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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.


Colonial Restaurant Crash

Some photos are more interesting because of the background than the subject. I noticed the Colonial Restaurant in these photos of a crash at Kingshighway and Broadway. I always think of the establishment as being the Colonial TAVERN, but the name must have changed sometime toward the end of the 1950s, based on newspaper stories.

Sports car plows into building

I couldn’t find any newspaper stories about the wreck, nor do I know when the pictures were taken. The car doesn’t look like it sustained much damage. It doesn’t have the typical dimples in the windshield caused by an unbelted driver.

Cape police and a state trooper

I count at least six police officers and a State Trooper working the wreck. It must have been a slow, if cold, night

One of the first lessons I learned as a news photographer that everything goes smoothly until you get one more cop on the scene than they need to work the incident. He looks around and decides that his job is to hassle the photographer. These guys must not have hit that point, because I don’t remember any conflicts.

Colonial Restaurant being remodeled

It looks like the building was being remodeled. There’s fresh lumber and framing visible, and the car knocked down one of the temporary supports.

In 1936, Albert Haman and Harley Estes spoke in favor of incorporating an area west of the city limits, as the first step in bringing the area into the Cape Girardeau city limits. Haman owned a restaurant at the intersection of Cape Rock Dr. and Highway 61. Estes represented the Simpson Oil Co., which owns the Colonial Tavern. There are five gasoline stations in the area, but no schools or churches.

Missourian advocates expanding city

A Missourian editorial in 1946 advocated extending the city limits to take in the entire stretch of Hwy 61 to enable the city to zone the property and “thus prevent it from becoming covered with undesirable structures….Pigpens and beer joints … have long infested the Alvarado-Colonial Tavern intersection…. Unless this is done Hwy 61 from the southern city limits to the northern limits may be expected to become a hodgepodge of shacks and dumps…”

Coroner Don Kremer

Coroner Don Kremer is the fellow next to the car. In addition to being the coroner, he was also a commercial photographer who made a sideline of shooting wrecks for insurance companies, so his presence doesn’t necessarily mean this was a fatality.

Kremer made the news himself in 1970, when he gunned down a young woman, then committed suicide by driving into a bridge abutment at high speed. (If you follow the link, you’ll have to zoom out and turn your head sideways to read the story. Google has the microfilm rotated to the left.) Investigators say that tire tracks indicated that he aimed his car so that the driver’s side would take the brunt of the impact.

Kremer’s wife said that he had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and had been given  two months to live.

23 comments to Colonial Restaurant Crash

  • van riehl

    I’m not sure why they are performing such an in-depth investigation, the damge appears to be very minor. My best guess is that the driver had a medical event while driving, died and the car rolled into the building. The trooper was probably already there on coffee break. Probably cica 1967

    • Didn’t make much sense to me, either. I scanned for fatalities January 66 to December of 67 and didn’t come up with anything that sounded like this.

      There’s no sign of ejection nor a second vehicle, unless I haven’t found all the film of the wreck. The top of the car, a convertible, is up, but not torn. The car window is appears down, which is odd, considering that all of the people are wearing coats.

      I wonder if it might have been a car vs. pedestrian. That would explain the lack of damage, but all of the activity.

      I always made it point never to speculate about the cause of crashes. I testified a few times in court, but I always stuck to the facts and didn’t pretend to interpret them: “the photos show what I saw. Skid marks began here, continue X feet. Debris on the road was here, which usually indicates the point of impact, etc.”

  • David Lawley

    Here is an idea, back of car has more damage. Car shown was headed south on Kingshighway , ran light, hit on the side by car coming from Broadway.

    • David,

      Unless I’m missing some film, I don’t think that’s what happened. Since I made some money on the side by selling scene photos to insurance companies, I was careful to shoot photos from all angles if there was anything significant about anything.

      If there had been a second vehicle or damage to the other side, I’d probably have documented it.

      I could see where it might have been a rear-ender, where the sports car’s wheels had been cut to the right while stopped. If it was hit from behind, then it could have been propelled into the building.

      When I’m scanning The Missourian, I’ll have to keep my eyes open for an account of the wreck. My curiosity is piqued now.

  • Karen McClendon

    Hi Kenny,

    Really enjoy the photos. I can identify one of the officers in the photo. He is Capt Down Roberts, (Not sure what his rank was then.) He is holding the tape measure. Also I worked at Cape PD when the Corner, Don Kramer shot the young lady from McClure and then later he was killed (apparent suicide) as his car hit a concrete abutment on I-55.

  • Karen,

    I was long gone from Cape by the time the Kremer incident occurred, but I remember reading about it.

    Kremer and I had a rocky relationship. When I first got into photography, he was very friendly and helpful.

    When I got more proficient and started showing up at crime scenes, he perceived me as a threat to his income from insurance companies and got frosty.

    I’ll have to go back into the microfilm to read the stories in the days after the shooting and crash to get the whole story. I recall the brain tumor part, but I don’t remember why he shot the woman. (I guess there should be some “allegeds” stuck here and there, but…”

  • Jane McKeown Neumeyer

    It looks like the car might be a 1959 MG. If it was a local car, it seems like someone might remember it. Do the photos show MO plates?

  • JUDI COLEMAN

    Harley Estes lived in Scott city and was a big man, not only in stature but in mind. I knew he was in the oil business, but didn’t know he owned the Colonial Restaurant. He was very forward thinking when it came to the future. Also, I had worked with JoAnn Kramer, Don’s wife, at Associates. There were lots of stories going around but gossip is as gossip does. Don also had a portrait business which was quite successful and he did a lot of wedding photography.

  • Johnny Knehans

    Kramer did have a sense of humor. One of his campaign promises was to give law enforcement access to his “five criminal tracking bloodhounds” if elected to the Coroner office.

    And there is this mystery. Every so often Rusty tells the story of the dummy who hung himself from the I-55 overpass in Fall ’67 or Spring ’68. According to the Missourian, it was Kramer who held the body for next of kin. As none presented themselves, where did the body go?

    [Deputy Knehans was videoed by channel 12 hauling the body to the top of the bridge. His expression upon seeing it defines surprise.]

  • G. Paul Corbin

    The Trooper in the picture appears to be Trooper Larry Strayhorn. He was assigned to the Cape Zone at the time and like Van Riehl said he (Strayhorn) may have been in route to the Colonial for coffee as it was a popular place for local Troopers to stop for a break. The Highway in front of the Colonial was U.S. 61. His Patrol car is parked in the drive in front of the restaurant with the right front passenger door open and is not parked on the south side where most of the parking for the restaurant was located and near the coffee shop entrance. The primary damage to the wrecked vehicle appears to be in the area of the left rear fender and wheel (note the fender damage and the hub cap is missing) also the fallen wooden beam seems to be from the construction that is being done on the front facade of building at the time. The photo doesn’t show any skid or scuff marks on the pavement prior to the impact.

  • stephen cotner

    i remembered the colonial had the BEST! home made cinamon rolls.nice to eat..then it got kinda gross?. for a better word ..became a disoc? the kramer thing i remember too..he always seemed like a nut to me. in st.louis we had a weather guy..was all over the tv adds and papers..likeable guy..but he wigged out one day. he had a single engine plane..buzz the house of a woaman he was ahaving an affair with..she married and so was he at the time…he went nose down on one of the highways up here..

  • Jean Hengst-Freeman

    Paul, a bunch of us were just talking about Strayhorn the other day and someone said he’d passed away. Do you know? You’ve probably kept up with some of the older troopers and I thought I’d ask you.

  • A classy-looking RV like the one in the first photo could give the beasts a good name.

  • BEV (HALTER) PETERSON

    Ken-
    you wrote “The top of the car, a convertible, is up, but not torn. The car window is appears down, which is odd, considering that all of the people are wearing coats.” It’s not odd at all – that MGA DIDN’T HAVE WINDOWS – true sportscars of the 50’s and early 60’s had removeable SIDE CURTAINS.

    • Keith Robinson

      MGAs may or may not have had roll-up side curtains. They were built both ways. Harotops all had roll-up curtains, but some convertible top roadsters did as well.

  • Lonnie Griffin

    The car is a 1958, 59, or 60 MGA. I had a white 1958 MGA, which looked exactly like the picture except mine was white and had wire wheels. No seat belts so that was not an issue. Also, the car did not have roll-up windows. It had what were called “side curtains”. It was a great car for my younger years in southern California after graduating from Cape Central in 1959.

  • Dale

    This really brings back memories I bused tables at the Colonial Restaurant in the fall of 1965 while attending my freshman year at Southeast Missouri State teachers College. There was a coffee shop along the south side next to the gasoline station and a nice large formal dining area on the East front side of the building with a motel surrounding the north and west as I recall. My recollection is that the Sanders family owned the establishment at the time. And yes, the police and highway patrol frequented it quite often. A lot of Cape Girardeau’s prominent would dine there on occasion. One family with this 14-year-old loudmouth spoiled brat named Rush Limbaugh III I didn’t care for him any more then than I do now. Here’s a wild assumption in January 67 Rush turn to 16, could he have been involved in the judge having a thorough investigation!!!!!
    Just conjecture.

  • Dale

    “Correction”
    This really brings back memories I bused tables at the Colonial Restaurant in the fall of 1965 while attending my freshman year at Southeast Missouri State teachers College. There was a coffee shop along the south side next to the gasoline station and a nice large formal dining area on the East front side of the building with a motel surrounding the north and west as I recall. My recollection is that the Sanders family owned the establishment at the time. And yes, the police and highway patrol frequented it quite often. A lot of Cape Girardeau’s prominent would dine there on occasion. One family with this 14-year-old loudmouth spoiled brat named Rush Limbaugh III. I guess some things never change? Here’s a wild assumption, in January 67 Rush turn 16, could he have been involved in this accident? And some judge was having a thorough investigation!!!!!
    Just conjecture.
    I believe the RV is a Pace Arrow.

  • Penny Strayhorn Smith

    I am the daughter of Larry L Strayhorn and in reply to someone wanting to know about him. He did pass away 2/22/2007. He was living in Nixa, MO. I have enjoyed looking at these old pictures of my father and reading the stories. This has brought back some very special memories of him.

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