The U.S. Corps of Engineers Motor Vessel Mississippi was docked at the Cape Girardeau riverfront August 14 and 15. I thought it might be neater to see it at dusk than daylight, so I went Friday night.
It was a perfect night, with the temps in the middle 70s for a change. Throngs of people crawled all over the boat, billed as the largest diesel towboat built in the United States. To save myself a bunch of typing, I’ll just give you a link to The MV Mississippi’s website.
After I posted the photo of Red Star flooding in 1993, Reader Andy Pemberton commented, “The 1993 picture is dramatic! It looks like the levee / floodwall could be topped at any time.”
These aerials of the downtown DO make the flood look pretty scary. That’s a lot of water being held back and not a lot of freeboard. The murals are the wet side of the floodwall are barely visible.
Broadway intersects with Water Street on the right. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)
Had a way to go
If you look at the high water marks in this 2012 photo of the open floodgate, you can see the water still had a way to go before topping the wall, but I’ve seen towboats throw up wakes that high.
Close call in 2011
The floodwall makes a little jog on the left of the picture, at the foot of Independence Street. When I walked the riverfront in April of 2011, I noticed that some work was being done on that section. I found out later that the repairs were six to 12 months ahead of schedule because of $4 million in stimulus money that had been approved in 2009.
One of The Missourian’s normal grousers complained after the news of the stimulus broke, “…thanks to the federal stimulus bill…Yeah, they had a few extra bucks laying around that they were kind enough to share. So sweet! That 6 to 12 months gained will take years for our kids to pay for. Thanks kids!”
I’m sure Cape would have sustained more than $4 million in damage had that project not been sped up.
When I ran the picture of the Town Plaza from the 1962 Girardot, I commented that the shopping center wasn’t much different than downtown’s Main Street, except that it had ample and free parking.
That got me to thinking of this 2011 aerial of the Old Town Cape shopping area. You don’t realize how compact Cape Girardeau is until you see that downtown was essentially bounded by Broadway on the north and Independence on the south. Themis hit a dead end at Spanish at the foot of the Common Pleas Courthouse hill. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)
The last time I wrote about 101 North Main it was because it was on the list of the most endangered buildings in Cape Girardeau. I told Mother that I expected it would be a parking lot the next time I hit town. The upper story was leaning out over sidewalk and a big cable looked like it was holding the building together.
I am happy to report that the historic building has been pulled back from the abyss. It’s got a long way to go, but I’m not afraid to walk next to it now. The Common Pleas Courthouse is up the hill on the left and the building that was once Hecht’s Department Store is on the right. You can click on the images to make them larger.
The building has been repaired to the point the restraining cable is no longer needed and the plywood tunnel that protected passersby from possible falling bricks has been removed.
The old building had been the Sturdivant Bank (the oldest bank in Southeast Missouri), the site of Cape’s first long distance phone call, Minnen’s Dress Shop and Cape Wiggery, among other things. Here is more of 101 North Main’s history. Its neighbor, the St. Charles Hotel, home to General Grant in the Civil War, was torn down in 1967.