First blog post: We made it, maybe.

This is my first blog I’ve ever done. I’m very excited by what could be as I continue to learn how to use this style of media. Firstly let me introduce myself, my name is Troy Peavler and together with my love Lacey Houser we form a traveling duo. We do many things together when we get the time. We love photographing abandoned places and seeing things that might be haunted and spooky. We love history and have become pretty decent amateur historians. We study everything we can find ranging from the Civil War to Civil Rights. We also love dining at deli’s, dives, and off the beaten path places. We are definitely shameless foodies. And you can guarantee you’ll find us in a graveyard or two, paying respects and enjoying the peacefulness they offer.

Thats us in the photo being nerds at the worlds shortest St. Patricks Day parade.
We started this as a way to get out and see and learn. To finally spend some time living life instead of just making a life. We’ve done so many things up to this point and posted them to facebook but with this media it now gives us a platform to be more descriptive of what we know about the things we see in our travels. I look forward to revisiting things we’d seen in past discovery and blogging about our newest findings.

We do alot of stuff in Kansas City so alot of the things posted will be from its very rich history. Pendergast, prohibition, jazz, BBQ, African-American first, women’s first and true crime. You’ll see stuff from time to time from our hometown of Lexington which is very rich in history of its own. We have plans to visit many things around the country as well. We look forward to sharing with you and hopefully for the one or two people that’ll read these things it will inspire you to go out and find your own adventures and share them with the world.

Thanks for your time, stay tuned…..

Troy Peavler

Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures


The Kansas City Dhalia?: The eerie similarity to the Black Dhalia murder right in our back yard.

Elizabeth Short, the Black Dhalia one of the oldest cold cases in Los Angeles history. Photo is a mugshot from 1943

Lacey and I stumbled across a Kansas City crime book and in it, it had a case that instantly gave us chills. After 76 years it remains unsolved and is perhaps the most grisly non-organized crime cold case in Kansas City’s history. The details are so grizzly it could give one nightmares for weeks. Lacey and I drove by the house where the crime happened. It’s currently a private residence so we didn’t get ultra close. I gotta wonder if it’s current residents are aware of the house’s history they live in. This is the story of Leila Welsh. Victim of one of the world’s most grizzly murders at a time when murder was still bizarre so it was national news. We drove by the crime scene and paid our respects at her final resting place.

Leila Welsh, Kansas Citian that was brutally murdered in 1941 at age 24. Photo courtesy of Kansas City Crime Central

On March 9, 1941 one of the most bizarre crimes Kansas City had ever seen unfolded. A crime so extreme in nature even by today’s excessive murders sticks out among the most gruesome. The victim, Leila Welsh was only 24 at the time of her violent end. As she went into her bedroom to go to sleep someone either snuck in, or was waiting hidden in her bedroom. Her throat was slashed from ear to ear, her skull bashed in, sliced a circle of flesh from her buttock and carved either a G or S on her leg. A heavy duty hammer was found on the floor by her bed and a knife stuck in the ground outside her bedroom window. No sign of sexual assault or missing valuables and the flesh piece found in the back yard. 

Picture of the home with an arrow pointing at Leila’s window. Photo courtesy of Kansas City Crime Central

Leila grew up the youngest of four children on a farm in Lee’s Summit purchased by her Grandfather James B. Welsh who collected wealth through real estate in Kansas City. The youngest child of George W. and Marie Fleming Welsh. The oldest child passed at 11 months of age, Mary Frances born next, the George Jr., then Leila. Mary Frances married an Army Officer in 1938 and moved away. With George Sr. left paralyzed on his left side he remained on the farm while Marie, George, and Leila moved to Kansas City to shorten the commute since Leila was a UMKC student and George Jr. worked at a real estate company. Upon graduating Leila moved Knoxville, Illinois working as a teacher. There she dated a man named Gabby Boynton who intended to marry her. After a while Leila broke off the relationship and moved back to Kansas City with her mother and brother at 6109 Rockhill Road. Just weeks before her death the trio drove to Scott Field in Illinois to visit sister Mary Frances. For an unknown reason George and Leila visted Gabby as well.

George Jr. was a frequent flier in the nightclub scene and was always loose with his money. He had apparently wrote checks at Dierks Tavern that was never cashed by the owner. He often borrowed money from Leila for various cash schemes. They were very close siblings so at the time of her death there was no way he was involved……..or was he. Things start to get weird from here.

The night of her death she had a date with Richard Funk, who she had been out with off and on several times. That night they attended the police circus at Municipal Auditorium. They started home around 10:30 but decided to have a drink in the Tropic Room in the Hotel Phillips. After talking and kissing goodnight around 1 A.M. Leila went inside. George Jr. layer asleep on a satin davenport in the living room. Leila knocked on her mother’s bedroom door and asked if she’d wake her at 9 A.M. so she could go to church. Leila entered her room and closed her bedroom door. 

What happened next will never be known really since there was only Leila and the person that committed the murder. The question is was there someone waiting in the room? Did someone come through the window while Leila slept? Did someone come through her bedroom door? At 7 A.M. George and their mother ate breakfast. George left afterwards to go show a couple of real estate listings. Leila’s mother knocked on the door, pushed it open and felt some resistance. She then realized there was a chair propped against the door. The windows where open on a frosty March morning. She said a few words to Leila shutting the first window and turned around. The sheet was pull up to Leila’s face. She noticed blood and the slashed throat upon pulling the sheet back. Marie ran over to the neighbors and called a doctor and the police. Around 945 the police found here throat slashed ear to ear almost beheading Leila. Here skull was bashed in. Next to the bed lay a hammer covered in blood, mud, and leaves. The blood had soaked through the first floor and into the basement bloody footprints everywhere. Just outside the window was a bloody butcher knife and rags stuck in the ground. A few hundred feet was the circle cut from her buttock, and a few hundred feet more were bloody cotton gloves.

 The house as it sat fall of 2016 with residents living there. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Police quickly realized George Jr was not around. They searched for all of his listings in the Star so they’d know where to look. Around 11 A.M. George Jr. had heard the news and quickly came home. They got in a car and went to Marie’s brothers house where he was told what had happened. George who was asleep close to where the murder happened was immediately questioned as a suspect. He passed multiple lie detector test. Gabby Boynton was also questioned and turned over all his letters from Leila. As the Pendergast power era was coming to an end, Lear Reed was chose by the reform to come in and investigate. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department headed by Granvilla Richart was still under Pendergast allies looking to regain the trust of the people. So both raced to solve the case. Both strongly believed it was George Jr. but had yet to file charges. 

George Welsh Jr. at his trial for the murder of Leila Welsh. Photo by Kansas City Crime Central 

Fall of 1941 George quit his job at City Mortgage and moved to California. They did intercept some correspondence from George to Richard Funk (her last boyfriend) but it was simply about social matters in Kansas City. A grand jury finally decided to pursue the charges on George Welsh Jr. They sent an investigation team to California where they found George packing to come back to see his mom for the holidays at her new home. He eventually moved back with her for a short time. Two years after her death George stood trial for her death. But competing law enforcement agencies could never get a presentation worthy case together. After a few weeks on trial George was found not guilty.

George Welsh melted into obscurity moving about the country. But a few things aren’t well known that connect  Leila to Elizabeth Short. Both George, and a man named Carl Balsiger(who went to school with Leila) were at some point on the suspect list of the Black Dhalia Murder. Also of note was similarity of the victims. And similarly both cases remain cold with no real leads coming in for over 60 years. Perhaps George was involved because he got away with his sisters murder. And if he was involved in Elizabeth Shorts murder, did he quit because it got too high profile? Or did he switch his MO and murder some more? The truth…….remains unknown…..

Leila Welsh is buried with her parents and infant brother in a cemetery in Carrollton, MO. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

George Welsh Jr insisted upon his death his body be anonymously donated to science. For undisclosed reason they were to specifically look at his brain. Leila was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery with multiple generations of her family minus George Jr. and his mysterious brain he didn’t want dug up and her older sister who rest with her husband in another cemetery. The family plots are easy to locate. 

But the question still remains to us here in Kansas City, what happened to Leila Welsh after she shut her bedroom door? And who was the killer on that tragic night?
Thank you so much for reading!

Travel with passion, travel with gusto 

Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Will blog for food, just kidding: An honest blog about blogging 

Seems like we’ve disappeared but we are still here. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

For those of you that follow us on Facebook or here on our blog you are probably wondering where we’ve been. Or some of you might be thinking good they are gone, peace and quiet. Despite our appearance on milk cartons around the local area I assure you we are still here. We’ve just had about a six week stretch where time is at a premium. Work, the kiddos, sometimes Lacey’s health, life’s curveball, and so many other things have kept us from exploration. We have started mixing in the kids to some of our exploration trips. We took them to the Truman Buck day experience and to the Battle of Lone Jack site. They have now stepped foot on three Civil War Battlefields. While we hope to include them more in the future we also realize we are past due to get back to what we do best.

The kids goofing off at the Battle of Lone Jack Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Over the last year we’ve developed a love for things made locally, especially Beer, Coffee, and Spirits. We hope to continue pursuing those interest to go along with all our normal stuff like chasing ghost of gangsters, seances in cemeteries, being shameless foodies, fine street art critics, history buffs, and admirers of fine architecture. We have a blog coming up that will parallel the Black Dhalia murder and a local woman who rest not far from our hometown. We hope to start getting our food blogs and random, or randomly odd experiences up more often to fill the gaps of our history blogs. We love doing the history research but it takes a great deal of time to piece everything together. So we will soon resume chasing Pendergast and eating BBQ all over the area as we have a multi blog planned for it and it’s history. 

We loved the very informative tour of the J. Rieger and Co. Distillery in the East Bottoms of KCMO. photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

I was told awhile back to find something I enjoy and really pursue it. Well these things Lacey and I do has become a real passion of ours. We enjoy a good drawn out plan to know where we are going but we are at our best when we just get in the van and drive until something interesting is in our vision. Some of our destinations have been in what many consider sketchy parts of town. We’ve discovered that as long as we mind our own business no one ever bothers us. We always tend to find a good watering hole to have a drink nearly everywhere we go. Our history stuff will still get blogged but to fill the gaps we will try to blog some fun stuff more often. The travel is the easy part, the blog is a little more difficult since we run it and our Facebook page off of our smartphones. I know we are high tech as hell! 

A looooooooong day at Worlds of Fun with family. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

We hope you stay with us on our journey! We have alot of stuff coming up and can hopefully show you great places to eat, places to chase ghost, places with surprises, and some high quality booze. If you are interested in your own travels, I’d highly recommend Kansas City. There are some amazing things to see and some awesome places to hang out. Lots of locally crafted products from booze, coffee, bbq products, and so many other great things. The food scene is incredible, the mob history notorious, and the haunts are glorious. Something for everyone and all it takes to find it is just do a little digging. Trust us it’s worth it! Hang in there with us because we have alot in the pipeline!

Thanks for your time,

Travel with passion, travel with gusto 

And eat with adventurous eyes

Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Stull Cemetery: A walk around one of the Seven Gateways to Hell

Stull Cemetery before the church and witch tree were torn down. Probably circa 2004 or around there. Photo credit is unknown 

Every once in a while you read something that sounds completely crazy. Then you realize it’s not too far way and you naturally gotta see it for yourselves. We read about this legend and I told Lacey there is no way we can call ourselves fans of all things spooky if we don’t make this pilgrimage. So we loaded up and hit the back roads of Kansas to chat with the devil. It’s become known that trespassers have been arrested as “keep out” and “do not enter” are posted all over the fence around it. The gate however was open so we went in…………..

Red and yellow signs line the fence around Stull Cemetery. I’d say this is to keep thrill seekers out after dark. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

So I guess I’d better give the details of why the place is so infamous. Grandparents would tell stories of satanic practices on the hill of the cemetery. It is believed that since around 1850 the devil himself has been coming up a staircase within an old church to hold court with his followers practicing in the church. Legend speaks of a stable keeper stabbing a mayor to death in a barn that would later convert into the church. Problem is Stull, KS says they have never had a mayor in its history. Also there is mention of witchcraft and cult gatherings. It is said that the Devil comes to the Cemetery every Halloween and every spring Equinox to visit the witch…….
The witch is said to have been hung by a tree that was near the church. This witch was thought to have birthed the Devils child who only lived for a few days. The remains of the boy and the witch is supposedly buried there. Names and actual plots are apparently unknown. Lacey and I did find a grave bearing the last name Wittich. I can say that this particular area of Kansas does look like it could have a history in witchcraft, or at least have citizens who go on a witch hunt and burn suspects at the stake. The really odd part is that the citizens are mostly ancestor to its original citizens that established the territory. Either they know things and are keeping town secrets or there is nothing to any of this.

The famous Wittich headstone. Her age at death would indicate she wasn’t hung in a tree for witchcraft but it’s not impossible photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

It would appear the hype really hit all time highs in the 70’s and 80’s when a writer at Kansas University found a bunch of people telling different stories they’d heard and personally experienced. Add a story ran by Life Magazine stating that the Pope wouldn’t fly over Stull (which everyone denies) anytime he’s in the states and you’ve opened the door to chaos. Every Halloween the cemetery would be full of drunken ghost hunters wanting to crash the Devils party. Locals had finally had enough over the years and law enforcement started really cracking down. 

That led to people sneaking inside just to stand in the old church and drink beer (which now had no roof) or make out with their lovers under the old witch hanging tree. It was claimed that despite not having a roof when it rained in Stull the inside of the roofless church remained dry and rain free. When laying by the witch hanging tree one man claimed something grabbed his arm. Reports also came in of a wolf looking little boy with glowing eyes watching people from behind a tree. If you look online you can find a ton of great stories about the place.

Lacey and I located the foundation of the old church which was demolished into rubble. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

One day the church which sat vacant since 1922 was mysteriously torn down. That brought all of the demon hunters out of the woodwork with speculation. Come to find out it wasn’t demolished to cover the stairway to hell, but instead one of the owners feared getting sued when it collapsed. The old witch hanging tree was removed and immediately burned before anyone could know or collect a piece as a souvenir. Why would a town work so hard at taking extreme measure to rid of its two most notorious landmarks? Why wouldn’t they let sanctioned visits to the Cemetery to prove nothing is going on?

Random grave marker with no identification. Could this be the grave of the Devil’s child? Is this where the witch is buried? Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

We went all around Stull Cemetery, we noticed that no matter how old the graves were or how long ago the buried were dead they had incredibly nice well taken care of headstones. And lots of flowers everywhere. They had a flag flying proudly. The pieces that remain from the old church still remain at the top of the hill. We picked up a small piece as a souvenir to go with the rest of our famous sites collection. (So if we mysteriously disappear or become the Amityville story, I guess that answers our question!) We seen a really nice well preserved cemetery that must have a great caretaker. This isn’t the run down, everything is dead place that I envisioned it would be. 

One of the more famous piles of rubble in the entire country. The stairway to hell supposedly sits under that pile. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

So my question is why go to great lengths to dispose of the church and immediately remove the tree and take it off site to burn so that that no one can have a piece of the tree? They repeatedly deny the idea of the witch, the devil, and the child of Satan. In a community of 20 people that has a church and like two houses currently something doesn’t add up. What are they hiding? Could be they have a weird cult there and just protecting the past and their ancestors. Perhaps they currently still practice there. Maybe they’ve made some sort of deal with the devil and part of the deal included protecting his son. Perhaps they killed the witch in some sort of ceremony to give her eternal life with the devil. I got a feeling we aren’t totally finished in Stull, Kansas. Being the weirdos we are I think there is more to see in that town of twenty. Who knows…………maybe a night visit is in our future………    

PS……..if you have stories of Stull Cemetery, please share with us.

Thanks for reading!

Travel with passion, travel with gusto 

Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Whiskey shots in the East Bottoms, a summons to the devil, and a romantic dinner with a lake view: Daycation #1

Just a fraction of the whiskey barrels stored at J. Rieger Distillery Co. in Kansas City. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

We stepped out of the front door with a definite morning plan, then very loose afternoon plans. So we made the 40 mile drive to J. Rieger and Co. for a morning tour. Besides being interested in a company that has been in Kansas City since 1887, we are interested in the East Bottoms and Heim Brothers brewing. The Heim Brothers were responsible for the area’s first electric powered park, Electric Park. Electric Park was Walt Disney’s primary influence when he first began the Disneyland concept.(I will detail the East Bottoms in the future) So touring a business that is in one of the last remaining pieces of the Heim Brewing empire I had to book this tour to get inside.

Once the tour began we were greeted by the owners who give a detailed, top notch account of their path to get the company off the ground. (If you are interested in bourbon and spirits I’d recommend this tour. I believe they will start them back up in the fall. I was able to get a killer photo of the inside of Heim’s old bottling building. After the very informative tour, they have a table set set up with plastic shotglasses. For the sampling was their KC Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, and Cafe Amaro. Lacey and I both grabbed a Cafe Amaro, then I of course grabbed the whiskey and she grabbed a vodka. The Cafe Amaro will make a great additive to whatever cocktail ideas we can come up with so we brought a bottle home. She said the Vodka was pretty smooth. That KC Whiskey though was magic, very complex flavor with a punch. But not that punch that whiskey made by backwoods hillbillies make in old tractor gas tanks. This punch made me have a whiskey grin! Whiskey for breakfast? You betcha. We are on Daycation afterall so it’s acceptable.

Happy Gillis was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Season 10, Episode 1. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

We wanted to have lunch at a quirky little joint we’d had once before called the Happy Gillis Cafe and hangout. You walk up to the building and it has perhaps one of the coolest entrances of any Sundry in KC. I love the tasty sandwiches and Lacey loves the salads. It’s all locally sourced produce and breads they use in their food. This place deserves a foodies blog from us and I will give it one tomorrow. But in short of it, if you are like us and think your dining should be an experience then this one is in that category.

Holy Rosary Parish, home to several “big” funerals in the Little Italy area in Kansas City, most notable, mob boss John Lazia. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

After lunch we made a flurry of stops including the Holy Rosary Parish, home of some notorious wise guy funerals, a stop in the new Roasterie Cafe at 1828 Walnut, and an attempted meeting at Boss Tom’s headquarters. Seems every time we try and talk to the Boss he’s not in. Oh well, moving on. We needed excitement so we head to Kansas in search of Stull Cemetery. So back roads in Kansas we go!! Unlike the usual trips through Kansas where we get hills, prairies, and tumbleweeds with FedEx trucks pulling 98 trailers piggy back style this one offers abandoned buildings, beat up cars, dead farm equipment, and very sketchy properties. 

Stull Cemetery in Stull, Kansas. Tabbed as one of the Seven Gateways to Hell. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

We arrived at the Stull Cemetery around 230ish. The Legend of the Stull Cemetery has been documented quite a bit. It was featured in an episode of Supernatural, a few direct to video films, and had a nice little write up in the Weird U.S. book. Legend has it that it is one of Seven Gateways to Hell and that the Devil shows up there twice a year. Halloween and then again during the Spring Equinox. There are signs galore that say no trespassing and to keep out but the gate is open. My guess is it’s to keep people out of there at night that are seeking thrills. We walked the grounds and didn’t notice anything outside of a beautiful cemetery. We found the rubble of the old church building where legend says the mysterious entry to hell was. A staircase that lead straight down, those that entered never returned. Later today I will get my blog up about this cemetery it’s history and legend and exactly what we seen while there.

Constitution Hall in Lecompton, KS. built in 1856. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures

Lecompton, KS was the Territorial capital of Kansas from 1855 to 1861. Those familiar with Bleeding Kansas and the John Brown crusade probably already know of this place. Lots of incredible history happened within those walls of Constitution Hall. The town has done a great job preserving what it could of its past as the Constitution Hall, Democratic Headquarters, and formerly Lane University still stand. Lane University was the place where former 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s parents met and eventually married in the Chapel in 1885. Anyone interested in seeing one of the places the real fight began pre Civil War should travel to Lecompton,Kansas the “birthplace of the Civil War” 

Formerly Lane University where President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s parents met and later married in. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Where do you go after having whiskey for breakfast, tracing mobster footsteps, searching for the devil, and finding the birthplace of the Civil War? Well it is Daycation so honestly I think we need to relax by a nice waterfront. But then we realized we were in Kansas so there was no chance of that. Or was there……………..upon leaving Lecompton and driving around we found a town called Perry, KS. In my mind it looked like small town USA, maybe a few hundred people and if really lucky there might be a full one thousand people. Boy was I wrong, we see a sign that says Perry Lake so we follow it expecting a large fishing pond. Once we got there we couldn’t believe what we seen!!! A rather large boat docking and storage area, so that means giant ass body of water!! Is it possible we could be lucky enough to have stumbled into paradise? In Kansas?

Perry Lake in Kansas took us by surprise! What a beautiful little place. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Upon driving past the boat docks we find a good place to park to take some photos real quick before heading to Topeka to find dinner. Well once we stepped outside I hear cat calls, and wooooooos, music, and what sounded like a great time. Then we see a sign that says Hookers N Reelers bar and grill. I ask Lacey if she wants to grab a drink and ponder life while taking in the views from the patio we soon spotted. We walk inside and realize they serve legit food, well screw Topeka, I think we are eating here!!! We order our drinks and decide to eat inside. 

After dinner we drank a beer on the patio overlooking Perry Lake. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

We take a table that allows us to look outside and see the lake. Sitting inside I swear it feels like we are far from home in some small little paradise! We make our orders, I got steak tacos and Lacey got loaded fries topped with steak. I’ll be quick to admit both items were really good!! My tacos were steak, onion, pico, and salsa with cilantro on top. Normally I go full assault mode, fried cheesy meat goodness, and Lacey goes for healthier.  For whatever reason we went opposite of each other this time around. She got some loaded fries that had steak, bacon, queso, and shredded cheese. They were heavenly which comes in handy after looking to stick our heads in the fires of hell at Stull Cemetery!! 

While sitting inside we laughed because there were alot of really cute girls working there, wearing shorts and tank tops and each time they walked by I would stare, not at them……..but the plates they were walking by with! That’s right, not ashamed to admit I was staring at plates of food. I couldn’t help it, it’s what chubby fellas like myself do!! I was like look how big that sandwich is! Do you see that steak? Holy hell is that cheese and bacon on that? I was like a puppy whose owner is unknowingly walking back and forth with the toy they so desperately want. We got a good laugh from it.

Sitting on the rocks after a long day of Daycation. Took some time to enjoy the views all around before heading back to real life. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

After dinner we stepped out onto the patio, and had our drinks. We held hands and enjoyed the beautiful backdrop. We watched some drunken goon in his speedboat and just really took a moment. It was a much needed slowdown that we needed in our busy lives. I would highly recommend a Daycation for anyone I know. It doesn’t have to be these crazy plans, just find somewhere your kids can go and you take your better halves out. Make your own adventures! Some of our best days we’ve just got on the road and drove until we found something interesting. That reconnection time with your partner is always welcoming! Nothing beats singing to retro music, laughing, having a drink in strange locations and just getting lost in each others company. Daycation number one is in the books for us, we’d done this sort of thing many times before but before Saturday never labeled it as a Daycation.

Hopefully I see and hear about your upcoming Daycations. If you have any questions about anywhere we visit then please feel free to ask. If you’ve been somewhere you think we’d love then please let us know!

Thank you for your time in reading this! 

Travel with passion, travel with gusto!

……and of course eat with adventurous eyes!

Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Harvey’s at Union Station: Lunch with a past

Harvey’s at Union Station has a classy but simple menu. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

We always try to find new places to eat when we are out on our adventures. Lacey has always been the more adventurous one when it comes to our meals. I’m a simpleton, I like meat, bread, cheese, and potatoes and she likes…..well nearly everything. She likes color and complex taste, textures, and aromas. I have since we’ve been doing the #shamelessfoodies restaurant tour branched out a bit from my norm and will from time to time sample things I would normally never touch. This is our first of hopefully many on our blog about restaurants. So today we start with Harvey’s in Union Station.

Harvey’s sits at the front entrance of Union Station in Kansas City. Photo credit is unknown

One of our favorite places in all of Kansas City is Union Station. Without a doubt one of the grandest structures the city offers. We thought it’d be a great day to go and have lunch at Harvey’s for the first time. I’m not sure when it opened for sure but do know it was added as part of the revitalization of Union Station (that was in danger of being torn down pre-1996). Robert Altman used it as a prime filming location for his 1996 film Kansas City which was about the gangster and blues era in KC around the 1930’s a time when the city was wide open. (More on that film and it’s locations in the future)

Harvey’s I would assume is named after Fred Harvey, famed restaurant pioneer that lived in Leavenworth, Kansas. He’s known by many as the father of the fast casual diner and later fast food movement. With most of his locations in train stations. He has a wonderful exhibit in Union Station on the second floor. If you hadn’t seen the exhibit we highly recommend it! Lots of history on the building, railroads, and Mr. Harvey. It’ll definitely add to your experience after lunch. 

The French Dip steak sandwich with fries. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Chicken Salad Sandwich with house salad. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

We looked over the menu for a few minutes, my order was easy as I stuck to my basics on this day……meat, bread, cheese, and potato. So I ordered the Harvey’s french dip and fries. Lacey debated quite a few items before settling into a half chicken salad sandwich with a house salad. We chatted for a bit, looked around at all of the beautiful accents, the incredible ceilings, and just really enjoyed the steady noise of people chatting, walking, and looking around. Sometimes like when you are in a shopping mall that sound can really grate on you! But in this case sitting at a table on the second floor, I found it somewhat relaxing. Of course I gushed to Lacey about my love for the building and the history it’s had. Then out comes our food……..so enough romanticism about the place!!! Time to eat!!!!!

I’m the kind of guy who eats the side items first and then the main entree. So I eat the fries which were fried nearly the way I like them. They were peppery and salty. Then I spread the horseradish mixture onto my sandwich, dip it into my Au jus and take a bite…………fireworks went off around us, a marching band played a show tune, and doves flew up from our table! Seriously! Ok so maybe that’s what I felt even if no one else had seen it. I had Lacey try a bite which is customary for us and she liked it too but I don’t think she seen what I seen when I tasted it. She worked her salad with a surgeon’s focus. She ate her sandwich and pondered the meaning of life with each bite. (After all, when you are in flavor town population you, bro your brain is assaulted with stimulus)

The Chocolate Peanut Butter pie. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

We were feeling so spirited after lunch we did something we never do, we ordered dessert! A woman in white gloves fainted, a kid dropped his ice cream, and a hipster drinking coffee took off his shades to see if we were serious. We ordered the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie and waited. Then came out a piece the size of a Buick Skylark with fudge drizzled on the plate!!! We panicked and started sweating…….it’s too much pie!! We grabbed our pitchforks and dug in………a man in the balcony started singing opera music as a Symphony of waves crashed our taste buds. I have no idea where this heaven on earth was made but they have a gift. They are the food of the gods!!!! 

The prices weren’t bad honestly and that view inside is an experience everyone should have. If you have had the experience, have it again. I look forward to making a return and trying something different and maybe bring help in case that pie comes back! 
Thank you for your time!

Travel with passion, travel with gusto

and eat with wide eyes,

Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Green Duck Lounge: Brews, Civil Rights, and Murder

The Green Duck Lounge as it sits today at 26th and Prospect. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Perhaps you’ve driven by this place before and didn’t even realize it. Also a good chance many have not as it’s in the “sketchy” part of town after all. We’d driven by it ourselves probably a hundred times in the last year and fully knew what it was but wasn’t ready to face it’s demons. You see, this location has become part menace, part legend. It has been home to one of Kansas City’s great Civil Rights leaders, home to multiple homicides, drug deals spun wrong, and bad luck to its owners. All the while being fought for to preserve because of its importance to local African-American history.

Leon Jordan, member of the first African-American political club in Kansas City. Photo credit unknown

Early history on the place is not well known except that it opened for business in the 1940’s. Leon Jordan, (who will get his own feature in the future from us) purchased the Green Duck in the middle 50’s. In 1962 Jordan and Bruce R. Watkins formed Freedom, Inc. an organization that advocated political awareness amongst African-Americans in Kansas City. The headquarters for Freedom Inc. was next door to the Green Duck allowing Jordan to keep an eye on his business while running his political organization. Among the many Freedom Inc. achievements one of their most notable actions was desegregation to all public facilities in Kansas City.

The Green Duck in 1970 after the assassination of Leon Jordan. Also seen in this photo is the location of Freedom Inc. Photo credit is unknown 

After three terms in the Missouri House of Representatives, Leon Jordan was compaigning for a fourth term. That all came to end at around 1 a.m. on July 15, 1970. Jordan was leaving his business for the night and was a few feet away from his car when a late 60’s Pontiac came up beside him and fired a shotgun blast to his leg. While laying on the sidewalk the shooter jumped out and fired two more shots. Both point blank to the chest and groin areas. As the getaway car sped up 26th and disappeared they must’ve made a quick stop at 24th and Garfield and pitched the weapon (later recovered) and ditched the car at 23rd and Highland. The reason for the murder was not really known although many theories existed.

At the time the shooters were thought to be members of the Black Mafia. The recovered weapon was traced back to a robbery in 1965 that occurred in Independence. So police involvement was certainly an idea. It was also wondered if it wasn’t racially motivated and they were unsure if it was politically motivated. During the writing of a book by the Kansas City Star they turned up new evidence that tied it to a possible mob hit. I will go into greater details on this in the future. From there……..the Green Duck became even more infamous.

Leon Jordan Memorial Park at 31st and Benton in Kansas City. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

After years of functionality as a basic watering hole, it was bought from foreclosure in the late 80’s by Jimmy Townsend. Townsend was a pillar in the African-American community and previous owner of Jimmy’s and Dee’s Steakhouse on 29th and Prospect. He would spend years renovating to Green Duck. Problem wasn’t the way it looked inside however but instead what trouble was inside. Underage drinking, gang fights, turf war, drug deals, and difference of opinion made it a sketchy place. After multiple homicides inside and one busted drug deal inside by an undercover the Green Duck was shut down by Kansas City for 6 months in 2011 as a public nuisance. It was reopened in 2012 after agreeing to several stipulations. 

Knowing the things this building has seen in its storied past you can’t help but feel a little uneasy standing out front. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

The African-American community fought hard in September 2015 to protect this historical location since it was a big piece of their Civil Rights past. Their hardwork paid off because they were able to get it onto the cities register of historic places. Unfortunately on December 20, 2015 Jimmy Townsend’s body was found gunned down behind his house in the 2900 block of Prospect. It wasn’t known when his shooting death occurred but you can’t help but think it was the curse of the Green Duck that got him. Townsend was 83 at the time of his death.

James Townsend, second Green Duck owner to be gunned down violently Photo taken from KCTV5

Today it remains unknown what will become of the infamously historic Green Duck Lounge. It’s curse scares some off, it’s history attracts others. But location is everything and based on where it sits it’s hard to ever know if we see it up and running again. Currently the building sits unoccupied and lonely. It’s pretty quiet or at least the day we were standing around it. If you are like us and really into history, and true crime locations then this is one of the best in the city. I personally hope it opens up someday because I’d love to go in and have a brew and maybe talk to its next owner about long forgotten history in the area. Time will tell, I see no immediate danger of losing the building because it’s still seems structurally sound.

The Green Duck Grill which was the food side. One local has told me in the past you’d get the best Ox tail dinner in all of Kansas City here. This was also where Freedom Inc. was housed when Leon Jordan owned the place. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Travel with passion, travel with gusto!

Thanks for your time, see you soon.

Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures 

Mittieville Peckerwood Club: The only place I’d want to have a meeting with the mob

Mittieville Peckerwood Club during apparent better days. Photo by Christopher McKenzie

New stories of organized crime activities in Kansas City come out all the time. I’m always amazed at how far their reach is from the regions where each racket made the majority of their money. You surely never thought there would be stories of mobsters in Ray County, and I would’ve never thought we had one here in Lexington. But due to the mob’s history with riverboat gambling and us being on the Missouri River I guess I perhaps should have known.

Gravesite of the original owners Birdie May and Otto Mittie. It can be found at Machpelah Cemetery in Lexington, MO. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures

Finding information on anything in the Lexington area proves to be quite tough. We are in a spot where all the great story tellers are not in public very often or have since deceased. Finding information on the Peckerwood Club has proved very tough. But it’s name appears more than once in various articles, message boards, and other literature when talking about organized crime in Kansas City. Seems there were two big spots not far from one another that were hotbeds for members of the crime family. Pryor Lodge (hope to get some things up on this in the future) in Ray County and Mittieville Peckerwood Club off of Hwy. 224 between Lexington and Wellington.

The original sign today sits inside the Spotted Pig Bar and Grill on Franklin Ave. in Lexington, MO. Photo by Al McCormick

Everyone always thinks that mobsters had full blown gangland style wars on each other non-stop. That is simply not the truth. The differences between a mobster and a gangster were pretty clear. Gangsters traditionally robbed banks and various businesses taking the cash and going on the run. Mobsters had rackets, and territory that housed each racket. Usually gambling dens, prostitution, and bootlegging. Gangsters had zero rules and proved to be the most dangerous public enemies. Examples would be Bonnie and Clyde or John Dillinger. They would open fire in a crowd and didn’t care as long as they got out with the money. Mobsters on the other hand had rules and personal codes they lived by for instance they’d traditionally meet up before moving in on another’s territory and they’d never “rat” each other out to law enforcement. Even if the other person was their greatest enemy. The majority of their kills included some planning.

Where does the Peckerwood Club come in to play here? Well it was considered a mob safe place. It was a place where rivals could meet and discuss business without fear of being killed. They would meet up and have dinner and drinks, discuss business, negotiate terms, even discuss “the need for removal of certain wiseguys”. More impressive is the rule was upheld as there was never any incident around the county of note. I’ve also heard mention of Harry S. Truman visiting Pryor Lodge on political business with Tom Pendergast throwing lavish parties that would be a mix of Democratic Club members including Judges, Alderman, and a Senator or two mixed with the occasional mobsters. When it came time for the food spread it would be a catfish spread courtesy of the Mittieville Peckerwood Club.

Still the amazing part to me is that the place was used as a spot for safe business. If you were summoned to Mittieville by someone you knew to be of a dangerous type of cat you could almost guarantee to your wife and kids you would return. Of course I’d imagine it was chose as the meeting hot spot because it was built into the hill so even as busy as 224 once was you were able to keep an eye on the front with no big need to watch the rear. Rumors always swirl about any sort of celebrities that may have visited in its hey day. I think it’s fair to think maybe Sam Walton had been there, perhaps Harry Truman in his days as a judge, and surely Tom Pendergast, filmmaker Robert Altman, and the who’s who of organized crime.

The building today sits in very bad shape. I know many in the area of a certain age have great memories of what once was. I was fortunate enough to have had ate there a time or two as a child and also in my teen years for an employee holiday party where table top Pac-Man reigned king that night. If you wish to take a trip to a place little known(but majorly historic), I’d take a look at what remains of Mittieville. Who knows how much longer it has on this earth and with old mobster locations becoming a thing of interest it may be worth checking out. Think of all the possible scenarios discussed inside. Read of all the old crime stories tied to organized crime in Kansas City. There’s a good chance it was discussed here over fried catfish and a 3.2 beer(or secret mixed drink).

Hopefully someone will someday come in and rescue her if it’s not too late……….

The site as she sits today, slowly deteriorating with the windows busted out. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures

Is that the image of Birdie May looking out the front door? It startled me when we first walked up to it. Photo by Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures

If you have any memories you’d like to share about Mittieville Peckerwood Club please share in the comments!!!! We’d love to hear them!

Travel with passion, travel with gusto

Thanks for your time,

Lacey and Troy’s Weird Adventures