Working for Extra Credit

When I spoke to Dr. Lily Santoro’s Local Techniques in History Class, I offered to help students find information for the topics they had been assigned on local landmarks. The first step was to compile a list of posts about their subjects.

Jennifer was first out of the box

1956 SEMO Homecoming courtesy Steve McKeownThere’s always one student in the class who starts work right away. Jennifer Baker emailed me early on: “My topic is the Wehking Alumni Building on Broadway.  From what I have been able to find, the building was previously occupied by the First Baptist Church. Construction on it began in 1926. So, my project will start with the First Baptist Church and end with the Wehking Alumni Center.”

I had to confess to her that the building had been on my to-do list for a long time, but the only photos I had were ones taken of the 1956 SEMO Homecoming parade by James D. McKeown III and passed on by his son, Steve McKeown.

I did suggest that she check out a story I had read that Louis Houck was so enamored by reproductions of classic sculptures he saw at the St. Louis World’s Fair that he bought them at the end of the fair and donated them to the college. I heard that they were being displayed in her building after being moved out of Academic Hall. I suggested she look for Joel P. Rhodes‘ book, A Missouri Railroad Pioneer: The Life of Louis Houck, to see if I remembered it correctly.

Bingo. “Wow!  I just found a copy of this book as an ebook on line. Within minutes, I was able to read this section of Dr. Rhodes’ book on Louis Houck.  Thanks again for the help!  You are pretty cool!” she gushed.

Thanks to Jennifer, I finally got around to shoot the statues and former church for a future post. (If Jennifer is a REAL digger, she will uncover a story about a bank loan and why the building looks like it does. That’s the only hint I’m going to give because I’m saving it for my future post.)

Fairmount Cemetery

Aerial Old Notre Dame HS - New Lorimier and Fairmont Cemeteries 04-17-2011_5226The deadline for the project must be coming quickly because I got a flurry of requests on Wednesday.

Crystal Haugsness wanted an aerial shot of Fairmount Cemetery and a photo of the cemetery with Bingo World in the background.

Beer on the first date at age 13

Myrtle (Schilling) Kuehnert in Trinity Lutheran Church 11-12-2013Lucas Greenwalt was fascinated by Myrtle Schilling Kuehnert, part of my Last Generation project. ” I was wondering, if by chance, you would give me permission to cite one of your works for a poster presentation.  It was from a video interview you did where an elderly lady discusses her first date with her husband and they casually grabbed a beer at the age of 13.  My project is on the Evangelical United Church of Christ here in cape.  As you may know the church has very deep German roots and I feel as though this would be a wonderful reference when giving the history of the building.”

St. James AME Church

NAACP 08-10-1967Scott Bates drew the St. James AME Church. “I want to know if you would allow me permission to use a photo from your website. The photo that I would like to use is the photo with Mr. Kaplan speaking and Rev. Ward smiling in the back. This was from the NAACP president’s visit to St. James AME Church in 1967.”

Luke Haun wanted Fair photos

SEMO Fair by Mary Steinhoff 09-08-2011Luke wanted six photos: four from the 1964 fair; one inside the Arena Building in 1966, and a color shot that Mother took in 2011. I liked his taste. He picked out some of my favorites.

I wonder if any other students will come skidding in tomorrow? They may be in trouble. I have to wrap up a bunch of loose ends before getting on the road to Ohio at the end of the week, so I may not be around to look up photos.

I hope Dr. Santoro gives me extra credit for my work. I could use some help pulling up my grade point average.



First Baptist Church Bell Found

I wondered in my story about the original First Baptist Church if the bell salvaged from a sunken steamboat was still in the 200 Broadway church or if it had been moved. It didn’t take long for Mitchell Givens to send me this photo of the bell at the First General Baptist Church. Mitchell, CHS Class of ’59, says the bell is attached to a motor and can be rung from inside the church. He and James Baker hooked it up. Bill Reiker was responsible for the brick work.

A bell with a history

He also sent this clipping. I assume it was from The Missourian.

First Presbyterian Church bell

I did another church bell story a year ago when I published photos of the razing of the First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Lorimier and Broadway and its subsequent re-belling.

Trinity Lutheran Church bell

Here are photos taken in the bell tower of Trinity Lutheran Church before it was torn down.


Cape’s First Protestant Church

No telling how many hundreds of times I’ve driven past the deteriorating old wall on Lorimier across from what used to be the library without giving it a second glance. For some reason, I pulled into the parking lot south of the old library and noticed what appeared to be two stairways going up to the remains of an old stone foundation. That’s when I saw a bronze historical marker on the wall. That made it worth the walk across the street, even it it was spitting rain. Click on any image to make it larger.

Original site of First Baptist Church

The plaque explained that the ruins were what is left of the First Baptist Church, thought to be the first Protestant church in Cape Girardeau. It was organized August 13, 1834. The site was used from 1839 to 1893. When I did a Google search for First Baptist Church, the fourth reference was a story I did in November 2010 about the new First Baptist Church at Lexington and Cape Rock Drive. THAT story contained a link to photos I had taken of the church on Broadway that was having its steeple painted in 1967. It just goes to show how everything in Cape is related to everything else.

A staircase for each gender

Tom Neumeyer’s book, Cape Girardeau Then & Now, says that the two staircases and two doorways to the church allowed men and women to be segregated as the entered and left the church.

Not the Second Coming

Tom relates the tale of the time when the church shook and the floor sank during a Sunday service. Some of the congregants were sure it was the Second Coming. It turned out to be less dramatic: a support resting on a rotting stump simply gave way.

Church bell came from sunken steamboat

Church member Col. G.W. Juden and some of his slaves salvaged a bell for the church from a sunken steamboat. The bell was moved to the church at 200 Broadway in 1893. That church is now for sale. I don’t know if the steamboat bell is still in the steeple or if it was moved to the Lexington church.



First Baptist Church

This time change has me messed up. I like sleeping an extra hour in the morning, but I’m not used to it being dark by 2:30 in the afternoon. The good thing, though, is that a lot of Cape’s buildings look neat at twilight.

I was driving by the new First Baptist Church the other evening and noticed the way the white steeple and light inside looked against the darkening sky.

Church established in 1834

The first First Baptist Church in Cape was established in 1834 on Lorimier St. Sixty years later, the congregation moved to Spanish St. and Broadway. In 1928, a growing congregation caused a move to a larger facility at Broadway and Harmony. Finally, in 2006, the new church at Cape Rock Dr. and Lexington Ave. was built.

Painting the old steeple

I ran photos of the steeple of the Broadway and Spanish church being painted in 1967. At that time, a Missourian photo caption said it was the General Baptist Church.