A Hidden Gem: George Washington Carver National Monument

Diamond, Missouri has a hidden gem that many visitors may not be aware of. When you drive through southwest Missouri, you want to make a stop at George Washington Carver National Monument. Carver Monument is the birthplace of George Washington Carver, an African-American scientist, artist and humanitarian who made a mark with his work at Tuskegee Institute in the early part of the 20th century.

Carter was raised on the spot by the owners of his mother, who was kidnapped, possibly by slave raiders who were attacking the farm. George later left this area to head for school in Iowa, where he majored in agriculture, and later went to work as a scientist and teacher at Tuskegee in Alabama. Here, he did his most influential work by finding ways to improve the condition of African-American sharecroppers and by finding better ways to farm the land. Carver was also an excellent artist and was very giving to those in need.

George Washington Carver National Monument has a recently built visitor center that features numerous hands-on displays and artifacts from Carver’s life. You can take part in a peanut milk demonstration in a recreation of his lab at Tuskegee Institute. There is a three-quarter mile walking trail that winds through the park, taking you past the Moses Carver house, the birthplace site and into beautiful woods on the property. Park rangers will take you on a guided tour of the trail that lasts approximately an hour, telling stories about Carver’s early life and the area.

The park also hosts several events during the year, including Prairie Day and Carver Day. At these events, volunteers and park rangers do demonstrations of wood carving, Dutch oven cooking and candlemaking. Local arts and crafts will be on display and there will be numerous activities for people of all ages. You can even try your hand at churning butter and painting the way Carver used to with crushed berries and plants.