2017 Holiday Decorations

Yeah, I KNOW Christmas and New Year’s have passed, but if stores can stock Valentine’s Day candy and Easter bunnies before the first week of 2018 is over, then I can stretch the Happy Holidays a bit in the other direction. Main Street was spiffed up a little this year. Here’s how Main and Broadway looked from high over the city at Fort A. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Some folks were in short sleeves

I figured I should  have the bridge in at least one shot, so here it is. I was a little chilly up on the hill, but I saw several brave souls wandering around in short sleeves.

From Common Pleas Courthouse

The color balance is a bit funky, but here’s what downtown looked like from the steps of the Common Pleas Courthouse.

Looking to the north

This was taken from the south Main Street parking lot, almost in front of Hutson’s Furniture. The building on the left would have been the old Woolworth’s building.

South from Middle Main

This was taken at the block north of Themis (see the ugly clock), looking to the south.


This is a familiar icon for anybody who bought a pair of jeans that came with a Tuf-Nut knife.

Cat Whiskers and Transistors

F.R. Richey - Tailor - 12-21-1968F.R. Richey was a tailor I photographed in 1968 in Athens, Ohio. He was in his 80s when I met him. He died at 96, after spending 70 years patching and sewing. This detail shot of his spools and a transistor radio got me to thinking about early radios I remember. If  you sew or are interested in radios, click on the photo to make it larger.

I wrote earlier about having a transistor radio that looked a lot like this one when I was delivering newspapers. Looks like Mr. Richey’s radio was a later model that actually had a speaker instead of making you listen through an earphone.

Cub Scout Crystal Radio

My first electronic project was to build a crystal radio set from a Cub Scout kit bought at Buckner-Ragsdale.

A crystal set consisted of an antenna to pick up the radio signal and convert it to electric currents; a tuning coil; a galena crystal that you touched with a fine piece of copper wire (the cat whisker); a ground and a pair of earphones. I used a gutter for the antenna. After getting everything hooked up, I would sit around carefully poking the pebble-sized crystal with the cat whisker until KFVS or KGMO would come flowing in. I don’t remember if I was ever able to pull in the St. Louis stations.

They could be made even simpler. During World War II, soldiers would make “foxhole radios” from a coil of wire, a rusty razor blade, a pencil lead and a pair of headphones. Because they were “passive” receivers, they couldn’t be discovered by German radio detection equipment.

Dad had a suitcase-sized “portable” radio that would shock the bejeebers out of you if you touched any of its metal parts when it was plugged into the wall.

1943 Flood Aerial

Cape Downtown 1943 FloodAfter I ran photos of the Flood of 1943 from Dad’s scrapbook, a member of the Lamkin Family sent me this aerial photo of the flood. I asked who took it so I could credit the photographer, and he said, “No idea.  It hung in my grandfather’s office for as long as I recall.”

Themis Street is on the left and Broadway is on the right. You can see the steeple of Trinity Lutheran Church and the Academic Hall dome in the background. Buckner-Ragsdale is the three-story building on the right, at the foot of Broadway. The St. Charles Hotel is the tall, light-colored building on the left side of Themis. The building with the checkered tile and sharp-peaked roof is Hecht’s Department Store. The Sturdivant Bank Building is between the St. Charles and Hecht’s.

Click on the photo to make it larger.

Here are some earlier stories about Buckner’s and the Lamkin family.

Buckner Brewing Closed in February

132 North Main Street - Was Buckner-Ragsdale, then Buckner Brewing 03-02-2013When most of us think of the building at 132 North Main Street in Cape, we think of the department store that was the Buckner-Ragsdale Co., home of great service and Tuf-Nut pocket knives. After the store closed in 1982, it housed a number of short-lived ventures. It became Buckner Brewing in 1998 and won local recognition for rehabilitating the landmark business.

The restaurant and microbrewery closed February 3. You can read the official version in The Missourian’s January 29 story by Shay Alderman, then you can scroll down to the comments to see why locals thought the business went under.

Previous Buckner-Ragsdale stories