Friday, February 16, 2007

The Second Battle of Athens

The Battle of Athens State Historic Site is a little gem tucked waaaaaaay up in the northeast corner of Missouri. It is just about one of the teeny tiniest state parks you've ever seen and it's hours from anywhere. The history of the place is fascinating as the northernmost Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River happened here. It's full of buildings like the beautiful McKee home in the photo, and a house with a series of cannon ball holes punched straight through.

Teeny tiny state parks face constant struggles for resources, but right now Athens is facing a struggle with Gov. Blunt and factory hog farmers. Gov. Blunt is in favor of Senate Bill 364, which would exempt factory farms from many lawsuits about stench or contamination or plummeting property values.

It would be such a shame that activities like this:

would come to an end.

Who will want to go to the park when 5000 head of hogs are less than 2 miles away? What about the endangered Topeka Shiner in the DesMoines River? I'm a committed urbanist living smack dab in the middle of the city, but I've been to this park and would hate to see it destroyed. The area around the park is not densely populated, but the local residents do oppose the farm. It's up to us to add our voices to theirs.

You can inform yourself here, then find your senator and representative here.

And lest you think this has nothing to do with knitting, a factory hog farm will mean that it's no longer possible to wear nineteenth-century knitted bathing slippers while taking a dip on a hot, hot August day.

images courtest of Anna Allen


Larry said...

I'm a bit ashamed to say that I've not visited this park though I've lived in NE Missouri for many years. Perhaps your post will give the motivation to to do so!

djeh_b said...

It's really beautiful up there right on the river. Also nearby is Illinewek village. There's nothing to see but an archaeological dig, but the feeling of standing on the site of what had been a city of 10,000 as the white explorers arrived, and hearing about how they were welcomed and fed is awe inspiring.