I had to do a quick honk ‘n’ wave trip to St. Louis to get something from Brother Mark; then I had to talk Wife Lila through a computer issue. On the way over to Sis-in-Law Marty’s house to break the news that an error message means that her hard drive is terminal, I stopped off to wish Altenburg Museum Director Carla Jordan a safe trip to Baxter Springs to help out in the aftermath of the tornado there. Her family is OK, but there are a lot of people who need support.
So, that meant I was scrambling for something to post. When in doubt, go cruising in the dark.
True confession time: I couldn’t find a place to park, so I put on the four-way flashers and knocked off a few frames of Kent Library and Academic Hall. I didn’t even bother to set up a tripod or deal with the funky color balance.
Academic Hall still impressive
If I had taken more time to work on the exposure, you would have been able to see the new dome better.
I was afraid I’d get caught parking illegally, which might mean being incarcerated in the Advanced Wrestling class I was supposed to attend when all the other PE electives were full in 1966. I think my decision to transfer to Ohio University was done less because they had a good photo program, than because they didn’t require PE.
A building with clean, strong lines
I appreciate the clean, strong lines of Academic Hall. It looks the way a public building SHOULD look.
Without thinking I had a chance in the world of success, I approached Buzzi Unicem plant manage Steve Leus in the fall of 2010 to ask for a tour of the cement plant and quarry. That usually results in months of getting bounced from corporate type to corporate type, ending up in a “No.”
I showed up in Steve’s office with a stack of prints I had taken over the past 40 years from the air, from inside the caverns, from the quarry’s edge, and of the plumes of white particulate that used to belch from the stacks of the plant. We had a great conversation, then he handed me a hard hat and we were on our way. THAT’S the kind of manager I like to deal with.
There are some stories that paralyze me because they are special to me. This is one of those. I kept putting off and putting off publishing it because I wanted to research the history of the plant that has changed names many times, boil down Steve’s explanation of how rock becomes cement and do it right.
Let’s pull the trigger
Today, more than three years later, I figured I’d better pull the trigger on this puppy and start publishing it in bits and pieces. I am NEVER going to do all that research and transcribe the paper and digital notes I have. Let’s get real: I’m a photographer, not a historian. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Part One will show the huge hole in the ground from the top. Well, not ALL the way from the top. I’ve got a bunch of aerial photos over the years that will run later.
Sometime in the future, I’ll publish photos taken from the bottom of the quarry including the tunnels that you are driving over when you are on Sprigg Street.
Unfortunately, NOBODY, Steve said, is allowed in them. There’s no danger of Sprigg Street collapsing, but safety regulations are a lot more stringent than they were a hundred years ago.
The old Blue Hole
If I remember my history and what Steve told me, the rounded area on the far right was what was popularly known as the “Blue Hole,” called that because of the color of the water that filled it. At one time, this area was two quarries. When the caverns were blown, it became one big hole.
You can see the dome of SEMO’s Academic Hall sticking up in the center of the photo.
Some of the photos look a bit repetitious, but there are subtle difference in all of them. Click on any image to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery. Thanks to Steve for sharing a part of Cape that has fascinated me since I was a kid.
When I asked readers to help me identify a building yesterday, it didn’t take long before Dennis Mize, Jim Feldmeier, Charlie Holt, Tim Ludwig, Keith Robinson and Dave let me know that it was Central Junior High School. This aerial isn’t from the same angle, but you can see the boxy shape and ramp that confirm what the guys were saying.
Here’s a new mystery
When Neighbor Bill and I looked at this picture, I said I thought the crane was probably working on the highrise dorms that would have been north and east of Academic Hall. He said he woke up at 3 a.m. with the revelation that the crane was working on the KFVS-TV tower across from The Missourian.
I’m not convinced. If that’s the case, then what is the building to its left that has a rounded rooftop? Click on it to make it larger, if that helps.
SEMO campus with dorms
Here’s a a 2010 aerial of the SEMO campus with the high rise dorms in it for comparison.
This aerial shows the KFVS-TV tower at the top left. The square is bounded by roughly Broadway – Themis – Sprigg and Main Street.
Common Pleas Courthouse 1964
This 1964 aerial centered on the Common Pleas Courthouse was taken before the KFVS-TV tower was built. There’s a parking lot across from The Missourian where it will be built.
I hope one of these will help you figure out the mystery building.
Cape was a Honeywell Pentax town. I’m not sure if Nowell’s Camera Shop even sold Nikon. When I left town, I had two or three camera bodies and at least three lenses: a 35mm wideangle, a 50mm normal lens, a 105mm telephoto and (I think) a 200 mm telephoto.
The 105mm magnified about two times and the 200, about four times.
This shot of Academic Hall taken from in front of Kent Library in 1966 or 1967 was probably done with the 200mm. Click on the photos to make them larger.
Closeup of dome
If you couldn’t afford a long lens, you could buy extenders that would effectively increase the length of the lens by two to three times. The tradeoff was that it made the lens a lot slower and there was some degradation in quality. I’m guessing I must have just gotten a 2X extender to make this shot of the dome. It would have converted my 200 into a 400mm lens, which would have magnified about eight times.
This caused some head scratching
This one had me calling in Wife Lila and Neighbor Jacqie for second and third opinions. This is south and west of SEMO. As best as I can figure it out, I must have shot it from one of the hills around Gordonville Road with the extender reaching out into the distance.
Academic Hall is easy to pick out in the middle. The water tower and smokestack to its left are at the university’s power plant north of Academic Hall. The white building at the top left is the Foreign Languages Building. The large building below and to the left of Academic hall is Southeast Hospital.
Jacqie and I thought the building on the left above the Riverside West sign was Central High School, but after looking at the photo more closely, I determined that Central is the dark, multistory building on the far right. That makes the building on the left a mystery. Anybody want to make a guess? Did Notre Dame have that shape?
Academic Hall links
Here are links to earlier stories about Academic Hall.