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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.


Smelterville Rough Draft

Rough draft of Smelterville book by Ken Steinhoff 07-17-2014Here are the first 15 pages of this year’s updated Smelterville Book. I’ve added some new photos and some interview snippets. I had hoped to revise the whole book, but I’ve run out of time.

These are draft pages. I have to have some folks look them over for typos (you are welcome to tell me if you spot anything that needs changing), then it goes to Son Matt for technical tweaking.

As you might notice, I’ve changed the title. This one picks up a quote from Clinton Wren calling the area “A community of love.”

Photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery. Again, these are working proofs at this point. I’ll have copies of the book at the Vine Street Reunion at the end of the month.

15 comments to Smelterville Rough Draft

  • Terry Hopkins

    Very nice my man, very nice. Being for Cape I knew some of these people as kids and seeing the then and now shots are very touching.

  • Jane Neumeyer

    What a great experience for you and the participants. Thank you for sharing it with me and others!

  • Those are very interesting. BTW, I usually have an adverse reaction to opening a publication that has white lettering on black. I find it so hard to look at that I often just skip it so as to avoid the strain on my eyes. But I didn’t happen to even notice that this was white on black until I got to about the sixth image, so maybe it’s OK. Or maybe it was just that it was interesting enough to make it worth the effort. The serif font probably helps a bit, too.

    • John, I have the same aversion to white type on black background, but this layout was done when we were looking for something quick and dirty to bind so I could pass the photos around the community to find the subjects.

      The next (and I hope final) edition will be completely redone and will be in a vertical format If I take The Kid’s advice.

      I never dreamed this project would go on as long as it has, and I think it could continue many more years if I didn’t have other stuff I want to work on.

  • Walter Lamkin

    Reverend Ervin Williams was a classmate of mine (1968) and I’d like to think he considered me a friend. That’s how I felt toward him. That said, the recounting of his memories of going to school, indoor plumbing and the like was quite sobering to me as I simply had no idea such a lack existed so near to where I lived. Clearly the recitations of growing up in Smelterville reflect a ‘community’ and it showed in Ervin Williams. He was always a happy, smiling guy back in those halcyon days of high school. I send my regards to Ervin and his family with the hope that our paths will cross in Cape again one day.

  • Mark Yow

    Ken, love it! When I got to the third picture with Madeline Webb, I was shocked and amazed. I have told this story in the family for years. I attended May Greene grade school with Madeline Webb. Most of us guys were afraid of Madeline. She was faster and stronger than most of us! We would always joke amongst ourselves to leave Madeline alone or she would kick your butt. Well I don’t know what started it but one day, I made Madeline mad and I foolishly thought I could out run her. So I start running and she was in close pursuit. She was getting close to me when I tripped on the sidewalk and fell hitting my collar bone on a large stone. She didn’t even need to kick my butt, my fear of her catching me did it for her! I went home moaning, groaning and crying for three days claiming my arm hurt really bad. My mom told me to be quite and all I wanted was sympathy. She was embarrassed and apologetic three days later when the doctor told her I had a broken collar bone and had to wear a sling. I hold no grudge against Madeline. I probably deserved her to kick my butt. She probably doesn’t remember the event or me but I have always had fond thoughts of her because I was able to tease my mom for years about just wanting sympathy when something bad would happen. Thanks for the pictures which bring back great memories. Just don’t let Madeline know where I live, I’m still scared of her:)

    • Mark,

      I have a video of Madeline where she says the kids from Smelterville knew where their tormentors from Up the Hill lived – because they chased them home to whip up on them.

      I got the sense that you did NOT want to mess with Madeline. She said she had the ability to say things that made the other kid swing first, at which point she owned them.

  • Fay Powders

    thank you Ken, you are still warming my heart. I love the name change. I would love to see all the old buildings. Hope to see you this weekend at the Vine Street Connection.

  • Dr. Gwendolyn Squires

    The Vine Street Connection Planning Committee sends a special thank you to you Ken for the AWESOME BOOK!!! You have become fundamental in our opportunities to celebrate and share stories of our fond memories of Cape Girardeau, Missouri’s community known as “Smelterville.” Thank you Ken for the beautiful photos, pics, articles and blogs that are keeping our memories alive. -Dr. Gwendolyn Squires

  • Marilyn Daye Dorsey

    I enjoyed seeing the pictures. It brought back memories. Thanks

  • […] quite a few folks from the first reunion two years ago and had interviewed others for the Smelterville: Community of Love book and video I’m working on. I’m usually pretty detached when I’m covering […]

  • Vonda Maglone Sczepanski

    I rememkber growing up with most of the people in the photos. We never paid attention to the color of each others skin. Like someone said earlier, everyone took care of the children in Smelterville. Life was so simple back then and you never had to worry about locking your doors. Everyone watched out for each other. I spent the majority of my childhood in Smelterville. Our parents heated our homes with wood and coal, we got water from the pump in the middle of Smelterville and all the neighborhood kids would play in the water at the “town pump”. We were all dirt poor, but we didn’t know it until we entered middle school. We may have all been financially poor, but we were the riches children in town when it came to love. We not only had the love of our parents and relatives, we had the love of our whole community.

    Thoughts of Smelterville bring back fond memories of days gone by. It was the only place we could afford to live. I remember hot summer days when a fire was built outside and my mom would cook a pot of beans there because it was so hot in the house. I think the majority of my family (maternal and paternal) great grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins all lived in Smelterville at one time of another. My Great Uncle Bob would always hitch up his team of mules when he had to go to town for something. It was a hard life, but a good life at the same time. Unless you lived there, you would really not understand what it was really like. Good ole days for sure.

  • roberta niblack johnson

    yes my great uncle Bob Beckett had a matched pair of beautiful horses and he used them to work at the sawmill at Milltown..he would cut thru the woods and slew by sandy beach to come and go to work ..one day he was coming home and someone had cut some small trees down and his horse got mired in the mud ..I guess the horse was struggling to free itself and fell on one of the small stumps sticking up and it went thru the horse …I still can hear that poor horse screaming …they had to shoot him…it was horrible to hear that horse and the shot…..

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