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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.


Stone Wall on Park Drive

I’d like to know the history behind this stone wall running along the south side of Park Drive between Spanish and Fountain. It looks like it’s been there quite a few years.

This stretch of road was the scene of a traffic fatality Aug. 29, 1959, which broke a fatality-free record of almost two years. A car went out of control on the curve and overturned at 11:30 p.m. in the 300 block of Park Drive. A 14-year-old boy died of injuries sustained in the wreck.

You can read more about the crash here.

The Missourian story points out that Park Drive is also known as North Street. It said the scene of the accident was in the block between Fountain and Spanish “where the old city dump was located, almost directly across from the cliff on the top of which stands the home of O.G. Walker.” I’m assuming the dump was located where Missouri Park is today, just below Old Lorimier Cemetery.

Old retaining wall

If you look south from the stone wall, there is a steep hill with a concrete retaining wall about a third of the way up it.

N. Lorimier – W. Lorimier – Rivermont

From the top of the hill, there is a curious street layout. You get there by going north on North Lorimier until it deadends at the T-intersection of West Lorimier and Rivermont Drive. It’s not often the you run into an intersecting north and west street with the same name.

If you look over the hill on the Rivermont side of the intersection, you can see the crumbling remains of an old foundation. I don’t know if it was the O.G. Walker home mentioned in the news story or not.

Spectacular view – of old dump

What must have been a basement is becoming a catch-all for trash, brush and some small saplings. In its day, it must have had a fairly spectacular view – of the city dump.

It’s odd that there would be a city dump right below the Old Lorimier Cemetery. I wonder if it came before or after the dump that was located in Happy Hollow, south of Good Hope.

Does anyone know the history of the stone wall or anything about this building on Rivermont Drive?

6 comments to Stone Wall on Park Drive

  • My cousin, Elizabeth Wilhelm, used to own the house farthest to west on that ridge. I forgot the original owner’s names, but it had a great view of the river upstream and a view of the Lorimier Cemetery too! Joni Tickle (Class of 66) lived in the BIG house next to the burned out basement you are showing. If I moved back to Cape, I always wanted to live on top of that hill overlooking the river. Nice place to be…Now I know the city dump was there, I guess that is why!

  • Larry Sadler

    I’ve always had the same curiosity about the wall. It must be very well built because time hasn’t caused much decay. It has survived many winters of freezing and thawing. I would also like to know its history. You also mention the traffic accident which killed Gary Givens. Gary and I were friends because of school and we attended Red Star Baptist Church together. Having a close friend killed, then being asked to be a pallbearer for him isn’t a good thing for a 13 year old boy. To this day, I don’t drive by that spot without remembering Gary being killed there.
    Thanks for what you do in bringing us so much history of our city.

  • Alice Whittaker

    If I am not mistaken what you are talking about is what remains of a Fort that was built to protect Cape during the Cival War..

  • Brenda Lapp

    I do not think this wall has anything to do with the fort. Fort A was located at the east end of Bellevue and as far as I know, nothing that was part of the fort remained in my lifetime.

    My sister Linda, brother Kenny, and I grew up in the house at 224 North Lorimier, and we used to go through our back lot as well as some of the neighbor’s land to get to Fort A the back way. We could have walked to the top of Lorimier hill and turned right to walk a block down Bellevue to get there, but it was much more adventurous to go through the back way. Now all of that land has been cleared of trees and brush to give a beautiful view of the river. You can even see Illinois from there.

    The Sheets family(Jay,Susan,and Pam) had a beautiful home at the end of Bellevue which bordered Fort A. Another house was built next to it in later years by Jay Sheets.

    Once again, Kenny, thank you for coming up with something to bring back memories of our days in Cape.

  • Vickie Givens Watling

    Gary Givens was my brother. It was quite emotional for me to see this piece in the newsletter. While I can understand the interest in the wall…..I don’t understand the disregard for members of Gary’s family who were not expecting to relive this tragedy in our family in the newsletter.

    • Vickie,

      It was not my intention to cause distress to you or your family. That’s one reason I didn’t mention any names in the body of the story.

      I hope the kind words of his friend Larry Sadler, above, will offer you another perspective.

      I often say, “We are alive only so long as someone remembers us.” Larry is one of those folks who is keeping your brother alive.

      I’m sorry to have dredged up bad memories.

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