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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.

Hooligans Deface Train

I miss The Southeast Missourian. I never got to write headlines like that at any other paper I worked for. Some low-lifes, probably from out of town, maybe as far away as Jackson, defaced Rosie, the Capaha Park play train.

Class of 70:  “Cape Hurts.”

If you look closely to the rear of the train, you can see a pair of legs. I suspect those belonged to the cop reporter bein’ as how this was probably the crime story of the day – if not the week – and warranted a photographer AND a reporter. As far as I know, the miscreants were never apprehended.

I’m SURE this photo didn’t run

The Missourian was big on decorum. There were advice to the lovelorn columns that didn’t run because they were “too racy.”

When I ran a story about the Capaha Park and Arena Park trains back in November, I noted that the trains look different today than they did in the 60s when these photos were taken.

Trains have been modified

Reader and model railroader Keith Robinson cleared up the confusion: both locomotives were known as tank locomotives, meaning there was a water tank saddling the boiler. In the black and white photos, the protuberances above the tank from the front of the locomotive rearward are in order; smoke stack, forward sand dome, steam dome, and the rear sand dome. The sand domes sat atop the tank while the steam dome is part of the boiler; the high point from whence steam is drawn. When the tanks were removed in the 80s because of the asbestos insulation that was underneath them, the sand domes were removed with the tanks. The bells never sat directly on the boiler in either case but were mounted atop the tank in front of the smoke stacks.

16 comments to Hooligans Deface Train

  • Ken, isn’t it nice to be able to post photos on your own site, without having to worry about an editor peering over your shoulder?? Thanks for clearing up the Capaha train issue: I just knew that the train didn’t look the same as it did in the 60’s.
    I have another question for you: In about 1967, Judy Williams and I directed Central’s first musical – “Bye, Bye, Birdie.” It’s always bothered me that I haven’t seen photos of it. It was such a big production – I can’t figure out why there were no pictures. Back then, we couldn’t get Spring events in the yearbooks, so I don’t believe there are any in either the 66-67 yearbook or the 67-68 yearbook. Did you take any pictures of the play?

  • Sally Bierbaum Dirks

    This July we had a picnic with the grandkids beside the train in Arena Park. They enjoyed playing on the train as much as I did. Isn’t it nice to be able to pass down some of the experiences of our youth to them.

  • Liz Lockhart


    Missing major events such as the school’s first musical, a growing slate of spring sports, and virtually all of the academic awards is the reason the Girardot eventually switched to a fall delivery schedule. The 1972 yearbook was the first to be delivered at the start of school. Though I was not the adviser to that edition, I did deliver it during my first year at Central.

  • Susan Fee Means

    By the late ’70s, we had the option to purchase a several page autograph insert, replete with pictures, that could be sticky-taped inside our G-dots when they arrived. If I’m not mistaken (and Ms. Liz can correct me if I’m wrong) I believe the inserts were available prior to the end of the school year.

  • David Lawley

    Wow, forgot all about those….

  • Liz Lockhart

    Yes, Sue is correct. We had the autograph sections available in the spring so students could gather the traditional signatures and then add to the book when it arrived. Initially, the autograph sections were standard issue with no photos; but we soon started designing our own inserts with some local photos.

    Ken: Nearly everybody picked up their books. The “autograph party/book distribution” was a pretty big deal. I often mailed (postage COD) books that were not picked up after a couple of months.

  • Wade Callicutt

    Have you a photo of the double vandalism to the Central auditorium roof in 1967?

  • Suzanne Suggs Mortimer

    Speaking of graffiti, does anyone remember the “Fight CHS Dress Code” spray painted on the small building next to the football field. I was in junior high…probably around ’71 or ’72?

    • Wade, I don’t remember the auditorium roof vandalism. Refresh my memory. If it happened at the start of the school year, I was probably already on my way to Ohio University for my junior year.

      Suzzanne, I was long gone by then. In 1972, I was at the tail end of my stay in Gastonia, NC. Sorry.

  • Sheila Hopkins Phillips

    Who named the trai “Rosie?”

  • I was told by a pretty good source that the auditorium roof graffiti happened in 1968.
    It still frustrates the dickens out of me that Central High on Caruthers could not have been added onto to avoid going down alongside the interstate. There was so much room out front and I can’t believe that they couldn’t have used the old gym for additional classrooms, etc. I don’t think I have ever seen a full gym for a basketball game in the new gym that was built onto CHS on Caruthers since they built it! What a wasteful shame!!! Everybody’s gotta’ have something bigger and better than the other little towns around. Oh well, that’s spilt milk and not much anyone can do about it now. Just hope the schoolboards in the future will think twice or long and hard before they spend money Cape citizens don’t have.
    Guess I got off of the subject, huh?

  • Bill Stone

    I don’t know about the name “Rosie” but the original unmodified engines were donated to the parks by Marquette Cement. They were yard or switch engines. I well remember them operating in the cement plant yard. They were called “dinkys”. that is the name I remember them by. One of my cousins, Jim Stone, father of Jimmy, Harold and Bobby Stone was one of the Engineers/switchman that operated the engines at the plant. Even though they were probably placed in Arena and Capaha Parks for the kids, I can remember as an adult climbing into the cabs at both parks. I am sure I was just supervising the kids-Yeah, right!

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