A Matter of Time

Barn near Altenberg 06-28-2013_5116When Road Warriorette Anne and I drove by this barn on MO C on the way to Altenburg in the summer of 2013, I knew it was just a matter of time before gravity won.

Being taken apart

Barn - MO C 05-06-2016While I was enjoying my usual Wednesday night feast of liver and onions at Altenburg’s Mississippi Mud Tavern, I asked Museum Cat Herder Gerard when the old barn south of town finally gave up the ghost.

He said someone was dismantling it. I’m glad to hear that it might get a new lease on life from someone who appreciates old barn wood.

The Golden Hour

MO C 04-06-2016Photographers and medical folks both talk about “The Golden Hour.” To shooters, it means that magic hour before sunset or after dawn when the light becomes softer and warmer. At least, I know it does at sunset. I rarely have an opportunity to see if it happens in the morning.

During World War I, military surgeons observed that patients who received immediate treatment had a much better survival rate than others. Dr. R. Adams Crowley said, “”There is a golden hour between life and death. If you are critically injured you have less than 60 minutes to survive. You might not die right then; it may be three days or two weeks later — but something has happened in your body that is irreparable.”

Later studies have shown there is no sudden drop off after exactly 60 minutes. It’s not the exact time that’s the key; it’s just the sooner you get help, the better.

After I took the barn photo, I turned to put my cameras back in the car and saw the effect of The Golden Hour on the road curving away in the distance with people going home. The barn picture was actually TOO golden for my taste. I dialed back the color a tad to keep it from being overpowering.

As always, you can click on the photos to make them larger.

Silver Dollar Tavern Kaput

Silver Dollar Tavern 12-07-2015_4369A reader sent a message this morning, “Ken, as I drove down 61 this morning, something was missing. I think the Silver Dollar Tavern has been razed.”

I needed to get an oil change and run some other errands, so it was almost dusk when I got up there. Indeed, the Perry county landmark was nothing but a heap of twisted, smoking debris.

I always liked seeing the old silver-clad tavern, but I have to admit that getting rid of it opens up a nice area for a park, something the town is talking about developing. As always, you can click on the photos to make them larger.

Demolition started Saturday

Silver Dollar Tavern 12-07-2015_4360Larry Hull, whose trucking company was tasked with razing the building, said the city was afraid someone would get hurt prowling around inside the old structure or that vandals might torch it, with the danger that the fire could spread to other buildings.

They started tearing it down Saturday after making sure there were no environmental hazards that would create a problem.

Names left behind

Silver Dollar Tavern 12-07-2015_4351I’m not sure if the names painted on the west basement wall are for three guys, Don, Jerry and Wood, or if Wood is a last name. Whoever they are, they were “Van’s Helpers,” probably referring to Van Ferral, who bought the tavern in March, 1965.

Basement will be filled in

Silver Dollar Tavern 12-07-2015_4345Once the debris stops burning, the basement will be filled in and the bank smoothed down. Within a few years, only memories will remain of the old watering hole that had been around since at least 1948.

Earlier Silver Dollar Tavern and Old Appleton stories

Silver Dollar Tavern 12-07-2015_4331

Y’all owe me a pair of shoes

I was being very careful walking around the mud, trying as much as I could to stay on what looked like gravel. That worked great for awhile, but, eventually, I heard a “SLUURPPP” sound as my foot hit a spot that WASN’T gravel and I felt cold, wet mud the consistency of chocolate pudding well up above my ankle. It wasn’t gumbo enough to suck my shoes off, but I don’t think I’ll be wearing them to church any time soon.

That’s a subtle plug to ask you to use that little yellow DONATE button at the top right of the page.

Perry County’s Old Burnt Mill

Burnt Mill - Perry county 11-19-2015A couple of weeks ago, a member of the Old, Abandoned and Interesting Places – Missouri Facebook group posted a photo of Old Burnt Mill in Perry county. It didn’t sound familiar to me, and none of my East Perry county friends knew where it was, so Google was the next place to turn.

My virtual buddy, James Baughn, of course, had already written about it on his Pavement Ends Missourian blog in 2010.In addition to the mill, he wrote about the oldest road in Missouri. I encourage you to follow the link to his blog. It’s always interesting reading.

Click on the photos to make them larger.

How to get there

Using his directions from Cape Girardeau:

  • Take I-55 north to the Brewer interchange (Exit 135).
  • Turn right on Route M
  • Make a left on US 61.
  • Bear left on Route NN.
  • After 3½ miles, turn left on Perry County Road 840. Drive down the hill and look for the mill on the right while crossing the bridge.

Here’s a link to a Google map I prepared showing the route to Old Burnt Mill from Cape. It’s interactive, so you can zoom in and out.

You won’t see it in the summer

Burnt Mill - Perry county 11-19-2015Even with his good directions and some (inaccurate) help from my Lady in the Sky GPS, we stumbled upon it by accident. Just before we crossed over the bridge on 840, I was looking out the driver-side window at a big pond (small lake) and said to Curator Jessica, “I think I see some old bridge piers over there.” (They turned out to be three big culvert pipes unrelated to our quest.)

Meanwhile, she’s looking out her window and said, “I think I’ve found the mill.” She, being a wife, even if not mine, was, of course, correct.

You can see from this photo taken from the bridge that it would be really hard, if not impossible, to spot if the leaves were on the trees and bushes.

History of the mill

Burnt Mill - Perry county 11-19-2015A 1963 Missourian story tells the interesting and convoluted story of the mill. The land it is on was acquired by Amose Rowark and Fransisco Valle prior to the Louisiana Purchase. A grist mill was built sometime around 1818 and changed hands a few times.

A young man named Thomas J. Brady, who had been involved in the California Gold Rush, blew into town with a sack full of gold and bought half interest in the mill for $4,000. He married a local gal, and became so well-regarded that the mill became known as Brady’s Mill, even though he was only a half-owner.

In the 1850s, the mill and mill race were destroyed by a flood. The owners were determined to build a structure that could defy the elements. The four-story stone building was erected at the water’s edge to that the strong current caused by the dam would flow through the ground floor to turn the giant stones used to grind the wheat into flour.

Fired up with whiskey

Burnt Mill - Perry county 11-19-2015When the race and mill were completed, the story goes, a barrel of whiskey was rolled out to celebrate. “The men became fired with the whiskey and declared that the Almighty Himself could not destroy the race or the mill again.

That very night, a terrific storm swept the mill race into the creek.”

The fire

Burnt Mill - Perry county 11-19-2015Employee Nicholas Rimboch locked up the mill and went home on the evening of October 12, 1866. One his way to work the next morning, he was stopped and told the mill had burned. When he got there, the ruins were still smouldering.

The cause of the fire was never determined, but there were some interesting rumors floating around. One of them was that Brady sent his son back East to secure insurance on the mill. His son, allegedly, spent the money on liquor, and returned home without the insurance, something he didn’t share with his father. His father, hoping for an insurance windfall, set fire to the mill.

Is it haunted?

Burnt Mill - Perry county 11-19-2015After the fire, one woman said she saw Brady being chased through the woods by his gun-toting half-partner. Brady “departed the community” the day after the mill burned. Years later, a body was found when a nearby pond was drained. It is unknown if the body was Brady.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons there are tales the mill is haunted.

These photos were all taken from across the creek. I didn’t want to fight my way through a fairly solid row of brambles and bushes to get to the steep, muddy slope that led to the mill. And, despite the fact that the stone structure looks much like it did in 1963 photos, I didn’t want to be standing next to it when it decided to give up the ghost (and make me one).




Old Bank Coffee Shop Opens

Old Bank Coffee Shop 11-22-2015_3413There’s a new place to catch breakfast in Altenburg. The Old Bank Coffee Shop, located in the tiny Bank of Altenburg, opened on Veterans Day

Mother Lindy Roth and daughter Anna Roth share a laugh between customers. The business is open Tuesday through Friday from 5:30 to 11:30 a.m.; from 6 until noon on Saturday, and from 10 to 1 on Sunday. They are closed Monday.

Everything is made from scratch, Lindy said. Anna’s job Sunday was to make it possible to “check in” on Facebook so they would become more visible on social media.

Photo Gallery of Old Bank Coffee Shop

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.