Cape Girardeau, MO

Discovering the August and Amalia Shivelbine House built in 1890

CJ Coombs
North view of August and Amalia Shivelbine House, Cape Girardeau, Missouri.Photo byNyttend, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It's hard to believe this home is 133 years old. The house is referred to as the August and Amalia Shivelbine House and it's located at 303 South Spanish Street in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. On June 25, 1999, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is privately owned.

The above historic home isn't to be confused with the historic Ochs-Shivelbine home on the Southeast Missouri State University campus that was slated for demolition in association with the Greek Village project several years ago.

The Shivelbine Home is two-and-a-half stories and was built around 1890. The architectural style is Queen Anne and the architect is unknown. The house sits on a stone foundation and has brick walls. It's also located within the Courthouse-Seminary Neighborhood Historic District.

The Shivelbine House

In 1913, the attic was enlarged when the original roof was rebuilt due to a fire in the attic. On the north side is a one-story bay window. When the house was nominated for the National Register, historic material was in the home. The house isn't too far from the Mississippi River.

The woodwork in the home includes a Victorian staircase and newel post. Upon entry to the home is a foyer with a staircase. Behind that is a dining room and kitchen. To the left of the foyer are two large rooms with one of them containing a fireplace and mantel. To the rear of those rooms and left of the kitchen is a breakfast room. The second floor contained three bedrooms and an area for an office. There are now two bedrooms, a bathroom, and an area for an office.
Photo byShivelbine House/Google Maps.

The dining room has a bay window. It used to be the kitchen until the addition was added. The kitchen has been modernized. Adjacent to the kitchen is the breakfast room, small bathroom, and laundry room.

In 1990, the fireplaces were removed from the bedrooms to add closet space. What used to be the third bedroom was converted into a large bathroom. The attic floor has a large open space and a bathroom. A central air conditioning system was installed in 1990.

There are other homes in the area dating back to the late 1800s. The Glenn House located at 325 South Spanish was built around 1883 and is also on the National Register. The significance of the Shivelbine House is its architecture. According to records, the Shivelbines moved into the home in 1890.
Photo byClose up of interior staircase/NRHP nomination form.

August had established his wealth by operating the Arcade Saloon in downtown Cape Girardeau. Prior to that, he was involved with mining and milling. According to the National Register nomination form, August was a native of Cape Girardeau, but it's indicated on the Find-a-Grave website, that he was born and baptized in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Amelia (aka Amalia) Frank Shivelbine

It should be noted that according to the grave marker, the first name of Mrs. Shivelbine is Amelia, not Amalia, as indicated on the National Register nomination form.

Amelia Frank Shivelbine died on March 2, 1903, at the young age of 36. Her parents immigrated from Germany. She was the daughter of an innkeeper and saloon operator who established Franck's Garden, said to be a famous beer garden in Cape Girardeau. After her father passed away, her mother ran the Franklin Hotel which she owned until she died in 1900.

Amelia was an accomplished classical pianist. On June 16, 1889, Amelia and Ferdinand William August Schievelbein (also known as August Shivelbine) had a grand wedding at The Franklin House. Allegedly, Amelia died within seven weeks of giving birth to her last child, Ruth, due to septicemia (blood poisoning).

August Shivelbine

August Shivelbine died on February 4, 1906, due to renal failure. He was only 50. While his birth name was Ferdinand Wilhelm August Schiewelbein (Shivelbine), he was known as August Shivelbine as his last name was Americanized. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 20, 1855.

August attended the University of Heidelberg and graduated with a bachelor's degree in mining engineering.

According to the published obituary in the Southeast Missouri Daily Republican (Feb. 5, 1906), August was well-known and respected. He operated engines in mines for four years and California and became involved in the saloon business in Cape Girardeau where he ran The Arcade for 17 years. He was also a director of the Fair and Park Association, and a councilman.

August and Amelia had six children:

  • William Adam Shivelbine (his sons and grandsons have owned the Shivelbine Music Store)
  • August John Shivelbine (died at the age of 3 months)
  • Oscar Shivelbine
  • Norma Elizabeth Shivelbine Schultz
  • Irene Anna Shivelbine Brase
  • Ruth Emma Shilvelbine Woodruff

Their oldest son, William Adam Shivelbine, was a co-founder of the Shivelbine Music Store. Her oldest daughter, Norma Elizabeth Shivelbine Schultz, trained as a classical pianist. Daughters, Irene Anna Shivelbine Brase and Ruth Emma Shivelbine Woodruff, were also accomplished pianists. Shivelbine Music is still operating at 533 Broadway in Cape Girardeau.

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Multi-genre writer and author/publisher with a BA in Eng Journalism/Creative Writing. I worked in law firms for 30+ years and retired early to pursue writing. I was born into the Air Force, so you could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, research, history, true crime, reading, art, and travel.

Kansas City, MO

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