Volume 9, Number 11 - Spring 1988
Lake Taneycomo was the center of the Playgrounds of the Middle West 1913-31 and the new impoundment attracted a host of urban sportsmen who desired a "wilderness safari" adventure. Among those who experienced the Ozark outdoors and advertised the trip were journalists from throughout the greater Mississippi Valley. In 1914, the Branson White River Leader reported one such adventure.
A swiftly moving canoe was seen coming down the lake one day last week and as it approached the Walker Bros. dock* it was easily seen that the two occupants were not amateurs. The handsome craft was a 17 Oldtown Ideal model weighing 90 pounds. With the baggage and two occupants, it contained 700# and was apparently not in the least overloaded.
The two men would cause more than a fleeting glance being both dressed for the sport they were indulging in; they were bronzed by the many days exposure to the sun. One wiry and alert, and the other with corded muscles and the picture of good health. They were Burt J. Loewenstein, who was doing special work with the sporting magazine, and Will D. Helman, considered the best amateurphotographer in the state. Their home is in St.Louis and they are members of the Valley Park Canoe Club and Missouri Athletic Club.
Their equipment is worthy of notice because of its compactness. Their tent is of silk texture and very light. They have two air mattresses which are blown up with a bicycle pump when ready for use, and a folding table made of thin selected oak weighing only 5# which is Mr. Helmans invention. Included are folding chairs, alcohol stoves about the size of the palm of your hand which they use in cooking in the tent in bad weather, canvas buckets and canvas wash basins which are of course collapsible. The cooking outfit is nestled together and takes up a surprisingly small space when packed. They carry a large waterproof commissary box which contains their sporting goods and food stuffs. The outfit is to be found with two duffle bags which hold their personal belongings and are absolutely watertight. They also carry as a poncho the material coming from the ballon that burst while making a flight in St. Louis.
With everything favorable they will make as much as 90 miles in a day and in the evening after supper a guitar is produced and they entertain themselves with a campfire jamboree.
Of pleasing personality they talk to a reporter of the Leader for an hour and standing on Walker Bros. dock they made a pleasing reference to this enterprising boat companys equipment.
They were delighted with their trip down the James and White Rivers and said that while the James was very scenic, it was not good for canoeing, the White being much the better stream for that purpose.
At a point opposite the Shepherd of the Hills country they took a hike across country and visited the points of interest including Marvel Cave and this historical region. Previous to their trip this year they have canoed in the Merrimac, Gasconade, Big Piney, Current, Big River, Niangua, Osage, and Black Rivers, these being the canoeing streams of the state.
With their twelve years of canoeing experience covering a good part of the Ozarks, we of the Ozarks may well feel flattered from their glowing description of their very pleasant trip. After spending a few days at the Maine Club** they took the train home, but not before saying that they would return in the fall to hunt the wild turkey which are abundant in these parts.
*N Walker and Judge Walker founded the White River Boat Line in 1911 and hosted thousands of tourists until selling out in 1926 to Drury McMillan and J. A. Bennett.
**Although the Maine Club operated but two years as a sportmens hunting and fishing lodge, it is usually remembered as the foundation building of the "new" School of the Ozarks in 1915.
Copyright © White River Valley Historical Quarterly