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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.


Jerry Beaver: Pladium and D’Ladiums

The building at 1127 Broadway has housed drug stores, grills, soda fountains and some other businesses that have fallen through the cracks of history. For most of our generation, though, it’s been the Pladium and, more recently, D’Ladiums.

The one constant has been Jerry Beaver, who manages the place from his throne – a 1940s or 1950s barber chair- bought to celebrate Jerry’s reaching Social Security age.

Bar and poolroom started as drug store

The building was originally built by the Dormeyer family in 1929 for use as a drug store. It opened in 1930. The dark door at the right of the building used to lead to the basement, which was called The Cellar and used as a soda fountain. In later years, it became The Dungeon and The Marine Room, Jerry said.

Jerry “Big Dog” Priest opened Pladium

Jerry ” Big Dog” Priest, a noted pool player, opened the Pladium in the late 50s. Jerry (the Beaver one) worked there for about 30 years, then he went to work for the new owners. He still wears his trademark shorts, no matter what the weather is like. Serious pool is still a big draw.

House of escapades

A couple of my Central classmates (who should probably remain anonymous unless they choose to identify themselves) were chatting on Facebook about escapades at the Pladium.

  • I low crawled 25 yards out of the Pladium one night.
  • I can beat that….I was carried out of the Pladium one night.
  • I did get put in the penalty box for 2 weeks by Bigdog for riding a Honda 305 scrambler motorcycle into the Pladium one Saturday morning.

Decades of smoke stain ceiling

The bar is definitely a smoking area. One of the customers pointed out the difference between ceiling tiles that have been there for years vs. the ones that have been replaced fairly recently.

Memorabilia covers walls

The walls are covered with trophies, license plates and photos of customers.

Jerry rules with firm, gentle hand

Bartender Emily Banach and customer Chris Eastridge agreed that Jerry, who knows almost everyone by name (and what they drink), keeps things under control with a firm, but gentle touch. Most customers, they said, are pretty well-behaved.

Gallery of D’Ladiums’ Photos

Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the photo to move through the gallery.

Bartender Emily Banach and customer Chris Eastridge agreed that Jerry, a Vietnam vet, takes care of any problems that come up quickly and quietly. Generally, though, most of the customers are well-behaved.

32 comments to Jerry Beaver: Pladium and D’Ladiums

  • David Lawley

    Payphone, 50 cents too. They are going the way of vinyl records. Thats memorabilia in its self.

  • TERRY DARTER

    AAAAAHHHH…. THE OLE PLADIUM…..GOOD TIMES WERE HAD BY ALL. BIG DOG WAS ALL OUR MENTOR. TRUELY A HOME AWAY FROM HOME. AND THE BEAV, OF WHOM LEDGENDS ARE MADE OF, HAS KEPT IT ALIVE ALL THESE YEARS. GOOD CHOICE OF STORIES KEN.

    • terry

      did we shoot pool and play foosball in the early seventies at the pladium. being from indiana the pladium was my home away from home. toots,frankie,
      bert & debbie, fred, jeff, sky king. what a crew we
      used to run with. didn’t you have a dog named bo?
      best times of my life were spent in cape.

  • van riehl

    Good job Ken. For those of us that began going there when it was just a pool hall, not much remains of the original ambiance. I was there one evening when professional shark came in with his promoter to play Jerry Priest. It would have been about 1964. If you were inside you were priviledged to stay and watch. However, the door was then locked and and the game began. I believe they were playing for $100 a rack. Since I was about 15 I had a curfew and had to leave before it was done. I was later told that Jerry took him to school. Then about 1969 Jerry decided he would offer chili, hot dogs and beer on tap. The rest is history. I believe there have been a couple of marrriages performed there with the service conducted by “Preacher Ferguson”, a fully ordained minister who considered the regulars at the Playdium his “flock”. He was a regular as well.

  • Ken Dillingham

    I can’t say enough about Big Dog. He was a mentor to a lot of us, and I learned so much more than how to shoot pool from him. I agree with Terry Darter’s entry completely. I see Big Dog from time to time and it is always pleasure to chat with him. The Beav, what a character. Always has a friendly greeting and time to talk about old times. I miss the cast of characters that were regulars at the Pladium.

  • John Martin

    Oh yes, the Pladium and Jerry Priest!
    I remember being there one night when this bumpkin asked me if I wanted to play pool for $5.00 a game. Of course he let me win a few games, and then he asked if I would play for $10.00 a game so he could get some of his money back. At $25.00 a game he started beating me like a drum. That’s when Jerry stepped in and said, “You’re done trying to fleece thsi kid, lets you and I play for $100.00 a game”. I saw the finest pool shooting I have ever seen that night. That guy would have cleaned me out if Jerry hadn’t stopped in.
    Jerry told John Seabaugh (Yogi) and I that if we would help set up the new billiard table, he would teach us how to play. We did, and Jerry taught us stuff we would have never learned elsewhere. What a super guy!
    I also heard there was a table stakes poker game in the basement on ocassion, but “I know nothing!”.
    John Martin ’58

  • Sheri Stevens

    Flashback to the 80’s….. It was a priviledge to be escorted out of the Pladium by the “Beav” for under age drinking. You could not fool the Beaver! Good times had by ALL!

    • Just a note to everyone:

      This site is suddenly getting as many as 800 spam comments a day. The spam filter does a great job of flagging them before they get out to the world (with maybe two or three a week sneaking by).

      Unfortunately, it sometimes grabs a legitimate message like the one from Sheri, sent at 9:49am. I didn’t get around the checking the quarantined messages until this evening, so, Sheri, that’s why this was late showing up.

      If you post a comment and don’t see it in a couple of hours, send me an email. I’ll check the filter.

      Thanks, folks.

  • Greg Neihart

    I wish the Pladium hadn’t been so close to my field house classes at SEMO. Seems every time I flipped a coin the Pladium won so I skipped the class. I agree with all that has been said. Bigdog was a positive influence in a lot of lives and it’s nice to see a few of those guys popping up on this forum. quick story: every time the phone rang all the married guys would immediately yell to Capt. Beaver “I’m not here” after about the fourth call the good Captain said “if no one’s here I might as well lock up and go home” (cleaned up for publication). The Captain is a legend.

    • It’s probably obvious that I wasn’t a Pladium regular because I refer to the Beav as Jerry instead of his last name or some form of it.

      Did his “Captain” nickname come from his military rank? He is a Vietnam vet.

      Heck of a nice guy. Everyone I spoke with had something good to say about him.

    • Jim Luckett

      Greg

      Did you have a brother named Frankie?

  • Charlie Herbst

    To add to the list of businesses at that location – I believe there were bowling lanes at one time.

  • Mike Bristow

    The old Pladium, with Big Dog and Beav was a legendary place. I learned how to shoot pool there in the mid 60’s and drink (in a bar) in the very early 70’s. As I recall pool was 20 cents a game and they racked them for you.

    What happened to the tarpon?

  • Greg Neihart

    I remember when Capt Beaver had a terrible pain in his stomach resulting in the removal of his appendix. The pain didn’t go away so they went back in to find he had swallowed a tooth pick while eating a BLT sandwich and it had perforated his intestine. It was removed and all was well. If you recall the large Tarpon on the wall had a giant toothpick in it’s mouth commemorating the event.

  • bob pollack

    Jerry Priest gave me a great piece of advice when i was in eighth grade, “Stay out of the Pladium You are not a pool player.” as usual he was right.

  • Bill East

    The dark door to the right of the Pladium led, in 1965-66, to the Polynesian Room, which my dad owned. Because of pressure from SEMO, all he could sell was 3.2 beer (remember 3.2?). But, that didn’t slow down business, and a couple of young Central teachers were regulars.

    • Chris Stevens

      In the late 60’s Jerry let us use that underground (basement) space for a “Find of the Holidays” party one Christmas vacation. We served more than 3.2 and no one checked IDs that night.

      Additionally, one can not talk the history of the Pladium without metioning Smitty – who, I believe, still owns the name.

  • David Lawley

    I remember 3.2 beer as Sunday beer

  • Merv Ervin

    Had my first legal drink at the Pladium compliments of the Big Dog. Beav is the Captain but also known by many as the Puss. At one time foosball was played as much as pool in the Pladium. Good to see the names of many of my old friends posting.

  • Kristy Chamberlain

    I used to live across the street above Werner’s grocery while attending SEMO. I started my day with a pickled egg and a beer. It was my second home. Jerry Priest and Bruce Welch would ask me to bring some of my girlfriend in because at that time it was pretty much a guy’s kinda pool hall. I have so many good memories of that bar and those two guys! Wow….that was a great place to hang out.

  • Nice job Ken. I recognize your style. I wonder what these would look like in b&w?

    • Bob, Thanks for the compliment.

      As you know, you’d shoot it differently if you were shooting in B&W. You’d use tones, not colors.

      Black and white would have made dealing with all the weird color lighting easier, but this is one of those times when I like the color. All of those neon signs and posters and stuff wouldn’t have worked as well in B&W.

      On the other hand, I would have worked the portraits a little harder and differently if I hadn’t had the crutch of color to fall back on.

      I think everything in the place was shot available light except for the two shots of The Beav in his barber’s chair. The light was too low and too funky, so I bounced a strobe off the ceiling. I don’t think you’d have known it if I hadn’t told you.

  • Tony Haman

    Ahhhh SEMO and the Pladium, 7 of the best years of my life. Great to read some awesome memories by some notorious regs. I will never forget the 1 and only time big dog took me downstairs to the ‘TABLE’ schooled me but taught me 3 quick games, what a privilege to have in my memories. I cant believe nobody mentioned the red shag carpet walls- freakin classic. Beaver, what a classic down to earth good guy – I will never forget 2 trips INDY500, and 3 Daytona Bike weeeks / spring break i just stayed an extra week to catch both – told ya took me 7 yrs to graduate.

  • Tony Haman

    Darn i forgot to mention the van out front with the “EAT MORE BEAVER” bumper sticker .

  • Mark McQuary

    The amazing thing about “the Beave” you can move away from Cape, not go in his place for 25 years, come back, and he greets you by your first name, as if you were in the place last night. Phenomenal!

  • Debbie Miller

    I agree Mark…he is crazy like that. I know it moved but is it still open???

  • Dick Hughes

    Is this the same Jerry “Bigdog” Priest that I was stationed with the Air Force in Little Falls, Minn?I knew you loved to bowl but didn’t know of your pool ability. Dick Hughes

  • Susan Fee Means

    Back in the day, I heard stories of my mother (Gretchen – no last name is necessary) getting…ahem…a little too “happy” and jumping behind the bar with Beav because she wasn’t ready to leave. My dad had to throw her over his shoulder and carry her out!

    As for me, I bet I wore a path from the old disc bowling machine in the back corner, to the bathroom, over to the bar (for another cold Stag beer) and then back to the bowling machine to do it all over again, and again, and again.

    The Pladium was always a fun time!

  • Cindy Curtis-Balsmann

    Ohh Pard!! This was the only bar in Cape I couldn’t enter until I was 21! Can’t get one over on the Beav.
    Beav is a wise one and can always be counted on for his words of wisdom, jokes and to watch catch up on sporting events. I don’t get in as much to see as in the old days.(this is a good thing) But Homecoming and Christmas eve are always a great time to catch up with old friends that have moved away from Cape. Awesome article on great people and place!!

  • John Hodges

    In the fall of 1962, Greg Nunnelee and I were “rack boys.” We were freshmen in high school and Jerry Priest paid us .50 an hour to work after school (3:30 – 6:00) and Saturdays.

    It was years before my parents found out!

  • Nona Nan Chapman

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful, as usual, photos and stories. Oh how I love your stories!

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