Missouri Life Rolla 2011 : Page 2
Dillon Log Cabin now located on 2nd St. R T N Celebration of a Sesquicentennial THE FIRST EARLY SETTLERS came to Rolla, Missouri, in 1818, building along the river banks, and doing a little farming. Thomas James bought a tract of land from the Federal Government at Mar-amec Spring in St. James, about 12 miles southeast of Rolla, and built the ﬁ rst Iron Works in the area. Pioneer John Webber, built the ﬁ rst house within the present city limits of Rolla in 1844. In 1845, Lt. James Abert started the ﬁ rst railroad reconnaissance survey. He later became the ﬁ rst professor of Civil Engineering at the Missouri School of Mines (founded in 1870), now known as Missouri University of Science and Technology. Edmund Ward Bishop, who is called the founder of Rolla, was originally a rail-road contractor in New York. He came to this part of the country in 1853 with the job of building the Frisco Branch of the South-west Railroad. In 1857, because of an urgent demand, Phelps County was created by legislative action on Nov. 13, 1857, from a portion of Pulaski, Maries and Crawford counties. A special commission was appointed to select the site for a county seat, with instructions to locate the site on the mail line of the railroad as near the center of the county as possible. Mr. Bish-op then offered a tract of 50 acres for the “westerners” wanting the name Rolla, and the “easterners” wanting the name Dillon, so the General Assembly did not declare Rolla to be the ofﬁ cial county seat until January 25, 1861. In 1858, Rolla was ofﬁ cially surveyed and laid out, and was of-ﬁ cially named. Mr. Bishop wanted to call it Phelps Center, as his house was located in the center of the county. John Webber preferred the name Hardscrabble. George Coppedge, another original settler, and formerly of North Carolina, favored “Raleigh” after his home town. The others agreed with Coppedge on the condition that it need not have “that silly spelling,” but should be spelled “ROLLA”.  MissouriLife Rolla
Rolla Then & Now
Celebration of a Sesquicentennial<br /> <br /> THE FIRST EARLY SETTLERS came to Rolla, Missouri, in 1818, building along the river banks, and doing a little farming. Thomas James bought a tract of land from the Federal Government at Maramec Spring in St. James, about 12 miles southeast of Rolla, and built the first Iron Works in the area. Pioneer John Webber, built the first house within the present city limits of Rolla in 1844.<br /> <br /> In 1845, Lt. James Abert started the first railroad reconnaissance survey. He later became the first professor of Civil Engineering at the Missouri School of Mines (founded in 1870), now known as Missouri University of Science and Technology. Edmund Ward Bishop, who is called the founder of Rolla, was originally a railroad contractor in New York. He came to this part of the country in 1853 with the job of building the Frisco Branch of the Southwest Railroad. In 1857, because of an urgent demand, Phelps County was created by legislative action on Nov. 13, 1857, from a portion of Pulaski, Maries and Crawford counties.<br /> <br /> A special commission was appointed to select the site for a county seat, with instructions to locate the site on the mail line of the railroad as near the center of the county as possible. Mr. Bishop then offered a tract of 50 acres for the “westerners” wanting the name Rolla, and the “easterners” wanting the name Dillon, so the General Assembly did not declare Rolla to be the official county seat until January 25, 1861.<br /> <br /> In 1858, Rolla was officially surveyed and laid out, and was officially named. Mr. Bishop wanted to call it Phelps Center, as his house was located in the center of the county. John Webber preferred the name Hardscrabble. George Coppedge, another original settler, and formerly of North Carolina, favored “Raleigh” after his home town. The others agreed with Coppedge on the condition that it need not have “that silly spelling,” but should be spelled “ROLLA”.<br /> <br /> Downtown Rolla Program<br /> <br /> 10 a.m. Sesquicentennial Parade (Pine St.) 11:30 a.m. Official Program (Bandshell) 2 p.m. Historic Reenactments, Living History, crafters, and tours of Old Phelps County Courthouse and Museums 4 p.m. Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Phelps County Courthouse A “Walk Through History” will be held throughout the day at Rolla City Hall and downtown Rolla with oral and written histories, and guided tours of the Historic Walking Tour of Rolla.<br /> <br /> Above: In the center of the monument, the U.S. Geological Survey has placed a marker bearing the inscription “Missouri S&T-Stonehenge,” thus identifying the spot as an official triangulation point in a national network used for mapping and control purposes.<br /> <br /> Right: The city welcomes visitors with 33 separate parks ranging from small, neighborhood parks to large parks with several attractions. This Frisco rail car sits near City Hall.<br /> <br /> St. Patrick is Smiling<br /> <br /> When the spirit of Patrick, the patron saint of engineers, watched the first surveyor map this rugged terrain for a railroad in 1858, the town was nameless. By the time the Irish laborers laid down the track, the name Hardscrabble seemed a fitting description for the town’s frontier ruggedness.But the name didn’t stick. By the time the first train rolled down the tracks into these beautiful forested hills in December 1860, townsfolk were settling on a name: Rolla.<br /> <br /> Almost immediately, war broke out between the states, and within a few months Union military engineers had built a fort at this strategic rail terminus. Thousands of Union troops rolled into Rolla. Not long after the war, Rolla welcomed the birth of one of America’s top engineering schools. And that first rail surveyor, James Albert, became the school’s first professor of civil engineering.St. Patrick was just warming up.<br /> <br /> Generations later, engineers found a way to build Route 66 through its toughest test: the tumbling topography between Rolla and Lebanon. Rolla continues to be the focal point for an impressive list of engineering feats, including a tourist favorite along 66: a faithful replica of Stonehenge, the granite shoulders of which were cut not by hand, but with high-pressure water jets. It’s that kind of cutting-edge engineering that keeps Rolla a step ahead.<br /> <br /> A Renaissance Man And City<br /> <br /> Even the name was engineered.<br /> <br /> Performing good works for the world, St. Patrick and Sir Walter Raleigh never met, since they lived a millennium apart. Even so, their spirits combine to influence this dynamic destination in Missouri’s Ozark Highlands. Patrick supplies his blessing, and Raleigh lends more than his name.<br /> <br /> Historians agree that Rolla is a phonetic shortcut for Raleigh. Whether the town is named for Raleigh, North Carolina, or Raleigh, Illinois, home of Rolla’s first settler, the name’s spirit comes from the same source: Sir Walter Raleigh. He mastered many occupations—explorer and soldier, privateer and politician, writer and poet— a true Renaissance personality, always on the cutting edge of life.<br /> <br /> Like Sir Walter Raleigh, Rolla stays on the cutting edge of art and innovation.<br /> <br /> It’s natural for Rolla to nurture the Renaissance spirit. Students come from all over the world to study engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Artists gravitate toward Rolla’s friendly ambience and the Ozarks’ inspirational scenery.<br /> <br /> Businesses capitalize on Rolla’s central location.<br /> <br /> Travelers use Rolla as a base to fish, float, hike, and hunt the rugged Ozarks.<br /> <br /> In true Renaissance fashion, the city celebrates its diversity during its sesquicentennial in 2011. Rolla’s shining combination of traits are a rare find: big-city amenities with a small-town atmosphere. Whether you’re seeking business, education, the arts, shopping, fitness, or fun, Rolla is engineered for everyone.<br /> <br /> Roll on Route 66<br /> <br /> For eons, animals used one path to move from northern Missouri southwest through the Ozarks. Native Americans followed the same path, later called the “interior ridge route” by geographers, who realized that this path should be “America’s Highway.” You know it as Route 66: The Mother Road.<br /> <br /> Great sections of the original pavement still wind through Rolla, so you can touch the Mother Road and see dozens of roadside icons along the route through town.<br /> <br /> Like brightly painted bookends, two historic signs stand as sentinels on Route 66, guarding either edge of Rolla. Beneath those signs—one a giant totem pole, the other a towering mule with an accompanying hillbilly—two unique local trading posts transport visitors in time, back to a world that predates convenience stores.<br /> <br /> It was a time when Route 66 travelers could buy gas and groceries, moccasins and white-oak baskets, and postcards and picnic supplies; they could immerse them Selves in the local hill culture. They still can.<br /> <br /> Route 66 is a medley of attitudes: Freedom. Adventure. Kicks. Its slogans have become anthems. As the most famous road in America, the Mother Road will likely live in eternity, immortalized into our culture by its chapter and verse. But building the Mother Road wasn’t easy. Because of the rough terrain, the stretch of road just west of Rolla was the last to be paved. With the completion of America’s Highway, the curtain rose on Rolla.<br /> <br /> In 1933, the circus came to town— and stayed. For a dozen years, the Russell Brothers Circus made its winter home in Rolla. Each spring, the major three-ring extravaganza rehearsed in the fields around the old Civil War Fort Wyman. The circus performers entertained townsfolk as they gathered just north of Lions Club Park. Then, as cheers echoed through the park, the circus loaded its tents and elephants and performers into 40 brightly painted trucks and headed out on the road.<br /> <br /> Today, the Russell Brothers Circus is a memory. Not to worry: fun is still one of Rolla’s most consistent byproducts.<br /> <br /> The Lions Club Park serves up a spectacular four-day carnival every July 4, as it has for decades. Major musical performers regularly visit the city; they perform in a park setting from the delightful downtown band shell or at venues on the university campus.<br /> <br /> A Legendary St.Pat' Parade<br /> <br /> During the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, Rolla becomes the setting for one of the most legendary St. Pat’s celebrations this side of Beantown. Before the annual parade, university students and alumni use mops to spread kellygreen paint on the downtown stretch of old Route 66. It’s a long-standing tradition<br /> <br /> Tradition is important to Rolla. The people preserve its history. An old wooden bridge crosses the railroad tracks into Old Town, an area that features three generations of historic Phelps County courthouses. Two of the structures survived the Civil War; both contain museums.<br /> <br /> An Artist's Haven<br /> <br /> Artists fl ock to Rolla’s beautiful surroundings and supportive atmosphere. Just blocks from downtown, in the blossoming entertainment district, the Ozark Actors Theatre’s troupe—one of only two professional theatre troupes in rural Missouri— takes the stage at the theatre’s Cedar Street Center for the Arts. Across the street, the Orval Reeves Gallery displays Orval’s vibrant and impressionistic Ozark landscape portraits, world-class bronze sculptures by Louie Smart, stunning ceramics by Julie Balogh, and works by more local artists.<br /> <br /> But the entertainment district’s newest centerpiece is what really demonstrates the community’s dedication to the arts. At this new place, the former Thomas Hart Benton grade school, three stories of bricks and 100 years of history had been sitting, neglected, for a generation. No longer. Loving hands have restored the school, being careful to preserve its authentic aura, to make a home for fine dining and eclectic shops.<br /> <br /> On the university campus, the Leach Theatre thrives inside the Castleman Hall Performing Arts Center, and the quaint Lyric Theatre sits just minutes west down Route 66 in historic Newburg.<br /> <br /> Family Fun And Recreation<br /> <br /> Family fun is around every corner, from an outdoor skateboard park to indoor roller Skating at The Zone, to mini golf and gokarts at Kokomo Joe’s Family Fun Center.<br /> <br /> And, within minutes of Rolla’s historic Phelps County courthouse, you’ll find fl y-fishing heaven—the historic Maramec Springs trout hatchery—tucked into the hills outside nearby St. James, among vineyards and wineries. Phelps County boasts more trout streams than any other county in the state.<br /> <br /> Rolla is draped in parks—33 to be exact, covering 235 acres—offering everything from family events and picnics to organized sports and individual fitness parks. There’s even a park featuring an old Frisco steam locomotive and passenger car. For hiking and biking, 11 miles of all-weather trails await; the trails interconnect nine parks.<br /> <br /> That’s just the beginning.<br /> <br /> A Beautiful Nature Reserve<br /> <br /> Near the University Golf Course sits headquarters for the Mark Twain National Forest, a great spot to learn about this vast forest and its interpretive areas. These areas include five distinct ecosystems of the Tanager Trails Ozark Nature Reserve on the north edge of town and Lane Springs, featuring hiking trails, pavilions, picnicking, and swimming along the Little Piney River just south of town.<br /> <br /> Looking for a challenging fitness workout?You’ll find a multitude of exercise regimens under one roof at The Centre, Rolla’s state-of-the-art 63,000-square-foot facility for aquatic, aerobic, track, team, and recreational sports. Warm-weather fun is next door at Splashzone, offering a pool with a beach, a lazy river, and the world’s largest water vortex<br /> <br /> When you take inventory of all the baseball fields and sports venues provided by the municipality and university, Rolla easily slips into its reputation as an emerging center for amateur sporting events, such as youth soccer games and Amateur Softball Association of America tournaments.<br /> <br /> In any community, it’s vital to have one capable medical resource at hand. RollaHas two. Phelps County Regional Medical Center employs more than 1,300 people, who serve patients from six counties. The center has undergone extensive expansion and renovation in the past. Nearby, the St. John’s medical group, despite being relatively new to town, is hardly new to medicine.The 108,000-square-foot St. John’s Clinic provides state-of-the-art inpatient and outpatient services to the same six counties’ worth of patients.<br /> <br /> Of course, quality of life extends beyond access to fitness trails and health-care facilities.The Rolla Police Department’s innovative Volunteers In Police Service (VIPS) program has inspired other safety-minded communities throughout the United States to replicate the program in their towns.<br /> <br /> A Commercial Hot-Spot<br /> <br /> Because Rolla is the center of culture and commerce for a vast area of southern Missouri, business fiourishes on several layers.The city caters to tourists exploring Route 66 and the Ozark Mountain streams, offering travelers dozens of restaurants, both unique and familiar, plus more than 650 hotel rooms. Several bed and breakfasts await visitors nearby, with intriguing names, such as “A Miner Indulgence” and “The Painted Lady.”<br /> <br /> Geography has a lot to do with Rolla’s unique position. As headquarters for the<br /> <br /> 1. 5 million-acre Mark Twain National Forest, Rolla’s influence extends deep into the region, producing innovative results.<br /> <br /> Recently, skilled artisans from a Rolla construction company designed a unique partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to preserve a historic mill and house on the Black River. Sixteen teams of skilled artisans and builders volunteered to rehab the property at no cost to the government, in exchange for short vacation privileges on the property.<br /> <br /> That’s innovative.Innovation comes easy in Rolla. So does economic development. Rolla’s strategic geographic location makes a perfect distribution center for retail giant Walmart.<br /> <br /> Likewise, Hypoint Industrial Park is strategically located for business, with easy highway, rail, and air access. Missouri S&T Innovation Park is a research park with a business incubator for entrepreneurs and is recognized as a cutting-edge center for science and technology, engineering and energy, and even ground-breaking cancer research. Rolla’s scientific community includes the international leaders Brewer Science, MO-Sci, and Kurion.<br /> <br /> Second Highest Starting Salaries<br /> <br /> The university cranks out graduates who have gone on to earn the second-highest starting salaries in the Midwest (out of all Midwestern universities) and third in the nation among all public universities, according to a recent survey by PayScale.Com. Forbes magazine ranks Missouri S&T first in the Midwest—and 12th in the nation—among public colleges skilled in training graduates in “getting rich.” That’s good for business, locally and worldwide.<br /> <br /> There’s a reason why American employers want these graduates. They’re smart, they’re dedicated, and their marathon study habits are legendary. Standing vigil, facing the university library, the statue of St. Patrick blesses students as they pass.<br /> <br /> But hitting the books extends beyond campus.<br /> <br /> The quest for knowledge is evident downtown, with four bookstores along a single short stretch of Pine Street. In pleasant weather, you’ll find bookshelves on the sidewalk for shoppers and diners to browse. These books, unique restaurants, and eclectic stores nearby form a sumptuous shopping stew served up by the Rolla Downtown Business Association.<br /> <br /> Throughout the community, businesses big and small gain a boost from the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce. A visit to the chamber’s Visitor Center reveals unexpected surprises. The center resides in quarters built by the WPA to house the National Forest Service; these stately, oldstone buildings have stood proudly for decades in the wooded hillsides along Route 66. Inside the Visitor Center, you’ll discover one of the world’s biggest cameras on a 12-foot track; the camera, originally used to copy maps from the U.S. Geological Survey, is wider than you can stretch your arms.<br /> <br /> Situated smack dab in the middle of the mineral-rich Ozarks, with hundreds of vigorous springs and streams, Rolla is a major Headquarters for the U.S. Geological Survey, the nation’s largest earth-science agency. If you look at an online topographical map, chances are it was generated right here in Rolla at the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center. The agency’s Missouri Water Science Center keeps close watch on the nation’s water resources, monitoring streams, springs, lakes, and aquifer systems at 207 stream–gaging stations.<br /> <br /> City On Educational Hill<br /> <br /> In Rolla, there’s a lot to learn!<br /> <br /> Although eight different universities and colleges offer classes in Rolla, most of the attention focuses on one: Missouri S&T.<br /> <br /> Missouri S&T was founded in 1870 as one of the first technological schools west of the Mississippi. Its name changed over the years, from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy to the University of Missouri-Rolla, to its current name. But one thing has remained constant: Missouri S&T maintains a worldwide reputation for academic excellence. Academic Analytics puts the school among the nation’s top 20 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) research universities.U.S. News & World Report calls Missouri S&T the sixth best bargain among public universities in its “Great Schools, Great Prices” survey. The same magazine reports America’s high-school counselors rank Missouri S&T in the top 50 best public colleges.An experimental mine at the school lets students detonate concert pyrotechnics and rock-quarry mines. Popular Science magazine awarded Missouri S&T its number one “Awesome College Lab.”<br /> <br /> Additionally, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education accredited the Rolla School District with “Distinction of Performance,” its highest rating, and Rolla High School is designated as an A+ School. As students move to the next level of education, the award-winning curriculum and instruction of Rolla Technical Institute and Rolla Technical Center help prepare them as workforce members with the skills to move the nation forward.<br /> <br /> There’s another reason Rolla public schools are top-notch: For generations, local university presidents have actively partnered with the public schools, working together for mutual benefit. The schools benefit from the proximity of a world-class university, and the university is able to lure and keep worldclass professors by being able to offer their children top-notch public education.<br /> <br /> Or they can pick a top-notch private one.<br /> <br /> The Immanuel Lutheran School offers faithbased education for students from kindergarten through 7th grade. Alternatively, St. Patrick Catholic School accepts children from preschool through 8th grade.<br /> <br /> Engineered For Growth<br /> <br /> No doubt about it: as Rolla faces its next 150 years, the community within has been engineered to expect success. Vacationers, too, can seek the treasures tucked into the Ozark Highlands. International students can discover the tools to forge a better world.And residents, old and young, can revel in a quality of life engineered for everyone.St. Patrick is smiling, watching over the spirit of this city of perfect engineering.