Wife Lila wanted to go to the Mississippi River overlook that used to be the traffic bridge. Along the way, we saw that not only had the historic handball courts been demolished, but that the beautiful view of the St. Vincent’s Seminary was also being lost. Sorry for the quality of the photo: it was the wrong time of day to shoot in that direction.
This is what you used to see
This nice, peaceful green space is what used to welcome you to Cape when you crossed the bridge.
Here’s what is going up
You’ll never know what the old seminary looked like from the south side. Let’s hear it for SEMO’s historic preservation program.
Earlier rants and stories
Don’t go looking for one of Cape’s oldest and best-known landmarks – the old handball courts in front of St. Vincent’s College, AKA Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus. Here’s how the courts, which may have been the oldest in the country, looked February 12, 2013.
The courts on July 7, 2013
Depending on which account you read, the courts date to the founding of the college in 1843 or 10 years later. Either way, they were one of the oldest structures in town until the university decided to destroy them and the green space that had welcomed travelers to Cape Girardeau from the opening of the Traffic Bridge in 1928 to its closing in 2003.
Earlier stories about the courts
SEMO teaches historic preservation
A school that claims to teach historic preservation does a lousy job of making preservation a priority when it comes to university projects. I’m only half surprised Academic Hall is being renovated instead of being turned into a parking lot. Click on any photo to make it larger.
I was planning to write about Happy Hollow, but I ran across so many good stories I decided to hold off until I can do it justice. Here’s a piece of the Happy Hollow neighborhood that has what Missourian blogger James Baughn says may have been the oldest bridge in Cape Girardeau.You should read his blog entry about two bridges here that spanned Good Hope and William Streets. Reading his account will boost his traffic stats and save me some typing. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)
Louis Houck decided to use area between Independence and William Streets for his railroad depot, rail yard and other facilities. You might remember the large three-story stone building near where the federal courthouse is today. I wish I had some photos of it, but it was torn down before I started documenting things like that. This trench and overpasses provided a south approach to the rail yard.
Aerial of South Fountain area
The bridges were taken out and the area filled in when South Fountain Street was extended to River Campus. River Campus is on the left side of the photo. The approach to the old Mississippi River Traffic Bridge is at the east end of Morgan Oak.
View south from William Street
The street was still under construction when this was shot November 9, 2010, but it is open now.
I wonder if ghost whistles of Louis Houck’s engines can still be heard in the neighborhood at night. I’m sure reader Keith Robinson will tell us much more about the railroad.