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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.


Left Both Hearth and Husband

Wichterich, Robert Felix and Elma Taylor House 10-13-2014When I took a mugshot of this house at 300 Good Hope Street, I did it “just because” it might not be there the next time I get to Cape. It never dawned on me there was an interesting twist to the tale of the building.

A search of The Missourian archives turned up a couple of dry briefs about Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Taveggia going here or there or having visitors from out of town in the mid-1930s. In 1940, Mrs. Hugo Lang, Jr., of that address underwent an emergency appendectomy at Southeast Missouri Hospital.

Robert Felix Wichterich and Elma Taylor House

A Google search was more productive. It turned up a National Register of Historic places form that has more architectural detail than you can shake a paint stirrer at. Follow the link if that’s your thing.

I like the human story better.

House incorparated “modern” conveniences

Dr. Robert Wichterich married Elma Taylor, daughter of J. W. Taylor, in 1902. Four years later the Cape Girardeau Democrat reported that Dr. Wichterich was having a new family dwelling (the present house) built on Good Hope Street.

The extent of Mrs. Wichterich’s input into the design is unknown, but the house certainly incorporates conveniences that a wife (or husband) of the period would be likely to appreciate. The servant’s room with a separate back staircase was to be expected in a house for the well-to-do, but the functional step-saving kitchen, accessible laundry areas beyond the public rooms, modern heating, plumbing and electrical systems and other amenities added up to a relatively progressive early 20th century house.

An explosive departure

Nonetheless, after sixteen years of marriage, Mrs. Wichterich  found reasons to leave both hearth and husband; greater freedom for women was another aspect of the Progressive Era that championed Colonial Revival architecture.

Before vacating her progressive new house in 1918, however, according to local history, Mrs. Wichterich stoked the boiler and opened the valves on the shiny gold radiators to the maximum, eventually causing a blast that deposited sections of the plaster ceiling in soggy clumps.

About a year after his wife’s rather dramatic exit, Dr. Wichterich became ill and died at his medical office.

Hugo A. Lang and his wife Anna bought the house from Dr. Wichterich a few months after his wife left. The property remained in the Lang family until the death of Hugo A. Lang, Jr., in 1993.

Things you don’t expect to find

I love stories that uncover human foibles. just like discovering that Cape’s most notorious house of ill repute was located across the street from the police station.

 

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5 comments to Left Both Hearth and Husband

  • Pam Taveggia Ackerman

    My immediate family never lived there in my lifetime. It’s possible my parents could have lived there in the 30’s, but I have no recall of their ever mentioning this place. My cousins lived on Good Hope late 40’s or thereabouts, but I don’t remember the address. My cousin Jane Ewan Paquin, also a fan of yours, may be able to shed light on this particular house. Vicki Young Long may also have some revelations.

  • Janet Robert

    Just drove by there one day last week and was so sad to see it has fallen into such disrepair. Was a beautiful home….Pam would your parents have been married in the 30’s? Could it have been grandparents? I only ever remember you being on Spanish. How is Jane? Loved that girl! She and Betty!!

  • Pam Ackerman

    Yes, Janet, my parents were married in spring of 36 I think, so it’s possible they could have lived there. My dad’s parents were from Herrin, so I know they didn’t live there. My mom’s parents had a house out on Big Bend Road in the same block as Jim, Tim, and John Young whose dad Robert (Chic) was my mom’s brother. When Mary Ann, Jane, and Bette lived on Good Hope, Vicki Young, Michael, and baby Julie lived across the street from them for a short time.
    Jane, who lives in Seal Beach, CA, is doing wonderfully with her art work! She is an amazingly creative artist who has the coolest, most uniquely decorated home and my favorite bathroom in the whole world! Bette has a great little place near Jane. Bette held an administrative position in the LA library system until she retired. Jane is a retired kindergarten teacher and was very loved by her students.

  • Dick Hopper

    I lived on Good Hop just west of loouisiana St. and pssed this house many times traveling to and from Haarig and downtown. Always was curous about the house’s histodruy

  • I LIVED AROUND THE CORNER FOM THAT HOUSE ON LORIMIER ST. WHEN I WAS A KID.THE VAUGHNS LIVE THERE.A MAN AND WIFE AND A MOTHER IN LAW. THAT WAS ABOUT 1948 UNTIL ABOUT 1956. THE LANGS LIVED ACROSS THE STREET IN THE NEXT BLOCK ON THE OPPOSITE CORNER.THE TREE IN THE PICTURE IS A MAGNOLA I CLIMBED IT MANY A TIME.THE HOUSE WAS VERY NICE INSIDE.

    BOB MCBRIDE

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