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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.


Castor River Bridge

Some of the boys jumping off the Castor River bridge on a hot summer day in 1964 clearly think they are Number One.

I probably shot these for The Jackson Pioneer.  The film sleeve is dated 7/31 + 8/1/67 and has some photos of a swim meet on it, so I must have shot one assignment on one day for The Pioneer and then did a freelance job for The Missourian on the next.

She’s at least 40 feet above the water

If you figure the boy in the photo in front of the car is five feet and change tall, she has to be at least 25 feet above the bridge deck; the bridge deck, in turn, is at least 12 or 15 feet above the water. That’s an impressive height.

Getting up there is a challenge

The negative sleeve says the photos were taken at Castor River. As best as I can recall, that that was west of Jackson, near Millersville, on Rt. 72. If I’m wrong, please correct me.

Child endangerment?

How old IS that kid? He doesn’t even look like he’s a teenager. Can you imagine what would happen if somebody would see that today?

Picnic lunch in the shade

The older folks are busy cooking up a picnic lunch in the shade while the kids are jumping 40 feet off the top of a bridge over a two-lane highway.

Boys AND girls equal risk-takers

I don’t think that many Cape kids went there. It seemed more of a Jackson hangout.

Less risky frolicking

Not everybody was doing high-rise diving. Some were content to splash around in the shallows.

Did YOU ever dive off the bridge?

I was happy watching the other folks. I’ve gone off the high dive at the Capaha Park pool, but I’m not sure I’d want to dive off a bridge, even at deck level, if nobody’s chasing me.

19 comments to Castor River Bridge

  • Bill Stone

    Ken
    I think you are some confusing The Castor River Bridge which is on Hwy 34 west of Lutesville and Glen Allen with the bridge across Whitewater in Millersville on Hwy 72. The best swimming hole in Whitewater at Millersville was above the bridge just below Cedar Lake. You could jump off the cliff on the east side of the river but you had to watch for dangerous rocks under the water. I think several people were hurt there doing that.
    I also remember the gang going swimming out at Castor River. The best swimming holes, as I recall were south of the bridge. I seem to remember a camp ground there. You could go tubing there and walk back on a road on the east side of the river. I never recall jumping off the bridge.

  • Bill Stone

    Ken;
    I should have clarified a little more in my previous comment. It definitely appears to be the Castor River bridge in the pictures. It was just the locations mentioned that I was trying to correct. Great memories of bith these swimming holes. Add swimming in Indian Creek or Sam A. Baker Park to the mix and that pretty much covers it that I can remember. Cape LaCroix creek, down from where you and I used to live, was great for fishing but I don’t recall swimming there. The pools in Capaha and the Country club were ok but nothing like creek or river swimming.

  • It looks like the third young man jumping off the bridge in the first picture didn’t like his picture being taken, the old one finger salute to the picture taker.

  • Lila Steinhoff

    I was a try anything once kid… I remember the water was deeper in one spot under that bridge. I know this, because I missed it the one time I made the leap.

    The jump, or rather, the landing, took the skin off the top of my feet. It wasn’t serious… just hurt like hell. I spent the rest of the afternoon wrapped in a towel hiding my damaged limbs and my embarrassment. Haven’t jump off any bridges since.

  • Lila Steinhoff

    By the way, don’t think anyone ever ‘dived’ off that bridge… always jumped feet first. The bottom was all rock.

  • Holy Smoke!
    It’s a wonder any of us survived our childhoods!!

    I love that the parents were having such a good time and not micromanaging every second with planned activities on
    what looks to be a delightful summer afternoon.

    I also note that apparently obesity was not an issue then.
    Hummm…wonder why?

  • marsha marshall gutshall

    from my point of view. it is a wonder anyone survived the 60’s

  • larry points

    My cousins’ family and mine spent many a carefree weekend camping at what locally was known as the “Twin Bridges”, one of which the Castor River flowed under. I learned to swim there and no right of passage was more important than to suck it up in front of friends and jump off into the hole of water below…but I never sucked it up enough to do it after climbing to the top of the girders. It is really amazing that there was not a greater number of broken bones and worse in those times.

  • Bruce Welker

    I have jumped off that bridge many times at the Twin Bridges…never from the top, though. There was a swimming hole a couple miles north of the bridge where you could launch innertubes and float down the Castor to the bridge.
    My parents and some friends had a camper at the campground just down river from that bridge for several years.

  • Ken, as others have indicated before, the location in the pictures was commonly known as “Twin Bridges” on the Castor River and Highway 34. Our family made many trips there to go swimming. Other favorite family swimming spots; Trails End Ranch (north of Twin Bridges on the Castor), Sam A Baker Park (Big Creek), Clearwater Lake, Glendale Lake (near Vienna, IL), Lake Wapapello, Crab Orchard Lake, and Kentucky Lake.
    I also swam in Cape La Croix Creek at the same location along Route W – it was a long hike from where we lived near Hawthorn (Clippard) School.

  • Lynette Lewis Williamson '64

    Ken,
    Thanks for this swimming memory. Our family went here at least once each summer to swim and picnic a bit further in, away from the crowded swimming area near the Castor River bridge. Our Cape parents watched us so we never went on the bridge except for in our car. Dad built a fire in the rocks and we roasted hot dogs and made s’mores. Sometimes we put foil packs in the coals with hamburger, potatoes, and carrots. Our Mom was from Minnesota, and she preferred to swim in fresh water so we swam in Castor River, Big Creek, and St. Francis River at Sam A Baker State Park. We never camped here because Dad (Frank Lewis) worked 7 days a week at the family business Wimpy’s.

  • Jeanne Massa Squailia

    I remember many a week end spent at Castor river. We usually took cold fried chicken and potatoe salad for the late afternoon meal. Didn’t have coolers like today. Wonder we didn’t all die of food poisoing.

  • larry points

    What we had on those wonderful weekends was the big galvanized washtub with blocks of ice, a watermelon, and all that colorful soda “pop” (midwest slang – no one calls them that here in the east). What brand were they, Nehi? I always rooted around for the “cream”. And does anyone else remember stopping at the artesian spring to fill up jugs on the way back to Cape? It was right along Rt.34, on a straight stretch, not too far west of Marble Hill.

  • Sherry Seabaugh

    My family and I traveled to Twin Bridges every summer to camp and swim in the late 60’s and 70’s. My brothers,Steve, Rick, Tim and Pat were always jumping off that bridge. I did it once, that’s all it took for me. I loved those time we had as kids. We could always count on Aunt Emma for fried potatoes on the fire, and marshmallows later, before going to bed in that tent. We thought we were really doing something back then………and we were.

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