347 North Pacific Street

SEMO's Pacific Hall 347 North Pacific 10-10-2014The building at 347 North Pacific was purchased by Southeast Missouri State University in 1980, but I’ll always remember it as Dorington Apartments, the place where Carol Klarsfeld lived.

Carol Klarsfeld by LeudersCarol was a tiny little thing who was always up for an adventure. There was a tale that she put more miles on her mother’s car than she was supposed to. Having a logical mind, she thought, “The speedometer counts up when the car is going forward, so it should count backward if the car is going in reverse.”

The prospect of driving many miles in reverse didn’t seem practical, so she jacked up the rear of the car, put it in gear and gunned it. Her logical skills far surpassed her mechanical skills unfortunately. In the story I heard, the jack slipped and the car took off at high speed in reverse.

When she and her mother moved from a ranch house to the Dorington Apartments, Carol was afraid that her neighbors would keep an eye on her and rat her out if she came in late or engaged in other shenanigans. She quickly found out that apartment dwellers are more anonymous than people who live in houses.

History of 437 North Pacific

I wasn’t able to find out when Carol’s apartment was built, but a search through Missourian archives turned up information about some of the people who lived at that address, most notably R.B. Potashnick and his family. Here’s a sampling of stories. Longer one contain links for more information.

  • January 29, 1926Mrs. C.W. Stehr is confined to her home suffering from injuries received when she fell on the ice in front of her home, 347 North Pacific Street, her right wrist broken in two places.
  • October 19, 1926Mrs. Farnham Clark, who has been visiting Miss Lucille Buck of 347 North Pacific for several days, left today for her home in Menoninee, Wis.
  • August 11, 1931Miss Lucille Bock and Herbert Bock, 347 North Pacific, left today for a motor trip to New Orleans and other points in the South.
  • October 24, 1932Miss Marie Kinder, 343 North Pacific Street, and Robert Richards, 347 North Pacific Street, spend several days with friends in LaSalle, Ill. Mr. Richards also transacted business while away. (There’s another brief that says “Almost every night the young people of Cape Girardeau are driving out Sprigg Street to Blue Hole for delicious sandwiches and soft drinks.”)

Why we vaccinate kids today

SEMO's Pacific Hall 347 North Pacific 10-10-2014

  • January 31, 1934 – Today’s contagious disease list in Cape Girardeau contained nine new names, eight measles cases and one of chicken pox being reported to City Health Officer Henry Haman, Jr. The measles cases are Mason Martin, Red Star suburb; David Phillipson, 228 North Frederick Street; Bobby Johnson, 545 South Benton Street; Jimmy Bauerle, 916 Good Hope Street; David Samuels, 123 North Spanish Street; Mary Potashnick, 347 North Pacific Street; Bobby Adams, Perryville Road; and Landess Mills, 102 North Ellis Street. Virginia Hughes, 118 North Frederick Street, has chicken pox.
  • June 14, 1938 – Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Potashnick, daughters Mary and Ann, 347 North Pacific Street, Mrs. Ben Vinyard, 322 North Pacific Street, Mrs. Geraldine Young, 331 Bellvue Street, and Don Black, 316 Bellvue Street, spent Monday in St. Louis and attended the Municipal Opera that night. Mr. Potashnick remained on business.
  • February 6, 1939 – R.B. Potashnick, a contractor, 347 North Pacific Street, spent the weekend at his home here and returned to St. Louis today on business. Mr. Potashnick last Friday was awarded a contract, aggregating over $414,000 for construction of Rural Electrification Administration project lines in the vicinity of Macon. He was recently given a contract for constructing a similar project in Elsinore and district.
  • September 13, 1951 – A chauffeur-driven 1950 Cadillac sedan and a 1939 Buick collided at the intersection of Hopper Road and Kingshighway Wednesday. Both automobiles were damaged. The Cadillac was owned by R.B. Potashnick, 347 North Pacific Street, and driven by Joe Nelson of 605 Merriwether Street. The Buick was driven by Ben Seitze, 1514 North Rand Street.
  • June 8, 1962 – The second fire within 48 hours broke out this morning at the R.B. Potashnick home, 347 North Pacific Street. The original fire caused damage estimated at $75,000 to $100,000. Chief Lewis, commenting on the [first] fire, said when firemen arrived at the house a big hole had already burned through the living room floor and a radiator had fallen through to the basement. Mr. Potashnick, a widely-known contractor whose company has handled many multi-million dollar projects throughout the country, came from St. Louis to survey the damage, but later left for Georgia on business. Mrs. Potashnick was scheduled to arrive from Ohio today.
  • April 2, 1968 – About $100 in underclothing was stolen from a basement clothesline in an apartment belonging to Mrs. Wayne Nations, 347 North Pacific.
  • November 14, 1980The Dorington Apartments, 347 North Pacific Street, will soon house classes in the SEMO State University’s College of Business. The university purchased the structure this week for just over $300,000.

Cape Central Turns 100 in 2012

Cape Central High School, in all its forms, will be 100 years old in 2012. Despite what some people may think, I was NOT in the inaugural class.

Several of the high school newsletters had mentioned that Central’s librarian, Julia Howes Jogensen, had put together a book, Cape Central High School Centennial to celebrate the occasion. One of my first stops when I got to Cape this fall was the CHS library to see if they had sold out of the books. Fortunately, they hadn’t.

It’s a very nice, yearbook-style book with 120 pages of photos and stories about Central High School, from the very first days right up to the present time. The 1950-1960s eras are well-documented. In fact, I saw three or four of my yearbook shots in it.

How do I get a Centennial book?

How can you get a copy of the book? Go to the merchandise website.

Or, send a check for $50 made out to Cape Central High School (memo line: Centennial book)

 Cape Central High School

1000 South Silver Springs Road

Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63703

Attn: Julia Jorgensen

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed looking through my copy. I noticed on the merchandise webpage that limited numbers of old high school yearbooks were available. I’m not sure if there are any left.

Photo gallery from the book

This is just a sample of some of the photos that are in the Centennial book. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the photo to move through the gallery. I’ll be bringing you current pictures of Julia’s new Central High School library in the next day or so. It’s nothing like the sterile, shushing study hall we remember.


Sinkholes, a Train and a Dairy

I always have to take a spin down South Sprigg Street to check out the cement plant and ride out to the Diversion Channel on what used to be U.S. 61 before I-55 was built. The trip has been complicated a bit by a huge sinkhole that’s closed the road off at Cape LaCroix Creek since the spring flood. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Where did that farm come from?

When I got to the bridge, I pulled into a road to turn around. There I saw something I’d never noticed before: an old farm house with a sign that read “Farmer Owned Prairie Farms Sprigg Street Dairy.”

Fresh No-Trespassing signs

I’m pretty casual with No Trespassing signs if I think I can meet someone friendly. These signs were fresh and the light was about gone, so I figured I’d file this away for a future visit. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed that farm over the years.

Train in the distance

My attention was drawn to the train whistle of a BNSF freight. I hustled over to get a shot of it crossing the 1929 railroad bridge Niece Laurie and I photographed last year.

Old Federal Materials building

I swiveled to catch the train headed toward the cement plant with the old Federal Materials building in the foreground. The original Blue Hole BBQ was right across the street from this building.

Sinkhole patch about done

Looks like Sprigg Street is about to open. There’s only a little patch left to go. I wonder how long it’ll be before the street gets swallowed up again.

1929 Railroad Bridge

Wife Lila’s niece, Laurie Everett, wanted to go a photo expedition. The first couple of locations didn’t pan out, so we headed to South Cape (as The Missourian used to refer to it euphemistically) to see if anything was still left from the 60s.

We drove down a gravel road until it became a couple ruts that ended at Cape LaCroix Creek, just upstream from where it dumps into the Mississippi River. On our left was a railroad trestle dated 1929.

Cape LaCroix Creek looking downstream

If we were standing on the other bank or on the bridge, we could probably see the river around that last bend. There is another bridge downstream that I didn’t notice until I looked closely at the aerial photo at the bottom of the page.

View upstream toward Sprigg St.

The view upstream looking at Sprigg St. is a much more attractive creek than it was in the days when it carried offal and other unspeakable things from packing plants located on its banks.

Long ago, that bridge on Sprigg would have been a toll bridge leading to Tollgate Hill that I wrote about earlier.

Aerial view of Cape LaCroix Creek and Mississippi River

Here is a photo of the area taken last weekend. Sprigg St. is at the bottom of the picture. The 1929 railroad bridge is above Sprigg. The third bridge is another railroad bridge. The Blue Hole Garden would have been where the green trailer is at the bottom right of the aerial photo.