Cape Girardeau, MO

Discussion in 'St Louis Subdivision' started by chris, Mar 10, 2002.

  1. chris

    chris Guest

    Cape Girardeau Track Chart 1979

    Below is a 1979 track chart of Cape Girardeau. I've numbered and highlighted areas of interest or for which I have posted photographs of industries, bridges, etc.

    1 - S. Freeze Siding
    2 - Bridge 1307 (Sloan Creek)
    3 - Roberts, Johnson & Rand Shoe Factory sidings
    4 - Mainline underpasses MO Hwy. 146 bridge over Mississippi River
    5 - Location of Continental Oil Co.
    6 - Location of unknown industrial building.
    7 - Location of concrete loading/unloading ramp adjacent to yard.
    8 - M.E. Leming Lumber Co.
    9 - Bridge 1335 (Cape La Croix Creek)
    10 - Central Meats (Packing plant)
    11 - Hely’s Crushed Stone
    12 - Location of old “Gulf Junction” (originally where Leachville Subdivision and St. Louis Subdivision split; old Leachville Sub led to Commerce/Benton/Morley MO before crossing Chaffee Sub at Brooks Jct.)
    13 - Marquette Portland Cement Plant & Quarry

    Cape Girardeau Track Chart 1979.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2006
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  2. chris

    chris Guest

    "Shops" area of Cape Girardeau

    Trackage in the "Shops" area of Cape Girardeau; just south of MP 132. Note the heavier-ballasted track along the mainline to the left, and lighter, cinder-ballasted rail. Concrete loading ramp is in the background.

    klrwhizkid note: Notice the coal that has leaked out of hopper cars in the foreground. This was coal coming out of Kentucky across the MoP, through Thebes, IL and up the river on the Missouri side headed for the Rush Island power plant.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2015
  3. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Cape Girardeau Changes - 3-21-1931

    From the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian "Out of the Past" column from today:

    "Drastic changes in the time card of the Frisco Railroad, including the making of Cape Girardeau as a terminal again for the Gulf branch line and speeding up generally operation of all passenger trains, is announced by division superintendent J.S. McMillan; the new schedules, effective March 29, will provide for speeding up of St. Louis-Memphis trains, and the addition of two fast freight trains operating through here for overnight deliveries."
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  4. bootheel

    bootheel Member

    In the Photo of the 'shops' The heavy cindered track is actually where the MoPac trains used to park when they would return or go to the Rush Island power plant. The cinders are years of coal dust
  5. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    Here is a photo of Frisco Train 808, The Sunnyland, arriving at Cape Girardeau in 1950. The photo was taken, I believe, by Lueders Studios in Cape. It would appear that they were noting the recent changeover from steam to diesels on the passenger trains, since #2015 is nearly spotless.

    I also intend to send this in full uncompressed format to Tim Cannon to host on his Chaffee website.

    Ken McElreath

    Old Cape Girardeau Photos 001.jpg
  6. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    During the period 1902-1938 my great-uncle Ted Gerlach, a carpenter and amateur photographer, took numerous photos of railroad and steamboat subjects around Cape Girardeau. I have had them scanned and intend to post them here, along with as much commentary as I know about them. I am also going to send them in their uncompressed state to Tim Cannon to post as he wishes on his Chaffee and SEMO website.

    To set the stage for many of the photos, here is a colorized post card from about 1910 or so of the Frisco yards and engine/car facilities at Cape. This explains why the location was called "Shops" on all subsequent Frisco timetables, even after the shipyard had replaced the railroad shops. The view is southward along the Mississippi River from the hill where St. Vincent's Seminary (now SEMO State University campus) is located, looking down the hill. The new river bridge would cut across the scene today. The area where Leming Lumber Company sits is in the background.

    This was formerly the Southern Missouri and Arkansas (SM&A) Railroad shops and yard (a Houck Lines property) before becoming part of the Frisco about 1903. It was the Division point until Chaffee was built, and even afterward was the terminal for both passenger and freight trains on the Commerce (Leachville) and Poplar Bluff (Hoxie) branches for some years.
    The various motorcars that served the branches were maintained here.


    Ken McElreath

    Old Cape Girardeau Photos 011.jpg
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  7. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    Here are photos of two structures visible from the north in the colorized postcard. The first is the SM&A (later Frisco) roundhouse, looking from the south. Engine 9 and a slopeback switch engine tender (possibly 12?) are visible in the stalls. This photo was taken in 1902, along with a view of the water tower, also from the south.

    The third photo shows the SM&A station at the foot of Broadway on Water Street. It was taken in 1904. This passenger station served the Frisco until about 1920, when a new station was built at the south end of Water Street.

    Ken McElreath

    SM&A Roundhouse.jpg SM&A Water Tower.jpg SM&A Station.jpg
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  8. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    Here are four photos of SM&A equipment taken in 1903 at the Shops. The first is listed as a "Passenger Engine," and it appears to be a 4-6-0, #21. The photo is looking south at the car shop in the background, with the slopeback tender of the yard switcher (#12?) on the right. The second, #8, a 4-4-0, is leading the Poplar Bluff passenger train southward. The third and fourth photos show yard engine #12 with the crew and without.

    Ken McElreath

    SM&A Passenger Locomotive.jpg SM&A Poplar Bluff Train.jpg Frisco #12 and Crew.jpg Frisco #12.jpg
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  9. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    The next series of four photos was taken during the 1912 flood.

    The first photo shows the midday St. Louis Local accommodation passing the team tracks at the location of the future (ca 1920) Frisco passenger station, while on its way to the existing station at the foot of Broadway. This train comprises wood cars hauled by a 4-4-0. The view is looking downward through the vacant lot where the Buckner-Ragsdale Company was later built. Before the Frisco extended the seawall on the left side of the photo southward and straightened the track, the main line curved westward and ran to the west side of the freight station in the distance. After the new passenger station was built, the main line passed to the east of the freight station.

    The second photo shows a southbound through passenger, probably the Memphis Express (predecessor of the Sunnyland, although no trains were actually named in 1912,) at the same location. It has a heavier engine, probably a 4-6-0, and steel cars. The gondola on the team track belongs to the Evansville and Terre Haute Railroad.

    The third photo shows a local freight northbound pushing freight cars along Water Street toward the Frisco passenger station at the foot of Broadway. It may also be that this is a lead movement to check the stability of the track.

    The fourth photo shows what may be the same engine pushing a flatcar and hauling the northbound passenger train through the water, but I can't positively identify the location because of the presence of large trees on the right. This may be farther north near the old shoe company, but more likely it is just north of the freight station, which may be partly visible behind the last passenger car.

    As far as identifying the passenger trains in the photos at Cape, during this entire period there were three mainline trains each way, but the numbers changed as the extended marketing to Florida dictated. They are pretty easy for me to identify. In 1910 none of them was named, but by 1925 they all were. The St. Louis and Memphis Locals had old 4-4-0 engines and short consists with wooden or rebuilt cars. It died during the Depression. The Memphis Express (both ways) had steel cars, longer consists and heavier engines. It later was replaced by the Sunnyland about 1927, with connections to Florida at Memphis. The luxury Memphian was the only train that kept its numbers (805 and 806) and name through 1938 and on up to 1957. It is easy to distinguish it because it rarely appeared in daylight and always carried a full RPO car (built in 1910) until after WWII.

    Ken McElreath

    Old Cape Girardeau Photos 1.jpg Old Cape Girardeau Photos 2.jpg Old Cape Girardeau Photos3.jpg Old Cape Girardeau Photos 4.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2008
  10. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ken, wonderful photos - especially for those of us who grew up in the Cape Girardeau area. I'm very grateful that your great uncle was a photographer and am thankful that you have shared with us.

    The two long brick buildings on the left of the colorized postcard: based on Sanborn maps, I wonder if one of these still exists? There is one similar brick building paralleling the tracks currently on Missouri Barge Line property (just below St. Vincent's College).

    At least in the early 90s when I would take S. Sprigg into town from Chaffee, you could barely see the old Leming Lumber "sawdust burner" (not sure if that's the right term) through all the brush and tree growth.

    I've heard the old shops were really hemmed in between river and bluffs. The postcard certain visually confirms what my imagination always tried to picture. From the Illmo Headlight of 6-30-1905 regarding the C&EI bridge at Thebes: "The road is compelled to have a terminal handle its bridge business. The Cape is not located good for this...if it was [in a good position to handle bridge business from the C&EI] there is no land there for this purpose which could be gotten at a reasonable price."

    Sure gives one an appreciation for what the Cape floodwall does to protect Water and Main Streets!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2008
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  11. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter


    No, the more recent long brick building was built by the shipyard as a welding shop, I believe. It was located just north of the car shop building in the postcard. However, I love that welding shop and built a model of it for our layout, as a steel fabrication company facility.

    Ken McElreath

    Begging Ken's forgiveness, here is a picture I recently took (8/09) of the Mo Dry Dock building. (klrwhizkid)
    And this is a link to an earlier picture on this forum:

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2009
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  12. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    My great-uncle obviously had a penchant for taking photos of trains in the water! He took many photos of steam packet boats as well, which I will post later.

    Here are five from the Flood of 1922. On the back of each print is a stamp, which says, "Kassel's Studios, Cape Girardeau, Mo," except for the first one, which is printed as a post card.

    The first photo is of the new (ca 1921) Frisco passenger station, which was built at the South end of Water Street where the team tracks are under water in the previous photos. Why the Frisco would build an expensive new passenger station in this obvious flood plain is beyond my comprehension.

    The next four photos are undated; I deduced that they were taken at the same time, because the station is new with the same sandbagging in place, and the Mississippi River bridge is not there nor obviously under construction, being finished in 1927. In fact, my mother, who died in 2006, walked across the bridge on opening day. She was six years old at the time. She was honored to be asked to do so again when the new bridge was completed several years ago, some 75 years later, and she once again walked all the way across and back as part of the dedication ceremony. She used to tell me (seeing that I was an inveterate railroad freak) how she and her father regularly carried cream from their farm by wagon to Bainbridge Station (near Egypt Mills, the next station south of Neely's Landing) to put on the local passenger train to deliver to the Sugar Creek Creamery in Cape, across the street from the freight station. I remember that Bainbridge Station (a simple raised shelter, as I recall) still in place when I was a child.

    The first of this series of four photos shows the daily Memphis Local loading in the station siding at Cape, still with a 4-4-0 for power, but the wood coaches have been steel-sheathed.

    The second photo shows the scene before the arrival of the Local. People are also waiting for either the northbound Memphis Express or the very-late northbound Memphian. There are baggage wagons piled high next to both the main line and station passing track, indicating the imminent arrival of both the southbound Memphis Local on the siding and a through train (or the northbound St. Louis Local) on the main.

    The third photo shows the same scene, looking north from the Freight Station several blocks south. Notice that the old main line is still partially in place to the left, indicating that the station and relocated main line are quite recent. Also notice that the old passenger station has not been torn down, being still visible in the far background to the right of Water Street. The steps to St. Vincent's Roman Catholic Church on South Main Street are at the far left , as a location reference for a visit today.

    The fourth photo shows the northbound Memphian running through the water along Aquamsi (Water) Street, almost to the location of the old passenger station. I conjecture that it is the Memphian, very late, because of the large engine, long heavyweight consist and full RPO car. However, it could also be the northbound Memphis Express.

    Ken McElreath

    1922 Frisco Station.jpg 1922 Flood 2.jpg 1922 Flood 1.jpg 1922 Flood 3.jpg 1922 Flood 4.jpg
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  13. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    Here are the last three Cape Girardeau photos of the Frisco that I have.

    The first is of Pacific #1026 on display during Railroad Week in 1938. The second one is a southward view of the passenger station with a car in the station passing track, taken from the Water and Independence Street corner. The third one is looking the same direction from Broadway, two blocks north. These last two were taken during the spring flood of 1939.

    Ken McElreath

    Railroad Week 1938.jpg Flood 1939 1.jpg Flood 1939 2.jpg
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  14. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    Here are two photos that my Uncle Ted took of the IC car ferry "John Bertram" in 1903 at Gray's Point, just north of the Thebes Bridge location. The SSW, Frisco and "Chester, Perryville, and Cape Girardeau" (and everywhere else) Houck Line (later MoPac) all interchanged with the IC via this ferry. You can identify the location by the hills in the background on the east side of the river at Thebes. No other location has them.

    My great-aunt, who gave me these photos, told me that after the Thebes Bridge was completed, Uncle Ted and the local Cape Girardeau baseball team would occasionally take the train from Cape to Thebes (a joint Frisco-C&EI operation, I presume) to play the "boys from 'You-Be-****ed Hollow.'" Sure enough, on a 1927 Topographic map of the area that I have, I found a hollow (valley) just north of Thebes into the Southern Illinois hills, labeled "You-Be-Hollow." The map makers were obviously of a more genteel society than ours today.

    Lastly, here is also a photo of some Frisco station and caboose in the bootheel, probably around Delta or thereabouts, from the standing water and retaining walls, obviously taken prior to the completion of the gigantic Diversion Channel and drainage project. No location or date is available.

    Ken McElreath

    IC Ferry 1.jpg IC Ferry 2.jpg Unknown Depot.jpg
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  15. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

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  16. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ken, My name is Keith Robinson. I grew up in Cape. My dad is Martin. My great-grandfather, Goley, had been a fireman on nearly all of Houck's holdings in Southeast Mo and later on the Frisco from Chaffee to Memphis. My uncle is Jim Haman, who owned Kassel's Studio, later Haman's Kastle. I would love to chat sometime. Send me a private message about how I might contact you.
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  17. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ken, As I looked at more of the pictures, I noticed the "unknown" depot in post 14. I would be willing to bet that depot is "Green Cox" between Arbor and Toga. Note the picture is facing east, taken in the afternoon based on the track shadows. The terrain is right and the ditch is on the south side of the main track. MO 25 would later lie on the south side of the station track, south of the borrow ditch. This is some of the trackage my greatgrandfather fired along down toward Puxico.

    Attached is a Kassel's Studio photo of my greatgrandfather Goley Robinson (right) and a friend Jolin Wilson.

    Ivan & Goley Robinson.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2011
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  18. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    I was looking at post #1 and the track chart. I see the notation, Pvt Rd Gr. xing, x.Buck, W.W. & Bell. This grade crossing was the main entrance to Marquette Cement. There was a Crossbuck, and WigWag signal with a bell at that crossing. I remember watching that crossing signal from Marquette's parking lot while sitting in the car waiting for my dad to get off from the 2nd shift (2-10pm) when Frisco trains would go by or the Marquette GE 45ton switch engine would move gumbo cars around.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2011
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  19. timothy_cannon

    timothy_cannon Member Supporter

    Keith, At one time I purchased some photos from your uncle. He had many railroad pics to choose from but that was over 20 years ago. Any chance these are still available? The reason I ask is that I loaned all of those I purchased to our historical society here in Chaffee and they were lost before they even had a chance to display them. The loss included my most prized photo possession. It was the aerial view of the Chaffee yards from aprox. the 1930's. Check out my site at I still think the unknown depot pic is of the station at Gulf Junction (Marquette).


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  20. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    My uncle, Jim Haman still owns the archive of negatives from Kassel's Studio and still prints photos upon request. I think I remember him saying that he has the largest collection of "Cape Girardeau" photos that include all kinds of subjects other than just portraits.
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