Creepy Lorimier School Murals

When I published the collection of pictures titled, “Do These Photos Say Cape?” I mentioned that I was pulling them together for a friend. The friend – I guess I should say Virtual Friend – was Nicolette Brennan, Cape Girardeau’s public information coordinator, who wanted them for the city’s website. I dropped them off at City Hall, the former Lorimier School, Tuesday afternoon.

Where are the murals?

When I wrote about Lorimier’s transition from a school to a city hall, someone asked me if the murals were still in the hallways. Since I hadn’t attended school there, I didn’t know what they were talking about. On the way out of the building, I asked a nice woman (who is a reader, by the way) if she knew where they were. I don’t remember if she used the exact word “scary, spooky, weird” or what, but I knew what she was talking about as soon as I saw them. Huck Finn, above, is the most benign of the batch. Ironically, because the plumbing in the water fountain or sink in front of it is broken, there was a filing cabinet in front of it that almost hid it from view.

Three Men in a Tub could cause nightmares

The Three Men in a Tub would give any kid nightmares. It’s not exactly what I would picture over a water fountain in an elementary school, particularly since the character on the left looks like he’s losing his lunch into it.

Don’t believe me?

If you don’t believe me that the characters are grotesque, here’s a closeup. Like always, you can click on any image to make it larger, then click on the sides to move to other photos. I’m not sure I would encourage you to do that in this case.

Long John Silver has Mick Jagger lips

I’m assuming the guy with the eye patch is Long John Silver or another pirate. His lips, though, look like they could go on Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger.

Video games are violent?

It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about nursery rhymes. Sing a Song of Sixpence starts off with a king being served a piece of pie that opens up to contain singing birds. I find that neither sanitary, entertaining nor filling.

Sing a song of sixpence,

A pocket full of rye.

Four and twenty blackbirds,

Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened,

The birds began to sing;

Wasn’t that a dainty dish,

To set before the king?

The birds get their revenge in the third verse, though. Animals didn’t need PETA in those days, they took care of their own problems.

The maid was in the garden,

Hanging out the clothes;

When down came a blackbird

And pecked off her nose

These graphics explain a lot about my classmates who came through Lorimier.


36 Replies to “Creepy Lorimier School Murals”

  1. I went to Lorimier, Kindergarten through 6th grade and have fond memories of the pictures. Maybe that’s why I am the way I am today but I always thought they were cool pictures. The worst part of going back to the school 30 or so years ago when it first became City hall was going into the boys/men’s bathroom and see how small/low the urinals were. It was hard to believe that we were that little. I can remember being in Kindergarten and having nap time, I would scoot across the floor on my rug to be by the sidelights of the door to watch the older kids go out to play. I always liked the school and still have good memories of it.

  2. I attended first and second grades at Lorimier school more years ago than I wish to admit. Maybe it is the number of years that is my problem, but I don’t remember these murals. Does anyone know when they were put in? I agree they are very scary.

    1. Nor do I recall these. I attended in 1957-58… 4th to 5th grades.. I think. John Vogel in my class, Becky Lang. Mr. We sky was principal and he had a prosthetic hook for a hand amputated during the war.

    2. I know they were there in 1946-47. I attended 1st and 2nd grade and they were there. Very fond memories of those murals. I hope they are preserved.

  3. Like you, I never went to school there so I didn’t know about them. Wonder who thought these up.

  4. I was one of the baby boomers who were bussed across Cape from the new, but already overcrowded, Alma Schrader for 6th grade at Lorimier School. I remember the murals, but don’t remember thinking they were scary then. They are sort of ‘grim’ in the style of Grimm’s fairy tales!

  5. I didn’t go to Lorimer and have never seen the murals before. Does anybody know when they were done and who the artist was? I think they’re fascinating – I assume from your article that they are still intact in the building? I’d love to see them next time I’m in Cape.

    1. They’re still there. Like I said, the Huck Finn one is mostly hidden by a filing cabinet. In fact, there was a big sheet of paper taped over about half of it saying that the plumbing fixture was broken.

      I didn’t see any indication of an artist’s signature. I don’t know if they were originals or if you could buy the tiles commercially.

  6. Never saw these before…I went to Franklin and all we had was bust of Ben in the main Hallway. Which was pretty cool, but not creepy or scary either.
    I will go by and take a look next time I am in Cape.

  7. As a life-time English teacher, I, of course, love the murals and don’t think they’re creepy at all! Of course, I grew up on Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and I found them wonderful and magical!
    As a child going to school in the Springfield, Mo. and Abilene Texas schools, I always pushed Dick, Jane and Sally away–in favor of the Billy Goats Gruff!
    This is a very cool blog, Ken! You find the neatest topics!

  8. To: Pat Nothdurft Nichols

    Hi Pat – I believe you were in the 1958 graduating class @ with me Cape Central. I attended Lorimier School in grades 1-6 and the murals were there all during those years-they were located on the walls at the water fountains and I don’t remember any other location.

  9. I remember so well those murals but never found them frightening but I can see now that a child could find them so. As an adult I have often thought that many of the fairy tales I heard as a child ( Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, etc. ) were strange stories to read to children and I never read them to mine…There was a prayer I learned as a child which ended with ..” If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” My children would have found that thought of dying very frightrning at bedtime.

    Ken, I SO enjoy all your photos and the memories of growing up in Cape Girardeau – Thank You and keep up the good work!!!!

    1. Linda, Yesterday I was cleaning out my mother’s house at 244 N. Lorimier and found a poster you drew. It was in the upstairs bedroom closet. I carefully laid it back on the top shelf and would love to give it back to you.

      1. Jean, Do you have an e-mail address that I might use to contact you?? Would appreciate it more than I can say. Sincerely, Linda Bone Grimes

  10. I attended Lorimier School for 8 years and don’t remember those murals, but it has been a very long time ago. I don’t think they are scary or creepy either and I loved going to school, so they can’t have been that bad.

  11. I attended Lorimier for 8 yrs. and do not remember these pictures. Anyway, they are nursery rhymes and not scary at all(at least not now.) Emily Simpsons’ mom was my 3rd grade teacher and later on Emily and I went to summer camp in Michigan while we were in high school.

  12. I grew up in a house at 224 North Lorimier (big white house on the right as you go up the hill from the Petit N’Orleans) and attended grades one through six at Lorimier School in 1952-1958. The murals were there then, and I do not remember being frightened of them at all.

    The teachers as I remember are 1st-Mrs. Henderson, 2nd-Mrs. Gilbert, 3rd-Mrs. Stein, 4th-Mrs. Ragsdale, 5th-Mrs. Corona Harper(who one could see walking the streets of town all through the 70’s and maybe longer as I don’t believe she had a car…lived in a small red brick house on the southeast corner of Independence and Lorimier), and 6th-Mr. Wensky(a war veteran with artificial limbs and a wonderfully warm personality).

    I have some very good memories of elementary school (or grade school as we called it then) and I don’t think the expressions on the faces of the mural characters or the violence depicted affected me in a negative way!! Ha!! Maybe that is the way it gets to you…you don’t realize your mind has been warped!!

    I can’t remember, Ken, are the murals also upstairs or all on the main floor? I seem to remember one of a pretty princess type, but can’t remember where it was. My memory might be faulty on this.

    Thanks once again for a wonderful blast from the past!!

      1. Congratulations on the purchase of a wonderful home!!

        That is the house where we(my sister Linda, brother Kenny and I) grew up, and I have such warm memories of the house. We moved out of it and into the house at 315 Bellevue when I was a senior in high school. Your parents bought the house from my parents, Eldon and Murriel Bone. Every time we are in Cape (at least a couple times a year), I drive by the house and sometimes park and just stare at it for awhile. I hope your mother never thought I was a stalker!!!! In fact, once my brother, Ken, and I went up to the door and knocked. A man who identified himself as the caretaker answered the door and said that the family was not at home.

        I hope that you will love the house as much as I did and that you will have many wonderful years there. Please stay in touch.
        Brenda Bone Lapp
        117 Locust Street
        Barnett, MO 65011

      2. Jean,
        Congratulations! I am Linda’s daughter & Brenda’s niece. I have heard so many stories during my lifetime about this home. I’ve always imagined what it must look like on the inside. Like my aunt said, we aren’t stalkers, 🙂 that is just always a favorite place to go by when we all meet in cape every year for our family gathering. Even in my childhood, it sounded divine to be a child growing up there, with all of the fun places to play. My mom and dad actually met at that house in the early 60’s. I would absolutely love to one day see pictures of the inside, if you wouldn’t mind. I know that would mean alot to my mom as well. I’m so glad you were able to keep the home in your family. It’s so beautiful!
        Jennifer Grimes Kittell

      3. Jean,
        I’m sorry to be so slow about replying to you – I was absolutely AMAZED to hear that you had found a drawing of mine – it brought tears to my eyes to think that something of mine other than all the memories had remained in that wonderful home all these many years and I can’t tell you much I appreciate you saving it for me. My sister, my brother and I have yearned to see the house one more time and my daughter has heard me talk about it so much through the years that she shares our dream. I’m wondering how you would feel about this sometime when we’re all in town. If the picture can be easily sent, my address is: 7971 Charleston Dr., Southaven, MS 38671. Again, I so deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness in saving it for me.

  13. I attended Lorimer in the mid-1950s and have no memory of the murals. I was either unimpressed or so traumatized that I repressed the memories. However, when I toured CHS last summer, I also lacked memories of that building’s features and so we can probably file this one under my general cluelessness.


    1. I’m going to let you in on a secret, but it’s just between us.

      1.If you put your mouse over the image and do a right-click, it’ll bring up a menu. Choose the one that sounds something like Save Image As (different browsers say something different, but that’s close to it).

      2. Save it somewhere you can find it.

      It’s that easy.

      I don’t mind if someone wants a copy of one of my pix for personal use. If it’s going to be used for publication or commercially, then I want a cut of the action.

      Did that help you?

  15. Like Jesse James, I went to Lorimier School from kindergarten through 6th grade. Jesse and I were in the same class. (by the way, we were a neat class!!)
    The murals made a lasting impression on me. I had often wondered if they were still there after the building became the City Hall. Thanks for the story and photos that answers my long time question.
    I had the same teachers that Brenda Lapp mentioned, except I had Mrs. Black instead of Mrs. Stein. I don’t remember Mrs.Stein.
    Mrs. Neal was my kindergarten teacher. Mr. Wensky shared the 6th grade teaching with someone else. I remember he was a very nice young man. I think he taught the social studies portion of the class. Someone else may clarify that for me. Mr. Wensky was a wonderful principal as well as impressionable teacher. I think he taught the math portion of the class. Again, I would need someone else to clarify that foggy memory.
    Mrs. Harper was one of my teachers who inspired me to become a teacher. I have fond memories of our choral readings in her class, as well as the channel 12 t.v. performances. I loved the architecture of the house Mrs. Harper lived in. It just seemed to fit her personality. 🙂

  16. In answer to Susan Welker’s message, I believe Ms Stein was our 3rd grade teacher and Ms Black taught us in the 2nd grade. Mr. Summers was the 6th grade teacher; Wayne I think was his first name. As I write this I think he taught us in the afternoon and Mr. Wensky taught us in the morning but my memory could be wrong. Mr. Wensky helped me get into the DAV after I got back from Viet Nam, he was a very nice man. Ms Ragsdale taught 4th grade I think and so did Ms Hudson. I think there were two 4th grade classes at the time, could be wrong. Ms Hudson had a 57 Ford hardtop convertible and she left the top down one day during a Cape afternoon thunder storm. I remember getting out of school and walking by it, it must have had 2 inches of water in the floorboards. I thought Ms Harper was a very nice teacher too, I remember she was going to start teaching Spanish the next year and was using us as Gina pigs. When she asked if anyone could count in Spanish, Robert Masterson started counting and went all the way up to ten. Ms Harper told him that was great and asked where he had learned to count that good, without missing a beat he said he had learned it playing craps with the Mexican kids in the allies of St Louis. Don’t remember what Ms Harper said but she wasn’t too happy with him after that. I also remember our music class in 6th grade, before the class was over we would ask for John Vogel to play the piano and the teacher would let him, can’t remember her name. He would play a boogie woggie (sp) song really good. Charlie Hargraves was also in our grade school class, he passed away last week and he will be missed. I also think had a good group of people.

  17. I have enjoyed the memories of the different teachers at Lorimier School that have been mentioned. I started first grade in 1946 and , like my sister Brenda Bone Lapp,had Mrs. Henderson whom I remember as a an excellent teacher. Mrs. Simpson was my 2nd grade teacher and gave me the only punishment I ever remember receiving in school-I was sitting on the BACK of my chair while excitedly wating to go to the gym for an “assembly” program of some sort-she was walking up and down the aisles and gave me a swat on my “backside” as she walked by- nothing but my pride was hurt but I never forgot that-was always mindful to keep my seat IN the seat where it belonged!! The third grade teacher some of you mentioned was MISS Katherine Stein- I was always a bit afraid of her until I had to have an appendectomy and while I was out she had the class all write “get-well” notes to me and she came to St.Francis Hospital to visit me and brought the letters-she told me about doing some type of work with the military during WWII-she was so nice and I always felt differently about her after that.The others I remember are Louise Schuette in 4th grade and Edith Lightfoot in 5th or 6th-can’t remember any others. Did any of you take piano lessons from Louise Eckhardt who lived across the street from the school?

  18. Ken,
    My 6h grade class was bused from Franklin to Lorimier School due to overcrowding. I enjoyed Lorimier because it was smaller. Those murals were beautiful and cheerful to me. Pirates are supposed to look mean, and we certainly knew there were no pirates on the Mississippi River which we could see from our playground. I thought those Mother Goose characters were jolly not scary. Huck’s dog was friendly in our childhood imaginations. Thanks for all you do to bnring back our childhood memories. Lynette Lewis Williamson ’64

  19. The Lorimier School teachers I remember are Mrs. Henderson 1st; Mrs. Ludwig 2nd; Mrs. Gibert 3rd; Mrs. Hudson 4th; Mrs. Harper 5th; Mr. Wensky and Mr. Summers 6th. I do indeed remember the ceramic murals behind all the drinking fountains.

  20. I went to Loromier school from 1st to 6th grade in the late 60’s & early 70’s. I vaguely remember the murals. I don’t guess they made much of an impression on me, either. I remember most of my teachers: 1 -Ms. Henderson, 2 – Ms. Pierce, 3 – Ms. Hall, 4 -Ms. Hudson, 5 – Ms. Harper (who could ever forget her!) 6 – was split between a male & female teacher, but I forgot their names. I loved going to school there. I walked home almost every day for lunch, as I lived on S. Lorimier St. Those were the good old days!

  21. I went to Lorimier school in the 60s. 1st grade though 6th grade. They were there back then. I never thought they were scary at all. I still enjoy looking at them when I go to city hall.

  22. i remember the murals when i attended grade school there in the 60’s, i remember ted harris in my class, wayne evans, ricky evans, cant remember if hotrod deberry was in my class, but he did go there, jonathon johnston, and a few more that their names escape me right now, I remember recess when ms. harper would pitch softball to us in the back ball diamond.. and then there was playday the last day of school, lol those were fun times for me..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *