Cottey Trips

Cottey has arranged for many cultural excursions over the years, but the rare overnight trips are especially interesting. In many ways these were the precursors to the international trips Cottey offers each spring. They required extensive planning, afforded students new experiences and unique opportunities, and were paid for by the college. Two such domestic trips from 1937 and 1967 are highlighted below.

Students in front of the chartered bus, 1937
 Cottey students Mary Ellen Foster, Carolyn Chaney, and Dorothy Ellen Simms pose in front of the charter bus, 1937.1
Ozark views, 1937
View of the Lake Tanycomo Bridge over the White River, 1937.1 It was built only six years earlier.
Boarding the bus, 1937
Student Body President Dale Russell boards the bus, 1937.1

Holiday in the Ozarks, 1937

In October of 1937, Cottey students embarked on a school trip through the Ozarks. About 100 Cottey ladies traveled on three chartered buses past "rocky, wooded hills of fairy-like autumnal hues" to their first stop, Lake of the Ozarks.1 After a hike through Fairy Cave, the students ate lunch at its entrance. Then it was back on the bus to continue through Missouri. In Shepherd of the Hills country (near Branson), the Cottey class climbed hundreds of steps up a steep cliff to gain beautiful views of the surrounding land and White River. Next stop was a nearby lodge, where the students and faculty stopped overnight.

The following morning was spent at the School of the Ozarks (now the College of the Ozarks) and traveling through Arkansas. Lunch was taken at Roaring River State Park, where "The fish in the lake escaped only because of lack of fishing rods."1 Mail sent from Cottey via the "loyal stay-at-home faculty" was also dispersed.1 After a brief but thorough tour of the Ozarks, the students boarded the buses to ride back to Cottey College.

  Stopping for lunch, 1937
Lunching at Roaring River, 1937.1
Ozark country road, 1937
On the road, 1937.1
Unloading the bus, 1937
Bus drivers unload the buses, 1937.1

Kansas City Surprise, 1967

A very special Cottey trip took place in February of 1967, when 341 Cottey students took an overnight trip to Kansas City.2 Cottey President Dr. Ted McCarrel organized the surprise trip to break the monotony of spring term, and kept it a secret until the week of. He received approval from the board of trustees back in October, and set to work planning the massive outing.

The date was set for Thursday, February 23rd, and the announcement of an overnight trip was made at dinner Tuesday night.2 There was much speculation about where they were going until the following night when every student was given an itinerary of planned events. By 11:30 on Thursday morning, nine chartered Crown Coach buses pulled into the circle drives of Robertson and Reeves halls. With the exception of six girls, the entire Cottey student body piled onto the buses after an early lunch.

Traffic in the heart of Kansas City came to an abrupt stop that day when nine buses let off their occupants at 12th and Wyandotte streets.2 Passers-by stared in disbelief as 341 ladies stepped onto the sidewalk and collected their luggage before walking down the block to Hotel Phillips. The afternoon and evening were full of activity ― the ladies attended a theater matinée, ate dinner at the hotel, and saw a movie. Then, as Betty Sterett put it, "there began what was undoubtedly the biggest slumber party the Phillips Hotel will ever see."2 Many ran across the street to the drugstore for snacks and sodas, while others ordered pizza from room service.

Despite the late night, most of the ladies were present for a continental breakfast the next morning.2 They had the next four hours to do as they pleased. Some went to nearby museums, others shopped, and some slept in. In mid-afternoon everyone returned to the buses and embarked for Cottey, happily fatigued. When Dr. McCarrel was asked how much the trip cost, he replied with a smile, "Not too much. It was a wonderful morale booster."2

Hotel Phillips entrance, 2005
Hotel Phillips entrance, 2005. (Photo by Bill Walsh.)
Hotel Phillips, 2006
Hotel Phillips' art deco design, 2006. (Photo by Aquistbe.)
Hotel Phillips lobby, 2005
The grand lobby of the Phillips, 2005. (Photo by Bill Walsh.)

Works Cited:

  1. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1938. Print.
  2. Sterett, Betty. "The Cottey Winter Trip." The P.E.O. Record. Feb. 1968: 21. Print.
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