Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Down on Main Street

Down on Main Street

Weekend before last, Kelly and I spent a lot of time in St. Charles. Yeah, yeah, I know. But, really, Main Street has its charms. Honest. ;-)

We went to the "Dog Days of Summer" festival with our little dachshund-terrier mix Dingo (we met up there with the STL area Doxie group).

The event was also a benefit for the St Charles Humane Society, a no-kill animal shelter - not to be confused with St Charles County Humane Services nor with the Humane Society of Missouri, both of which euthanize.

SCHS accepted a stray, feral cat with FIV named Jack whom we had taken in several years ago.

This past weekend we spent in Poplar Bluff MO, visiting Kelly's family. She drove, because the Amtrak service there arrives in the wee hours of the morning, and because I still haven't gotten my license (I am working on it though!).

Poplar Bluff got its start from the railroads and the timber industry, both of which have seen better days in that region. Indeed, poverty is pretty high (there's even a Weed & Seed area), but there are still some remnants of the town's glory days.

The Poplar Bluff Railroad Museum was a really fun stop for me. It's located in the historic Spanish-style former Frisco depot (c. 1928), lovingly maintained by devoted volunteers with some (limited) help from the city, which owns the building.

Just a few blocks away, though, is the still operating but quite decrepit former Union Pacific depot and steps. It certainly deserves its status on the 2006 Missouri's Most Endangered Historic Properties listing.

It doesn't look so bad in the dated pic on the Amtrak web site, but in fact the entire south end of the structure looks like it's been chewed on by an elephant.

The roof is rapidly decaying, so the only section of the building still in use is a small room in the center of the building. Most of the time, that's locked as well, since this is an unstaffed Amtrak station.

Back to the Main Street theme: the UP depot sits downhill, via some similarly decayed and hazardous stairs, from the historic Main Street of Poplar Bluff. Most of Main is still paved in bricks! I think that's very cool.

Of course, decades ago the commercial center of town migrated a couple miles west to US 67 aka "Westwood Boulevard" (now designated Business Route US 67 with the recent construction of a expressway bypass for 67 still further west).

There's a surprisingly large assortment of large and small retailers along that BR 67 corridor, many fairly new, mostly regional and national chains. Included, of course, is the obligatory Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Anyway, I enjoyed these small-town sojourns, but I'm glad to be back in the big city! (Yes, I do realize WashU is actually located in the county, but that just makes me a reverse commuter!)

1 comment:

Travis Reems said...

Joe sorry to have missed you. I was sitting with the Doggy Doodles (www.doggydoodles.org)group, which shares some members with the Doxie group.