Red Oak Inn

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Posted by Webmaster on June 29, 2007 at 18:04:00:

The Charley McDowell family built the building which now houses the Miller County Museum for the Anchor Milling Company in 1943. It was made of native field stone. According to Charles M. McDowell, Charley's son, the original McDowell in this area was John McDowell who homesteaded land where now is located the Factory Outlet Mall on highway 54 in Osage Beach, Mo. The original log cabin is still standing although it has had siding placed on it in recent years. Mr. McDowell was a farmer as was his son William Riley who had a total of thirteen children, four of whom became stone masons. Their names were Otto, Gordon, Bill, and Charley. A cousin, named Arthur McDowell also was a local stone mason. Charley may have been the McDowell who left a larger fingerprint of buildings made of stone in the area than anyone else in the early part of the last century. Most of the buildings were of sandstone but a number of them were made of field stone. In the Tuscumbia area Charley built the Anchor Milling Company Hardware store (where now is housed the Miller County Museum) on highway 52 in 1943 using native field stone (photo Anchor Milling Hardware Store). In 1951 he built a general store run by Garland and Edna Adcock just south of the river at the junction of highway 52 and 17 on property which belonged to Clyde Hawken. This building is now owned by Wes Horton who remodeled it and named it the "Red Oak Inn" (photo of Red Oak Inn). Among the houses Charley built in Camdenton was one next to the school in which lived my Uncle Lou and Aunt Lois (Pryor) Cunningham back in the thirties and forties of the last century. Charles reports that Charley never walked but ran, and so did everyone else who wanted to work for him. He always finished the jobs on time and on budget. Charles, who worked for his father, remembers the work as very hard requiring the use of hand tools to cut the stone and brawn and sweat to carry and place them. Patsy (Adcock) Wickham, daughter of Garland Adcock who ran the stone general store south of Tuscumbia, remembers Charles as a young teenager helping his dad. Patsy says Charles was as tireless a worker as his father and never seemed to need to rest. Charles later became an electrical engineer after studying at the then named Rolla School of Mines as well as the University of Michigan after which he worked in the defense industry most of his adult life.

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