Town Plaza Turns 50

The Missourian’s Melissa Miller did a nice overview of the history of the Town Plaza Shopping Center that turned 50 this year. It’s a good read about the place that killed downtown. (That’s my opinion, not Melissa’s. I’d hate to get her in trouble.) Ironically enough, the westward expansion left the Plaza in the dust about 20 years ago when I-55 became the new Main St.

Here is an aerial photo I shot looking east down William St. from Kingshighway sometime in 1966 or 1967.

Standard Station at William & Kingshighway

The Standard gas station where the elephant-washing photo was taken is at the intersection of William and Kingshighway, at the bottom-center of the photo. Here’s a whole spread on the day the elephant visited the Town Plaza.

Central High School and Kingshighway

This photo shot north and behind the Town Plaza shows Central High School in the upper right. The view is to the northeast. The intersection in the center right is Independence and Kingshighway.

8 Replies to “Town Plaza Turns 50”

  1. I remember when the area that is the Town Plaza or a large portion thereof was Cape Girardeau Veterinarian Doc Hathaway’s farm.

  2. The Town Plaza played a huge part in my teen years. We lived on Whitener Street across from the high school, within easy walking distance. I got my first real job there in the summer of 1960. I worked at Gamble Hardware store before and during their grand opening. It was a very exciting time, but I agree that it killed Main Street. Thanks for the memories.

  3. It was a big day when the Plaza opened! My grandparents took me and I was so impressed with the free orchids. I agree it changed the landscape, from the Hathaway farm horses to asphalt, and was just the beginning of the end for downtown as we knew it.

  4. like every other town,once an alternate shopping are opens? the older one like in the case of downtown cape suffers. i loved town plaza,there were so many stores. sears,woolworths, and least not forget mom worked at mr C’s was a busy plaza was great!. funny thing i went into the area that used to be thad bullocks? cafteria? the place still had the same smell. not offendsive…just nostalgic.hopefully like the downtown area. someone will come up with a concept to kick start it back to some of it’s glory days

  5. I was 16 when Dad (Doc Hathaway) sold our farm for the shopping center. It was great growning up there with all of the ponies,horses, cows, chickens and dogs. Does anyone have any pictures of the place before they bulldozed it down? I can see the house and his hospital in my mind, but I would like some pictures if anyone has any. That was the good old days living outside the city limits…

  6. Linda,
    I remember visiting with my older siblings & they would ride horses. My Dad Harold Parker worked at Commercial Transport across the gravel road, William Street. He was a diesel mechanic & if he went in on Saturday’s we sometimes went along if he only had to work a few hours. I was the scrawny pre-schooler that had red cowgirl boots but wouldn’t go near the horses. Your Dad was our family vet & Mom & Dad’s friend as well. When I first married I took our first dog as a married couple to your Dad & carried on the family tradition. I wish I had photos, but all my visuals remain in my memory as special times. My husband always asks to see my birth certificate when I speak of Wm. St. being a gravel road & that area being a beautiful farm of Doc’s & his family. He’s a 1947 model & I’m a year younger. He lived on Bloomfield in the house next to Lutheran Home now, which was country too! He just doesn’t have a good memory I suppose. Thanks to your family for the hospitality & fond memories. Libby Parker Koch

  7. The main memory was the honor of being the Bobby Kennedy and his wife( before secret Service) at a poiitical rally at town Plaza shopping center.
    Myself and another Cape PD officer met the limo on Street and escorted them through the parking lot and thousands of people in the crowd.
    Bobby and his wife were very short I discovered while the other officer and I had our arms surrounding them.
    We finally got them to the flat bed trailer that set up as a speakers stage.
    I was very nervous the entire time, but everything went as planned.
    This occurred 1 week before the incident in California, where Bobby was shot and killed.

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