Renovation complete, public invited to tour historic Kage School - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Renovation complete, public invited to tour historic Kage School

Kage School after a year-long renovation project (Source: KFVS) Kage School after a year-long renovation project (Source: KFVS)
Kage School prior to renovation (Source: KFVS) Kage School prior to renovation (Source: KFVS)
Kage School interior circa 1950 (Source: Rick Hetzel). Kage School interior circa 1950 (Source: Rick Hetzel).
Interior of Kage School post renovation (Source: KFVS) Interior of Kage School post renovation (Source: KFVS)
Crews found a piece of wood signed by the original builders in 1880 (Source: KFVS) Crews found a piece of wood signed by the original builders in 1880 (Source: KFVS)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A one-room schoolhouse that was nearly lost to history will welcome visitors through its doors once again. 

The Kage School was built in 1880 and served students in the Cape Girardeau area until 1966. 

The school was shuttered and sat empty for decades. 

Termites and water ravaged the old building to the point it was placed on the list of most endangered buildings by the Cape Girardeau Historic Preservation Commission. 

Kage School was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

In the spring of 2014, local businessman Rick Hetzel and his wife Cheryl Mothes purchased the old school from Dr. Keith Deimund and vowed to restore it.

The year-long renovation is complete. 

The Kage School re-opens this weekend as the Historic Kage School Guest Cottage a two bedroom, fully furnished space available to visitors for overnight rental.

While the building is fully modernized in terms of appliances and furnishings, Hetzel felt it was important to keep several unique pieces of the school's history encountered during the remodeling process.

Of the historic finds, contractors recovered a wooden top plate to one of the original center beams. The wood block is inscribed in pencil “1880 – C & S.” Hetzel says the building was constructed in 1880 by two builders, P.A. Smith & H.L. Cofer.

“When we found this piece, we visualized these guys, like artists, taking the time to add their marks to this top plate; probably never imagining someone would find it 135 years later,” Hetzel said.

Many of the textbooks will be displayed inside the cottage for visitors to see along with a pictorial journal of the school's renovation.

Wednesday, an opening ceremony commemorated Kage's renewed use. Boy Scout Davis Deimund, grandson of former school owner Dr. Keith D Deimund scout raised the American flag on the school's original flagpole to mark the re-opening of the historic building.

The flag now flying over Kage School is itself a piece of history. It was also raised over the American Compound in Afghanistan during the combat tour of Hetzel's son-in-law, USAF Major Joe Lopez.

The rehabilitation of the one-room schoolhouse required extensive interior and exterior repairs due to the termite and water damage over the past 50 years.

“We tried to save many of the original school artifacts and were successful in keeping the original pine hardwood floors, the school lights, many pieces of school furniture and fixtures, and hundreds of school books,” Hetzel said.

Members of the community are invited to tour Kage School during an open house at the Guest Cottage on Sunday afternoon of Sunday May 10.

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved. 

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