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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.


Is There a PETA for Plants?

I could hear the plants screaming.

Wait. It’s a little early for that. Let’s back into this a little more slowly.

I ended up at Plaza Galleria, behind the Town Plaza Shopping Center Saturday afternoon. I had been back there before on an earlier visit and noted that the old ice skating rink had been closed for some time.

It opened after I left Cape, so I never paid a lot of attention to it. I didn’t bother to look up any information about when it opened, closed or who owns it. That’s not what interested me.

Spirits inhabit old buildings

This is going to sound like I’m letting my Fine Art or nutso side show, but I have always loved to wander around shooting abandoned buildings. Odd as it may sound, I feel vibes in them. I can imagine a young couple moving into the house when it still smells of sawdust and fresh paint.

I hear the footsteps and laughter of young children. I hear voices raised in anger. I feel the sorrow of sickness and death. I think of all of the people who have passed through there in its lifetime and wonder how many looked back at the place when they pulled out of the driveway for the last time.

Chew marks on the window sill

I look for the marks on a door frame showing a child growing up or teeth marks on a window sill.

I shot a closed restaurant the other day (that’ll run soon). I could see a dead plant in a vase through a dust-covered window. Three tables still had white tablecloths on them, just like the day the doors closed.

Plaza Galleria is out of a sci-fi movie

The Plaza Galleria, though gave me some vibes that I had never felt before. They were something out of a science fiction movie. The place is full of plants.

Not all of the plants in this long-closed building were dead. Some of them were very much alive and pressing themselves against the window glass like they were trying to get out. Particularly spooky were the windows where the plants inside were next to bushes and trees outside.

I think the best way to handle this is just to run a gallery of photos. If there was an advocacy group for plants like PETA is for animals, there would be pickets outside the joint chanting “FREE THE PLANTS!”

Gallery of Plaza Galleria Photos

Click on any photo to make it larger (if you dare), then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery. You should be happy I don’t have audio. I swear, I could hear plants screaming.

 

 

18 comments to Is There a PETA for Plants?

  • Martha

    I have always been intrigued by old buildings also but I am hoping these plant photos do not give me nightmares ! great shots ….

  • Chew marks on a windowsill? What – were there badgers in your family tree?

    • Miz Jan, mam,

      Haven’t you ever seen a teething baby gnaw on things? A window sill is just about the right height.

      Of course, it’s not a good idea if it’s covered in lead paint. That explains a lot about my brothers.

  • This post shows the acute awareness of a photographer. Abandoned plants and old houses both left on their own, noticed and photographed. Thank you for this thought provoking story.

  • Laurie Everett

    I too have noticed the abandoned plants. Very strange and creepy. Are there any plans for this building? It looks like it is about to fall down-or be taken down by crazy plants.

  • April

    Photo 10 is the creepiest one…shudders.

  • Stephanie Daniel Bunton

    It actually resembles the Buttlefly House in Chesterfield, MO. Didn’t this use to be a grocery store? I seem to remember a Trinity 8th Grade field trip day which required us to stand out front to ask people if they believed in God. Not everyone was happy with such an intrusive question…

  • David Lawley

    This used to be Kroger’s back in the 70s correct?

  • Judi Coleman

    ITS AMAZING ANY OF THESE PLANTS HAVE GREEN ON THEM AS THAT RINK HAS BEEN CLOSED FOR 5-6 YEARS, MAYBE LONGER!

  • Jane Neumeyer

    Who knew you had an inner poet? Very nicely done.

  • Carrie Shiley

    I enjoy your insight into what makes a ‘great’ photo. Have you ever just ‘wandered’ through a cemetery?

    • I’ve spent a lot of time in them. They’re a great way to get a quick sense of the history of a place. When you see clusters of graves with close to the same dates, for example, you know that some kind of epidemic passed through.

      Mary A Seyer

      Sad, sad, sad! they should have a least gave the plants away to anyone who would have wanted them.

    • marsha marshall gutshall

      the plants are not the spooky thing it is the thoughtless people who left the, i too love old houses and other “spooky” buildings, they have so much character in them, like when you see the notches in the door jamb and the year and name. i got them in my house for 3 grandkids.

    • Ginny Wrape Johnston

      Yes David, It was a very nice Kroger back in the 70’s. I spent a lot of time there as my boyfriend (Jerry Huber) worked there stocking.

    • Okay, I’ve just had a major freakout. Just today I was plotting a story idea and remembered my visit up from Jonesboro, Arkansas, to Cape Girardeau. I was with two friends, Bryan and Marty, and we all entered that creepy-ass place. The plants were the first thing we saw, and Bryan insisted they were triffids.

      At the time, the mall appeared to be nearly abandoned. There was a bar with no one inside, a clothing store with nothing there, and some retail shop run by a girl that said they’d be playing hockey that night.

      Problem is that the rink was free of ice. You could see the wood supports and plastic underneath. If I recall, there was one bathroom available, in the basement.

      That was… 1993, I think. I left Jonesboro then, and went to Mississippi, Maine, back to Mississippi, and now out to California. I’ve never been back. Those plants looked as horrifying then as they do now.

      Won’t someone break that glass and let them escape?

    • Anthony Riley

      I was talking about this building the other day. With some clean up and restoration it would be a great place to fix up for a dance hall/wedding reception venue. Cape doesn’t really have anywhere to go dancing anymore, by dancing I mean ballroom(swing, waltz, etc.) not the butt shaking that most of the under 35 crowd calls dancing.

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