Mill Hill was True Test

Dad always said that Mill Hill is where the boys would take their cars to see if they would climb. It doesn’t look steep in this photo, but it’s steep when you’re on a bicycle.

Because early cars didn’t have fuel pumps, he said that some folks had to back up the hill so that gas would get to the carburetor.

Going down Mill Hill a challenge

Of course, what goes up offers a challenge to kids who want to go down fast on roller skates, in wagons or bikes.

The July 12, 1961 Missourian carries an account of Bobby Parks’ go-kart ride down the hill:

The first ride ever on a go-kart proved to be an unfortunate one for Bobby Parks, 10, son of Mrs. Kathleen Parks, 333 N. Fountain.

Bobby and a friend, Bobby Whitley, 9, of 14 Bellevue, decided to coast down Mill St. in the 200 block at about 4 Tuesday afternoon.

Go-kart hit bump

The ride wasn’t completed, however, as the go-kart hit a bump, throwing the Parks boy, who was riding in front, and his companion to the pavement. Both boys were shaken up, but the Parks boy got the worst of it.

Doctors took six stitches in his head and treated abrasions on his arms and legs. He also underwent x-rays. The Whitley boy suffered minor scratches.

16 Replies to “Mill Hill was True Test”

  1. I lived at the top of Mill Hill. It was great to sled down but a tough walk back up! Also would ride our bikes down the hill and with a running start you could pedal ALMOST all the way back up the hill.
    It is much steeper than it appears in the picture.

  2. ah….you flat landers…the real hills in Cape are on the northside of town. The best combination for Go-karting was starting at the top on New Madrid near Perryville road, going east toward Missouri Street, turning north on to Missouri street for one block, then east on to Mississippi and ending in…welll you should stop at West End Blvd. Back in the day these Go Karts were not powered as they are today, but simple wooden 2 x 4 framed with any wheels we had on them. So the bigger or longer the hill the better the ride. This route was for the most part free of traffic and long ride…There were other hills but now were used like this one in the 50’s and 60’s. We had at least 5 running karts in the neighborhood.

    1. We may be quibbling about terms here, but I always thought go-karts were powered. Non-powered vehicles of that type were soap box derby cars (which has probably been trademarked by now).

      My brothers and I logged many miles going up and down Kingsway Drive in our little red wagon. It wasn’t as steep as a lot of the other hills, but it was long with a neat curve at the end that had a steep kick.

  3. Hey, I went down Henderson,Bertling and Huntington on a wooden go-kart as well as brookwood Masters and Janet. Lots of gut and very little brains.

    1. I lived on Henderson below Butler. There were many great hills in that neighborhood for sleds, skateboards (very early models) and, of course, bikes.
      A nice long ride was going north on Henderson starting at Dr. Crowe’s house, north of the SEMO tennis courts. Cruising down past Sailer Circle and down to Wayne. You could almost make it up the hill to Butler again.

  4. I also lived at the top of Mill hill and it was much steeper than the photo shows. In jr. high and high school, I lived at the bottom of Bertling hill and remember all the cars that had to back down when it was icy. One particularly snowy day when school was cancelled, some friends and I sledded down Henderson hill on an old refrigerator door that someone found. It’s a wonder we all survived to tell about our adventures.

    1. I’ll concede that the camera lens flattened out the hill a bit in the photo.

      Of course, all hills are a lot steeper when you’re four feet tall and going like a bat out of hell on a refrigerator door.

  5. My parents lived and met in the area around Mill Hill. I heard many stories about it from them and made many trips up and down. Does anyone remember Tow Gate Hill?
    It was Sprigg street coming in from the south into Cape. During watermelon season, the trucks “way back when” labored when full of watermelons and very slowly went up the hill. Enterprising boys would hop on the trucks and toss melons down to compadres.

    1. Dick,

      I was planning on running a series of “hill” stories. I’ve already written about Snake Hill.

      This is Mill Hill.

      Now that you’ve brought it up, I just might have to run Tollgate Hill as my next post. (It was called Tollgate, not Tow Gate, because it was on a toll road coming into Cape from South Sprigg.)

  6. Ken, which part of Kingsway? We would start at Flora Hills and Grandview down to Kingbury… end up at Kingsway.

    Real nice turn in the middle…. if you could make it.

  7. Hey, Ken, do you have any photos of snow sledding down “hills”, specifically on the terraces below the Southeast Hospital down to Broadway? What a time that was for a multitude of us in the ‘Sunset Street’ area. Going airborne off the last terrace was a hoot! All gone long ago (along with my house) owing to the expansion of the hospital.

  8. Wow Ken, that was in my back yard. But sure we showed up well after you left. Our house was built in 1970 at Kingsbury and Kingsway when we moved to Cape. We were across from the horse pasture.

    That aerial shot was before Kingsbury was even there.

  9. I lived on New Madrid and it was a good sledding hill. We had a really good snow one year in the 60s and the boys in the neighborhood brought shovels and loaded the hill with additional snow and packed it hard. I think it was the best sledding ever. That is, until the highway department made two passes with the cinders truck. That kind of ruined it. They tried to cover the cinders with more snow, but it didn’t work. Loved to slide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *