8 More Things That You Might Not Know About Pulaski County, Missouri

Almost two weeks ago we published “11 Things That You Might Not Know About Pulaski County, Missouri” in response to Mental Floss magazine’s article “11 Things That You Might Not Know About Missouri”. Many of you have asked for more facts, so following are 8 more things…

1. Dell Mack, an American songwriter, singer and guitarist born July 15, 1937 in a cabin on Route 66, near St. Robert Missouri, first recorded Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover” with the Golden Gate Quartet in 1958. Bo Diddley’s popular version was not recorded until 1962.

2. Miller Spring, on the Big Piney River, on the south side of Fort Leonard Wood is one of only eight known ebb and flow springs in Missouri. Of those eight it is the only one that flows regularly, every eight hours. It rises about five inches during this cycle. This spring has historically also been known as McCourtney Spring, Siphon Spring, Ebb and Flow Spring, and Breathing Spring.

3. The First Annual International Trans-Continental Foot Race, an event to promote Route 66, and dubbed The Bunion Derby stopped in Waynesville April 23, 1928. About 200 runners started the race in Los Angeles and only 55 crossed the finish line at Madison Square Garden.

First Annual International Trans-Continental Foot Race program cover.

First Annual International Trans-Continental Foot Race program cover.

4. Brewer & Shipley, consisting of Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley, was a very popular folk music duo during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. They are most remembered for the single “One Toke Over The Line” which was released in 1970 on their third album, “Tarkio”. Six years later, in 1976, the pair released their seventh album, titled “Welcome To Riddle Bridge” under the Capitol Records label. The album title pays homage to Riddle Bridge in Pulaski County USA and the cover art shows Brewer & Shipley standing on the 12 panel Pennsylvania through truss bridge that was built in 1911 by Canton Bridge Company. The bridge featured on that cover was replaced circa 1987. Plans were in place for it to serve as a footbridge in Nebraska as a part of the Arbor Day Foundation headquarters. Unfortunately the bridge was damaged beyond repair and it never made it to the Cornhusker state.

welcome to riddle bridge 3

5. Pulaski County was the first county in Missouri to receive the Purple Heart County designation as part of the Purple Heart Trail on the Interstate 44 Corridor. This designation expresses the desire of the county to remember and recognize veterans who are recipients of the Purple Heart Medal. The Sister Cities of St. Robert and Waynesville, gateways to Fort Leonard Wood, have both been designated as Purple Heart Cities on the Purple Heart Trail. The railroad town of Crocker, north of Waynesville, has also been designated as a Purple Heart City. The Purple Heart Trail program is overseen by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

military order of the purple heart 2

6. Pulaski County is home to hundreds of caves. Miller Cave on Fort Leonard Wood is one of only 17 caves that are open to the public in Missouri. Miller Cave was excavated in the 1920’s by Gerald Fowke in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution.

View from inside Miller Cave, overlooking the Big Piney River valley below. Photo by Dustin Holmes.

View from inside Miller Cave, overlooking the Big Piney River valley below. Photo by Dustin Holmes.

7. The Gasconade River is the longest river completely within the boundary of Missouri. It has been called one of the world’s most crooked rivers. In an area near Waynesville, called The Narrows, you can float for 15 miles and be only two miles overland from your put-in.

8. According to a list compiled by the National Cattlemen’s Association in 1998, the Morgan Farm, near Waynesville is the oldest farm continually operated by the same family in Missouri, the second oldest west of the Mississippi, and the sixth oldest in the United States. The farm also holds the second oldest ranch brand in the country.

Members of the Morgan family pose in front of their home in 1908. Their land has been continually farmed by family members for 185 years. Photo courtesy of Bill Morgan, via the Old Settlers Gazette.

Members of the Morgan family pose in front of their home in 1908. Their land has been continually farmed by family members for 185 years. Photo courtesy of Bill Morgan, via the Old Settlers Gazette.

Special thanks to Old Stagecoach Stop Foundation, Pulaski County Museum & Historical Society, and Encyclopedia of Pulaski County for contributions contained in this article.

For more information on things you should not miss in Pulaski County USA, please visit http://www.PulaskiCountyUSA.com, like us on Facebook, or stop in at our Visitors Center located at 137 Saint Robert Boulevard in Saint Robert, Missouri.

UPDATED 18 September 2019

8 thoughts on “8 More Things That You Might Not Know About Pulaski County, Missouri

  1. The Dell Mack version of “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover” is def. one of the very best around, but it wasn’t the original. The various online discographies which show it as being released in 1958 are incorrect. Bo Diddley’s 1962 hit was the original recording; Dell’s was a cover, recorded for Goldband Records in the summer of 1962.

    • David,

      Thank You for reading our article and for your comment. I enjoy Bo’s version as well, although Dell’s is my favorite because of the ties to Pulaski County. The information about Dell’s recording of “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover” was provided by his publicist, R.D. Kepple. We have invited Mr. Kepple to add his insights to this conversation. —Laura

  2. Thanks Laura and it’s always an honor to add something to the discussion. Delbert “Dell Mack” McKinnon is 76-years-old and sadly, some of the people he used to know in the music industry are gone. So to research his background, I had to do a lot of phone calls and emails to get into his past and again, records are lost, music labels are gone or absorbed by other companies, and what true history that I can find usually comes from those who were there, or know the history from a relative. Dell Mack was a studio musician and performer. There are many studio musicians, but it takes a special appearance to be a real stage talent. Dell Mack got out of the Army and if he needed quick money, he’d lay down a tune for a poem, sometimes for as little as $25, while the rest of the working world minimum wage was about 75 cents an hour! The fact is that Willy Dixon wrote “You Can’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover,” but the creation date is unknown, however it appears that he was working for Chess Records in Chicago starting in 1951. Dell Mack recorded in Louisiana in the late 50’s and he also performed in Chicago. The song, “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover,” could have easily have been the Rolling Stones, because they were recording it for a release as a demo in October, 1962, which never happened. Dell Mack used to play with Black performers long before segregation in the work place was a law. Bo Diddley is attributed with starting his career in ’55 and Dell started working in music after the Army in 57. Willy Dixon is said to have began recording in 1951. Dell Mack was discovered by Jud Phillips and trained by Smokey Joe Baugh at Sun Records in Memphis under Sam Phillips direction in 1952. Dell Mack said that he doesn’t care and does not wish to be controversial, but only wishes to make good music. I listen to the stories and verify the facts and evidence, but I love the secrets and sometimes, a little bitty injustice is found!
    The stories are better than the facts. Goldband Records website lists “Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover,” as 1958, Dell Mack. http://www.globaldogproductions.info/g/goldband.html One can make up all sorts of stories as clerical errors, etc., but that’s what it says. 1958.
    This is a single by Goldband Records and I can’t find their coding system for the 45 and other music labels have them, but I think they are publisher specific codes. And I don’t know how many or when Goldband made them. http://www.timebomb.co.jp/prod/rdatail/46405.html And I hear it’s worth a bundle of money! Anyway, Dell Mack is satisfied with the truth as it remains. Let Bo keep the distinction that he’s earned. The greater injustice is that Dell Mack should have been given the credit as a music pioneer and wasn’t. And yet, his music remains popular in Europe and Asia, so Lana Jefferies Music LLC near Richland is working to sell his new, original music on a website and nothing about the controversial song. – Rick Kepple, publicist for Dell Mack

  3. I have heard that Pulaski Co was one of the original counties in Mo. That even either all at least parts of Phelps County was originally Pulaski

  4. Pingback: 11 Things You Might Not Know About Pulaski County Missouri | Pulaski County USA

  5. The original Riddle Bridge never made it to Nebraska. It fell in the river while it was being dismantled. It ended up in the scrap yard.

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