Harris Motor Car Co Fire

Fire at Harris Motor Car Co c 1965The 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

Fire at Harris Motor Car Co c 1965You 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

Fire at Harris Motor Car Co c 1965Fred’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

Fire at Harris Motor Car Co c 1965I 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.


Broadway Prescription Shop

Broadway Prescription 710 Broadway 10-28-2009Homer Armor George founded the Broadway Prescription Shop in 1932, and eventually passed it on to his sons, Milton and Harry.

There was a confusing Out of the Past column note that talked about how the business got into its current location: “Dec. 22, 1959: A three-way shift is underway in the 700 block of Broadway that will transfer Michael’s Drug Store, Broadway Prescription Shop and the Blue Note Cafe to different locations; the store is moving to the Bauer building at the northwest corner of Broadway and Sprigg Street; the Blue Note will move to the Michael property at 731 Broadway; and Homer George will move Broadway Prescription to the Blue Note’s current spot.

The brown brick building to the west used to be occupied by Dr. Wilson and Dr. Estes.

Changes since 2009 photo

Broadway Prescription Shop, Cape’s oldest drugstore, has undergone some changes since I shot this photo in the fall of 2009.

Two SEMO graduates, Lee Schlitt and Kevin Wood, bought the pharmacy in 2011. One of the most visible changes to passersby on Broadway is a restoration of the 40-year-old wooden sign that is said to be the oldest one in Cape.

One of the things that struck me when I did a history of the shoe factory was how the lives of the employees were recorded over the years in the newspaper. The Broadway Prescription Shop was much the same way, with stories of weddings, births and hospital stays popping up from time to time.


Here are some obituaries connected with the drugstore:

  • Milton George: Milton Armor George, 79, of Cape Girardeau passed away Friday, May 4, 2012, at Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau.Milton graduated from Cape Girardeau Central High School and St. Louis College of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, he joined the family business, Broadway Prescription Shop, with his father Homer. He purchased the business from his father, and upon retirement in 1998, sold the business to his brother, Harry George.
  • Jean Gerhardt: Jean Haynes Gerhardt, 70, of Cape Girardeau died Thursday, Jan. 23, 2003, in North Carolina. Mrs. Gerhardt worked for Dr. Nussbaum several years, and retired fromBroadway Prescription Shop.
  • Donald Hente: Donald Martin Hente, 95, of Cape Girardeau, died Friday, Jan. 14, 2011, at The Lutheran Home. Donald attended Trinity Lutheran Grade School. He was a graduate of College High School. He was also a graduate of St. Louis College of Pharmacy. He was a pharmacist for Broadway Prescription Shop, Finney’s and various other Southeast Missouri pharmacies.
  • Runyon Dyer: Runyon Estes Dyer, 92, died Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2001, at Missouri Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau. Runyon was employed as a pharmacist in Cape Girardeau by the late Homer George in March 1949, and worked for Broadway Prescription Shop 36 years before retiring in 1985.



Cape Mattress and Triplets

It’s amazing how things in Cape are intertwined. Mother and I were driving down the de-fanged Snake Hill when I spotted a building at 1100 West Cape Rock Drive that brought back memories. It’s a nondescript building. I’ve never been in it, never took a photo of it that I know of, never so much as turned around in the parking lot. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

Located just west of Juden Creek

Still, I remember the building, located just before you cross the bridge eastbound over Juden Creek, as somehow always being there, a landmark of sorts. It’s pink these days, but it once was white.

Alice’s Wicker Wonderland today

Alice’s Wicker Wonderland is there today, but it was Cape Mattress in my youth. When I did a search for it, lots of standing ads in The Missourian’s Locals and Personals columns popped up from around 1944 through 1960. They generally said something like “Buy Mattresses direct from factory and save. Cape Mattress Cape Rock Drive. Phone 1486.”

The Beard Triplets

Now we’ll get to the intertwining part.

The Missourian’s front page on April 17, 1951, trumpeted the birth of triplets to Mr. and Mrs. Walter Beard of near Scopus. [Google Archives doesn’t have a link directly to the story. Scroll to the left and you’ll find it.] The family already had six children living in their four-room house. They were the first triplets born at Southeast Hospital.

Within days, the community rallied around the family, providing them with necessities, a year’s supply of milk and an additional room for their home. A May 18, 1951, story said Cape Mattress had supplied a mattress for a bed for one of the Beard Triplets.

Follow-up at 15

On April 16, 1966, I did a follow-up story on the Triplets when they were going to turn 15. It was written in a breezy and somewhat impertinent style that Editor JBlue didn’t really like. He didn’t chew me out, but he went over the story after it ran to point out the places he thought were inappropriate in a straight newspaper story. I recall I took that approach because the kids didn’t really have a lot to say and I had to stretch it. [That issue of the paper was microfilmed sideways, so I can’t give you a direct link.]

The triplets’ mother, Audrey Beard, died Oct. 6, 2006, at the age of 94. Walter Beard died March 27, 1977. Gilbert Beard, Gladys Glover and Gloria Hoxworth – the triplets – were listed as survivors in the obituary.

So, that’s how a random drive past a vaguely remembered building can twist back to a story that sorta, kinda ties in.

A.C. Vasterling Building

I went to get something out of my van parked at Broadway and Fountain when I noticed a cornerstone for the first time: A.C. Vasterling 1903, it read.

It was on a light-colored three-story building next to where the Idan-Ha Hotel used to stand. A quick search didn’t turn up about Mr. Vasterling, except that it sounded like he had been a mayor at one time. There was a Google-scanned document called Barrel and box and packages, Volume 19, by Edgar Harvey Defebaugh that had this brief item that made it sound like Vasterling was a mover and shaker:

Himmelberger – Vasterling wedding

Charles A. Himmelberger, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Miss Louise Marguerite Vasterling were married June 16 [possibly 1914]. Mr. Himmelberger is the son of J.H. Himmelberger, the well-known lumberman of southeast Missouri and president of the Hardwood Manufacturers of the United States. The bride is a daughter of A.C. Vasterling, one of the best-known insurance men of Missouri.

Dinner party for newlyweds

A Missourian story on January 2, 1920, carried this brief: Mrs. Charles Himmelberger entertained at a dinner party last night at her home at 325 North Sprigg street in honor of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Vasterling, who were married on Christmas day. Mrs. Laura Pape, Miss Lizzie Vasterling and Mrs. J.F. Williams were the other guests present.

Firsts of 1920

In the same paper was this lists of “firsts” of 1920:

  • First Baby – Marguerite Oliver Dearmont, 9:30 a.m. Jan. 1.
  • First Death – Mrs. Mary Herbst at her home, as clocks announced arrival of new year.
  • First Accident – Albert Mason, fireman, badly burned at 4 p.m., Jan. 1.
  • First Court Case – Suit of a hound dog, won by Cicero Estes.
  • First Snow – 2 a.m., Jan. 2