer in medicine. Sappington was the first doctor to use treat fevers, in particular malaria, with quinine. No common country doctor, Sappington was a forward thinker in the medical field as well as a frontier merchant, a land speculator, a progressive agriculturalist, a moneylender, and a political fixture in Jacksonian politics.
Arrow Rock African-American Experience Museum - Using oral histories, records and artifacts, this inspirational museum helps tells the story of the struggle and triumph of there area’s African-Americans.
Boone’s Lick State Historic Site - Named for Daniel and Nathan Boone, sons of famed frontiersman Daniel Boone, this historic site offers nature trails, natural springs and gorgeous picnic areas.
Mid-Missouri Museum of Independent Telephone Pioneer - Features a fascinating collection of telephone history and artifacts that tells the story of early communication on the American frontier memorabilia, including pieces dating to the days before direct-dial systems.
Nicholas-Beazley Aviation Museum - Explore several interactive, educational exhibits along with videotaped personal stories and restored aircraft and memorabilia. A must-see for aviation enthusiasts.
Again, these are only a few of the many attractions in Arrow Rock. It’s also a great place for walking so you may want to check out the Arrow Rock walking tour. The tour is also a perfect way to discover the many restaurants and quaint stores tucked away in Arrow Rock.
Trust us, it’s definitely worth the trip.
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