I was hoping to work more with site content this weekend, but ended up spending a lot of time working on the about page and the overall site layout. I’m not too upset because I was planning on doing this later, so I guess I just switched around my schedule. I decided to put the main navigation tool on the right sidebar of all of the main pages. This way visitors will select the main header tag, read the intro page, then select where they want to go after that. Will probably do the same on all of the subpages as well to help facilitate navigation. I think I will make the side bar pretty thin for aesthetic purposes, will see what Kodey thinks. I feel like there is too much empty space at the tip-right corner of the page though, will see what Kodey thinks about filling that in. I have the intro page for the tourist section done and may go ahead and do the intro page for the crisis page. I really should work on other homework now, but this is a lot more fun. Dr. Own and Dr. Mathews, you’re probably going to be scapegoats for my other history class tomorrow.
Alright, just decided to get rid of the “Story of the Secession” page. Instead inserted text underneath the three columns on the home page welcoming the visitor and encouraging them to click on the first two photos, which will link them to the story map and timeline, before they begin exploring the rest of the website. Unfortunately, this will make the storymap and timeline inaccessible from elsewhere on the website. What do you guys think? Will that be a problem?
Just spent a couple hours cleaning up the “About the Project” page. Wanted to give visitors a sense of our “thesis,” but to also include the acknowledgements on this page. I am thinking about adding the COPLAC logo or maybe pictures of maybe pictures of Lynn Tatum or Dr. Owen and Dr. Mathew. Not trying to get brownie points, just want to break up the wall of text. What do you guys think? Also got my section of the “About Us” subpage finished. Most importantly though, I got a link to the McDonald County Historical Society website on the footer of all of the pages. This took a long time to figure out the “coding” for. May work on organizing the front page now. Just wanted to get some thoughts on how to improve the “About the Project” page.
Monday turned out to be a great experience. Lynn Tatum showed me around the Historical Society’s museum, which was honestly of higher quality than some professional museums I have visited. While there she gave me what books and publications the museum keeps on hand on the county’s history and the secessionist movement. I then had the opportunity to go to the library and Lynn gave the documents that the Society keeps on the movement. It was very useful, but unfortunately a lot of it in the form of the articles compiled by Rose Hansen, who did some research on the movement. I was still able to access the primary sources that she used as well as the memories of some people who experienced the movement first hand. I was also able to go through the microfilms of county newspapers and found some stories on the movement that no one else has seemed to use. Most other researchers have focused on national St.Louis/KC papers. Although the sources came in a form that I wasn’t totally expecting, they did give me a lot of knowledge and insight into what was going on at the local level. Hopefully Kodey finds some really useful stuff from the state archives.
I also did not make the trip to Noel to take pictures of surviving resorts and motels. The weather was awful that day and according to Lynn most of them are not longer standing. However, she did give me the name of the current owner of the Ginger Blue Inn, the successor of the Ginger Blue Resort from the 60’s. I have tried to get into contact with her. If that doesn’t work, she has published a book on the resort. No I just need to send this info Kodey’s way so we can start analyzing it.
Lynn wasn’t lying when she said that it would be next to impossible to find anyone willing to talk about the secessionist movement. It seems like the groups calling for secession wasn’t quite the majority and that their ranks have fallen as the next century rolled around. That being said, there are a couple of written family descriptions of the event that have been spread around by the children of the leaders of the movement and I hope to ask around for them tomorrow. Also, I have found official, albeit fuzzy, descriptions of the locations of a few of the larger “resorts” from the time period. Hopefully I can find their remains tomorrow on my way to or from visiting the archives. I will also be sure to ask for contemporary descriptions of them or documents straight from them. Lynn has been very helpful, but it seems like there just isn’t much left over from the time period, in terms of both oral and written history. That being said, I am functioning on the assumption that this is more a case of a lack of interest in the region and less a total lack of information. I’ll be sure to let you all know how tomorrow goes and if I need to plan another trip or continued close contact with Lynn and others that I meet tomorrow.
I spent about half an hour tonight playing with the Parabola settings. I was finally able to de-clutter the front page by making it a presentation page. Hopefully this will allow us to introduce site visitors with an attractive visual display right off the bat. I think that we will be able to insert photographs on the top slider and timelines/maps in the row beneath it. Maybe these can then lead to other pages? My biggest concern right now is that this will look too unprofessional, but we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out. Worse comes to worse, we can just get rid of the presentation page and work with a standard home page.
Most of the secondary sources we have found are going to give us a better understanding of the developing tourist industry in the Ozarks during the twentieth century. That being said, I hope to add a few more sources to this list after visiting the McDonald County Historical Society this coming week. Lynn Tatum, the head of the society, has told me about a few other researchers on the movement and I hope to speak with them and access a few of their works in the coming week.
Bradley, Larry C. McDonald County, Missouri: A Pictorial Interpretation. Pineville, Missouri: McDonald County Press, 1972.
Cox, Karen L. Destination Dixie: Tourism and Southern History. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 2012.
Earngey, Bill. Missouri Roadsides: The Traveler’s Companion. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1995.
Ketchell, Aaron A. Holy Hills of the Ozarks: Religion and Tourism in Branson, Missouri. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2007.
Tatum, James. OzarksWatch: McDonald County. Springfield, Missouri: Ozarks Public television, 2013.
Wallis, Michael. Route 66: The Mother Road. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990.