Nighttime Old Town Cape from the Common Pleas Courthouse

I have a favorite night shot of the Common Pleas Courthouse and Port Cape Girardeau taken from the Themis St. floodgate looking west, so I thought I’d see what it looked like from the other side.

This is shooting down the courthouse hill looking east down Themis St. The floodgate at the end of the street is closed because the Mississippi River is at about 36 feet.

Loose shot or tight shot?

I couldn’t decide whether or not I liked it as a wideangle or a slightly tighter photo. Electrons are cheap, so you get both.

There are some tiny smudges in the tight shot in the middle of the sky. You can calls them puffs of smoke if you like, but I think they are specular highlights from the street lights bouncing around between the lens elements. What the heck, let’s go back to calling them puffs of smoke. That sounds more interesting.

Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge from the Courthouse

While putzing around trying to get this shot composed, (for the record, I don’t care much for it) a young woman materialized from the shadows. We exchanged some pleasantries and she disappeared. There was an elderly gentleman sitting on a park bench nearby and he said, “Do you reckon we scared her off?”

Shana Gemoules, stairclimber supreme

About five minutes later, she showed up again.

“Did you just run up those courthouse stairs? Twice? On purpose?”

“Yes. It was three times.Yes. I’m training for a triathlon in Florida in April.”

When she disappeared down the hill again, the man on the park bench said, “Tell her there are 55 steps, not counting the landings.”

When she got back to the top, she was barely breathing hard and her heart rate was in the low 170s (resting is usually 52 BPM, she said.) A stint of working in a downtown restaurant where she had to hump meals up three floors prepared her for running up and down the courthouse steps, she said.

Getting ready to go car-free

Shana, who grew up in Perryville, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and has worked at a variety of local resturaunts. She’s at Imo’s Pizza now, a place she rates highly for its employee-friendly management and good food.

Right now, she’s working to get debt-free and to sell her car to cut expenses. Cape is small enough that she feels like she can get around on foot or or her bike. Her boyfriend lives in a house with three other guys. The four of them make do with one car for those times when they go a long distance or need to carry something bulky.

When she finished her fifth climb up the hill, she said she was going to call it a night. All of the talk about food and restaurants had made her hungry.

I waited until she had run out of sight before I headed to my car. I wasn’t going to insult her or embarrass me by offering her a ride.

5 Replies to “Nighttime Old Town Cape from the Common Pleas Courthouse”

  1. Great pictures! Personally, I like the wider angle because you can see the lamp posts going down along side the courthouse steps – wish they had been lighted! I remember returning for a visit to Cape after many years and thinking early Alzheimers was setting in because I didn’t “remember” the street clock. Turns out it was added after I moved away.

  2. I can’t get over all the lights on the Illinois side of the river! I had no idea. Beautiful pictures and the runner . . . kids!

  3. Wow…all these years and NEVER once did I think of running up the steps at the courthouse!
    I guess with all the other hills and stuff around I never got that far from the west side of town.
    The old Snake Hill on Cape Rock was a real bear at times.
    The top hill in town for running up, in my humble opinion, would be Bertling hill. Start at Sprig Street going west and there is slow incline to West End Blvd.,( this killed your momentum) at that point the grade increases markedly. Up, up you go until about 100 yard from the top the grade increases again! We called it the “lip” and it killed you!

    If you Court House runner wants a good work have her include Bertling Hill on her run!

  4. Terry,

    I never ran unless someone was chasing me and I took comfort in knowing that I didn’t have to be the fastest person: I just had to be faster than the slowest person.

    You’ll be disappointed to hear Snake Hill has been “dumbed down” with wider, more gentle curves. I guess Cape Girardeans either can’t keep it on the road or they didn’t want to thin the herd of bad drivers like in the old days.

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