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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.

“There’s a Train!”


Rod Thompson - Cheesecakes at Mystical retreat 10-27-2013Curator Jessica and I decided to take the old two-lane U.S. 50 from Athens west so she could see what it was like to make the drive in the old days. We saw lots of great old buildings that had been lovingly restored in a lot of towns a shadow of the size of Cape.

I thought I had to do a lot of U-turns when Friend Shari spotted antique shops. I think Jessica and I averaged about 12 miles per hour during the first 75 miles because of stops, meanders and backtracks. Actually, I like that kind of traveling.

World’s greatest cheesecakes

I especially liked it when she made me turn around to visit the Cheesecakes at Mystical Retreat (“Possibly the world’s greatest cheesecake” said the sign). Co-owner and “Maker, Baker and Taker” Rod Thompson gave us a choice of flavors to sample. I had the Coconut Cream Cheesecake. I thought the $5 per slice price was a bit high until I felt the heft of it and found I could hardly eat half a piece when I got to the motel.

If you go by 107 West Main Street on U.S. 50 in Bainbridge, OH, do a U-turn. It’s worth it.

“There’s a train!”

Train LaGrange Ky 10-27-2013Despite our slow start, we made pretty good time to LaGrange, KY, just east of Louisville. I stayed there on my trip to Ohio last week. We elected to get something to eat and stop early where the rooms are cheaper than going on to Louisville.

She thought she saw a listing for something on Main Street that sounded good. It had changed hands and was closed, so I pulled sort of close to the curb while we both pecked away at keyboards for alternate eating establishments.

Suddenly, Jessica exclaimed, “There’s a train right there.”

Indeed, she was right. A freight train was passing uncomfortably close to my side of the car. Neither one of us had heard it sound a warning. I guess the engineer saw he had plenty of room (by his standards) and didn’t bother. While we were waiting, we saw the flashing lights of some emergency vehicles delayed by the train. I hope somebody’s house didn’t burn down because of the wait.

It made me think of a recent Facebook thread about the Missouri Pacific (previously Houck) railroad tracks that ran down Independence in the old days. It was quite a shock to new drivers to look up and see a train coming at them.

Fred Lynch had a photo of that in his blog last year.

8 comments to “There’s a Train!”

  • Carla Jordan

    Please deliver Jessica safely to her new friends in Missouri.

  • Bunny Waddell

    The Bainbridge area has many places to explore! There is a large Amish community nearby with a wonderful bakery, general store, woodworkers, fresh produce and flowers. Also The Arc of Appalachia has preserved the natural land in the area. You would enjoy a day exploring in the area! The Seven Caves and Serpent’s Mound are two favorites!

  • Terry Hopkins

    ah…touring in the old grand style, when travel was an event, not JUST the fastest way from point A to point B, do tell us more!

  • April

    12 miles an hour? That sounds like a geocachers pace. Wait, it’s worse. I just did the math on my trip across the state yesterday. I averaged 27 miles an hour.

  • Keith Robinson

    Ken, some municipalities really push for the railroads to create Quiet Zones; crossings where no train horn is blown at crossings. Normally in Quiet Zones, the grade crossings are re-configured so that there no way to drive around the crossing gates and the tracks are therefore fully protected. Looking at your picture I see none of the telltale indications of such a crossing, rather it looks like street-running track.

    • A nearby shopkeeper said that the downtown area IS a quiet zone. So long as the engineer doesn’t think a vehicle poses a threat, they don’t blow. About 31 CSX trains a day go through the street.

  • Sally Dirks

    I lived on Independence, so seeing the train was not unusual; we ignored it. One very early SEMO homecoming morning I was trudging north on Pacific street to campus and stepped off the curb without thinking or looking (probably still asleep). I just about got myself run over by a very silent train. The engineer must not have wanted to awaken the neighbors on a Saturday morning. It sounded like heavy breathing from a big black monster.

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