Jackson Frozen Food Locker

Jackson Frozen Food Locker 04-15-2014In the days before homes had freezers and refrigerators, people trusted their meats and fruits to frozen food lockers. Almost every small town had one. A quick search of newspaper archives turned up mentions of lockers in Cape, Advance, Dexter and Jackson.

Judging by the newspaper stories, most of the businesses were family-owned and long-term fixtures in the community. The Daily Statesman had a story about Al Banken that mentioned that he had owned the Dexter Food Locker for 40 years.

The Missourian’s obituary for Paul Beussink noted that “Paul ‘Pops’ Beussink, 82, of Advance, passed away April 18, 2014. He and his wife Judy operated the Advance Food Locker for years and were blessed with many loyal customers from the surrounding area.”

Jackson locker opened in 1949

The Jackson Frozen Food Locker’s website history says that William Daniels, with Carlton “Cotton” Meyer as the general manager, founded the business at 400 High Street in 1949. Daniels operated the Cape Frozen Foods business on Broadway in Cape until it closed in 1971. (Fred Lynch has a Frony photo of it on his blog.)

Carlton bought the locker in 1972; from the late ’70s through 1993, Carlton’s youngest son, Charles Meyer, managed the business. In 1993, a third generation of Meyers took over the locker when Charles’ son Craig became manager. Carlton Meyer died January 28, 2005, at 86.

Rental lockers were popular

Until 1993, locker rental was popular. At one time, more than 400 freezer lockers were rented, each capable of holding 200 pounds of meat and vegetables. The locker also sold tons of frozen fruits each August up until the late 1980s when the demand for wholesale frozen fruits dropped off.

The locker’s main business is custom processing of locally raised beef and hogs. In the 1960’s the business attempted to put a slaughterhouse in the basement of the building, but the City Council voted against allowing it, due to concerns of “the smell.”

Showing that even an old business can learn new tricks, it started selling over the web from AsktheMeatman.com in 2000.




Missourian Crime News

1967-09-17 Hanning Burglary 2I’ve been working my way through the seven weeks of newspapers that stacked up while I was out in the Midwest. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting a concentrated dose of local news, but it seems like every paper has a story about multiple people being shot, stabbed, bludgeoned or poisoned. Cops shoot perps; perps shoot at cops.

The big story for several days was a woman who went missing; her body was found with her head and fingers cut off and abandoned out in the swamps. Cops, who had been staking out her doctor husband, saw some of his relatives removing something large from his house and discovered it was his body, dead from an overdose.

It was refreshing to step back in time to these photos and a crime account in The Missourian September 18, 1967, by comparison:

A squirrel hunter, Charles H. Meyer of Gordonville, Sunday stumbled onto what was thought to be stolen goods near Gordonville. Loading the goods onto a truck are from left, Deputy Sheriff Bill Sperling, Larry Meyer, son of the hunter, Deputy Vernon Sebastian, Deputy Jon Knehans and Mr. Meyer.” The story ran on P3A, not the front page, but it was still big news.

Burglary goods in briar patch

1967-09-17 Hanning Burglary 3The Cape County Sheriff’s Department Sunday recovered items estimated to be worth $500 to $600 which were taken in a burglary August 5. The items, found by Charles Myers, in a woods on his farm as he was squirrel hunting, were believed taken from the R.L. Hanning farm near Whitewater.

The Sheriff’s Department said the loot consisted mostly of electrical equipment, appliances and tools and were spotted by Mr. Myers wrapped in a tarpaulin in a briar patch.

Chief Deputy Wm. A. Sperling said the briars were 12 and 14 feet tall and it was difficult to even open a truck door after backing in to pick up the recovered items.

He said the loot was stashed not far from Route Z west of Gordonville, but could not be seen from the roadway because of the thick foliage. Mr. Myers, however, was hunting further back in the woods and spotted the tarpaulin in the briar patch, Mr. Sperling said.

Wrong AND inconsistent

There was some uncharacteristically sloppy editing in this story. The last name of the hunter and his son was spelled “Meyer” in the photo cutline, and “Myers” in the story. Chief Deputy Wm. (Missourian style, for whatever reason, was to abbreviate William) A. Sperling was referred to as “Mr. Sperling” later in the story. I’m pretty sure somebody got a crankygram from jBlue when he read the paper. Being wrong was bad, but being wrong AND inconsistent was unforgivable. The first error was probably the reporter; the second error meant both the reporter and the copy editor weren’t paying attention to detail.