Taking One for the Team at Franklin School

 

See that DONATE Button at the top left of the page? You folks owe me. I took one for the team Wednesday afternoon at Franklin School.

A couple of Facebook friends posted that demolition of the old school had started, so I figured I’d better get over there before it was too late. I saw a story in The Missourian that said that workers had hit a snag when they stirred up some honeybees. One worker had to be taken to the hospital and a beekeeper was brought in to deal with the situation.

What happened to Ben Franklin?

I had something else I could shoot to let things cool down, so I didn’t get to Franklin until early afternoon. The job site was quiet. No equipment was working and no workers were around. I held my camera over the fence to take a photo of the ripped-up pedestal where Benjamin Franklin, the school’s namesake, used to stand at the southeast corner of the campus. (I wonder if he was salvaged.)

Steps and sidewalk coming out

Then, I wandered to the front of the school to take some shots of the steps where it has been said that some introductory biology classes had been offered. Class looks like it has been dismissed for good.

I read somewhere that the facade around the front door had been preserved. It’s a little ironic because Franklin was the only school in the city that had been built without a name.

Better to ask forgiveness…

I saw an open gate on the north side of the school. An open gate to me means an invitation, so I walked into the parking lot to see an open supply trailer and a couple of trucks. My intention was to find the foreman to get permission to walk around the site since there was no work going on, but I couldn’t find anyone.

Since there was no one to ask, and because I was already there, I opted to observe the “it’s better to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission rule.” I REALLY wanted to see if they had preserved the old flag pole.

Bees and rattlesnakes

I had just taken the first photo of it being on the ground when I saw a dark object buzzing around my nose. “This isn’t good,” I thought. Just about that time, I felt somebody stick a red-hot poker onto my lip.

I knew that feeling. In the mid-70s, on the way back from covering a trucker strike in Georgia and Alabama, I read that Whigham, Ga., was holding a rattlesnake roundup. I called the office, told ’em I’d be on the road another day

I soon found myself wandering around a Georgia pine forest on a chilly foggy morning with a guy who said the unusually warm weather was keeping the snakes above ground instead of curled up in gopher turtle burrows.  (My new buddy would stick a long plastic pipe down the gopher hole, pour down a couple of ounces of gasoline and wait for the fumes to drive the snake to the surface. They weren’t home, unfortunately.)

Since they were on top of the ground, that meant the snakes had as good of a chance of finding us as we did of finding them. I finally got a shot of him draping a four-foot rattler around his neck, and we headed back to the snake pen where the hunters dumped their catches (live and very unhappy, by the way) into a fenced-off area. They were destined for skinning and being eaten.

I was invited into the area. Much against my better judgement, I stepped into the pen. I was assured that rattlers can’t strike longer than their length, so I was “perfectly safe.” I was concentrating on (a) trying to figure out how long my subject was (and adding a couple of feet for safety), and focusing on his flickering tongue when I felt that red-hot poker hit my thumb.

Dead in Whigham

“This boy is dead,” I thought. “Somewhere in the back of Editor & Publisher, the journalism trade magazine, my passing will be dutifully noted: ‘Ken Steinhoff, Palm Beach Post director of photography, died in the line of duty. He wasn’t covering a war; wasn’t trapped in a burning building trying to save an old woman’s Cocker Spaniel; didn’t sacrifice his life pushing a child out of the path of a speeding auto; no, he died of stupidity by stepping into a pen of unhappy rattlesnakes in a nowhere town in Georgia.'”

I found out to my chagrin, surprise and pleasure that I was not dead: that I hadn’t tangled with a rattlesnake, but had stirred up a nest of ground wasps. Still, I decided that the photographs I had taken in the pen were sufficient for my needs and exited quickly.

Back to Franklin

The bee had friends

After the red-hot poker to the lip, I noticed half a dozen other buzzing objects starting to circle my head. Having read that having one bee sting someone will sometimes set the whole hive into a frenzy, I took two more frames and walked quickly and calmly back to my car. I yanked the stinger out of my lip, taking some small satisfaction in knowing THAT bee isn’t going to sting anybody else. (The tiny object at the end of my thumbnail is the stinger.)

Sister-in-law Marty Riley lives a few blocks away from the school, so I stopped by her house to get some ice for a rapidly swelling lip. She, unfortunately, wasn’t home.

I decided drop by The Missourian to see librarian Sharon Sanders, figuring that if I went into apocalyptic shock and fell twitching on the floor Fred Lynch, could shoot a picture of me, filling his spot news quota without leaving the office. Photographers stick together.

One final bee story: my only Workers Comp claim as a photographer came from a bee-related incident. When I got back to the office, I dutifully filled out H.R.’s Description of Injury form: “I was assigned to photograph what was supposed to be 14 million dead bees. The beekeeper wanted to show me his 14,000,000 bee loss, so he kicked the hive apart. 13,999,999 bees were dead. One was not.”

Stings more than the bee

I didn’t go to Franklin, so I shouldn’t have any strong feelings about the school. Still, seeing the flag pole on the ground gave me a feeling of loss. I wondered how many proud youngsters had raised and lowered the flag on that pole. I could hear the sound of the metal clips that secured the flag to the halyards banging against the pole on a windy day.

I also thought of how this flag pole and base was a mirror image of one I photographed in front of Washington School before it was torn down. They could save a few pieces of facade, but not a classic flag pole.

Photo Gallery of Franklin School

I wish I had more photos, but you guys don’t pay enough to keep me shooting with bees swarming around. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.

 

Broadway and Sprigg

Missourian Librarian Sharon Sanders runs an interesting blog on Thursdays called “From the Morgue.” Back in the less PC Good Old Days, that what we called the repository of yellowing clips carefully snipped out by the custodian of the newspaper’s history. Folks like Sharon and her predecessor, Judy Crow, really DO know where the bodies are buried and can find the skeletons in closets going back generations. You do NOT want to get on the wrong side of the newspaper librarian. They used to possess both sharp tongues and sharp scissors.

I’m not sure what Digital Sharon could do to a reporter who didn’t bring back a much-handled envelope of old clips, but I bet it wouldn’t be pretty. On one of our first meetings, I started to raise my camera to take her picture. I don’t normally take no for an answer – I’ve shot Popes and Presidents, rioters and guys with guns – but I put my camera down when she shook her head. I knew right away that she wasn’t somebody to mess with.

I felt fortunate to escape with my life and a photo of a stack of aging clips.

Broadway and Sprigg

Her blog Thursday said one of her most-requested photos is of the building that used to be at the northeast corner of Broadway and Sprigg Street. It’s a vacant lot next to the Last Call Bar today. She’s done all the historical heavy lifting about that block, so it’s worth heading over there.

I don’t have any photos going back that far, but I do have the area today.

This aerial from November 2010 shows a number of landmarks. The red building is the Last Call she mentions. The white building diagonally across the street is the infamous 633 – 635 – 637 Broadway trio of buildings that have been a source of controversy for a long time. One building was razed and the other two are being renovated. In the center of the picture is Trinity Lutheran Church. The brick building to its left is Shivelbines Music and the white building across the street is Annie Laurie’s Antiques.

Last Call

It’s hard to miss the Last Call if you’re eastbound on Broadway. Its red colors are set off by a blue sky.

Blue-sided building is gone

The blue-sided building with the iconic mural at the top center of the aerial and the ones next to it were torn down at the end of 2011. Walther’s Furniture, across the street, has turned into Discovery Playhouse.

Like a gap in a first-grader’s grin

The northwest corner of Broadway and Sprigg has another empty spot. That’s where the old Chris Cross Cafe used to be. This view is south on Sprigg toward Broadway somewhere around 1966 or 1967. The three-story building on the south side of Broadway was the Cape Hotel. It burned and the spot is occupied by a Subway today.

Broadway End-to-End

I was trading some messages with Nicolette Brennan from the City of Cape about a picture of Broadway for a project she’s working on. That got me to thinking about how many Broadway stories I’ve done. I’ve documented the street from the river’s edge to the old Colonial Tavern on the west end. Click on the photos to make them larger and click on the links to go to the original story.

So many teens were dancing at the old Teen Age Club at Themis and Spanish that the floor was bouncing and a city inspector shut ’em down. They moved the dance to the bank parking lot at the corner of Main and Broadway.

Crash at the Colonial Tavern

The Colonial Tavern was my dad’s morning coffee stop where everybody would gather to hash over the previous night’s Cardinal game. A sports car picked this night to plow into the building that was at the west end of Broadway.

The park that got away

A three-acre tract of land on the south side of Broadway east of Hwy 61 was donated by the Doggett family with the understanding that the the land would be developed into a park similar to Dennis Scivally Park on Cape Rock Drive.

The family felt that the tract hadn’t been improved in the past 10 years, so they filed a suit to reclaim the land. A granite marker with the name “Doggett Park” next to the Masonic Temple parking lot is all that remains of the park.

Crash at Broadway and Fountain

Sometimes what you think is going to be an inconsequential story resonates with readers. Fred Kaefpfer, who was directing traffic at this crash at the corner of Broadway and Fountain, turned out to be Cape’s singing policeman. It became one of the most-commented stories of the early blog. The Idan-Ha Hotel shows up in the background of the photo.

Idan-Ha Hotel burns

The Idan-Ha Hotel, which had caught fire in 1968, caught fire again in 1989.

Star Service Station – Cigarettes 25 cents a pack

The Star Service station at the corner of Broadway and Frederick gave stamps with your gas. Ninety stamps would get you $1.50 worth of free gas.

Annie Laurie’s used to be Brinkopf-Howell’s

Niece Laurie Everett’s Annie Laurie’s Antiques, across the street from the Star Service Station used to be a funeral home. It’s the top-rated antique shop in Cape County now. Shivelbines Music, across the street, got a new sign in November.

Bob’s Shoe Service

Bob Fuller’s Bob’s Shoe Service was where I stocked up on Red Wing boots, the ideal footwear for a photographer. They’d shine up acceptably for formal wear (at least as formal as I ever got), but you could wade water and walk on fire with no worries.

507-515 Broadway

The 500 block of Broadway has had an interesting past.

Discovery Playhouse – Walthers’s Furniture

I was glad to see some life around the old Walther’s Furniture Store and Funeral Home. The Discovery Playhouse has become popular in a short period of time. Here is was before it opened.

Lutheran Mural Building razed

When I shot the Discovery Playhouse, I had no idea that the landmark building across the street was going to be torn down within a couple of years. It was best known for the huge blue mural on its side.

Rialto Theater roof collapses

A rainstorm caused the roof of the old Rialto Theater to collapse in 2010. This story contains a bunch of links, including one that tells how I met Wife Lila there when she was working as a cashier. This picture is of the 1964 Homecoming Parade.

Broadway Theater is still impressive

I managed to talk my way into the Broadway Theater on a cold December day. It still has the feel of the premier theater of the city.

What’s going to happen to the Esquire?

When I did this story in October 2011, it looked like the Esquire Theater was going to get new life. A new owner had an ambitious plan to renovate it. The latest stories in The Missourian make it sound like the project is unraveling.

Here’s a piece I did about its art deco history. In September 1965, I used infrared flash and film to capture kids watching The Beatles movie Help! It was the first (and only) time I used that technique.

Pladium / D’Ladiums – it’s still the same

I wasn’t a pool player, but those who were spent their time in the Pladium (now D’Ladiums) across from Houck Stadium or the Pla-Mor, next to Wayne’s Grill and the Esquire. The Beav still rules the roost at D’Ladiums.

Vandeven’s Merchantile

Howard’s Athletic Goods and a handful of other businesses have moved into the building at the corner of Broadway and Pacific over the years, but it’ll always be Vandeven’s Merchantile to me.

It dawns on me that I have even more photographs along Broadway – way too many to inflict on you in one shot. I’ll hold off putting up the rest of them until another day. Don’t forget to click on the links to see the original stories.

 

Trinity Hall Meets Wrecking Ball

When I did the piece last week on Trinity Hall, formerly the George Alt House, I said I knew there were photos somewhere of the actual demolition. Well, here they are. The wrecking ball on a Superior Concretors crane hit the building on December 23, 1967. By Christmas Day, all that was left was rubble. The photos reveal details of the attic that I always wanted to see, but never did.

Drinking fountains

In order to spot out dust specks and other flaws, I have to blow up the images much larger than you see them here. My eye was drawn to what looks like a row of white specks on the wall of the brick school building on the right behind the crane. They are to the left of and below the white downspout. The white specks are a row of  four drinking fountains mounted in a trough-like affair. I can recall slurping hot water out of those during many a recess. Funny how little things will catch your eye and bring back memories.

Photo gallery of the death of Trinity Hall

I pretty much said what there was to say in the last story, so here are the demolition photos. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.