Old Marble Hill School

Marble Hill School 11-07-2013When I was in Marble Hill in 2013 to shoot the artesian well we used to stop at on the way to Camp Lewallen, I noticed that the old Mable Hill School had been boarded up.

The room and exterior walls look like they are in good shape. I don’t know when the building stopped being used.

Built by the WPA

Marble Hill School 11-07-2013 An inscription on the over the front door says that it was erected 1939-40 by Work Projects Admn, another one of those stimulus programs that helped employee workers during the Depression and created so many buildings still in use today.

  • On November 17, 1933, the school board purchased a new piano for the school.
  • A December 12, 1935, story reported that 29 pupils were enrolled in the school.
  • A January 17, 1940, Missourian brief said that classes for the Marble Hill grade school would be held at the old Will Mayfield College administration building because the old building is being razed for a new building.
  • Third grader Jimmy Smith, 8, who had been in a polio isolation ward at St. Francis Hospital was improved enough that he could see his parents. He became ill Tuesday and he was admitted to the hospital on Thursday. His left leg was affected by paralysis.
  • Fifteen pupils were graduated from the eighth grade of Marble Hill Grade School in May of 1956.
  • In 1957, about 60 members of the seventh and eighth grade were taken by bus for a skating party at the Jackson roller rink.







Portraits for the Ages

Bollinger County Memorial Park Marble HillI spent a lot of my younger years in Southeast Missouri cemeteries because Mother and Grandmother made a point of keeping fresh decorations on the graves of family and friends. As a child, I was fascinated by two things in the Advance cemetery where my namesake, Kenneth Welch, was buried.

A few rows over from his stone was a marker with a photograph on it. On the left as you made the circle to leave the cemetery was a wooden box with a glass cover. Inside was an intricate hair bouquet made from the deceased’s hair. The ceramic photo is still on the first marker, but there is no trace of the bouquet on the second one, and I’ve not been able to figure out which grave it marked.

Since then, I’ve been acutely aware of gravestones with photos on them. My interest was rekindled when I saw a photo of a young woman in her coffin on a stone in a church outside Gordonville.

Bollinger County Memorial Park Cemetery

Bollinger County Memorial Park Marble HillWhen Mother and I went down to the Bollinger County Memorial Park Cemetery outside Marble Hill looking for Veterans Day flag photos, I was amazed at how many graves were marked with pictures. This is the cemetery, by the way, that had the unusual shoe marker.

Some photos captured a tender moment in a pair of lives. Others were more formal. Some dated to the turn of the 20th Century, others had been taken in the past decade.

Toddler photo was hard to look at

Bollinger County Memorial Park Marble HillI had a hard time editing the photo of Ricky Dale Wiseman, who died in 1967. A bright-eyed one-year shouldn’t be beneath a tombstone. I didn’t feel floods of emotions like that until I had kids and grandsons. I guess you do acquire some wisdom with old age.


Bollinger County Memorial Park Marble HillOne large black stone had the photo of a young couple on it. (OK, RELATIVELY young: he was born two years after me.) Steve L. Chandler died in 2004; his wife, Julia M. is still living. At the bottom of the stone is a photo of “Lucky.” I have to wonder if Lucky is buried there.

Sometimes you should leave well enough alone and not do any more research. FindAGrave, carried Steve’s obit: “Steve L. Chandler, 55, of Marble Hill died Dec. 3, 2004, at his home, following an illness. He was born July 12, 1949 in Cape Girardeau, son of Lynn and Wanda (Ricketts) Chandler. He and Julia Johnson were married April 18, 1992 in Marble Hill. Mr. Chandler was a member of Lutesville Presbyterian Church and Marble Hill VFW Post 5900.

He was co-owner and pharmacy technician of the 103-year-old Chandler Drug Store in Marble Hill. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War and was awarded a Purple Heart. Survivors include his wife. He was preceded in death by a son, Austin Lynn.”

Still curious about Lucky, I expanded my search. RootsWeb’s WorldConnect project had the same obit, but it also had a link about Austin Lynn. I wish I hadn’t clicked it.

The Southeast Missourian – July 30 1992 – Marble Hill–Austin Lynn Chandler, 5, was found dead Tuesday, July 28, 1992, in Crooked Creek near Marble Hill.”

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. All thoughts of having a happy post about Lucky evaporated.

Photo gallery of grave photos

I don’t think I can handle any more obits for children tonight. Here’s a collection of some of the photos that appear on tombstones in the Bollinger County Memorial Park Cemetery. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery. I’ll post similar photos from other cemeteries from time to time.

Woodland Inn Hotel & Restaurant

Woodland Inn 11-07-2013_0110My hunger alarm started going off while we were roaming around Bollinger County shooting Veterans Day photos and the artesian well. Mother said she remembered eating at the Woodland Inn Hotel and Restaurant on the main drag of what used to be called Lutesville, but became Marble hill in 1985.

Flowers (plastic) in the window, salt and pepper shakers at the ready and a rack of sweetener were positive signs. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

The Woodland is closed and for sale

Woodland Inn 11-07-2013_0136Unfortunately, the next thing I saw was a For Sale sign in the front door. It was closed, and not just for the day.

I ran across a real estate ad that had some information about the property. It was built in 1942 (and appears from the outside to be in good shape).

It is an 11,000-square foot building. 5000 of it is a steak house with buffet serving breakfast that seats 140. Upstairs is about 6000 sq that has 18 rooms to rent as a motel. It has been just remodelled. Building and business all for one price. Great for family investment or family operations. Equipment for a full service restaurant breakfast, lunch, and dinner including a buffet. Motel was recently built and has brand new furnishings.

 Marble is the County Seat in Bollinger County. The business is the only Hotel/Steak House in town and is located in the center of the downtown area.

[If you end up buying the place because you saw it here, tell the real estate agent I want a cut of the commission.]

Good catfish and pie

Woodland Inn 11-07-2013_0139We ended up at a restaurant on the Marble Hill side of Crooked Creek next to the city park. I can’t think of the name of it, but it had excellent catfish and pie worth saving space for.


Marble Hill Artesian Well

Artesian Well on 34 west of Marble Hill 11-07-2013A trip to or from Cape Lewallen wouldn’t have been complete without a stop outside Marble Hill to fill up canteens and water jugs from an artesian well on the south side of Missouri Hwy 34. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Been on my bucket list

Artesian Well on 34 west of Marble Hill 11-07-2013Getting down to see if the spring was still flowing has been on my bucket (bad pun) list for a couple of years, so Mother and I took off to Bollinger County to see if we could find it. We headed west on Missouri Hwy 34 and thought it was near Woodland School, but we couldn’t spot it. There was a lot of road work going on, so we were afraid they might have “improved” it like, I think, Cape County is going to do to the spring off Bloomfield Road.

After driving four or five miles, we headed back toward town. There, just before the school, just like we remembered from the old days, was a nice paved parking spot right at the artesian well.

Listen to the sound of the water

I produced a short video showing where the spring is located and what it’s like. To be honest, I think the audio of the rushing water is better than the pictures. It’s worth 1:07 of your life.

Road to be dedicated December 17

Artesian Well on 34 west of Marble Hill 11-07-2013The pull-off gives you plenty of room to get off the road and would easily hold half a dozen cars parked side-by-side

The Missourian had a story that there will be a ribbon cutting December 17, 2013, to mark the completion of a project to add shoulders and curve corrections along that stretch of road.

What’s the history of the spring?

Artesian Well on 34 west of Marble Hill 11-07-2013I didn’t think it would be hard to find out when the well was drilled, how deep it is, how long it’s been flowing, etc., but I struck out. I figured if anybody would know, it would be Missourian blogger James Baughn who wrote about it in 2008. James is a pretty thorough guy, so surely it’ll be in his story.

He must have run into the same problem: about the only fact he had other than a Wikipedia definition of an artesian aquifer was that it was a test drill for oil and mineral exploration.

Cold and sweet

Artesian Well on 34 west of Marble Hill 11-07-2013When I went back down to Marble Hill to shoot the flags for Veterans Day, I made sure to bring along half a dozen gallon jugs to fill with the pure spring water for Mother to use in her coffee maker.

While researching this, I ran across a 1907 United States Geological publication called Underground Waters of Missouri – Their Geology and Utilization. It listed just about every source of water in Missouri and some of the surrounding states. This well, unfortunately, wasn’t one of them.

The section dealing with mineral waters, including Excelsior Springs, was particularly interesting. “When the the intelligent practitioner reads that a certain water is positively curative in an imposing list of diseases set forth in divers pages of testimonials from renovated statesmen, restored clergymen, and rejuvenated old ladies, and then learns from the analysis that it contains 2 or 3 grains of lime salts to the gallon, with the remaining ingredients required perhaps a third or fourth decimal point to express, he can hardly be blamed for tossing the circular into his wastebasket, with an objurgation upon quacks generally, and mineral springs quacks in particular,” Dr. Cook wrote.

OK, maybe mineral waters DO help

Artesian Well on 34 west of Marble Hill 11-07-2013Then, he conceded there COULD be some benefits: “There is no doubt that much benefit is derived from most of the health resorts connected with mineral springs or wells; and while a great deal of it is undoubtedly psychic, some is unquestionable due to the use of the waters. People who are broken down from overwork or who are troubled with many incipient diseases find at these resorts rest, which they perhaps can not get elsewhere; a change of air; a new environment; distractions from trouble; and they use, both internally and externally, perhaps a much larger amount of water than has been their custom at home; these, together with faith in the curative qualities in the water (since every wise physician recognizes faith as a helpful element in cure), form a stimulus to nature in the restoration of normal action to the functions of the body.

Just for the record, the spring waters not captured in canteens and gallon jugs, run into Crooked Creek.