Fruitland Quarry in News Again

Fruitland’s Strack Quarry is back in the news again. I’m not even going to try to figure out what the latest wrangle is all about. I’ll let you go to Keith Lewis‘ story in The Missourian to try to figure out how a quarry that had approval to operate and which has moved a bunch of overburden and started poking a big hole in the ground can be told to put the brakes on.

When I was home last summer, I climbed a berm in on the south side of the Saxony Lutheran High School and shot a 360-degree panorama with the school behind me and a graveled area that is on the quarry property in front of me. I’ve marked the photo with compass directions to make it a little clearer. Click on the photo to make it larger.

Aerial looking north

I took this aerial photo April 17, 2011. The quarry property would be at the bottom of the picture.The yellow X marks the approximate place I was standing when I took the panorama. Highway 61 is at the top left. The Y-shaped building near the center of the photo is the high school.

Google Map shows scope of work


View Larger Map
This Google Map will give you an idea of how much land has been cleared for the project. If I’m reading the latest ruling correctly, the pit itself is outside the 1,000-foot latest requirement, but the latest interpretation would require the whole operation to be 1,000 feet away, even though the north end of the property alongside CR 601 is behind a berm that is as high as the rooftop of the school.

Area quarry stories



Downtown Cape Panorama

This panorama photo is made up of six aerial photos taken April 17, 2010. It ranges from William Street on the left to north of Broadway on the right. The western boundary is just beyond Fountain St. The gray parking lot at the top left is Cape’s City Hall on Independence

Most panoramas are taken from one spot and the camera swiveled on a tripod. In this case, the “tripod” was Ernie Chiles’ plane flying along at about 100 mph. Because the angle was constantly changing, there is some freaky distortions of the buildings on the edges of the photo, particularly St. Vincent’s Cathedral on the left. Still, it’s a neat effect. I made it larger than usual, so you may have to scroll around to see it all.

 Broadway Theater was a panorama

When I shot the interior of the Broadway theater, I stitched together six photos to show the whole room. It’s a way to cover a wide area if you don’t have a super wideangle lens.

The super-secret assignment

I haven’t fooled around much with panoramas because they were a real pain back in the days of film and paper prints. One day The Big Boss called me in and said he needed some aerial photography done for a super secret project for someone he wouldn’t name. I wasn’t supposed to discuss the assignment. Some days you ask questions. Some days you salute and say, “Yes Sir.” This was the latter.

In 2012, you’d call up Google Earth and have what you wanted in minutes, but this was in the days when the Google Earth guys were still wearing diapers, so that wasn’t an option.

The chopper ride was the fun part

So, I chartered a helicopter, took the door off, put on a safety harness, stood on the skid and leaned out into space so I could shoot straight down as much as possible. It was cool. Because the boss wanted a couple block area covered and in close detail, we flew multiple grids and I banged off a couple hundred frames. That was the easy and fun part.

When I got into the darkroom, though, I realized that I wasn’t as smart as Photoshop is today. No matter how straight to the ground I had tried to hold the camera, there was always a slight angle that kept the prints from lining up.

The next day, I spread out enough prints on The Big Boss’s floor to just above cover the whole shebang. I explained the technical problem, then I handed him two sheets of aerial photos of the area from the county’s tax assessor. He said I wouldn’t need to muck with making the prints; the county photos would do fine. (He was pleased enough with my ingenious solution that he didn’t think to ask why I hadn’t done that in the first place.)

So, what was the whole super secret deal about? I have no idea to this day. From time to time I’d drive through the neighborhood to see if any changes were taking place, but nothing ever sprouted up. I don’t know if the project was scuttled or what happened. At least I got a neat chopper ride out of it.

Other downtown shots

Downtown Cape Girardeau from the air and ground (includes other links)

Common Pleas Courthouse from the air

St. Vincent’s Cathedral and downtown