Support Ken

Click here to support Ken Steinhoff through your Amazon purchases.

Purchases made at from that link put 6% of the total transaction price in Dad's pocket at no additional cost to you. You're going to shop online anyway, right? Do it through to support this web site.

Or, if you'd rather just send him a random amount of money, you can do that too...

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.

Cairo’s Railroad Bridge

Aerials Cairo area 08-13-2014You can find out more than you ever wanted to know about the railroad industry in general and the Cairo Railroad Bridge in particular at the Bridges & Tunnels website.

By the late 1800s, as many as 500,000 railroad cars a year were ferried across the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Bridging the rivers was hampered by the Civil War, economics, engineering challenges and the steamboat industry, which saw railroads as an attack on its livelihood.

Click on the photo to make it large enough to see Cairo on the right and Kentucky on the left . Just beyond the curve in the background is where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers join at Fort Defiance, the southernmost point in Illinois.

First bridge finished in 1889

Aerials Cairo Railroad Bridge 08-13-2014The first Cairo Bridge was an engineering marvel. The 10,650-foot, 52-truss bridge was the longest steel bridge in the world at the time. The total length, including trestles was 3.875 miles.

On October 29, 1899, the first train, consisting of nine 75-ton Illinois Central Mogul engines, the heaviest ones in service on the line, inched across the span. After they made it across the Ohio River safely, the train reversed and picked up a tenth engine, and blasted across the bridge at full speed. The second train to cross was full of newspapermen. I’m surprised they weren’t the first test train.

The Ohio River and the railroad bridge are in the foreground. The blue-green bridge in the background is the I-57 bridge crossing the Mississippi River into Missouri.

Bridge needed replacing by mid-1940s

Aerials Cairo Railroad Bridge 08-13-2014The website reported that a 6.6 earthquake in the New Madrid Sesmic Zone cracked a pier on the bridge in 1895, but repairs were made right away. A 1946 study showed quite a few dangerous deficiencies. Half a century of pounding by heavy loads had worn out key bars and rollers. An anemometer was installed and trains were prohibited from using the bridge when winds were high.

Work on a replacement that used some of the existing piers started in the summer of 1949; it was completed in May 1952.

This photo shows the east side of the bridge and the high levee that protects Cairo from the north.

Cyber Monday pitch

Buy From to Support Ken SteinhoffWith all the hoopla about Cyber Monday, I’ll remind you to click the Big Red Button here or at the top of the page if you are going to do any Amazon shoping. Anything you buy brings me a small percentage without adding anything to your cost.

Thanks for reading my ramblings and thanks for helping offset my expenses.




Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>