Update on Allenville RR Bridge

Allenville RR bridge 03-05-2016I’ve photographed the removal of the rails between Gordonville and Delta (one of these days I’ll get around to printing them), but I didn’t know if the flooring and rails were still intact on the bridge spanning the Diversion Channel south of Allenville. Here’s what the bridge looked like in 2013.

The first thing that stood out was the door ripped off the cabinet that I assume contained the electrical equipment for the warning lights where the tracks crossed Hwy N. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Trees blocked the way

Allenville RR bridge 03-05-2016Walking was easier than the last trip when Friend Shari and I visited. Pulling up the rails and ties provided a nice surface. The roadway was probably TOO nice, so someone felled trees across the way in several spots to keep people from driving down it.

Either that are there are some highly selective square-toothed beavers at work.

Ties pushed off to the side

Allenville RR bridge 03-05-2016It’s obvious that steel rails were worth salvaging, but there was no value in the rotted ties that were pushed off to the side to go back to nature.

Riddle of the Spinx

Allenville RR bridge 03-05-2016When I encountered the final barrier, I realized that I could no longer leap, scramble and scamper like I once could. Now, better than when I was young, I could interpret The Riddle of the Spinx.

In Greek legend, the Sphinx devoured all travelers who could not answer the riddle it posed: “What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?” The hero Oedipus gave the answer, “Man,” causing the Sphinx’s death.

On the way back, I snagged a branch suitable for a walking stick because, alas, I felt that I had reached Evening.

The bridge

Allenville RR bridge 03-05-2016When I finally got to my target, I was glad to see that it was still mostly intact. A few feet of rails at the ends of the structure had been removed, but the bulk of the 1918 bridge was still there.

I’d like to have stuck around longer, but the light and the temperature were both falling rapidly. I didn’t want to try to pick my way through the barriers by feel.

 

 

 

March Weather and Murder

Utility lines near Allenville - Delta 03-05-2016You couldn’t beat Saturday’s March weather: winds were calm, skies were blue, temps were in the mid-60s. I decided to take advantage of it. I spent some time at Salem Cemetery, then made a quick pass through Dutchtown, and updated my old pictures of the Allenville railroad bridge. You’ll see those later.

By the time I got through with the bridge, the sun was about to dip below the horizon and the temps were dipping just about as fast. I stuck my camera in the car and was just getting in when I looked up, probably to keep from bumping my folically-challenged head on the doorframe.

These utility lines caught my eye. I was going to keep getting into the car, then my old rule kicked in: shoot it when you see it.

A view down Hwy N

Utility lines near Allenville - Delta 03-05-2016This is what you saw if you looked down Hwy N instead of up in the air. Around that curve, headed to Delta, is where one of Southeast Missouri’s unsolved murders occurred.

On July 3, 1954, Bonnie Huffman’s 1938 Ford was found parked in the middle of this road. Sixty hours later, the body of the pretty, young schoolteacher was found in a ditch nearby. Her neck was broken, and the 100-plus-degree summer temperatures had caused advanced decomposition.

Over the years, countless theories have been advanced, leads followed and suspects interviewed, all to no avail. John Blue, a reporter at the time, covered the story from the start and became obsessed with the case. When he was editor of The Missourian, he kept the story alive.

Missourian front page

1954-07-06 Missourian - Bonnie HuffmanThis is the original story on the July 6, 1954, front page. The timing of the story was unfortunate for the paper: July 4 was a Sunday, when the paper didn’t publish, and Monday was a holiday. That meant the story didn’t break until Tuesday.