Pavement Ends by James Baughn en-us Blog without words: Union Pacific No. 844 steam locomotive makes brief stop in Scott City Wed, 19 Oct 2016 14:29:57 -0500 Union Pacific steam locomotive passing through on Wednesday Five years ago, the Union Pacific No. 844 steam locomotive made a stop at Cape Girardeau, drawing large crowds. On Wednesday, Oct. 19, the same locomotive will be traveling through the area, but this visit will be fleeting, with only brief stops at Chester, Gorham, Wolf Lake, Scott City, and Bloomfield before spending one night at Dexter. The locomotive is headed to Memphis for the grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 22, of the new Big River Crossing, a walkway attached to the Harahan Bridge... Sun, 16 Oct 2016 23:09:57 -0500 Possibly coming soon to Cape Girardeau: The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Ste. Genevieve has been in the news lately as the pieces are coming together to establish a national park there. A feasibility study conducted by the National Park Service highly recommends the new park, and bills are pending in Congress to make it happen. Meanwhile, the National Park Service also has good news for Cape Girardeau. The agency has recently published another study that supports extending the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail to the east, bringing it through... Wed, 07 Sep 2016 09:00:00 -0500 The Capahas in 1916: When the ceremonial first pitch actually counted We all know the drill. You arrive early to a St. Louis Cardinals game to make sure you don't miss out on getting a Yadier Molina garden gnome or a Bo Hart bobblehead or whatever the team is giving away that night to the first 30,000 fans with a paid admission. Your reward for getting to the stadium early is to watch the pre-game festivities, including the ceremonial first pitch. And then the second ceremonial first pitch. And another. Finally, when the fourth VIP takes the field... Wed, 17 Aug 2016 14:00:00 -0500 The mystery of sunflowers July weather is awfully brutal for outside exploring, but there is one place in Cape Girardeau County that is worth visiting even on a ridiculously hot day: the sunflower patches at Maintz Wildlife Area near Oak Ridge. This year, several acres of sunflowers have been planted at multiple locations around the conservation area. I've been trying to capture the perfect photo at Maintz for several years, but I've been thwarted each time by a different problem. Either the sunflowers... Wed, 20 Jul 2016 11:00:00 -0500 What's up with the extra "e" in Sainte Genevieve? Sainte Genevieve has been making headlines with a bill introduced into Congress to establish a new unit of the national park system: the Ste. Genevieve National Historic Site. The final feasibility study, released a few weeks ago, states that the town "stands alone in terms of the character, quality, quantity, and rarity of its resources." Of particular interest are the French-style vertical log houses. North America only has five remaining poteaux-en-terre (post-in-the-ground)... Fri, 03 Jun 2016 17:00:00 -0500 Where the pavement has ended for over 90 years I've written before about the old highway between Charleston and Birds Point in Mississippi County. Although portions of the road were destroyed in the aftermath of the 2011 flood, some sections of vintage concrete pavement from 1921 are still intact. More recently, I've discovered that the New Madrid Floodway is home to a pair of other historic concrete roads, and these landmarks have a peculiar feature: they are only nine feet wide. Since the pavement was only wide enough... Fri, 15 Apr 2016 10:00:00 -0500 The daffodils are here Spring is certainly in the air as the daffodils are in full bloom. Taking a drive through the Oak Ridge area, I spotted daffodils along almost every road. Here is a quick gallery showing where to find them. ** New Salem Church and Cemetery, Route AA, Daisy ** Route D south of Oak Ridge ** Cape County Road 459 ** Route E near I-55 ** Sargent's Chapel, Bollinger County Road 234 (see my previous blog about the mile-long stretch of daffodils that a local family planted decades... Sun, 13 Mar 2016 22:52:17 -0500 What's it like to have Garden of the Gods to yourself? Every time I've been to Garden of the Gods in Illinois, the crowds have been intense. Visitors arrive from across the country, and even the world, to the tune of around 150,000 people per year. It's easy to see why: the views from the Observation Trail are spectacular, but only require a short walk. Camel Rock, the most popular landmark along the trail, will even be featured soon on a U.S. quarter design. On Saturday, with nearly 8 inches of snow on the ground, the crowds were... Sun, 24 Jan 2016 19:55:28 -0600 Cape's floodwall -- as envisioned in 1954 The latest round of record-setting flooding on the Mississippi River provided another reminder about the usefulness of the downtown floodwall. It also, however, provided a stark reminder that some parts of Cape Girardeau are not protected by floodwalls and levees, particularly the Red Star neighborhood. That's not for a lack of trying, though. In 1950, Congress directed the Corps of Engineers to develop a flood protection plan for Cape. The Corps envisioned a series of levees and... Thu, 21 Jan 2016 11:30:00 -0600 The four seasons at Rock Springs Summer: Fall: Winter: Flood: Fri, 01 Jan 2016 09:51:52 -0600 Country Church Tour is turning into a Midwest tourist draw Thanks to an effective Facebook campaign and an article in AAA Midwest Traveler magazine, this year's Christmas Country Church Tour brought larger crowds than ever. Greeters at several churches said they were amazed at the number of visitors traveling long distances and spending the night so they could participate both days. Tour buses also followed the route, including a group led by a historical society from the St. Louis suburb of Crestwood. This annual event has turned into quite the... Sat, 19 Dec 2015 14:38:47 -0600 Scenes from the Southern Country Church Tour Our record warm temperatures this weekend made it harder to get into the Christmas spirit, but that didn't stop churches around Gordonville and Tilsit from showing off their decorations during the first-ever Southern Country Church Tour. I've blogged in previous years about the popular "Northern" Country Church Tour covering portions of Perry, Cape Girardeau, and Bollinger counties, now in its 11th year. That tour is scheduled for Thursday and Friday this week, Dec. 17-18, from 3 PM to 9... Mon, 14 Dec 2015 09:30:00 -0600 The Aquamsi mystery I recently blogged that Themis Street is the only street with that name in the country. Cape Girardeau also has another nationally unique name: Aquamsi Street. Like Themis, the name Aquamsi has a classical feel. The "aqua" part suggests a connection to water and the Mississippi River. Since Aquamsi Street serves as the southern continuation of Water Street, it's logical to conclude that Aquamsi was an erudite way of referring to the river and the water's edge. At least that's what I've... Tue, 08 Dec 2015 10:00:00 -0600 Return visit to the Panther Den Five years ago, I wrote about the difficulty in reaching the Panther Den Wilderness in the Shawnee National Forest. The situation has improved since then. The gravel access road isn't as rough, the damaged culvert has been replaced, the trail has been reconstructed in places, and new trail markers have been posted. A street sign -- which has become encapsulated by a tree -- marks the turnoff for Panther Den Lane, the access road. This narrow gravel road ends at a small parking... Fri, 30 Oct 2015 14:30:00 -0500 Welcome to Fall: The Pavement Ends Roundup of History and Hiking Events Now that we've reached the first full day of autumn, we're entering prime time for hiking adventures, community festivals, cemetery walks, and other special events scheduled to take advantage of this brief period of nice weather before we encounter the Polar Vortex again. Here's a roundup of events during the next couple months that have piqued my interest: --- **Quilt Tour Sat. Sept. 26 @ 9 AM-4 PM and Sun. Sept. 27 @ Noon-4 PMCape Girardeau and Jackson Four historic sites are... Thu, 24 Sep 2015 16:30:00 -0500 The Thomas Posey mystery It could be the stuff of a Dan Brown novel. Two different people uncover evidence that a U.S. President had a youthful indiscretion producing a child out of wedlock, but both researchers die before they can publish their findings. Rumors of the presidential dalliance continue to swirl despite the lack of hard evidence. The president in question is none other than George Washington. If the legend has any truth to it, Washington was the father of Thomas Posey, a Revolutionary War hero buried... Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:00:00 -0500 The story behind Themis Street Cape Girardeau is the home to the only Themis Street in the entire United States. An exhaustive search of the U.S. Census Bureau's "TIGER" database does not reveal any other streets, roads, highways, or lanes of any kind bearing the name Themis. Other nationally unique names in Cape include Aquamsi, Thilenius, Beaudean, and Campster. Surprisingly, Cape Rock Drive is not unique: Prescott, Arizona, sports a cul-de-sac with the name Cape Rock Pass. Lorimier Street would seem like another... Mon, 24 Aug 2015 17:00:00 -0500 First look at the Cape riverwalk extension Now that the river has dropped and the barricades have been removed, it's now possible to explore the southern extension of the Cape Girardeau riverwalk. Although not completely finished -- one last section of concrete apparently needs to be poured on the far end -- the riverwalk addition is looking good. The walkway now reaches the location of the old traffic bridge and provides a different perspective on the new bridge. Wed, 12 Aug 2015 13:59:16 -0500 National Geographic building tourism website for the Mississippi River At a meeting Wednesday at the Cape Girardeau Public Library, representatives from the National Geographic Society and federal agencies introduced a new tourism website that will feature attractions and businesses along the Mississippi River. The website targets "geotourism", or those travelers seeking unique and authentic destinations. Of course, that concept fits in nicely with this blog, since I avoid tourist traps like the plague. A preliminary version of the website is online at... Wed, 29 Jul 2015 21:55:26 -0500