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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.


Johns Junk Yard

Wreck near John's Junk Yard c 1966I was rooting through a bunch of car wreck pictures to see if any of them had interesting backgrounds. This was shot on South Kingshighway just north of the I-55 intersection. Across the street from the wreck is Johns Metal Iron and Salvage, but we always called it Johns Junk Yard. It doesn’t look like the crash was too bad.

The 1969 City directory lists it as “Johns Auto Parts (Cleo E. Johns) Junk US Hwy 61.

That’s my 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon parked in the median. I’m sticking pretty far out into the road. Maybe I hadn’t learned yet the best and safest way to park at a spot news scene. It might have been that I was southbound in the left lane, noticed the wreck after I was right on it or past it, and then tucked in as quickly as I could.

John’s ad

1956 Sesquicentennial Book_Page_026Johns took a quarter-page ad in the 1956 Sesquicentennial book.

A May 15, 2004, Missourian story headlined “A look back at local business – 1997” reported “After 70 years in business, Johns Metal-Iron and Salvage Co., 1110 S. Kingshighway, closed its doors.”

What I can’t figure out from the headline is did the business close in 2004, when the story was written, or in 1997? There was a lot of business activity reported in the area.

9 comments to Johns Junk Yard

  • Bill Jackson

    Yes. I was a regular shopper at Johns. I had a 57 plymouth with a standard 3 speed transmission that died every 6 months or so. I could drop it out down at the natatorium because there was a hole I could pull the car over and lower it and pull it out. I would take it to Johns and exchange it for 35$ if I took it out of the wreck myself. I could do the whole thing in about 3 hours. It kept the car running for a couple of years.

  • Terry Hopkins

    Johns had the first live telephone hook up I had ever seen. There was a phone in the office that always on and several junkyards were hooked into it and the owners would then shout into the phone a request,” Got any 57 Plymouth straight trannys?” Another voice on the line would say” Yes this is Daroyal in Piggott and I have two” …..It was amazing! this was in the 60’s and I have no idea of the technology they were using to do this, but it worked!
    Johns was a very cool place, I probably rode with Bill to get a Tranny or two over the years.

  • Bill Stone

    I was always going to John’s to get parts, like door handles etc. for my 1951 Chevy. When I upgraded to my 55 Chevy I didn’t have to go but once. I did have to keep a few cotter pins in the glove box of the ’55 as the pin in the shifting linkage would break frequently. The amazing thing was that you could work on everything on the car then, an important fact for a kid on a limited budget!

  • Dick McClard

    I bought some scrap from them many years ago and as I wrote out the check I asked if I was to write it out to ‘John’s Junk Yard’. I was glared at as the man told me that it was ‘John’s Metal, Iron and Salvage’. Sensitive people down there.

  • joe d. whitright

    I had a 1949 and a 1950 Ford at different times and they were both real bad about breaking rear axles and Johns was the best place in Cape to get a replacement! Just had to slip the busted one out and the used one in.
    Joe Whitright “45” class

  • The Spotter

    A VW bug with a moon roof was the ideal water-balloon vehicle. The driver and spotter sat up front. The loader handed the weapons from the storage location behind the rear seat to the gunner who stood through the roof opening and fired at the designated targets.

    One Saturday night on a rare boys night the gunner got off two shots on Gary Koch’s Corvair. The following Monday he came walking rapidly across the tile floor in Central’s entry way demanding to know if we were the perps. After we acknowledged the fact, he asked who was paying for his shattered windshield.

    That afternoon it was a trip to John’s for the replacement glass at a cost of $14 which they brought to the desk. Corvairs were relatively new at the time. Gary was satisfied enough that he put it in himself.

  • Jim Townsend

    When the snowfall exceeded 3 inches the trays disappeared from the SEMO cafeterias and Academic Hill became the destination of choice for most SEMO students.

    If the white stuff hung around for a second day, fraternities purchased hoods from 1946-1955 vintage vehicles at John’s. These large, uncontrollable, solid steel sleds, capable of seating 10, were fast and dangerous. Numerous injuries were attributed to them, including one that sent Randy Haman to Southeast. This last straw caused Dr. Scully to react.

    The next year found a new sidewalk traversing the hill and numerous saplings planted over its face.

  • David Middleton

    I don’t recall John’s but do remember Pollacks ??? junk yard at the intersection of Independence and 61. We lived on Whitener, a block North of Independence so it was within walking distance. As I recall there was a nearby business on highway 61 with a large illuminated “man in the moon” sign. As a child I was always fascinated by the “man-in-the-moon” sign. Do you have any pictures of that? I think it was a distributor business but don’t remember the name. David Middlton

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