Big Tire Smashes into Car

The big news in The Missourian Nov. 20, 1965, was a 700-pound wheel that broke off a city motor grader and went bouncing down the 700 block of Broadway. It smashed a window at Shoppers’ Warehouse Market, Inc., then bounced into in the side of Mrs. Diane Kincaid’s car. No one was injured. Cape Girardeau Patrolman Jeffery L. Steger is investigating.

That’s the most newsworthy photo – and the one that ran in the paper – but some of the other frames I shot that day are interesting from a historical standpoint.

Pete Koch’s Sinclair Station

I tried to read the price on the pumps, but I couldn’t make it out. My guess is that it was about 36 cents a gallon in 1965. The building and pumps have been replaced by a convenience store named Downtown Sinclair.

Downtown Sinclair in 2009

If there are any gas pumps around, I can’t see them in this photo. The Dino the Dinosaur sign has been replaced by one directing you to Centenary Church.

Familiar buildings on Broadway

The phone company building still has its microwave tower used for long distance back in the days before fiber optic cable. With a little imagination, I thought I could read that a Steve McQueen movie was playing at the Esquire, but I couldn’t make out the name of which one.

I can make out signs for Bill’s Pharmacy and Wayne’s Grill, the home of the best filet I’ve ever eaten. It was a Saturday payday ritual to stop off and have one of those bacon-wrapped steaks.

Crash attracted crowd

A crowd gathered, with much looking, speculating and theory-thrashing. In one of the photos in the gallery, someone with a movie camera showed up, probably from KFVS-TV.

Photo Gallery of the Big Tire Crash

Include are all of the shots taken in 1965, plus contemporary photos of the neighborhood in 2009. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

First Presbyterian Church

I captured the final days of the First Presbyterian Church located at the corner of Broadway and Lorimier, across from The Southeast Missourian, in March of 1965. The building was 63 years old.

When I look photos of landmark buildings torn down in those days, I’m amazed at how little was salvaged. The 110-year-old bell that had called out firefighters and warned of jail breaks was saved to be reinstalled in the new church, but beautiful ornate woodwork was knocked down and hauled off.

Cornerstone was removed

A March 30, 1965, Missourian story said that the building’s cornerstone was removed and would be examined  later by a church committee comprised of Jack L. Oliver, Allen L. Oliver, Wendell P. Black, Mrs. Clyde A. McDonald and Mrs. Robert L. Beckman.

Bell goes back home

Before the end of the year, the new church far enough along that the bell could be reinstalled.

The re-belling didn’t go smoothly

The Dec. 1, 1965, Missourian story chronicled a number of missteps before the bell was placed gently into its cradle.

  • It had to be moved to a spot directly in front of the church.
  • The boom on the crane had to be lengthened.
  • A parking meter was in the way and had to be removed.
  • The crane ran out of gas and someone had to be dispatched to bring back five gallons to crank it up.

Finally it was on its way up

The Missourian building is on the left. The Idan-Ha Hotel hadn’t burned yet, and the city was still using the silver star Christmas decorations. Anybody know when those were phased out and what happened to them? I always thought they were kind of classy looking.

Pete Gibbar and Bill Vopelker were waiting

Pete Gibbar and Bill Vopelker, both of Perryville, were in the bell tower waiting for it to be lowered into place.

Bell bolted into place

The bell landed right where it was supposed to and was quickly bolted into its collar.

It works!

Pete and Bill were clearly happy when they rang the bell for the first time in its new home, the third of its existence. It was originally mounted in a wooden tower located on the courthouse side of the original brick Presbyterian Church. The tower and the church were torn down in 1904 to build the church that was just razed.

The bell, which is inscribed, Jones & Hitchcock, founders, Troy, N,Y, 1855,” was originally cast for a St. Louis church, but it proved too heavy to be used there. Mrs. Addie McNeely bought the bell for First Presbyterian for $500. It’s 43-1/2 inches wide at the mouth and weighs about 1,400 pounds.

First Presbyterian Church Photo gallery

Here is a gallery of other photos, including a strange shot I took while changing film on my way up to the bell tower. I include it because it shows some of the buildings in the area. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to step through the gallery.

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.

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.