When most of us think of the building at 132 North Main Street in Cape, we think of the department store that was the Buckner-Ragsdale Co., home of great service and Tuf-Nut pocket knives. After the store closed in 1982, it housed a number of short-lived ventures. It became Buckner Brewing in 1998 and won local recognition for rehabilitating the landmark business.
The restaurant and microbrewery closed February 3. You can read the official version in The Missourian’s January 29 story by Shay Alderman, then you can scroll down to the comments to see why locals thought the business went under.
Previous Buckner-Ragsdale stories
- Buckner-Ragsdale tubes are gone
- Lamkin family website
- Buckner’s and Tuf-Nut knives
- Cape Tornado of 1949
12 Replies to “Buckner Brewing Closed in February”
One bit of post-clothing company history with which readers may be unfamiliar occurred when Marty Hecht bought the building either from the first bar owners or their bankruptcy trustee about 1995. In doing so he was acting as beard for Nevada’s Boyd Group, a gambling company known to the Hechts because of their long connection with Las Vegas.
When Missouri originally passed the constitutional amendment on gambling, all gaming activities were to happen on water. It was decided that for the Cape license the Buckner building would serve as a multi-purpose back building from which an enclosed walk-way would extend over the floodwall to the boat. Mr. Hecht then purchased all of the land on the east side of Main Street from the Downtown Merchants parking lot to the shoe factory for parking.
After the special election vote against gambling in Cape, the properties were disposed of by Boyd in near fire sale fashion to many of the current owners including Messrs. Riley and Knight.
In the time since the original amendment, one of the changes made allowed casinos to be on land within 1,000 feet of the water. This led to the location of the Isle of Capri building.
The Buckners building was constructed in 1916 by old man Gerhardt. During one of the bar renovations a panel was removed and behind it, scrawled on the wall was a message saying “Built by J W Gerhardt, best damn contractor in the country.” That he was.
The building looks very much like the original Houck structure, but differs substantially in construction. After two fires in nine years, REL Lamkin was not having a third. Therefore, It was the first building in Cape constructed of steel re-enforced concrete. While built to last 200 years, the technique makes the structure extremely difficult to alter (or tear down), a problem shared by the Marquette. Gerhardt was not completely sure about the process, however, and brought in a huge cypress tree trunk to support the safe on the balcony. It is enclosed in a concrete pillar.
Other innovations included the first sprinkler system and an elevator shaft for future use. We have easements on both as well as the roof of the two story part of the structure pictured for the building we retained at 132 N Main
Here is a Frony photo and history of Buckner-Ragsdale Co.
Here is a photo gallery from the final weekend of Buckner Brewing Co.
Ken your view of BR is one a rarely see…The most common view is the from Broadway going down the hill.
I almost had to think of what building I was looking at to get it right in my mind. So thanks for showing a different view. …and as JTL says there were several changes in plans after the first election.
If memory serves, BR was the only place in Cape to buy boy Scout uniforms back in 1940’s
I bought all of my scout gear and equipment from Buckner-Ragsdale. I would stand at that counter as long as my mother would let me, staring at the pocket knives, compasses, etc. Seems like I also bought most of my merit badge books there as well. My memories of a classic building and institution.
How about the hand axe that sat in the case for years. We had to clean the drool off the glass daily.
Since I mentioned the Gerhardts, note the tile work, including that with the name in the front entry way was done by the Drury’s.
As this is the best shot I’ve seen from this vantage, a comment for the eventual book. Following the Christmas fire that destroyed the old CGCC clubhouse, CHS Freshmen used the water street level warehouse in the two story portion of the building adjoining the main one as a clubhouse named the Teen Quarter Club. The door is hidden by the utility pole in the photo
In the Summer, TAC opened a block and a half away. The two operated simultaneously for awile, until the police tired of trying to find the liquor supposedly consumed at the Water St. location, and shut it down.
TAC, having worn out the downtown digs moved to its second site behind Central.
IF….I remember correctly, the awning halfway up the street in this photo is where a neon pump with a reciprocating handle going up and down was located and it said “Town Pump”. I’m old and I was realy young when I saw this. I read other posts that had The Town Pump on Main St. Was it moved from one location to the other?
How about a bowl of chili.
Prior to moving to its final location on Main Street, The Pump was located in the eastern-most building on the north side of Broadway across from Buckner’s Broadway door. The lot next to it was where the Riverview Hotel once stood, destroyed in the 1916 fire.
Circa 1960, the building and all others in the block, including the Brune barn, were razed to make room for the Downtown Merchants parking lot. And, since topics recently have focused on historic preservation, the same group destroyed the St. Charles Hotel.
Either Ken or Lynch has published a photo looking towards the river from Broadway & Main that shows The Town Pump sign. Rumors are it lingers yet in the second floor above Broussards.
I am a student at southeast and have chose the Buckner Ragsdale building as my final project. If anyone has any information about the property reaching back to it’s involvement with flentge or any information about the changes in construction and J.W. Gerhardt it would be greatly appreciated. I would like to tell the story of the property not only the current building, but the structures and the important people who are tied to the property and it’s signifigance to cape as both a community and a center of trade.
Chad, you’ve got the easiest project of anybody looking for the history of buildings on Main Street. Check out the links I posted on this blog page. You’ll find some good info. Make sure you follow the comments. Several members of the Lamkin family are regulars here (if you don’t know who the Lamkins are, you DO have a lot of research to do).