Pete Seeger 1919 – 2014

Pete Seeger at Florida Music Festival in White Springs, FL,  May 1977I did a post on Pete Seeger titled Pete Seeger & Songs of My Life in 2010. In it, I wrote of the photos I had taken at the White Springs Florida Folk Festival, “He just turned 91, so I’d better have them ready for an obit. I hope it’s later, not sooner, though.” I invite you to revisit those photos.

I woke up this morning at 5:10 to get a drink. As is my habit, I hit the keyboard to wake up the computer see if we were at war with anybody new. The lead headline that come up was that the clock had run out on Pete at age 94.

You can say it is unexpected when someone who is 94 dies of natural causes, but it’s still a shock when a national icon passes.

This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender

Pete Seeger at Florida Music Festival in White Springs, FL,  May 1977It’s funny how two photos that don’t even show Pete are my favorites from that evening in the spring of 1977.

No posse, no entourage

Pete Seeger at Florida Music Festival in White Springs, FL, May 1977After the performance, Pete stuck around backstage to sign autographs, pose for photos and to talk with his admirers, one and all. Then, when nobody had anything else to say, Pete hoisted up his banjo and guitar and a box and walked out into the night. I thought about that exit when I read what Arlo Guthrie wrote this morning.

He passed away. That doesn’t mean he’s gone

Arlo, the son of Woodie Guthrie, and a long-time friend and fellow performer, posted this this morning.

Pete Seeger at Florida Music Festival in White Springs, FL, 5/21 or 22/1977I let him know I was having trouble writing his obituary (as I’d been asked) but it seemed just so silly and I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t sound trite or plain stupid. “They’ll say something appropriate in the news,” we agreed. We laughed, we talked, and I took my leave about 9:30 last night.

“Arlo” he said, sounding just like the man I’ve known all of my life, “I guess I’ll see ya later.” I’ve always loved the rising and falling inflections in his voice. “Pete,” I said. “I guess we will.”

 I turned off the light and closed my eyes and fell asleep until very early this morning, about 3 AM when the texts and phone calls started coming in from friends telling me Pete had passed away.

 “Well, of course he passed away!” I’m telling everyone this morning. “But that doesn’t mean he’s gone.”

 

Wreck at Broadway – Perry

The thing that caught my eye about these photos wasn’t the wreck – it looks pretty minor. It was the neighborhood in the vicinity of Broadway and Perry Ave. and how it has changed since these photos were taken in the mid-1960s. Almost everything on the south side of Broadway has been gobbled up by Southeast Hospital. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Stubb’s Beer Garden gone

The 1968 City Directory lists the following businesses in this block of Broadway

  • 1700 – Lacy’s Texaco Service
  • 1703 – Bill Wescoat’s Trailer Rental Service & Wescoat Motor Company
  • 1704 – Cape Drive-in Cleaners
  • 1720 – Stubb’s Beer Palace
  • 1736 – Child’s IGA Foodliner

The city directory might list it as Stubb’s Beer Palace, but we always referred to it as the Beer Garden. It’s a parking lot now. Child’s Foodliner is occupied by an orthodontics practice.

2011 Aerial of SE Hospital -1700 Block

Here is a 2011 aerial of the area. Perry Avenue comes in the from the left. Capaha Park is at top left, and Southeast Hospital takes up most of the left side of the photo. You can go here to see aerial photos of the area in 1964.

Wreck doesn’t look serious

Looks like car vs. pole and sign. I learned a long time ago not to play crash investigator and speculate about the cause of a wreck.

I may have told this story before. I had to testify in a civil suit involving a car crash. I showed up with more prints than Arlo Guthrie in Alice’s Restaurant. I was barely old enough to have a driver’s license of my own, so one of the attorneys tried to get me to speculate about the cause of the accident and to lead me into making a statement he could pounce on. I kept saying, “The photo shows x, y and z. That’s all I can tell you.”

“You testified that the skid marks were 37 feel long. Could they have been 34 or 38 feet long and not 37 feet long? What makes you so sure they were 37 feet long.”

“I took a tape measure and measured them because I figured some lawyer would ask me that.”

“No further questions.”

Houses are all gone

It’s hard to believe that the Broadway facing Capaha Park was once filled with family homes. John Hilpert, one of my best buddies in grade school lived in an old two-story house on the other side of Louisiana Avenue.

 

 

 

Cape’s Alice’s Restaurant

Becky Hoppe Jones left a message after I ran the aerial photo of the area around the Common Pleas Courthouse:

I’d be interested in seeing a photo of the old Baptist church just up Broadway from First National Bank.  You can see the white steeple in some of your aerial photos.

I went to church there until the early to mid-70’s. Then our congregation sold it to another congregation.  It was left empty awhile later and then around 2000 was renovated and opened with an antique store in the sanctuary.  The classroom space in the back of the building had been remodeled into living quarters.

As I recall there was a small room up a flight of stairs from the back of  the sanctuary that would have been in the base of the bell tower.  You can  see the arched window in your first shot.  Not sure I’d want to live there, though.

Made me think of Alice’s Restaurant

When I photographed the church last fall, I saw the realty sign on the front and immediately thought of Arlo’s Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant:

“Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was two years ago on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant, but Alice doesn’t live in the restaurant, she lives in the church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and Fasha the dog.”

Boyd Hobbs painted steeple in 1967

The Missourian cutline that ran under one of my photos read, Boyd Hobbs, a Cape Girardeau painter, is silhouetted against the sky as he applies a fresh coat of paint to the steeple of the General Baptist Church at 200 Broadway.”

How did he tie the rope?

The cutline continued, The Rev. Elvis O. Wilson, pastor, said he believes both the church and steeple were built in 1893. The steeple was last painted seven years ago.” The question that DIDN’T get answered was, “How did he get the rope loop that he’s hanging from tied to the steeple?

Steeple due for more paint

Looks like Mr. Hobbs better pull out his rope again. The steeple’s beginning to show some rust.

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
restaurant, but Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the
church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and
Fasha the dog.