There’s quite a difference in the way the Benjamin F. Hunter Cabin looked February 9, 2016, and the way it looked when I photographed it in August 2014. Click on the photos to make them large enough to see how much the building has deteriorated in less than two years.
The cabin in August 2014
I did a post December 13, 2014, that explored some of the history of the reconstructed log cabin on the road to Old McKendree Chapel.
Has been treated with benign neglect
The structure, which was built outside Sikeston in the 1880s and taken apart in the 1980s, was a preservation project undertaken by Southeast Missouri State University in the 1990s. It quickly became a house without a home, with the university proposing, then discarding a number of possible locations.
Gravity will take its toll
The story I did in 2014 said Dr. Bonnie Stepenoff continued work on the cabin in the mid 1990s, including repairs on the roof, chinking and daubing the walls, placing a gate around the property, reglazing the windows, and conducting additional student research.
From the amount of light streaming through the gaps between the logs, I would say most of that chinking has fallen out. The roof has holes in it, and you can see some of the logs have fallen out just between 2014 and this week. Unless something is done fairly soon, gravity is going to take over and all that will be left will be a stack of rotting logs.
Of course, that’s the university’s approach to preservation: neglect a property until you can say that fixing it will cost more than tearing it down.
I’m rushing to get a bunch of stuff done before I pull the plug and start loading the van to head back to Cape Thursday. I feel sort of like this mud-covered football player- run down and run over.
I think he’s a SEMO player, but there was nothing on the back of the print to identify him. Click on the photo to make it larger.
I have Road Warriorette Shari with me for this trip. We’re going to take mostly back roads through Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, so I’m sure there will be adventures along the way. I’ll bag a couple of quickie subjects in case we end up someplace that communicates with smoke signals instead of digital 1s and 0s.
I understand Southeast Missouri State University just razed a landmark building and has another one in its sights. I hope there is some Cape left in Cape when I get there.
The building at 347 North Pacific was purchased by Southeast Missouri State University in 1980, but I’ll always remember it as Dorington Apartments, the place where Carol Klarsfeld lived.
Carol was a tiny little thing who was always up for an adventure. There was a tale that she put more miles on her mother’s car than she was supposed to. Having a logical mind, she thought, “The speedometer counts up when the car is going forward, so it should count backward if the car is going in reverse.”
The prospect of driving many miles in reverse didn’t seem practical, so she jacked up the rear of the car, put it in gear and gunned it. Her logical skills far surpassed her mechanical skills unfortunately. In the story I heard, the jack slipped and the car took off at high speed in reverse.
When she and her mother moved from a ranch house to the Dorington Apartments, Carol was afraid that her neighbors would keep an eye on her and rat her out if she came in late or engaged in other shenanigans. She quickly found out that apartment dwellers are more anonymous than people who live in houses.
History of 437 North Pacific
I wasn’t able to find out when Carol’s apartment was built, but a search through Missourian archives turned up information about some of the people who lived at that address, most notably R.B. Potashnick and his family. Here’s a sampling of stories. Longer one contain links for more information.
- January 29, 1926 – Mrs. C.W. Stehr is confined to her home suffering from injuries received when she fell on the ice in front of her home, 347 North Pacific Street, her right wrist broken in two places.
- October 19, 1926 – Mrs. Farnham Clark, who has been visiting Miss Lucille Buck of 347 North Pacific for several days, left today for her home in Menoninee, Wis.
- August 11, 1931 – Miss Lucille Bock and Herbert Bock, 347 North Pacific, left today for a motor trip to New Orleans and other points in the South.
- October 24, 1932 – Miss Marie Kinder, 343 North Pacific Street, and Robert Richards, 347 North Pacific Street, spend several days with friends in LaSalle, Ill. Mr. Richards also transacted business while away. (There’s another brief that says “Almost every night the young people of Cape Girardeau are driving out Sprigg Street to Blue Hole for delicious sandwiches and soft drinks.”)
Why we vaccinate kids today
- January 31, 1934 – Today’s contagious disease list in Cape Girardeau contained nine new names, eight measles cases and one of chicken pox being reported to City Health Officer Henry Haman, Jr. The measles cases are Mason Martin, Red Star suburb; David Phillipson, 228 North Frederick Street; Bobby Johnson, 545 South Benton Street; Jimmy Bauerle, 916 Good Hope Street; David Samuels, 123 North Spanish Street; Mary Potashnick, 347 North Pacific Street; Bobby Adams, Perryville Road; and Landess Mills, 102 North Ellis Street. Virginia Hughes, 118 North Frederick Street, has chicken pox.
- June 14, 1938 – Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Potashnick, daughters Mary and Ann, 347 North Pacific Street, Mrs. Ben Vinyard, 322 North Pacific Street, Mrs. Geraldine Young, 331 Bellvue Street, and Don Black, 316 Bellvue Street, spent Monday in St. Louis and attended the Municipal Opera that night. Mr. Potashnick remained on business.
- February 6, 1939 – R.B. Potashnick, a contractor, 347 North Pacific Street, spent the weekend at his home here and returned to St. Louis today on business. Mr. Potashnick last Friday was awarded a contract, aggregating over $414,000 for construction of Rural Electrification Administration project lines in the vicinity of Macon. He was recently given a contract for constructing a similar project in Elsinore and district.
- September 13, 1951 – A chauffeur-driven 1950 Cadillac sedan and a 1939 Buick collided at the intersection of Hopper Road and Kingshighway Wednesday. Both automobiles were damaged. The Cadillac was owned by R.B. Potashnick, 347 North Pacific Street, and driven by Joe Nelson of 605 Merriwether Street. The Buick was driven by Ben Seitze, 1514 North Rand Street.
- June 8, 1962 – The second fire within 48 hours broke out this morning at the R.B. Potashnick home, 347 North Pacific Street. The original fire caused damage estimated at $75,000 to $100,000. Chief Lewis, commenting on the [first] fire, said when firemen arrived at the house a big hole had already burned through the living room floor and a radiator had fallen through to the basement. Mr. Potashnick, a widely-known contractor whose company has handled many multi-million dollar projects throughout the country, came from St. Louis to survey the damage, but later left for Georgia on business. Mrs. Potashnick was scheduled to arrive from Ohio today.
- April 2, 1968 – About $100 in underclothing was stolen from a basement clothesline in an apartment belonging to Mrs. Wayne Nations, 347 North Pacific.
- November 14, 1980 – The Dorington Apartments, 347 North Pacific Street, will soon house classes in the SEMO State University’s College of Business. The university purchased the structure this week for just over $300,000.