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Quiet streets become crowded Aug. 14-18 for homecoming

Sunday, June 17, 2012

PUXICO, Mo. - Puxico is a quiet community 51 weeks a year, but everything changes on the second Tuesday of August. The population grows, the main streets fill with carnival rides and the aroma of world famous goatburgers fill the air. Since the Puxico Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7822 started sponsoring "Homecoming" in 1947, residents, both past and present, gather to visit with old friends and make new ones. Homecoming will begin Tuesday, Aug. 14 and run through Saturday, Aug. 18.

There will also be beauty pageants, baby contests, square dancing, music, a church service, attendance drawings, a parade, class reunions and alumni.

While Puxico, Mingo Refuge and other sites in Stoddard County can keep everyone busy, this year if you plan to attend Homecoming take time to visit the Berry-Glenn Historical Museum, located at 320 Highway 51 in Puxico. The museum, which is house in the old depot and which was made possible through the generous help of supporters and contributors, has several items on display depicting Puxico's rich history with items chronicling the railroad days and memorabilia from the founding families of the community. The Old Depot is a must-see for railroad enthusiasts. Check out the caboose housed there.

In Puxico, visitors can see the only log cabin library still in use in the continental states. Built in the 1930s by the WPA, the building is on the State Historical Register and will soon be on the National Register. The Old Depot is a must-see for railroad enthusiasts as well as the caboose housed there.

No visit to Puxico would be complete without taking a look at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, which is reminiscent of what early visitors saw. The Refuge, located off Highway 51, north of Puxico, was formed over 18,000 years ago. The 21,676-acre refuge preserves a remnant of the vast swampland which once covered most of the Bootheel and is home to various waterfowl and other migratory birds. It is the only large tract of bottomland forest left in Missouri's Bootheel. A visitor's center is open year round. Hiking, canoeing, fishing and nature study is allowed during daylight hours from March 15 through Sept. 30. Limited picnic facilities are also available. From October through March, visitors should stop by the headquarters before venturing into the refuge.

If you are planning to do a little hunting and fishing while you are back home, you'll want to visit Duck Creek Wildlife Management Area, located north of Puxico on Highway 51. The 6,190-acre area offers waterfowl hunting and some of the best bluegill and bass fishing in the state.

The outdoorsman will also want to visit Otter Slough Conservation Area, which is managed primarily for species associated with wetlands such as migratory waterfowl, mink, otter, herons, egrets and many kinds of shore birds. Open marsh areas provide natural seeds, tubers and invertebrates, all important waterfowl foods.

If it is a scene drive you crave, try The Holly Ridge Conservation Area west of Bloomfield, Mo.

If you are a history buff, you'll want to visit the Stars and Stripes Museum which is headquartered just off Highway 25. Bloomfield is the birthplace of the military newspaper. The Stoddard County Courthouse, listed on the National Historic Register, also is located in Bloomfield. Visitors can tour the building, view the war memorial on the lawn, and see the historical marker of the first county court.

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