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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.

Kage School Initials Mystery

Kage School before it closed in 1966

At the end of November, 2009, I ran this and two other pictures of Kage School shot sometime around 1966, just before the school was closed and 112 years after it opened. Follow this link to read the original story with the history of the school and some other resources.

Initials carved into the brick

At the time, I didn’t notice the initials carved into the bricks on the south wall of the school. The odd thing is that no description of the school I’ve read mentions the carvings.

Was this REALLY scratched in 1899?

This building was constructed in 1880, so it’s conceivable that someone with the initials ROL might have scratched his name on the south wall of the building. That’s the side that the 0uthouse was on and the door to the kitchen wasn’t added until years later, so there was some privacy. If the child was waiting for his or her turn in the outdoor toilet, maybe he or she passed the time tracing letters in the soft brick. The “L” has a unique shape that makes me think of a font of that period.

1913 is a little more plausible

WS claims to be from 1913. Discipline was strict in schools of that era. You have to wonder what punishment, if any,  students would receive if they were caught defacing the building. Or, was it a school tradition that was overlooked as long as it was done only on that back wall.

Where was the outhouse?

My 1966 photo showed a small child headed to the outhouse. It’s long gone, but there are two concrete foundations still standing on the south side of the school. The application for the National Register of Historic Places says that one of them was a utility shed and the other was the outhouse.

I’ll have to take their word for it. The one foundation looks too large for an outhouse and the other looks too small for a shed. For obvious reasons, I didn’t dig too deeply into the subject.

Outhouse or utility shed?

I thought the outhouse was closer to the school, but this COULD be the pit. I tried to convince my brother, Mark, to explore the subject, but he’s not as gullible as he was when he was a kid.

Kage School is crumbling

The bricks in the chimney are beginning to crumble and there are cracks above a window on the southeast side. If anyone is going to step up to preserve this historic building, they’d better do it soon. I encourage you to follow the link to the National Register application to read the fascinating history of the school.

Kage School Gallery of Photos

Here’s a gallery of photos from Kage School. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the photo to move through the gallery.

17 comments to Kage School Initials Mystery

  • Bill East

    I know Sondra Feverston Wieland (CHS 66) attended Kage School. At that time the Cape School District ended at the gravel road that would later be Mount Auburn. The Route 12 bus turned around at Mount Auburn and Hopper road.

  • Fascinating! Everyone loves a mystery!
    Not being from the Cape area, I don’t have any idea where the old Kage school is, but it sounds like an interesting history excursion.



    • Dear Mr. Madison,
      Of course all schools that have been closed for any length of time are haunted. There is a school called Harmony located in Hockessin, Delaware. One evening I was walking pass the school and it began to rain. It was those rains that come up on you on very hot days or nights.
      What am I going to do. It is dangerous to be out it the heavy rain ditches filled up with water and many parts of the road get flooded and are impassable. I decided that the only thing to do was to seek shelter in the empty one room school. The school had been closed now for fifty years.
      This i what I did, I looked for an opening in the school, found one and entered. The rain was pouring down very hard, the wind was blowing and the door I left open, and now it is banging by the fierce wind. That school had to be haunted, and on the worse nights it is very scarry.
      All of a sudden, I heard screaming, right after I had got myself ready to drop off to sleep. No sleep for me, I wished I had a flash light.
      All empty buildings are haunted. Especially if they are empty for fifty years or more.

  • Dick Doherty

    Does anyone know if there is a list of teachers at Kage
    school? My ancestor, Stephen E. Hale, was a teacher there ca. 1880.

  • Mary

    Good stuff! I so hoped they would restore it & keep a piece of history. And not because I was the queen of Kage school a couple years earlier!!’

    • Abby

      Mary, do you mean to say that you were a student at Kage when it was still in operation? I am doing a school report on it, and I would love to hear anything you have to say.

  • Cordelia Schrock Peters

    My Dad Norman Schrock went to school there.

    He was born 1912 == Also, did Hadley Schrock.

  • Where is Kage school located? I know its in Cape but where?

  • Sherri Kage Pohlman

    This is all very interesting stuff, as my maiden name is Kage. My family grew up in and around Cape. My father and his father are Glenn Kage Jr and Sr. Glenn Kage Sr’s father was James Kage. Very glad to have stumbled across this article.

  • I just turned 86 years old. My happy days were when I went to Harmony School located on Limestone Road, Hockessin, Delaware. There were twenty children in the school. Mrs. Dillon was the School Teacher. Everyone lived on a farm. During the winter months the time each day we were in school was from 9 to 4. The time waa made long because during the spring time the days were short. This allowed students to go home early to work on the farm. So much to write about. Oh how they make good memories.

  • Thank you for the memories. I like to read about one room schools.

  • Deborah (Grubb) Sczerby

    I went there when I was in 5th grade. My sister Diane was 6th grade, my brother Sonny was in 1st grade.
    we were all in same room. Our teacher was Ms. Step. A beautiful woman with very long brown hair.
    The cook was a wonderful woman. I can’t remember her name though.
    My best friends name was Donna.
    I remember the outside toilet.
    It was a very interesting year.
    I have the class picture for that year. If you want to see it look me up on face book.
    I visited the school when I as in Cape couple years ago. Sad to see it falling apart.Someone had broken in the back door so we peeked inside and took a few pictures It was a disaster inside, looked like someone just threw books all over the place. My Sister and I took pictures.

    • Savanna Maue

      Deborah, I’m a reporter with the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau…I would love to see this photo! You can email me at but I’m afraid I’m not finding you on Facebook…feel free to find me as well! I hope we can chat!


  • Steve Ikerman

    Savanna I attended first grade there 64-65 school year. Have fond memories because I lived just down Kage rd. in my youth. Feel free to contact me. I would love to discuss this with you.


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