Altenburg’s Trinity Lutheran Church

Boy, there are a lot of Lutheran churches around here. THIS Trinity Lutheran Church is located in Altenburg, right next to the Lutheran Heritage Museum and Cultural Center that I’m always talking about.

Crucifix came over with the Saxons

This Crucifix made in Oberammergau, Germany, came over with the Saxons in 1839. The Last Supper was installed in the altar in 1938.

Chalice dates to 14th or 15th Century

This chalice, used for Communion until it was retired in 1966, is estimated to date to the 14th or 15 Century.

Tin ceiling added in 1892

A friend of mine looked at the ceiling and couldn’t decide whether it was plaster or plastic. It turns out that it’s the original tin ceiling that was put in place in 1892 for $400. The church, which was dedicated in 1867, cost $18,000.

Organ cost $2,000 in 1912

The pipes are part of an array in an organ that cost $2,000 in 1912. It was refurbished in 2009 for about $140,000. Interestingly enough, the five outside pipes on each side of the 17 are dummies that are not connected to a wind source.

I know that because it was one of the pictures in my 2012 Glimpses of East Perry County calendar. Since the year is half over, I bet museum director Carla Jordan would make you a great deal on any she has left. Even if you don’t use the calendar, you can cut out the photos.

1838 Baptismal tray

This silver baptismal tray dated 1838 has been used in the baptism of every member of the church since its founding.

Photo Gallery of Trinity Lutheran Church

I could tell you more about the pictures, but if you enjoy old churches, you owe it to yourself to go up to the museum for a tour of the building. They are open daily 10-4. Here’s a link to their website. The staff members will make you feel right at home. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the photo to move through the gallery.


Wittenberg Minus One

Kristie Freeman called Wednesday afternoon to say that her stepfather, David Holley, had lost his battle with lung cancer, and to ask if they could use one of my photos in his obit. When I went to see him July 18, 2011, he was actually in better shape than some folks in Altenburg had led me to believe.

Chemo treatment had left Holley gaunt and his beard had picked up some gray, but he was still the same old storyteller with a gentle manner and a twinkle in his eye. “I’m on my third round of chemo,” he said. “I’m hoping I’m in the 60% that makes it, but I haven’t had a whole lot of luck in my life,” he added, matter of factly.

Wittenberg, a once-thriving Mississippi River German settlement community, was down to two buildings – the house Dave and his wife lived in and the former post office. The floods of 1973 and 1993 had pretty much washed the town away.

Wittenberg Bomb Shelter

Back in the 60s, I did a bunch of pictures of the town, including his house, which had been a brewery, and the “Wittenberg Bomb Shelter,” caverns that had been used to cool and store the beer.

Holley and his home

In October 2009, I knocked on the door of the old brewery and a long-haired David Holley came out and graciously gave me a tour of the old caverns.

Part cave, part manmade

Holley said the brewers took advantage of a natural cave in the hillside, then added on to the front of it with bricks and stone.

Caverns are well-preserved

Despite being over a hundred years old and receiving little or no maintenance, the old beer cellars are remarkably well-preserved.

The last train robbery

Holley was a natural storyteller. Without any preamble, he launched into a story about the last train robbery in Missouri that ended in gunfire almost in front of his house in the 20s. I’m glad I was able to capture it on video.

Holley’s stories took very little editing. He had a knack for being able to tell it short and sweet.

Always searching for treasures

He was a storehouse of knowledge. He could talk about train robberies one minute, then point out the scrape marks made by steel-wheeled beer carts in the rocks in his front yard. He enjoyed roaming around the ruins of the German settler community looking for old horseshoes and other memorabilia.

Our last visit

I captured about five minutes of video of Holley talking about recent and past floods and the whirlpool at Tower Rock that could swallow up a 30-foot cottonwood snag. Midway through the account, he tells about how he’d have to put his four-year-old daughter in a boat at midnight to pick up his wife coming home from work when floodwaters had them cut off. She’d start off doing a great job of holding a flashlight so he could pick his way through the trees, but then she’d start shining it around in the air like a coonhunter, he said with a chuckle.

David Holley Obituary

Here is the obituary from McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center:

Charles David Holley, 59, of Wittenberg passed away Wednesday, April 11, 2012, at his home.

He was born May 25, 1952, in Memphis, Tenn., son of the late Charles Edward Holley and Ada Ruth (nee Tony) Holley of Memphis, Tn. He and Joanne Byerly were married July 11, 1987.

David worked as a deck hand and laborer until he was no longer able to work due to declining health. He loved the outdoors, especially exploring for Indian artifacts and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. David enjoyed spending time with his family, friends and always had a story to share or a helping hand for anyone. He also served in the US Marine Corps from 1970-1972.

In addition to his loving wife and mother, survivors include step daughter, Kristie (Dusty) Freeman of Herculaneum, Mo.; daughters Melanie Yount of Imperial, Mo; and Rachel Holley of the home; a brother, Clifford Holley and a sister, Pam Holden both of Memphis, Tenn.; two sisters-in-law, Janet Tyner of Jonesboro, Ark.; Barbara (Fred) Graham of Catron, Mo; two brothers-in-law, Bill (Shirley) Byerly of Fairhope, Al; Rick (Camilla) Byerly of Chaffee, Mo., five grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and many cousins and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father.

Christmas Exhibit and My Calendar

My 2012 Glimpses of East Perry County calendar is available at the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum in Altenburg and at Annie Laurie’s Antiques in Cape Girardeau. I’m pleased with the way the project turned out. Despite the “East Perry County” in the title, the photos should appeal to anyone who likes scenic photos, the Mississippi River, historical landmarks and quirky stories. I tried to pick images that you could enjoy for a month.

They’ll be available both places for $14. I’ll list contact information at the end.

Tower Rock book available

Tower Rock: “A Demon that Devours Travelers” has gone into its second printing. (OK, so the first press run wasn’t all THAT big until I could be sure I wouldn’t have a shed full of them.) It’s available at the Altenburg Museum. The price is $14. They’ll mail it for an additional $5 shipping and handling.

It’s worth a drive up to Altenburg

Admission to the museum is free. It’s worth a drive up there to see this year’s themed Christmas exhibit with more than 30 trees. Here’s what the exhibit looked like last year.

Photo hint of the day

Most of the room light in the museum and the Christmas tree lights are tungsten (old-fashioned light bulbs). They produce a warm glow that your eyes and brain translates into normal shades without us thinking about it. I didn’t realize how much color plays a part in how we perceive things until I had an assignment to shoot color photos in a grocery store. When I saw the film, I discovered that the store used red-tinted bulbs in the meat aisle to make meats look more attractive; green tints in the produce cases and yellow lights in the bakery to make the breads prettier.

This is what this tree and ornament looked like with my camera’s color balance set to Automatic (which usually works fine). Notice how “warm” the colors look.

Change the color balance to Tungsten

This is what happened when I changed the color balance menu to Tungsten, meaning he camera added a bluish digital filter to the image to compensate for the overly yellowish tint imparted by the bulbs. This comes closer to being how your eye would see it. In this case, however, you may find that you are a warm dragonfly person instead of a cold butterfly person. Most of the Christmas tree photos were taken with the Tungsten color balance turned on.

Christmas exhibit photo gallery

Here are what some of the trees looked like. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

Sneak peek at January

I try not to be back here in January because this is how I remember the month: gray, gloomy and cloudy, with just a hint of color from time to time to keep you from going bonkers. My February photo is a bit more colorful.

Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum

P.O. Box 53
75 Church Street, Altenburg, Missouri 63732

Open daily 10:00am – 4:00pm (free admission)

Telephone: 573-824-6070 Email:

Museum Website

Annie Laurie’s Antiques

536 Broadway; Cape Girardeau, MO 63701 (at the corner of Broadway and Frederick across from Shivelbine’s)

Telephone: 573-339-1301 Email:

Annie Laurie’s website (or click on her ad on this page)

Calendar Sneak Peek

Here’s a sneak peek of a project that I’m way overdue finishing. I’m hoping to get to the printers this week to have a 2012 calendar available before it’s 2013. I’ve got folks proofreading and swatting technical flies, so these two pages may change. The cover shows Tower Rock in the autumn. I’ve tried to pick photos that you won’t mind looking at for a month at a time. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

World’s longest suspension pipeline bridge

March is a pastoral look at what is said to be the world’s longest suspension pipeline bridge. The other months will have photographs taken in Altenburg, Wittenberg and Frohna. Every once in awhile I slip up and let some real facts show up in a caption, but I try to keep the same breezy style you find here.

The calendar, like my book, Tower Rock: “A Demon That Devours Travelers,” will be available at the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to tell you when it’s available. Carla Jordan and the folks at the museum have been great to let me dabble in publishing before I try to do some bigger projects I have on the list.