Blue Springs, Missouri: David Cook, American Idol’s hometown

While watching American Idol’s tours of the top contestants’ hometowns, I noticed that each town has a way of looking like there’s nothing to see but a shopping mall, a stadium and either an elementary school or a high school. After Cook won American Idol last night, I thought, I bet some folks are going to drive through Blue Springs to see what it’s like to be where a million dollar winner grew up. What’s there exactly?

Blue Springs does have a history that predates Kansas City which is close enough for Blue Springs folks to claim the Kansas City Royals as something to be proud of. Settlers on their journey elsewhere –probably Kansas City–although, the real adventurous types kept heading west, stopped to get water from the spring fed by the Little Blue River. Some did stay in Blue Springs to put up a grist mill and a railroad station to help with trade to the area.

Trade means a small town. At least that’s the case with Blue Springs which, I would bet, struggles to be seen as more than suburban community of Kansas City. Look around the United States, and you’ll find many examples of what I’m talking about. Around Columbus, Ohio, I’d put Worthington and Upper Arlington in that category. From the description on Blue Spring’s Chamber of Commerce Web site, I’d say their demographics are similar as well. Sure, they are their own towns, but if you drive from where I live in Columbus to either of them, there’s non-stop residential areas and commercial property connecting us.

Still, Blue Springs does have its own identity. If I were going, I’d head to the Dillingham-Lewis Museum of the Blue Springs Historical Society. Even though it serves mostly as an archival library, it is a significant house in Blue Springs and gives a glimpse of life well before David Cook had confetti rain down on him.

Blue Springs also has a large number of parks. Head to Burrus Old Mill Park, one of the oldest and where the town was originally located before it moved closer to the railroad station. It’s a basic park with lots of trees and picnic areas with barbecue pits. There is also a free skate park.

Close by in Lee’s Summit, is Missouri Town, a living history village museum of buildings that replicate the period of the 1820s to 1860s.

What else is there to do in Blue Springs? You can golf.

Also, if you go, don’t smoke in these places. The smoking ordinance went into effect May 1, 2008.