While we were on our ramble to find the Cape Girardeau Northern Railroad depot in Fruitland, and and being distracted by dandelions, we ended up on 541 east of Hwy 61 on a lane that took us up to the Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church. The door was locked, so I couldn’t go inside.
Church established in 1838
A sign in front of the well-preserved church proclaimed it was established in 1838.
Cemetery dates to 1839
A stone in the cemetery said it was established a year after the church
Visitor register in mailbox
I opened a mailbox marked “Visitors,” expecting to find a brochure or other information about the church. Instead, there was a notebook started in 1990 where visitors could leave messages.
Dialog with the dead
I leafed through a few pages of the molding and watermarked notebook and found that many of the writers had left what could best be described as dialogues with the dead. After awhile, I felt like I was intruding, listening to a private conversation at the next dinner table, and I put the book back.
The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Annunciation in Cape Girardeau, better known as St. Mary’s, will hold Palm Sunday church services April 13, after being closed most of 2014 for a facelift.
Buddy Dick McClard, Class of ’66, sent an email saying he had just finished installing six 7-foot-tall windows facing Sprigg Street and wanted to know if I wanted a sneak peak at the inside of the church. St. Mary’s and St. Vincent’s have been on my list for a long time, so this sounded like a perfect excuse.
I tried to shoot things that haven’t changed, things that have been uncovered and things that have been added. In addition, I climbed into the bell tower to capture parts of the structure that everyone in the neighborhood has heard, but few have seen. I felt comfortable doing that because Sharon had sent me a clip saying that the bells had been reinstalled in 1988 after it was feared the 2500-lbs bells might come crashing down into the church entrance. Indeed, the staircase leading to the bells was steep and narrow, but solidly built.
Photo gallery of Cathedral of St. Mary of the Annunciation
Here is a link to a Christmas Novena I shot at the church in 1967. You can compare the front of the church to these photos I took Friday afternoon. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.
Here’s another series of photos of the demolition of Trinity Lutheran Church. I’m focusing on the balcony and pews this time. I always thought it was impressive how the balcony swept out over the congregation. I always liked to sit in that section.
A simple church
The church eschewed ostentation. It was a simple, but elegant building with a distinct lack of geegaws.
The only jarring element for me was the cheap-looking acoustic tile ceiling. I often wondered what the original church ceiling was made of.
I noticed stuff like that as a kid. My first grade scrapbook contains the September 19, 1953, entry: “The whole family went to 8 o’clock church. I didn’t wiggle very much. To pass the time away, I counted 13 bugs on the wall….”
“I have loved the habitation of Thy House”
Shortly after taking those photos, I got to watch the church being dismantled, ironically under the words of Psalm 26:8, “Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house and the place where Thine honor dwelleth.” I’ll spare you the rant this time. I got that out of my system when I posted photos of the church’s altar.
Pews at Trinity Lutheran School
At least two of the pews ended up in the hallway at Trinity Lutheran School.
Trinity Lutheran Church gallery
Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the sides to move through the gallery.
I spent the day roaming around in small coal mining towns I last saw in the early 1970s. It’s funny how I would catch a glimpse of the side of a building and recognize it immediately, then pass through a whole town without a flicker
Athens Historical Society Museum curator Jessica Cyders and I met with some members of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds to see what mutual interests we might have. I photographed the architecture in town of Shawnee in 1969 for an independent study course. It felt good to see so many buildings still standing. Some are a bit wobbly, but I don’t stand so straight these days, either.
Lutheran Heritage Center
The photo above isn’t from Shawnee. It is the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum in Altenburg taken under the full moon. I described all kinds of technical machinations for shooting Tower Rock the other night. This is decidedly low-tech. I shot it out my car window. The shutter speed was slow enough that I had to turn off the motor to get it anywhere near sharp.
The moon provided some nice backlighting, but the right side of the building was a trifle dark. I moved car slightly so the headlights hit it. It would have been a little more evenly lit if I had aimed the car a little more to the left. I used that technique when I was doing a story on an old homeless guy who sold pencils on the street. I spotted him asleep on a dark park bench. Once I got the angle I wanted, I radioed another photographer to drive over and light him up.
Trinity Lutheran Church
I was was headed to drop Gerard Fiehler off at his house when we decided to see how the moon looked on the Trinity Lutheran Church. I thought a street light made the building look ugly and was turning around when I shot the photo of the center. While I was doing that, Gerard got out of the car to see if he could find an angle where we could get the moon without seeing the street light.
His diligence paid off. It’s not a great shot, but it’s pretty good for a situation I was going to blow off.