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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.

Building at Themis and Frederick

We might as well stay on Frederick Street one more day. We explored the back of Fire Department No. 1 two days ago, and the bus station at 16 North Frederick yesterday. While shooting the old bus depot, I parked in front of Cape-Kil, which has been there since 1949. That made me think of another building on that street.

Here is a photo I shot looking south from the bell tower of the Trinity Lutheran Church in the summer of 1978, before the church was torn down. It shows Themis running from left to right and Frederick running from top to bottom. It was taken with a 16mm Nikon fisheye lens, which explains the curvature. The lines are from a mesh screen covering the opening in the steeple.

On the southwest corner is a small red brick building that always fascinated me for some reason. Maybe because it “looked” old. It had been vacant – or looked vacant – for as long as I could remember.

Cape-Kil is still there

The white Cape-Kil building is still there, but the brick building is gone.

Stacks of stone remain

Pallets and stacks of stone from what I suppose was the foundation are one of the few traces that remain of the little building. Since I didn’t know the exact street address, nor the name of any owners, I don’t have much information about the property. I’m sure one of you will set me straight.

Trinity Lutheran Church

This view is almost the mirror opposite of my bell tower photo. It’s looking back toward the new Trinity Lutheran Church from the lot where the brick building stood.

Rocks and roots

You can’t go through a Fine Arts in Photography program without being drawn to shooting rocks and roots and peeling paint from time to time.

Window frames

A few wooden window frames lean against the Cape-Kil building.



12 comments to Building at Themis and Frederick

  • Charlie Note

    Lizbe Knote.has ensured that the Cape-kil property will eventually pass to those who most deserve it including the Kennedys, perhaps Pelosi and a few other liberal notables.

  • Your picture of the old stones and dandelions is beautiful. You’re a fantastic photographer!

  • Joseph Johnson

    I agree with your comment 100%, Ken!
    I really like the 1978 photograph of the downtown area…since it takes me back to the year that I graduated from Central High School.
    Once again, thanks for sharing. PEACE

  • Jesse James

    The West family lived in that house. Jim West was in the class of 66, his older sister, whose name I have forgotten was in the 65 class I believe. There were also 2 younger brothers that went to Central. Cape Kill brings back memories, part of them good but old age wisdom now not so good. On the other side of the Cape Kill building in you picture is an open field where we played Army crawling through the DEAD grass/weeds having a good old time. I believe there were a lot of chemicals in the field, no telling what kind that killed everything in it. The field never had anything growing in it that I can remember. We also had fun walking/jumping on the 55 gallon barrels that were stored outside. Hope it was rain water that was on top of them. Oh well made it to 62 so maybe it wasn’t as bad as I remember, hope not anyway.

  • Steve B

    While attending graduate school at SEMO (74-75) my wife and I rented the little white house around the corner from the bus station at 515 Themis. The rent was $75 a month — a good deal, even then! The property was owned by a Mrs. Robinson who owned and lived in the HUGE white rooming house a half block away that stood on the southwest corner of Themis and Middle Street. The little house we rented still stands, but Mrs. Robinson’s rooming house does not. It was razed when the church parking lot was expanded. So much for progress.

  • Here is an entry of my blog, F8 and Be There, with a photo sequence I shot of the Trinity church steeple coming down April 18, 1979.

    • Fred,

      I remember that sequence. It still pains me to look at it.

      You can’t convince me that the building couldn’t have been saved. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t been in the new church and don’t expect that I’ll ever go in it.

  • Shy Reader came through with more info about the “Mouse House” at Themis and Frederick.

    It was built in 1891 by Jacob Dietrich, who immigrated from German in 1854.

    Between 1973 and 1984, Charlie Knote, who founded Cape-Kil, used the building as a lab where he experimented with caged wild mice and rats to find out how he could best exterminate them.

  • Ken,
    It was my understanding that the lady who donated a million dollars to Trinity stipulated that the money HAD TO BE USED ON A NEW CHURCH; hence, the reasoning for tearing down a perfectly beautiful and stately building.
    The first time I ever went to that church, I sat in the balcony and the sun pouring through those big stain-glass windows filling that sactuary with with a golden glow made be feel like I was up on a cloud looking down. Behind the alter in the middle of the alcove was a statue of Jesus, with his arms open wide and that whole interior just really touched my heart. It was the church of the handsome young boy with whom I loved enough and we were married in front of that inspirational statue on June 24, 1961 and will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.
    That old Trinity became MY church too and it broke my heart when they tore it down. We moved away after our marriage and when we returned to live in Cape again, our church was gone. I have only been inside the new church once. The Christ Statue is gone and the feeling of and airy, heavenly atmosphere was gone also. So sad. . . . . and now my old gradeschool, Washington, is an empty lot and Franklin is soon to be demolished also. It’s like- I can no longer go home and revisit the hallowed halls of my childhood.
    SORRY to have rambled on so . . . . .Thanks for letting me get it off my chest.

    • Rambling is what I do best, so feel free to ramble with me.

      I don’t know if you saw the photos I shot inside the steeple before it was torn down.

      I have interior photos of the old church that will run before long. They show all of the things you describe.

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