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Where is the Block Hole?

Posted Monday, August 29, 2011, at 6:07 AM

When I stumbled on this site on Highway U in Cape County, it had been over 40 years since I had been there.
Taking the Back Roads

Friday I had to make an early-morning trip from Advance to Cape for a library training session, so I decided to take an alternate route, since MoDot was resurfacing Highway 25. According to my Facebook friends, motorists were waiting anywhere between 15 and 35 minutes.

I had never traveled the "back way" (that I could remember), but I picked up our librarian at 7 a.m., so we would be sure to get to the Cape Library by 8:30, when our MoreNet expert from Columbia would begin the class.

It sounded simple enough: Turn north off Hwy 25 on NN and drive to Dutchtown. Surely, even a non-map reading, directionally-challenged person like me could handle that. The sky was blue, the temperature was moderate, and I had a full tank of gas. What could go wrong?

Foolish, foolish girl! Does NN take the traveler all the way to Dutchtown? No, no, it does not. No problem: Follow the sun and keep heading northeast.

Ah...Allentown? Mmmmm...what do I remember about that town? No, no--can't be the way--take road to right. Well, that leads me to Delta--so, if the MoDot crew hadn't been late in getting started, I'd have still gotten trapped (according to Facebook friends).

On the way back, I vowed to include Allentown on my route--but did I ever see an Allentown sign? No, I did not!

Oh, well--what a day for a drive in the country! And the beauty of it was that I discovered a place from the past. On U Highway--there it was--the Block Hole. Memories from the past came flooding back, and suddenly it was 1964 and I was at the big pool of water with my husband. He would come home from work, gather up his fishing gear, and we would drive from Cape, out over the back roads to the Block Hole.

I never swam there, though plenty of others did. It's a dangerous place, if I remember right. We used to hear of unlucky swimmers being fished out of the deep waters all the time.

I'm not sure if this is an old quarry, but that's what it looks like. Perhaps some of you can fill in the gaps. It seems a remote place for a quarry; there is NOTHING nearby--no houses, no towns--nothing except "NUT Junction," the intersection of Highways N, U, and T.

No matter! For some reason, I find it reassuring just to know where this old hole full of water is. Oddly enough, I've been wondering about it--just one of those topics that occasionally pops up and plays little games with your mind...

From the sunny hills of Tillman, Mo., this is your rural reporter, wishing you a happy remainder of the summer! Get out there on the backroads and rediscover the relics of your past!

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The 'block hole' is where the steam shovels turned around when establishing the diversion channel last century. something to do with elevation also, i think, at this point. check with Dexter native Larry Dowdy who heads the LRDD...

-- Posted by Bearcat66 on Tue, Aug 30, 2011, at 2:44 PM

Ah, thanks, bearcat! Larry would most certainly know, though I believe he has retired from the LRDD. (It's a bit like God stepping down from the Golden Throne....)

-- Posted by Madeline1 on Tue, Aug 30, 2011, at 2:56 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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