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f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Cape Girardeau aerial in detail

Posted Monday, August 25, 2014, at 12:00 AM

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G.D. Fronabarger took lots of aerial photos including this one of Cape Girardeau that we have dated about 1956 or 1957. He used a 4x5 Speed Graphic which was the high definition camera of its day. We are able to enlarge the image to see details.

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The area of trees in the center of the photo was known as Happy Hollow. Read more in this blog: Happy Hollow cleanup 1935 In the foreground is the intersection of Sprigg and Independence streets.

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This section shows Sprigg street in the center connecting with the Haarig community.

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At Sprigg and Independence is Grace Methodist Church. Across Sprigg is James Wheel & Frame Alignment Service with Wiethop Truck Sales to the right. North of the intersection is A.E. Birk & Son Plumbing & Heating. Read more in this blog: A.E. Birk & Son Plumbing & Heating A Gulf service station is across Sprigg.

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St. Mary Cathedral is seen at the top of this section. Sharon Sanders says, "The Cobb School fire was in 1953. St. Mary's High, which stood on the corner that is vacant in the pic, was torn down in 1956. It doesn't look as if actual construction of the National food store has started yet. National opened in 1958." The John S. Cobb School is seen in the foreground. Read more about St. Mary's High School in this blog.

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Here is a closeup of John S. Cobb School which educated Cape Girardeau's black children from 1890 to 1953. The building was razed in 1954, but the gymnasium was left standing.

Read more in this previous blog: John S. Cobb School razed

The site of the former John S. Cobb School is now the Southeast Missouri Regional Crime Lab. Here is a photo gallery of the memorial sign dedication Sept. 1, 2012:

John S. Cobb School sign dedication

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  • Hats off to Frony for some really nice aerials. A 4x5 Speed Graphic was great for having a large format negative to work with, but that was a lot of camera to maneuver in a small plane.

    On top of the size, the lens was at the end of a flexible bellows that would rip away if it got into the slipstream. At best, the wind would cause it to shake and vibrate.

    Those are impressive aerials.

    -- Posted by ksteinhoff on Mon, Aug 25, 2014, at 12:54 AM
  • Would agree with Ken. The Speed Graphic was not an easy camera to operate, especially when shooting from a small plane. Digital imaging has some advantages.

    I heard that Frony flew with J.T. Seesing when he shot this and many other aerials of Cape. Please run some more of these with the insets showing detailed areas.

    -- Posted by tomneumeyer on Tue, Aug 26, 2014, at 9:10 PM