Castle House’s Last Day

A friend sent me a message that I should take a look at the “Castle House” at 2404 Kingsway Drive, just south of St. Andrews Lutheran Church. It looked like it was about to be torn down.

She was right. Don Watkins, who was doing salvage work inside the house Monday, is removing the house number for Paula Pletcher, whose family lived there once.

Looking for memories

On the day before it was due to be razed, there were very few items left for former residents to take as souvenirs. Narvol Randol removed a couple of cabinet doors from a closet in the room he grew up in.

Narvol had already left when I looked down close to the floor vent in his room where the cover had been removed. Behind it was a collection of pencils and other small objects that kids must have stuck through the grate over the years.

Beautiful tile

I told Paula that the one thing left in the house that really impressed me was the beautiful tropic-themed tile in an upstairs bathroom, “but you’d better come back with a hammer and a chisel if you want to get any. Tomorrow it’s going to be dust.”

As it turned out, we ran into Dan downstairs holding a prybar. I mentioned that Paula would REALLY like some of that tile.

“I can do you one better. Follow me to the garage. There’s some spare tile on a shelf out there.” True to his word, Paula went home with several large pieces of tile and a handful of the decorative horizontal pieces.

Artifacts discovered

Dan discovered these artifacts from bygone days. They include red and green sales tax mills, a Wheat Penny, and an American Junior Red Cross pin.

By the way, you can click on the photos to make them larger. You’ll have to go down to the gallery to see them all.

St. Andrews wanted a parking lot

Ostensibly, the reason the house is being razed is that pipes burst in the basement, and the combination of moisture and no HVAC system caused black mold to grow. Fixing that and dealing with asbestos was going to cost more than the house was worth.

In my humble opinion, the real reason for the house’s demise was that the church had been eying that spot for a parking lot for many years.

I didn’t go into the basement, but I had a good look behind the walls where the plaster had been torn away, and saw that the bones of the building were solid. The shingles on the roof looked relatively new and in good shape.

Knob and Tube Wiring

If your house was built between 1880 and through the ’50s (even up to the ’70s in some places), then you might find this kind of wiring hiding in the walls. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but there are drawbacks today.

A squishy memory

When I was in kindergarten and the first grade, we lived in a trailer on top of a hill that has long been leveled just south of the Colonial Tavern. I had a dog, Cookie, a a black and white mixed-breed terrier.

Cookie got away one day, breaking my young heart. My squishy memory is that Cookie ended up at the Castle House, maybe back when the Windisch family lived there.

Cookie was returned to me, and I have a squishier even memory that we might have given the family one of her pups at one time. This is one of those many time I wish Mother was still around to unsquish my memory.

Unique design

This, like the Boat House, was one of the iconic buildings in Cape. A Facebook friend posted a video this morning of the classic turret on the right side of the house being crunched by heavy equipment.

This just goes to prove that the two most dangerous places for a landmark building to live are next to the university or a church.

Gallery of Castle House photos

Click on any image to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.

Steinhoffs Had a Gas Station?

DX service station premium glasses 08-26-2015Man, you never know what you’re going to find when you scrape the Mississippi River mud off an old glass. I had intended this to be a quick nostalgia piece about the days when you got all kinds of giveaways when you filled your gas tank.

Little did I know that it would let me discover something about my family that I never knew.

A search hint

Missourian search resultsHere’s a little hint if you want to search The Missourian’s archives. In this particular instance, I typed “DX service station” in the search box. (The quote marks means return that exact value, not every story with the words “service” or “station” in them.) Then, when I hovered over the SEARCH button, I waited until choices came up, then selected “Archive since 1918,” which will return the most results. (That’s a hint from Missourian librarian Sharon Sanders who has a blog of her own.)

Above is what came up. Click on the photos to make them large enough to read.

Employed by Steinhoff DX Service Station?

1945-10-04 MissourianpMy eye went straight to the last entry: “…employed by the Steinhoff DX Service Station.” What the heck is that?

The link took me to an October 4, 1945, war brief about two soldier sons of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Lacy who had been serving since 1944. The story said Pfc. Donald Lacy, a graduate of Central High School, was employed by the Steinhoff D-X Service Station on Broadway before his induction in October, 1944.

That’s the first I had ever heard of such a station. This is one of those times when I wish I could ask Dad or Mother for background info.

Bill Wescoat station at Broadway and Perry

Wreck at Broadway and Perry Ave c 1966The next story I checked was a brief from July 18, 1940: “Workmen have started to build a concrete drive and areaway at the Bill Wescoat D-X service station at Broadway and Perry avenue. Also a lubrication and washroom is to be built on the west side of the station and adjoining it. Westcoat is building the annex and the Midcontinent Petroleum Corp. is making the driveway.

The station at the far right of this wreck photo taken in the mid-60s is probably that station, although it was a Texaco here.

H.H. Steinhoff, Proprietor

1946-03-19 Missourian clipI struck paydirt with this March 29, 1946, ad. H.H. Steinhoff was listed as proprietor of Steinhoff’s D-X Service at 1700 Broadway. H.H. was Hubert Steinhoff, my dad’s brother.

1700 Broadway is the intersection of Broadway and Perry avenue mentioned in the 1940 story.

Uncle Hu

Hubert SteinhoffHubert – Uncle Hu we called him – was the “funny uncle,” and not the kind that the family keeps locked in the attic. He was a jolly guy, always ready to fool around with us boys.

He particularly enjoyed giving us presents that would drive my parents crazy (until they came to a agreement that live animals and toys that made loud noises were not appropriate gifts). I don’t claim to be a snappy dresser, but I AM happy that I didn’t follow in Uncle Hu’s sartorial footsteps.

I don’t know how long he was associated with the service station. When I knew him, he was working for an asphalt company in Illinois. I was always impressed that his car had one of those long, low-band two-way radio antennas that went “twanga-twanga-twanga” when you came to a sudden stop.

Our monogrammed glasses

DX service station premium glasses 08-26-2015I don’t know where the glass came from that started this search, but it appears that it DOES have our family initial on it.