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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.

Bird’s Point Levee July 2011

I was working on a project that sent me on a wild goose chase to Wilson City, east of Charleston and west of Cairo off U.S. 62. Had the bridge not been closed, I could have been in Cairo in less than 10 miles. Mother was along for the ride, so I told her we should go down to see Bird’s Point since we were so close. I plugged it into the GPS and we were off on an adventure.

As best I can piece together, we came off 62 on Mississippi County Route 301, drove until we saw some work being done in the distance on the levee, but decided not to ignore the signs warning us to keep out. We kept on CR301 until it hit CR302, then went up on the levee, which was called CR 303. Along the way, we saw some signs that water had been in that area, but we also saw lots of freshly-planted fields. Click on any photo to make it larger.

Old remains found

I’m guessing the road was closed because old remains had been found along one section of the levee. The Missourian reported that the Osage Nation American Indian tribe has been involved in the investigation, leading to the assumption that the bones and relics were part of a native tribal settlement. The Department of Natural Resources has put a blackout on news of the finds at the request of the Native American tribes involved in order to protect the site from looters.

Remaining water is bird paradise

We saw scores of wading birds taking advantage of the fish trapped in water left behind after the flood.

Fields are turning green

Despite dire predictions that the fields would be ruined for decades, we saw plenty of evidence that farmers were able to plant a lot of crops as soon as the fields dried out. In fairness, we only saw a tiny fraction of the land that had been flooded. I’m sure there ARE parts that have been turned into moonscape and are buried under huge deposits of sand. My point is that not ALL of the land has been ruined.

Scour area is impressive

CR 303, the levee road, ended abruptly at one of the places it was breached. The massive flow of water gouged deep holes in the ground. My van parked atop the levee will give you a sense of scale. I’m guessing the levee is about 15 feet above surrounding terrain. The bluff in the foreground are 15 or 20 feet below that, and I don’t know how deep the water is in the pit.

View behind me

As impressive as that is, if you turn 180 degrees and look the other direction, the fields are clear and have been planted. I don’t know how much work it took to get them into that condition, but looking at the gouged earth without looking at the planted fields will give you the wrong impression, and vice versa.

Equipment at the ready

I don’t know if this equipment belongs to farmers or if it’s there to repair the levee. I didn’t want to interfere with whatever work they were doing, so I didn’t go down to ask.

Interactive Google Map of area

View Bird’s Point Levee in a larger map

Gallery of Bird’s Point photos

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right to move through the gallery.




6 comments to Bird’s Point Levee July 2011

  • penny hawkins

    Thanks so much for the update. Those of us who are out of state have wondered how the farmers and the farmland are doing. Thanks also to KFVS. I watched the blasting of the levee through their live streaming.

  • Thanks so much for posting all the pictures and info, fields that are planted look wonderful.

  • Teresa Henry Anger

    These pics are quite a good indicator. Although, there are lots and lots of land that has either lost all of the topsoil, been carved up with deep gulleys or holes, as well as having feet of sand on top of them. You can see more photos and videos by looking at aaronvalleytrees on youtube. Our lives and livelihoods, as well as some homes, were devestated. But, we are all alive. Now to get the levee rebuilt to its original height, of I believe 62 or 62.5 feet, will help everyone immensely. It is really the only way that we can feel a sense of peace and completion. We need some closure to all of this, and I believe that rebuilding the levee will help with that. Then, it will be time to remove as much of the sand as we can.
    Ps. On a lighter note-“Anyone need sand for pool setups or sandboxes?”

  • Teresa Henry Anger

    Also a follow up question-Can anyone reccommend a good crop for sand, besides sandburs?

    • Thanks for the comments. I live in South Florida, so my whole yard is sand. I wish I had a layer of your good dirt on top of it.

      While you folks were under water this year, we’ve had a drought so severe that water couldn’t flow from Lake Okeechobee to the coast.

      We’ve gotten some rains in the past few weeks, so my sandy yard is getting a little green. Wife Lila complains that “it’s all weeds,” but I point out (a) it’s green and (b) you can’t kill ’em.”

      I hope you all bounce back quickly.

      (Technical note: there’s a glitch that sometimes keeps you from seeing new comments unless you refresh your browser by pressing Ctrl-F5. If you don’t see something, try that.)

  • […] the 2011 record 61.7-foot highwater mark on the floodwall. There is a common misconception that the Bird’s Point Levee was blown just to save Cairo. In fact, it reduced pressure on the levees and floodwalls in […]

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