The Night Belongs to Me

Broadway 11-13-2015_2464I like roaming the streets at night. Maybe part of it is that I don’t like to get up early. Even most of my bicycle riding was done as the sun was going down and later. The streets were quieter. People weren’t in as much of a hurry. It was fun cruising through neighborhoods chatting with people walking their dogs, pushing baby strollers or rolling their garbage cans to the curb.

If you saw a flickering light in a darkened room, you knew the residents were watching TV; if the light was steady, they were on their computer. If their windows were open, you could smell their dinners cooking, and maybe even guess what part of the country or world they were from by those fragrances.

After I dropped off my late-night meeting or sports photos at The Missourian (so I wouldn’t have to get up early in the morning to do it), I’d roam up and down the streets and alleys listening to police calls, talking to the night watchmen or just enjoying a city asleep. The cops all knew my car, so they never stopped me to see if I was up to something.

View from Fort A

View from Fort A 11-13-2015The view from what had once been Civil War Fort A at the end of Bellvue is arguably the prettiest view of Cape Girardeau. I wish I had been there 15 minutes earlier so the barge would have shown up better in the reflections of lights on the river. Of course, had I been there 15 minutes earlier, the boat would have been below the bridge, and it wouldn’t have mattered what the light level was. As it turned out, I had to wait about five minutes for it to get where it is here.

KFVS antenna farm

KFVS at night 11-13-2015Coming down the hill from Bellvue on North Lorimier from Fort A, my eye was drawn to the KFVS tower and the antenna farm behind it. I drove past, wondering if it was worth a shot. When I saw the crescent moon over the Marquette Hotel. I circled the block and was lucky enough to find a parking spot just about where I needed to shoot. (You can click on the photos to make them larger, by the way.)

A car pulled in across the street just about the time I got out of mine. The driver must have wondered what I was up to, because I could sense he was watching me. Finally, when I opened the door to get back into my van, he got out and walked across the street. I didn’t stick around to see if he went into KFVS or walked down the hill to what used to be the the N’Orleans, the brick building on the left.

The antenna on the right is a twin to the iconic one on the last hill on Highway 61 coming into Cape from Jackson.

Sands Motel and Pancake House

David Louis Motel SignSands Motel, which started out as the David Louis Motel was one of the most innovative places of lodging in Cape in its day, as you will see from the ads and news stories from the pages of The Southeast Missourian and the Bulletin Journal. It is now called Budget Inn.

Mrs. Evelyn Bahn sold the motel in 1986 after 33 years in the business, and 10 months after the death of her husband, Louis. According to a story in the May 25, 1986, Bulletin Journal, she and Louis had no motel experience. “We went on our honeymoon in New York City, and we stayed in motels. We liked the informality, and the fact you could drive right to the door and unload your luggage and you didn’t have to tip a bellhop.”

I-55 hadn’t been built yet, there weren’t too many roadside inns and no major chains in Cape Girardeau. The Marquette Hotel was it for upscale lodging. When they went to the bank for financing, the loan officer said they had better not build more than three or four rooms. They built five and filled them immediately. They eventually expanded to 42 rooms.

The motel was called the David Louis for the first year and a half, she said, named after their son. When they saw they were going to have other children, they changed it to the Sands.

1960 was a year of expansion

Sands Motel and Pancake House 10-29-2014_3952From The Missourian:

February 27, 1960Advertisement: The Sands Motel – New facilties planned for 1960 are: Swimming Pool. Carport, New Units. BUT the same hospitality and friendly service. Your hosts in Cape Girardeau, Louis and Lynne Bahn. Highway 61 North (Formerly known as the David-Louis Motel)

March 3, 1960Building permit to General Sign Co. to erect a sign of non-combustible metal and plastic, electrically illuminated, on steel posts and frame at 1448 North Kingshighway for Sands Motel. Declared cost, $3,500.

May 17, 1960 – Construction began Monday on a swimming pool for the Sands Motel on Highway 61 built of precast concrete hauled to the site and installed as the four sides of the 19-by 42-foot tank. The Penzel Construction Co. of Jackson has the contract for the $8,500 pool.

Sands Pancake House

1963-05-31 Pancake House adA May 1963 display advertisement offered something different: Southern Pecan Pancakes for 75 cents. Mrs. Bahn said they realized early on that they needed a restaurant to feed their customers, “but we had very little money to stock the pantry. All we could afford was some flour, milk, shortening and a little sausage and bacon. Pancakes was one of the cheaper things we could make, so it became the Pancake House.”

February 22, 1964Advertisement: New at the Sands Motel – Wall hung TV’s. Exterior Lighting, Individual Room Thermostats, Blacktop Driveways, Pancake House, Full Menu. REMEMBER For A Home Away From Home THE SANDS MOTEL Highway 61, N., Cape.

Great Christmas shopper idea

1964-12-1964 Sands co-op adMr. and Mrs. Bahn were great at using and promoting other Cape businesses. Look at the merchants they got to buy into the idea of having people reserve a room at the Sands to do their Christmas shopping. Renting the room from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. meant that they could probably rent it twice in one day.

How do you like the rate of $8.25 a night?

It’s actually not all that cheap for the time. If you remember, Motel 6 was originally called that because rooms went for $6 a night; Super-8 rooms were $8. I paid $2 for a room in a boarding house in Piedmont when I covered Buck Nelson’s Flying Saucer Convention.

More for your money

January 29, 1965Advertisement: We give you more for your money because we offer more for every dollar spent. Following is just a partial list of what we offer:

  • 1. Hot water heat (no draft) with new individual room thermostats;
  • 2. Three (3) channel wall mounted adjustable televisions;
  • 3. Instant hot water at your room – through special electric pumps;
  • 4. Mattress and box springs – THE BEST;
  • 5. Plush wall-to-wall carpeting in every room;
  • 6. Each room individually and artfully decorated to make your stay happy and enjoyable;
  • 7. Sizzling charcoal steaks, golden brown chicken at the Pancake House next door.

All you can eat chicken – $1.29

  • Sands Motel and Pancake House 10-29-2014_3939
  • August 10, 1965Advertisement: All the chicken you can eat – $1.29 – Pancake House at Sands Motel – Wednesday only
  • November 15, 1965Advertisement: Senior Citizens Home. A new additional service at the Sands Motel. Now leasing a limited number of rooms. Beautifully furnished – private entrances; Wall-to-wall carpets – Individual baths; All means furnished – Planned recreation; Community and recreation room – Planned diet; Outdoor recreation and garden area – Transportation
  • June 13, 1967Advertisement: The Library Lounge is now open at the Sands Motel.
  • March 21, 1970The Pancake House, 1448 North Kingshighway, will reopen Monday under the ownership of Tom O’Loughlin, who has leased the property from Louis W. Bahn. Mrs. Russell Gardiner will be active in its management. The outlet will feature pancakes along with a general foods offering including steaks, chicken and the like, and will be in service from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Mr. O’Loughlin, who also operates the Southeast Missouri Dairy, featuring King Quality products, across the street on Kingshighway, and which has a new outlet at Dudley. New space is being added for freezers and coolers. The Sands Motel, another part of the Bahn Property, has been refurbished and is now under the management of Mr. and Mrs. David Seabaugh.

Major renovations in 1970

1970-05-11 Policy changeMay 4, 1970 Advertisement: Renovations included All wall mounted Magnavox TVs have been serviced by Shivelbine Music Store and have been put in perfect shape. They operate perfectly through the help of a 60 ft. tower, on which 3 separate antennas are mounted, one for each channel. This is then boosted by a Gerald system.

This May 11, 1970, ad above makes it sound like the Sands might have hit a rocky period while being managed by someone else. It was time to crack the whip.

The Bahns were good about keeping their money circulating in Cape. It was a great idea to give credit to the local merchants who were providing goods and services. I suspect mentioning all these stores insured that the word would go out that the Sands was a place “to receive a dollar Value for a dollar spent.”

Out with antennas, in with Cable TV

May 6, 1979Bulletin-Journal advertisement: Cape Cable TV wishes to congratulate The Sands Motel upon the recent addition of Cable TV to their room services. Their guests may now choose from 10 channels (some 24 hours a day), plus stereo background music for their viewing and listening pleasure. We are sure this will be only one of many reasons you will find your stay at the Sands Motel a most pleasant experience. Cape Cable TV – 334 Christine.

1982 Look Back

1982-06-06 Sand Motel storyThe Missourian ran a special feature on “Progressive Businesses in the Cape Girardeau Area.” This was the entry for the Sands Motel.

Motel sold to Atlanta couple

Sands Motel and Pancake House 10-29-2014_3934May 18, 1983 – Sands Motel and the Pancake House, owned by Louis Bahn, Inc. since they were built 32 years ago has been sold to a couple from the Atlanta, Ga., area, it was announced Saturday.

The new owners are Mr. and Mrs. Sharad Kadakia, who formerly operated a motel know as Wildes Motel at Statesboro, Ga., before buying the Sands and Pancake House and moving here.

Mrs. Lynne Bahn, president of Louis Bahn, Inc., stressed that the Kadakias bought only the motel Pancake House and Pancake House, and no other corporate stock. The new owners have moved to Cape Girardeau along with their son, Ankesh, 14, and daughter, Ankita, 8. The have moved into the motel, said Mrs. Bahn.

“They have joined the Chamber of Commerce and plan to make several improvements to the motel,” she said. “I plan to stay around for a week or so to see to it that they will have a harmonious transfer. They will be fine citizens for Cape Girardeau.”

The names of the motel and restaurant will remain unchanged. The motel has 42 rooms and a swimming pool.

Not sure when it became Budget Inn

Sands Motel and Pancake House 10-29-2014_3947The problem with trying to piece together something from Google searches is that you are sometimes left with questions. When I searched The Missourian and the web for “Budget Inn Cape Girardeau,” a bunch of police briefs about petty thefts, vandalism and a rape was all that came up. I don’t know when it changed from Sands Motel to Budget Inn, and I don’t know when the swimming pool disappeared.

Over the years, I’ve found out something interesting about asking locals about the motels in their town: since they live there, most of them have never stayed in one, and those that have don’t generally want to talk about it.

Broadway Construction Project

Brother Mark was down in Cape for Mother’s Day. He’s got an advantage when it comes to jockeying for a favorable position in the will. He’s 125 miles away from Mother; I’m 1,100 miles away.

He jingled the keys and mother hopped in the car to go exploring. Mark stopped long enough to shoot these pictures of the 200 and 300 blocks of Broadway. The city’s embarked on what is either a very good or a very bad idea. They are enlarging the sidewalks on the north side of the street to make the area more attractive to pedestrians (at the expense of parking on that side). Here was the Broadway end-to-end piece I did recently, by the way.

Narrow lanes worry me

We had a West Palm Beach mayor (thankfully, gone) who went on a traffic-calming binge. There were a number of streets that were wide enough that a car could pass my bike without having to cross the centerline while still giving me the legal three feet of clearance. He started choking the lanes with traffic furniture where he didn’t narrow them and added speed humps willy-nilly. By doing that, he made it impossible for a car to pass without going over the centerline, which irritated folks if there was oncoming traffic.

So, if you see me cranking my way up the Broadway hill, just know that I’m going as fast as I can and that it wasn’t MY idea to make the lanes smaller. Oh, and the sidewalk isn’t an option. Bikes don’t belong on sidewalks.

It IS pretty, though.

Brother Mark’s 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. I don’t know why he’s being so nice to me. There’s nothing to put in the will, it’s past his birthday and Christmas is a long time off.

View from Trinity Bell Tower

Just before it was torn down, Brother Mark and I crawled all over the Trinity Lutheran Church documenting it. I posted photos of the bell earlier. Today we’re focusing on the view FROM the bell tower. Those louvered windows had a fairly big space to look through, even if the mesh screening was a bit distracting with some lens choices. Click on the photos to make them larger.

View to the northeast

The building towering over everything else is the KFVS-TV building. To its left you can see the H & H Building and the Marquette Hotel. The bright white object rising above the trees at the top right is the Common Pleas Courthouse. You can barely make out the Walther’s sign on the left side of the frame. It has become the Discovery Playhouse. Across the street was a the building that would later sport a bright blue mural with the words, “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” That building was torn down last winter.

View to the north

Switching to a slightly longer lens let me throw the screening out of focus (mostly), but it didn’t cover as much area. The white building to the right was Brinkopf-Howell Funeral home, now Annie Laurie’s Antiques. Shivelbine’s Music would be the building on the southeast corner of Broadway and Frederick. Star Service Station was on the northwest corner. I’d sure like some of that 36-cent gas today.

View to the west

The tall structure at the top right is the telephone company’s microwave tower. In the days before fiber optic cable, much of the country’s long distance traffic was handled by radio signals beamed from tower to tower. Southeast Missouri State University’s Academic Hall’s dome barely clears the treetops near the top right.

View to the south

This is looking south from the intersection of Themis and Frederick. The small brick building on the southwest corner was known as “The Mouse House.” Cape-Kil is directly south of it.

 Trinity Lutheran Church neighborhood in 2011

Here is an aerial photo I shot of the neighborhood April 17, 2011.