A bunch of the Class of ’66 folks who came to Cape for their 70th Birthday Party reunion (because lots of them turned 70 in 2018), were hardcore Capaha Park Pool Rats (a description coined by Terry Hopkins).
They thought they’d take advantage of being in town to congregate at Jack Rickard’s house at the base of what used to be the Mississippi River traffic bridge.
Pool Rat Memories
Just about the time the pool was razed, I asked some of the former lifeguards and swim instructors to tell me what they remembered of their swimming days in the middle and late 1960s.
Many of the pictures in this gallery will be on exhibit at the Cape Girardeau County History Center across from the courthouse in Jackson. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 4. The exhibit will be up until around the end of October.
Some of the prints are available for purchase there.
Click on any of the photos to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.
A Facebook friend mentioned that the lake in South County Park was dry. Before I could check it out, The Missourian had an explanation. Photographer Fred Lynch fired up his drone for an excellent story-telling photo, making me feel guilty for not putting mine back together after an unfortunate connection with a telephone line.
Click on the photos to make them larger.
Project will take about two years
The Missouri Department of Conservation and the county came to an agreement that the MDC would partner with the county to stock and manage the two lakes at the county park.
The latest project will involve draining the south laket, then adding improvements like fishing jetties, a new fishing dock, an island with a gazebo, and lighted sidewalks.
When the lake is refilled, it will be stocked with bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel cat.
Drained more quickly than anticipated
The original plan was to drain part of the lake and allow fishing to go on while earth work was going on.
It turned out that the bathtub emptied faster than planned, which was good for the timetable, but bad for fisherfolks who were looking forward to dropping hooks in the middle of concentrations of fish.
I was surprised that I didn’t see any fish skeletons around nor any birds feeding on them. Either they were swept away so fast they weren’t trapped in shallow pools, or predators cleaned them up quickly.
Lake was leaking in 2007
In 2007, The Missourian carried a story that the lake was leaking around an overflow pipe at the south end. I’m assuming it was this pipe, which serves as a secondary path for high water, supplementing the open spillway.
This week, in particular, I needed to see the rows of American Flags flapping in the cool air against a blue sky punctuated with fluffy clouds. I got to North County Park just as the volunteers were starting to take the flags down before nightfall. This was taken with Nikon D-7000 equipped with an 18-55mm zoom lens covered with a circular polarizing filter. (Click on the photo to make it larger.)
Flags in motion
A guy directing traffic made an exception for me to drive by to capture this video from the top of the hill and headed down to the highway. The video is shot with my DOD Tech DOD-LS470W dash cam. It hangs under my rearview mirror with an AmorTek SnakeMount, a cool accessory that will fit just about any camera out there.
I picked this camera because it has great low light sensitvity, it has a built-in GPS, and comes with software that will let you merge your videos with an interactive map. That’s really handy when I try to figure out where I took a picture. (I also have to confess that I put those specific links in because if you click on them, then buy something from Amazon, I get a tiny piece of the action without it costing you anything extra.)
There have been a bunch of posts on Facebook recently talking about the old Capaha Park pool. On top of that, I’ve been documenting the slow progress of the pavilion being built on the hill overlooking where the pool used to be.
Buddy Terry Hopkins is back in Cape for a visit, and he sent me photos of what the site looks like today. Terry’s one of those glass-half-full kind of guys, so he added the comment, “Looks like in the future, kids will still be able to enjoy this spot.”
Not quite the same
Being a half-empty kind of guy, I replied, “Not quite the same.”
What stays the same?
Terry doesn’t take the bait, “No, it’s not the same, but what in this world stays the same? A new generation and new memories from the same old place,” he replied.
At least Dinky survived
I’m sure kids will have some fond memories, but I can’t see many of them spending all day hanging around a pavilion like we did the swimming pool.
When your parents dropped you off in the morning to go swimming, they had a reasonable expectation that you were going to be safe, watched over by trained lifeguards in a controlled environment.
When they picked you up at the end of the swimming day, you’d be pruney, reeking of chlorine, starving and ready for bed.
But, looking on the bright side, Dinky, the train, is still there for more generations to climb on.