Klostermann Block

Klostermann Block on S Spanish 04-07-2011What has been called the “Klostermann Block” never flew above my radar. I guess I never had any business there.

The building on the west side of Spanish Street south of Independence is on the National Register of Historic Places for some of its unique features. If you are interested in Cape history and architecture, it’s worth a read.

Who was Klostermann?

Klostermann Block on S Spanish 04-07-2011

More interesting to me than the building is Louis F. Klostermann, who was born in Germany in 1837. He arrived in Cincinnati in the 1850’s and clerked in a dry goods store there. He came to Cape in 1860 and was wounded in the Battle of Vicksburg in 1862. He returned to Cape and was appointed postmaster. In 1882, he was one of 18 prominent citizens who formed the Cape Girardeau Building and Loan Association.

He served as State Representative in 1884 and 1885. When he returned from doing that, he bought Rockport Hall, the mansion of Josef Hoche on South Spanish. It was torn down in the 1930s to build the Knights of Columbus building.

In 1887, he purchased all the assets of Warren and Bierwirth Manufacturing and Merchandising Company on Spanish Street. He began operating a store there as the “Bee” Store, which was described as “one of Cape Girardeau’s chief mercantile establishments” in 1915. He also owned the former Cape Girardeau Woolen Mill which generated the first electric power in town.

He invested in several manufacturing enterprises, including the Cape Girardeau Box and Veneer Company and the Cape Girardeau Foundry.

This building is all that is left

Klostermann Block on S Spanish 04-07-2011After the turn of the century, he built the the commercial block next to his “Bee” Store for rental purposes. He had the old mill building enlarged into a modern factory which became the Ely and Walker Shirt Factory Number 2. He invested heavily in the Cape Girardeau Water and Electric Light Company and in the 1906 Southeast Missouri Trust Company. After his death in 1909, his widow continued his commercial activity through 1929, when she sold the buildings.

Of all the buildings associated with Louis Klostermann, only his rental building here remains. His home was demolished for the KC Hall, his Bee Store was destroyed by fire in 1989 and his factory burned in 1913.


19 Replies to “Klostermann Block”

  1. The building is now owned by Bert and Mary Ann Kellermann iIt is divided into 3 banquet areas the former Mollies is now Lagniappe by Celebrations. The middle space is called the Gallery and the location next to the parking lot is Celebrations Downtown. All 3 spaces are leased by my husband and myself as an extension of our catering and restaurant Celebrations

  2. Jones Furniture Store was on the corner of Independence and Spanish an Midwest Dairy was on the southside of Mollie’s. I can” right now think of the rest of the block. Mr’ Clay had a tax service for many years toward Merriweather and Shaw Mfg. was next door to him. they made storm windows, doors and iron decorative colums for homes.

  3. I think the old Melrose Ice cream plant was in that area too…did anyone remember the tours schools kids used to take when the place made ice cream? Good to know that Pat Cato Allen has a a part in this enterprise!

  4. What a beautiful building and I have no memory of ever seeing it before. Thanks for teaching us about our home town.

  5. I don’t remember this beautiful building either. When I attended Central High and then SEMO, I worked at the public library there by the courthouse. Wasn’t there an A & P Grocery store in that area?

  6. As a teenager I worked across the street at Bakers Big Burger. Almost every night we got a call to take A burger and fries to the bartender that worked at a place called Edgewater Bar. It was located in one of those buildings. Around 1962 or 1963

  7. I worked on this building for almost two years starting in February ’92 for the Kellerman’s. it is a amazing building with so much Cape history in its walls. It was finished with attention to detail thanks to the Kellerman’s making it the showplace it is today.

  8. I believe that Milde Soda was located here for a while, maybe after they purchased the Lohr and Cape Soda companies…

  9. I also thought that some of the floors slopped either towards the street or to the back alley, as in making it easy to roll barrels or even cotton bales. Can anyone confirm that ?

    1. Yes on the corner use to be UNCLE RALPH’S FURNITURE STORE – HOME OF THE BIG CHAIR. I grew up in that store due to the fact my Uncle Jim Palmer owned the store. It was named after my Uncle Ralph Glasscock.

  10. Yes, we own the building. We bought it in 1992 from Norm Wood, who owned Campbell mattress Company. Campbell had used it for storage of mattresses. All of the other businesses listed above have been a part if it’s history. We went through a long restoration process, and got it listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. The building had no useable wiring, one old wood toilet, virtually no roof left and piles of pigeon poop 36 inches high. It rained inside and froze on the brick walls. A preservation specialist came and stayed in town for almost a year and lived in a building on our home property and repointed (tuck pointed) every inch of the walls… Inside and outside. He did all the work before the building had heat!! His name is Patrick Steele. .Everything in the building has been replaced. It has new wiring, HVAC systems, roof, plumbing, and some new windows. We repaired, restored, and retained every part of the structure where possible. It took over 10 years to complete. The face of the building is pressed metal (zinc) and is one of the few left. It was done by the Metzger Brothers, and is thus known as a “Metzger building” The South portion of the building was rented by Dalhousie Downtown before they built their own clubhouse. My Gallery…The Kelsen Gallery…was opened in 1997. We brought artists from all across the US….and one from Europe for “openings”. We closed it in 2006.

    1. While in the Historic Preservation program at Southeast, I completed an extensive study of Mesker pressed metal storefronts in Cape Girardeau County. These storefronts, manufactured by Mesker Brothers Iron Works of St. Louis (of which the Klosterman block is a fine example) and George L. Mesker & Co. of Evansville, Indiana, can be found across the country.

      In September 2010, an article ran in Rural Missouri magazine, that discussed my research. It can be accessed here: http://cubamomurals.com/RuralMissouriMeskerArticle.pdf .

      My full undergraduate thesis, which was later expanded and revised as a master’s thesis at MTSU, is available to read here: http://ebookbrowse.com/at-the-forefront-of-storefronts-by-hallie-a-fieser-academi-pdf-d243105708 .

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