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January 1, 2020

1887 Famous Pertle Springs Missouri Resort and Dummy Line

Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, Missouri Postcard
February 14, 1894? probably
Harry S. Truman with Camera at Pertle Springs, Mo 
ca. 1916
A young Harry S. Truman, side view, holding a camera. He is visiting Pertle Springs, Missouri (a resort near Warrensburg). In the background, Frank Wallace is at right; Natalie Ott is at left. 
William M. Pertle (Purtle) former owner of the Pertle Springs Park, Warrensburg, MO was killed in a runaway. (horse accident)
Hutchinson Gazette August 20, 1896
Swimming pool at Pertle Springs near Warrensburg, Mo. Where the (Wentworth) Academy Holds its annual encampment - eighty of the cadets qualified in swimming 60 yards.
Water Sports at Pertle Springs, Near Warrensburg, MO Wentworth's (Military Academy) Spring Camping Grounds
Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, Missouri Postcard

Warrensburg resident and UCM graduate Ellen Becker will be hosting a showing of her documentary film, “Pertle Springs: The Eternal Attraction,” The 26-minute historical documentary presents in detail the creation and history of Pertle Springs in Warrensburg from 1884-present, including the resort and hotel from the late 1800s, the Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the 1930s and '40s, as well as the University of Central Missouri’s purchase of the land. It focuses on the strong connection between the park, the town and the university. Becker recently graduated from UCM with a master of arts in mass communication. She produced the documentary as part of her thesis project. It was selected for inclusion at the 2014 Missouri Conference on History in a panel entitled “Approaches to Historic Preservation,” which will take place March 18 in Jefferson City.

"Pertle Springs is real and at one time existed as it show in these pages at Warrensburg, Missouri. It was a famous resort owned by my grandfather, J. H. Christopher, and operated through the years 1887-1925, with the land remaining in the family until 1959. And it was here that such powerful figures as Billy Sunday, Carrie Nation, Buffalo Bill, and William Jennings Bryan came." 

Cena Christopher Draper, 1974

Blevins Springs (later Purtle Springs) (Then later still, Pertle Springs)

The earliest name of a spring south of Warrensburg founded before the Civil War. Named for a man on whose land they were located. Later Purtle Springs (q.v.).(Miss Lizzie Grover)

Johnson, Bernice E. "Place Names In Six Of The West Central Counties Of Missouri." M.A. thesis., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1933.
The Spring, Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, Missouri  History
Topological Map of Pertle Springs, MO

Drowning Death at Pertle Springs, reported in the Mexico Weekly Ledger 1906, August 2. Stephen Rogers
Pertle Springs Today
Pertle Springs, MO Golf and Swimming Complex ca. 1990's
Pertle Springs Pool, 1970's - 2000's

Original Plat, Pertle Springs, MO
"J.H. Christopher bought the 200-acre park in 1884 and built the Minnewawa Hotel in 1887, which eventually expanded to accommodate 300 people. It was a resort with cottages, boating, a zoo, bowling alley, convention hall and bandstand.
The Dummy Line was dismantled in 1922 and a fire destroyed the hotel in 1926. A home was later built on the hotel site, and the university bought Pertle Springs in 1959. The home, later known as the “Walnut Lodge,” was used for a variety of activities but was demolished in January 1986, according to the spring 1986 issue of Alumni Today."

Reviving the Pertle Springs Dummy Line

A model of the Pertle Springs Dummy is displayed at the Johnson County Historical Society museum. The model was made by Jackson C. Hackley, a former fireman and engineer on the Dummy Line

It’s harder to imagine someone bringing that streetcar back to life. But that’s exactly what brothers Tim and Bob Bryant want to do – revive The Dummy.

“We would never (have) begun this project if we weren’t from Warrensburg and if the streetcar had never existed,” Tim said via e-mail. “We’re convinced a quiet, emission-free modern version of the old dummy will lead to more tourism and economic development as well as providing unique public transportation. ”The three-car train ran for some 35 years starting in 1889. It was apparently called The Dummy for its quieted steam engine. The streetcar succumbed, along with the Pertle Springs resort, to the popularity of the automobile.

The railway connected the former Estes Hotel downtown to what was once a major resort at Pertle Springs. The Estes burned down several years ago, and the Minnewawa Hotel at Pertle disappeared long ago.

A long, tall bridge once connected the Minnewawa to a convention center and an onion-domed pavilion. Lake Cena was once loaded with boaters and swimmers, and the spring house was popular for its drinkable mineral water. The stuff bubbling forth from the spring now leaves behind an interesting orange sludge. The University of Central Missouri now owns Pertle Springs and recently built a $1.7 million clubhouse at the golf course there.And the updated UCM master plan calls for a new amphitheater on the southeast bank of the lake.Tim and Bob Bryant have already chatted with university and city officials, along with some other well-connected locals, about their idea. They are currently seeking nonprofit status for their organization – the Warrensburg and Pertle Springs Railroad.The idea is to create a battery-operated Dummy that takes visitors from a hotel downtown to Pertle Springs. Tim and Bob aren’t developers. They are merely suggesting that an advantageous location for a hotel is the mostly vacant lot east of the UMB bank building, on the north side of Railroad Street.The original line started about a block to the south, on the other side of the Union Pacific tracks, across from City Hall.The goal is to build the estimated $2 million railway on the cheap. They would seek donated rails from the defunct Rock Island Line along with grants, private funding, advertising trade-outs and other partnerships and donations to make it happen.“We don’t know if there’s anything in it for us financially,” Tim wrote. “If eventually there’s sufficient income in the nonprofit, we’d consider drawing a fee commensurate with whatever would be proper given the size of the company. Until that might happen, we’d defer any payments to ourselves. Regardless, our primary payoff would be realization of a project we think would make Warrensburg a premier college town in the Midwest.” Bob Bryant, 67, has a marketing degree from UCM (CMSC at the time) and is “mostly” retired from Meridian Creative, an ad agency in Ozark, Mo. Tim, 60, started out at CMSU before transferring to Boston University. He is a former reporter and sports editor at the Daily Star-Journal and is currently a business reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The two brothers grew up on a chicken farm on S. Main Street in Warrensburg.Tim said they are not seeking money from the city. However, they need an easement to install a single track on short sections of College Avenue and South Street. They also need right-of-way along Southwest Drive and South Main Street through Lions Lake park and easements on short sections of downtown streets next to a potential new downtown hotel. Overall, Tim said the route is still open and mostly free of obstructions. The planned route would basically follow the historic route: South on College, west on South and south on the campus pedestrian mall (formerly College Street, which jogged west at South and turned south to run past the science building and student union). The route then crosses Clark and turns southwest just south of the Panhellenic Hall. It crosses Holden and runs along the edge of the parking lot on the south side of Fitzgerald Hall, veering off the lot and passing near the apartment complex on Washington. Tim said some of the original roadbed and stone retaining wall are visible at Washington and Hunt. The new line would then run along Southwest to South Main, turning south to run alongside Lions Lake. After crossing Hale Lake Road, the plan is to run alongside Lake Cena to the parking lot next to the old spring house.The plan sounds unbelievable, but Tim is absolutely correct. If they can pull it off, a revived Dummy Line would bring quite a bit of attention to this historic little college town.

The brothers have a nice website,, which has some local history, Pertle Springs history and an overview of their street car idea. (we hope they are successful in this project)
Warrensburg and Pertle Springs Railroad, Warrensburg, Missouri 2013
Model of Warrensburg - Pertle Springs Dummy Line
Old Pertle Springs, Missouri Dummy Car

Dummy Line Route Map, Warrensburg, MO
Dummy Line, Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, Missouri
Dummy Line - Beginning of the Line on Holden Street, Warrensburg, at the Railroad Tracks. Estes Hotel in the background.

This little steam train, standard gauge with cars, operated between Warrensburg, Missouri and Pertle Springs and did a thriving business from the early 1880's until the early twentieth century, when the autos enticed people to seek far away resorts and scenery. This train and the resort, consisting of several man-made lakes, a large hotel of 150 rooms, a large tabernacle for various entertainments, numerous cottages, bowling alleys, tennis courts, boating and swimming, was all conceived an constructed by James H. Christopher, a pioneer in develop that area of Missouri.During its heyday, this resort attracted visitors from St. Louis, Kansas City and all points in Missouri. The 'Dummy', as the train was known, met all trains of the. Missouri Pacific, which published special rates and tickets included a ride on the 'Dummy Line' to Pertle Springs. On one Fourth of July the 'Dummy Line' shuttled back and forth from early morn until midnight and carried some eight thousand passengers. In early days this Spring, with mineral waters of high medicinal value, lay in a heavily wooded area and there were Indian trails leading to it for it had long been a favorite haunt of the Red Men. Written by Kenneth C. Christopher of Seneca Falls and St. Petersburg, Florida (a nephew of J.H.C.
Read more:

Hotel Estes and the Dummy Line, Warrensburg, MO
Catching the Dummy Line Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, Missouri

At Morning Prayer, Pertle Springs   Baptist  July 20-25 1915

Pertle Springs Summer Resort, Warrensburg, MO
Lodge, Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, MO
Pertle Springs Dummy Car, Warrensburg, MO
Lover's Bridge "The Bridge of Sighs and Lies"
Pertle Springs Resort, Warrensburg, MO
Lake Cena, Pertle Springs Resort, Warrensburg, MO
Cena Christopher Draper
Mineral Water and Mules 
J. H. Christopher owned the prosperous Pertle Springs resort, which promoted the water from its mineral spring as a cure-all. But in 1889, a crisis confronted Christopher. The Dunkards, a religious denomination, informed him it was sending 20,000 members to Pertle Springs for its national convention. “Hauptproblem,” the German-speaking Dunkards might have said had they considered that only one narrow, dusty road connected the resort to the train station downtown. Christopher hastily bought equipment from a defunct Wichita railway. Eight months later–the two-mile Warrensburg and Pertle Springs Railroad was ready. Despite its picturesque name, the line was a single-track streetcar route with a few open passenger cars and a tiny steam engine called a “dummy.”
Nearly 80 dummy lines ran in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most were short lines that connected suburbs to a central city. For example, a six-mile line linked Independence and Kansas City.
Accounts vary, but the term “dummy” apparently derived from the silencing equipment on the steam engines so as not to alarm horses. Regardless of the term’s etymology, Warrensburg’s little train was called ‘The Dummy’.
Christopher built cabins and the three-story Minnewawa Hotel overlooking Pertle’s lakes for its hundreds of visitors. The 3000 seat Tabernacle auditorium played host to numerous meetings and conventions. Nearly all guests arrived on The Dummy. On its busiest days, it made 30 trips between downtown Warrensburg and Pertle. One-way tickets cost a dime. Getting back cost a nickel.
The Missouri Pacific did more than deliver passengers to The Dummy–it hauled thousands of Warrensburg mules the Army bought for World War I. The Jones Bros.’ mule business thrived at their still-standing brick barn on College Avenue. The tough, long-eared animals also provided Warrensburg Teachers College its mascot.

Postcard book from the Library of Congress about Pertle Springs and Warrensburg, Missouri

Warrensburg, Missouri Pertle Springs Hotel Minnewawa
Hotel Minnewawa 1891 Warrensburg, Missouri Pertle Springs
Warrensburg, Missouri Train Depot about 1891  and Magnolia Opera house
Warrensburg, Missouri about 1891
Warrensburg, Missouri Assembly Room Normal School - UCM about 1891
Warrensburg, Missouri Churches about 1891
Warrensburg, Missouri Houses about 1891
Warrensburg, Missouri Downtown View about 1891
Pertle Springs, Spring House, St. Louis Pagoda, Warrensburg, Missouri about 1891
Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, Missouri 1891
Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, Missouri 1891
Pertle Springs, Looking West from Auditorium, Warrensburg, Missouri 1891
Bridge From Auditorium to Hotel Minnewawa
Dummy Line Watering Station, Pertle Springs, MO
Lover's Nook Pertle Springs, MO

Pertle Springs Resort a distant memory in Warrensburg
Dec 29, 2009 Digitalburg
WARRENSBURG, Mo.--A visit to the Pertle Springs park today does not hold quite the magic it did 100 years ago.
The Pertle Springs of the present is unrecognizable in the snapshots from yesteryear that can be viewed at the Johnson County Historical Society.
A thriving tourist destination at the turn of the 20th century, Pertle Springs Resort drew thousands of guests to its healing waters, massive hotel, auditorium, lecture halls and zoo.
A special train line was even run from Warrensburg that took travelers from all over Missouri and other states to the Springs.
Legend has it that Native Americans considered the water at what is now Pertle Springs to be health-giving, and they would camp there to drink from it. The land was eventually settled by William S. Purtle, who dammed the springs and created the first lake there.
Hence, the Springs became known as Purtle Springs. Purtle then shipped mineral water to “nearly every state in the Union,” according to a Warrensburg Daily Star Journal article from 1987
That article reported that an A. F. Zimmerman owned the land next, then a man named James A. Christopher bought the land and turned it into a resort in the 1880s. He set up a spring house for people to take in the waters, and built the Hotel Minnewawa – Native American for “healing waters” – in 1884. Other archived news articles spelled the name Hotel Miniwawa, but all accounts report that the facility could accommodate 300 people.
The place’s name changed to Pertle Springs after Christopher’s surveyor, a Mr. Gallagher, suggested that was a “pleasanter spelling,” the newspaper article reported. It is unknown what year the spelling of the name changed.
3,000-seat auditorium
Christopher continued his vision for the resort by building a public auditorium at the Springs that could hold 3,000 people. The auditorium was used frequently for religious revivals and meetings, so it was sometimes called the Tabernacle. A well-known religious group from New York, The Chautauquas, traveled to the resort regularly to hold revivals.
Besides religious events, the Springs hosted public lectures, speeches, concerts, group reunions, and even state and national conventions. The Peace Jubilee for ex-soldiers of the Union and Confederate armies was held there in 1898.
William Jennings Bryan, in Warrensburg, MO

William Jennings Bryan Gave His "Free Silver" Speech at Pertle Springs
Orator William Jennings Bryan(he ran for president 3 times too) gave his famous free silver speech in the auditorium. Bryan pushed for the “free and unlimited coinage of silver,” a big issue in 1906, according to a Johnson County Historical Society bulletin from 1959. 
August 6, 1896 at the Pertle Springs Democratic Convention he makes free coinage of silver a national issue.

More and more visitors came to the resort, so Christopher added more buildings. He added the Hall of Philosophy, the Normal Hall for Chautauqua Classes, the Children’s Temple for the State Sunday School Association, and the St. Louis Pagoda to provide more room for religious classes and public-interest speeches.

Hotel expanded

In 1892, 50 rooms were added to the Hotel Minnewawa, and Christopher built some guest cottages. A newspaper article reported that tents could also be rented for $4 per season, and campers could pay an extra dollar for a board floor. Horse or mule teams could graze in the Spring’s bluegrass pastures for five cents a day.

In 1889, Christopher bought tracks from the Wichita Railroad and made what was dubbed the “Dummy Line,” a steam engine that pulled three 70-passenger railcars. The Dummy Line left from the Estes Hotel that was located across from the depot, at Grover and Holden Streets in Warrensburg, and took passengers to the resort. The Star Journal reported that the line made eight trips a day, more when conventions were going on.

The Missouri Pacific Railroad offered special rates for vacationers headed to Pertle Springs. A round trip from St. Louis was reportedly $6.95 in the 1890s.

The lush, attractive land encouraged tourists to picnic and enjoy water activities like fishing, swimming and boating, even ice skating in the winter. In 1912, the site had nine man-made lakes, one used specifically for mineral bathing.

Christopher went on to build five bowling alleys, a gymnastics hall and a small zoo on the grounds, according to the Star Journal. The zoo housed peacocks, monkeys, one bear and one bald eagle.

Popularity waned

The resort thrived until the 1920s. By then, the invention of the automobile and the radio allowed people to discover new means of entertainment. The Warrensburg State Normal School – today the University of Central Missouri – grew in size and began putting on plays and lectures, which competed with the resort’s shows. 
Tourist numbers declined quickly, and the Dummy Line stopped running in 1922. In 1926, the Hotel Minnewawa burnt down, devastating what was left of the resort. Four years later, a new Pertle Springs Lodge was built on the spot, but it didn’t hold the grandeur of the Minnewawa.
In 1959, the university, at that time called Central Missouri State College, bought the land from Christopher’s heirs, Florence Parker and Cena Draper. The college paid $40,000 for the 300 acres, according to published reports.
The railroad tracks and all other equipment were removed in 1960, and Pertle Springs was used as a recreation area for students. The university built the Keth Memorial Golf Course in the park in 1961. Pertle Springs Lodge was leveled in 1985, due to lack of use and disrepair. There was a swimming pool there in the ‘80s, but that too has disappeared.
Today, Pertle Springs is a nature conservation area of the University of Central Missouri. The ROTC program uses the area for training, and students use it for ecological research. The golf course has undergone several renovations and is still running successfully. The remains of the Lodge can be seen on the hill across from Lake Cena, and the spring house is visible nearby. If you look carefully, you can see where the zoo’s cage areas were, down the hill from the hotel.
Now but a faded memory
The demise of the Pertle Springs Resort was an unfortunate loss for Warrensburg. The mineral waters and other attractions used to draw tourists’ attention from across the nation. Old postcards of the Springs, Lake Cena and the Dummy Line on file at the Historical Society depict long-forgotten scenes; the students and community members who fish and picnic at Pertle Springs today may have a hard time imagining what it used to be. 
The families relaxing on the sunny grounds in their Sunday best after traveling all day to get there, the distinguished hotel, the spring house, the lecture halls, the zoo and its animals, the bowling alleys, the concerts and religious revivals--all have faded into the past. The glory of the old Pertle Springs Resort can now only be seen on those long-ago postcards and a mural at the corner of Holden and Market Streets downtown.
More information about the history of Pertle Springs can be found at the Johnson County Historical Society.

Pertle Springs: Serving the Generations
By Mike Greife

For generations of University of Central Missouri students, Pertle Springs has been a campus retreat. Home to Lake Cena and the Keth Memorial Golf Course, it has played an important role in the history of UCM and Warrensburg since it was first developed as a private resort in the late 19th century.

The origins of the Pertle Springs recreation area date back to 1886, when Warrensburg businessman James H. Christopher developed the 300 acres on the south side of Warrensburg into a resort.

Pertle Springs featured the healing waters of a mineral spring that fed four lakes on the property. Hotel Minnewawa, built on the hill north of Lake Cena, was built in three stages, with the final building housing 300 guest rooms. The hotel contained restaurants, a barbershop and a summer residence for the Christopher family. Guests were transported from the Warrensburg train depot and downtown hotels by the "dummy train" and could take advantage of a boathouse and a fleet of canoes and rowboats.

Hotel Minnewawa

The resort also featured a meeting hall that seated 3,500 people and was the site of the first Chautauqua meeting held in Missouri. A large gazebo was built over the original spring, which fed a fountain.

The popularity of mineral spring resorts waned as the American public became more mobile, and patronage of the resort dropped through the 1920s. Many of the original buildings had deteriorated over the years and were razed, and Hotel Minnewawa was empty when it burned in 1926. Christopher rebuilt a smaller lodge in the same location in 1929.

Although Pertle Springs was no longer a bustling resort in the late 1920s, the property gained new life when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation in 1933 creating the Civilian Conservation Corps. The U.S. government leased 15 acres of the property just southeast of the Pertle Springs lodge from the Christopher family as a location for CCC Company 1771-V.

In response to the Great Depression, the CCC offered unemployed men an opportunity to work, conserving the country's natural resources. From 1934 to 1939, the camp at Pertle Springs housed an average of 150 World War I and Spanish American War veterans. The camp contained nine barracks buildings, along with a dining hall, hospital, headquarters building, recreation hall, machine shop and garages.

Pertle Springs: Serving the Generations
The University of Central Missouri acquired Pertle Springs in 1959, and planning began for the further development of the area for student recreation. The lodge, built in 1929 by James Christopher on the site of the original Hotel Minnewawa, became a center for campus gatherings and social events. UCM students and the general public continued to take advantage of the wooded acreage, picnic areas and the opportunities for boating and fishing in Lake Cena.These men became an important part of the local economy for four years, patronizing local businesses and entertainment venues. Some moved their families to Warrensburg and became permanent residents.
Pertle Springs
A nine-hole, sand green golf course constructed in 1964 on acreage just south of Lake Cena later was expanded to 18 holes and grass greens. In addition, a swimming pool with shower facilities and a pro shop, built through the generosity of local donors, were added to the recreational facilities in the 1960s.

The course was named Keth Memorial Golf Course in 1972 after the late Earl Keth, who served as Mules head basketball coach from 1946 to 1961. Keth was the guiding force behind development of men's golf as an intercollegiate sport at UCM and the construction of the golf course.
The advent of the 21st century brought a new vision to Pertle Springs. The lodge had been razed in the 1980s after it was determined it was beyond repair, and the pool was closed in 2002 due to university budget cuts.
In 2008 plans were implemented to update the Keth Memorial Golf Course and develop it into a state-of-the-art public facility. The building that housed the pro shop was razed, and a driving range was built with four indoors bays, new putting greens and a chipping area.
The most recent development is the construction of the Audrey J. Walton Clubhouse, which includes a pro shop, banquet room, professional kitchen facilities and three offices, providing new life to Pertle Springs as a gathering place for the campus and community.
MPA Missouri Press Association Meeting 1895 at Pertle Springs, MO This was the year they started to plan for the World's First School of Journalism. After 13 years it was set up at the University of Missouri.  21. J. West Goodwin* – Sedalia Bazoo, 1891  MPA Presidents of this era.
22. W. O. L. Jewett* – Shelbina Democrat, 1892
23. J. C. Kerby* – West Plains Gazette, 1893
24. John Knott* – Hannibal Courier, 1894
25. John W. Jacks* – Montgomery Standard, 1895
26. H. E. Robinson* – Maryville Republican, 1896
27. Henry W. Ewing* – Jefferson City Tribune, 1897
28. George H. Trigg* – Richmond Conservator, 1898
29. H. J. Groves* – Independence Sentinel, 1899
30. W. R. Painter* – Carrollton Democrat, 1900
Pertle Springs, Missouri Lodge and Resort, Hotel Minnewawa
Lake Cena, Pertle Springs, Missouri Warrensburg, UCM
Pertle Springs, MO Lodge and Resort
Catching the Dummy Line, Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, MO

Hotel Minnewawa, Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, MO
The Foot Bridge, Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, MO
A view of the foot bridge at Pertle Springs, Warrensuburg, MO
The Springs at Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, MO
Boat Landing on Boating Lake (Lake Cena) Pertle Springs, Warrensburg, MO

Add caption

Sam's House at Pertle Springs, Missouri  Lake Cena
At Pertle Springs, Missouri
Lake Cena, Pertle Springs, Missouri
Hotel Estes and Pertle Springs Dummy Line Raiway Depot,  Inland Chemical, Warrensburg, Missouri
Warrensburg, Missouri Dummy Line to Pertle Springs
The Springs, at Pertle Springs Missouri

Pertle Springs Dam, Warrensburg, MO

Pertle Springs, Lake Cena, Warrensburg, Missouri

James. H. Russell, Chilhowee, Missouri at Pertle Springs, 
August 1897
Its orange-tinted, sulfur-smelling water bubbles up into a concrete basin, it is hard to believe that Pertle Springs once hosted a bustling and successful mineral water resort. The resort, near Warrensburg, catered to thousands of health and pleasure seekers from far and wide. On summer weekends, a special train was set up to carry people back and forth from Warrensburg to the resort. Visitation was so heavy, the train made multiple daily trips. The Pertle Springs Resort and its Hotel Minnewawa often hosted Fourth of July picnics, temperance rallies, free-silver conventions, Chatauquas, and camp meetings. It also included many other on-site amusements. This August 1897 photograph documents the start of the annual family reunion of the James H. Russell, Sr., family of Chilhowee. Russell was born in Boonville in 1843, moved to Johnson County in 1866 by covered wagon, and later became a successful farmer. Russell's success as a farmer allowed him to enjoy family gatherings at destinations such as Pertle Springs. The background of the image shows part of what was once Stewart Cottage on the grounds of Pertle Springs Resort. Russell is seated near the left, holding an umbrella and hat.
Hotel Minnewawa, Pertle Springs, Missouri
Pertle Springs Resort Hotel Minnewawa
Pertle Springs and Band Stand
Pertle Springs Post Card from Clara Davis, Missouri

U. A. McBride, the present postmaster of Warrensburg, is one of the widely known newspaper men of Missouri who for a number of years has been prominently identified with public affairs.  He was born in 1869 in Henry county, Missouri, a son of William H. and Mattie J. (Randall) McBride, natives of Kentucky.  William McBride was a son of James McBride, one of the honored pioneers of Henry county, who owned valuable property interests in Montrose and Butler at the time of his death, which occurred in Kansas, when he was 89 years of age.  William H. McBride came from Kentucky to Missouri in 1865 and located in Cooper county near Boonville, later moving to a farm northwest of Montrose in Henry county.  He was widely known in this county and in Cass county. For many years he was engaged in the contracting business at Clinton and Butler and built the first brick business house erected in Sedalia, the John Houx Hardware Store in Sedalia, and the "Bazoo" Building on High street in Sedalia.  The latter structure was erected just after the Civil War.  Mattie J. (Randall) McBride was a daughter of Dr. Randall, a pioneer physician of Louisville, Kentucky.  To William H. and Mattie (Randall) McBride were born six children: James Owen, who was a druggist at Siloam Springs, Arkansas, where he died at the age of 39 years, burial being made at Warrensburg, Missouri; Susie, the wife of William J. Hutchinson, editor of the "Mt. Washington News," Mt. Washington, Missouri; Mary E., the wife of Richard Stream, of Kansas City, Missouri; U. A., the subject of this review; Thomas F., who was a pharmacist at Marshall, Missouri, where his death occurred and interment was made; and George Vest, the assistant fire chief and captain of Station Number 7 at Kansas City, Missouri.  The father's death occurred  at Pleasant Hill in 1907 and his last resting place is in the cemetery at Pleasant Hill.  The widowed mother resides with her daughter, Mrs. William J. Hutchinson, at Mt. Washington, Missouri.  In the public schools of Clinton and Butler, Missouri, U. A. McBride received his education.  Early in life, he became interested in the newspaper business and he made his entry in the world of newspaper men at Adrian, Missouri, when he assumed charge of the "Journal" there.  He later purchased this paper, made it a paying proposition, and sold it, to establish the "Pleasant Hill Gazette," which is now the "Pleasant Hill Times."  In December, 1893, Mr. McBride disposed of his ownership of this paper and came to Warrensburg, where he purchased the "Journal Democrat."  While in control of the "Journal Democrat," he issued the call for the state organization of democratic editors to meet at Pertle Springs.  The meeting was attended by all the leading newspaper men of Missouri, among whom were Charles H. Jones, of the "St. Louis Post Dispatch" and Charles W. Knapp, of the "St. Louis Republic," and L. A. Lesver, editor of the "Kansas City Times."  This organization is still maintained and has been and is of great benefit to the newspaper men of the state.  At this particular meeting, the following officers were elected:  H. Martin Williams, of Hermann, Missouri, president; Charlie Walters, of Rich Hill Missouri, vice-president; U. A. McBride, of Warrensburg, Missouri, recording secretary; and John Black McDonald, of Warrensburg, Missouri, corresponding secretary.  U. A. McBride controlled the "Journal Democrat" until 1895, when he sold the paper and erected a printing plant, known as the McBride Printing Plant, which he put in successful operation.  He started the "Daily Tribune" during the excited campaign for free silver in 1896.  This paper was later moved to Clinton, Missouri and established there as the "Clinton Tribune." The paper was a marked success and was sold by U. A. McBride to his partners, when he returned to Warrensburg to enter the job printing and book publishing business and later to associate with C. D. Middleton in publishing the "Johnson County Star."  He afterward sold his interest in this paper to the Middletons.  When Mr. Crossley purchased the "Johnson County Star," he offered the management of the paper to Mr. McBride, which position he accepted.  In 1912, U. A. McBride was elected secretary of the Democratic State Central Committee and as his political work took his entire time, he retired from newspaper work. Mr. McBride was secretary of the Johnson County Democratic Central Committee prior to his election to the same position with the state committee.  He was filling the state position at the time of his appointment as postmaster of Warrensburg in 1914, which position he now occupies at the time of this writing, in 1917.  U. A. McBride was offered the appointment to the office of deputy insurance commissioner, under Governor Major's administration, which honor he declined to accept, but instead accepted the position of chief statistician of the State Board of Health, which he resigned at the time of his appointment as postmaster of Warrensburg.  During Governor Major's administration, Mr. McBride was the official reporter of the House of Representatives and State Senate.  The Warrensburg post office has shown a gradual increase in business for many years.  In 1916, the sales of stamps alone amounted to twenty thousand dollars.  The post office building was erected in 1912, at a cost of sixty-five thousand dollars.  The office employs nine rural carriers, four city carriers, five clerks, including the assistant postmaster, one parcel post man, and two substitute carriers.  February 19, 1890, U. A. McBride was united in marriage with Isa Sarah Dewar, daughter of Thomas and Mattie Dewar.  Thomas Dewar was a well-known miller at Pleasant Hill, Missouri.  His death occurred when his daughter, Isa Sarah was a little child, two years of age.  The mother died in Warrensburg in 1913 and the remains of both parents were interred in the cemetery at Pleasant Hill.  To U. A. and Isa Sarah (Dewar) McBride was born one child, a daughter, Mildred M., who died at the age of fourteen years.  Mr. and Mrs. McBride reside in one of Warrensburg's most attractive homes, a beautiful bungalow, built in 1914 at 424 South Holden street.  One of the biggest things ever done for Warrensburg was done by U. A. McBride, when he secured the meeting of the big Silver Convention at Pertle Spring in 1896.  This meeting was of national interest and the management of the convention crowd, which was accomplished in an excellent and masterly manner, was no small task for a city the size of Warrensburg.  Special arrangements were made to take the mammoth crowd to the pavilion one and a half  miles south of the city and cots were shipped into Warrensburg by the carload from Kansas City.  The convention attracted newspaper men from every part of the United States and even today frequent mention is made by the press of the "Pertle Springs Convention."  Bland, the idol of the silver men, was defeated for presidential nomination at the Chicago convention on the fifth ballot, when William Jennings Bryan received the necessary two-thirds majority.  U. A. McBride was a member of the convention held in Chicago.  Mr. McBride is president of the Warrensburg Commercial Club, holding the position since March, 1917, at which time he was visited by a committee of representative business men who prevailed upon him to accept the presidency of the club. 
Spanish-American War Reunion Warrensburg, Missouri  Pertle Springs

Zip Line, Pertle Springs, MO
Dummy Line, Pertle Springs, Mo

Bathing Lake, Pertle Springs, MO

1908 Pertle Springs, Missouri Lake Cena
J. H. Christopher, Owner-Developer Pertle Springs, Missouri

James H. Christopher, best known as Colonel, was born September 11, 1847, in Kentucky. He was the first of 12 children of Joseph C. and America Bryant Christopher. When he was a small child, he accompanied his parents to Jackson County, making trips up the Mississippi River. They settled in Jackson County, and during the civil war with the issuance of Order No. 11. were forced to move to Independence. There his father was murdered, having been called to his door one night and shot down by bushwhackers. This followed a speech he made urging the paying of compensation to former slave owners.
William S. Pertle bought the land and built the first dam across the springs. That was the beginning of Pertle Springs. J. H. Christopher eventually bought the land and developed it into a health and recreation resort. Pertle Springs was known for the mineral springs that was supposed to bring good health. Christopher began building accommodations and later in 1884, a "Large and fine hotel was complete." The Minnewawa Hotel stood on one hill and a large Tabernacle stood on another hill just south of the Hotel. The only other account of J. H. Christopher we found was his trial on December 18, 1897.
"J.H... Christopher returned Friday from Des Moines, Iowa where with 2 Sedalia gentlemen, he was taken last week to answer to the charge of operating a lottery and using the mails. the gentlemen succeeded in having the case continued until December 21, when they will be given a trail. To a reporter of the Standard-Herald, Mr. Christopher stated that they anticipated no troubled whatever in clearing themselves of the above charge."
James H. Christopher died at age 83, died at about 3 o'clock Friday afternoon at New Smyrna, Florida, where he suffered a stroke of apoplexy. His wife, Lilly L. Bliss, who married Christopher on March 10, 1894, was not found in the cemetery records. J. H. Christopher's, only child, Marion Christopher died July 2, 1956 at age 82. James and Marion are both in the Sunset Hill Cemetery, located in Warrensburg, Missouri1940

38, born abt 1902 
Home in 1940 
308 Broad
Johnson, Missouri 
Household Members 
J H Christopher 

1860 Census Information Below, Johnson County Missouri
Purtle Wm. S. 35 M Farmer 300 900 Mo
Purtle Rachael 30 F Ky
Purtle Wm. A. 8 M Mo 
Purtle L.E. 5 F Mo
Purtle Alexander J. 2 M Mo
Warrensburg also became known as a pleasure spot based on the reputation of Pertle Springs. When European-Americans arrived in the area, the mineral water that flowed from the ground had been recognized by local American Indian tribes for its healing properties. Late in the 19th century, the land south of town was named after William Purtle who had created the first of 11 lakes by damming one of the springs on his property; he shipped the fresh water to cities across the country.
The spelling was changed by a later owner who thought “Pertle” seemed prettier, and he constructed a large lakeside hotel in 1884. Over the next two decades, the park gained a 3,000 seat open-air auditorium, bowling alleys, and a small zoo with peacocks, monkeys, and a bear. In addition to the hotel, patrons could rent a cottage or a tent, and in 1889, a steam engine and three cars were purchased to ferry visitors between the depot and the resort. Popular with conventions, church groups, and families, the amusement park remained busy well into the 1920s until new technologies such as radio allowed people to create their own fun at home.
FYI Pertle Springs
In 1959 UCM acquired the 300 acre Pertle Springs Park that is at the south end of the campus. Pertle Springs was once a legendary resort with mineral springs that were thought to have healing properties. Pertle Springs was a showplace in the late 1800s and early 1900s with a carnival like atmosphere featuring such attractions as amusement rides, a zip line, a zoo, bear wrestling, horse racing, and a "dummy" railway that was laid soon after 1889. The railway consisted of a steam engine and three open coaches capable of holding 210 people, making round trips daily from Warrensburg's Hotel Estes on Holden Street to Pertle Springs.
Pertle Springs.-Pertle Springs, which is located about one-half mile south of the city limits of Warrensburg, is one of the most desirable health and pleasure resorts in this section of the state.
The land originally belonged to Mr. Pertle, from whom the resort takes its name. Before the advent of the white settlers in Johnson county, Indians often visited this place and recognized the medicinal properties of the water here.
The following is an exact analysis of the water made by Prof. P. Schweitzer, professor of chemistry in the University of Missouri, in 1885,
"One U. S. gallon left on evaporation a residue weighing when ignited 36.8 grains. This residue contained 2.04 grains silica, 0.56 grains alumina, 7.01 carbonate of lime, 0.67 grains oxide of iron. 6.82 grains magnesia, 16.61 sulphuric acid. Total, 33.71 grains. The difference between this weight and the weight of the total residue amounting to 4.09 grains, consisted of alkalies, carbonic acid, chlorine, and probably some other constituents in small quantities. The water on standing and on boiling deposits all its iron in the form of ferric oxide, and is true chalybeate water."
The Pertle Springs grounds comprise eighty acres, of which thirty-six are now owned by Messrs. Gray and Baker. There are nine lakes here. One is devoted exclusively to bathing purposes. One covers sixteen acres and furnishes the water supply for the city of Warrensburg. The other smaller lakes are well stocked with fish and afford excellent fishing places. There is a large and commodious hotel. It has a well-earned reputation for the excellency of its service. Garages and other conveniences for guests are supplied. In addition to the hotel, there are a number of cottages and flats on the grounds for the accommodation of those who prefer their more home-like life. The grounds are beautifully shaded, and there are various amusements for children and adults.
Rev. Sam Jones is perhaps responsible for the erection of the large auditorium at Pertle Springs. While conducting a meeting here he realized and foresaw the possibilities of such a building and started the movement which culminated in the building of the auditorium or "Tabernacle."
Since then many important conventions and religious and political meetings have been held in this building. The Pertle Springs Silver Convention, one of the important political events of the West which began the crystallization of the campaign for free silver in Missouri, was held here in 1893. William J. Bryan and many other notable men have appeared here.
Pertle Springs is connected with the city of Warrensburg by a railroad which runs from the business district of the city, near the Missouri Pacific depot, through the residence district, to the Springs. It is operated during the summer seasons by the management of Pertle Springs. The motor power is both steam and gasoline.'

Pertle Springs attracted such speakers as Carrie Nation, Rev. Sam Jones, William Jennings Bryan.

Former Martz Residence 205 East Culton, Warrensburg

Past Commanders Signed ie.g AT King, A. G. Taubert, L:L. DesCombes, Emett Ellis, Floyd Fewell, Luke Byram, Kinky Robinson



The origins of the Pertle Springs recreation area date back to 1886, when Warrensburg businessman James H. Christopher developed the 300 acres on the south side of Warrensburg into a resort. Pertle Springs featured the healing waters of a mineral spring that fed four lakes on the property. Hotel Minnewawa, built on the hill north of Lake Cena, was built in three stages, with the final building housing 300 guest rooms. The hotel contained restaurants, a barbershop and a summer residence for the Christopher family. Guests were transported from the Warrensburg train depot and downtown hotels by the “dummy train” and could take advantage of a boathouse and a fleet of canoes and rowboats.The resort also featured a meeting hall that seated 3,500 people and was the site of the first Chautauqua meeting held in Missouri. A large gazebo was built over the original spring, which fed a fountain.The popularity of mineral spring resorts waned as the American public became more mobile, and patronage of the resort dropped through the 1920s. Many of the original buildings had deteriorated over the years and were razed, and Hotel Minnewawa was empty when it burned in 1926. Christopher rebuilt a smaller lodge in the same location in 1929.Although Pertle Springs was no longer a bustling resort in the late 1920s, the property gained new life when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation in 1933 creating the Civilian Conservation Corps. The U.S. government leased 15 acres of the property just southeast of the Pertle Springs lodge from the Christopher family as a location for CCC Company 1771-V. In response to the Great Depression, the CCC offered unemployed men an opportunity to work, conserving the country’s natural resources. From 1934 to 1939, the camp at Pertle Springs housed an average of 150 World War I and Spanish American War veterans. The camp contained nine barracks buildings, along with a dining hall, hospital, headquarters building, recreation hall, machine shop and garages.

Chautauqua (/ʃəˈtɔːkwə/ shə-taw-kwə) was an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Named after Chautauqua Lake where the first was held, Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day.[1] Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is "the most American thing in America."[2] H.L. Mencken used the word "chautauqua" (lower case) to refer more generally to a herd of clumsy writers: "When they essay to be jocose, the result is usually simply an elephantine whimsicality, by the chautauqua out of the Atlantic Monthly." [Vintage Mencken, p. 96, ed. Alistair Cooke, 1955]

Cena Christopher Draper

Cena C. (Christopher) Draper
Warrensburg, Missouri

Cena Christopher Draper, Sunset Hill Cemetery Warrensburg, MO

Cena Christopher Draper Papers at UCM - Sadler

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