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Advance train station: Forgotten history?

Posted Monday, March 14, 2011, at 6:00 AM

This photo of the last days of the Advance train depot was taken by Ken Steinhoff in 1966 and recently put on his capecentralhigh.com website. You can see it and three other shots on www.capecentralhigh.com/cape-photos/advance-train-depot/ As a special bonus, you can read comments from his readers, who give even more information. This view is taken from the west, facing east.
A unique view from the past

One of my favorite blogs out there on the internet is written by Ken Steinhoff, a very talented photographer, who now lives in Florida but who began his career at Cape Central High in the 60's. His origins explain the name of his blog--Cape Central High.com--but the name does NOT do him justice, as the blog is about so MUCH MORE than Cape Central and the stories surrounding that Cape Girardeau high school.

Ken has saved "sleeves" of negatives from waaaaaay back--and he's always going through them to find tid bits of history that his readers might find interesting. After I found him on the Missourian site several years ago, I asked to be notified by email every time he posted a new blog (which is EVERY DAY: How does the man do it??).

I've referred to him on this blog before (can't remember the topic). He must have my blog bookmarked, because he often responds, most recently with the most wonderful information relating to my Florida blog about the smallest post office in the U.S.

I admit to some professional jealousy, since Ken is fully 100 times the photographer and journalist I am--but I'm just smart enough to appreciate it.

Ken called me Thursday night while I was at the Advance school board meeting, and I'm very glad I answered the phone. He had some photos of the old Advance train depot, and he was trying to figure out where it was located in relationship to the Advance of today. I knew that the railroad had followed the current Highway C from east to west, but I wasn't sure of the depot's location. After the meeting, I called 96-year-old Advance resident Paul Corbin and asked if I could give Ken his phone number, so they could hash it out. He agreed, so I did just that. Ken posted his blog the next morning. You can see it at www.capecentralhigh.com/cape-photos/adva...

As important as the blog are the comments from readers, providing even more historical documentation.

Railroad "advanced" to current location

Surprisingly, some local residents still do not know how Advance got its name. The town should have been called Lakeville, and it should have been located about 2 miles east of the current location. Lakeville, shown on the maps of 1867, was a prosperous little town of about 200, located on the Cape-to-Bloomfield Road and frequented by travelers going north and south.

However, when railroad tycoon Louis Houck wanted to build his line through the area in 1881, he was too stingy to pay the $30 per acre that Jacob Kappler wanted at Lakeville. Instead, Houck paid $10 an acre for 80 acres owned by Joshua Mabery. Houck told his men to "advance" to the new location, which was first called New Lakeville. Obviously, that name didn't stick.

Train plays important part in tornado of 1963

Ken really hit the nail on the head with his Advance train depot blog, as his readers added even more related details, including the fact that the Frisco engineer saved a number of lives in 1963, when a tornado was swooping down on Advance from the west. The train, coming east from Zalma, was just ahead of the tornado, and the engineer blew the whistle, warning the town. The old Inland Shoe Factory was directly in the path, and, because of the warning, the workers were able to get out in time. Thousands of shoes--instead of human bodies--were scattered for miles! The son of the Frisco agent posts on Ken's blog with the man's name--Dewey Stratton!

A Missouri Railroad Pioneer: the Life of Louis Houck

Ken also gives a plug for Joel Rhodes' recent biography of Louis Houck. I was pleased to read that he pried the cash out of his pocket to purchase the Houck book, which is an excellent and highly readable account of life in early Southeast Missouri!

San Francisco Railway Historical and Modeling Society

But wait! There's MORE!! Advance resident Keith Robinson posts on Ken's blog with a link to the Frisco Railway site at http://www.frisco.org/ and directs interested folks to check it out.

Wow! I wonder if Ken knew how many historical rewards would be reaped by this one blog??

Jacob Kappler's great-great granddaughter

But wait! There's MORE!! Jacob Kappler's granddaughter, Barbara Bowers Campbell, saw Ken's blog and posted on it, with even more historical data from the past!


So, dear readers, forgive me if I rave a bit too much, but I just had to share this information and record it in a place where I can find it again! The beauty of these blog topics is that we never know where they'll lead!

From the ancient hills of Tillman, this is your rural reporter, Madeline, longing for a glimpse of that old Frisco train, chugging through Advance, where no trace of it remains...

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Hahaha!! Wartz, you are a hoot! This is what blogging should be--not posting a bunch of links to endless information that no one wants to read! (I won't mention any names!)

Loved the Marlon Brando comment, though I think I would notice! He was a favorite of mine when he was young. Sadly, he did not age well--like Kirk Douglas did! (Did you see Kirk on the Oscars recently?? Hilarious!)

I agree w/ Dexterite--a New Zealand perspective is always welcome!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Mar 21, 2011, at 6:32 AM

Wartz, it's always refreshing to read your comments, such a breath of fresh air, drop in anytime.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Sat, Mar 19, 2011, at 6:56 AM

Wartz, it's always refreshing to read your comments, such a breath of fresh air, drop in anytime.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Sat, Mar 19, 2011, at 6:56 AM

At last, a blog free of politics and religion ! Mrs D, I congratulate you for all the links through Ken Steinhoff. There is enough there to keep me going for days.

I am surprised that Hollywood has not latched onto the supposed last train robbery - surely a great story there which I am sure Hollywood would manage to mangle beyond recognition. If required, I could organise some casting;

Clint Eastwood as the kindly Station Master.

Julian Assange as the guard/whistleblower.

Marlon Brando as a passenger, (yes I know he is dead but I don't think anyone would notice).

Lindsay Lohan as the love interest, or maybe Justin Bieber.

Barry Manilow as a bit player. "He can't act", I hear you cry. Too true, he can't sing either !

Hollywood would need to alter the ending - you could not have a train limping to a halt for want of fuel The finale of "Tough Guys" featuring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas might provide some inspiration.

-- Posted by wartz on Wed, Mar 16, 2011, at 8:59 PM

That's a very sad blog, Ken. I read through all the comments of the people who had lost loved ones in accidents on old 61 between Cape and St. Louis. If ever there were a testimonial to the benefits of highway improvement, that is one.

However, thanks for the link to the old steam roller!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Mar 14, 2011, at 11:08 AM

Here's the link to the steam roller on Hwy 25 just outside Advance.


I've got to get busy scanning Advance photos. Just about the time I get ready to write about a topic, I discover another photo and set it side for another day. It's hard to pull the trigger sometimes.

-- Posted by ksteinhoff on Mon, Mar 14, 2011, at 9:10 AM

"Wow" is right!!! Every contact with Ken Steinhoff brings yet more information to add to our knowledge of the past!

I love this topic! I remembered something from the past, so I checked the archives and found Madeline's blog "Traveling Hwy 25," written on 2/20/10. It has an old photo of the paving of Hiway 25 that Ken posted several years ago.

Is there any topic the man hasn't written about?? The Hwy 25 blog gives a link to his original blog, so you can check it out for yourself.

Thanks for sharing, Ken!!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Mar 14, 2011, at 5:58 AM

Wow, rave away. Thanks for all the kind words. My mother came from Advance, my dad built the road

TO Advance, and I spent many an hour riding a toy tractor around my grandfather's liquor store on the square, so the town is special to me.

Keep looking for more stories to come. I shot a series of aerial photos last fall when I was in town, and I'll be blogging about landmarks old and new.

The piece you picked up from me the last time was about the Bloymeyer Drive-in.


Bloymeyer, by the way, was named after Edward F. Bloymeyer, one of Louis Houck's trusted lieutenants who conducted most of the railroad's business as auditor and secretary.

-- Posted by ksteinhoff on Sun, Mar 13, 2011, at 7:18 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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