Jo Ann Bock’s Book

Jo Ann Bock at Tom Nuemeyer book signing 03-14-2010I photographed Jo Ann Bock at Tom Neumeyer’s book signing for his photo documentary book, Cape Girardeau Then & Now back in 2010.

When Mrs. Bock wrote Around the Town of Cape Girardeau in Eighty Years, she asked if she could use one of the photos on the back cover of her book. I didn’t hesitate to give her permission. She sent me a copy of the book in return. I was pleasantly surprised to see she had some extraordinarily nice things to say about a piece I wrote about her husband, Howard Bock, when he died.

Mr. Bock Changed my life

Howard Bock CHS 23In the curious way that things in Cape are intertwined, Mrs. Bock was my Cub Scout den mother and knew I was interested in photography. When I got to Central, her husband was in charge of the Tiger and Girardot photo staffs and asked if I’d like to join. That was, indirectly, the start of my photography career.

We saw different slices of time

Jo Ann Bock BookHoward and Jo Ann Bock were getting married (1950) just about the time I was getting born (1947), so we view Cape through slightly different lenses. She stayed in Cape, except for a few years, and I left in 1967, although Cape has never left me.

In the introduction to one of the chapters, she says, “Sometimes a person will ask why I didn’t mention this place, or that person, or recall a special event. My answer is that memories take different directions with people.” Maybe that’s why even though she and I plow the same ground, we come up with different crops.

Her view of Broadway

Vandeven Merchantile Company 1967She and a city directory did a good job of creating a list of businesses and residences along the Broadway corridor. We have some memory overlap on some long-time businesses like Vandeven’s and the movie theaters, but a lot of places she remembers were long gone when the 1960s came around.

Here’s a partial list of what I found along Broadway between Kingshighway and Main Street.

Library and Courthouse

Cook kidsids playing in courthouse fountain on Cape Girardeau's Common Pleas Courthouse grounds June 29, 1967She and I both spent a lot of time in the Cape Public Library when it was located on the grounds of the Common Pleas Courthouse. Unlike these kids, she “never felt right about playing in the fountain with that soldier staring down at me.”

Just for the record, the soldier that stared down at her was smashed by a falling limb. The pieced-together original lives at the Jackson Courthouse, and a replacement casting stares down at children today. Maybe the new one would be less intimidating.

The George Alt House

Trinity Lutheran School neighborhood c 1966We both served our time in the George Alt House, turned into Trinity Hall by Trinity Lutheran School.

A walk down Main Street

107 Main St Cape Girardeau MO 10-20-2009 - Hecht's Mrs. Bock takes us for a walk down Main Street, reeling off a list of businesses that are mostly not there. In fact, the only business still in operation is Zickfield’s Jewelry. Hecht’s is gone, as is Newberry’s, where she worked in the infant clothing department for 15 cents an hour.

Here’s a page where I posted photos of many of the businesses I remembered from my era. The current generation will think Main Street was nothing but bars and antique shops with a little art thrown in.

Hurrah for Haarig

Meyer-Suedekum 03-29-2010_2679That’s the name of her chapter covering the Good Hope / Sprigg area. She drops names like Hirsch’s for groceries, Suedekum’s for hardware, Cape Cut Rate for drugs and the anchor, Farmer’s and Merchants Bank. If she mentioned Pure Ice, I must have missed it.

Music and Majorettes

Homecoming 34Mrs. Bock devotes several chapters to the Cape Girardeau music scene: choirs, operettas, plays, the Cape Choraliers, the Girardot Rose Chorus, and local dance bands. She also mentions being a Central High School majorette in 1946.

SEMO Fair

SEMO Fair Groscurth's Blue Grass Shows MidwayShe and I both spent time at the district fair, both as kids enjoying the rides and exhibits, then later covering it for The Southeast Missourian.

Bring on the Barbecue

Wib's BBQ Brown Hot (outside meat) sandwichThis chapter touched on two of my favorite barbecue places: the Blue Hole Garden and Wib’s.

 Parade of Photographers

GD Fronabarger c 1967You don’t serve as a high school publication adviser and a Missourian reporter without running across that strange subset of humans (some would debate that human part) called photographers. She was suitably enough impressed with us that she devoted a whole chapter to photographers she knew and worked with.

One-Shot Frony, AKA Garland D. Fronabarger, was one of the most unique newspaper photographers I ever ran into. His gruff exterior covered up a gruff interior. He got his name because he would growl around a pipe or cigar clenched between his teeth, “Don’t blink. I’m taking one shot,” push the shutter release and walk off.

Paul Lueders, a Master Photographer who shot almost every school group and class photo for years, was the opposite of Frony: he was quiet, patient and willing to take however long it took to get his subject comfortable.

She mentions several other professional and student photographers who crossed her path over the years, then launches into two pages of such nice things about me I thought maybe I was reading my obit.

How do I get a copy?

Jo Ann Bock Book backIf you grew up in Cape, you might find yourself between the pages of Around the Town of Cape Girardeau in Eighty Years. She manages to work in more names than the phone book. So, how do you get copy?

The book is available on Amazon for $15.49. It’s eligible for free shipping though Amazon Prime, so if you sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime by January 10, you can save some money and get it in two days.

 

Trinity School Then and Now

Trinity Lutheran School 05-20-1967The wooden treads on these steps at Trinity Lutheran School had been hollowed out by generations of children, me included, going and down them. There was something special about those old dark steps, kept shiny by diligent janitors.

In case you were wondering, no, we didn’t have a super-strict dress code. These kids were probably on their way to or from Sunday School.

Wood replaced by steel

Trinity Lutheran School 03-14-2010I’m glad to see the building is still there, but the wooden stairwells have been replaced by modern construction materials. I suppose they are easier to maintain and are a lot safer in case of a fire, but I bet they don’t have those creaks and squeaks I remember.

Playground was gravel

Trinity Lutheran School 03-14-2010When I was in the lower grades, this playground was gravel. In fact, when I was in the lower grades, I don’t think the the two-story classroom building on the left had been built yet.

The tall building in the middle housed classrooms and administrative offices. The reddish brick building to the right was the gym / auditorium, with the cafeteria in the basement.

George Alt House being wrecked

Demolition of Trinity Hall, AKA the George Alt House, 12-23-1967I wrote about the history of the George Alt House, also known as Trinity Hall, last year. I could understand tearing the building down because of maintenance issues and a need for more space, but I was disappointed that the fine woodwork and windows weren’t salvaged.

Here are photos of the wrecking ball at work.

Roland G. Busch, Korean POW

Ken Steinhoff Trinity Lutheran School 1st Grade Scrapbook 1953I was looking at a copy of my first grade scrapbook when the entry for September 22, 1953, caused me to scratch my head. The last sentence said, “Mother and [I] went to the parade for Roland Bushe POW. They took so long in getting ready that I went to sleep in the car.”

It took a little while to track the story down because the Korean prisoner of war was actually Lt. Roland G. Busch.

You can read the whole Missourian story here (some of the microfilm didn’t copy cleanly). In part, it said, “An estimated 3,000 persons gave Roland G. Busch, Jr., a hero’s welcome Tuesday night as the young Navy flyer returned home after 16 months in a Communist prisoner of war camp in Korea. Busch, three times decorated, presumed dead, and newly promoted to lieutenant junior grade, told a crowd in Courthouse Park he just wanted to see some State College Indian football games.

The photo caption said that Lt. Busch was greeted by Mayor Manning P. Greer and the flyer’s family: his mother; Mrs. R.G. Busch, his sisters, Mrs. Gene Olson and Miss Della Lee Busch; his brother, Elwin, and his father, R.G. Busch.The family stopped in Columbia to visit the veteran’s youngest sister, Miss Jacqueline  Busch, a student at University of Missouri.

Pilot dies in crash

A February 18, 1961, Missourian article added details about the flyer’s Korean saga, but also carried the sad news that he had been killed in a plane crash off the coast of California. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.G. Busch, 309 South Spanish, were told that his plane collided with the water and neither it nor his body were recovered.

Subject of wartime mystery

“During the Korean Wat, Lt. Busch was the object of one of wartime’s mysteries that was not cleared up until he was finally released from a P.O.W. camp.

“His parents, on May 28, 1952, were notified by the Navy he had lost his life the previous day when his plane crashed into a Korean mountainside. Yet they talked with him only a few days before in a Tokyo hospital and he said he would not be going back into combat because of burns suffered when an anti-aircraft incendiary burst in his plane’s cockpit. It subsequently developed that Lt. Busch had been dismissed from the Tokyo Hospital and returned to his carrier, The Valley Forge, but not on combat flight duty. The ship was to have returned to the States in just a few days on rotation and he was to have come back.

“But in the meantime, his shipboard roommate, now Lt. Cmdr. H..E. Sterrett, Jr., who married one of Lt. Busch’s sisters, was shot down. Lt. Busch asked for flight assignment to join search parties. It was while he was on this mission that his plane was shot down.

“He remained a prisoner of war for 17 months.”

 Here’s my “sailer hat”

Ken Steinhoff Trinity Lutheran School 1st Grade Scrapbook 1953Since it was mentioned above, I guess I should include a photo of me sporting my “sailer hat.”

Side note: Mother has been out in Austin visiting her Granddaughter Kim’s family. She called me from the airport in Austin. “I was sitting here waiting for my flight to be called when a man walked up and asked if I was Mrs. Steinhoff. When I said I was, he said he recognized my photo from the blog.”

She didn’t get his name. They should quit hanging photos of the Most Wanted on post office walls. I think we can do better publishing them here.

 

 

Frederick W. and Mary Karau Pott House

Frederick W and Mary Karau House 10-31-2009There is a striking two-story white house at the corner of Themis and Pacific across from Trinity Lutheran School that I’ve always wondered about. I paused on a Halloween afternoon’s bike ride in 2009 long enough to pop off a couple of frames.

It turns out there’s a world of information about it in its National Register of Historic Places registration form. If you are a fan of architectural detail, it’s worth a read.

History of Pott house

Frederick W. Pott was born in Prussia in 1839. He and his parents came to Cape Girardeau in 1854. Father and son joined the Union Army when the Civil War began, and Frederick was captured in the Battle of Shilo. After the war, he found employment in the milling industry. He married Mary (or Maria) Karau in 1865. They eventually had 11 children.

In 1877, he built Planters Mill at the foot of Main Street. Within four years, he owned the mill free and clear. The coming of the railroad to Cape Girardeau kicked off a boom, and around 1885 the Potts commissioned the building of this house at 826 Themis Street for their growing family. By 1888, Pott had increased the capacity of Planters Mill from an initial daily output of 80 barrels of floor to 200 and employed at least 10 men.

Disaster stuck when a fire swept through the mill on March 27, 1909. Pott’s insurance only partially covered the loss of the mill, elevator, warehouse and a large quantity of wheat, flour and bran that had been stored on the premises. The total loss was estimated at $50,000. He died the next year, in 1910.

Became office for doctors

Aerial photos of Trinity Lutheran School neighborhood 11-06-2010The house remained in the family until 1938, when it was sold to D.W. Hope, a Cape physician. According to the historic places register application, professional offices were developed in the building after it was acquired by Dr. Hope, listings in city directories from 1942-1973 indicate. The H-R-S Company was formed by Dr. Hope and three other doctors: A.J. Rasche, Frank W. Hall and Mitchell H. Shelby.

The next owner was James McHaney, who sold the property to Steven and Emily Mellies on April 28, 1995.

The house is the white building at the top center of this November 2010 aerial photograph. Trinity Lutheran School is in the center.