The small white church at the corner of South Frederick and Jefferson has a sign on the front that says “The Bridge Outreach Center.”
A Missourian Bicentennial feature by The Rev. Wesley T. Tillman in 1976 said “Although the Second Baptist Church congregation erected its present church building at 428 South Frederick in 1864, it had been organized in 1867 as the Missionary Baptist Church.
First Baptist Church became all-white
Prior to the Civil War, members of the First Baptist Church (which had been organized in 1834) who owned slaves or had black servants encouraged them to attend that church, and blacks held membership in that congregation.
After the war, however, matters changed. Some accounts say that the black Baptists decided they wanted to meet separately from the members of the “Mother Church.” Other accounts say they were “lettered out” (released from membership by being given a written statement) of the First Baptist Church, which then became all-white.
For eight or nine years, the black Baptists met in the homes of members of the congregation. Then, in 1873, a lot at the northwest corner of South Frederick and Jefferson streets was purchased from Mrs. Amanda Giboney Brown (presumably the widow of Dr. Wilson Brown, who was serving as lieutenant-governor of Missouri at his death in 1855).
I had a little trouble sifting through Rev. Tillman’s account, so here’s how I interpret it: the First Baptist Church, the first Protestant church in Cape Girardeau, organized in 1834, originally welcomed black slaves and servants and actually allowed them to join the congregation. After the Civil War, they either chose to leave or were “lettered out” of the “Mother Church.” If I had to guess, it was probably the latter.
That’s when the small church on the corner of South Frederick and Jefferson was founded.
I’ve probably been in Broussard’s a dozen or so times when a Cajun craving hit, but I never noticed “The Bootery” set into the entrance before this visit.
If you click the photo to make it larger, you can see my reflection in the glass. It was a warm day, so I didn’t commit the terrible fashion faux pas of wearing socks with my sandals.
Search came up empty
A search of The Missourian archive for “Bootery” turned up empty. I turned to Google next. It took me to a 1959 Life Magazine ad for Roblee shoes. The word “bootery” was used by a lot of shoe stores, but the only listing for Cape was C.S. Gaylor.
Gaylor’s was where we usually went to buy shoes. I was always disappointed that Mother wouldn’t let me play with the neat fluoroscope that let you see your toes inside your shoes (while delivering a mass of x-ray radiation to your gonads). You can read more about the machine here.
What was at 120 Main?
My next trick was to search for the store’s address, 120 North Main street. Still pretty much dry except for a 1938 ad for The Smart Shop. The building next door at 118 North Main was being vacated by Vogelsanger Hardware Company.
The Smart Shop was showing furs from St. Louis, but you could buy a quality rayon Giana crepe for $6.50 at Hecht’s. (I don’t know whether you’re supposed to eat, hang or wear a crepe, so you’ll have to tell me if that’s a good deal.)
Follow Santa’s Trail
The Smart Shop was mentioned in this Christmas contest ad in the December 6, 1939, Missourian. It’s fascinating to see how many businesses were still around 30 years later. You’re definitely going to have to click this one to make it larger to read the names.
Someone else is going to have to fill me in on the background of The Bootery. I couldn’t come up with any information about it.