Southeast Missouri State University 1966 Aerial Photos

Southeast Missouri State University – Kent Library

I love looking at Fred Lynch’s collection of Frony pictures, including the February 22 photo of Kent Library from the 1940s.¬† His f/8 and Be There blog makes my job easier.

  • They jog my memory about things I’ve shot.
  • He and Sharon Sanders do all the research I’m too lazy to do. Instead of doing a lot of writing, I can send you directly to the work they’ve done.

(I KNOW that it was called Southeast Missouri State College at the time these pictures were shot, but I’ll go with the current name to make it easier for folks who use search engines to find it these days.)

SEMO has several good maps to help you identify campus buildings

The photo above shows Kent Library in the upper left corner. Dearmont Hall is to its right. The Grauel Building is under construction at bottom right.

Academic Hall, Kent Library, College High School

This photo, from a slightly wider angle, picks up Academic Hall in the center, , then clockwise to College High School, the Grauel Building at the bottom, Dearmont Hall, Kent Library and the baseball field at Capaha Park at top left.

Houck Stadium and Field House, Academic Hall, Kent Library, Broadway & Pacific

This photo centers on Houck Stadium and Houck Field House, but includes the intersection of Broadway and Pacific at the bottom right. You can see Howard’s Sporting Goods, the Esquire Theater and Vandeven’s Merchantile.

Last Chance – First Chance Saloon

There’s a two-story building at the southwest corner of Pacific and Broadway, across the street from Howard’s, that is no longer there. I can remember there was a tiny gap between it and the building to its west that was just large enough for a kid to walk through. Here’s what The Missourian had to say about it.

In the mid-1800s, Frank C. Krueger purchased property on the southwest corner of Harmony (now known as Broadway) and Pacific Street. It has been said the Krueger erected the building that once stood at the end of Cape Girardeau’s city limit during the 19th century. Broadway to the west of Pacific Street was a gravel road known as Jackson Road. Krueger opened up a general store on the east side of the building, and he established a saloon on the west side. It soon became known as the “Last Chance” saloon headed west out of Cape Girardeau and the “First Chance” as one entered town. The saloon provided the last chance to have a drink when leaving Cape Girardeau and first chance upon entering town. Krueger died in 1882, and the building saw several proprietors after that. In the 1920s, the east section — 901 Broadway — housed Miller & Foeste grocery for many years. In the 1940s, the Last Chance Tavern opened on the east side. Oscar Becker operated the Last Chance Pool Hall on the west side — 903 Broadway — for more than 45 years. In the later years of the building, it would house a restaurant and pizza business before returning to a tavern, called the “Second Chance.” In November 1994, the building was razed.

Three buildings north of the intersection, on the right-hand side of the street is a two-story brick building that was a bottling company. I wish I knew more about it. A good chunk of that area has been gobbled up by the university for parking.

BurritoVille replaces the Last Chance – First Chance Saloon

This is the southwest corner of Pacific and Broadway on Oct. 28, 2009. The Last Chance – First Chance – Second Chance Saloon is gone, replaced by BurritoVille and some other businesses. I guess that may not be much of a loss. When Son Matt and his family visited Cape in 2008, he gave BurritoVille a rave review on my bike blog.

Northeast corner of Pacific and Broadway

The Esquire Theater is on the left and Howard’s / Craftsman Building / Vandeven’s Mercantile (depends on your era) is across the street.

It’ll Always Be Vandeven’s to Me

Howard’s Athletic Goods – October 2009

Howard’s Athletic Goods, which provided school PE uniforms and other sporting equipment to the community since 1947, moved diagonally across the Broadway – Pacific intersection in 2009. The original Howard’s building was torn down for Southeast Missouri University parking.

I didn’t really have many warm and fuzzy feelings about the old Howard’s building. I always thought it was a bit ugly and run-down looking.

Of course, it may also be that I never got over the trauma of having my Mother accompany me there to buy my first jockstrap for Central High School’s Physical Education class.

At least the boys got black shorts and orange / black reversible shirts that were better looking than those horrible green uniforms the girls had to wear. (I think the shirts were reversible or was the black side mold from when I forgot to take it out of my locker to have it washed?)

Howard’s may be there now, and other things have occupied that corner over the years, but the building at 835 Broadway will always be Vandeven’s to me.

Vandeven Mercantile Company 1894 – 1969

The building at 835 Broadway where Howard’s relocated was the original Vandeven Mercantile Company, founded in 1894 an operated until 1969.

Over the years since 1969, it’s been a number of different businesses. It was Craftsman Office Supply Co. long enough for The Missourian to call it the Craftsman Building.

The Grace Cafe moved in 2002. They had great sandwiches and fast Internet connections. I’d gravitate there to connect with my office at faster than dial-up speeds when I was in town on vacation. The upstairs was an art gallery.

I ate at Wayne’s Grill almost every day when I was a kid

My folks gave me permission to leave the Trinity Lutheran School grounds almost every day to walk up to Wayne’s Grill across from Vandeven’s. I’ll cover them in a later post.

On my way back, I’d stop in at Vandeven’s to pick up candy to resell to kids who couldn’t leave the campus and to kill time before going back to school.

Miss Blanche Brooks

My favorite person in the whole store was Miss Blanche Brooks. She had already been working in the store for more than a quarter century when I was a kid. There was another woman working the register, too, but Blanche was the one who would talk to a 10 or 12-year-old kid like his opinions mattered.

She may have even given me permission to call her by her first name. I don’t ever recall prefacing “Blanche” with Miss, and I didn’t know her last name until I did this research.

When a customer would come up to the register, I’d fade away until Blanche had tallied the order one item at a time on a big cash register. This was not a place where you would find a scanner or an electrical conveyor belt.

It also wasn’t a place where customers were rushed away. I got the feeling that a lot of the folks saw Vandeven’s as a social center where they could catch up on neighborhood gossip.

Skeets wrote the store’s obit

Cecelia “Skeets” Sonderman wrote a great obituary of the store when it was going to close April 5, 1969.

(Skeets, by the way, was a feisty broad (meant as a compliment), who covered  government, education and courts in the days when women were usually relegated to the Pink Ghetto of tea parties and church news. Men who demeaned, patronized or underestimated the diminutive Skeets were apt to be found singing soprano in the church choir after Skeets was finished with them.)

Thanks for Google’s News Archive Search, you can read it straight off the microfilm.

Customer service was hallmark of Vandeven’s

The Missourian article said that the three owners, William Vandeven II, Edwin Vandeven and their sister, Elma A. Haas, were all born on the second floor above the family store.

Three employees, including Blanche, had been with the store for years, Skeets wrote. Blaine Swan had been there 43 years (in 1969); Charles Stimle had been there for 35 years. I imagine some of the photos in the gallery show those employees.

Elderly customers depended on Vandeven’s unique special services in the days before direct deposit of Social Security and pension checks. Vandeven’s would send delivery boys with cash to a customer’s home to cash his or her Social Security check. If a long-time customer wasn’t home when the delivery boy arrived, he would enter the home and place the perishables in the refrigerator.

You could buy almost anything at Vandeven’s

They had the usual range of groceries, but they also had their own butcher on premise. You could watch him wrestle slabs of meat and get exactly the cut you wanted.

Vandeven’s was said to be the first store to offer frozen foods.

At one time, shoes made up the bulk of sales. I can still remember seeing old-fashioned rubber galoshes on the shelves.

If they didn’t have it, you probably didn’t need it

Even before you stepped over the wooden door sill that was worn down from generations of foot traffic, you could get a sense of the wide variety of products available.

  • Bushel baskets of apples
  • Garbage cans
  • Vigoro Plant Food
  • Dairy products
  • Bakery products
  • Gumball machine and soft drink machine

Got a hankering for notions?

Nearly half the store was made up of material, sewing supplies, patterns and the like.

Gallery of photos

Here is a gallery of photos of the new Howard’s, the parking lot where the old Howard’s was and pictures that I hope will bring back memories of the Vandeven Mercantile Company. The Vandeven’s photos were taken February 4, 1967, when I must have stepped in for a visit. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or ride side of the picture to step through the gallery.

Cape Loves to Throw a Parade

Missourian photographer Fred Lynch published a Frony picture of a Christmas Parade taken in the early to mid-50s in his blog this week. It was shot on the north side of Broadway, looking back toward the southwest, in the direction of The Missourian building.

Broadway was still paved with granite cobblestones and the remains of the street car rails can still be seen.

1966 SEMO Homecoming Parade

In my digging through my negatives, I’ve come across at least two SEMO homecoming parades. This one is probably the 1966 Homecoming because the 1966 Homecoming Queen is in one of the cars and the 1965 Queen is in another one.

1966 SEMO Homecoming Parade in front of Marquette Hotel

Marquette Hotel used for student housing

The Marquette must have been used for student housing at some point, because there are student-age people hanging out the windows. There are two women and a man standing on the rooftop to the right of the Marquette. There is a microphone stand in front of them, so they are probably doing live parade coverage for KFVS.

If you look closely under the awning of the hotel, you can see the Civil Defense shelter placard to the right of the door.

KFVS Tower is missing

One thing that’s missing from this picture is Cape’s version of a skyscraper – the KFVS building. The 13-story building wasn’t built until two years later.

Broadway looking northeast; note the KFVS tower is missing

Here’s what the block looks like in 2009

KFVS TV Office building 10-24-09Fred asked if anyone knew what happened to the granite cobblestones appearing in Frony’s photo. They were removed in 1956.

I wonder if they might have been used to replace the cobblestones on the river front. If anyone has any ideas, leave a comment and I’ll pass the information on to Fred.

Except for the KFVS building, the block still looks pretty much the same as in did in 1966. The building the broadcasters are standing on was the TV station location. When the tower was built, the TV station moved into it and KZIM radio (formerly KFVS radio) moved into that building.

Gallery of Homecoming Photos

Here is a gallery of photos taken of the parade. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left of right side of the photo to move through the gallery.