- Cape student sues, accuses school officials of slamming her to ground multiple times (04/28/16)48
- Neelys Landing man shot, killed by highway patrol trooper after traffic stop (05/01/16)43
- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
- Missouri House votes to allow concealed weapons without permits (04/28/16)8
- Police report filed, but no charges in incident at Cape Central (04/29/16)40
- 2016 All-Missourian Boys Basketball (04/29/16)
- Statement: Man says copsí good work drove him to grow his own marijuana (05/01/16)1
- Two hurt in motorcycle wreck on Interstate 55 (04/25/16)1
- Senator introduces bill for I-57 that would connect Sikeston with Little Rock (04/28/16)4
- River Ridge Winery changes hands (05/02/16)
Camp Weingarten evidence remains
I recently learned a World War II prisoner-of-war camp was built about 70 miles north of Cape Girardeau at Weingarten, Mo. It held about 5,000 Italian soldiers captured during the war. They worked for pay to help ease the manpower shortage because Americans were gone to fight.
I wondered what evidence remained today of the camp that was in operation for just two years. I looked on the Internet and found a picture of a stone fireplace that was part of the officers' mess hall at the camp, along with a concrete slab that was a tennis court.
So I set out to see this for myself. Mapquest made it easy, and because Weingarten is small, I located the site quickly. It is off the beaten path, actually in a residential backyard. Nothing else around suggested the presence of thousands of POWs.
While studying the scene, a man came up to me and offered to show me around. Gary Huck told me he leases the property from his mother-in-law, who acquired it from the U.S. government, which bought up land for the camp and then sold it after the war. His property is adjacent, and his driveway was the main road to the prisoner-of-war camp.
We walked over to the fireplace. It was then that I realized the mess hall had been built above ground, as some concrete pillars remained near the fireplace. Huck said he uses the tennis court to work on his farm equipment. "My kids had their graduation parties out here," he said. "If I could recycle all the concrete on this property, I'd be a millionaire."
While I examined the stonework, he asked, "Are you in a hurry?" No. "Would you like a tour?" Absolutely. So armed with my point-and-shoot (inspired by David Crowe's minimalist approach to photography), I climbed aboard Huck's four-wheeler and traveled back in time. These pictures provide a glimpse of a mostly unknown chapter of history.