Driving Missouri: St. Joe

I haven’t been to St. Joseph for almost 20 years. Long time ago St. Joe was the first to get a riverboat casino and it seemed like a good idea to drive for an hour and a half to gamble away my meager earnings. I haven’t been back since. Either I wasn’t that impressed or more money-wasting venues propped up nearby, whatever the reason, St. Joe just never again appeared on my list of places to visit.  Then the Pitch wrote about a new pizza place, the last weekend of nice fall weather was coming up, and suddenly it seemed like why not St. Joe.

St. Joe is famous for its Glore Psychiatric Museum.

Even with the creative use of Barbie-like dolls to illustrate a variety of the psychiatric treatments from the medieval times to well into the 20th century, the place is depressing and creepy. Parts of it makes you feel like you are walking through the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; even though it’s one of my top 5 favorite movies, I am not a person who enjoys this kind of scenery.

A small reminder of the Cold War still hangs in the basement…

…next to the hands-on morgue display.

There are other exhibits and collections presented in the museum complex, but the displays were amateurish and lacking. In the end of the tour you can drown out the disturbing thoughts while shopping for souvenirs.

Much less creepy and surprisingly interesting is the Hall Street Historic District where some great old mansions could be seen in various stages of disrepair and restoration.

The one pictured above is the Shakespeare Chateau B&B run by a friendly lady who invited us for a tour; the building looks amazing inside with an impressive 47 stained-glass windows and an amazing restoration job.

Even though there were some interesting buildings in downtown St. Joe we didn’t have much time to look for a better vantage point.

Of course I stopped to take a photo of a giant mural

…and this church sign.

At this point we were ready for pizza.

This post explains why their pizza is different from others you might have tried. Since I used to deliver for Domino’s I consider myself a bona fide pizza expert and I judged this pizza delicious. Amazingly it bakes in less than 2 minutes. The restaurant was empty on Sunday night but more customers showed up while we were there.

In the end, St. Joe turned out to be a nice weekend destination and not a depressing hellhole I always imagined it to be, which it may still be on the other days of the week. In that case go straight for the pizza.

  • Will Notb

    Who are you and what have you done with MIke?

    • Is that because I used the word amazing twice?

      • Will Notb

        Naw – more the new design; sorta gave up on the whole Russian-outta-vodka theme, huh?

        • No I haven’t changed anything in a long time. There is a mobile theme but I had this for several years as well. Sometimes it gets stuck and you see mobile on desktop.

  • David Remley

    Cool houses…. very cool…..

    • Reminded me a lot of your area.

  • Donna W

    I loved the crazy house… oh wait, psychiatric museum. I even bought the T-shirt. You didn’t go see the house where Jesse James was shot? How could you not?

  • Anna

    My family lives in St. Joe–I spend most summers growing up with my grandparents who lived on the family farm. We’d “go to town” once a week, which meant going to St. Joe. I highly recommend Cool Crest for miniature golf–it’s on the belt highway just south of Frederick Ave. 🙂

  • Frances Main

    Ok I just found your blog…yes I know I am so behind the times….but I love it! You seem to have a lot of the same interests/ mentality that I have (Oh good lord…there can’t be more of me out there?). I am cruising thru all the wonderful old KC pics…and reading the witty posts and just had to comment. Thanks for keeping this girl entertained on this snowy afternoon! 🙂

    • Thanks for the nice words. It will get even funnier when I am driving home in this mess.