I was sure that the inside of the old Broadway Theater would be a disaster with the roof falling in and debris all over the place. When I got my first glimpse of the interior, I was transported back to the days of Saturday matinee movies in a grand theater. It’s ragged, but it’s still grand.
Bank, telephone exchange building, Minnen’s Dress Shop, Cape Wiggery. The old building at 101 North Main Street has been many things and has some interesting connections to other pieces of Southeast Missouri history. Its neighbor, the St. Charles Hotel, home to General Grant in the Civil War, was torn down in 1967.
I have some fuzzy memories of the Spanish Revival style brick building at 714 Broadway. When I was a kid, Mother would take my grandmother, Elsie Welch, there for arthritis treatments. Dr. Charles F. Wilson was her doctor. When I searched for information on the building, I found that Dr. Wilson shared office space with Dr. Albert M. Estes.
Civil Defense needs 400 block wardens
Here are some stories that ran in The Missourian that mentioned the two doctors.
Sept. 9, 1954 – Reports on the organization of special groups within the local Civil Defense unit were made Wednesday night at Fort D at a meeting of service chiefs presided over by Kenneth Cruse, director of the local unit. Dr. Charles Wilson, medical chief, reported that his group is organized and that he has studied the plans set out by the state Civil Defense headquarters. About 40 persons have volunteered for service as block wardens, according to John Kitchens, group chief, but “this number is very short of our actual needs,” he added. Plans call for a warden on each of the city’s approximate 400 blocks.
Sept. 29, 1970 – Dr. Raymond A. Ritter, spoke to the Rotary Club in 1970 about the changes in medicine in Cape Girardeau over his 37 years of practice. He said that he and Dr. H.V. Ashley are the only two practicing physicians of those here when he began his practice here June 28, 1933. Dr. L.S. Bunch and Dr. H.F. Baumstark are the only remaining dentists practicing at that time, he added. Doctors George Walker and C.A.W. Zimmerman were local pioneers in the used of radiology. Dr. Albert M. Estes was the first physician in Cape Girardeau to use the electrocardiogram.
Nov. 11, 1972 – The cardiac units at St. Francis Hospital will be known as the Dr. Albert M. Estes Cardiac station in honor of Dr. Estes’ 33 years of internal medicine practice in Jackson and Cape Girardeau. Dr. Estes established the first two cardiac care units in Southeast Missouri. The first unit was located in St. Francis Hospital in 1949, and the other soon afterwards as Southeast Missouri Hospital.
Sept. 22, 2001 – Flora Marie French passed away Thursday, Sept. 20, 2001. She practiced as a registered nurse in the office of Dr. Charles Wilson 14 years, and then at St. Francis Hospital 10 years. After retiring, she was a member of the St. Francis Auxiliary.
I’m pretty sure the photo with the tire ran in The Missourian, but a quick Google Archives search for 1966 didn’t pop up the story.
The stories that DID show up that year included one where some out-of-town tourists wondered why Fort D didn’t have any historical markers telling its story.
How long has that thing been missing?
“Darn!” said the City Fathers. “There used to be one up there. Wonder how long it’s been gone?”
The city had a caretaker living in the Fort for awhile, but when he moved out, all of the windows were broken out. (In a story that may or may not have been related, a caretaker was arrested for drunken driving and may have had other housing assigned to him.)
Weeds and trash
Weeds and trash were allowed to grow up around the landmark.
Fort D tourist-worthy in 2008
When Brother Mark and I rode up to Fort D on our bikes in October 2008, the grounds were well-kept and there were plenty of interesting historical markers to make the trip worthwhile.