Kage School Initials Mystery

Kage School before it closed in 1966

At the end of November, 2009, I ran this and two other pictures of Kage School shot sometime around 1966, just before the school was closed and 112 years after it opened. Follow this link to read the original story with the history of the school and some other resources.

Initials carved into the brick

At the time, I didn’t notice the initials carved into the bricks on the south wall of the school. The odd thing is that no description of the school I’ve read mentions the carvings.

Was this REALLY scratched in 1899?

This building was constructed in 1880, so it’s conceivable that someone with the initials ROL might have scratched his name on the south wall of the building. That’s the side that the 0uthouse was on and the door to the kitchen wasn’t added until years later, so there was some privacy. If the child was waiting for his or her turn in the outdoor toilet, maybe he or she passed the time tracing letters in the soft brick. The “L” has a unique shape that makes me think of a font of that period.

1913 is a little more plausible

WS claims to be from 1913. Discipline was strict in schools of that era. You have to wonder what punishment, if any,  students would receive if they were caught defacing the building. Or, was it a school tradition that was overlooked as long as it was done only on that back wall.

Where was the outhouse?

My 1966 photo showed a small child headed to the outhouse. It’s long gone, but there are two concrete foundations still standing on the south side of the school. The application for the National Register of Historic Places says that one of them was a utility shed and the other was the outhouse.

I’ll have to take their word for it. The one foundation looks too large for an outhouse and the other looks too small for a shed. For obvious reasons, I didn’t dig too deeply into the subject.

Outhouse or utility shed?

I thought the outhouse was closer to the school, but this COULD be the pit. I tried to convince my brother, Mark, to explore the subject, but he’s not as gullible as he was when he was a kid.

Kage School is crumbling

The bricks in the chimney are beginning to crumble and there are cracks above a window on the southeast side. If anyone is going to step up to preserve this historic building, they’d better do it soon. I encourage you to follow the link to the National Register application to read the fascinating history of the school.

Kage School Gallery of Photos

Here’s a gallery of photos from Kage School. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the photo to move through the gallery.

22 Replies to “Kage School Initials Mystery”

  1. I know Sondra Feverston Wieland (CHS 66) attended Kage School. At that time the Cape School District ended at the gravel road that would later be Mount Auburn. The Route 12 bus turned around at Mount Auburn and Hopper road.

    1. Hello bill ,my name is Kenny Kimbel I knew Sonora feverston also ,we were in the same grade in 1959 & 60. All of us kids walked to and from school every day we had the best time having fun walking home, and sondra & I lived on the same street , hi land dr. It would be great if all the kids that went to that school would be able to contact each other, and by the way I have the original class picture of 1959&60 in my office,I would be happy to email it to any one that would like to see it or copy it , it’s good to hear from all of these people that have commented on the Kage school. My email is. Kimbel@sbcglobal.net. Thanks!

      1. The name sondra feverston not Sonora feverston I don’t know why these note pads always prints the wrong words and names, so sorry for these mistakes!

    1. Dear Mr. Madison,
      Of course all schools that have been closed for any length of time are haunted. There is a school called Harmony located in Hockessin, Delaware. One evening I was walking pass the school and it began to rain. It was those rains that come up on you on very hot days or nights.
      What am I going to do. It is dangerous to be out it the heavy rain ditches filled up with water and many parts of the road get flooded and are impassable. I decided that the only thing to do was to seek shelter in the empty one room school. The school had been closed now for fifty years.
      This i what I did, I looked for an opening in the school, found one and entered. The rain was pouring down very hard, the wind was blowing and the door I left open, and now it is banging by the fierce wind. That school had to be haunted, and on the worse nights it is very scarry.
      All of a sudden, I heard screaming, right after I had got myself ready to drop off to sleep. No sleep for me, I wished I had a flash light.
      All empty buildings are haunted. Especially if they are empty for fifty years or more.

  2. Does anyone know if there is a list of teachers at Kage
    school? My ancestor, Stephen E. Hale, was a teacher there ca. 1880.

    1. Thare was a register at city hall on the Kage school in 2008 I went there to try and buy the old school at that time they had all the records on the school ,and they let us have the keys to the school so we spent the day looking thru old papers and books and test papers that we had done when we went to school Thare , and we Alice & I had a blast it fun to see all the stuff we had used while we went to school,please reply !

  3. Good stuff! I so hoped they would restore it & keep a piece of history. And not because I was the queen of Kage school a couple years earlier!!’

    1. Mary, do you mean to say that you were a student at Kage when it was still in operation? I am doing a school report on it, and I would love to hear anything you have to say.

      1. Ken–I am trying to find out where the very first Central High School was located–I have pictures of the one I went to–in 1953–then in 1954 another building –housed students -untill 2002–am I missing a school here?–and was the old Normal school the first high school?

        1. So far as I know, there were only three Central High Schools: one on Pacific south of Independence, the one I went to on Caruthers, and the new one so far out west that I had to use a GPS to find it the first time.

          College High, as we knew it in the 60s, was SEMO’s training school for new teachers. It was located to the right and behind Academic Hall as you were facing north.

  4. This is all very interesting stuff, as my maiden name is Kage. My family grew up in and around Cape. My father and his father are Glenn Kage Jr and Sr. Glenn Kage Sr’s father was James Kage. Very glad to have stumbled across this article.

  5. I just turned 86 years old. My happy days were when I went to Harmony School located on Limestone Road, Hockessin, Delaware. There were twenty children in the school. Mrs. Dillon was the School Teacher. Everyone lived on a farm. During the winter months the time each day we were in school was from 9 to 4. The time waa made long because during the spring time the days were short. This allowed students to go home early to work on the farm. So much to write about. Oh how they make good memories.

  6. I went there when I was in 5th grade. My sister Diane was 6th grade, my brother Sonny was in 1st grade.
    we were all in same room. Our teacher was Ms. Step. A beautiful woman with very long brown hair.
    The cook was a wonderful woman. I can’t remember her name though.
    My best friends name was Donna.
    I remember the outside toilet.
    It was a very interesting year.
    I have the class picture for that year. If you want to see it look me up on face book.
    I visited the school when I as in Cape couple years ago. Sad to see it falling apart.Someone had broken in the back door so we peeked inside and took a few pictures It was a disaster inside, looked like someone just threw books all over the place. My Sister and I took pictures.

    1. Deborah, I’m a reporter with the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau…I would love to see this photo! You can email me at smaue@semissourian.com but I’m afraid I’m not finding you on Facebook…feel free to find me as well! I hope we can chat!


  7. Yes,
    Savanna I attended first grade there 64-65 school year. Have fond memories because I lived just down Kage rd. in my youth. Feel free to contact me. I would love to discuss this with you.


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