I’ve probably been in Broussard’s a dozen or so times when a Cajun craving hit, but I never noticed “The Bootery” set into the entrance before this visit.
If you click the photo to make it larger, you can see my reflection in the glass. It was a warm day, so I didn’t commit the terrible fashion faux pas of wearing socks with my sandals.
Search came up empty
A search of The Missourian archive for “Bootery” turned up empty. I turned to Google next. It took me to a 1959 Life Magazine ad for Roblee shoes. The word “bootery” was used by a lot of shoe stores, but the only listing for Cape was C.S. Gaylor.
Gaylor’s was where we usually went to buy shoes. I was always disappointed that Mother wouldn’t let me play with the neat fluoroscope that let you see your toes inside your shoes (while delivering a mass of x-ray radiation to your gonads). You can read more about the machine here.
What was at 120 Main?
My next trick was to search for the store’s address, 120 North Main street. Still pretty much dry except for a 1938 ad for The Smart Shop. The building next door at 118 North Main was being vacated by Vogelsanger Hardware Company.
The Smart Shop was showing furs from St. Louis, but you could buy a quality rayon Giana crepe for $6.50 at Hecht’s. (I don’t know whether you’re supposed to eat, hang or wear a crepe, so you’ll have to tell me if that’s a good deal.)
Follow Santa’s Trail
The Smart Shop was mentioned in this Christmas contest ad in the December 6, 1939, Missourian. It’s fascinating to see how many businesses were still around 30 years later. You’re definitely going to have to click this one to make it larger to read the names.
Someone else is going to have to fill me in on the background of The Bootery. I couldn’t come up with any information about it.
After all the stories I did about the building at 101 North Main Street being condemned and looking like the front wall could come down at any minute, I never thought it would ever be fixed up and occupied again.
Here’s what it looked like on April 2, 2014. The downstairs is occupied by the “prom superstore.” (Click on the photo to make it large enough to pick out your prom dress.)
The Hecht’s Building
There was some work going on in front of the old Hecht’s building, but I don’t think it’s going to bring back “the grand lady of fashion” it had been for 86 years, making it the second oldest business on Main Street when it closed in 2004.
After I ran photos of the Flood of 1943 from Dad’s scrapbook, a member of the Lamkin Family sent me this aerial photo of the flood. I asked who took it so I could credit the photographer, and he said, “No idea. It hung in my grandfather’s office for as long as I recall.”
Themis Street is on the left and Broadway is on the right. You can see the steeple of Trinity Lutheran Church and the Academic Hall dome in the background. Buckner-Ragsdale is the three-story building on the right, at the foot of Broadway. The St. Charles Hotel is the tall, light-colored building on the left side of Themis. The building with the checkered tile and sharp-peaked roof is Hecht’s Department Store. The Sturdivant Bank Building is between the St. Charles and Hecht’s.
Click on the photo to make it larger.
Here are some earlier stories about Buckner’s and the Lamkin family.