Large cities such as St. Louis, MO come along with all the expected tourism sites such as the St. Louis Arc, numerous museums, Jazz Clubs, entertainment arenas and exquisite high fashion shops. Thousands of visitors flock the streets each summer to enjoy a Cardinals baseball game, the latest musical show tour or headlining band. Yes, it is exciting, exhilarating and can be quite costly, as with visiting a major city in any state.
Today, let’s take a look at life in a small town, specifically a college town located smack in the middle of the state of Missouri, named Rolla. By the way, so as not to offend the residents, please pronounce the town’s name as Ralla, not Rowla that first glance may indicate.
The town of Rolla is found within the picturesque 1.5-million-acre Mark Twain National Forest, mid-way between St. Louis and Springfield and known, worldwide, as the home of Missouri University of Science and Technology, for short, Missouri S & T.
Long known as a major stopping off point along the historic 2,000-mile-long U.S. Route 66, Rolla was also the original terminus of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad, known locally as the "Frisco Line." Today the BNSF Railway runs directly through town and the 1501 "Blue Bonnet Special", a massive Frisco Engine, is a unique attraction situated in the 15-acre Schuman Park. The Frisco 1501 Caboose, which houses U.S. Route 66 Train memorabilia, and is available for tours, is located in the City's Downtown Festival Park. ‘Frisco’, played a significant role in the early development of not only Rolla, but many of the surrounding towns as well. History buffs must check out the Old Court House, The Dillon Home and a very tiny, and uncomfortable, original jail.
Arts and culture thrive in Rolla with the Ozark Actor's Theatre and Missouri S & T’s own Leach Theatre. The Centre, Rolla’s Health and Recreation Arena, offers artwork and photography provided by Arts Rolla.
The main town streets are lined with the expected Fast-Food Restaurants found in a college town, along with numerous rental housings for the S & T students.
Life in a small, college town brings with it a sense of intimacy you cannot find within a large city. Residents greet you with a friendly ‘hello’ and bond together to assist those ‘in need’. Family life is the focal point for most residents who enjoy bowling, raft-trips, camping, swimming, hiking and gathering together to enjoy the home-made tastes of those luscious family recipes handed down from generation to generation.
You cannot mention life in a small town without the addition of church lined streets, a place so many gather each week to fulfill their spiritual and religious convictions. In fact, charitable drives, recreational activities, religious teachings and friendship abound within the walls of each church.
What strikes me most appealing, withstanding the low housing costs, is the beauty of the scenery, the generosity of the heart and the slower paced lifestyle. Rollians are true to the states motto, The Show Me State, but once shown and accepted, they are the most faithful, supportive individuals you could ever know. The warmth of love fills the air, the openness of compassion and understanding fills the soul.
So, if you tire of the hectic, rushed, expensive living of a city, drop in and say hello. Rolla will welcome you to their small, rather rural college town, and even give you a ‘hi neighbor’.
I couldn’t leave out one very important fact that is happening this year in Branson, MO at Silver Dollar City. For those of you who have not heard of Branson, well, it is one of the liveliest, most exciting and entertaining family vacation spots in the country. This year, and this year only, they are offering free admission to anyone married or born in 1976. Check out their web site for information @ http://www.silverdollarcity.com/offers/spirit-of-76-season-pass.aspx
About the Author:
Monica M Brinkman has traveled the US, living in the East Coast, West Coast and now resides in the state of Missouri. A poet, flash fiction and fiction novel writer, she is currently finishing the sequel to The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, aptly named ‘The Wheels Final Turn’. You will find her each Thursday evening as the host of the It Matters Radio broadcast.
(all info provided by author)
(all info provided by author)