This April 17, 2011, aerial shows just how close to the Natatorium the cement plant’s quarry has advanced over the years. The main section is at its maximum depth and the plant is starting to strip off the overburden on the north and west sides to expand in that direction.
The plant’s manager told me that he’s doing everything he can to keep from taking the tiny plot of ground the old indoor pool sits on. Click on the photo to make it larger.
Earlier Natatorium stories
These northbound towboats pushing a string of barges were off Marquette Island south of Cape Girardeau when I shot them sometime around 1964. The white smoke at the top left is from the cement plant.
Click on the photo to make it larger.
Like running in molasses
I’m still recovering from the data drive that went south. The backup restoration has been running for more than 24 hours and has recovered all but about 10,000 files out of 487,776. It’s still churning away, but because the rebuild is taking 99% of the CPU cycles, memory and disk access, everything else is running like that nightmare I have from time time time: the one where the bad guys are chasing me, but I’m running like I’m in a swimming pool full of molasses. I think I’d prefer that to a slow, non-responsive computer.
I hope things will be back to normal by Tuesday morning.
When I was riding U.S. 61 last month, I kept my eye open for the tell-tale white coating that let you know that you were coming up on Ste. Genevieve. When I was a kid, the whole landscape was covered with a white powder that looked like snow. If it had just started raining, it turned the roadway into a slurry that was slick as grease on glass and would coat your windshield with impenetrable goo.
Established quarry and kilns in 1920s
The company’s website said the company was founded as the Mississippi Sand Company in Alton in 1907. It opened a limestone quarry at the Ste. Genevieve site in the 1920s and built four vertical kilns. By the end of the decade, seven more were added. A gas-fired kiln was added in 1998.
Stacks still puffing
There’s still a lot of something coming out of the stacks, but most of the particulates must have been removed these days. You could still see white deposits here and there around buildings, but the grass and roadway were clear. It was kind of hazy, so the pictures aren’t as pretty as if it had been a clear day with blue skies.
When people say you can’t clean up the environment and stay in business, I can only point to Mississippi Lime and the cement plant in Cape, both of which have been around for a century, give or take.
I always have to take a spin down South Sprigg Street to check out the cement plant and ride out to the Diversion Channel on what used to be U.S. 61 before I-55 was built. The trip has been complicated a bit by a huge sinkhole that’s closed the road off at Cape LaCroix Creek since the spring flood. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)
Where did that farm come from?
When I got to the bridge, I pulled into a road to turn around. There I saw something I’d never noticed before: an old farm house with a sign that read “Farmer Owned Prairie Farms Sprigg Street Dairy.”
Fresh No-Trespassing signs
I’m pretty casual with No Trespassing signs if I think I can meet someone friendly. These signs were fresh and the light was about gone, so I figured I’d file this away for a future visit. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed that farm over the years.
Train in the distance
My attention was drawn to the train whistle of a BNSF freight. I hustled over to get a shot of it crossing the 1929 railroad bridge Niece Laurie and I photographed last year.
Old Federal Materials building
I swiveled to catch the train headed toward the cement plant with the old Federal Materials building in the foreground. The original Blue Hole BBQ was right across the street from this building.
Sinkhole patch about done
Looks like Sprigg Street is about to open. There’s only a little patch left to go. I wonder how long it’ll be before the street gets swallowed up again.