Franklin School Construction

I wrote a little about the history of Franklin, the school with no name, back in March of last year. At that time, Cape voters hadn’t been to the polls yet to decide whether or not to tear down Franklin and build a new school. The issue passed and the old building’s days are numbered.

The plan is to construct the new school building, then tear down the old one. The area was fenced and the gates locked, so I had to shoot everything through and over a chainlink fence.

Franklin flag pole

It’s striking how similar the flag pole is to the one that used to be on Washington School.

Washington School flag pole base

Here’s a link to photos of Washington School before and after it was razed.

Franklin School Photo gallery

Here are photos of the old school and the construction going on behind it. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.



35 Replies to “Franklin School Construction”

  1. I’m so glad my Aunt Kathryn (Stein) didn’t live to see this. Franklyn School was a big part of her teaching career.

  2. This was the first school I attended. I hate to see it torn down but old things can’t last forever here. My most vivid memory of Franklin School is the once a year “Play Day” at the very end of the school year. We had so much fun with the many outdoor activities planned for that day. Also, the really big tree with roots that stuck up above the ground, near the asphalt playground was a favorite place to walk round and round the tree, stepping from one root to the next with my school friends. This was in 1956, first grade with Miss Clay, 2nd grade I don’t remember the teacher’s name at the moment, 3rd grade I was in Mrs Stein’s class. Then on to the brand new Alma Schrader school! The cafeteria wasn’t finished at the new school when we started classes in the fall, so we ate our lunches in the classroom.

  3. I just hate seeing buildings of this quality torn down. It is such a historic building that was built by the WPA. My father worked on this building when it was built and I went to school there until the 3rd grade. I was in Mrs Youngs first grade class at the school.

  4. Hi Darla and Don! I too have fond memories of Franklin school. I remember being in Miss Stein’s third grade class (she lived just down the street!)and watching Al Sprading and the older boys play baseball. I also remember a number of the girls sitting under the beautiful maples on the south side of the building at recess making maple leaf chains. I wonder how long it has been since anyone did that during recess?

  5. Thanks for the pictures of old Franklin School. I have many fond memories of Franklin from the days I entered the public school system in Ms Willer’s 1B class in 1950 until 1983 when we rented the gym to play basketball. I will be sorry to see the old school go but I am sure the kids today will enjoy a wonderful school experience, in the new facility with modern classrooms and labs. After all it really about their education. Besides, I have my great memories.

  6. Franklin School had the best playground. There was room to accommodate every child’s recess activity be it organized games, individual playground equipment play, or sitting under a tree resting. The west side of the field had a large area of clover which was just perfect for more of those chains. Remember how long noon recess was? We had time to walk home, eat lunch with family, and return to play.

  7. is it cape’s only answer to anything is to “tear it down and rebuild”? first it was the it’s public schools that made the surrounding neighborhoods what they were. place to live,raise their kids.
    i attended franklin for i/2 of the 4th garde to the 6th. my teachers were ms kelly in the 4th garde,ms pierce in the th and mt gehring in the 6th gard.i have fond memories of that time.there was a fake rosetta stone in the main entrance with of course a bust of ben franklin. it sad t think all the buildings we grew up with are being torn down and replaced with a buildingthat wil not have the grace or charm of the older buildings.

  8. I went kindergardn at franklin and liked the school. If I was lucky i would go awol from my front lawn on Bessie and go up there and swing. At the end of the schoolyear my family moved to Brookwood and i started first grade at Alma Schrader. my first teacher was a Mrs wiier and i think she retired at the end of the first Sememster. I do Remember a Mrs. stein that taught third grade at Schrader i wonder if that is the same one. I recall she was a strict teacher, but those were the best ones.

  9. Thanks for the memories of Franklin. I grew up less than a block away in the 1600 block of Themis and attended Franklin through the eighth grade.

    1. Emily,

      Your mom was the kindergarten teacher at Franklin, at least in the mid-late 1960’s, right?

      I still have such fond memories of “Mrs. Simpson!” She was a dear, sweet lady, and gently introduced little ones to the rigors of organized school. There just aren’t teachers like her (or Mrs. Heuer, or Mrs. Stiver, or even Mrs. Pierce!) any longer. God bless ’em all for putting up with the likes of us…back in the day. 🙂

  10. Nice pics! Lots of good memories!!
    The flag pole means a lot to me. I ran the flag up and down that pole for a long period while I was a school boy patrol.
    Iwas there when the school was very new, 1936 to1942, having spent k, 1and 2 in the old Broadway School.

  11. Nice pics! Lots of good memories!!
    The flag pole means a lot to me. I ran the flag up and down that pole for a long period while I was a school boy patrol.
    Iwas there when the school was very new, 1936 to1942, having spent k, 1and 2 in the old Broadway School.

  12. I was in one of those half year classes that started school in January at Franklin. There was no kindergarten then but classes 1 though 8.
    Met a some of the girls there that are still my friends. It was a wonderful school with great teachers.
    I seem to have a vague memory of a visit to Miss Krueger’s office about something like throwing spit balls. I think almost the whole class made that same visit. I sure dreaded going home that day.
    Many of the teachers, plus the principal, the above name Miss Krueger, lived in the area and so my mother knew when something had happened at school before I was home to tell her about it. Bad news.

  13. The destruction of the building will not erase the memories. And, I can rest well knowing that Cape is wealthy enough to keep up it’s school replacement program that must be required for the growing population.

  14. There was, indeed, a “Miss Stein” at Alma Schrader. I recall that some parents requested their children not be put in her classroom, even back then. My parents were both teachers, so their advocacy was perhaps more divided, and I proceeded with my assignment. I recall her as being an excellent teacher overall, though verbally and physically abusive. I obviously made it through, then moved/transferred to beloved Franklin School and kind, sweet Mrs. Davis for 4th grade. Though recollections of Miss Stein’s (let’s say) lack of control are jarring to modern perspectives, they pale into insignificance next to the horrible cruelties inflicted on my peers in “certain, unnamed” local private schools.
    Steve Carosello

  15. There was a farmer who had a dog and BIngo was his name Oh
    B I. N. G. O. B. I. N. G O. B. I. N. G. O and Bingo was his name Oh.

  16. Yes, Ms.Young, first grade. I can see her still, long dark hair, my go-cling-to the first days from home. And how about those games of marbles in the dirt at the northwest side of the school in the mid 1950s. Playing for “keeps”. Did the other elementary schools at the time have such an addition (mostly boys, as I recall)? I remember one mysterious kid by the name of “Spencer” who was so good a certain type of blue and white marble was named after him. I don’t think he even went to Franklin. Ken, sure wish your archives included some of the lads knuckling down, but I’m afraid the fad had passed by the time you got serious with the lens!

  17. I attended Franklin in the 1980s, and it’s a shame to lose this building, when there are so many interesting possibilities for rehabbing it. New schools just don’t seem to have the same architectural character as older ones.

    Franklin School was designed by renown school architect William Ittner, from St. Louis. Many of his school buildings – even abandoned ones – are on the National Registry of Historic Places in St. Louis. In fact, Ittner even came to Franklin to speak when it (or its later addition, the back classrooms and old gym/auditorium) was dedicated – Google News Archive has some interesting stories about that. As far as I’m concerned, Franklin School is an historic building.

    I hope at least the keep old Ben’s bust in the new building.

  18. Who worked as the secretary during mid 70s in the office? When I ran the pony route for the schools she always was the high light of my day.

  19. I guess I was in the Franklin grad class of ’49. Miss Willer was First Grade teacher and I think a Miss Stein in 2nd grade. (Miss Willer always made birthdays special–until mine came in November after I had waited impatiently to be celebrated; but some other kids acted up and she announced that, very well, since they were being unruly, she would punish the malcreants by NOT acknowledging MY birthday! That was an early lesson on how life is not always fair!) Mr. Hines roamed the halls during classes to see who had been sent from class (short of being directed to the Principal) and busted butt with his ever present paddle. I recall playing “dirt lot” softball to the immediate right of the asphalt as one looked directly from the rear of the school. This was not organized so the biggest and strongest took whatever positions on the diamond that they wanted; always the same pitcher and catcher and on down the pecking order. It resulted in a good team later as the better players developed but I think others could have been better than they were allowed to develop. Mr. Hines was determined to win so second stringers got little to no playing time. Admittedly, the good players later became part of Central’s state championship team along with the heart of the Lutheran school’s athletes. There were also other softball diamonds, one that often was used by girls-only but at other times was composed of teams of both sexes. Among earlier memories are of the swings, where we “pumped” higher on our own or were pushed by a playmate–not to mention “bailing out” when you went as high as you dared. Rolling down the far back terrace was another thrill for the very youngest of pupils. There was also basketball on the far end of the asphalt, and Dick Thomas, along with Larry Miller, were the best of that crew. I had a long walk from my home on the last block of South Park Ave., and at first my mother made me walk home for lunch as well, meaning I was often late returning to Franklin for afternoon classes. After school, one could save time by going through Landgraf’s lumber yard, call the tie-yards because of the railroad ties stacked there–but you had to get around bullies who were there to pick fights. If I stayed to play basketball behind Koch’s and Mount’s homes, it delayed my departure till after dark, then I faced recriminations from worried parents. On one return home for Tiger reunion, I walked the distance (and back) again and realized again what a stretch that was for little legs. No matter how hard I tried to get back and forth on time, I felt somewhat isolated from the kids who lived near the school. Unlike others, I don’t think of all memories as good ones, rather a mixed bad of recall, but that’s just life. I have no need to glorify my youth or my home town. It was what it was.

  20. My five children attended school there. Some through 6th and the rest through 4th when the grades were reconfigured. It was definitely time to do something with the building. The new structure is said to have similar character with the orginal cupola being moved to the new building.

  21. Ken,
    I was in Cape last Saturday, and after driving through Capaha Park and seeing how the old swimming pool has been completely erased and eradicated from the landscape, I was hesitant to drive down Louisiana and check on Franklin.

    Happily, it was still standing – no matter how temporarily – and I wasn’t faced with a second round of tears over the loss of another big part of my childhood.

    Guess I’ll have to check up on dear old Franklin again when I’m back in town this weekend. I really hope I still find her intact!

  22. Hmmm…I do have a question, though. When did Franklin’s mascot become “The Tigers?”

    I’m certain I recall a green and white sweatshirt with a bee on it.

    Anybody else remember this, or am I hallucinating?

    1. Hornets, bees – I was close!

      Thanks, Steve, for confirming that I’m not imagining the old striped green and white sweatshirt with a flying insect mascot on the front.

  23. I simply couldn’t help myself after reading my former classmate Linda Clark’s comment and the reference to Miss Stein. I recall fondly that one wouldn’t dare drop a pencil in her class as it then belonged to her. I did, however, get revenge one morning while standing and reciting in front of the class when the flu came upon me of a sudden. Ah, the smell of the old sawdust that the janitors brought in.

    1. I had one of those sweet moments at Trinity Lutheran School. I’ve never been a big milk drinker, but the teacher insisted that I finish my carton of milk.

      I tried to protest that I didn’t feel well and didn’t want it, but she wouldn’t listen until I splattered her shoes with it.

      I bet she thought long and hard after that about forcing some kid to finish his milk.

  24. I just went back to look at other comments. I noticed Larry “Nine” Points talked about marbles at Franklin School. He mentioned a good marble shooter by the name of Spencer. I believe it was Spencer Clore. I too remember him as a great marble-shooter. I believe he rode on my bus and lived in Rodney Vista. Remember the all school kickball/soccer games all over the school playground at recess? I remember the best player when I was in school was a girl. I think her name was Dorothy Hickam or Hickman but I could be wrong.

  25. I hope and pray that when they have the new school built that they remember one of the most memorible teachers of Franklin School, Miss Virginia Willer. She taught kindergarten for many, many years. She passed away at the age of 104.

  26. I have always been proud to say “I went to Franklin School.” Beginning in 1957 with Mrs. Simpson as kindergarten teacher. I remember a sub walking the class to her house for a visit, as she was on medical leave for a leg or ankle injury. And of course Mrs. Willer for first grade. She had the store bell on her desk for getting your attention. A friend since, and still, Bonnie Castleman, and I went to see Mrs Willer a few days after her birthday and weeks before her passing. We both commented on how perfect her nails were, just one of the things we remembered from 1st grade. Second grade teacher was Mrs. Swink. She always had a watch/pin on her sweater. I remember her flipping it up to see the time. Third grade was Mrs. Shettie (maybe wrong spelling sorry). I remember getting our report cards on the last day of school and I started crying. My report card did not have the box checked “Promoted To”. She corrected it for me, boy was I happy. Mrs. Kelly for fourth grade. Beautiful grey hair. We learned the new way of division in class and I had to do the problems the old way at home. Mrs. Pierce for fifth grade. I remember having to learn fractions. Mrs. Sitzes for sixth grade. I think she had red hair.

    Sorry I don’t remember the music (in the small room down a few steps with the spiral staircase going to the lunchroom/gym) or art teachers (tempra paints)names. But who doesn’t remember the gym teacher “Mr. Russell”. He would play the piano for square dancing. Years later when I would see him he would always call me by name.

    I made and have maintained many friendships in grade school that I will cherish forever.

    No matter how old we are we will always be proud to say “I went to Franklin School”.

  27. Debra,
    Mrs. Simpson was my mother and from all I can tell a very good teacher. You made me smile saying that the sub walked you to her house as she was out on medical leave. Indeed she was, on about Augeust 14 or 15 she fell down the basement stairs breaking her ankle in several places. It was just several days before my wedding ( Aug 18, 1957). She attended our wedding in a wheel chair. We have wonderful pictures and many fond memories. She died in July of 2002 the day before her 95th birthday. Franklin was so important to her and to me as I attended through grade 8 and lived less than a block away. Thanks for the memories.

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