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.


44 Replies to “Frederick W. and Mary Karau Pott House”

  1. That looks like the building where Dr. Reynolds’ office was located but I’m not sure about the location-If that is the one, it’s where I had a tonsillectomy around 1950-52. Although I’m not sure about the location, the event itself I remember vividly!!

  2. I’m with Linda Bone Grimes. It looks like Dr. Reynolds office where my brother Rodger and I had our tonsils removed in 1950 on the 2nd floor. I never wanted to go into that building again.

    1. It was Dr. Reynold’s office. He died after a fall while walking his dog. Supposedly his sister committed suicide in our fish pond at our home at 6 south Fountain. Not sure of the date on either occurance. .

  3. I will join those who had my tonsils taken out by Dr Garland Reynolds in the building around 1952-1954. There were four of us, as we got a family discount to do us at one time. One of my twin cousins needed the tonsillectomy and the other three of us were victims of the family plan! Dr Reynolds also treated me for sinus in his office. The treatments required packing stuff up my nose. It wasn’t the most pleasant treatment.

  4. I am slap sure that was Dr. Renolds’s office , had my tonsils yanked out there as well. The building is neo-classic, and is a masterpiece of mid nineteenth century architecture . As for memories of the torture of having my tonsils out it cost me Holloween ans three days out of the second grade.

  5. Agree! That was Dt. Reynolds office. And I think the McHaney’s did live there. Not sure, but didn’t Dr. Hall have an office in the Medical Arts Bldg?

  6. This Dr. Reynolds “office”….I had my tonsils taken out in this place in the early 1950’s….it was great popcicles for the rest of the week!
    A way cool house!

  7. I never had my tonsils out, but that house was where I remember my first doctors visit to see Dr. Kinder. I remember getting shots there and those big wooden exam tables! It’s still a beautiful old building, though! (Well, I guess it is…it’s been awhile since I’ve seen it.)

  8. Here is another “victim” of Dr.Reynolds. I remember as they sat me up and my mother entered the room a great burst of blood came pouring out of my mouth and Mother hit the floor! I went back down for some more sutures.
    As I remember Dr. Reynolds had the best concoction to swab your throat . It brought instant relief and I have often wished through the years that I had access to it.

    Also made many a trip to Dr. Rescue in that building. Thanks for the memories Ken.

  9. Let me add a tonsil story. Three of the four Jackson children had a mass tonsilectomy one morning. Bill, Sue and Bob. Tom was too young at the time. We all went home, sat on our beds and had ice cream. Dr.Kinder gave Dad a group price.

  10. Kinder and Reynolds were in the same building. Kinder moved soon after that to the Medical Arts Building. Don’t remember if Reynolds did or not.

  11. Jim Reynolds is Garland’s only son. He is a lawyer in Kennett and practiced with Wendel Crow (father of Cheryl).Small world. Garland traveled with us to all of our golf matches in high school. He was a great guy to be around and looked after us on road trips. The Dr had a tendency to stutter when he got excited. Yes, this is his office.

  12. that is my dad”s office– we sold it to mchaney after dad died in 1973. note the great iron fence!. dad was the only ear,nose , and throat dr. in town, and did surgery on the second floor for years before moving that part of his pracice to st francis.He had a bad habit of forgetting that someone owned him for his services– he was a truly good man.– jim reynolds

  13. that is my dad”s office building– note the great iron fence. he practiced medicine there until he died in an accident in 1973. ( then sold to mchaney) he was a good man. jim reynoldsj

    1. Thanks for the confirmation. I see you left essentially the same comment twice. Sometimes you have to refresh your browser to see new comments. CTRL-F5 will usually do the job.

  14. I had horrible sinus problems as a child so every Saturday morning for weeks my mother dragged me out of bed and off we went to Dr. Reynolds. I loved it there! The waiting room had a fireplace and he had a clown collection that delighted me. The office ladies were so kind. I’m thinking his nurse was Mrs. LaPiere maybe? She taught me how to take a shot so it didn’t hurt–a lesson that has served me well. I can see the downstairs exam and treatment rooms to this day but never knew there had been a surgery upstairs. I truly loved Dr. Reynolds and was so sad when he passed away. Oh! I’ve never had sinus problems since his treatments either!

  15. Got another witness here, Dr. Reynolds took my tonsis out over at “old” St. Francis Hospital…….across from Dr. Herbert’s office!!! Good medical help “up in Cape” while I grew up!!…….Be Well, kkr, Dexter ’65.

  16. F W Pott was/is my Great Grandfather. His daughter, Irene Pott (my maternal GM), married Wm Adam Shivelbine (the Shivelbine family’s first music man). Irene died a early death from breast cancer. Irene’s sister, Dorothy Pott married Van Goodwin. Their son Fred Goodwin went on to be a university professor at SE. Dorothy Pott Goodwin was a true character, very cool lady. She worked at SE College for years in the registrars office. A little short lady, who reminds me very much of the lady in the old Wendy’s commercial , “Where’s The Beef?”…Ha!!

  17. The white house was definitely where Dr. Reynolds removed tonsils! Me, too!
    And I, also, remember the gush of blood coming out of my throat when they
    sat me up! My memories are vivid of that day! It was horrible!

  18. FW Pott was/is my Great, Great Grandfather. His son, Louis married and had my Grandmother, Irene Pott-Shivelbine. She married William Adam Shivelbine and had two sons. My father, Leland J (Freckles) Shivelbine and William L (Bill) Shivelbine, (Donna, Kay and Billy’s Dad).

    1. Hi Scott!

      I am a gggrand daughter of Frederich Potts the first. I would love to find out anything you know about the family at that time. Please e-mail me.

      1. John Thompson lives in Las Vegas and he is the son of Curt W Pott, and grandson of Louis Pott, and grgrandson of Fred Pott.
        I am searching the is family for him. Please reply if you are also a descendant………

        1. Mari,

          I am a Pott descendant and have file folders full of information about the Potts. I am always happy to share. Sounds like Scott Shivelbine might have more information that is specific to Louis and his branch. Louis’ sister Erna was my great grandmother.

  19. Dr. Sigari is an Otolaryngologist, specializing in conditions of the ENT. His medical office location is

    in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles CA.

        1. Methinks Mr. Hopkins is correct. The doctor DOES exist (I deleted his URL), but I couldn’t find anything that made it look like he had any connection to Cape. The only thing that makes me give him the benefit of the doubt is that I see he signed up for email notifications of new content.

          If Dr. Sigari actually has an interest in SE MO, I welcome him.

          If he just has a bot that sniffs out any references to his specialty and spreads spam, then he’s lower than whale excrement on the ocean floor. I hope it’s the former.

  20. Frederick W. and Maria (Karau) Pott are my great-great grandparents as well. I’m not sure why the name Mary is on the records, as all information I have always refers to her as Maria. Also, they had 12 children, not 11, but only 8 lived to adulthood. I have three pieces of Eastlake furniture that came from the Pott home. They are of the same vintage as the house, so I can only assume that they were purchased about the same time the house was built. I’m am always happy to share family information for anyone interested.

    1. I, also am a shirt-tale relative of Fredrich W. Pott and
      Maria (Karau) Pott. I am anxious to get the complete line. I, also, have that they had 12 chidren but only 8 lived to adulthood. I have a list of 8 children and their approximate years of birth but no death date.
      It looks like I have the later years but not the earliest years of their marriage.
      I have: Helena, Louis, Emiel, Fredrich, Edward, Gustav, Alma, Erma
      Do you have anything on the early years of their marriage?

  21. I am another great-great grandchild of Frederick and Maria Pott. With 11 children there are probably many of us! Virginia McCleskey (above) is my sister. She is a better genealogist than I, but we are great granddaughters of Erna Pott, who married Lawrence Rodibaugh. Our mother likely has more information about the house. She has had an artist’s sketch of it hanging in her home for as long as I can remember. Virginia and I visited Cape Girardeau when we were kids and saw the house.

  22. Mari,

    I am a Pott descendant and have file folders full of information about the Potts. I am always happy to share. Sounds like Scott Shivelbine might have more information that is specific to Louis and his branch. Louis’ sister Erna was my great grandmother.

  23. to see this house in person is high on my bucket list. My name is Mike Tucker and I am the grandson of Fred a. Pott .I think he was the next to youngest boy uncle Gus being the youngest. I’ve heard a little about this house over the years but I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to actually see it in this picture. My mother is 94 and was named after her grandmother Maria.(Alice Maria Pott)

    1. Mike, I’ve heard my mother talk about Uncle Fred. If I recall correctly, he’s the one who moved to Winnsboro, Louisiana. I have more information and a funny connection if that’s right. I believe your mother and my grandmother, Catherine Virginia Rodibaugh Willies, were first cousins. Please feel free to e-mail me at!

  24. It is me, Cindy Allgaier, again. In going through my piles of Rodibaugh material I found a letter written to you(1989)and replied to a little later listing a lot of information on your family. I guess what I need is any
    new information you might have going back further. It is wonderful to know we are related and both love to do genealogy.
    One bit of information I found new is the baptismal place for Friedrich Wilhelm Pott in Germany. It is Evangelisch. Oerlinghausen, Lippe, Germany. This is an
    Ancestry line that is highighted.

      1. Ken, thank you for the suggestion! I haven’t been to Missouri in years, but maybe it’s time for a trip to that museum! Wish I were closer…

        1. It would be great to drag you back to Missouri, but don’t hesitate to give the folks at the museum a call. They would be more than happy to talk with you. They are a skilled group who enjoy helping people.

          1. And I would love to visit! So many places, so little time… Thank you for the idea to call the museum people. I will look them up!

    1. Cindy! I recognized your name immediately, even after all these years! I had to jog my own memory a bit, but yes, we did correspond in 1989 and again in 1991. I have all the dates you are asking about for the 12 Pott children. My e-mail address is, so please e-mail me! That might be an easier way to compare notes. So glad to be back in touch!

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