SEMO Erases Another Iconic Building

Razing Houck Stadium 12-08-2021

Someone posted on Facebook this morning that Southeast Missouri State University’s iconic Houck Stadium was being demolished. I decided it was worth putting on my pants and donning a light jacket to take a look at it.

By midafternoon, about half of the south stands had been reduced to dust and twisted rebar. A worker I chatted with said he thought they’d be done in about a week.

The north stands and Houck Field House aren’t slated for demolition (yet).

Inside a locker room

I thought that I might be able to get a higher angle shot from an office window in Houck Field House, but the only good candidate was locked.

I wandered down a hallway until I saw an open door and walked toward the light until I ran into a friendly worker. We exchanged construction war stories until I thought we were at the point where I could gently suggest that he look the other way while I disappeared for a few minutes.

Unfortunately, another guy showed up about that time, so I abandoned the idea.

On my way out, though, I stopped long enough to shoot the lockers and peppy slogan above them. The light wasn’t great, and I couldn’t get it all in one shot, so I created this combo.

Chief Sagamore’s old perch

Razing Houck Stadium 12-08-2021

Gates leading to the bluff where Chief Sagamore used to appear were locked, so this is the best I could do.

The white cloud is a powerful spray of water to keep dust down. Cars parked on Bellevue Street still got a pretty heavy dusting. Reminded me of what happened in the old days when dust from the cement plant would coat Cape when the winds were out of the south.

Gallery of demolition photos

Here’s a gallery of photos I shot December 8, 2021. Click on any image to make it larger, then use the arrows to move around. I’ll go through my files to see how many vintage Houck Stadium photos I can find, along with any appropriate anecdotes for a post in the near future.

SEMO Indian R.I.P.

SEMO orientation packet 1965I was cleaning out the hall closet that held a bunch of newspaper clippings and old school papers this afternoon. In the midst of yellowing newsprint more suitable for confetti than reading, I found this folder from my 1965 freshman orientation.

Poor Chief Sagamore had no idea that he and every vestige of his Indian heritage would be exiled only a few decades later.

Look to your left, look to your right

SEMO orientation packet 1965This was a listing of special events. I must have been taking notes on it so I could perform my duties as The Missourian’s campus correspondence. I drove poor editor jBlue crazy because I was supposed to be covering the school, but I spent as little time as possible on campus. Chasing sirens was a lot more fun.

All I can remember from the Houck Stadium Freshman Welcome was sitting in the bleachers and hearing some guy delivering the old lines, “Look to your left, look to your right. Next [can’t remember if he said “semester” or “year”) one of you won’t be here.

He was right. Two years later, I transferred to Ohio University, a school that wasn’t run like a Charleston high school. If you think I’m exaggerating, check out the Student Handbook.

Songs

SEMO orientation packet 1965In case we felt like breaking into song, a small sheet of appropriate songs was included. I visited the SEMO website to find that the alma mater hasn’t changed (although the current version has another verse. Maybe ours did too, but they thought memorizing TWO verses might be too much for us frosh.).

The four songs contain seven references to “Indians” or “Braves.”

Give Me An “I”

SEMO orientation packet 1965The administration must have thought we more capable of cheering than singing because we were given a list of 13 cheers printed on canary-colored paper.

Give Me an “I” was a call and response where the cheerleaders would yell, “Give me an ‘I,” at which point we were supposed to echo “I” back at them. This was repeated for “N,” “D,” “I,” “A,” “N” and “S.”

To make sure we got it, the cheerleaders would ask, “What does that spell?”

The proper response was “INDIANS!” repeated louder three times.

 

 

Cape’s ‘Laboratory School’

SEMO's old College High building 05-28-2015I really hadn’t gone on the SEMO campus to shoot what used to be called College High or Campus High, the building that housed the teacher’s college’s laboratory school. (Erin Ragan wrote a little about the history of the school in 2012.)

I was there to steal a magnolia blossom off the tree on the left.

Brother Mark and I took Mother out for a drive last weekend. While cruising around, I said, “Let’s see if we can snag a magnolia blossom for your room.” The tree where I usually get the blooms didn’t have any, so Mark suggested there might be one on the SEMO campus.

Yes, indeed, there was one

I put my four-way flashers on, parked in a no-parking zone and scampered over with my trusty Buck knife in hand to snip off a blossom the size of Mother’s head. Just as I was getting back to the van, flower in hand, I heard a car coming. It was a university police car. I was rehearsing my excuse when the car passed without even slowing down.

Found the magic key

A few days later, after the bloom turned a beautiful shade of brown that I actually liked better than the white, I decided to go back to the scene of the crime to get her a second one. Same no-parking zone, same four-way flashers. This time, though, I saw a guy in a university truck slow down and give me the eye.

I stepped out of the car with my camera in hand and made a big show of taking a photo. The guy sped up and passed on by.

I used to say that you could go anywhere if you carried a clipboard and a tape measure or a ladder. I’m adding camera to the list.

SEMO: Rev Up the Dozers

Ochs-Shivelbine House 03-25-2015Katie Lamb had a story in the May 11 Missourian that the Ochs-Shivelbine house is slated for demolition to make room for a planned Greek Village. The Greystone Estate, located next to the doomed Ochs-Shivelbine home on North Sprigg, was demolished in March.

I’ve given up railing against the university’s penchant for treating buildings with benign neglect until they have an excuse to tear them down.

One down, one to go

Here’s a gallery of photos I took of Ochs-Shivelbine shortly after the Greystone was reduced to rubble. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.