I shot this late in the day when the afternoon sun added warmth to the bricks and ironwork.The Cup ‘N’ Cork is located at 46 North Main Street, at the corner of Main and Themis. You can click on the photos to make them larger.
Cup ‘N’ Cork is THE place to meet
I’ve been in the Cup ‘N’ Cork at least a dozen times, including when I met Pat Sommers and Terry Hopkins there last fall. Way back in the background you can see a fellow wearing black and purple. That’s Gary Rust thinking Big Thoughts or doing whatever newspaper moguls do. In contrast, that’s Terry in the foreground.
It’s getting to be one of THE downtown meeting places. When I’ve asked folks where they want to get together, that’s one of the most-often suggested locations. The food is good, the pie is great and the wait staff and owners are friendly.
I guess I’ll have to stop thinking about eating and talking on my next visit so I can shoot the interior.
This panorama photo is made up of six aerial photos taken April 17, 2010. It ranges from William Street on the left to north of Broadway on the right. The western boundary is just beyond Fountain St. The gray parking lot at the top left is Cape’s City Hall on Independence
Most panoramas are taken from one spot and the camera swiveled on a tripod. In this case, the “tripod” was Ernie Chiles’ plane flying along at about 100 mph. Because the angle was constantly changing, there is some freaky distortions of the buildings on the edges of the photo, particularly St. Vincent’s Cathedral on the left. Still, it’s a neat effect. I made it larger than usual, so you may have to scroll around to see it all.
Broadway Theater was a panorama
When I shot the interior of the Broadway theater, I stitched together six photos to show the whole room. It’s a way to cover a wide area if you don’t have a super wideangle lens.
The super-secret assignment
I haven’t fooled around much with panoramas because they were a real pain back in the days of film and paper prints. One day The Big Boss called me in and said he needed some aerial photography done for a super secret project for someone he wouldn’t name. I wasn’t supposed to discuss the assignment. Some days you ask questions. Some days you salute and say, “Yes Sir.” This was the latter.
In 2012, you’d call up Google Earth and have what you wanted in minutes, but this was in the days when the Google Earth guys were still wearing diapers, so that wasn’t an option.
The chopper ride was the fun part
So, I chartered a helicopter, took the door off, put on a safety harness, stood on the skid and leaned out into space so I could shoot straight down as much as possible. It was cool. Because the boss wanted a couple block area covered and in close detail, we flew multiple grids and I banged off a couple hundred frames. That was the easy and fun part.
When I got into the darkroom, though, I realized that I wasn’t as smart as Photoshop is today. No matter how straight to the ground I had tried to hold the camera, there was always a slight angle that kept the prints from lining up.
The next day, I spread out enough prints on The Big Boss’s floor to just above cover the whole shebang. I explained the technical problem, then I handed him two sheets of aerial photos of the area from the county’s tax assessor. He said I wouldn’t need to muck with making the prints; the county photos would do fine. (He was pleased enough with my ingenious solution that he didn’t think to ask why I hadn’t done that in the first place.)
So, what was the whole super secret deal about? I have no idea to this day. From time to time I’d drive through the neighborhood to see if any changes were taking place, but nothing ever sprouted up. I don’t know if the project was scuttled or what happened. At least I got a neat chopper ride out of it.
I was walking east on Themis toward the Common Pleas Courthouse trying to spot the old Teen Age Club that got to bouncing so hard one night that the city inspector shut it down because he was afraid the floor might collapse. On the opposite of the street was a nondescript red brick building that had a plaque on it. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)
The Rotary Club plaque read, “Telephone Service. In 1877 the first long distance telephone line in Missouri was completed December 18, 1877, between Cape Girardeau and Jackson. In 1896 here in a 10′ x 12′ second floor room the city’s first telephone exchange was established by A.R. Ponder, L.J. Albert, J.F. Brooks and M.A. Dennison doing business as the Cape Girardeau Telephone Company.”
As a former telecommunications manager, I was vaguely intrigued.
I flashed back to when I was offered the telecom job just before I left on vacation to head back to Cape in the early ’90s. I knew absolutely nothing about phone stuff, but I remember thinking as I was going through little villages like Old Appleton, “Wow, if I take this job I’ll have a bigger phone system than this town.”
That call to Jackson
I put the story on the back burner for a slow day. When Friend Shari Stiver and I took a stroll down Main Street one day when we were both in town, she said she’d like to swing by to look at the old telephone exchange, which had also been the Sturdivant Bank, the oldest bank in Southeast Missouri.
“The call may have originated in Cape,” she said, “but do you have any idea where it terminated in Jackson?”
Somehow or another, knowing Shari, I was pretty sure I was going to find out.
“The first call rang in my great-grandfather’s kitchen,” she elaborated. “He was the J.F. Brooks mentioned on the plaque. He was the engineer who laid out the railroad for Louis Houck. Houck wanted to be able to get hold of him, so he had him pull a phone line between Cape and Jackson.”
Major Brooks “advanced” down to Advance
“Are we talking about the Major James Francis Brooks who Houck told to ‘advance’ down the line another mile to a stand of mulberry trees where land for a train depot could be bought for $10 an acre instead of $30 an acre in Lakeville?”
Yep, it was the same guy. Major Brooks’ engineering ended up resulting in the establishment of many of the small towns like Sturdivant, Brownwood, Blomeyer and Delta.
Brooks came west on a spotted pony
Shari added that her great-grandmother, “Bookie” (Florence Adele Turnbaugh Brooks) played telephone operator after the initial excitement of the first couple of calls died down. Maj. Brooks got his engineering degree at Vineyard College in Kansas City after he rode his spotted pony west with a wagon train to get there.
The Turnbaughs were Southerners who owned slaves, which Shari suspects caused some heated discussions over a bottle of whiskey on the front porch of the Turnbaugh house in Jackson.
The book said that part of the project was to build a two-foot sandstone retaining wall along Normal Avenue, “although admittedly this last project was more to stop wayward farm animals from straying onto the grounds.”
As much as I love old buildings, I can see what the concern is. When you look through the gallery of photos taken over a three-year period, you can see that the upper level has deteriorated to the point that a covered walkway had to be constructed to protect passersby from falling wayward bricks.
A double cable around the top of the building keeps the walls from sagging outward. I don’t know that I can argue with a Missourian commenter who wrote, “Look how the front is shifting out. If it falls about all the plywood awning will do is separate the bodies better from the rubble.”
Sign says Cape Wiggery
I’m not sure what the last business was to be in the building. The sign still says Cape Wiggery Shop. The 1969 City Directory said Kay’s was in there.
Interior has been cleaned out
The inside, at least from looking through the window, looks pretty clean.
It’ll be missed
I’ve made some iconic pictures of the building over the years, so I’ll miss it if it’s pulled down. It would be nice to think it could be saved, but it sure has the sniff of a parking lot about it, based on what I’ve seen and the news stories.
101 North Main photo gallery
Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery. (Thanks to Shari for the Jackson house picture and for sharing the story of her great-grandfather.)
This photo of men was taken in the Knights of Columbus Hall on April 2, 1967, if the note on the negative sleeve is to be believed. I searched for it in The Missourian, but didn’t see it. Either it didn’t run or I shot it as a freelance job.
Some of the men look familiar, but the only one I can identify for sure is the man in the back row, on the left. That’s Ray Seyer, Wife Lila’s uncle. You’ll be hearing more about him soon. Lila went back to Cape for his 90th birthday party Saturday.
These are men who wear serious, built-to-last wingtip shoes. I wonder if they were made in the Cape Shoe Factory? Click on any photo to make it larger.
The KC Hall
The Knights of Columbus Hall that overlooks the Mississippi River is one of those buildings that I would recognize at a glance, but haven’t had many occasions to visit. My most vivid memory is abandoning my date – probably Lila – in my car in the parking lot one night while I dashed off to shoot a fire in a neighboring building.
Casino vs. Bingo?
Will the Bingo players keep coming or will the Casino dry up that income for local charities and groups?
A family photo
The last time I was inside the KC Hall was after Lila’s mother’s funeral. The family gathered there to reminisce and to snack on food friends had brought. Inevitably, cameras came out and the picture-taking started. This sequence shows Son Adam with his Uncle John Perry. The family resemblance is plain.