Wine Cellar Still a Partial Mystery

No wonder the North Sprigg Street wine / beer cellar jangled the memory bells yesterday: I WROTE The Missourian story about it.

Shy Reader did some snooping around and figured out why I couldn’t find the story: The Google Archive jumps from May 16 to June 6 and this story bylined “Kenny Steinhoff” ran May 17, 1966.

John Blue must have edited this story and given me the byline. My official newspaper name was Kenneth L. Steinhoff; he probably slapped the “Kenny” on it and shipped it to the backshop to be set into lead type. Click on it to make it easier to read.

The Old Cramer Home

One of the advantages of Old Tech is that you can scrawl notes on the side of the clip. This one had the question “Cramer?” written on it, which led Shy Reader to these notes about the Cramer family.

What do we know about the cellar?

  • It was behind the SEMO Group Housing complex west of the 1000 block of North Sprigg
  • It was razed because it was a hazard to children
  • W.H. Meystedt said his father, Henry Meystedt, stored meat in the man-made cave from the early 1900s to 1910 or 1911
  • It consisted of three arched chambers, each more than 25 feet long and about 15 or 20 feet wide. It was 10 or 12 feet high at the apex.
  • The third chamber had been sealed off. When it was dug into from the top, it was empty.
  • Someone said that the cellar was used by the “Dedrux Brewery” before 1900 to store “vine beer.”
  • The origin and use of the cellar before 1900 is colored with rumor and speculation, involving the legendary Underground Railroad tunnels, Civil War prisoners and a possible ammunition dump.
  • “Kenny” Steinhoff asked if anyone who had authentic knowledge of the history of the relic of a bygone day to contact The Missourian, just like “Ken” Steinhoff did 45 years later.

 

St. Charles Hotel: General Grant Slept Here

I shot this photo of birds flying around inside the St. Charles Hotel on March 11, 1967, and it ran on the front page of The Missourian on March 13. It had been sold Dec. 16, 1965, and was in the process of being razed when I took the picture. The roof had been removed and the interior was being gutted.

Gen. Grant slept here

Gen. U.S. Grant was registered in Room 5 for 50 days during the Civil War. Carrie Nation, of axe-wielding, saloon-busting fame, was a guest in 1907.

The building was completed in January of 1861. It was THE place to stay at the time. It was four stories tall, had verandas, an observatory, views of the river and large ventilated rooms.

The rooms had electric fans, according to this sign taken between Cape and Jackson April 13, 1967. Of course, by this time, the roof was off and ventilation was plentiful. I wonder what the $1.50 room looked like.

I stayed in an old hotel with spacious rooms in Piedmont for $2 a night during that era, so it’s possible that you COULD get a room that cheaply. The bathroom was down the hall, but it WAS inside.

The Missourian carried a notice of sale July 23, 1965. In it, it mentioned that the hotel building was four stories tall, had 70 feet of frontage, 50 rooms to rent and three tenants on the first floor (with written leases expiring at different times).

St. Charles Drug Store

The St. Charles Drug Store must have been one of the tenants, because a story on Jan. 18, 1967, said that the store was moving to the southwest corner of Broadway and Main St., to the building formerly occupied by the Singer Company. The move was going to require extensive renovations to the ground and second floors of the property.

Here’s a 2009 photo of the corner of the property where the Singer Company / St. Charles Drugstore was located.

Sterling’s replaced St. Charles Hotel

I shot this photo of the Sterling Store in January 1968. It must have been a cold day, because there is snow on the car parked in front of the store.

When I was home the last couple of times, I walked all of Main St., Broadway and Water St. shooting landmark buildings. The Sterling store must have been non-memorable enough that I didn’t waste any electrons on it.

Links to other photos

The Singer Company building and the St. Charles show up in the backgrounds of earlier stories I’ve posted.

[Editor’s note: things will be a bit slow here for a couple of days. I’m loading up the van to head back to Cape for the reunion, so I may not be posting until I get set up at my Mother’s house again. Hope to see a bunch of you there.]

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.