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Friday, Jan. 30, 2015
A tale of two courthouse squares
Posted Tuesday, January 20, at 11:00 AM
Cape Girardeau County holds the rare distinction of possessing two functional courthouse squares. Both of the squares in Cape Girardeau and Jackson were designed by the same person, Bartholomew Cousin. Working as Louis Lorimier's secretary, Cousin prepared the first plat map of Cape Girardeau in 1806. ...

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A short history of Jackson's traffic problems
Posted Tuesday, January 13, at 10:00 AM

Over the years, we've seen numerous ideas floated for how to improve the traffic congestion in the center of Jackson, but very little action. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Making changes to the streets around the courthouse -- whether this involves roundabouts, stoplights, blocking streets, or tearing down a perfectly good county administration building -- may only provide limited relief for Jackson's traffic woes...

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One advantage of winter hiking: ice formations
Posted Monday, January 5, at 4:00 PM

As I write this, we've had a large rainstorm followed by an Arctic blast. Although not exactly great conditions for hiking, these two ingredients are crucial for creating a spectacular yet brief sight: ice formations. The bluffs, canyons, and shut-ins of Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois provide the rugged terrain for creating frozen waterfalls, massive icicles, and other icy wonders...

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Selected scenes from the 2014 Christmas Country Church Tour
Posted Friday, December 19, at 3:05 PM

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Follow the Christmas ornaments
Posted Tuesday, December 9, at 10:00 AM

I've stumbled across many unexpected finds in the woods, but one thing I never anticipated was a fully decorated Christmas tree. This tree is the start of a series of holiday ornaments randomly placed along a trail, featuring everything from ribbons.....

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The two Byrd houses
Posted Wednesday, November 12, at 8:06 PM

The Byrd family, as I described in a recent blog, left their fingerprints over early Cape Girardeau County history. After moving from Tennessee in 1799, Amos Byrd and his sons Stephen, Abraham, John, and Moses were able to obtain generous land grants from the Spanish government. The Byrd name quickly started appearing on maps in the form of Byrd Creek, Byrd Township, and Byrd Hills...

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Halloween at Old Lorimier Cemetery
Posted Friday, October 31, at 1:44 PM

This time of year, Old Lorimier Cemetery is more picturesque than scary -- at least in broad daylight...

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Why Andrew Jackson?
Posted Monday, October 13, at 4:00 PM

We all know that Jackson, Missouri, was named for Andrew Jackson. But the real question is: why? As we celebrate Jackson's bicentennial year, this question has been nagging me. When researching the origins of town names in Missouri, my first stop is the Ramsay Place Names File. ...

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Boy, was I wrong!
Posted Sunday, October 5, at 8:57 PM

Last year, after filming wrapped on "Gone Girl", I was concerned about how Cape Girardeau would be portrayed. In the book, the fictional setting of North Carthage is described as a pretty horrible place, full of homeless people, squatters, and druggies, along with a surplus of dilapidated buildings...

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Pilot Knob commemorates 150th anniversary of Civil War battle
Posted Sunday, September 28, at 11:23 PM

Pilot Knob, Missouri, is a small town with around 750 residents. That all changes every few years when massive crowds descend on the town for reenactments of the Battle of Pilot Knob. This year's event, falling on the 150th anniversary of the battle, was the grandest yet with approximately 1,400 reenactors participating...

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Fall hiking schedule released by River-to-River Trail Society
Posted Thursday, September 11, at 10:27 PM

--- The River-to-River Trail Society announces its schedule of guided hikes in and about the Shawnee National Forest for fall, 2014. All hikes are open to the public free of charge. Most hikes are of at least moderate difficulty, intended for people in good health who have done some walking. Boots or sturdy shoes are highly recommended. Hikers should bring their own water and a snack. No dogs, please...

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Cape Girardeau selected for unique historic preservation project
Posted Tuesday, August 26, at 10:00 AM

This has been another rough year for historic sites in Cape Girardeau. The Fountain Street log house is doomed, the Marquette building is vacant, a storefront on Good Hope Street collapsed, a Queen Anne style house on William Street was demolished, the Reynolds House is still in limbo, and the owners of the Ponder House are struggling to find a use for it...

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Tour the railroad depots of Southern Illinois
Posted Wednesday, August 13, at 8:00 PM

"Nothing was more up-to-date when it was built, or is more obsolete today, than the railroad station." -- Ada Louise Huxtable, New York Times architecture critic, 1972 In the heyday of railroading, many local towns revolved around their train stations and depots. These facilities served as portals to the rest of the modern world and, as a result, functioned as important community gathering places...

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Log house on Fountain Street: It's do or die time
Posted Sunday, July 20, at 9:09 PM

I've written before the discovery of a log house at 818 N. Fountain Street, previously hidden beneath a mundane exterior. This isn't the first time something like this has happened in Cape Girardeau. In 1994, the city condemned a house at 127 S. Frederick Street. ...

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Where did Shinbone Alley come from?
Posted Tuesday, June 24, at 2:30 PM

Among all of Cape Girardeau's streets, Shinbone Alley easily has the most colorful name. It's a shame that it doesn't have any street signs. Shinbone Alley sits a half-block south of Good Hope Street in the Haarig district. One of my college professors liked to say that Cape Girardeau is a weird city because it has two downtowns. It's true: in its heyday, Haarig was just as much a "downtown" as the commercial district on Main Street...

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Summer is the best time to visit Cave Creek Glade
Posted Wednesday, June 11, at 10:00 AM

Bushwhacking through the weeds is usually not a pleasant experience in the summer, thanks to the biting insects and snakes that are lurking underneath. Nevertheless, Southern Illinois does feature one location that is well worth the effort to visit in the summer...

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Cape Girardeau's log house named to statewide most endangered list
Posted Tuesday, May 20, at 10:15 PM

I've written before about the log house that has been hiding at 818 N. Fountain Street. Today, the site was named to Missouri's Most Endangered Historic Places list. A news release from Missouri Preservation explains the situation: The current appearance of what was the Franz Schmidt Cabin -- a frame Bungalow design typical of the 1930s -- belies its original form. ...

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Explore Royal Gorge from a different angle
Posted Monday, May 12, at 11:00 AM

Iron County is lucky to have two new hiking trails completed within the last year. I've blogged previously about the Shepherd Mountain Trail, completed last summer by the City of Ironton. More recently, the Missouri Department of Conservation has opened a trail above Royal Gorge at Ketcherside Mountain Conservation Area...

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A look inside the Frizel-Welling House
Posted Wednesday, April 30, at 5:00 PM

Last year, I wrote about the Frizel-Welling House in Jackson and its listing as one of Missouri's Most Endangered Historic Places. The situation has improved greatly since then. A new owner -- Steve Ford of Franklin, Tennessee -- has purchased the property and intends to turn it into a museum...

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When mines collapse
Posted Tuesday, April 22, at 10:00 AM

Here's a shocking sight: daylight visible through a hole in a narrow ridge. It might look like a natural arch, but it's most definitely an unnatural arch. This scene is entirely man-made, the result of mining activity. It's located in Alexander County, Illinois, less than 20 miles from Cape Girardeau...

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The webmaster of seMissourian.com and its sister newspapers, James Baughn has lost track of the number of websites he manages. On the side, he maintains even more sites, including Bridgehunter.com, LandmarkHunter.com, TheCapeRock.com, and Humorix.
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