This article is presented in partnership with Visit Carthage

A well-traveled Missouri artist, Lowell Davis once said, “There is nowhere in the world I would rather live than right here.” No where he would rather be than sitting on his front porch, talking to people who come by, and painting, and he did just that for more than thirty years at Red Oak II, his passion project on Fox Fire Farm near Carthage. 

Davis was a cartoonist, a painter, and a sculptor and used those talents to bring attention to the simpler way of life in which he grew up. At the age of eighty-three, Lowell died in November and left his legacy and a tribute to yesteryear at Red Oak II.

“It’s not the same without him, you feel the emptiness,” says his wife Rose Davis. However, she has every intention of picking up where he left off—he would want the legacy to continue.

Red Oak II is an homage to the small Missouri town Davis grew up in, Red Oak, and to visit this Route 66 attraction is to take a step back in time. This recreation of an early twentieth-century small town features a general store, a county church, a one-room schoolhouse, a town hall, a 1920s Phillips 66 gas station, and a sheriff’s office, among others. 

“Lowell’s passion was to give the 1930’s American village to new generations,” Rose says, and each building has a story to tell. 

Many of the eclectic outdoor museum’s buildings were relocated to Davis’s farm from their original locations in Red Oak: the old Phillip’s 66 Station; Grandpa Weber’s Blacksmith Shop, where Davis’s great-grandfather was a smithy; and the General Store, which was run by Lowell’s father and was where Lowell developed his art from an early age.

Some came from other nearby locations. Relocated to Red Oak II from a few miles north, the Salem Country Church still holds interdenominational services on Sunday mornings, when you just might hear the gospel music you grew up on somewhere else ring out. On Saturday nights, locals hold musical jam sessions featuring bluegrass, country, and gospel music during their Saturday Night Pickin’ & Singin’ events. Wednesday nights there is a Bible study.

Simply driving through the town, you’ll get a sense of what it was like to grow up back then, but Rose says, the gift is in getting out of the car. “If you drive through, you’ll miss a lot,” she says. “You need to walk it to really appreciate Lowell’s artwork.” Many of his metalwork pieces are hidden from car-window view and await discovery like hidden treasures. 

To really get a sense of this artist’s talent, visit Lowell’s art gallery in the Birdsong Building; it is open on demand if you ring the bell. In it, guests can purchase Lowell’s painting, prints, figurines, bronzes, and books to take a little piece of Americana home with them.

This outdoor destination makes maintaining social distance during the pandemic an easy accomplishment. Many of the buildings, today, are owned by different people, but visitors can roam the “town” from sunup to sundown—for free.

For more information about Red Oak II, visit, or visit for information about the area. If you’d like to help support Red Oak II, donations are accepted.