25 September 2011

Castlewood's Historical Staircase..

When letterboxing in Castlewood State Park last weekend, I was admiring the crumbling staircase in the background of the above photo...wondering how I would get an interesting image of it to describe.  Suddenly, this rusty, yellow leaf fell and landed right on the 2 inch wide deck railing that overlooked the grand staircase.  I like this photo as much as the many shots I have overlooking the Meremac River from the bluffs.

This staircase leads up into the hills from the river.  As you travel down the boardwalk, on the trail, you pass a tunnel under the Union Pacific railroad.  This spot is the old location of the Castlewood Railroad Depot.  The staircase began there and carried visitors up the bluffs to their resort cabins in the 1920s and 1930s when Castlewood was a popular weekend retreat from the hectic life of downtown St. Louis.  At it's peak, the resort hosted as many as 10,000 visitors on summer weekends.  Resort goers danced, frolicked on Lincoln Beach (a sandbar requiring a ferry across the river to access), and partied the nights away in the large hotel at the top of the bluff.  Many of the remains can be seen on the hike through the park.

I leave you with this shot of my daughter and her friend standing in the fireplace remains of one of the former rental cabins in Castlewood State Park.  Looking at the old foundation, it appears the cabins were one-roomed buildings weighing in at about 250 square feet.  People in the 1920s paid money to ride a train into the woods, swim in a river, carry all their weekend luggage up a 200 foot bluff, and stay in a one-room cabin with no air conditioning, running water, or central heat.

My how things have changed.

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