They Opened the Time Capsule

When I think of the Common Pleas Courthouse markers and memorials, this 1967 photo of the Civil War memorial is the one that comes to mind. I’m pretty sure it ran, because it won a minor prize somewhere. All I know is that the negative sleeve is marked “Cook kids & Courthouse Statue 6/29/67.” When I wrote about it in 2009, I was hoping that someone would provide details, but I didn’t have the readership I do now, so I’m hoping I’ll have better luck this time.

It wasn’t until I walked across the courthouse grounds on the way to lunch downtown with Missourian reporter Melissa Miller that I realized that the park is peppered with memorials, stones and markers. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Monuments to Civil War, Vietman

Bloomfield’s Stars & Stripes Museum has a great quote about the Civil War: “Missourians did not have to await the arrival of an invading army to begin making war – they just chose sides and began fighting each other. Although the First Battle of Bull Run is usually accorded the distinction of being the first land battle of the Civil War, Missourians formed their battle lines at Carthage on July 5, 1861, a full 17 days before the so-called ‘first’ battle was fought.”

Maybe that’s why Cape Girardeau has both a Union and a Confederate memorial within yards of each other. A third memorial honors those “WHO ANSWERED OUR NATIONS CALL” in Vietnam.

Time capsule wasn’t forgotten

I posed the question “Did they open the time capsule” that was buried during Cape’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1956 with an inscription “to be opened during Bicentennial YR 2006?”

Shy Reader came up with the answer:

“This is a cringing embarrassment both for me and for my beloved Cape Girardeau. No, the capsule wasn’t opened in 2006, because it had already been opened in 1993. The city wanted a celebration. It was based on Lorimier’s establishment of a trading post here in 1793.

“An observance was held, but it was nothing like the big Sesquicentennial in 1956. The bad thing was, by celebrating early, they spoiled the chance for a really big doin’s in 2006. There were a few things that year, too, but not like 1956.”

Here’s a long story about how most of the stuff in the capsule was water damaged.

There’s a zoom button at the top right of the Google News page to make it large enough to read.

Confederate monument vandalized

The CSA monument, erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1931, has been in the news recently because of vandalism. A high-powered solvent removed most of the paint, but some seeped into the pores of the marble.

A Missourian story by Patrick T. Sullivan said “‘Go south’ was written on the front of the shrine that sits along Lorimier Street near the fountain. That apparently was a request that the marker be moved, not a pro-South message. ‘We are in the union,’ read the words on the back. ‘Obscene. Remove to [illegible] cemetary in the south.'”

Common Pleas history

1806 – 1854
COURTHOUSE AND PARK

IN 1806 LOUIS LORIMIER CEDED THIS PLOT
TO THE CITY FOR A CIVIC CENTER. THE
PRESENT BUILDING DATE FROM 1854. IT
HOUSES CITY OFFICES AND COURT OF
COMMON PLEAS. THE CELLAR WAS A CIVIL
WAR PRISON. THE PARK ACCOMMODATES
A UNION MEMORIAL, BANDSTAND, AND
PUBLIC LIBRARY AND AT ONE TIME A FIRE
STATION AND PRODUCE MART. IT HAS
FOSTERED MANY ACTIVITIES THROUGH THE
YEARS – FROM SLAVE AUCTIONS TO
RELIGIOUS WORSHIP.

William F. D. Batjer sundial

IN MEMORY
OF
WILLIAM F. D. BATJER
1864 – 1937
AND
IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION OF
HIS FAITHFUL SERVICE AND
HAPPY INSPIRING LEADERSHIP,
THE
PEOPLE OF CAPE GIRARDEAU
DEDICATE THIS SUNDIAL
THIS
MAY 22, 1938

Mr. Batjer was former secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club president, secretary of the Cape County Fair Association and an overall do-gooder and social activist. He first came to Cape as a trouper playing with stock companies which gave performances in the old Opera House. He died at 73 when he was struck by a car near Texarkana while he was adjusting his car’s headlights on the side of the road.

I shot a vertical photo of Outstanding Seniors Russell Doughty and Bill East leaning on that sundial in 1966. What I most remember about the photo is that the vertical was turned into a square because of a reason I wrote about in Why Pictures Don’t Run.

Naeter Cypress from Mexico

MONTEZUMA CYPRESS FROM SANTA MARIA
EL TULE, MEXICO

DONATED BY MR. FRED AND MR. GEORGE
NAETER, FOUNDERS AND PUBLISHERS OF
THE SOUTHEAST MISSOURIAN

“Our Steel Magnolia”

IN MEMORY OF
CAROL UNNERSTALL
“OUR STEEL MAGNOLIA”

AUG. 12, 1937
DEC. 21, 2004

Police Officer Memorials

The stone on the left reads:

IN MEMORY
OF
N. J. HUTSON
CHIEF OF POLICE, A MAN WHO
STOOD FOR LAW AND ORDER
FOR WHICH HE GAVE HIS LIFE
LION’S CLUB ARBOR DAY 1923

The one on the right:

IN MEMORY OF
CAPE GIRARDEAU POLICE OFFICERS
PATROLMAN DONALD H. CRITTENDON
WHO DIED MARCH 21, 1961, AND
AUXILIARYOFFICER HERBERT L. GOSS
WHO DIED MARCH 10, 1961,
BOTH OF WOUNDS RECEIVED
IN THE LINE OF DUTY ON
MARCH 10, 1961, IN DEFENSE
OF LAW AND ORDER
EXCHANGE CLUB OF
CAPE GIRARDEAU 1962

Two memorials for Jeffrey Maguire

This tree is dedicated to the memory of
JEFFREY S. MAGUIRE
May 8, 1955 – June 9, 2004
Outstanding husband, father, attorney, friend and volunteer.
You are Missed.
COOK, BARKETT, MAGUIRE & PONDER, LC.
Attorneys and Staff

[Note: the tree must have died.]

IN MEMORY OF
JEFFREY S. MAGUIRE
MAY 8, 1955
JUNE 9, 2004
A GREAT LAWYER
AND A FRIEND TO ALL

Concrete Street Award

CONCRETE STREET
50 YEAR
SERVICE AWARD – 1962
FIRST CONCRETE STREETS
IN CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO.
BUILT 1912
AWARDED BY
PORTLAND CEMENT ASSOCIATION

Bandstand and Courthouse

Dad spoke often of attending concerts at the old bandstand.

Dr. C.E. Schuchert, Bandmaster

Dedicated TO DR. C.E. SCHUCHERT

1869-1931

BANDMASTER

SCHUCHERT’S CONCERT BAND

1905 TO 1907

1913 TO 1917

SIXTH REGIMENT BAND, N.G. MO.

1908 TO 1912

140TH INFANTRY BAND U.S.A.

1917 AND 1918

CAPE GIRARDEAU MUNICIPAL BAND

1919 TO 1930

 

9 Replies to “They Opened the Time Capsule”

  1. Ken when I was in elementary school at Washington School the school took up a collection of pennies that was to be used to make a ull sized replica of the Statue of Liberty. I was wondering if you or anyone knew what became of that activity? I really enjoy your daily articles, especially those of your Mother,she must be very special.

  2. I seem to remember a small plaque on a corner of the courthouse stating that slaves were sold at that spot prior to the civil war. Does anyone else remember such a plaque?

  3. If you go to the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Il there is a display about a slave auction. They have a notice for a slavae auction & land sale bill on display. The sale was advertised to be held on the Common Pleas Courthouse lawn in Cape! My husband and I were there a few weeks ago and were amazed to read it. I had always heard the rumors that slave auctions had been held there, but still couldn’t believe what I was reading!

  4. Interesting that the Stars and Stripes Museum lists the Battle of Carthage as the first land battle. We attended the sesquicentennial re-enactment of the first battle of Boonville this summer. They consider that battle, fought on June 17, 1861, as the first land battle of the Civil War. Guess everyone wants to be first! When I worked one summer at the public library when it was located there, I would often spend my lunch hour on the courthouse grounds. That’s when I discovered how many monuments were there!

  5. Gees…who would have thought that of all the Memorials that are at the court house! My next door neighbor was Carol Unnerstal, but I don’t know why. Since I am in Cape today, I will go across the street to Sam Unnerstall and ask him! Famous people live around you all the time and you never know it!

  6. Jeff Maguire was a great family friend. He was a man of integrity, humility and he shared an unmatched wit and humor with all of those people with the good fortune to know him. He is sorely missed.

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