Capaha Park Lagoon Algae

Scott Moyers did a story in Tuesday’s Missourian about Capaha Park Lagoon’s algae problem. This isn’t exactly a new problem. Here are some pictures from the mid and late 1960s when there was a cleanup campaign on. I’m not sure when they were taken, nor who the subjects are. A couple of the men look familiar, but I’m going to let someone else put names to the faces.

Lagoon dates to early 1900s

Scott’s story says the 3.5 acre lagoon was put in shortly after the property was transformed into a fairgrounds. The city acquired it in 1914. Generations of Cape Girardeans have enjoyed fishing, ice skating, duck feeding and even jumping into the lagoon.

Lagoon has become shallow

Over the years, silt has filled up the lagoon to the point that it’s only about five feet deep, about half of the 10 to 12 feet years ago. Algae grows in warmer, shallower water, particularly when the summer has been as hot as this year’s. The lagoon hasn’t been dredged in about 20 years, the story pointed out. What makes me uncomfortable is a comment from Mayor Harry Rediger, who said that the permanent solution is to come from the parks department’s creation of a strategic plan for the entirety of Capaha Park.

“Another idea is to change the concept of the lake a bit.” he said. “I can’t report on it just yet, because it’s still in the planning stages. But we do intend to fix that in some manner – it’s just that how it’s to be fixed has yet to be determined.”

When city officials start talking about making changes to something that’s been a part of the community as long as Capaha Park, warning flags start waving. I look at all the park amenities that we grew up with: the lagoon, Cherry Hill, the band shell, the train from the cement plant, the pool (oops, guess we can scratch that one) and I don’t see many things I’d change. When you hear the drumbeats for “improving” Capaha Park, better start going to meetings and letting your voice be heard. We know how Bloomfield Road has been “improved.”

November 2011 aerial of Capaha Park

Broadway and Southeast Hospital are on the right. The pool is empty, but not razed yet.

Other stories about Capaha Park Lagoon

Gallery of Capaha Park Lagoon photos

A collection of photos taken over a period of time. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.




Proud Boy, Big Catfish

Seems like there has been a rash of fishing photos turning up lately. Y’all have gotten pretty good at identifying people, so I’ll post this proud fisherman with a sizable catfish.

Without any concrete evidence, it has the feel of the Capaha Park Lagoon to it. The only clue I have is that the negative sleeve was dated June 24, 1967.

Anybody want to take a stab to put a name on the boy (or the catfish) and nail down the location? I flashed on another fisherman, but it’s not any of these guys. Here’s another example of Capaha Park fisherboys.

Diversion Channel Boat Ride

When I wrote about going trotline fishing with Ed and Melinda Roberts this summer, I mentioned that the scenery along the Diversion Channel between I-55 and the mouth of the Mississippi River was different that I had expected. I thought it would be a sterile, straight ditch. It turned out surprisingly beautiful and peaceful. If you’ve always heard about trotline fishing, but never knew exactly what it was, follow the link and watch the video.

My companions were intent on getting their line set out before dark, so everything was shot from a speeding boat. One of these days, I’ll have to rent a canoe or something where I can putter around at my own speed.

Diversion Channel photo gallery

Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or ride side to move through the gallery.

Casting about at the Fair

It’s getting to be Southeast Missouri District Fair time again. That means it’s gonna be cold and rainy or hot and dusty or both. I shared photos of the 1964 Midway last year. I ran across a couple sleeves of other activities to celebrate this year’s Fair.

The caption under this September 16, 1967 Missourian photo said, “Too many fishing rods in the same place created a tangle that called for adult assistance at the casting pool at the District Fair Friday night. Chris Sawyer, whose tackle is in distress, watches intently as Richard Holekamp, middle, a state farm forester, and B.F. Carr, 2823 Lear Drive, seek to unravel matters. Young Sawyer is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Tom Sawyer, 1431 Rose.

The Carrs and the Sawyers were the big winners in the casting contest.

Photo gallery of Chris Sawyer

Chris really took his casting seriously. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery. I’ll have a few more fair pictures later in the week.