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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.

Rueseler Chevrolet 1966

I shot these photos of Rueseler’s Motor Company, better known as Rueseler’s Chevrolet, in the summer of 1966. The signature cowboy with blazing six-guns reminds me of the iconic Bunny Bread mascot.

Chevrolet dealer at night

I shot some of the photos in the daytime, then went back at dusk to try to get the signature cowboy to show up. My attempt was only marginally successful.

“Trusty Chevy II,” “Sporty Corvair”

The building looks new, so the photos could have been taken for an ad or a business column. I thought it would be easy to find stories about Rueseler’s, but a couple of ads were the only thing to pop up in the Google archives. This July 1966 Missourian advertisement tried to entice you buy a “sporty Corvair.” Those are two words I’m not sure I’d use together.

How do you like the Eggimann’s offer to sell you an air conditioner for $3.00 a week?

Blazing Chevrolet deals

I’m not sure what’s in the building on Kingshighway these days. I’ll have to check it out when I go back to Cape in October for Mother’s Birthday Season.

19 comments to Rueseler Chevrolet 1966

  • Lee Dahringer

    Great shots – say what the diget-heads will say, there is something about film and especially in hands of someone who knew how to develop it that lives on……

    • Lee, thanks for the compliment, but I think you picked the wrong pix to praise. I had to eliminate some frames because the developing action was uneven, something that really shows up when you have a lot of gray tones, like the sky.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like B&W photography, but digital photography will allow even rank amateurs to shoot photos under lighting conditions that would have been impossible in the days of 100 ASA film.

      When Tri-X was introduced rated at 400 ASA, it opened up whole new worlds.

      Because I liked to shoot under low lighting conditions, I experimented with every kind of exotic film and developer combinations imaginable. I used some films that were so sensitive that you couldn’t keep them in your trunk in hot weather because heat would fog them in a matter of hours.

      On top of that, the scanner is finding detail in old negatives that I could never have pulled out onto silver photo paper.

      I like PANS (Pretty Amazing New Stuff). (That’s a telecom counterpart to POTS (Plain Ole Telephone Service.)

  • Susan Fee Means

    I had forgotten all about the six-shootin’ cowboy atop Rueseler’s Chevrolet!

    Thanks for unearthing another memory from my childhood!

  • stephen cotner

    i went to school with cathy? rueseler. for a long time i still refered to that place as ruseseler’s no matter what car dealer had it. the add for eggiman’s? that made me laugh i just bought a 18,500 btu a/c unit..and it was 600 3 bucks a week? it would take me almost 4 years to pay for it! love this site! the photos are great and stirs up some very postive memories of cape.

  • Elmer Schetter

    Auto Trim Design occupies the building now.

  • van riehl

    Ruseler’s was originally on the ground floor of the H&H building on the Fountain St. side. Their slogan was: “Ruseler’s Is As Wild As The Rest”….hence the gun toting cowboy.

  • David Lawley

    Why I think that would be something American Pickers would like to get… Guessing sign is long gone scrap.

  • bob pollack

    i have some memories of ruesseler cheverlet too!
    my dad bought a chevyII Nova in 1964 and i drove that once i had a License. i think jim biship bought the dealership in the early 1970’s.

    by the way were you using Tri-x and D76? That stuff is still the best for B&w photography digital can’t touch it yet.
    bob pollack

    • I know it was Tri-X. I played around with all kinds of Developers when I was first starting out. I think I was using a non-Kodak liquid developer in those days.

      It wasn’t until I got into a Zone System class at Ohio University that I learned the relationship between exposure and processing.

      When I was in Cape, I worked under the theory that more is always better, so I’d overexpose the film, then over develop it. That caused the highlights to block up to the point there was no detail in them.

      If you are shooting under “flat” light, you underexpose and overdevelop to increase contrast; if it’s contrasty, you overexpose to get shadow detail, then underdevelop to save the highlights.

      That’s the nut of it, and you didn’t have to spend three months in the lecture hall.

  • van riehl

    I posted this earlier but now it has disappeared.
    Ruesler’s was originally on the ground floor of the H&H bulding on the Fountain St. side. Their slogan was: “Rueseler’s Is As Wild As The Rest” hence the gun toting cowboy.

  • As I remember, the cowboy’s name was….Rusty, of course. Rusty the Rustler from Rueseler Chevrolet.

    Great shots of an iconic Cape landmark.

  • Lyndel Revelle

    I remember going to Rueseler’s Chevrolet to look at the new cars when they came out. It was neat to see all the new models of cars but one night in 1968 my brother and I got to go out to Rueseler’s and in the showroom was my dream Musclecar, a 1968 Corvette with a 427 Engine with 3X2-barrel Carbs that was rated at 435 Horsepower. I asked the salesman how much the Corvette cost and he told me $5400.00. I would love to find one for that price now but that’s a real pipe dream. Another tidbit, my first car came off Rueseler’s lot. It was a 55 Chevy Wagon with a 265 engine, and a few years later I bought a couple more Musclecars from Rueseler’s. A lot of great memories come from “Rueseler’s” and I think of it when I go by there everytime I am in cape.

  • For anyone interested, I know a little of where the Rueseler sign ended up… in my backyard!

    My dad was about to start an auto salvage yard circa 1982-83, and purchased the sign to use. Unfortunately, the venture fell through, so the sign was laid in the field behind our house. When I was a child, I used to play on top of “the big cowboy” with friends.

    My dad sold the sign to some collectors probably 10-15 years ago. Not sure where it went from there, but I’m fairly sure it escaped the scrap heap. If anyone is really curious, I’ll ask and find out more details as to its whereabouts. Just started following this blog recently… love it so far!

  • jamey l

    I just bought a 1968 chevelle in Michigan with original manual and warranty card from this chevy dealership. Pretty cool.

  • Linda Strange Priddy

    My dad worked for Rueseler’s in the early 60s. Before that, he worked as a mechanic and substitute bus driver for Cape Transit. After he left Rueseler’s, he helped Layman Allgood open the Volkswagen dealership. Great memories. I always thought the cowboy was the emblem because the name Rueseler sounded like “rustler” though I wondered about the impression that left–would you buy a car from a cattle thief?

  • Michelle Griggs

    Rob Rueseler took over his dad’s insurance company after his death. Rob still lives in Cape with his beautiful wife, Janet. His mom, Kitty, still lives in Cape, too. Maybe one of them knows about the sign.

  • Alan Benson

    I know of a 1961 Impala here in Pine Plains, NY. On the back of this car is a Dealer nameplate! Yep! You guessed it! It says: Rueseler Motors, Cape Girardeau! Yes, it is a small world!

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