A Walk On Themis Street

After we had finished touring Central High School, Linda Stone said she’d like to walk up on sit on the steps of the house where she grew up, “where Jim Stone and I played chess.” Tricia Tipton and I followed her on a walk down memory lane.

We lived at 1753 Themis when I was two years old

She didn’t know that I lived in one of the first houses on Themis Street when I was about 2 years old. Mother often talks about how the site CHS sits on was once a swampy field with a dead horse in it. The house to the east of us, occupied later by the Ravenstein family, was a low spot that had to be filled in before it could be built on.

“I played chess with Jim Stone”

Linda reminisces about playing chess with Jim Stone, who lived across the street from her. She and Tricia Tipton list off all the CHS students who lived on the street. Central was the epitome of a neighborhood school.

In an earlier email message, she wrote, “Our neighborhood was filled with kids exactly our age, so all summer a huge gang of us would play hide-and-seek until well after dark. My first-ever real date was with him (Jim) — summer of ’63, I think. I still remember scrambling to find a proper little summer dress to wear. It was a borrowed rust and tan plaid sundress. Vivid, colorful memories! He and I did not really date, we usually sat on the front porch and talked or went over to his house and looked at his home-made science lab with all his projects. Lots of fun.”

“Everybody on our block went to Central”

On my side of the street, Ronnie Marshall (’65) next door. The other side of our house next door and up the street: Sitz, Nowell, Early, Estes, ?, Goddard (the principal), then Garmes.  Then across the street at the top of the hill and down toward the high school: Mulkey, Kies, Dunklin, Stone (Jim), Young (Debby), Lueders (the photographer plus Dickie and Holly (’67), Amlingmeyer.  I know I am missing some.

Linda, Tricia and Jim circa 1964

One afternoon when I stopped by Jim Stone’s house, we noticed Linda and Tricia out in Linda’s front yard at 1744 Themis.

I can’t believe that Linda and Tricia let two guys with cameras get anywhere close to them while they were working on making themselves (more) beautiful. That’s Linda’s sister, Lisa, walking into the frame from the right.

Tricia’s inside attacking her hair

I have no idea what’s she’s doing. It looks painful. I am, to this day, amazed that I was able to shoot this sequence and live. The girls must have been sedated on some kind of hair goop at the time.

The result wasn’t bad

Linda went digging for her past

Linda wrote, “In prep for attending the reunion I’m digging through boxes that have moved with me from Cape to St. Louis, Dallas, Nashville, Atlanta, Dothan (AL), Coeur d’Alene (ID), Scottsdale and Durango.  And that includes more than one house in St. Louis, Dallas, Atlanta and Scottsdale.”

Brownie Troop 3

This picture is Brownie Troop 3 at some kind of ‘flying up’ ceremony which was held in my home at 1744 Themis St. in 1958.  The girls are all from the future class of 1966.  Left to right: __?__, Martha Penrod, Tricia Tipton, Pam Burkhimer, Mary Frances Sitze, Mrs. Sitze, Debby Young, Sally Bierbaum, Marsha Hitt, Mrs. Lolita Stone, Marilyn Maevers, Linda Stone (circled in ink), Prudy Irvin, Mary Lynn Nowell.

Birthday babes on Themis

This photo was taken in front of the house that was in the video. Linda wrote, “Bottom row: Jane Dunklin, Mary Frances Sitze, Linda Lou Stone, Joan Early. Top row: Mary Lynn Nowell, Sally Ann Stone, Judy Dunklin, Joan Amlingmeyer. I recognize the dress as my Easter outfit that my mother sewed for me.  Since Sally’s birthday is in April and this was taken on our front porch, it might have been a party for her.”

Boomer Birthday Party

It is a birthday party for Holly Lueders, who lived directly across the street from us (in the the home that Debby Young later occupied).  These are all future graduates from the classes of 1965, ’66 and ’67.  Baby boomers blooming on Themis. From the bottom and proceeding clockwise:  Dickie Lueders (hiding his face), Jane Dunklin, Mary Frances Sitze, Joan Early, Judy Dunklin, Holly Lueders, Mary Lynn Nowell, Linda Stone (spoon in mouth), Sally Stone, Joan Amlingmeyer, John Amlingmeyer.

Themis Street Photo Gallery

There are a few shots not shown above. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left of right side of the photo to move through the gallery.

43 Replies to “A Walk On Themis Street”

  1. Regarding the Brownie Troop 3 photo, I remember a Marcia Hitt who lived across from me on Sunset Court (one dead-end block off Sunset near the Hospital). Her family moved and a few years later she was “bumped” off her bike by a vehicle near Kingshighway west of Wimpy’s. Seemingly fine, but later that night got very sick…rushed to St.Louis where she died of complications to a hairline skull fracture (I was told). A different Marcia?

  2. My grandparents lived at 1615 Themis Street and I spent summers on your street. Thanks for the memories!

  3. Thanks for the Themis St. memories. I grew up at 1616 Themis across the street from the Steins. Somewhere I have a picture of Paul Stein and myself. I have no idea why the picture was taken. I recognized many of the names but I am older so did not play with the ones mentioned but we had a block full of kids also. I graduated in ’55. My mother also taught at Franklin.

    1. Emily,
      Would love to chat with you about your memories of Themis Street. I remember my mother mentioning a little girl named Emily Simpson. My family lived at 1608. My brother, John, probably known by the name of Billy and sister Betsy.I was 2 when they moved to another home on Bloomfield. Betsy died at the age of six, following a tonsillectomy. Do you remember?

  4. Larry,
    That is the same Marcia. She lived on Hopper Road and would have graduated withe Class of ’66.

  5. I think I went to nursery school around 1965 at Mrs. Amlingmeyer’s house. I know it was within sight of CHS, because I remember my mother telling me her friend, Jane Womack, could look out of her classroom window and see me playing in the yard.

    I’d forgotten all about this until I saw the name listed with Themis Street families, and “Amlingmeyer” looked familiar. Can anyone confirm that Mrs. A was the nursery school lady?

  6. Yea, we (the Luce Street Bowery Boys) used to sneak over to Themis and watch the rich kids play kick the can. Some of those kids looked kinda funny to us… come to find out…. they were all girls. Ick!!

  7. Ken, thank you for the Themis Street cameo. John Hodges, of course you were always there- playing touch football with all of us in the Mulkey’s empty lot. And yes, Brad Brune, we girls were often indistinguishable from the boys. Ken, my parents tell of a big tornado in spring 1949 that almost flattened our block of brand new homes. Did you ever hear that story? Yes, Larry, we lost Marcia Hitt just before high school. We were devastated. For most of us girls it was a first lesson in the reality of death. Thanks for the memories, Ken.

  8. I lived in the 1400 block of Whitener in the jr hgih years and then the 1700 block of Bessie through high school. On Bessie we had the McEndrees, Mike and Maureen, Chuck and Larry Blitstein, and from Notre Dame the Unterreiners,Tlapeks, and Schotts! Sunset area was a hub of activity. Still a great area to live in!

  9. Ken, Thanks so much for the Themis Street memories. We lived at 1749 Themis Street. I have seen the picture of Holly Lueders’ Birthday party, but the other ones are priceless!

  10. What memories you keep dredging up even though I’m of the “older” generation. “Bobby” Ravenstein lived right behind us (we were 1738 Whitener Street) and I remember many of the names: Joey Kies, Judy Froemsdorf, Ned Amlingmeyer, the Karens, Sitze and Earley, Mark Stone, and the Mulkeys.

  11. Wow Ken, You do it again. When I saw your house on Themis I knew we were neighbors! We lived diagonally across the street as i best remember. I was around 4 years old when THE Tornado struck. My memories are still so vivid of that day. I remember many happy things from there. We moved when I was around 5-6 to Rodney Vista where my dad built the house I grew up in.

  12. Ken, after looking more closely at the “Boomer Birthday Party” photo, the girl to the right of Holly is Melissa Chisum, cousin of Holly, not Mary Lynn Nowell.

    1. Hello! May name is Erica Vickery and I just bought your old home at 1749 Themis! (Literally closed June 30) I am in love with it! It is my very first home. I have been trying to research history about this house. I read in the SEMissourian archives how your father, Mr. Maurice Dunklin and your family use to live there. It has been such a well kept home. Everyone, including the inspector, could not believe how great of shape it is in for being so old. Do you have any pictures or any information you could share with me? My Dad’s side of the family (Vickery) grew up in Cape on S Benton and went to Central (Tammy, Judy, Tim – my Dad, etc…). Thanks for your time and I will take great care of 1749 Themis! If you have any questions for me, please just ask!

      1. Erica,

        Congrats for buying a house on a block that has been special to so many people. My parents owned the house at 1753 Themis. There was one house between your new home and our house.

        I have lots of photos of 1753, but nothing stands out in my mind about 1749. I’m sure your comment will bring a flood of Themis folks talking about your block.

        My mother and I drove down that way last week and I mentioned how well maintained all of the homes still are.

  13. As someone who grew up in approximately 10 homes in five towns/cities in three states, I am very taken by the concept of having ties to one town or even one street. It feels straight out of Leave It to Beaver to me in a really nice way. Having said that, I have always enjoyed change.

  14. While I am much younger than those commiserating about the Themis street gang and lived on the slope of Sunset, I can’t believe that all of you have ignored one of the finest kids on your block: C.B. Fulbright. He was given a hatchet for his 12th birthday. Likely an unwise decision.

    1. The girls may have forgotten Cry Baby, but I remember the frequent rock fights with him, using stones from the alley and garbage can lid shields.

      I also recall your truck/fort as the final defensive position when CB got too close.

      The subdivision layout with the alleys was unique in town, and provided hidden transportation routes to the neighborhood gangs. Many a gun battle in those hidden lanes.

  15. Ken – When I took a closer look at the picture of Holly’s birthday party, the girl to the right of Holly in the picture is Melissa Chisum, a cousin of Holly’s, not Mary Lynn Nowell.

  16. Thank you for the Themis Street cameo. John Hodges was up on the corner and Tom Holt was down Caruthers a few blocks. Sally Bierbaum, Jane McKeown– so many of us lived only a few blocks from Central. Thanks again for letting all of us reminisce.

  17. In the late 1920’s when leaders of Cape’s growing Protestant population decided to build a new hospital to rival St. Francis, the conspirators decided upon an interesting concept of selling residential lots to fund the hospital construction. A farm (whose?) was purcahsed and the plan implemented. The Sunset Addition, as it was known, became the incubation chamber for many of Cape’s current and cyber citizens.

    The area bounded by Broadway, Independence, Louisiana and Caruthers was a universe unto itself. One of Ken’s earlier ariel photos captures it nicely.

    Another previous post dealt with the foreboding brewery on the hill, a place visited by only the bravest of the under 10 population.

    Before skedaddling to the newer subdivisions by the time they attended Central, almost all who began in this post-war baby boom nursery spent part of their primary years at Franklin School. It may not have had a name above the door, but it remains in the hearts of the throngs who chased each other up the alleys and, beginning in 1954, awoke to the sounds of the Central marching band practice at 7 am each morning.

    A footnote:
    One of the more notorius incidents on Themis St was the never solved shooting (not fatally) of Bob Pierce, son of the fierce Mrs. Pierce, Franklin fifth grade teacher to many in the photos.

  18. Not mentioned is that the paricular block of Themis that is the subject of the post has one of the best sled hills in Cape. Actually, Sunset might be better, but because it was on the route to Southeast, that was one of the first streets cindered during a snow storm.

    Neighborhood kids were known to use various outdoor furniture to baricade the intersection of Themis and Sunset, and pour water on the hill to increase ice formation.

    It is unclear whether it was Mr. Tipton who discovered The Sled (an antique 8 man bobsled) at the old Rigdon’s laundry, but it made many a run in the neighborhood behind a car in the late evenings. During the day it could be found on Themis St hill. It required 4 guys to pull it back to the top.

  19. The “farm” which was transformed into SE hospital, many neighboring homes, and later my house at 614 Sunset Court was acquired I’m pretty sure from Henry Zinn who lived directly below us in a big brick house on Broadway directly across from Childs IGA. He was a carpenter and built our home after selling our family the lot. Like my house, his and many others have been consumed by the hospital expansion.
    The tornado of ’49, (I was four years old) wiped out several homes just north of Broadway behind the I.G.A. A few people were killed in that area. One of my most vivid memories is seeing it go by, from out of our basement’s coal bin chute which faced that direction, when Dad held me up and pushed the chute open. Mr. Zinn, we later learned, had tied himself, his wife, and daughter to a cedar tree to ride out the storm. One can only imagine what that must have been like! He was afraid his brick home would collapse on them if they were in the basement. Amazingly, little damage occured to any home on the south side of Broadway.

  20. Johnny Hoseltzer described Cry Baby Fulbright exactly and he was in the middle of the notorious rock fights in the ‘alley’, always ending up in the rusting hulk of a 1930’s era pickup truck our grandfather had had hauled to our yard as a ‘fort’. Byron Carson was dead on about the sledding as well. I recall that we moved sawhorses to the top of Themis and made ‘Road Closed’ signs that we fooled ourselves into believing looked official. Moreover, Byron raises the specter of ‘The Bobsled’ about which my brother Tucker and I were talking last week. It was an eight-man beast of a sled with runners on the front and back, all guided by a steering wheel pirated from an old car. I was very young when we rode on it, but someone (probably my dad or Bill Tipton) towed it behind a car on the ice-covered streets, whipping us around corners and the like. In today’s world, they’d be in jail for child endangerment after a well-meaning busybody dropped a dime to the 800 number. Long live Peach Willer.

  21. I’ve lived at 1749 Themis for the past 8 years. I really enjoyed this posting – It’s neat to see what the neighborhood was like “back in the day”, so to speak. I found the street-view pictures particularly amusing – those small trees are now giants!

    Jane, there’s a “mystery” with our house that perhaps you could help solve. On the bottom of our basement stairs, mounted to the post, are two identical “knobs” that spin on a swivel – they almost look like saddlehorns – I’d post a picture if I could – any idea what those are? They look to have been there quite a while, maybe back to when you lived here. Neither I nor the immediately previous owner could figure it out…

  22. Loved this! Our family lived from the summer of 1955 until my parents sold the house in the mid 70’s at 1432 Themis. All these postings brought back so many memories of the alleys, the “haunted: brewery, Brownie troops at Jane Dunklin’s house and the Sunset gang that was part of the hood with the Lampkins. I still remember all my Franklin School teachers, Miss Willer, Miss Miller, Miss Reed, Miss Welch, Mrs. Pierce and Mrs. Dye. An amazing bunch!!!

  23. Ken, and Linda, thanks so much for all the memories. I remember our weekly Girl Scout meetings usually in the Sitze home and sometimes in the Stone and Young homes.

    I also remember walking down Themis Street to Franklin School and the high school.

    Last week my husband and I watched the old movie Tammy with Debby Reynolds. I remembered that there was a house that had what looked like a wall to wall library that you could see from the side walk on the way to school. This same kind of wall to wall library of book shelves was in that movie.

    The movie, my Girl Scout Hand Book writer’s badge, Jean Bell Mosley … our local author, and this view on Themis Street were some of the motivating factors that caused me to want the same kind of a view from my window when I grew up {which I got in Kansas :)} and motivated my love of the printed page.

    Your comments remind me of several memories. I was with Marsha Hitt at Freshman Orientation just hours before she was hit by the car. She was one of the sweetest girls I remember from our class. Didn’t she want to be a Christian missionary? I think we met as a Girl Scout troop at First Baptist Church for her funeral. And from my memory … it was the first one I ever attended.

    Seeing Trisha Tipton’s pictures reminds me of her house up on the hill. In music class Mr. Bryant had us sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. It talks about walking through a storm in the lyrics. I was raised as an only child and can remember walking alone on that hill near Trisha’s home with stormy winds blowing and I would be singing that song on my way to or from somewhere that probably had to do with Scouts, CHS, or Grace United Methodist Church. To this day, I still enjoy the wind blowing my hair against my face like it did on what I will call in my memory … Trisha’s Hill.

    I also was happy to see Mary Ann Nowell in the pictures. I was the only Prudence (Prudy) I knew growing up. My name is a treasured family name … but not a popular one to name girls in the forties. I am still thrilled to this day that Mary named her puppy after me the year we went to summer school on the SEMO campus. I remember her parents being kind to take me each day with her. Recently one of my little granddaughters, who was born on my birthday three years ago, named her little stuffed poodle … Prudy … and carries her everywhere. Maybe some day the name will regain popularity. But until then … I am am happy to have our faithful friends named for me 🙂 And thanks for reviving all these memories.

    1. Prudy,

      Thanks for the comment. It’s interesting how so many of us identify not only with a school, but with the neighborhoods surrounding the school.

      If you have an email address for Mary Nowell, would you send it to me off-line? I’ve been setting aside photos of her dad and Nowell’s Camera until I can find a few more. When I run the page, I’d like to make sure she sees it.

      Mr. Nowell had a major influence on my life. He gave many a young photographer a start by letting us hang out in his shop and extending us credit to buy equipment and supplies.

      There were a number of times when I discovered that I had run out of photo paper or a chemical after the store was closed. He never failed to come down to open up for me. Try that with one of your big box stores these days.

  24. I had seen past articles that they have been caught doing the same thing before and of course they promised it would never happen again…. and they lie over and over. It is all propaganda

    1. This site gets hundreds of spam comments a day. Most of them get caught before I see them, but a dozen or so a day come close enough to be legit that they are shunted to a place for my approval.

      The vast majority use about the same language and the comments have no relationship to the topic, so they get deleted very quickly.

      This one was a funny enough juxtaposition of comment and content that I just had to let it pass (after deleting the address it was hoping you would click on).

  25. Gosh, love old photos specially the Themis Street on its old glory. Pictures that time are all black and white and yellowish and it’s funny. I don’t have any old pictures like this. Wish I did keep mine.

  26. I haven’t visited this Themis Street love feast for a while, and its always fun. But I take offence to Peach Willers assertion that:

    “The area bounded by Broadway, Independence, Louisiana and Caruthers was a universe unto itself.”

    Hey Peach, Themis Street didn’t end at Sunset… that ‘universe’ went all the way to at least West End Boulevard, and included streets like: Louisiana, Whitener, Luce, Bessie, and etc.

    And your smaller universe leaves out some of the most notorious families, boomers, and our beloved (soon to be demolished)Franklin School(with Coach Pug Russell across the street and the Krieger sisters on Themis).

    Just to name a few families left out of your universe:
    Brunes, Brockmeyers, Wrights, Browns, Seabaughs,Schuettes, O’Connells, Sides, Folsoms, Spradlings, Finneys, Kirkpatricks, Snyders, Easts, Stivers, Cargles, Rigdons, Lewis’s, Draces, Dodds, Kiehnes, Judens, Reids, Fischers, Limbaughs, Lampkins, and etc…..

    One of the only negative aspects to living in the ‘universe’ was that we never got to ride the bus, or got a parent ride (and later to drive a car) to school. We walked, rain or shine, to Franklin, then walked to Jr. High School (Schultz), then walked to Cape Central, and some of us even walked to SEMO.


  27. We lived at 1632 Themis for only a year or so when I was in 6th-7th grade while our new home was being built out on Brookwood, catty-corner from the Tipton’s new house (seemed to take a half-day’s drive to get out there to the woods!). Sorry that I’m from the class of ’69 and missed out on so much of your fun! Our backyard must have been dug out (?) to level the area for the house, b/c I remember a very steep hill in the backyard to a lower, flat area that we never used and was all weedy, that went to the back “alley.” I too remember all of my teachers at Franklin, starting with second grade (K and first were at Trinity) Mrs. Swink, Miss Reed, Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Pollack, Mrs. Dye, and of course, Coach Russell. How odd to run into him working at a shoe store on Main Street in the summer! Never forget the Pac-a-Snak with the rainbow colored candy dots on strips of paper or that fabulous donut place across the street. No one makes ’em like that anymore! But I NEVER went over the haunted hill to get there! I remember Dr. Mel, Mary, Mark, and Mike Kasten lived off the corner of Franklin on Themis when they first moved to Cape. My little sister, Kim, went to Mrs. Amlingmeyer’s nursery school. I think a family named Grant lived next door on one side of us, and the Tlapeks on the other. So glad to have found this! Has it been posted on the 1960s Tiger’s e-newsletter site?

    1. I’m glad you found the story and it stirred the memory pot.

      Yes, Margi is good about posting the teases I send out every time there’s an update. If you look at the upper right-hand corner of the page, you”ll see a two boxes to check so you’ll get an email every time I post new content or whenever someone leaves a comment.

  28. I was in the Navy 1967-71. Stationed in San Diego, Ca. Was given orders in 1969 to go to Vietnam. Did two weeks training at the Navy Seal base on Coronado Island by San Diego. Had a fellow there from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. HIs Name was John Amlingmeyer. He was about 20 then, as was I. He was tall, lank, had a good sense of humor. We flew out to Vietnam on same plane. He was stationed in Danang and I went down to Chu Lai. Do you know this person??? Odis.

    1. I suspect the John Amlingmeyer who was in Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965 was the same guy you describe.

      One of the other readers may be able to tell you what happened to him.

  29. We lived around the corner at 215 Sunset, but our group was little younger than the crowd above as we didn’t graduate until the late 70’s early 80’s for our Themis, Luce and Sunset gang

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