101 N Main Bounces Back

101 N Main Street 07-19-2013The last time I wrote about 101 North Main it was because it was on the list of the most endangered buildings in Cape Girardeau. I told Mother that I expected it would be a parking lot the next time I hit town. The upper story was leaning out over sidewalk and a big cable looked like it was holding the building together.

I am happy to report that the historic building has been pulled back from the abyss. It’s got a long way to go, but I’m not afraid to walk next to it now. The Common Pleas Courthouse is up the hill on the left and the building that was once Hecht’s Department Store is on the right. You can click on the images to make them larger.

Cable gone

101 N Main Street 07-19-2013The building has been repaired to the point the restraining cable is no longer needed and the plywood tunnel that protected passersby from possible falling bricks has been removed.

The old building had been the Sturdivant Bank (the oldest bank in Southeast Missouri), the site of Cape’s first long distance phone call, Minnen’s Dress Shop and Cape Wiggery, among other things. Here is more of 101 North Main’s history. Its neighbor, the St. Charles Hotel, home to General Grant in the Civil War, was torn down in 1967.

Cape Cut Rate Endangered

Old Cape Cut Rate 635 Good Hope 04-16-2011The Cape Girardeau Historic Preservation Commission announced its list of 11 of the city’s most endangered buildings in hopes of raising awareness about the building’s uncertain futures.

One of the buildings is the old Cape Cut Rate Drug Store at 635 Good Hope, the southeast corner of Good Hope and Sprigg. I’ve been shooting the building for at least three or four years, but I kept putting off doing a story until I got the photo I wanted. I guess it’s time to go with what I’ve got.

Going to be teen club

Cape Cut Rate 635 Good Hope 10-24-2011I was on a bike ride a couple of summers ago when I noticed a dumpster in front of the building and some work going on. I stuck my head inside and was told that someone was going to fix it up for use as a teen hangout to give neighborhood kids a place to go. I didn’t have the equipment with me to shoot in the dark, so I said I’d come back. That was the last time I saw any activity in the place.

Roof peeling off

Cape Cut Rate 635 Good Hope 04-21-2011In the few minutes I spent inside the old drug store, I could see that the roof had been leaking for quite some time and that the interior was charred like it had caught fire at some point. I happened by the place on a windy day and say big pieces of roofing material flapping in the wind, so I know where the water came from.

A regular stop

Cape Cut Rate 635 Good Hope 10-24-2011

No telling how many times I passed through these doors because we spent a fair amount of time in the Haarig district.

Dad’s construction office was in Farmers and Merchants Bank, the place we did our banking.

I got my hair cut by Ed Unger at the Stylerite Barbershop.

We bought our ice from the Pure Ice Company

Suedkum Hardware was better than Disney World. (Or course, Disney World hadn’t been invented yet.)

You hoped you weren’t sick enough to see Dr. Herbert

If it was REALLY serious, you went to St. Francis Hospital

We could buy clothes at Schades and shop for groceries at Hirsch’s Midtown.

At Sprigg and William, in the next block up, you could go to church at St. Mary’s, buy a car at Clark Buick and a TV from Lorberg’s.

In later years, we’d stop in to see Doris.

What is Haarig?

Cape Cut Rate 635 Good Hope 04-21-2011Haarig was the heavily German section of Cape Girardeau. You can read about the history of Harrig and its buildings in this National Register of Historic Places registration form. Here is a list of last year’s endangered buildings.

Old Jefferson School has been removed because it was torn down.

635 Good Hope Photo Gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on sides to move through the gallery.

High in the Common Pleas Courthouse

When you look at the Common Pleas Courthouse from Spanish Street, you hardly notice the windows in the dome. (You can click the photos to make them larger.)

Looking east from the courthouse

If you’re lucky enough to hook up with guys like IT director Eric McGowen and public works director Don McQuay, folks who have the right keys and know where the hidden passageways are, you can see some impressive sights. I’m glad Friend Shari and I picked a day when it wasn’t 107 outside for our tour. Even on a relatively cool (sub-100) day, it was hot and dusty. The tiny and winding staircases were made for smaller people than me.

Here’s a view down Themis Street. The greenish building on the left side of Spanish and Themis was Doyle’s Hat Shop. One of the Teen Age Clubs was in the building across the street from it. The tall, red brick building that was the Sturdivant Bank may not be with us for long. It’s on the Endangered Building List. A steel cable is keeping bricks from the top floor from raining down on Main Street.

View to the west

This is the view in the opposite direction. The Civil War fountain and statue is to the right of the roof. Don shared an interesting story about it when we were at the Jackson Courthouse. We’ll save it for another day.

DR. C.E. Schuchert’s bandstand

The bandstand dedicated to Dr. C.E. Schuchert and the KFVS tower can be seen to the northwest. The view from the 11th floor of the KFVS building is pretty spectacular, too. There’s a photo looking back toward the courthouse that provides an interesting counterpoint to this one.

 

Endangered Buildings List

Scott Moyers had a story in The Missourian that the Cape commission had released an endangered buildings list. Here are the ones considered most endangered:

  • B’nai Israel Synagogue, 126 S. Main St.
  • Broadway Theater, 805 Broadway
  • Esquire Theater, 824 Broadway
  • Fort D blockhouse, 920 Fort St.
  • Franklin School, 215 N. Louisiana St.
  • Hanover Lutheran School, 2949 Perryville Road
  • Old Jefferson School, 731 Jefferson Ave.
  • Kage School, 3110 Kage Road
  • Lorimier Apartments, 142-148 S. Lorimier St.
  • Sturdivant Bank, 101 N. Main St.

I’ve done stories on almost all of them. Here’s a look back:

Kage School

I imagine the long, cold walk to the outhouse was not fun for this little guy,

Broadway Theater

I spent many a happy hour in the Broadway balcony

  • I was sure that the inside of the old Broadway Theater would be a disaster with the roof falling in and debris all over the place. When I got my first glimpse of the interior, I was transported back to the days of Saturday matinee movies in a grand theater. It’s ragged, but it’s still grand.
  • The basement under the theater was HUGE, but the dressing rooms for the old stage actors were tiny.

Esquire Theater

The Esquire had over a mile of neon lighting when it opened in 1947

Fort D

The building we know as Civil War Fort D didn’t exist until 1937. It was used as a residence in the 1960s.

 101 North Main / Sturdivant Bank

Bank, telephone exchange building, Minnen’s Dress Shop, Cape Wiggery. The old building at 101 North Main Street has been many things and has some interesting connections to other pieces of Southeast Missouri history. Its neighbor, the St. Charles Hotel, home to General Grant in the Civil War, was torn down in 1967.

B’nai Israel Synagogue

The B’nai Israel Synagogue is in an historical triangle that includes the Red House and St. Vincent’s Church.

Jefferson School

Jefferson was a black school in 1953-1955 before the system was integrated.

Franklin School

This part of Franklin School will be torn down when the new building behind it is completed.

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.