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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.


Millikan Motor Company

Old Millikan Motor Co - 221 Independence Street 03-02-2013The two buildings at 221 Independence haven’t changed much over the years. I thought they were where Firestone was located and where Dad worked years and years ago, but Mother said I was wrong about that.

Here’s what the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the Main-Spanish Commercial Historic District has to say about the property:

221 Independence – These twin Streamline Moderne buildings were built for Jessie Millikan to house the Millikan Motor Co. The eastern building was constructed in 1941 as a showroom and included several garage bays and a paint bay to service the automobiles. The Streamline Moderne style is characterized by the horizontality of the facade which is emphasized by the use of rounded corners, smooth wall surfaces, glass blocks and flat roofs.

West building added in 1950s

Old Millikan Motor Co - 221 Independence Street 03-02-2013To accommodate the growing needs of the company, a twin building with rounded corners, smooth wall surfaces, and glass blocks was constructed to the west in the early 1950s prior to 1955. A driveway runs between the two buildings. In 1996 a residence was added to the rear of the east building and connects to the location of the original paint bay. The addition is not visible from the street.

Little built during ’30s and ’40s

Old Millikan Motor Co - 221 Independence Street 03-02-2013The Haarig Commercial Historical District National Register mentioned the buildings:

Due to the economic constraints of the Great Depression and America’s involvement in World War II, little construction took place in downtown Cape Girardeau during the 1930s and 1940s. The popular Art Deco and Art Moderne styles of this period are limited in the city. A few notable examples include the one-story commercial building at 221 Independence Street. This building was constructed ca. 1935 and reflects the Art Moderne style with a curved corner and structural glass blocks.

11 comments to Millikan Motor Company

  • Dick McClard

    These buildings have a similar look as the water plant buildings on East Cape Rock Drive. It’s the brick color I suppose and I would imagine that they are from the same era. The newer buildings at the water plant site incorporated the look of the older buildings and makes the whole project look nice. I don’t see glass blocks used in building construction today although they are still popular in residintial baths.

  • Laurie Everett

    Who owns these buildings now? I thought that Dave Hutson lived behind the one, but I am not sure???

  • Here is a Frony photo of the Lesem-Millikan Motor Co.

    http://www.semissourian.com/blogs/flynch/entry/34104

    From the 1941 grand opening advertisement:

    “The picture shows the smart, modern design of our newly completed DeSoto sales and service building. Interior finish and decorations are carried out in the modernistic theme, which achieves beauty with no sacrifice of utility and comfort.”

  • Bill Stone

    Your Mother is correct about the Millilan location on the corner of Louisiana and Independence Streets! Dad bought two of my favorite cars, a 1955 Chevy and 1959 Olds from Homer Millikan. The Millikans, distant relatives, lived in the big white house on Broadview up the hill from the old Dog and Suds Drive-in.

  • Joe Johnson

    Beautiful downtown Cape. The eastern building was home for the Montgomery Ward tire & auto shop in the 1970’s and early 80’s. For a high school & college kid, Monkey Ward was a great place to work!

    M I Z…Z O U
    p.s. Central Tigers Rock!

  • ROSE FARMER

    HOMER MILLIKAN OWNED THE BUILDING WITH THE GLASS. MY DAD WAS A MECHANIC AND WORKED THERE IN ABOUT 1949-1951. THE DEALERSHIP SOLD DESOTO CARS. THE DEALERSHIP ON LOUISANA AND INDEPENDENCE WAS A CADILLIAC AND OLDSMOBILE DEALERSHIP. I THINK I VAUGELY REMEMBER THE MILLIKANS BEING INVOLVED WITH THIS AND POSSIBLY SOLD TO LEE TOWNES AS TOWNES CADILLAC- OLDS THEN SOLD TO DEAN TAYLOR.

    THE BUILDIND DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENCE NEXT TO MILLIKAN MOTOR I CAN REMEMBER BEING USED FOR MONTGOMERY WARD BUT CANNOT REMEMBER IF IT WAS USED FOR SOMETHING BEFORE THAT.

  • Linda Hathaway Morris

    My Dad bought the Millikan home on Broadview when he sold his property for the Town Plaza Shopping Center. Does anyone know if the son Homer Gail is still living? The barn behind the house burned down in the late
    60’s, Dad thought someone was sleeping in barn, because the weather was real cold.

  • Mike H

    Jesse Milikan was married to my Mothers cousin Julia, and we visited many times at the home on Broadview. I remember at one time the family had a flying squirrel which liked to glide from the top of the curtain rods in the front room, and land on the furniture. I also remember well the many photos of Jesse on his show horses.
    The family later moved to a large home on Rt. W not too far from 5H Ranch and then in later years they live in a very modern looking home on Cape Rock Drive.
    Homer Gale and his Wife Melody were living on a farm near Patton the last time I heard, and were very successful in the cattle business.

  • Dedria

    I have a wooden shipping box that has Millikan painted in red does anyone know if the motor company shipped parts with wooden boxes I have been trying to find the origins of my antique box for many years Thank You

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