There have been a bunch of posts on Facebook recently talking about the old Capaha Park pool. On top of that, I’ve been documenting the slow progress of the pavilion being built on the hill overlooking where the pool used to be.
Buddy Terry Hopkins is back in Cape for a visit, and he sent me photos of what the site looks like today. Terry’s one of those glass-half-full kind of guys, so he added the comment, “Looks like in the future, kids will still be able to enjoy this spot.”
Not quite the same
Being a half-empty kind of guy, I replied, “Not quite the same.”
What stays the same?
Terry doesn’t take the bait, “No, it’s not the same, but what in this world stays the same? A new generation and new memories from the same old place,” he replied.
At least Dinky survived
I’m sure kids will have some fond memories, but I can’t see many of them spending all day hanging around a pavilion like we did the swimming pool.
When your parents dropped you off in the morning to go swimming, they had a reasonable expectation that you were going to be safe, watched over by trained lifeguards in a controlled environment.
When they picked you up at the end of the swimming day, you’d be pruney, reeking of chlorine, starving and ready for bed.
But, looking on the bright side, Dinky, the train, is still there for more generations to climb on.
Sorry for another Capaha Park story, but I post ’em as I find ’em. We were cutting across from Normal coming back from the university (something that won’t be possible when the all of the new master plan goes into effect), when I spotted dirt being moved on the hill just east of the old swimming pool.
That’s when I remembered seeing a brief in The Missourian about a new pavilion being built there. The March 28, 2014, story mentioned that the ground was being cleared, that the new structure should arrive in April and be installed in May or June.
The buildings in the background are part of Southeast Hospital.
Dinky will stay
A November 9, 2012, story assured residents that “Dinky,” the train that has been a park fixture for about half a century will stay.
Here is a link to the city’s master plan of park “improvements.” I put quotes around “improvements,” because I saw how Bloomfield Road was “improved,” so I’m withholding judgement.
Tuesday was a fun day. I got to speak to Dr. Lily Santoro’s Local Techniques in History class at SEMO. I brought along Carla Jordan from the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum in case the kids got rowdy. As it turned out, they were a very attentive group: the laughed where appropriate and were somber where appropriate. I hope they enjoyed the experience as much as I did.
I promised the group I would keep providing links to the subject matter they had been assigned, so here are stories about Arena and Capaha Parks.
Capaha Park Lagoon
Capaha park has many different facets, so I’ll break pieces of it apart. The lagoon is in more-or-less the center of the park. It was one of the first places I fished by myself. Except for one monster crappie I caught to win a rod and reel in a fishing contest, my results were mostly unremarkable.
Capaha Park Pool
The Capaha Park pool was THE place to be in the summer months. Wife Lila and her best friend were lifeguards there. When the pool was razed, they shared some powerful memories. She had a tear in her eye the first time she came back to Cape and saw it gone.
General Park stories and photos
Arena Park was best known for the District Fair, stockcar races, animal exhibits and the train.
I’m sitting here in Florida where the temperature is 77.4 degrees (the heat index drops it to 71 degrees), listening through the wonders of the Internet to police calls 1,100 miles away in Southeast Missouri. It sounds like an afternoon and evening of slip, slip, sliding away. The poor guys running the plows and salt trucks are getting Super Bowl updates on their two-way radios, but I don’t think they are overly happy being out there. The radio traffic overall has dropped off. that’s a good sign that those with sense aren’t venturing onto the roads.
Anyway, here’s a photo that might give you hope that another warm July 21 day will come again just like it did in 1967. Of course, that diver’s granddaughter won’t be able to duplicate that dive because Capaha Park Pool is nothing but a memory now. (Click on the photo to make it larger.)
I must have gotten a special waiver on the rule that “if you climb up the ladder to the high dive, there’s only one way down – off the board.” Maybe it’s because I knew one of the lifeguards.