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
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.
There’s quite a difference in the way the Benjamin F. Hunter Cabin looked February 9, 2016, and the way it looked when I photographed it in August 2014. Click on the photos to make them large enough to see how much the building has deteriorated in less than two years.
The structure, which was built outside Sikeston in the 1880s and taken apart in the 1980s, was a preservation project undertaken by Southeast Missouri State University in the 1990s. It quickly became a house without a home, with the university proposing, then discarding a number of possible locations.
Gravity will take its toll
The story I did in 2014 said Dr. Bonnie Stepenoffcontinued work on the cabin in the mid 1990s, including repairs on the roof, chinking and daubing the walls, placing a gate around the property, reglazing the windows, and conducting additional student research.
From the amount of light streaming through the gaps between the logs, I would say most of that chinking has fallen out. The roof has holes in it, and you can see some of the logs have fallen out just between 2014 and this week. Unless something is done fairly soon, gravity is going to take over and all that will be left will be a stack of rotting logs.
Of course, that’s the university’s approach to preservation: neglect a property until you can say that fixing it will cost more than tearing it down.
Katie 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.
I’m rushing to get a bunch of stuff done before I pull the plug and start loading the van to head back to Cape Thursday. I feel sort of like this mud-covered football player- run down and run over.
I think he’s a SEMO player, but there was nothing on the back of the print to identify him. Click on the photo to make it larger.
I have Road Warriorette Shari with me for this trip. We’re going to take mostly back roads through Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, so I’m sure there will be adventures along the way. I’ll bag a couple of quickie subjects in case we end up someplace that communicates with smoke signals instead of digital 1s and 0s.
I understand Southeast Missouri State University just razed a landmark building and has another one in its sights. I hope there is some Cape left in Cape when I get there.