Castle House’s Last Day

A friend sent me a message that I should take a look at the “Castle House” at 2404 Kingsway Drive, just south of St. Andrews Lutheran Church. It looked like it was about to be torn down.

She was right. Don Watkins, who was doing salvage work inside the house Monday, is removing the house number for Paula Pletcher, whose family lived there once.

Looking for memories

On the day before it was due to be razed, there were very few items left for former residents to take as souvenirs. Narvol Randol removed a couple of cabinet doors from a closet in the room he grew up in.

Narvol had already left when I looked down close to the floor vent in his room where the cover had been removed. Behind it was a collection of pencils and other small objects that kids must have stuck through the grate over the years.

Beautiful tile

I told Paula that the one thing left in the house that really impressed me was the beautiful tropic-themed tile in an upstairs bathroom, “but you’d better come back with a hammer and a chisel if you want to get any. Tomorrow it’s going to be dust.”

As it turned out, we ran into Dan downstairs holding a prybar. I mentioned that Paula would REALLY like some of that tile.

“I can do you one better. Follow me to the garage. There’s some spare tile on a shelf out there.” True to his word, Paula went home with several large pieces of tile and a handful of the decorative horizontal pieces.

Artifacts discovered

Dan discovered these artifacts from bygone days. They include red and green sales tax mills, a Wheat Penny, and an American Junior Red Cross pin.

By the way, you can click on the photos to make them larger. You’ll have to go down to the gallery to see them all.

St. Andrews wanted a parking lot

Ostensibly, the reason the house is being razed is that pipes burst in the basement, and the combination of moisture and no HVAC system caused black mold to grow. Fixing that and dealing with asbestos was going to cost more than the house was worth.

In my humble opinion, the real reason for the house’s demise was that the church had been eying that spot for a parking lot for many years.

I didn’t go into the basement, but I had a good look behind the walls where the plaster had been torn away, and saw that the bones of the building were solid. The shingles on the roof looked relatively new and in good shape.

Knob and Tube Wiring

If your house was built between 1880 and through the ’50s (even up to the ’70s in some places), then you might find this kind of wiring hiding in the walls. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but there are drawbacks today.

A squishy memory

When I was in kindergarten and the first grade, we lived in a trailer on top of a hill that has long been leveled just south of the Colonial Tavern. I had a dog, Cookie, a a black and white mixed-breed terrier.

Cookie got away one day, breaking my young heart. My squishy memory is that Cookie ended up at the Castle House, maybe back when the Windisch family lived there.

Cookie was returned to me, and I have a squishier even memory that we might have given the family one of her pups at one time. This is one of those many time I wish Mother was still around to unsquish my memory.

Unique design

This, like the Boat House, was one of the iconic buildings in Cape. A Facebook friend posted a video this morning of the classic turret on the right side of the house being crunched by heavy equipment.

This just goes to prove that the two most dangerous places for a landmark building to live are next to the university or a church.

Gallery of Castle House photos

Click on any image to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.

SEMO: Rev Up the Dozers

Ochs-Shivelbine House 03-25-2015Katie Lamb had a story in the May 11 Missourian that the Ochs-Shivelbine house is slated for demolition to make room for a planned Greek Village. The Greystone Estate, located next to the doomed Ochs-Shivelbine home on North Sprigg, was demolished in March.

I’ve given up railing against the university’s penchant for treating buildings with benign neglect until they have an excuse to tear them down.

One down, one to go

Here’s a gallery of photos I took of Ochs-Shivelbine shortly after the Greystone was reduced to rubble. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

 

Iconic Images for Sale

Round Barn on S Sprigg 1966I had a bunch of 12×18 prints made for exhibit consideration. It dawned on me that the extras aren’t doing any good sitting in a rubber bin in Mother’s basement, so I took a few over to Annie Laurie’s Antique Shop on Broadway to see if they would generate any interest (and income). We picked shots that we thought brought back memories of Cape or that were generic enough that it didn’t matter where they were taken.

They sell for $10 each. Similar prints of the same images have been exhibited in museums and galleries, so I can say they are suitable for framing, even though they aren’t printed on photographic paper. You aren’t going to get unique images like this any cheaper.

Folks who have been around for awhile will recognize the round barn that used to be on South Sprigg Street below the cement plant.

Friends on Robinson Road

Friends on Robinson Road exhibit catalog for 07-28-2013 showThe top portrait is the one that’s available. Bill and Jesse are from Ohio, but you could find their counterparts in Southeast Missouri if you poked around.

Give this to your best buddy so he can see what you guys will look like when you get old.

Toilet Paper Wars

Toilet paperIf you know Steve Robert or Mary Wright, this would be a good print to squirrel away for a special gift. A reader sent me a long account of the toilet paper wars in Cape. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth a chuckle.

SEMO Fair

SEMO Fair Round UpThere are several photos from the days when the district fair was still in black and white. I’ve always liked this shot. Years later, I saw that Robert Frank had a similar photo in his classic 1958 book, The Americans.

This would look good in the kitchen

SEMO Fair Food and drink standHere’s another fair photo. Look at those prices. I can remember scrounging soda bottles for the deposits so I could stay at the fair “just a little bit longer” after my money ran out.

Shop Class

1960s high school shop class2I suspect that OSHA would have problems with this Central High School shop class photo. If you know the guy, though, wouldn’t it be a great birthday present for him or his kids?

If your friends jumped off a bridge …

Castor River 07-31-1964I was a little confused about where I took this photo, but my readers set me straight. If you are in this photo, you might want to snatch it up before giving your grandkids the old “if all your friends jumped off a bridge” speech.

Grosvenor Crossing

Grosvenor Crossing OH during rail strikeThis has always been one of my favorite news shots. The railroads had gone on strike, and I was trying to figure out a different way to tell the story. I went out early on a cold, foggy morning and shot unbroken frost on the tracks at Grosvenor Crossing near Athens, Ohio. To me, that was a better way to show that the trains weren’t running than a bunch of guys holding picket signs.

Closer to Cape, I found that train crews still wave to you around here.

Dancing in the bank parking lot

Teen dance in bank lot 8-21-64I see several familiar faces from the night the TAC club floor was bouncing so much that city officials closed the joint down and the dance moved to the First National Bank parking lot at Broadway and Main. My old debate partner Pat Sommers is in the middle of the shot. Joan Amlingmeyer is to the right of him.

Nellie Vess

Nellie Vess 08-13-1968Nellie Vess and Peggy Sue sit on a porch near Trimble in Southern Ohio. She was one of my favorite people and her story has an interesting twist.

He’s waiting for you

Ohio GravediggerThis gravedigger from Letart Falls, Ohio, could dig a square hole. I’ve used his photo several times, most recently when discussing the skeleton that hung around Central.

This would be good to hang by your alarm clock as a reminder that there are worse things than going to work in the morning.

This isn’t the full selection, and I have more in the rubber bin. Holler if you don’t see one you want and I’ll see if there’s a print already made up. If you are interested in a photo shown here, better grab it before someone else snatches it up.

 

 

Dino’s Pizza Gone, Gone, Gone

Old Dino's Pizza site 07-29-2014On my first pass down Broadway this trip, I had a “what’s missing” moment when I got across from Houck Stadium. Then it dawned on me. Dino’s Pizza was gone, replaced by grass.

I had written a post before I left in April saying that SEMO had bought the property and was going to turn it into a green space. They didn’t waste any time.

Better enjoy the green while you can. This sniffs like a parking lot waiting to happen.

Here’s what is missing

Dino's Pizza 05-02-2014Here’s a last glance at Dino’s. You can see more Dino’s photos here.