McGinty’s Jewelers

McGinty's Jewelers - 117 N Main 12-10-2011One of the bright spots – literally – on Main Street is McGinty’s Jewelers at 117 North Main Street. It’s refreshing to see how much that block has spiffed up in the last few years. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

The McGinty building is one of the more impressive ones in the downtown area, but the First National Bank that occupied 115-117 North Main from 1905 to 1959 may have been even more impressive, based on the description in Fred Lynch’s October 11, 2013, blog.

First National Bank

McGinty's Jewelers - 117 N Main 12-10-2011From the blog: The bank was constructed of brick with a facade done in Bedford limestone trimmed in bushhammered rock, the building featured a massive arched entrance that was 28 feet tall, 26 feet deep and 24 feet wide, with marble steps that led to the entrance doors. The building featured elaborate detailing around the windows, with an enriched and projecting cornice, brackets and dentils. The roof was highlighted with a balustrade. The interior of the bank was designed elaborately, with a 16-by-30-foot prism skylight supported by six carved Iconic columns. Italian marble wainscoting, mahogany wood trim and a mosaic-type floor were some of the many details found inside.

 First National Bank was established in August 1891 and was first at 118 N. Main St. In 1956, the bank relocated to the northwest corner of Broadway and Main Street. Charles Hood, who became the owner of the stone-faced building in 1959, decided to renovate the structure by tearing out the interior, filling in the basement, and removing the stone arch. However, two months into the project, Hood made a change in plans and had the building razed in November 1959.

Downtown jewelers offered personal touch

McGinty's Jewelers - 117 N Main 12-10-2011A February 27, 2005, Missourian story talked about how four long-time jewelers had found that downtown is where they wanted to be. It’s worth a read. The point was made that “Other stores in other parts of town may get more walk-in customers who may be just looking, but when someone comes to Lang Jewelers or McGinty’s or Zickfield or Jayson, it’s a special occasion for them. Their customers come, all the jewelers say, because their parents bought diamonds or watches there, and service and tradition mean something to those families.”

The four businesses mentioned in the story:

  • Zickfield Jewelers and Gemologists – 29 North Main Street – in business since 1939
  • McGinty Jewelers – 117 North Main Street – about 25 years in the downtown
  • Jayson Jewelers – 115 Themis Street – “two generations” according to their website
  • Lang Jewelers – 126 North Main Street – started as N.S. Weiler Jewelers in 1905 and became Lang in 1916. It closed in the fall of 2012.




Slushy Main Street

Cape Main Street c 1965

This shot down Main Street looks like one of those ugly winter days when the pretty snow has turned into that annoying slush that passing cars splash on you and that you drown your shoe in when you step off the curb. It’s cold enough that there are icicles on the store awnings. Christmas decorations are up, but I don’t know for sure when it was taken. I’m going to guess 1964 to 1966. It had to have been taken before April 1967, because that’s when the St. Charles Hotel was torn down.

Business signs

I see signs for Ross Young & Sons clothing, Oklahoma Tire & Supply, Osco Drug, Wards, Al’s Shop, Personal Loans, Zickfield’s Jeweler, Irvin’s, Penney’s and the St. Charles. Zickfield’s is the only one of the businesses that has survived. Here’s a story with lots of Main Street links. You can make the photo larger by clicking on it.

Razing St. Charles Hotel

Razing St Charles Hotel 04-13-1967These are a present to the SEMO student working on the Main Street Project who drew the St. Charles Hotel as a subject.

These photos were taken April 13, 1967, when it was all over for the historic hotel used as General Grant’s HQ during the Civil War.

Businesses to the south

Razing St Charles Hotel 04-13-1967I tried to read the painted sign on the building south of  the hotel, but I can’t quite make it out. It might be Sherman’s.

The City Directory lists Irvin’s Clothing at 39 North Main. That would be the vertical black sign with the white letters. Below it is a sign advertising Arrow Shirts. That could belong to Irvin’s or it might be for Main Street Clothing, which was at 35 North Main in 1968. Dolly’s Hat Shop was in the directory at 37 North Main.

Personal Finance Loans was at 31 North Main. You can see its sign. The directory lists Tony’s Jewelry and Thrift at the same address. The Sweet Shop was at 33 North Main, but I can’t see a sign for that business.

Sterling Variety Store was 41 North Main

Razing St Charles Hotel 04-13-1967The building that replaced the hotel was Sterling Variety Store, and it’s listed at 41 North Main.

Across the street you can see Lee Optical and Co-Op Drugs. I assume the Budweiser sign marks Cowboy’s Tavern.

St. Charles a month earlier

St Charles Hotel  3-11-67I took this picture of the St. Charles waiting for the wrecking ball on March 11, 1967. You can see more photos and read some history of the hotel here.

Main Street Project

 Reflections Main St Cape Girardeau MO 10-20-2009

Katy Beebe, an assistant professor at SEMO, asked if I would speak to her Historical Preservation class February 19. I couldn’t understand why they would be sitting in a classroom listening to me instead of chaining themselves to the handball court landmark the university wants to raze, but…

Dr. Beebe gave her class an assignment to uncover the history behind the buildings on Main Street between Themis and Broadway. Here is YOUR assignment: post comments about any businesses in that area that you can think of. She said she would allow her students to use my musings and your comments as honest to goodness reference material.

To help their research, here is a partial list of stories I’ve done on Main Street. Students here’s a hint: even if the story wasn’t PRIMARILY about your Main Street business, read through the comments anyway. Folks here tend to wander all over the place. Another hint: if you visit a page, then want to see if any new comments have been added, press Ctrl-F5 or whatever you use to refresh your browser. That’ll bring up any new stuff. Don’t be afraid to leave comments or ask questions. All of the folks who placed a comment on a story will get an email if you post something after them.


 Buckner-Ragsdales - Main Street 12-14-2011

Whoever drew this business is in luck. It is one of the best-known family-owned businesses in town with a wealth of information readily available. I’ve written about it several times, the Lamkin family has a detailed website and Kathrine Porter Russell Lamkin wrote a riveting account of the 1949 tornado on torn-out pages from a calendar. (By the way, you can click on any of the photos to make them larger.)

101 North Main

101 North Main Street Area 12-07-2011

Wrecks on Main Street

John Carpenter - Walter Joe Ford remove victim from wreck in front of Montgomery Wards 04-23-1966Prowling the streets at night gave me a chance to know the “doorshakers” like Jack Burris and to work Main Street crashes

General photos and stories about Main Street

Midnight Madness 1964 09Some of these may be more valuable because of comments than the original story.

Hecht’s Department Store

Hecht's weathervane disappeared after storm 10-15-2003

Considered one of Cape’s finest department stores.


Where “Poof” ended up

Other Main Street topics

St Charles Hotel  3-11-67Most of these businesses and some of the buildings are long gone.

Aerial photos of downtown

Cape Girardeau Downtown District looking up Broadway; 1960s aerial photoI tried to shoot Cape from the air as often as possible

Oddball stuff

Teen Age Club dance overflowed to 1st National Bank parking lot c 1965Some things defy categorization.

Good reference resources