The Downing House Museum holds an impressive assortment of unique treasures, including Civil War relics, a vintage barbershop display and a musical sewing machine. The 1858 home housing the museum offers quite a history of its own: Civil War soldiers once rode horses through the halls and kept prisoners of war in these rooms.
The volunteer-run museum is far from fancy but succeeds thanks to a strong emphasis on unusual historic artifacts and exhibits. For instance, the living room portion pays tribute to “Missouri Giantess” Ella Ewing, an 8-foot, 4-inch-tall local resident who toured the nation between 1892 and 1910 as the world’s tallest woman. Ella was a regular guest of the Downing House when it operated as a hotel, and some of her preserved belongings are now on display here.
A 1920s Pheasant Airplane Company exhibit educates visitors about aviation history and includes one of only three known existing Pheasant Airplanes. The train depot and one-room schoolhouse next door to the museum are also worth exploring. Downing House is open for guided tours May through October; adult admission is $5, $3 for children age 10 and younger.