I was looking through the 1934 Girardot yearbook. That was the year my dad graduated from Central. I have his 1931 yearbook, but money was tight in 1934, so he didn’t buy a book and he didn’t have a class photo taken.
I was lucky enough to find this one in a Cape antique shop. An inscription in the flyleaf said that it belonged to Carlston Bohnsack. I wonder if he was related to the Bohnsacks who ran the photo of the Clark Gable lookalike on page 125 of the yearbook.
There should be a groove worn in the tile from the number of times I walked into Nowell’s Camera Shop. I’m still collecting photos taken of Bill Nowell and the store for a longer piece in the future.
Lang Jewelers still in business
Lang Jewelers and Zickfield Jewelers are still in business on Main Street. I’m sure railroad buff Keith Robinson will be able to tell us what a “Frisco, Mo. P. R. R. Inspector” is. Was he certified to maintain railroad watches? Notice how the telephone numbers have two and three digits?
Lang Jewelers today
Lang Jewelers’ sign proudly proclaims that it has been in business since 1916 and its window reflects its colorful neighbors across the street.
We’ll feature other yearbook advertisers on another day.
The 1934 Central High School Girardot had wood block-style illustrations of Cape Girardeau landmarks in it. This is an artist’s depiction of The Red House, Louis Lorimier’s home. It, and the first St. Vincent’s Church, were destroyed by a tornado.
Red House in 2010
This is a photo of the Red House taken March 22, 2010.
The Red House’s website says, “After much discussion and debate it was decided that a reconstruction or replica of Lorimier’s original Red House was just not possible. No one actually knew for sure what the original trading post looked like. All the group had was a drawing of a house taken from the recollections of a local resident, Sara Bollinger Daughtery. What the board decided to do was construct a house of the French colonial architectural style – a style that would have been used by a French Canadian in this area at that time; and to construct this house following the design of Daughterty’s recollection. Rather than call the house a “replica” or reconstruction it would be an interpretation of the style of house that Lorimier may have built and lived in.”
This single frame was on a roll with the flood photos I ran the other day. I didn’t see anything in the paper, so it must have been a routine medical call that didn’t warrant additional photos. News photographers always shoot first and ask questions later. I used to tell reporters that my machine didn’t come with a backspace or an eraser. If I didn’t capture it right then, it wasn’t possible to redo it or get it over the phone. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)
There are some interesting things visible in the photo. The tall, skinny guy on the left under the restaurant sign might be my old debate partner, Pat Sommers. Looks like the person is wearing shades like Pat was prone to do (even in a movie theater). The temperature was a warm 78 degrees. The St. Charles Hotel has been torn down recently enough that Tom Sawyer’s Fence still hides the Sterling store construction.
There is no Downtown Clock in the middle of the Themis – Main Street intersection.
When I was looking for photos that might show the street in modern times, I scrolled through some pictures of Zickfield’s Jewelers, one of only about two businesses left on Main Street from this era. The door caught my eye. Not the door so much, as the lock on the top of the right-hand door. How many thousands of times has a key been turned in that lock to wear away the finish that much?
That door triggered the memory of another door I had photographed in April of this year – Unnerstall’s Drug Store on Good Hope. I’m sure that the people who PULL on this door today don’t have any idea who or what an Unnerstall was.
I have a friend who was looking for some stock photos of Cape to use as headers on a web page. I started poking around and came up with these old and new photos that I think capture some of the spirit of the town.
The biggest challenge was finding pictures that would fit the exact format shape – a skinny horizontal.
Photographers HATE to shoot for shape
Photographers HATE going out to shoot for shape. We always figured that was a sign that the page designer was too lazy to work with the most story-telling photos on deadline. He wanted to dummy the page early so he could go home early.
Photographers, of course, believe that every photograph is perfectly composed. Some would express that conceit by printing their photos “full frame” with black borders that indicated that the picture had not been cropped. (Guilty as charged.)
Of course, as a guy who had to do his own layouts, I found that sometimes cropping the photo made the page look a lot better. It was OK if I did it; it was a mortal sin if someone else did it.
Since I’m not exactly sure what my friend is looking for, I’ve pulled together photos that you’ve seen before and some that were in the pipeline. I’m curious to see what you think best says “Cape Girardeau.”
If she uses any, I’ll post the website address. As always, click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.