Washington School Reduced to Mud, Mulch and Memories

Washington School March 25, 2010

It’s amazing what a few months will do to the landscape of your home town. When I was in Cape in October, Washington School was still there.

You can see my story about a 1963 school party at this link.

Washington School October 13, 2009

The school, which had served the Cape Girardeau School District for 85 years, was closed in 1999. Southeast Missouri State University used it for storage until it was determined that repairs and increased utility costs were becoming too great.

Alaina Busch touched on the history of the school in a Nov. 3, 2009, Missourian story: Classes began in a farmhouse in 1911 after a failed bond issue. In 1913, voters approved a $125,000 bond issue that financed the construction of Washington School as well as other district projects. The school, which was originally 40,000 square feet, opened at 621 N. Fountain St. in 1914.

The University will use the land for parking for the Autism Diagnosis and Treatment Center.

Washington School Gallery

Here’s a gallery of photos showing the school in October and in March. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the picture to move through the gallery.

27 Replies to “Washington School Reduced to Mud, Mulch and Memories”

  1. Yes it it gone…and I heard the Franklin Schools was going too! I was in Cape yesterday from Florida and I guess all the school bond issue passed and Cape is getting new schools.
    I went to Washington For Kindergarden and Franklin for one thru six. Both where nice places to be as a youth and I did learn a thing or two!

  2. i never attended washington school.i did attend lorimer from first to 4th grade. i was pleased when city hall took it over.it still has those colorful tile water fountains that portraied nursery rhymes. i completed gradeschool at franklin. sad to think the city wants to tear it down. i remember the replica of the rosetta stone in the lobby

  3. Ken, thanks for the photos of Washington. I attended first thru sixth grades there. I remember being in first and second grades and watching black families bring their children to school and being rejected, but in third grade they were allowed to attend. I especially like your photo of the flag pole. I have spoken so much about that flagpole to my family that it has become somewhat of a joke to them. I went inside the school a few weeks before its destruction and took pictures of some of my old classrooms, the gymnasium, the hallways, and even an old piano left in the hallway of the top floor. It could have been the same piano that Mrs. Waller played in our music classes. Anyway, it is a tragic loss in my opinion, but we do live in a disposable society. Ken, thanks for what you bring to us through your pictures and comments.

  4. Ken, I join Larry in thanking you for what you bring to us through the pictures and comments.

    Does any one have photos to post of the nursery rhyme tiles and other shots of Lorimer?

    Thanks.

    1. I never had any connection to Lorimer, so I didn’t know about the nursery rhyme tiles until someone mentioned them here.

      I’ll make a point to look for them when I’m back in Cape. I believe they are still there.

      I DID shoot some photos of the outside of Lorimer / City Hall on one of the last days in town. I’ll put that on the list of things to publish.

  5. Hi Ken, I attended Washington School and there are so many great memories etched in my mind. I went by several times as they were demolishing it and took pictures. I certainly hated seeing a part of my past disappear. Like Larry Sadler, I can remember how history was made when our schools were integrated. We have had a lot of history making events in our lives over the past 60 plus years.

    Thank you Ken for all the awesome picture taking us down memory lane. It’s great visiting the past through photography.

  6. I stopped by the site on my last visit to Cape and found a partial brick. It now sits in my family room, to remind me of the time spent at Washington 1st thru 6th grade.

  7. I never figured out until my forties that I attended one of the first integrated schools in the south. It was a great school, filled with no nonsense teachers who didn’t care who you were: you were going to do it their way. Those who didn’t were paddled in front of class and it mattered that it happened to both black and white students. We were treated the same.

    There were occasional playground fights which would horrify parents today. William Blaylock– a great principal– would determine who started the fightand teack kids how not to throw the first punch.

    1. I went there starting in 1973 I think from K-3rd grade. I always remembered recess. I think teachers and parents these days heads would explode if they saw the way we played. It was usually cowboys and Indians or Americans against the Germans. The Kung Fu movies were popular then so it was kind of like a big wrestling match with Kung Fu kicking, tackling, etc. Not really fighting because anyone was mad, just play fighting. I don’t remember teachers ever stepping in to stop us. Nobody got hurt and we were just blowing off steam. We’d all get thrown out of school if we did that now.

  8. I attended Washington in the late 70’s and early 80’s, 2nd to 5th grade. I had heard about the demolition of the school, which brought back some fond memories I have not thought of in years. What a great school!!

  9. Good stories of two great grade schools. I attended Washington kindergarten (Mrs. Millers) class through 4th grade. Played marbles in the dirt and took part in a few wrestling matches with fellow classmates. Then 5th and 6th at Franklin. Lots if school yard baseball and football. Of course play day was the best.

  10. I went to Washington Elementary, as did my mom, grandmother and great grandmother. Sad to see it go, wish I had more pictures of the inside.

  11. Thank you for the pictures. Seeing the big door brought back many memories, I could almost smell that place! I had no idea the school was gone. I visited it several years ago to show my own children where I had my first day of kindergarten in 1976. I went there through sixth grade. I learned all life’s lessons at Washington, good and bad. I also had some great teachers, my favorite being my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Stiver.

      1. I went there K-3rd grade starting in 1973 I think. I think I remember Mrs. Lewis and I definitely remember Mrs. Blanchard was my older brother’s teacher. Might have been mine too. I can’t remember but I remember her name.

  12. Thank you very much for the pictures of my old elementary school. I attended there in the 90s, I guess one of the last generations to go. I still have fond memories of it.

    Do you happen to know where I could find any pictures of the interior?

  13. Yes, the title pretty much sums it up. Very sad. The Cape Public Schools are going to tear down Franklin but they are incorporate some features of the current structure into the new. But, you drive by the site of Washington School and you can’t tell there was ever a school there. I believe the site has too many memories to be forgotten. I would like to see somebody, someway, somehow be permanantely memorialized. I wander if the University still has the large, metal sign from the building? (that sign was placed on the original structure in 1914). I think displaying that at the old site would be appropriate. Just my opinion.

  14. I went to this school K-3 grade. This would have been in 1964-67
    The teachers I recall were Ms. Cable (1st. grade) I think – Ms. Ludwig (2nd) and Ms. Hendrix (Kindergarten) I am 55 now and live in the Houston area the last 38 years. I still keep in touch with my very first friend and first neighbor, Verbal Lewis. I make it back to Cape one in a great while to reminiese. My grandmother lives @ 310 Mill St. for the longest. I have many fond memories from there and really enjoy visiting. So sorry to see this school gone. One less place to visit but I do have a picture when I was in 1st grade and the Girl Scout troup we had our picture made in front of the wall on the play ground.

  15. I went to this school K-3 grade. This would have been in 1964-67
    The teachers I recall were Ms. Cable (1st. grade) I think – Ms. Ludwig (2nd) and Ms. Hendrix (Kindergarten) I am 55 now and live in the Houston area the last 38 years. I still keep in touch with my very first friend and first neighbor, Verbal Lewis. I make it back to Cape one in a great while to reminiese. My grandmother lived @ 310 Mill St. for the longest. I have many fond memories from there and really enjoy visiting. So sorry to see this school gone. One less place to visit but I do have a picture when I was in 1st grade and the Girl Scout troup we had our picture made in front of the wall on the play ground. I remember a girl in first grad named “Brenda Smith” she and I were friends and when I had to give up my first puppy I gave it to her. His Name was Rowdy (after Rowdy Yates) lol I wish I knew if any of the teachers mentions above are still alive and do they still live there?

  16. I attended WGS from fall of ’49 to the spring of ’54 (2nd – 6th grades). What wonderful memories of the school, students and teachers I have cherished over the years. Thanks for the photos.

  17. I am looking for Cindy Bladdle. She and live in N. middle street. We always went to Ethel’s house every morning before walking down the back alley to Washinton Elementry. Her brother was Tommy.

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