Capaha Field

I spent many an afternoon and evening shooting baseball at the ball field at Capaha Park. I’ll publish more photos when I run across them. This one from the late 60s just happened to bubble up about the time I came back from shooting what the field looks like today.

I always thought of it as the American Legion Field, but the scoreboard calls it Capaha Field today.

Ballfield, pool and lagoon

This shots shows what Capaha Field, the lagoon and the pool looked like Apr. 17, 2011. When the pool closed at the end of the 2010 season, it closed for good.

Cherry Hill is at the bottom of the frame; West End Blvd. is at the top.

Who was Ron Michel?

There was a plaque indicating “Dugouts refurbished 2002 in honor of Ron Michel.” The name didn’t ring a bell, so I did a quick search. Missourian sports writer Marty Mishow wrote a tribute to Michel, who died of a heart attack in 2001 at 57. He had pitched briefly in the minor leagues, for a long time with the Capahas, and then served as a summer coach.

Whoever put up signs around the field has this crazy idea that putting quote marks around words is the way you emphasize them. Since the field is used by SEMO, maybe that’s one of the new things being taught at the University.

Photo Gallery of Capaha Field

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery. The field has gotten spiffier over the years, but it’s nice to see that it’s still possible to pull up a car and tailgate.

Jerry Beaver: Pladium and D’Ladiums

The building at 1127 Broadway has housed drug stores, grills, soda fountains and some other businesses that have fallen through the cracks of history. For most of our generation, though, it’s been the Pladium and, more recently, D’Ladiums.

The one constant has been Jerry Beaver, who manages the place from his throne – a 1940s or 1950s barber chair- bought to celebrate Jerry’s reaching Social Security age.

Bar and poolroom started as drug store

The building was originally built by the Dormeyer family in 1929 for use as a drug store. It opened in 1930. The dark door at the right of the building used to lead to the basement, which was called The Cellar and used as a soda fountain. In later years, it became The Dungeon and The Marine Room, Jerry said.

Jerry “Big Dog” Priest opened Pladium

Jerry ” Big Dog” Priest, a noted pool player, opened the Pladium in the late 50s. Jerry (the Beaver one) worked there for about 30 years, then he went to work for the new owners. He still wears his trademark shorts, no matter what the weather is like. Serious pool is still a big draw.

House of escapades

A couple of my Central classmates (who should probably remain anonymous unless they choose to identify themselves) were chatting on Facebook about escapades at the Pladium.

  • I low crawled 25 yards out of the Pladium one night.
  • I can beat that….I was carried out of the Pladium one night.
  • I did get put in the penalty box for 2 weeks by Bigdog for riding a Honda 305 scrambler motorcycle into the Pladium one Saturday morning.

Decades of smoke stain ceiling

The bar is definitely a smoking area. One of the customers pointed out the difference between ceiling tiles that have been there for years vs. the ones that have been replaced fairly recently.

Memorabilia covers walls

The walls are covered with trophies, license plates and photos of customers.

Jerry rules with firm, gentle hand

Bartender Emily Banach and customer Chris Eastridge agreed that Jerry, who knows almost everyone by name (and what they drink), keeps things under control with a firm, but gentle touch. Most customers, they said, are pretty well-behaved.

Gallery of D’Ladiums’ Photos

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

Bartender Emily Banach and customer Chris Eastridge agreed that Jerry, a Vietnam vet, takes care of any problems that come up quickly and quietly. Generally, though, most of the customers are well-behaved.

Cub Scouts at Arena Park

Virtual buddy Missourian photographer Fred Lynch dredged up a Frony photo of square dancing in the Arena Building from the 50s.

I have a variety of photos from the park, but these of Cub Scout activities were the first that bubbled to the top of the pile. I think the Scout leader sporting the drill instructor’s campaign hat is Rich Renfro.

The flags in the background look like the same ones in Frony’s picture. I wonder if they’re still there. They could have been 48-star flags in those days.

Game with wheel and stick

Outside the Arena Building, there was some kind of competition involving rolling a wheel with a stick.

How you hold your tongue is important

Pinewood Derby Gallery

Time has not been kind to these negatives, but I’ll throw them out here anyway. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.

Capaha Park Pool Party

I got an email this morning from The City of Cape Girardeau promising that the new Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center will be opening on May 20. (Whoever came up with that name must have been paid by the word. I bet everybody ends up calling it The Water Park.)

I showed some photos of it under construction last month (and discussed Jackson’s Lickitysplit Water Slide).

Capaha Pool Dance

Let’s don’t dwell on the future, let’s wallow in the past. This appears to be a dance on the deck of the Capaha Park Pool. I don’t have a clue what the event was, when it was held or why.

It had a band

It was a big enough deal that a real band was playing and there were lots of spectators outside the fence. Despite all of the electrical cords stretched across the pool deck, apparently nobody got electrocuted. I’m pretty sure I would have remembered that.

I DO remember covering a swimming event there one night with a borrowed electronic flash. The way old-time strobes worked was that batteries would charge up a capacitor so there was lots of juice just waiting around to arch across a tube, producing a blast of light that was thousandths of a second in duration.

I was walking across the pool deck when my wet finger touched the place where the charging cord would normally plug in. There SHOULD have been a cover over those contacts, but there wasn’t.

As soon as my finger completed the electrical circuit, all of the voltage stored in the capacitor tried to light me up like a xenon tube. Failing that, it dropped me to my knees like I’d been poleaxed.

It wasn’t life-threatening, but it WAS unpleasant.

Looking for non-fried memories

This wasn’t the only time I had something like that happen. I was walking across a wet football field one night when I was knocked flat. I assumed that I had stepped in front of a play accidentally, but there was nobody around me.

I got up, took a few more steps and it happened again. Turned out that I had a short in the 510-volt battery pack that powered the electronic flash. The massive charge was looking for a path to the wet ground, and I happened to provide it.

Maybe one of you who hasn’t had his or her short / long-term memory fried by high voltages will be able to tell us who these folks are and what they are doing.