Pavement Ends by James Baughn en-us What timing: Today is the 85th anniversary of the debut of the Clydesdales Cape Girardeau has been enjoying the visit by the Budweiser Clydesdales, especially Saturday's mini-parade around downtown. What most people probably don't realize is that this date, April 7, marks the 85th anniversary of the first legal beer sales following Prohibition -- and the debut of the Clydesdales, one of the most successful marketing icons ever. Following the November 1932 election, it was clear that popular opinion had turned against outlawing alcohol sales, but it... Sat, 07 Apr 2018 21:12:54 -0500 At least the waterfalls are flowing "What a nice winter we're having this spring!" That quote from social media succinctly describes the less-than-optimal weather we've been experiencing. Cold and wet weather, however, does have a silver lining: the waterfalls in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois are flowing nicely. Here is a roundup of some of the more impressive falls that are best visited following heavy rains (or snowmelt). Hickory Canyons Falls (Ste. Genevieve County, MO) Hickory... Thu, 05 Apr 2018 16:48:09 -0500 Ten visits to Tower Rock Every trip to Tower Rock is different. The changing seasons, sky conditions, sun angles, and river stages create a new scene each time. Sometimes the water level is very high, leaving the rock as a small island in the Mississippi River surrounded by turbulent water. As the river stage drops, more of the limestone monolith is revealed, and "bathtub rings" emerge on its surface. During droughts, the river drops low enough to create a land bridge with the Missouri shore, a rare and... Fri, 12 Jan 2018 10:34:21 -0600 The Frankenmuth connection For years, Interstate 55 north of Fruitland has been graced with a billboard advertising Bronner's Christmas Wonderland at Frankenmuth, Michigan. It's a bit of an odd thing to advertise here, considering that Frankenmuth is located 650 miles away and requires a solid 9 hour drive. That's a long haul to go shopping. Sitting between Saginaw and Flint in a relatively boring part of Michigan, Frankenmuth doesn't seem like an obvious tourist draw. But this small town... Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:00:00 -0600 Guide to this year's Christmas church tours Each year, the local Christmas church tours continue to grow in size and popularity. First up for 2017 is the Southern Country Church Tour of Cape Girardeau County featuring 5 churches open during these hours: Saturday, Dec. 9: 4-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10: 1-4 p.m. The following week brings the big Christmas Country Church Tour covering portions of Perry, Bollinger, and Cape Girardeau counties, with a grand total of 32 locations open during these hours: Thursday, Dec. 14: 2-9... Fri, 08 Dec 2017 09:00:00 -0600 Graves with a view: Tour of the area's scenic cemeteries This Halloween season brought out many spooky stories and legends about local cemeteries. However, graveyards don't always have to be the scary domain of hauntings and horrors. They can be beautiful, too. Here is a roundup of the some of the more pleasant cemeteries that I've found in the region -- if you visit during the daytime. Cobden Cemetery If not for the headstones, the terrain at Cobden's city cemetery could pass as a miniature version of nearby Giant City State... Thu, 02 Nov 2017 09:00:00 -0500 Blog without words: Four seasons at Old Lorimier Cemetery Mon, 30 Oct 2017 14:09:30 -0500 A visit to the Mississippi River headwaters (or close enough) "The Mississippi River carries the mud of thirty states and two provinces 2,000 miles south to the delta and deposits 500 million tons of it there every year. The business of the Mississippi, which it will accomplish in time, is methodically to transport all of Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico." -- Charles Kuralt We're accustomed to seeing the Mississippi River as a powerful force of nature that cannot be completely tamed by man. It's a river that delivers "500-year... Tue, 24 Oct 2017 09:00:00 -0500 Happy Missouri Day! Did you know that the third Wednesday of October is officially designated as "Missouri Day"? According to Chapter 9 of the revised statutes of Missouri, this day is "set apart as a day commemorative of Missouri history to be observed by the teachers and pupils of schools with the appropriate exercises." The statute continues with this highfalutin language: "The people of the state of Missouri, and the educational, commercial, political, civic, religious and... Wed, 18 Oct 2017 08:00:00 -0500 We need an offramp from the Mississippi River Imagine if Interstate 55 didn't have any exits near Cape Girardeau. That would be really bad, right? Yet we do have a situation like that, but with the Mississippi River instead of the interstate. The lack of facilities for recreational boaters means that we are -- dare I say it -- missing the boat. We sit at a key spot on the inland waterway system: our stretch of the Mississippi River is the sole connecting link between the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions. As a result, we see a... Tue, 03 Oct 2017 10:00:00 -0500 Quick roundup of early fall events The official start of fall is only days away, which means that the calendar starts to fill with community events trying to take advantage of the brief stretch of pleasant weather sandwiched between summer and winter. Here is a roundup of history and nature events coming in the next couple weeks: U.S. Grant Symposium, Tuesday, Sept. 19 The Kellerman Foundation for Historic Preservation is hosting the Fourth Annual U.S. Grant Symposium in conjunction with an exhibit of Grant memorabilia.... Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:40:23 -0500 Streetcar not desired: The rise and fall of the Cape Girardeau trolley system Although it ceased operations 83 years ago, the Cape Girardeau street railway had an outsized influence on the city's history, one that still echoes today. The former streetcar system has been loosely reincarnated in the form of a free downtown "trolley" -- although this modern version is more of a bus than a streetcar. It does, however, follow a vaguely similar route to the original streetcar loop, with the casino taking the place of the terminus at the shoe factory. Meanwhile,... Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:30:00 -0500 Lorimier's pagoda turns 100 years old, but Lorimier's elm tree is no more The concrete pagoda at Old Lorimier Cemetery was dedicated a century ago on Aug. 5, 1917. The ladies of the Cemetery Association raised money to build the protective structure above the graves of town founder Louis Lorimier and his wife Charlotte. Featuring a keynote address by historian Louis Houck, the dedication ceremony was described by the Daily Republican newspaper as a "solemn occasion, beautiful in its simplicity, sublime in its meaning and patriotic in its consummation." Since... Sat, 05 Aug 2017 20:02:06 -0500 Have you picked out your spot for the solar eclipse? The time is fast approaching to decide on your strategy for watching the August 21 solar eclipse. If you live or work within the path of totality, then it makes perfect sense to stay put. You don't have to fight any crowds, worry about getting stuck in traffic, or wait in line at a porta-pottie because nature always calls at the worst possible time. Still, you may want to head north or east where the eclipse will last longer. Or find a place where the scenery is more dramatic so you... Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:56:32 -0500 Visiting Ball Mill Resurgence during a flash flood I've heard the rumor for years: after an exceptionally heavy rain, Ball Mill Resurgence in Perry County will tumble rocks with such ferocity that the sound can be heard for miles away. Well, that's the rumor anyway. It's safe to say that our recent round of flash flooding could be described as an exceptionally heavy rain event. So here was the perfect chance to see if the rumor is true. I reached Ball Mill not long after the rain had ended, a trip that was complicated by... Thu, 25 May 2017 10:46:40 -0500 Don Robinson State Park: Missouri's newest state park that is open I've written recently about Jay Nixon State Park, the most inaccessible (and controversial) state park in Missouri. In January, at around the same time that Nixon's boondoggle was announced, the Department of Natural Resources also announced the opening of another new park, Don Robinson State Park. This park sits at the other end of the spectrum: it's very accessible, featuring an entrance drive with a roundabout and divided highway, and a paved wheelchair accessible trail. This park has... Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:00:00 -0500 The shut-ins hidden in plain sight This blog is called "Pavement Ends" because I typically venture away from paved roads -- and maybe civilization in general -- to find scenic and unusual places. But sometimes the best gems are actually located right along busy highways. The trick is knowing where to stop and look. One of these hidden surprises can be found along Highway 72 between Ironton and Fredericktown. Heading toward Ironton, the road passes Lake Killarney and then crosses a large arch bridge over... Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:00:00 -0600 Jay Nixon State Park (Part 2): Missouri's most inaccessible state park In my last blog I described the surprise naming of Jay Nixon State Park, the resulting controversy, and attempts by lawmakers to fight back. Since then, the story has taken another twist. Within the last few days, the Department of Natural Resources website has been updated with this terse notice about Jay Nixon State Park: "Park Closed. No Access." The news release that announced the park has been deleted from the website as well. So now what? Clearly something is brewing at... Fri, 10 Feb 2017 09:30:00 -0600 Jay Nixon State Park: Missouri's most controversial park Just days before the end of Gov. Jay Nixon's term, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued a surprise announcement about the creation of "Jay Nixon State Park" in Reynolds County. The first surprise, of course, was the name. No state park has ever been named after a governor while still in office. This led to the obvious joke: How big is Jay Nixon's ego? Answer: 1,230 acres. But that wasn't the only surprise. The announcement was strangely vague about... Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:00:00 -0600 Five nearby places to look for bald eagles January frequently brings mediocre weather in the form of ice storms, smothering fog, cold rain, and even thundersnow. But when the weather does cooperate, this is the best time of year to dust off the binoculars and go searching for bald eagles. The Highway 3 corridor from McClure to Olive Branch in Illinois offers ample eagle viewing spots just a short drive from Cape Girardeau. Here are some of the best places to check out: Thebes Gap It's rare that a new highway is more... Mon, 16 Jan 2017 13:30:00 -0600