I’ve seen some activity around the old Esquire Theater lately, but didn’t have time enough to stop to ask what was going on before Friday.
Is this going to be another tease where we think good things are going to happen or is it being prepped to become yet another SEMO parking lot.
Alas, if may be more of the tease variety. A workman told me that they were just doing routine maintenance to make the place look a little better.
Earlier Esquire stories
I usually complain when an old building in Cape is turned into a parking lot, but I never had much of a feeling one way or another about the First National Bank, which later became the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In fact, the only photos I took of the building at the corner of Broadway and Main might have been the night the Teen Age Club was rocking so hard the dance was moved to the parking lot of the old bank.
Lynch and Baughn covered the history
Missourian bloggers Fred Lynch and James Baughn did a good job of digging up the history of the bank, which was built in 1956. You can go to Fred’s blog to find all the links and photos, including recent ones taken while it was being razed. By the time I got to town, it was pretty much all over. This was taken July 5, 2013.
American Queen nice surprise
When I went down to pick up an order at Broussard’s on July 7, I saw a reason not to lament the loss of a rather nondescript bank building. Anyone parking in that lot in the future will have a great view of riverboats like The American Queen. The Buckner building on the corner is vacant now.
(I’ll have some shots of The Queen later. You can click on any of the photos to make them larger.)
The Harris Motor Company fire at the northeast corner of Broadway and Lorimier wasn’t all that exciting, but it did capture some interesting things in the background of a couple of shots.
I don’t know that I was ever in the building, but Fred Lynch and Sharon Sanders did a pretty good job of nailing down the history of the landmark building in Fred’s blog.
Idan-Ha Hotel sign
You can see the Idan-Ha Hotel sign off in the distance on the left. The N’Orleans sign shows up behind one for the State of Missouri Employment Service. The Idan-Ha burned in 1989, and the N’Orleans is sitting empty today.
Built in 1915
Fred’s blog said the building was constructed in 1915. In 1937, Harris Motor Car Co. razed the adjoining Dr. Adolph List house, built in 1888, to expand its operation. Another story noted that the List house was modeled after a German castle.
Turned into apartments in 2001
I couldn’t find a story about the fire, but there was an ad in the Dec. 3, 1965, Missourian saying to watch for the Grand Opening of Harris Motor Car Co. The 1968 City Directory listed Harris Motor Car Co. at Highway 61 North and Independence.
In 1968, Charmin, which was building its new plant near Neely’s Landing, leased space in the “former Harris Motor Car Building.” In 1971 the paper reported that the building had been converted into an apartment complex by Vernon Rhodes.
For a second I thought this was the same crash at Pacific and Broadway I had already covered, but it was definitely a different one. One of the things I found interesting was that it captured the Pizza King, which was once the Last Chance – First Chance Saloon.
Vandeven Mercantile is on the left.
View east on Broadway
Vandeven’s is on the right. You can see The Esquire, Wayne’s Grill, Radonics, Bodines and other lighted signs. This picture must have been taken later than the one below because the sign above proclaims “We’ve Gone Gulf.”
The old trolley tracks are visible in the middle of the street.
Station had been Cities Service
The station on the northeast corner of the intersection had been a Cities Service. Looks like the Bourbon billboard had been allowed to go blank in the later photo.
Howard’s on right
The old Howard’s Athletic Goods was on the right. Howard’s moved into the Vandeven building in 2009, then SEMO tore down the old (ugly) landmark building for a parking lot.
View to the north
Howard’s is on the left and the Gulf station is on the right. It’s warm enough that people are wearing light jackets, but I see the car on the left is still running snow tires. The banner mentions American Education Week, which is traditionally held in November, so it might be a warm, but rainy winter night. Those random white spots are caused by raindrops reflecting the camera’s flash.
Looks pretty minor (if it’s not YOUR car)
I’m going to guess the guys in the background are involved in the crash in some way. They have The Look on their faces.
I’m guessing the wreck was minor enough that nobody was hurt. The best indication of that is that the windshields don’t have any head dents.