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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.

Water Plant Fountain

When I stopped at the water plant’s goldfish pond and fountain the last time, we were just coming out of winter and hadn’t made it into spring. THIS is a lot more colorful. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Built in 1931; still in good shape

May 21, 1931, Page One Missourian story gushed, “A project of the Better Service Club…might be described as one outstanding example of good taste in landscaping and beautification in this city… Situated on the brow of a wooded ravine just north of the site to be occupied by the new $250,000 water plant, the rock garden and its central fountain forms an attractive background to the woodland.

This garden was built for the employees by Judge I.R. Kelso of the Utilities company… The cost of lighting the place and planting it to flower and shrubbery will be borne by the employees, who will also maintain the project.”


12 comments to Water Plant Fountain

  • I love this place, but I can never remember how to get there!

  • Gabe Ford

    Never knew what that was but I’ve drove by it hundreds of times.

  • Terry Hopkins

    I pass this on my way to Cape Rock it is across from the water palnt. My Mom and Dad both claimed that that was the spot of their first date and in the late 40’s this was a big hangout for young dating couples. There used to be GAINT Koi(Goldfish)in the fountian and as a kid I used enjoy seeing them in the summer.

  • Thomas V. Arnoldi


    When I was young (“pre-teen”), my parents and I would cook an early morning breakfast in this park. It was a beautiful retreat, and I shall never forget those good times in Cape Girardeau. Thank you for the splendid photos with fall colors.


  • Marida Nothdurft Stearns

    Thanks for sharing this. It was always one of my favorites spots and a real treat as a child to go there.

  • Jean Hengst-Freeman

    Oh Lordy, Ken. Beautiful photos. And you’re right….they sure built it to last! Thanks for sharing.

  • Keith Robinson

    As a memory-jogger, how many remember that just beyond the fountain, in the hills, on the northwest side of Cape Rock Drive, there was a small park with a drive in amongst the trees? The whole area around Cape Rock used to be better maintained and kept up like a park area. A few years ago, my father and some others tried to get the city to clear out the jumbled undergrowth especially to the south on the hillsides adjacent to the Cape Rock Circle drive so visitors could see down the river toward the downtown area. According to him, there were some “tree-huggers” on either the City Council or Parks Board that claimed that doing so would destroy natural habitat. Obviously they were either not Cape Girardeau natives or have bad memories, because I distinctly remember how beautiful the area was when the whole garden area was kept trimmed.

    Those of you who still live in Cape need to pick up the ball and get that area looking nice again. Ken, do you have any photos that support my memories?

  • Joe Whitright

    Ken, when I was a kid living in Cape , this was always a must trip for our out of town relatives when they would visit!
    Joe Whitright :45″

  • Mike Taylor

    Hey Keith, we’ve ran into the same “natural habitat” issue with some of our KC area board members. So we didn’t mow our lawn for a couple of months and when the city got a complaint I used their “natural habitat” argument as reason why I shouldn’t have to clean up our place, as they did theirs. They weren’t very happy with me and I couldn’t understand why my “natural habitat” thinking was wrong and their thinking that they could make me mow was right. Hmmmmm Guess I’ll never understand when to join the movement and when not to. Vote!!!

  • Bill Stone

    As a member of the Better Service Club when I was an employee of Missouri Utilities, we would have work days to clean up the pond area.
    There used to be a picnic area with table and stone grill beyond the pond. I doubt they are still there. When I was young at a family picnic, I was sent down the hill on my first snipe hunt.

  • Janet Robert

    Your photos are just amazing….so clear and colorful! Loved the park on Cape Rock. It was a destination photo place for my family. If I find my black and whites I might share!

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