Shoe Factory Neighborhood

I can’t believe I missed this aerial photo of the old shoe factory plant I shot April 14, 1964, when I ran the piece on the site being the new home of the Isle of Capri Casino. You can clearly see the infamous jog in Main Street that will be straightened.

Jog provided challenge

Reader John Burciaga shared this story about the jog: My only brother, Joe, Jr., 9 years older, was quite adventurous as a youngster. He and a buddy used to race side by side from downtown Main St. to the shoe factory site, where the sharp “dogleg” zig-zags left-to-right. This was always late at night, being careful police cars were not around, or traffic from the opposite direction. He never got hurt but I recall he tore a door off–reminding me a bit of the movie Rebel Without A Cause and the great chase to see who would bail out of his auto first before the drop-off.

This undated wreck photo from the 60s probably wasn’t caused by the zig-zag. It happened north of the jog and the car was southbound. You can barely see a building in the background that says “Cafe and Tavern.” The 1969 City Directory didn’t list the full name of the establishment.

Windows were painted

This shot of the wreck from the other direction shows the heavy-duty power lines feeding into the shoe factory and the painted windows. The only reason I can think for painting the windows would be to diffuse the light coming through them so there wouldn’t be any glare inside.

Old building at bottom of Mill Street

This old building at the bottom of Mill Street and south of the shoe factory, was still there in the spring when I shot a freight train going by.

Fairway Market No. 2

Missourian photographer Fred Lynch ran a Frony photo of shoe factory workers on strike in 1962 in his blog Dec. 3, 2010. He identified a building in the background as being the Fairway Market No. 2.

It’s been a number of things in the intervening years. Oct. 20,2009, a sign on the front of the building said that it was NOW OPEN as Margarita Mama’s. I don’t know how long they lasted or if they are still open. The Missourian had a number of stories detailing problems with the establishment’s liquor license.

I did see a notice that a tax lien against the property was discharged Dec. 10 of this year.

Red Star Baptist Church

The Red Star Baptist Church is outside the casino area, as far as I know, but I’m tossing in a photo of it since it’s been a Red Star landmark. I remember it being right on the edge of the flood waters in 1993. I’ll revisit that area when those negatives surface.

20 Replies to “Shoe Factory Neighborhood”

    1. I did a quick Google Archive search on The Mule Lip.

      Yep, same place. Must have been quite a rocking joint

      Of the four stories that popped up, one dealt with a fatal stabbing near the place; one was a drunk who fired ten rounds through the window when after he was thrown out, and one was an attempted rape outside the bar.

      I saw a Frony business story in 1977 that said that Mr. and Mrs. Joe Melvin bought the old Fairway Market building from Bob Ward to turn it into (in Frony’s words) a resturant with “a slightly less than plush interior.” It was to replace the Melvins’ restaurant, The Sandbox, which had burned.

      I don’t know if it ever opened nor for how long.

      1. I used to work with a retired officer from Cape that told me of working for Cape during the stabbing. He was a very smart officer and shared many of his stories with me in his early years of law enforcement. I’m not sure I’m able to say much more than he was there.

      2. Ken, Yes the Sandbox DID open there. Band on Friday nights! It was my hang out for awhile. I can’t really say how long it was open though. When it re-opened I didn’t like it and didn’t bother going back. I do know that when Joe still had it that Lou Hobbs played there one night.

  1. My uncle was a butcher at the Fairway Market across from the shoe factory. Fairway Market #2 was further north on Main St. and was originally Cole’s Market. It was located across the street from Red Star Baptist Church.

  2. Mule Lip, I can remember that place being packed many many nights. It was later remodeled on the inside and lost a bunch of the “market” atmosphere.

  3. My family moved to Cape in Ju1964. My Dad ws the pastor at Red Star from 64 to 74. He is turning 84 January 3 & lives in Middleburg, VA. My brother Earl & I worked at Sunny Hill Restaurant & many times late at night we would fly through the shoe factory turn at over 80 mph riding on our motorcycles or in our 67 Camaro. Great place to grow up.

  4. Ah, the Mule Lip. While not entirely on topic, one night in October 1981, I convinced a young lady at the Mule Lip to go on a first date with me to the German Dance that was to be held at the Arena a few weeks later. She agreed, we went, and decided we couldn’t live without each other and here we are 29 years later, happily married.

  5. Ah yes the Mule Lip! Gerald Ruseller (class of 66) was one the owners of this fine place. I used to drink free there, until the help asked Gerald WHO is this TERRY guy from Chicago!
    I think my Dad had a picutre or two of the old tavern as teh corner tavern or the curve…I will lok them up. My Dad painted the beer signs on this place many time in his life!

  6. I am looking for a Gerald Ruseller from Cape Girardeau that served in Viet Nam in 1968-69. C 1/5 1st Cav Div.

  7. I lived across the street from the shoe factory for many years and the pictures bring back memories. Mostly the ball field next to the Deering’s place.

    1. My sister lived a short while on the street next to the shoe factory. I can’t remember the name of the street. Does anyone know. My Dad worked there as a fireman one time. Sikeston has changed so much. Does anyone know what the business was between Bonus Hill and the highway was. It was a blue building close to the airport.

  8. My family were friends of the Melvins. I remember the original sandbox having a fire and this building was the Sandbox 2 which was across the street. I remember it being a bar before this also. Fairway market that I remember was more north closer to First Star Baptist Church.

  9. There were 2 Fairway Market stores. Fairway Market #1 was across the street from Red Star Baptist Church and #2 was across the street from the shoe factory.

    After Fairway Market #2 closed, it re-opened for a couple of years as a recreation center (pin-ball, pool tables, foos ball, etc).

    After the rec center closed, the property was sold to the owners of the Sandbox Bar that was across the street from it. As the new owners were remodeling the inside in preparation for opening it as another bar, the original Sandbox Bar burned.

    I remember these events well as it was my father who owned the Fairway Market stores (Robert Ward) and it was my brother (Keith Ward) and I who ran the rec center.

    Fond memories…good times…

  10. I would love to have a picture of either Fairway Market #1 or #2. I’ve only seen one picture of the #1 store before it closed and was torn down.

  11. My great aunt Earleen was married to Orville Carr by Reverend Hobart Peterson at Red Star Baptist Church in 1937. Anyone know if this is the same building? It looks a bit modern by 1937 standards but not out of the question that this is the original building perhaps with some additions/modifications.

  12. I am 74 yrs old,now live in new Hampshire.i was born in cape 1944; lived in red star until I was 15. I worked at Coles market (my first job ) when I was 12years old for Mrs. Ward . Store #2 next to red star Baptist dad worked for Simpson oil co. Lee

  13. I’d like to have some information from the shoe factory around 1938-1940, thinking of a couple of employees that worked there at the time.
    Earl Fay Crouch
    R Crouch
    Helen Maureen Lett. Any information about any of these people, any stories about them, -her especially- would be appreciated. I know she was born and raised there, and gosh, anything about her time there….
    Any leads on where I could find info (do employee records or anything like that exist?) or is there a museum or anything I could make a day trip to see?

    1. See if anyone at the Cape Girardeau County History Center can point you in the right direction. I don’t know of any specific shoe factory museum. (573) 979-5170

      This post has links to a bunch of shoe factory stories I’ve done over time. Some of them have more history in them than this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *