Snow Comes to Cape

The weather folks have been teasing us all week telling us that a big snow storm (they call it an “event”) is coming. We had a little God Dandruff scatter for a few minutes earlier in the week, but Wednesday was supposed to be the biggie.

I had to go to the Jackson Walmart to have some prints made. As I backed out of the driveway, some fairly sizable flakes were getting organized, but I wasn’t worried. Just as I closed the car door, I noticed how the flag was nicely backlit, and some of the flakes were popping out. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

Rose bush looks like cotton field

Since I was already almost to Jackson, and because I had some time to kill, I decided to have a combo, slaw, fries and a Mr. Pibb at Wibb’s.

By the time I finished, there was serious snow on the road. I got behind a slow driver going up the steep hill next to the city park, and I kept thinking, “If this guy don’t dial some giddy-up, we’re going to spin out here.”

There wasn’t a bread and milk freak-out going on at Walmart when I picked up my prints, but a lot of baskets were filled with snow melt.

Hwy 61 between Jackson and Cape was covered. I got in behind a snow plow (at a safe distance), but parts of the road were still slick. Even going up Kingsway Drive kept my traction control popping on and off.

I looked at the rose bush in the front yard, and was glad I had a nice, warm house to hide away in.

Memories of snow and smack

I’m pretty cautious about driving on snow and ice because I learned at an early age that just because you can go doesn’t mean you can stop. Jim Stone, Carol Klarsfeld and I were checking out the sights on a steep hill near Bertling when we came around a curve and saw a car on our side of the road.

I put on the brakes, but gravity was not on our side. We slowly crashed into the other car with my tank of a 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon. My car suffered so little damage I didn’t bother to take a photo of it. The other guy was less lucky.

OK, I’ll go take a look

After pacing around in the kitchen for a few minutes, temptation overcame good sense and I grabbed for a jacket and headed out.

I learned as a Missourian photographer, that there are a few places in Cape that are like shooting fish in a barrel when it’s time to come up with some weather or wild art.

Capaha Park and the train is one of them.

A heavy, wet snow

This may be one of those great snows that turns out to be very pretty, but probably won’t stick around long. Roads that were pretty treacherous when I set out were already plowed or in the process of being plowed by the time I headed back.

This was taken near the new pavilion in Capaha Park that overlooks where the pool used to be.

Next stop: SEMO

It took two passes to shoot this picture of Academic Hall. When I got right in front of the building, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a bus coming up behind me. I figured I’d better keep going to give him room.

Then, I saw him turn off.

When I made my second pass, I managed to get off a few frames before a car showed up in the mirror again. What are those fools doing out on a night like this?

A swing and a miss

I felt like I had to shoot something along Broadway. These trees and utility pole caught my eye, but I’m not overjoyed with the result.

Oh, well, you can strike out 7 of 10 times at bat, and still make a million bucks a year.

Main Street decorations

Some other folks had posted pictures of Main Street’s decorations on Facebook before the snow, so I actually got out of the car to shoot this.

Lady Liberty and Freedom Corner

This situation looked better than it photographed. I’m including it because it was the second time I got out of the car.

As I stepped off the curb, I thought, “Please don’t let this slush be deep enough to fill my shoe.”

It wasn’t.

I was acutely aware of the possibility, because the night before I was pricing a pair of old-fashioned galoshes that I could slip over my shoes when confronted with mud, slush or snow. When I saw the price, I decided my toes could get pretty chilly before I’d spring for overshoes.

I decided that I had cheated death enough, so I hung it up and headed home. My meanderings didn’t produce any great art, but it felt good to check snow off the year’s bucket list.

 

 

Dome Darkening Nicely

Academic Hall dome 10-110-2014

Academic Hall’s dome has lost the copper shine it had when I photographed it in March of 2013.

March 2013 with shiny copper

Academic Hall dome 03-02-2013

I wonder how long it’ll take to get the nice, green patina the old dome had? Here are some earlier stories about Academic Hall.

 

Cement Plant from SEMO

Cement Plant from North Henderson 10-10-2014

I wanted to get an updated photo of the dome of Academic Hall to contrast with the shiny copper dome I took in the spring of 2013. On my way down North Henderson on a drizzly afternoon, the cement plant popped up above the horizon.

As you can see, the trees around here are just starting to turn. I was afraid all the dry weather would cause the leaves to turn brown and fall off before we saw the neat colors.

Louis Houck’s Statuary Collection

Louis Houck's Statuary Collection 04-25-2014 Yesterday we showed the exterior of the old First Baptist Church, now Southeast Missouri State University’s Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center. Today, as promised, we’ll “go inside” to see the Barbara Hope Kem Statuary Hall, an auditorium created from the former church’s sanctuary.

I thought the layout of the sanctuary area where the statues are displayed looked a little strange for a church. Two of my readers commented that was because the banks wanted to hedge their bets, so they required that the building be constructed so it could be used as a theater in case the church couldn’t pay off the loan. The balcony, Liz Lockhart wrote, even had space for a projection booth, should it ever be needed.

Plaster casts came from 1904 World’s Fair

Louis Houck's Statuary Collection 04-25-2014The statues and other pieces of artwork were bought by Louis Houck after he saw the August Gerber’s reproductions of classical, medieval, renaissance, and modern art works displayed at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. He acquired the casts for $1,888.25.

Lauren Kellogg Disalvo’s master’s thesis, THE AURA OF REPRODUCTION: PLASTER CAST COLLECTIONS AT THE 1904 LOUISIANA PURCHASE EXPOSITION, contains a large section on Houck’s purchase.

Disalvo writes that Houck’s donation of the statuary stipulated that a room be dedicated to them where they could be permanently displayed. The display opened in March of 1905 with the statues in Academic Hall.

Statues damaged and destroyed

Louis Houck's Statuary Collection 04-25-2014The casts remained there until 1959, when they were dispersed all over campus to make room for additional classroom space. They suffered from benign neglect over the years, with many being damaged or destroyed. One of my readers wrote that he had seen broken statues in the basement of Academic Hall when he was a student.

(For all I know, Venus de Milo might have had both her arms before SEMO got hold of her.)

Judy Crow takes up the cause

Louis Houck's Statuary Collection 04-25-2014In 1975, my friend, Judy Crow, Missourian librarian, wrote a story bemoaning the fate of the Houck collection.

The result was, Disalvo writes, “the plaster casts were gathered, restored and transferred to the Southeast Missouri Regional Museum. The casts remained in the museum until it relocated to the new Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Southeast Missouri Regional Museum. According to the museum director, Dr. Stanley Grand, the plaster casts were not included in this new museum since the new museum would focus on the archaeology, history, and fine arts of the Southeast Missouri region.”

I’m not surprised that the River Campus, which knocked down the handball courts, one of the Cape’s oldest landmarks, couldn’t find room for Houck’s donation. The irony is the university probably wouldn’t be in Cape Girardeau today had Houck not used his influence to rebuild Academic Hall after the first one burned down.

Class of 1957 raised $100,000

Louis Houck's Statuary Collection 04-25-2014In 2007, the Class of 1957 raised $100,000 to have the remaining 38 surviving casts restored and moved to the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center, formerly the First Baptist Church, where they now line the walls of an auditorium area, called the Barbara Hope Kem Statuary Hall.

The display is open to the public. Admission is free. I think Houck would approve.

Louis Houck Statuary photo gallery

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

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.