Crosses I Remember

Bald Knob Cross near Alto Pass, Ill. taken in the late 1960sEaster Sunday is a good day to look back at some of the crosses I’ve photographed over the years. We’ll start off with an aerial photo of Bald Knob Cross in Illinois at Alto Pass. Here’s how the photo was taken (and saved in the darkroom).

Bald Knob Cross from the ground

Bald Knob Cross c 1967Here’s the cross from the ground.

Ft. Jefferson Cross at the Confluence

Ft Jefferson Cross 11-20-2015The Ft. Jefferson Cross at the Confluence in Wickliffe is pretty at night. By the way you CAN make the images larger by clicking on them.

Cape LaCroix Creek marker

Cape La Croix Creek Cross 04-21-2011 The Cape LaCroix Creek marker has been a rolling stone looking for a home.

Old Lorimier Cemetery grave marker

Old Lorimier Cemetery c 1966 01When I took this photograph in the mid-1960s, the angel in the picture had wings and arms. She was vandalized twenty years later.

Elder B.A. Armour in 2013

Bishop Armour from New Madrid Baptism series 11-20-2013Elder B.A. Armour’s faith is as important to him today as it was when I photographed him baptizing people in the Mississippi River off New Madrid in 1967.

New Madrid baptism

New Mardrid Mississippi River baptism 09-03-1967Elder Armour is on the left, and J.C. Pullen is on the right. The congregants marched from the Church of God in Christ church, through downtown New Madrid, and down to the river.

St. Mary’s Cemetery

St. Mary's Cemetery 08-30-2015I photographed this cross at St. Mary’s Cemetery twice – almost exactly 48 years apart.

Judas got a raw deal

Kenneth Saunders of the Church of Judas walks through Cape 07-16-1965Ken Saunders, a British citizen, walked across the country trying to convince people that Judas really wasn’t a bad guy. He liked what he saw of Missouri.

Dutchtown Cemetery

Cemetery on top hill in Dutchtown 10-27-2011This old wooden cross is in the Dutchtown Cemetery on a ridge overlooking the slowly diminishing community below it. The dead outnumber the living.

St. Vincent’s Church at sunset

St. Vincent's Church at sunset 07-03-2012I was really planning to shoot Fourth of July fireworks, but St. Vincent’s Church at sunset caught my eye.

Crucifix came over with the Saxons

Altenburg Trinity Lutheran Church 11-08-2011_7588This Crucifix in Altenburg’s Trinity Lutheran Church, was made in Oberammergau, Germany, and came over with the Saxons in 1839. The Last Supper was installed in the altar in 1938.

Guardian Angels Catholic Church

Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran 02-03-2013The Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oran is one of the most ornate houses of worship in the area.


Ft. Jefferson Cross at the Confluence

Ft Jefferson Cross 11-20-2015Curator Jessica and I were headed to the Discovery Park of America so she could steal some ideas for the new museum the Athens County Historical Society was moving into. We decided to avoid the Interstate, which put us going through Cairo and Wickliffe.

About half a mile south of Wickliffe on U.S. 51, we spotted a 90-foot cross off the right side of the road. At first, I thought we might have made a wrong turn and had hit the Bald Knob Cross in Alto Pass, Ill. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

First cross was at Ancient Buried City

Ft Jefferson Cross 11-20-2015No, it wasn’t the Bald Knob Cross. It was the Fort Jefferson Cross at the Confluence. This project started in 1937, when a small cross was erected in Wickliffe at what was then called the Ancient Buried City. It was replaced with a 35-foot cross in 1951.

After almost 15 years of planning and fundraising, this 90-foot cross was erected on a two-acre site leased from the city of Wickliffe for 100 years. By the time the project was completed, the costs had nearly doubled, to about $300,000.

The goal was to create an object large enough that it could be seen from the tri-state area of Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri, and be close to the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

Impressive at night

Ft Jefferson Cross 11-20-2015The cross was eye-catching in the afternoon light, but I figured it would be even more impressive if it was lit at night. It was. Admission is free. There is plenty of parking.

Kudzu Can Grow On You

Kudzu Wickliffe 07-25-2014Just east of Wickliffe on 121, there’s a stretch of road about a mile long that has always felt spooky to me. In the summertime, all of the trees on either side of the road are covered in Kudzu.

The green photos were taken July 25, 2014.

I’m keeping my distance

Kudzu Wickliffe 07-25-2014When I pulled of to take these photos, I kept my distance. It felt like if you got too close, the vines would reach out and drag you into the greenery like a spider pulling a fly into its web.

Kudzu doesn’t like cold

Kudzu Wickliffe KY 04-01-2014If you drive through there after a freeze, though, it’s a different story.

The brown photos were taken April 1, 2014.

Introduced in 1876

Kudzu Wickliffe 07-25-2014Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, The Amazing Story of Kudzu website says. The Japanese built a beautiful garden filled with plants from their country. The large leaves and sweet-smelling blossoms captured in imagination of American gardeners who used it for ornamental purposes.

Too much of a good thing

Kudzu Wickliffe 07-25-2014The Soil Conservation Service promoted Kudzu for erosion control in the 1930s, and farmers were paid as much as eight dollars an acre to plant the vines in the 1940s.

The problem was that Kudzu grows TOO well: as much as a foot a day during summer months, and up to sixty feet a year. The U.S. stopped advocating the use of the plant in 1953 because it would overwhelm everything in its path – trees, utility poles, fences, crops and slow-moving cattle. (OK, I made that last one up.)

Lots of uses

Kudzu Wickliffe KY 04-01-2014The Kudzu website lists a variety of uses for the prolific plant, but I know what I’d do with it if I ever had an annoying neighbor. I’d plant a stand of Kudzu on the property line, point to the neighbor’s house and say, “Sic ’em.” With luck, the plant would cover the house in no time. You wouldn’t even want to think what would happen to the inhabitants (unless you have a really, dark, twisted mind).

Click on the photos to make them larger, but I’d stay at least a foot away from the monitor if you are a slow reader.