Santa Search Causes My Head to Hurt

Santa Claus photo printed to emphasize background buildingI’ve been poking around trying to figure out where the Santa picture was taken that I posted here. I’ve looked at Google Maps, Topofusion Maps and every current photo I took last month. My head hurts.

Brother Mark suggested it might have been taken from Shivelbine’s Music on Broadway, but I pretty much dismissed that. (And not just because he’s my brother.)

Here’s a second frame taken from a slightly different angle that shows that the business across the street is, indeed, a bar and / or cafe.  Note the six windows that are visible on the second floor. (Click on the image to make it larger.)

Southeast Missourian photographer Fred Lynch came up with another theory.

Fred’s message and photos

It looks like the Santa in the window photo was taken in the 600 block of Good Hope in the Haarig District.

I shot these photos today.

Photo #1, the building in the background

The south side of the 600 block of Good Hope in Cape Girardeau's Haarig District

In photo #1, notice the three-story building on the left. It appears that is in the background of your Santa photo. At the far right in the Santa photo, notice the two-story building.

Photo #2, the building from which the photo was taken

The north side of the 600 block of Good Hope in Cape Girardeau's Haarig District

The Santa photo has a utility pole in it. In photo #2, notice the utility pole in front of the building.

The buildings have changed much over the years.

I am not sure which building was Unnerstall’s since it has changed.

It could be, it might not be

Like Fred says, the street has changed so much that it’s hard to tell what was there 40 years ago. The best reference I have is a 1979 Cape Girardeau City Directory that lists what business were in the 600 block of Good Hope. Even in 1979 it was depressing to see how many addresses were marked “Vacant.”

North side of 600 Block of Good Hope

Here is what the directory shows for the addresses in Photo #2 in 1979, from right to left:

  • 620 Good Hope (Meyer Supply Company) was Suedekum Hardware
  • 624 Good Hope – vacant
  • 624A Good Hope – vacant
  • 626 Good hope – vacant
  • 630 Good Hope – Unnerstall’s Drug Store. I think that’ll be the light-colored building with the white awning.
  • 632 Good Hope – Mary Dee Cafe
  • 632 Good Hope – vacant
  • 635 Good Hope – on corner of Sprigg (not shown) – Jo Donna Day Dance School (was Shade’s Clothing Store in the 60s)

If Fred is correct, the original picture was probably taken in one of the small shops between Meyer Supply Company and Unnerstall’s.

Does anyone else want to take a stab at it?

Haarig was once a vibrant community

Suedekum’s wasn’t just a hardware store. They set up some great toy train displays at Christmas time. I’ll never forget the year Dad brought home of of their displays. I still have the trains.

There was a bakery right around the corner east of the hardware store that had smells to die for. We would shop for clothes in Schade’s Clothing Store and get prescriptions filled at Unnerstall’s or Cape Cut Rate. One of my barbers was within a block on Sprigg and there was a grocery store nearby.

Farmer’s and Merchants Bank was on the other side of Sprigg and Dad had an office for his construction company upstairs for awhile. I can still remember walking into the bank with a handful small change to deposit in my savings account. (Later I was disappointed to find that my money got mixed in with everyone else’s money and I wouldn’t get the exact coins back.)

[Editor’s note: Fred’s photo blog in The Missourian is one of the most widely-read features in the paper. If you like my photos, you’ll appreciate the ones he comes up with.]

7 Replies to “Santa Search Causes My Head to Hurt”

  1. I too believe the Santa display window might have been Suedekum’s …Harrig district was the main shopping district in my grandparent’s day…my Dad always refered to Good Hope district as Harrig even into the years before he died…& we shopped at a grocery on the south side of Good Hope when I was a pre-schooler. I believe that building is in the present day photo of the Southside. It was Roos Market or something like that? Don’t remember much about it except they had a spinning Golden Books display from which I chose a new book most visits. They also had great cheese cake & breaded ground meat on a stick that my Dad called “City Chicken”. You deep fried them…the closest thing to fast food I remember from my early years other than Blue Hole.

    Cape was made up of three districts in the “Old Days”; Harrig, Smelterville, & Leadville…I believe. No, I’m not that old…but I remember hearing or reading it somewhere. I have an old photo someplace of baseball or softball uniform clad players with Harrig in big letters across there chests…no idea of the date but I would guess late 1800’s. Will try to find sometime & post it.

    My daughter took dancing lessons in the late 70’s from Jo Donna Day in the old Schade building. I would freguent Mary Dees during her lesson…Brenda Taylor Glueck from my Class of ’67 worked there & she could probably identify all the businesses at that time….she currently owns Brenda’s Place on Morgan Oak…I don’t have an email address for her…husband’s name is Virgil…also a Centralite. Thanks for all the photos & memories.

  2. Libby,

    I don’t think it was Suedekum’s. I think it’s more likely that it was in one of the shops between the hardware store and Unnerstall’s Drug Store. I don’t remember Suedekum’s carrying shoes like the ones in the corner of the picture. And, if it was Christmas, they usually had model trains set up in the window.

    Wasn’t it great how the stores all had kid books and comics? I loved to go to Child’s on Broadway with their comic book display was on the left, just as you came in the door. I’d park myself there and not care how long Mother took grocery shopping.

    I always thought Smelterville and Leadville were the same. I wrote a little bit about Smelterville on my other blog.

    I shot quite a few pictures in what The Missourian euphemistically called South Cape. They’ll show up one of these days.

  3. Hi Ken — great work on your site with pictures, nostalgia, etc.; many, many wonderful memories. Thank you. Notwithstanding that I saw the Good Hope area when I was “home” for my 25-year reunion in ’88 and the first Classes of the 60s Reunion in ’01, it nevertheless is painful for me to see the deterioration reflected in photo #1, especially the building in which I worked innumerable hours, my parent’s store at the far right, Cape Cut Rate, 635 Good Hope. The wood door behind the car’s trunk opened into a narrow, very steep stairwell to the 2nd floor, which was used for storage. Man, was it (upstairs) HOT in the summer and COLD in the winter!! We were on the SE corner of Good Hope & Sprigg. Farmers & Merchants Bank on the SW corner, Hirsch’s on the NW corner and Schade’s was on the NE corner. As it was on the north side of the street, Schade’s had an even number address rather than 635 as inadvertently shown in the directory, above.

    Libby is correct, Ruh’s Market was on the south side of the 600 block as was Nunnelly’s Drug Store, which I believe is the glass-front store shown to the right of the store with the awning.

    The location of your Santa photo presents a real conundrum, and the several ‘clues’ exacerbate the problem rather than lead to its resolve; e.g., the shoes in the window tend to make one think of a Men’s Clothing Store; in the 60s the shopping areas were Main Street, Broadway and Good Hope. Sides-Miller was in the 600 block of Broadway, Irvin’s and Ross Young were on Main but I do not remember a cafe/bar across from them. Al’s Mid-Town Lounge at 627 Good Hope might have had a Stag Beer sign but the word Cafe doesn’t seem to fit and the location seems wrong for the picture. Hirsch’s might have sold shoes but again, the cafe/bar across the street? Then, there is the car, ’62 Dodge Dart? It looks like it is parked at an angle? I thought all on-street parking was parallel, but maybe not. Oh, well, a senior moment, I guess.

    You mentioned a bakery, was it Martin’s Bakery on Frederick, behind/next to Sunny Hill Feed?
    And, what memories of Mr. Unger; he cut our hair, as well. His last shop that I remember was on Sprigg Street, immediately south and adjacent to the side entrance to our store.

    I didn’t know this was going be a dissertation, sorry. One old memory leads to another, right? Thanks again for your efforts.

    p.s. we moved to WPB in ’72; now that you retired, are you here year-round or a “Snowbird”?

  4. Ken,
    Chuck Blitstein points out that the car looks like it is angle parked. I agree with him. The sign on the window looks like it says Palace Cafe to me. I don’t remember the Palace Cafe in Cape Girardeau. Could this possibly be a picture taken in Jackson. I believe they used angle parking extensively in Jackson. The mystery continues.

    Thanks for posting all of the old pictures.


  5. Chuck,

    I’ll have an update in the next day or so definitely pinning down where on Good Hope that picture was taken. Bill Hopkins has been running around Cape trying to find the building, but the big prize goes to Fred Lynch.

    He sent me some pictures yesterday (posted after this) that sort of narrowed it down. Today he went back and shot a picture from almost the same angle as my picture.

    It’s amazing how these little things will bug you until you can resolve them.

    We moved to WPB in 72 thinking we would have a three-year FL vacation, since that’s the longest I had ever been at any newspaper. The next thing I know, I’m signing up for an early retirement buyout in 08. Of course, I had four different jobs over the time I was at The Post: staff photographer, director of photography, editorial operations manager and telecommunications manager. It was ALMOST like job hopping without having to pack up everything in the house.

  6. I love a mystery…& so enjoy the memories. Sometiime in the mid to late 60’s my Dad was visiting from Jackson Mississippi, I suppose the older parts of Cape were familiar to him & felt more like home. He did like a good bowl of chili & of course a beer with it, & Bill & I ate with him at a Cafe/Bar on Good Hope. It was probably before we married & we were still living in Cape…which would have been pre-fall of ’67. I’m almost certain that the cafe had white wood molding around the front but don’t recall the large windows, but then again, the eating was farther back in the establishment, maybe even a separate room….Thanks again for taking my mind off of all that I need to be doing & taking it back to a simpler time when my most stressful decisions were, studying for tests, what to wear to school the next day, etc. Can’t wait for the resolution of the Santa mystery photo…hope there will be more.

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