Fort A Changes

155 BellvueJesse James sent me a set of photos he shot while he was in Cape over the Christmas holidays. He happened to be at the end of Bellevue, which was the site of Civil War Fort A.

The old apartment building at 155 Bellevue has been razed and the land cleared for some kind of project. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Not much of a loss

Bellvue Street - site of Civil War Fort A 04-07-2011I usually lament the passing of buildings, but this apartment wasn’t much even when I used to visit a reporter friend there in the mid-1960s. Here’s what it looked like in 2011.

I did a Missourian search to see if there had been any stories about what was going on, but nothing popped up. Most of the briefs associated with that address were miscellaneous moperies that showed up in the police briefs.

It looks like Jesse’s photo shows the tree behind the apartment has been saved.

From the air

Aerial of Fort A area at east end of Bellvue Street 04-17-2011Here’s an overview of the neighborhood taken in 2011. The apartment is the white building to the left and below the Fort A label.

A Missourian hangout

Missourian 2Arlene Southern’s apartment was the unofficial hangout for The Missourian’s younger staffers. Jerry Obermark, left, covered cops. Denny O’Neil was one of the most talented writers I ever worked with. He and Jerry went with me to cover the Buck Nelson Flying Saucer Convention in the Missouri Ozarks.

I chased former managing editor Don Gordon down in North Carolina a couple of summers ago. He still talked about how preppy-looking Mary Beth Vawter talked her way into an interview with Barry Goldwater’s wife when Barry was campaigning in Cairo in 1964.

Tall-hair Arlene was the improbable choice for religion editor. She might have been the one who made the mistake of slugging the church briefs “god junk.” Her readers weren’t happy when the composing room forgot to take the slug out before the story ran in the paper.

You notice the table is set for four. I must have been relegated to the kids’ table.

They should hire some high school kid

155 BellvueOf course, grousing about our jobs, pay, hours and assignments took up a lot of our time. I remember when the gripe stick was passed to me one night.

I said, “Yeah, they ought to hire some high school kid to do the scut work to free us up to do really important stories.” When I looked up, everybody was grinning. That’s when I realized that was exactly what The Missourian had done: I was that high school kid.

There was a rumor that some illegal herbs might have been burned in that apartment, but the group protected my innocence and never did anything like that in my presence. They probably should have loosened up a bit so I wasn’t so surprised when I got to Ohio University. The first time I went to a party, I thought, “Wow, these college students must be really poor: they’re having to share a cigarette.”

Fantastic view of river

155 BellvueThe very thing that made it a great vantage point for controlling the river during the Civil War makes it a great location to live today. I’d love to sit on a deck or balcony and watch the river go by.

View from Broadway

155 BellvueHere’s the view of the property looking north from the parking lot of what used to be the former First National bank at the corner of Broadway and Main.

Thanks to Jesse for the news tip and the photos.

13 Replies to “Fort A Changes”

  1. Wow!! The Bellevue Apartments! My sister lived in the first apartment at the foot of the stairs (by the white SUV) for a year when I was about 12-13 years old. Glad to see they finally razed it and and cleared the old trees and brush out of the way so you can now have a great view of the Mississippi River! Thanks for posting pictures of this old relic and the new view.

  2. The current owner of the lot is going to turn it into a “park like” area with a tall flag pole that can be seen from a far distance. There is also a plan to locate a replica cannon at the location.

  3. When I was in Cape just a couple of weeks ago, I drove up Bellevue to check out a house that’s for sale, and saw this old apartment building…for the last time, apparently. I knew it looked vacant, but had no idea it was to be razed.

  4. This last summer I brought my Civil War Round Table down on a tour of Cape Girardeau. One of the stops was the Fort A site. I am glad to see they are improving the site. The tour of the Civil Wars sites in Cape is interesting but the Fort A did need improving. I hope they place an appropriate marker on the site.

  5. I lived there on the top floor during my college days in the 70s. It was pretty much a dive but the view from the deck was spectacular!

  6. What never seems to be mentioned is that both sides, North and South had been quarries at one time.
    In 1914 Street Commissioner of St. Louis and another official came down and awarded contract for Limestone chips for street base, our town helped to pave St. Louis!

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