Missouri Travel: Weaubleau, Missouri

We travel to Nevada (NevAYda), Missouri once a month. It’s about 3 hours from where we live. About halfway between my home and Nevada sits a town by the name of Weaubleau.

Weaubleau got its name from the Osage Indians, who named it “Wabelo” the Indian name for crooked stream.

This is the coolest town. It sits in an impact crater. Yes. A 340 million year old impact crater. More on that later.

If you blink, you’ll miss Weaubleau, but you don’t want to miss it if you’re into history and oddities like me. Trust me.

It sits along Missouri 54 and with the exception of one modern gas station, it’s like you traveled back in time – or maybe to a future post apocalyptic world depending on how you look at it.

That isn’t an insult by any means. Some may find the decayed and abandoned buildings unpleasing to the eye, but I find them strangely beautiful. They represent a time we will never know or understand. I love to imagine what they were like in their prime; full of life, light, love and laughter. Probably some drama too.

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Abandoned home in Weaubleau, MO

One day the world we live in now will be traveled by future generations and probably look to them like places like Weaubleau look to us. Let that sink in.

The last time we went through we had some trouble with our vehicle. It’s always something with that stupid thing. I love it but it’s really starting to piss me off. We stopped in Weaubleau and one of their lovely residents helped us out.

The people there are super friendly. You know, the kind of friendly where you aren’t sure if they’re going to hug you, or kill you and feed you to their pigs…

I’ve called weaubleau home for a little over 20 years. I thought I might share a few facts. Weaubleau was once a booming little town on the kcc&s railroad (Kansas city Clinton & Springfield). The old feed mill in your photos sits on the west side of the rail line. The old depot and a caboose were moved to the city park but burned down by vandals several years back. Unfortunately a fire took most of the buildings on the north side of 54 in 1985. Back in the turn of the century we even boasted a college. It has since been turned into a church. City hall sells a neat little history book with several photos of the early days. – Joe Melvin, Weaubleau resident

While my husband and this gentleman (I didn’t get his name) were trying to figure out the vehicle issue I explored the immediate area. Within eyeshot was an abandoned bus, several buildings that were easily pre-1950s, two churches that were obviously at least 100 years old and a cemetery. Oh yay!

Here are some photos (blog continues after):

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I love old churches and cemeteries.

When we got back on the road I convinced my husband to swing around so I could get photos of the churches (I couldn’t get into the locked cemetery). He wasn’t happy about it because we were already an hour behind schedule, but he loves me so he did it anyway.

They were both absolutely beautiful in person. One is all brick with beautiful architecture and the other is a basic chapel with white clapboard siding and a long abandoned bell tower.

The brick church is the Weaubleau Congregational Christian Church, sometimes known as “The Brick” or “Whitaker Church”. It was built in 1862 as a religious and educational center. It was razed in 1906 and rebuilt with most of the original brick.

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Weaubleau Congregational Christian Church

It was operational from 1862 to 1960. I am not sure what purpose it serves now, if any. If I find out I will update this blog. You can read a more detailed history and see a pre-1906 photo of the old structure here.

The white church is the remnants of the Weaubleau Methodist Church built in 1904. I couldn’t find much else about it, but you can see an old photo in this article.

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Weaubleau Methodist Church, Weaubleau, MO Circa 1904

When I got home I did some research on Weaubleau and its history. The crater I referenced above is called the Weaubleau (or Weaubleau-Osceola) structure. It dates back 340 million years. Allegedly you can find “Weaubleau Eggs” here – round rock formations created upon impact. I will have to look into this crater more when I go back through in a few weeks. I will let you know what I find!

You can find more information on the crater here.

I came up empty on some of the other buildings I photographed. This building was across the street from the gas station we stopped at when the car was acting up. I couldn’t find anything on this specific building (I will ask next time) but I did see that a historic building that was attached burned down almost 5 years ago causing the peeling paint you can see in the photo:

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If you’re ever traveling through western Missouri on Highway 54 I recommend looking out for Weaubleau. Stop in, give them your money (small towns need it!) and say hello! I’m sure they’ll be happy to have you.

I hope you enjoyed my first adventure blog. I have many more to come! Please comment and follow if you’d like!

Amanda

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22 Comments

  1. Kind of a neat little article especially since I’ve called weaubleau home for a little over 20 years. I thought I might share a few facts. Weaubleau was once a booming little town on the kcc&s railroad (Kansas city Clinton & Springfield). The old feed mill in your photos sits on the west side of the rail line. The old depot and a caboose were moved to the city park but burned down by vandals several years back. Unfortunately a fire took most of the buildings on the north side of 54 in 1985. Back in the turn of the century we even boasted a college. It has since been turned into a church. City hall sells a neat little history book with several photos of the early days

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That abandoned house is a family home that’s been passed down in our family for at least 3 generations maybe 4…this phit makes me SD, because it was the home of y great great grabdparents, and then my great granny Virgie Baker spent alot of years running a flea market out of it..ajnly ong family and friends I beleive…thanks for acknowledging this house. There were many great,loving memeories lived here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I moved to Weaubleau in 2002 and have found the people in the community some of the most welcoming around! The farm I purchased (the old Alfred Breshears place) was full of the round rocks you reference in your article. Both Alfred and his wife, as I did, have decorated our flower beds, etc with these rocks. Please keep us posted on the “crater” situation. I had understood these rocks were formed due to glacial thawing and being “rolled” over time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed the pics, especially the house I reconised it imedilatly, virgie is my sister who sadly passed a few years ago, to know her was to love her,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing. I live in a 1900’s house in Weaubleau. Been here 9 mths
    My favorite structure is the Congregational church, 5 houses down from my home. I understand a few people still attend the church.
    Didn’t know about the crater rocks.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Weaubleau was still a notable small town in the mid 70’s. I am in my mid 50’s and shopped the hardware store, the drug store, the clothing store, the grocery, several restaurants, a lumber yard, and a hatchery. Some of the really old residents can tell you about the 2 banks, the hotel and movie theater. The fire in the 80’s devastated the town, then the economic times closed out the other businesses. Our main name to game now is our EXCELLENT school system. Next time you come thru town, check out our beautiful Veterans Memorial. Oh, and that boarded up store front in the picture was a variety store/hair salon.

    Dee McQuown

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My wife & I live on the property where Professor Whitaker’s home once stood. I am 4th generation on my Mom’s side to own it. As for the old Methodist Church, we own that too. Bought it from School District in 2010. It is going up For Sale in Spring 2018. Marvin & Saiyohn Stewart.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. In approx. 1940 a Columbia University advanced degree candidate was headed west on 54 looking for a small town to dissect anthropologically. He was shooting for points west but had car trouble in nearby Wheatland and there he decided to stay for the course of his study. He produced a book titled Plainville USA. My mother who grew up in Collins in that period purchased a copy for myself and one for my father a few years ago. It is a fascinating analysis of how the people of that time and place lived, thought, and interacted. It would certainly apply generally to the people of Weaubleau. She probably obtained it through U Columbia Press or Amazon. You may find it interesting. My sisters who also were born and spent early years in Collins still talk about the round rocks. If I found or saw any of those rocks was the first thing one sister asked me when I told her I had spent a lot of time there last summer. As a small kid in the 60’s I remember seeing them in rock gardens in folks yards in Collins. Thanks for the observations.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I forgot to mention that I like the way you emphasized the pronunciation of Nevada. I had an art gallery and frame shop for many years (in Wyoming) and when people from MO came in I’d often say that I grew up in Eldorado Spgs, – not El do rah do, twenty miles from Nevada – not Ne-vah- da, and if you pronounced it differently you were a fur-in- er. 🙂 Also, our English teacher pounded into our heads that it is Missoui uh- not Missou ee. Now I hear many newscasters on TV call it Missouree. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My mother lived in Weaubleau as a little girl. She shared your article and added that the “last little store.. was beauty/gift shop where I got a perm & bought a little cedar box before we moved to Iowa in 1958”.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We transplanted from California in 2013. We arrived on a very dark, frigid, Halloween eve,around 9pm. We felt like we were part of a black and white horror film, and wouldn’t have been shocked to see Bigfoot cross the Hwy. in front of us.
    We adore this little town, and the friendly, accepting people in it. I understand the feel of stepping back in time, this town is full of charm. It is the little town with a big heart. The residents even came out in support and participated in the Christmas parade, while Mother Nature sleeted and tried her best to freeze it out.
    These are people with true hearts for their friends and family, and the best decision we ever made was to plant roots here leaving the traffic, crime, and busyness of California behind. We love this little town that has less residents than our neighborhood did in California. We live next door to the brick church with the graveyard, feel free to stop by on your next trip through town and say hi.

    Like

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