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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.


Fischer’s Market / Islamic Center

A March 15, 1946, Missourian brief said that Arthur M. Fischer has purchased the two-story brick building at 298 North Boulevard, the ground floor of which he has occupied the past five years with his retail grocery, Fischer’s Market. The purchase of the building was made from Mrs. Carl Umbeck, whose husband erected the structure and for years operated a grocery there. Mr. Fischer bought the grocery business from Mr. Umbeck when the latter retired.

“Mr. Fischer also purchased a vacant lot adjacent on the south to the store, the entire property having a frontage on West End. Boulevard of 135 feet and a depth of 132 feet. Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Klaproth, who recently sold their frame dwelling at 1318 Perry avenue to M.G. Campbell, have moved into the second floor apartment. Mrs. Umbeck went to New York City several days ago to reside with a son, Theodore Umbeck.”

A Sept. 22, 1987, story said that Fischer’s Market was going to close after 50 years. At one time, three Fischer’s Markets were operating in Cape – this one; Fisher’s Four-Way Store at Bloomfield and Koch, and Fisher’s Downtown Market at 19 N. Spanish. J. Ronald Fisher Jr. said, “You might say that Fischer’s Market has run its course. The small neighborhood grocery store has a difficult time staying afloat.”

Cornerstone Assembly Church bought the property in 1991.

Grocery became Islamic Center

I was surprised to see that the former grocery had been turned into a very attractive Islamic Center. I don’t know what the long, horizontal building behind the Center is used for today, but it once was where the chickens were processed for the market. Fischer’s had a standing ad wanting to buy “heavy type hens for top prices.”

I didn’t do an exhaustive search, but it seems like the Center has managed to avoid the controversy that has surrounded similar centers in other towns. The members have joined with other religious organizations in acts of fellowship and charity. In fact, it was once of those ecumenical meetings that caused EVERYONE who participated to be condemned in Missourian comments for being  tools of Satan and for fostering “one world religion.” You know you’re making progress when the equal opportunity haters target Catholics, Methodists, Muslims, Baptists and those of the Hindu faith as a common group.

The Missourian’s coverage has been positive and there have been a number of supportive editorials.

In 2009, a Cape Girardeau man was sentenced to three years in prison for hate crimes for vandalizing the center and a car in the parking lot, plus driving while intoxicated.

12 comments to Fischer’s Market / Islamic Center

  • Judi Ray Wickmann

    When my father was transferred back to Cape Girardeau in 1961, we moved into a home two doors north of Fischer’s Market. As the moving van was unloading, Art Fischer appeared at our back door with a carton of ice cream. It was a delighful welcome on a hot summer day to a new neighborhood. Art’s sister-in-law Catherine and his mother-in-law Mrs. Meystedt lived next door. It was a wonderful neighborhood. Mrs. Meystedt was elderly and an expert on Cape’s history. She told us our home was built by a Dr Schoen. His office had been in a room off the living room; we used it as my bedroom. In later years, one of my friend’s father told me he was born in my bedroom. I have wonderful memories of Art and Ronnie Fischer’s store and family. Ken, thank you for your service.

  • bob pollack

    I remember going with my grandmother to Fisher’s for chicken until she started to get on kosher chicken in St. louis. But he neighborhood store has gone by the wayside.

  • I would hardly call it a ‘very attractive Islamic Center’. If anything, I’d call it a visually nondescript, inoffensive, vanilla Islamic Center. Given the rust stains on the walls and broken stairs, I’m not even sure I’d throw in well-maintained.

    If you want to see a very attractive Islamic Center, check out the Islamic Center of Washington.

    Do you have any pictures that show where the stairs on the side of the building used to go? Right now, they just go into a bare wall.

    Cheers,
    Matt

    • Considering the condition of other buildings the age of this one, particularly the old neighborhood groceries, I’ll stick with my “very attractive” rating.

      I was looking at those steps myself. If I remember correctly, that was the main entrance. I don’t know that I shot a photo of it when it was still Fischer’s.

  • Dennis Hente (1962)

    I delivered groceries at fischer’s my senior year of highschool. Fischer had a chicken processing plant behind the store and I would haul bags of fresh chicken to restraunts and grocery stores around Cape and other communities.

  • Audrey Reynolds

    I’m glad that some people in Cape are fostering inter-faith cooperation. Good for them!

  • Jane Neumeyer

    I remember that Fischer’s delivered groceries long after other small grocieries had stopped the practice. I vaguely remember reading at some point that the CG Islamic Center was started in conjunction with the SEMO U Islamic student group and that one of its leader’s was a man who had graduated from SEMO and stayed in the area. Most religious hate is so irrational that it is hard to figure out why it is triggered in some areas and not others. Glad things seem calm in CG.

  • Audrey Reynolds

    More than a few years ago, there was an article in the Chicago Tribune, which focused on Cairo, Illinois. In the article, Cairo, which was in a devastating decline, was contrasted with Cape, which continued to thrive. The writer suggested that back in the late fifties and the sixties, the “powers that be” in Cape had responded far more creatively to issues that arose during the civil rights movement than “the powers that be” in Cairo. Perhaps a similar spirit of creative response to diversity still survives in Cape.

  • David Klaproth, '61

    I remember Fisher’s well, and it was my grandfather and grandmother–Mr. and Mrs. William Klaproth–who lived above that store for a while, before building a house a few blocks away, on Bloomfield Road. Then my aunt and uncle, Mildred and Erich Werner, took that same apartment and lived there for years.

  • Dennis & Mary Drum

    My memories of Fischer’s are somewhat unusual. When I was about 11 years old, my parents bought 111 N.W. End Blvd and we moved in. My Mother continued to do all her shopping at Vandeven’s, so the only time I was in Fischer’s when we lived there was to buy candy for myself. We moved to David Street about four years later and I didn’t have any reason to be at Fischer’s until one of my college friends rented the apartment on the top floor. I was playing chess with him there when the news broke that President Kennedy had been shot. The other strong memory I have was that the apartment needed to be painted and the renters were allowed to choose the paint if they did the painting. The walls were 2″ tongue and groove and they painted alternating boards Canary Yellow and Fire Engine Red. Every time I was there my heart would race until I left….

  • David Middleton

    When I was old enough my mother would send me to Fischer’s market to get some item she needed, such as a box of soap and give me enough money to get a candy bar, usually a 5th Ave. We lived at 1548 Whitener about 4 blocks away. There was a dog that would chase and bark at me on one of those streets between Fischer’s and FRanklin School and it terrified me because I had been bit by a dog. I tried to avoid it but would forget which street it was on and would encounter it again. On one encounter I through the box of soap, candy bar and whatever else I had in the bag at the dog and ran for home. My older sister took me back to the site to recover my weapon, but I always made the journey to Fischer’s with fear.
    Judy Ray Wickmann mentions living in the former home of Dr. Schoen. I was treated in the office that became her bedroom several times, including the aforementioned dog bite, which was on the butt. Dr. Schoen delivered both my sister and me, and we were both born at home. I was born on North Park, near the SEMO campus. He also treated me for polio when I was in the first grade. I was paralyzed for a few days, and as I recall he did not even examine me, but gave my father some pills. It must of worked because 70 years later I still do not have a limp.

  • I’m heartened that my home town is accepting the Muslim center. As for the comment on Cairo, IL vis a vis Cape, I have a blog post on my early experience of traveling often to Cairo to visit relatives. Cairo had a large black population that was under the thumb of white town leaders who limited opportunities for the former. As a kid I used to tell my parents that someday the blacks would “rise up,” and they laughed at me. See my blod, “Ichabod’s Kin” at http://www.ichabodskin.wordpress.com (note: no apostrophe in the link). I get so much out of Ken’s photos and background comments. They’re not only a walk down memory lane, but provide a perspective to all that we saw and experienced in our youth.

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