Harris Motor Car Co Fire

Fire at Harris Motor Car Co c 1965The Harris Motor Company fire at the northeast corner of Broadway and Lorimier wasn’t all that exciting, but it did capture some interesting things in the background of a couple of shots.

I don’t know that I was ever in the building, but Fred Lynch and Sharon Sanders did a pretty good job of nailing down the history of the landmark building in Fred’s blog.

Idan-Ha Hotel sign

Fire at Harris Motor Car Co c 1965You can see the Idan-Ha Hotel sign off in the distance on the left. The N’Orleans sign shows up behind one for the State of Missouri Employment Service. The Idan-Ha burned in 1989, and the N’Orleans is sitting empty today.

Built in 1915

Fire at Harris Motor Car Co c 1965Fred’s blog said the building was constructed in 1915. In 1937, Harris Motor Car Co. razed the adjoining Dr. Adolph List house, built in 1888, to expand its operation. Another story noted that the List house was modeled after a German castle.

Turned into apartments in 2001

Fire at Harris Motor Car Co c 1965I couldn’t find a story about the fire, but there was an ad in the Dec. 3, 1965, Missourian saying to watch for the Grand Opening of Harris Motor Car Co. The 1968 City Directory listed Harris Motor Car Co. at Highway 61 North and Independence.

In 1968, Charmin, which was building its new plant near Neely’s Landing, leased space in the “former Harris Motor Car Building.” In 1971 the paper reported that the building had been converted into an apartment complex by Vernon Rhodes.

 

Broadway End-to-End

I was trading some messages with Nicolette Brennan from the City of Cape about a picture of Broadway for a project she’s working on. That got me to thinking about how many Broadway stories I’ve done. I’ve documented the street from the river’s edge to the old Colonial Tavern on the west end. Click on the photos to make them larger and click on the links to go to the original story.

So many teens were dancing at the old Teen Age Club at Themis and Spanish that the floor was bouncing and a city inspector shut ’em down. They moved the dance to the bank parking lot at the corner of Main and Broadway.

Crash at the Colonial Tavern

The Colonial Tavern was my dad’s morning coffee stop where everybody would gather to hash over the previous night’s Cardinal game. A sports car picked this night to plow into the building that was at the west end of Broadway.

The park that got away

A three-acre tract of land on the south side of Broadway east of Hwy 61 was donated by the Doggett family with the understanding that the the land would be developed into a park similar to Dennis Scivally Park on Cape Rock Drive.

The family felt that the tract hadn’t been improved in the past 10 years, so they filed a suit to reclaim the land. A granite marker with the name “Doggett Park” next to the Masonic Temple parking lot is all that remains of the park.

Crash at Broadway and Fountain

Sometimes what you think is going to be an inconsequential story resonates with readers. Fred Kaefpfer, who was directing traffic at this crash at the corner of Broadway and Fountain, turned out to be Cape’s singing policeman. It became one of the most-commented stories of the early blog. The Idan-Ha Hotel shows up in the background of the photo.

Idan-Ha Hotel burns

The Idan-Ha Hotel, which had caught fire in 1968, caught fire again in 1989.

Star Service Station – Cigarettes 25 cents a pack

The Star Service station at the corner of Broadway and Frederick gave stamps with your gas. Ninety stamps would get you $1.50 worth of free gas.

Annie Laurie’s used to be Brinkopf-Howell’s

Niece Laurie Everett’s Annie Laurie’s Antiques, across the street from the Star Service Station used to be a funeral home. It’s the top-rated antique shop in Cape County now. Shivelbines Music, across the street, got a new sign in November.

Bob’s Shoe Service

Bob Fuller’s Bob’s Shoe Service was where I stocked up on Red Wing boots, the ideal footwear for a photographer. They’d shine up acceptably for formal wear (at least as formal as I ever got), but you could wade water and walk on fire with no worries.

507-515 Broadway

The 500 block of Broadway has had an interesting past.

Discovery Playhouse – Walthers’s Furniture

I was glad to see some life around the old Walther’s Furniture Store and Funeral Home. The Discovery Playhouse has become popular in a short period of time. Here is was before it opened.

Lutheran Mural Building razed

When I shot the Discovery Playhouse, I had no idea that the landmark building across the street was going to be torn down within a couple of years. It was best known for the huge blue mural on its side.

Rialto Theater roof collapses

A rainstorm caused the roof of the old Rialto Theater to collapse in 2010. This story contains a bunch of links, including one that tells how I met Wife Lila there when she was working as a cashier. This picture is of the 1964 Homecoming Parade.

Broadway Theater is still impressive

I managed to talk my way into the Broadway Theater on a cold December day. It still has the feel of the premier theater of the city.

What’s going to happen to the Esquire?

When I did this story in October 2011, it looked like the Esquire Theater was going to get new life. A new owner had an ambitious plan to renovate it. The latest stories in The Missourian make it sound like the project is unraveling.

Here’s a piece I did about its art deco history. In September 1965, I used infrared flash and film to capture kids watching The Beatles movie Help! It was the first (and only) time I used that technique.

Pladium / D’Ladiums – it’s still the same

I wasn’t a pool player, but those who were spent their time in the Pladium (now D’Ladiums) across from Houck Stadium or the Pla-Mor, next to Wayne’s Grill and the Esquire. The Beav still rules the roost at D’Ladiums.

Vandeven’s Merchantile

Howard’s Athletic Goods and a handful of other businesses have moved into the building at the corner of Broadway and Pacific over the years, but it’ll always be Vandeven’s Merchantile to me.

It dawns on me that I have even more photographs along Broadway – way too many to inflict on you in one shot. I’ll hold off putting up the rest of them until another day. Don’t forget to click on the links to see the original stories.

 

Jack Burris: Broadway Night Watchman

Jack Burris was the Broadway “door shaker” and one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. After I shot a night assignment or sporting event, I’d have to go home to process and print the film. I’d rather stay up late than get up early, so I’d drive the photos back to The Missourian to keep from having to deliver them in the morning.

After that, I’d cruise the streets listening to police calls through my Tomkins Tunaverter, a little gray gizmo that lived between the car antenna and the AM radio. It converted the VHF FM police radio transmissions to AM broadcast frequencies so they’d play over the car radio. The only catch is that the Cape cops didn’t have but about three cars on the street at any one time, so there wasn’t a lot of radio traffic. You didn’t know whether the radio was quiet because the tubes had warmed up, causing the radio to drift off frequency, or if the Tunaverter had slipped off channel.

Jack carried a Motorola Brick

That’s where Jack would come in handy. He had been issued one of the first Motorola two-way radios that didn’t look like a lunch box. The HT-100, was better known as “The Brick” because it was about the same size and weight of one. I found one on the surplus market about 15 years later and had it converted to work on my newspaper’s frequency. I never picked it up without thinking of Jack.

Anyway, I’d pull up along the sidewalk and shoot the bull with him. After a decent interval, I’d say, “Jack, how about calling dispatch to give them a 10-4 check?” He’d do that, I’d fiddle with the radio dial and make sure I was back on frequency.

Jack was the first of many

I don’t know that Jack fed me any stories that made it into print. We mostly just passed the time talking about stuff of no consequence. If he told me what he had done before becoming a merchant night watchman, I don’t recall what it was. The only story I could find in The Missourian was an account of how he reported the Idan-Ha fire to beat patrolman James A. Crites in 1968. He knew Girlfriend Lila, who was working as cashier at the Rialto. I sort of liked the idea that he was keeping an eye out for her.

He taught me how to cultivate police and fire dispatchers working nightshifts. On slow nights, they welcomed a visitor who could speak their language and trade war stories. They’d pay me back by giving me a middle-of-the-night call if they thought something was going on that I’d be interested in. Even if I didn’t think it was worth running, I’d pull on my pants and head out to check on it, making sure I stopped by the station to thank them.

“Please expedite. We’re in excess of 105 mph”

I was passing the time with Andy, the Athens, Ohio, police dispatcher one night when a laconic voice came over the radio, “Athens 1 to Athens PD, run Ohio XYZ-123, please.” I told Andy that I could save him the trouble. “That’s my new car. I’m parked on the sidewalk in front of the station. John probably didn’t know that it’s mine.”

“Athens 1, Athens PD, please expedite. The driver just took off. We’re northbound on 50 in excess of 105 and he’s pulling away from me.”

If I had thought for a minute, I would have known that my Datsun couldn’t have hit 105 if it had been dropped off a cliff in a downdraft. Instead of processing that thought, though, I blasted out the front door where I spotted my new car and two cops in cruisers enjoying their joke.

Photo technical notes

I shot these photos under what you could call “available darkness,” because it sure didn’t pass for light. The film was so underexposed that I wouldn’t have even tried to make a print on photo paper. It’s amazing how much detail my Nikon Super Coolscan 8000 can find in something taken under miserable lighting conditions. The negative sleeve was dated May 23, 1967.

First Presbyterian Church

I captured the final days of the First Presbyterian Church located at the corner of Broadway and Lorimier, across from The Southeast Missourian, in March of 1965. The building was 63 years old.

When I look photos of landmark buildings torn down in those days, I’m amazed at how little was salvaged. The 110-year-old bell that had called out firefighters and warned of jail breaks was saved to be reinstalled in the new church, but beautiful ornate woodwork was knocked down and hauled off.

Cornerstone was removed

A March 30, 1965, Missourian story said that the building’s cornerstone was removed and would be examined  later by a church committee comprised of Jack L. Oliver, Allen L. Oliver, Wendell P. Black, Mrs. Clyde A. McDonald and Mrs. Robert L. Beckman.

Bell goes back home

Before the end of the year, the new church far enough along that the bell could be reinstalled.

The re-belling didn’t go smoothly

The Dec. 1, 1965, Missourian story chronicled a number of missteps before the bell was placed gently into its cradle.

  • It had to be moved to a spot directly in front of the church.
  • The boom on the crane had to be lengthened.
  • A parking meter was in the way and had to be removed.
  • The crane ran out of gas and someone had to be dispatched to bring back five gallons to crank it up.

Finally it was on its way up

The Missourian building is on the left. The Idan-Ha Hotel hadn’t burned yet, and the city was still using the silver star Christmas decorations. Anybody know when those were phased out and what happened to them? I always thought they were kind of classy looking.

Pete Gibbar and Bill Vopelker were waiting

Pete Gibbar and Bill Vopelker, both of Perryville, were in the bell tower waiting for it to be lowered into place.

Bell bolted into place

The bell landed right where it was supposed to and was quickly bolted into its collar.

It works!

Pete and Bill were clearly happy when they rang the bell for the first time in its new home, the third of its existence. It was originally mounted in a wooden tower located on the courthouse side of the original brick Presbyterian Church. The tower and the church were torn down in 1904 to build the church that was just razed.

The bell, which is inscribed, Jones & Hitchcock, founders, Troy, N,Y, 1855,” was originally cast for a St. Louis church, but it proved too heavy to be used there. Mrs. Addie McNeely bought the bell for First Presbyterian for $500. It’s 43-1/2 inches wide at the mouth and weighs about 1,400 pounds.

First Presbyterian Church Photo gallery

Here is a gallery of other photos, including a strange shot I took while changing film on my way up to the bell tower. I include it because it shows some of the buildings in the area. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to step through the gallery.

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.