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Another tragic "improvement" for Bloomfield RoadPosted Saturday, March 10, 2012, at 8:58 AM
This is the scene which greeted me on Wednesday, March 7, as I came back from Cape on the old, formerly-beautiful Bloomfield Road. It's hard to believe that this piece of land is zoned commercial, but this is obviously the case.
For those of you who haven't traveled "the old way" to Cape lately, and who still CARE about Missouri's historic roads, you are in for a shock!
Instead of taking that wicked MO I-55 to Sikeston and then north to the Big C, take 25 to Dutchtown and 74 to Bloomfield Road.
At the very top of the ridge on Bloomfield Road, just where the over-hanging canopy of trees WAS most breath-taking, a chainsaw crew is hard at work, cutting down what appears to be MOST of the trees, in preparation for some kind of commercial development.
I am sick!
When I wrote "Bloomfield Road Massacre on July 25, 2011 (see archives, if you haven't kept up), I used one of Cape Central High blogger Ken Steinhoff's photos to show what the Cape Girardeau Special Road Board was doing to "improve" Bloomfield Road and make it more "safe" for the traffic which sped through from Highway 74 to the shopping center.
Now my worst fears have been realized. As bad as it has been to watch uncaring individuals build homes in that pristine woodland, the unthinkable has happened. Commercial developers have stripped the trees from an extremely hilly location, preparing to sell the land off to some thoughtless yahoos, who will throw up BUSINESSES! And, as we all know, with businesses come concrete parking lots.
I feel as if some member of my family has died.
Why on earth (you may ask) is that area zoned commercial in the first place? What gigantic oversight resulted in such a stupid mistake? Even if it's possible for a builder to construct some sort of business on that steep ridge, how could the region handle any more traffic? Is there not enough flat, undeveloped land for more businesses around Cape? Who owned that land, and why did they suddenly decide to sell it off to (shutter!) DEVELOPERS??
Some of you may be muttering, "Boy, Madeline's really gone off the deep end this time! Who cares about a few trees in Cape County?"
Well, I'll tell you--The Bloomfield Road is a historic path which has been important to the development of Southeast Missouri since Native Americans traveled it in early times. Early settlers walked it and rode in wagons as late as the early 1900's. Ninety-seven-year-old Paul Corbin of Advance tells of his family traveling to Cape by wagon to sell eggs and buy basic goods. They camped at a spring along the route.
This is no ordinary road. It stretched from the Cape region, down through Stoddard County to Bloomfield and on south. Both Union and Confederate soldiers rowdied up and down the Bloomfield Road during our Civil War, camping out at springs, such as the one at Piketon (between Advance and Bloomfield).
Though most of the old road has disappeared, the section just outside the Cape Girardeau city limits has remained intact for travelers to appreciate for over 200 years. In the spring and fall, residents throughout Southeast Missouri travel through this beautiful region to enjoy the tree-canopied drive.
Oh, wait! That was THEN. This is NOW!
Once the trees along this drive leaf out this spring, we'll be able to assess the full effect of the ravages made by man. And, of course, the second stage of the road "improvements" are yet to begin. As you drive the second section, you can see that certain "troublesome" trees have already met with the chainsaw, in preparation for phase 2 of Bloomfield Road destruction.
That's "Progress," folks--Like it or NOT!!!
From the peaceful hills of Tillman, Mo., where PROGRESS dare not rear its ugly head, this is your North Stoddard Countian reporter Madeline, shedding a tear for times gone by.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-722-5322.