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Missouri FlagMISSOURI LEGENDS

Red Oak II - A Stroll Through the Past

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A couple of miles northeast of Carthage, Missouri and just off Route 66 is Red Oak II – a ghost town, but not really. But, it has authentic old buildings, and an old cemetery, and it looks like a ghost town. Well, it is and it isn’t.

 

Red Oak II was actually the brainchild of artist Lowell Davis who grew up in the "real” Red Oak, Missouri, about 18 miles northwest of the "new” Red Oak II. The original Red Oak, like many other rural agricultural towns across the country, started to fade sometime after World War II, when people began to move to the cities in earnest. 

 

After Davis had left the area for a number of years, he returned in the 1970’s to find his home town had become a ghost town.

 

In 1987, Davis was living on a farm near Carthage that was little more than an empty cornfield. His creative inspiration soon led him to turn his acreage into a tribute to his home town and before long Red Oak II was born. He began to buy homes and businesses from the original townsite and other rural ghost towns, painstakingly moving them to the new site and restoring them to their original "grandeur.”

 

 

 

Red Oak II Town Hall, Missouri

The Red Oak Town Hall welcomes visitors, Kathy Weiser, September, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE!

 

Referred to as the "Norman Rockwell of Rural Art," Davis has a love for the simpler times of the past that are reflected, not only in his "new" town, but also in his paintings and sculptures. Of his re-created town, he said: "Red Oak II is a combination of a painting and a sculpture, and it is just made from things that someone else threw away." 

Today, each of the buildings in Red Oak II are privately owned. Davis lives in the Belle Starr house, where the infamous lady outlaw grew up, as well as owning a couple of other buildings. The individual owners of the other buildings all maintain their own properties, which include private homes, stores, and museum type exhibits.

Today, this quaint "ghost town” includes a Phillips 66 station, an old schoolhouse, feed store, diner, town hall, jail, and several homes. Two buildings that were important in Davis' life are the blacksmith shop, where his great-grandfather once practiced his trade and the General Store, that was run by Lowell's father and where he learned to sculpt and paint. Both buildings were moved from the original Red Oak townsite. Situated throughout the property are numerous Davis sculptures and old vehicles. Frozen in time, a walk through Red Oak II is a vivid stroll through the past.

Directions to Red Oak II - Take MO-96 east out of Carthage about one mile. Turn north on Road 130 for about two miles to Kafir Road, turn right (west). Red Oak II is about 3/4 mile down the road on the south side.

Contact Information:

 

Red Oak II

Carthage, Missouri

417-237-0808

 

 

Cemetery, Red Oak II, Missouri

Now, where did these old tombstones come from? Kathy Weiser, October, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

 

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated February, 2013.

 

 

 

Phillips 66 in Red Oak II, Carthage, Missouri

This 1920's Phillips 66 Station was originally located on

 Route 66 in Avilla, Missouri, Kathy Weiser, September, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

 

Belle Starr house, Red Oak II, Missouri

Lowell Davis lives in the Belle Starr house that was moved

 from Carthage, Missouri, Kathy Weiser, October, 2007.

 

Marshal's office, Red Oak II, Missouri

Red Oak II comes complete with a marshal's office, so watch your step,

Kathy Weiser, September, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

 

 

General Store, Red Oak II, Missouri

The old general store,  moved from the original Red Oak was once run by Davis' father,

by Kathy Weiser, October, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

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