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.




Municipal Band Shell

 Capaha Park Municipal Band Shell 04-12-2011It won’t be long before the trees on Cherry Hill are blooming and the grass will be turning green around Capaha Park’s Municipal Band Shell.

Fred Lynch’s blog in The Missourian had a Frony photo of a November 11, 1957, Veterans Day memorial service at what was described as “the newly-built bandshell in Capaha Park. What is interesting about Frony’s photo is how tiny Southeast Missouri Hospital looked in the background.

[Style note: The Missourian’s story has it spelled as one word – bandshell – but I see it’s spelled as both one and two words. I’ll go with two, which makes my spellchecker happier.]

It’s been years since I was at a concert at Capaha Park, but here’s what a Jackson’s band concert looked like last summer.

You can click on the photo to make it larger if you’ve forgotten what green grass looks like.


Future CVS Site Stirs Memories

Future CVS site at Christine-William 07-07-2013I was roaming around Cape looking at all the bare ground where buildings had been torn down. One that caught my eye was at Christine and William across from the Town Plaza. There’s a new Plaza Tire directly south of it.

I mentioned to someone that a sign said a new CVS pharmacy was going on the bare lot, but I couldn’t remember what had been there before.

My friend said she couldn’t remember, but had read the project had been delayed because a couple of big underground tanks had to be removed.

I remembered those tanks

Future CVS site at Christine-William 07-07-2013That shot me back over half a century ago. One of the most significant moments of my boyhood came flooding back.

Here’s how I remembered it: When I was about 10, Dad was setting a big tank for someone. He had the load locked down and suspended about five feet off the ground while a worker for his client was leveling the dirt below it. He stepped off the crane for a break, then sent me back to get his jug of iced tea. When I climbed up into the cab, the tank owner went berserk. “Kid, get DOWN off there. If you touch something, you could kill that man.!”

I froze until Dad hollered back, “If I thought he was going to touch anything, I wouldn’t have sent him.” Turning to me, he said, quietly, “Fetch me the jug, please.” I realized then how much confidence Dad had in me.

Missourian librarian Sharon Sanders pulled up a Frony aerial of the area right after the Town Plaza was built. From all the trucks parked around the lot, it might have been a trucking depot at one time. That would explain why they needed the tanks.

Tom Holt Grilling Hints

Tom Holt grilling chicken c 1965Frony shot most of The Missourian’s food features because Mary Blue, who wrote most of them, was organized and worked well in advance. Most of my photos were spot news, self-generated features and assignments that popped up at the last minute when Frony wasn’t available.

Frony must have been out of pocket when it came time to shoot classmate Tom Holt from the Central High School Class of  1965. Tom and I had classes together and even went on a double date at least once, but we ran in different circles: he was a jock and I was a debater who had a plastic pocket protector.

Baste that chicken

Tom Holt grilling chicken c 1965I guess basting is what he’s doing. See, my cooking skills are severely limited. Wife Lila said the other night, “You know you’d starve if I got hit by a bus.”

Not exactly denying it, I said, “I think I could survive. I mean, I have my cookbook to fall back on.”

“Your cookbook?” she asked, giving me a quizzical – OK, unbelieving – look.

“Sure,” and I reached under the kitchen telephone and brought out a stack of carry-out menus.

Every great cook has an assistant

Tom Holt grilling chicken c 1965

I don’t know who Tom’s assistant was. Somebody will have to fill in the blank.

These pictures suffer from overdevelopment in the darkroom. When you’re dealing with a contrasty situation like this, you should expose for the shadows and cut back on the developing time to reduce the contrast. I got the shadow part right, but I left the film in the developer a minute or two too long and caused the highlights, like the assistant’s shirt, to block up.

I couldn’t find the date when the pictures ran in The Missourian, so I can’t pass on Tom’s cooking tips.