Fender-Bender at Broadway and Fountain

Looking south toward the Idan-Ha Hotel

I’ve got a gazillion wreck pictures in my files, but I’m  going to run only those that are of unusual vehicles, unusual circumstances or have interesting backgrounds. This fender-bender between a car and a taxicab at the corner of Broadway and Fountain in 1966 fits the criteria. I assume the two guys in the foreground were the drivers from their universal “Oh, Bleep” pose.

The old Idan-Ha Hotel is on the corner. I spent many a lunch hour in the coffee shop there when I was working at The Missourian.

Looking north toward the Marquette Hotel

The Marquette Hotel is on the right and the H&H Building is on the left.

Officer Fred Kaempfer directs traffic

I looked at the officer directing traffic and thought I had a shot of him from another occasion. Yep. It was a portrait of a guy with sort of a soulful look in his eyes. I remembered him as being one of the nicest guys who ever wore a uniform.

Wife Lila immediately recognized him from her days working at the Rialto Theater. The only problem was that we couldn’t think of his name to save ourselves.

Fortunately, we have house guests from Cape Girardeau staying with us. Lila’s sister, Marty Perry Riley (Class of 68) and her husband, Don Riley (class of 67) are in town for Marty to do a chalk drawing in the Lake Worth Street Painting festival this weekend. Son Adam’s company, DedicatedIT has brought her down the last three years to do the drawings. (It’s chilly down here this year, but it’s generally not hard to convince her to come to Florida in February with the kind of weather Cape’s been having.)

As soon as I showed them the photo, they both said, “Fred Kaempfer.” Don had been a Cape police officer himself.

What I didn’t know about Officer Kaempfer was that he was a song writer who came up with “Keep Walking On,” sung by Ken Roberts, in 1970. Fred died in 2004, at 80. His obituary fleshed out his life. He worked at Leming Sawmill for 25 years, was a Cape policeman from 1965 to 1973, and was a Scott City policeman from 1973 until he retired in 1978.

A letter to the editor in The Missourian after his death pointed out something else. Few know that during World War II Kaempfer fought in five major campaigns: Sicily, Central Europe, Normandy, Rhineland and the invasion of France, where he was awarded the Medal of Freedom.

View to the east shows First Federal Savings and The Southeast Missourian

It was a hot day in 1966, if the temperature sign on the First Federal Savings is correct – 88 degrees. This is quite a contrast with a Frony picture taken at the same intersection during a snow storm when the temperature was 28 degrees on the sign. You can see it in Fred Lynch’s Southeast Missourian blog.

Notice the phone number on the side of the cab: ED. 5-4433. ED stood for Edgewater. Jackson was the Circle exchange.

You can see The Missourian Building and the Royal N’Orleans, but the KFVS tower hasn’t been built yet.

The Idan-Ha is gone

The Idan-Ha Hotel caught fire a couple of times and was torn down. Here’s what it looked like on Oct. 24, 2009.

The Marquette Hotel escaped the wrecking ball

The future of the Marquette Hotel was very much in doubt for many years, but it looks like it’s taken on a new life. The canopies over the doors were more interesting when the building was a hotel, but, overall, the building looks better than it has in decades.

Note the KFVS TV building sticking high up into the sky.

39 Replies to “Fender-Bender at Broadway and Fountain”

  1. I believe the Fred Kaempfer of whom you speak was from my Great Uncle Emil Kaempfer Family. Uncle Ame as we called him ,was the husband of my Paternal Grandmother’s sister, Grace Varner Kaempfer. I was a young child when my Great Uncle passed. My brother Howard Lee Parker deceased at age 7 in 1947 is buried in the Kaempfer family plot…his plot was given to my parents by them with the promise that he would never be moved. I learned in 1994 after an inquiry to the open plots that they were owned by Fred & Ruby Kaempfer…who rest beside my brother…I did not know Fred…wish that I had…but thanks to you I know now that although I was not able to put our Mother beside him, that his earthly remains are in good company to the left & right ….thank you once again!

    1. Here is the obit that ran in The Missourian on Jan. 3, 2004.

      Fred L. Kaempfer, 80, of Jackson died Friday, Jan. 2, 2004, at St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.

      He was born Sept. 27, 1923, in Cape Girardeau, son of William F. and Millie Ann Davis Kaempfer. He and Louise Dabbs were married March 25, 1952, in Cape Girardeau. She died April 10, 1988.

      Kaempfer worked at Leming Sawmill 25 years, was a Cape Girardeau policeman from 1965 to 1973, and a Scott City policeman from 1973 until retiring in 1978. He was a member of Disabled American Veterans.

      He served with the 813th Division of the U.S. Army during World War II, and the 374th Division Air Police Squadron in the U.S. Air Force from 1947 to 1949.

      Survivors include six sons, Bimbo Kaempfer of Cape Girardeau, Mike Kaempfer of Fruitland, Danny Kaempfer of Glenallen, Mo., Leon, Jack and Robert Kaempfer of Henderson, Nev.; three daughters, Dollie Hoffman of Jackson, Diane O’Kelly of Cape Girardeau, Tina Schumer of Fruitland; a brother, Gerald Kaempfer of Cape Girardeau; a sister, Mary Reynolds of Jonesboro, Ill.; 33 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandchild.

      He was preceded in death by a brother.

      1. Must be a different Fred Kaempfer …the Fred I spoke of wife’s name was Ruby. Thanks for the obit ….guess they could be related somehow.

      2. I had the privilage of knowing Fred and his brother Gerald (who by the way is still Living) Fred was a great guy, I rember when he patroled on main street him and another cop always had candy to give to kids, Both Fred and his brother Gerald were great Guiter pickers, they would come to my parents house(Jake and Lucille Riehn) and all of them would play and sing for hours..

    2. There were 2 Fred Kaempfers in town and was confusing for both families. My dad Paul was the only son of Fred & Ruby. Fred had three or four brothers one of which was Emil. Their father, J.A. Kaempfer built the house on the corner of Frederick & Jefferson which still stands today. We were no relation to the police officer Fred Kaempfers family.

  2. Who in the world owned a Checker in Cape???? and what are the odds of wreaking it in the middle of down town?

    The Marquette does look pretty good these days…Liza and I went to top floors to check it out last year and they do have a nice room with a great veiw, for great cocktail party (or kegger for types like ken and me). The place was built like a fort.

    I remember that Merrill and Darrell Lewis used to run the elevators at night at the hotel, they were only run by an operator in those days!

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Does anyone else remember the Lady Cab Driver in the 60’s….Flo the Cab Driver….I believe she might have drove a Checker Cab like that & dressed very masculine with the authentic uniform & billed hat like doormen wear at grand hotels….it seems to me she might have provided for her children as a single or divorced Mom driving that cab, so the story went
      …or was Flo from another town I lived in…Can anyone confirm Flo or is this memory from another town or another life or Another World the SoapI

    2. Terry,

      Checkers were the choice of cab companies all over the country. They were built to be indestructible and to have plenty of room for passengers and luggage. I talked to a guy down here who bought one for personal use. He said it would outlast him.

      Talk about odds? I worked a hit and run between a Rolls Royce and a Bentley where a stretch limo chased down the car that split. Of course, that was down here where Rolls are about as common as Chevies back home.

  3. Ken the phone number on the cab is 5-5533. If you enlarge the picture you can see it better. I really enjoy your pictures as well as Fred’s. Thanks

    1. Didn’t know her last name…Bruce Edwards from the class of “67 & Vickie Edwards brother.? Did not know that….thanks for the info…its a small world if we just pay attention!

  4. Yeah, Flo did have an intimidating presence. I worked for a short time as a waitress at Sunny Hill Restaurant on West End Blvd and she often came in for a break. One day I had just served her a platter of French fries when she called me over and there in the middle of the fries was a big black cockroach. She asked me if we charged extra for meat? Humiliated as only a 15 year old could be, I was rescued by the manager who deeply apologized, called the cook to task and offered her a free substitute. Actually, Flo was pretty decent about the whole disgusting event. In later years I learned that unscrupulous people can bring their own insect into an establishment in order to get a free meal, not that that was likely the case with Flo. She was a regular patron and continued even after that day.

    1. Speaking of dining experiences… I had been in a San Jose, CA, training class for two weeks. On the day I was supposed to leave to go home to FL, I saw that a weak hurricane was headed to West Palm Beach, so I tried to get on an early flight back. By the time I got to Houston, all flights were canceled, so I had to stay there overnight.

      Here’s a message I sent to friends, family and the hotel chain after I got home:

      Oakley’s Restaurant at 15747 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Houston, TX 77032, was almost empty when I arrived, but it took several minutes for the greeter to see and seat me. I decided on the Bayou Catfish order with garlic mashed potatoes, cole slaw and iced tea. The waitress brought a basket of bread. I didn’t have high hopes for hotel food, but this was really good. The tea was freshly brewed and also
      tasted great. Californians don’t know how to make good tea, so this was the first good glass of non-flavored tea I’d had in two weeks.

      The main course took a while to get there (good cooking takes time, you know, so I wasn’t concerned), but, when it arrived, it looked great. I’m a little weak on cooking terms, but the fish was covered with some kind of browned corn-meal-looking stuff. The waiter asked if I’d like some lemon with it. I said that would be wonderful.

      He disappeared and I took my fork to cut into the fish. It didn’t cut cleanly. In fact, it didn’t cut at all. I touched the white, translucent flesh. It was freezer-cold.

      When the waiter came back, I said, “This fish ain’t even close to being cooked. It had a higher temperature when it was swimming in the bayou.” He took the plate and walked toward the kitchen hollering for the cook.

      The waitress came back and promised that the fish would be replaced. “It’s on the house,” she said. I told her that was more than I expected, but, “Thanks.”

      When the plate came back a few minutes later, the fish was some of the best I’ve ever eaten. It was cooked perfectly. I took my first forkful of garlic mashed potatoes and found that they were excellent, also.

      Then my eye went to something in the middle of the potatoes. Something dark and unpotato-like. I tentatively stretched one tine of my fork to the corner of it and pulled. A long, black hair pulled out of the center of the potatoes. When I released it, it curled back like a spring. I continued to eat the fish.

      When the waitress came by to see how I was doing, I told her that the catfish was excellent and the first bite of potatoes was very good. Then I pointed out the long, black hair coiled up in the middle of the potatoes. “Mam,” I said, “you’ve already comped out the meal. I assure you that I wouldn’t have wasted a hair that good on a meal that was already free. It came that way.”

      “Would you like fries with that?” she asked, clearly mortified.

      “No, I don’t think I can handle any more surprises,” I answered.

      “Would you at least like for me to remove the potatoes from your plate?”

      “No, I feel more comfortable if the plate never leaves my sight. I’ll just eat the fish.”

      A few minutes later, she came by and asked if I wanted to take a chance on the desert cart. “I’ll understand if you don’t,” she said.

      “Sure,” I said. “I’ll just eat with my eyes closed.” For the record, the chocolate pie was great.

        1. Thanks, Trace.

          If you spend a lot of time on the road, it’s easy to build up a collection of those stories. I enjoyed sending complaint letters like this when I got a chance. I always figured there was some poor schmuck having to read gripes all day long, so this was an opportunity to let him go home and say, “Hey, Maude, you’ll never believe what I got today.”

          I had a general manager who joked that she should have me write all of her “Dear Sir, You Cur” letters. At least, I THINK she was joking.

  5. Flo operarated her own cab company and was not part of the other company in town.
    I don’t remember the cross street but it was a house that above the street on William accross form the coal company near the Missouri Pacaific tracks that6 crossed William.
    Shw was indeed one iof a kind, and way ahead of her time!

    1. Dennis,

      Sharon Sanders, The Missourian librarian, sent me a couple of links about Flo.

      http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=W20fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=iNUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2675,2809109&dq=flo+cab&hl=en is a story when Flo retired.

      http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=jLEfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=WdcEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5581,80770&dq=flo+edwards&hl=en is Flo’s obituary. She died June 29, 1986, at 85. The short obit was probably done by someone who had never heard of Flo the cab driver.

      Thanks for Sharon, who does a great job with the Out of the Past column and feeding factoids to Fred Lynch’s Frony series. Newspaper librarians have been some of the most interesting and helpful folks I’ve ever worked with. They fill in the institutional memory that’s lost when old-timers retire, die or move on. Sadly, their work is seldom recognized.

  6. I worked with Fred on the Cpae Police Departartment and he was one of the kindest persons i ever knew! He was very patient with this “Rookie” and taght me many things. I was really saddened at his passing.

  7. Ken and Lila, Thanks for the trip to the past. I remember Flo,yes I did have to take a cab here and there sometimes…Also I knew Fred the cop (even before he became my brothers Father in law) He was kind and was never judgmental. Handsome too.

  8. Margie,

    I’ll have to tell Lila she remembered the Fred connection correctly. Of course, I learned the correct answer from the very get-go is, “Yes, you’re right.”

    If that turns out NOT to be the case, the fall-back answer is, “I must have heard you incorrectly the first time.”

  9. Fred Kaempfer was my grandpa. He was such a good person I am lucky to have had him in my life. He was always smiling and laughing and I will never forget his smile. We all miss him so much.

  10. Wow seeing these pictures of my grandpa (Fred Kaempfer) makes some of the many stories he shared with me over the years come to life. He used to tell me so many stories about when he was cop and when he was in world war 2 , he is gone now but his amazing stories will live with me forever and I will share with my kids how their great grandpa Fred lived through some of the GREATEST but most difficult times. I miss you Grandpa
    Love joey

    1. Fred was my grandfather also, my father is mentioned in his obituary Jack of Henderson Nevada. I only got to meet grandpa Fred a few times when he came to Henderson to visit my dad and his brothers. My dad never spoke much about grandpa fred so this article and pictures were extremely interesting to me thankyou to the author for giving me a small peek into my grandfather’s life and to Joey for mentioning himself on this!

  11. Fred Kaempfer was my grandpa . He was such an amazing person. We would sit for hours at a time and he would tell me some of the best stories about when he was a cop. He loved his job and I know he touched many peoples lives with his kind heart. I am so proud to say that he was my Grandfather and he is missed by all. I love you grandpa! Your memory will live on in my heart and my childrens heart forever! 🙂

  12. I’d also like to thank you for posting pics of my grandpa, Fred Kaempfer and for all the nice comments about him.

  13. Fred Kaempfer is my father, he is gone to a better place now he still lives in my heart and always will and i will see him someday with open arms. Hes the best dad ever! Thank you so so much for posting these pictures of him we appreciate it!

  14. Hi there, I discovered your blog by way of Google while searching and your put up appears very interesting for me.

  15. Do remember the first fire vividly! Fire started in the Rainbow Room which was next door to my father’s jewelry store. Dad got a call from someone and we rushed down to the store. Firemen hoses etc. were everywhere and they told us we couldn’t go in the store. I remember my dad saying that he HAD to go in and try to get some stuff out that there was no way you could carry enough insurance to cover everything. They let us go in with the smoke and water and start pulling things out…..drawers of silver, jewelry in cases etc. and piling it into our cars which we kept open. Dad was out of business for several months because of smoke and water damage that was EVERYWHERE! Then moved to the corner building and he and Mom made an apt. over the two stores in that building. Cape was a WONDERFUL place to grow up and still is a WONDERFUL place with great schools and wonderful people!

  16. Flo used to scare me to death! She drove her old black station wagon like she was running in the Dayton 500. She used to sit up at the bus station to wait on fares. She always got her parking space and the Kelly Cab Co. didn’t give her any flack! She and my mother were friends. I sure remember that old black wagon!

  17. I was pleasantly surprised to see the picture of Fred. When I was growing up our families were very close. We all lived in Smelterville; across both sets of tracks just a block or so off the river. Freds father lived in a little house that was right near the old pump that we all got water from. I grew up knowing him as Uncle Liz. We visited Uncle Liz often when we were young. I remember that my parents and the entire Kaempfer family were close. As funny as it sounds; if you had a wart on your skin and you wanted to get rid of it you were sent to see Uncle Liz. He would buy our warts for a penny apiece; and they always went away. Still to this day can’t explain it, but it always worked. Fred and Louise were very good people.

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