I’ve seen some activity around the old Esquire Theater lately, but didn’t have time enough to stop to ask what was going on before Friday.
Is this going to be another tease where we think good things are going to happen or is it being prepped to become yet another SEMO parking lot.
Alas, if may be more of the tease variety. A workman told me that they were just doing routine maintenance to make the place look a little better.
Earlier Esquire stories
The Harris Motor Company fire at the northeast corner of Broadway and Lorimier wasn’t all that exciting, but it did capture some interesting things in the background of a couple of shots.
I don’t know that I was ever in the building, but Fred Lynch and Sharon Sanders did a pretty good job of nailing down the history of the landmark building in Fred’s blog.
Idan-Ha Hotel sign
You can see the Idan-Ha Hotel sign off in the distance on the left. The N’Orleans sign shows up behind one for the State of Missouri Employment Service. The Idan-Ha burned in 1989, and the N’Orleans is sitting empty today.
Built in 1915
Fred’s blog said the building was constructed in 1915. In 1937, Harris Motor Car Co. razed the adjoining Dr. Adolph List house, built in 1888, to expand its operation. Another story noted that the List house was modeled after a German castle.
Turned into apartments in 2001
I couldn’t find a story about the fire, but there was an ad in the Dec. 3, 1965, Missourian saying to watch for the Grand Opening of Harris Motor Car Co. The 1968 City Directory listed Harris Motor Car Co. at Highway 61 North and Independence.
In 1968, Charmin, which was building its new plant near Neely’s Landing, leased space in the “former Harris Motor Car Building.” In 1971 the paper reported that the building had been converted into an apartment complex by Vernon Rhodes.
For a second I thought this was the same crash at Pacific and Broadway I had already covered, but it was definitely a different one. One of the things I found interesting was that it captured the Pizza King, which was once the Last Chance – First Chance Saloon.
Vandeven Mercantile is on the left.
View east on Broadway
Vandeven’s is on the right. You can see The Esquire, Wayne’s Grill, Radonics, Bodines and other lighted signs. This picture must have been taken later than the one below because the sign above proclaims “We’ve Gone Gulf.”
The old trolley tracks are visible in the middle of the street.
Station had been Cities Service
The station on the northeast corner of the intersection had been a Cities Service. Looks like the Bourbon billboard had been allowed to go blank in the later photo.
Howard’s on right
The old Howard’s Athletic Goods was on the right. Howard’s moved into the Vandeven building in 2009, then SEMO tore down the old (ugly) landmark building for a parking lot.
View to the north
Howard’s is on the left and the Gulf station is on the right. It’s warm enough that people are wearing light jackets, but I see the car on the left is still running snow tires. The banner mentions American Education Week, which is traditionally held in November, so it might be a warm, but rainy winter night. Those random white spots are caused by raindrops reflecting the camera’s flash.
Looks pretty minor (if it’s not YOUR car)
I’m going to guess the guys in the background are involved in the crash in some way. They have The Look on their faces.
I’m guessing the wreck was minor enough that nobody was hurt. The best indication of that is that the windshields don’t have any head dents.
Homer Armor George founded the Broadway Prescription Shop in 1932, and eventually passed it on to his sons, Milton and Harry.
There was a confusing Out of the Past column note that talked about how the business got into its current location: “Dec. 22, 1959: A three-way shift is underway in the 700 block of Broadway that will transfer Michael’s Drug Store, Broadway Prescription Shop and the Blue Note Cafe to different locations; the store is moving to the Bauer building at the northwest corner of Broadway and Sprigg Street; the Blue Note will move to the Michael property at 731 Broadway; and Homer George will move Broadway Prescription to the Blue Note’s current spot.”
The brown brick building to the west used to be occupied by Dr. Wilson and Dr. Estes.
Changes since 2009 photo
Broadway Prescription Shop, Cape’s oldest drugstore, has undergone some changes since I shot this photo in the fall of 2009.
Two SEMO graduates, Lee Schlitt and Kevin Wood, bought the pharmacy in 2011. One of the most visible changes to passersby on Broadway is a restoration of the 40-year-old wooden sign that is said to be the oldest one in Cape.
One of the things that struck me when I did a history of the shoe factory was how the lives of the employees were recorded over the years in the newspaper. The Broadway Prescription Shop was much the same way, with stories of weddings, births and hospital stays popping up from time to time.
Here are some obituaries connected with the drugstore:
- Milton George: Milton Armor George, 79, of Cape Girardeau passed away Friday, May 4, 2012, at Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau.Milton graduated from Cape Girardeau Central High School and St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, he joined the family business, Broadway Prescription Shop, with his father Homer. He purchased the business from his father, and upon retirement in 1998, sold the business to his brother, Harry George.
- Jean Gerhardt: Jean Haynes Gerhardt, 70, of Cape Girardeau died Thursday, Jan. 23, 2003, in North Carolina. Mrs. Gerhardt worked for Dr. Nussbaum several years, and retired fromBroadway Prescription Shop.
- Donald Hente: Donald Martin Hente, 95, of Cape Girardeau, died Friday, Jan. 14, 2011, at The Lutheran Home. Donald attended Trinity Lutheran Grade School. He was a graduate of College High School. He was also a graduate of St. Louis College of Pharmacy. He was a pharmacist for Broadway Prescription Shop, Finney’s and various other Southeast Missouri pharmacies.
- Runyon Dyer: Runyon Estes Dyer, 92, died Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2001, at Missouri Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau. Runyon was employed as a pharmacist in Cape Girardeau by the late Homer George in March 1949, and worked for Broadway Prescription Shop 36 years before retiring in 1985.