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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.


Ever Use a Two-Holer?

Curator Jessica and I were exploring a huge abandoned brick school house on a hill overlooking Rendville, Ohio, when a couple said they knew of a building they thought was an old one-room schoolhouse. They’d show it to us if we didn’t mind them tagging along. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Definitely a school

Indeed, the nondescript building could have been just about anything from the outside, but once we looked inside, it was definitely a school. It had the chair rail around the walls that went below the blackboards. A long-gone central stove supplied heat, and there was the remains of an old piano against one wall.

Piano left behind

Time hasn’t been kind to the old piano.

Back before good roads and consolidation, the hills were full of small churches and schools because it was hard to get out of the hills and hollows of Southeast Ohio. On top of that, a lot of the towns were company towns where miners were paid in scrip which could only be redeemed at the company store. That discouraged workers from traveling.

Water came from cistern

Water came from a cistern that was located on the side of the school.

About 50 feet behind the school was a small building that was leaning at about a 45-degree angle.

Two two-holers behind school

Through the open door, we could see that it was a two-holer designed for urgent needs, no waiting. The hole on the right may have rotted away, or it may have been destroyed by wild animals who like the salt that soaks into the wood.

Figuring that unisex facilities probably weren’t common in the era when this school was operating, we looked around. Sure enough, about 50 or 75 feet away was another set of seats. The building was gone, but the seat remained.

7 comments to Ever Use a Two-Holer?

  • Keith Robinson

    Yeah, as a Boy Scout, been there, done that.

    My grandfather used to tell about the village idiot that decided to build a two-holder. He went to try it out, stuck one leg in each hole and messed his pants something terrible.

  • Tim Keller

    For first and second grade I went to Abernathy School, a one room country school off CR 208, surrounded by woods and sink holes …, and, yes, our ‘facilities’ were a two-holer down the hill. Anybody remember Abernathy? I don’t know if there is anything left of the building …

    • Keith Robinson

      Tim, check Google Earth. Last time I was out that way with my dad, we looked and he said that he thought the building was still there. It was across CR208 (which I knew as Ranney Rd) and slightly east from my Great-Uncle Fred Keller’s farm.

      • Keith Robinson

        My dad said last weekend, while on a ride out that direction, he checked to see if the schoolhouse was still there; it is. It has a steel roof on it.

  • DarlaJune

    We had an outhouse. It was behind the garage we lived in on Cedar Lane. Last time I was in Cape, the garage was still there but the outhouse was gone. I didn’t like using the outhouse. I was afraid there might be a snake down in the hole!

  • Tim Keller

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for reminding me I could do that – So, at least in September of 2012, the school house was still there.

    Maybe we can convince Ken to take a look ?

    Miss back home a great deal at times – It sometimes seems half the county is related to me one way or the other – ; your great uncle Fred, as I’m sure you know, was my great uncle too! Have a double second cousin who still farms close to the home place too –

    ( Hey, Ken : there’s a challenge for you – what’s a double second cousin ? )

  • Frank sitze

    My grandparents had a two-holer. It would get cold in the winter, so My stepfather got some cardboard advertising and put up on the walls on the inside. Worked great for keeping the cold wind out, but after sever rains that let water go between the outside board the cardboard warped. When you were in there taking care of business you could hear something crawling on the other side of the cardboard. Not knowing if it was a lizard, mouse or snake, you didn’t stay long.

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