Nazi Death Camps Through the Eyes of a Child

AMC_Brazil2016The scenes from Nazi death camps were staggering.  Now imagine experiencing those horros through the eyes of a child.  That was the case for Judy Straus…

The Nazis Invade Home

AMC_Brazil2016The Straus family left Germany in the 1930s to escape the rising power of Adolf Hitler.  Then, in the early 1940s, the Nazis invaded the new nation they called home…

Holocaust Survivor Judy Straus

AMC_Brazil2016This week we visit with Judy Straus, a survivor of the Holocaust  Her story is one of tragedy and hope…and a story I hope you’ll tune into each day…

Saved Jewish Artifacts

FJ Alaska Banner AdThe movie, “Monuments Men,” details the race by Allied forces to save precious Jewish artifacts from destruction by the Nazis.  That story played out in real life at the end of World War II and today you can see some of the items saved…

A Museum Dedicated to Jewish Survivors

FJ Alaska Banner AdIn 1976 a group led by Frank Collin wanted to march in the city of Skokie, Illinois.  The event drew national attention and multiple court rulings because it was a group of Nazi sympathizers who proposed to march in a predominately Jewish community.  This museum perhaps would not be here if not for that demonstration…

A Journey to the US Ahead of the War

FJ Alaska Banner AdToday we know the atrocities committed against Jews at the hands of the Nazis.  However, in the years leading up to World War II, and even during the war itself, many in America simply couldn’t imagine such stories were indeed true.  We visit with a man who made that journey to the U.S. just ahead of the war…

The Night of Broken Glass

FJ Alaska Banner AdIt is a night that Henry Straus will never forget.  November 9th, 1938.  It’s today known as the “Night of Broken Glass.”  Today we go back to that time with a man who witnessed it as a ten year old boy…

A Jewish Family’s Challenges in Nazi Germany

FJ Alaska Banner AdWe resume our moving conversation today with Henry Straus as he share his family’s challenges living as Jews in a country where the Nazis were rising to power. We appreciate the assistance of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center with this series…

Growing Up Jewish in Germany

FJ Alaska Banner AdFrom his earliest memories, Henry Straus remembers discrimination. As a young Jewish boy living in a German city, his family faced laws that stripped them of many of the freedoms they once had enjoyed. His family knew they needed to leave the country…but was it already too late?

Recruiting Students for Careers in Agriculture

If you were recruiting students for careers in agriculture, a large city might be the last place you’d think to make your pitch.  However this man believes it’s the first place many businesses need to be looking…

An Unlikely Choice for FFA President

Twenty years ago a the Future Farmers of America made an unlikely choice for their national president…for his years were spent far from any working farm…

The Largest of Indian Mounds

We’ve probably all heard of Indian mounds scattered throughout parts of North America.  Here just east of present day St. Louis was the largest of those mounds.  In fact, you can still see it and climb it today…

The Largest City

Before there was a United States of America, this was the largest city within it’s modern boundaries.  In fact, it’s size still marvels those who consider its origins over a thousand years ago…

Developing the Self Scouring Plow

FJM-HV-Hawaii2014Although you may associate his name with tractors, he never saw one.  Yet his name is synonymous with the equipment used in agriculture…

That Will Be a Half-Cent, Mr. President

Toll roads have been around as long as the nation.  Today those tolls are often paid on multi-lane turnpikes, often with just the flash of an automated reader.  Perhaps that’s what makes the toll paid in Pittsfield, Illinois so unusual.  The payment was just a half-cent, and it was to cross someone’s yard AND it was levied on a future president of the United States…..

The Cannon That Fired Too Soon

When you’re in  Pittsfield, Illinois, enjoy the chance to drive around the city and listen to stories on your car radio.  They aren’t any ordinary stories though.  They are a tour of some of the oldest homes and businesses in town, each with an intriguing tie to Abraham Lincoln…..

A Frequent Visitor

Today we say hello to out listeners on WBBA in Pittsfield, Illinois.  Listeners there know that just over a century and a half ago, there was a frequent visitor to their home town.  That man was none other than Abraham Lincoln.  Although Lincoln visited many towns in the state, this one holds some unique stories no one else can boast…..

6 St. Louis Spots History Lovers Shouldn’t Miss

A lot of visitors to St. Louis may catch a Cardinals game, take in the world-class zoo, or ride to the top of the St. Louis Arch. But after Andrew took a look at the history of St. Louis in some recent programs, we decided to delve a little deeper and bring you some of the best spots for history buffs to visit in The Gateway to the West.

Forest Park

360px-Forest_Park,_St_LouisYou’d never know it to look now, but the vast expanse of green in St. Louis was a bustling city for a while in 1904. Forest Park was home to the 1904 World’s Fair, which included 12 temporary exhibition palaces and one permanent building known collectively as the “Ivory City.” Today, you can still see that permanent structure when you visit the St. Louis Art Museum, which it houses. Park volunteers even lead visitors on a “Then and Now” tour that takes a look at some of the park’s extensive history. And Civil War buffs will find several statues and memorials of interest to them, as well.

 

Missouri_Botanical_Garden_-_Seiwa-enMissouri Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden is an oasis in the city, and is one of the oldest botanical institutions in the United States. History buffs will also be interested to know that it’s a National Historic Landmark. The garden was established in 1859, and covers nearly 80 acres within St. Louis. It includes a wide variety of gardens — including a recreation of an English Woodland Garden, and a Japanese Garden with lawns and a walking path around a central lake. Its Climatron dome also houses a simulated rainforest.

 

 

Cahokia Mounds

Monks_Mound_in_JulyBefore the great city of St. Louis sprang up — even before Columbus the Americas — another great city dominated the Midwest. Today, visitors can see what’s left of that city and learn about its history at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis in Illinois. Archaeologists believe Cahokia was actually larger than London in 1250, and was the biggest city in the Americas north of Mexico. Today, you can learn about the impressive infrastructure that helped make such a large city possible, and find out more about the people who lived there.

 

800px-Lacledeslanding2640Laclede’s Landing
St. Louis locals know Laclede’s Landing primarily as a home for the city’s nightlife. But during the day, when the area is less crowded, the brick-paved streets tell the story of St. Louis history. French merchant Pierre Laclede Leguest landed in the area as he looked for a spot to build a trading post in 1763. That trading post eventually grew into the city of St. Louis. Today, history buffs can use their smartphones to follow along with a free walking tour that points out historical and architectural highlights of the area.

 

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 12.28.53 PMThe St. Louis Arch gets the glory, but what’s underneath it may be even cooler. The museum beneath the Arch, operated by the National Park Service, examines the history of St. Louis as a “Gateway to the West.” That includes a look at the westward expansion that began in earnest with the Louisiana Purchase and the expedition of Lewis and Clark. For those interested in that world-changing journey, there may be no better place to soak it all in.

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 12.29.39 PMMissouri Civil War Museum
One of the newest attractions in St. Louis is a Civil War historian’s dream. It’s the Missouri Civil War Museum, located in Historic Jefferson Barracks, the oldest active military installation west of the Mississippi. Both Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee trained there, making it an ideal home for a museum that examines and honors the men who fought the Civil War. The museum focuses on Missouri’s unique role in the war, as a central battleground over the political question of slavery that helped fuel the war.

New Philadelphia

Today it is difficult to find much of the town of New Philadelphia, Illinois.  However, the town’s place in the nation’s history will always be important.  It was here that free men and women came to begin a new life on the frontier of the day…..

The Old Log Cabin Inn

When you operate a restaurant that features a talking crow and airplane rides, you will certainly stand out compared to most eateries.  Add in the fact that this café has been operating for nearly a century and you’ve got a place certainly worthy of a stop just for the nostalgia alone…..