Jo Ann Bock’s Book

Jo Ann Bock at Tom Nuemeyer book signing 03-14-2010I photographed Jo Ann Bock at Tom Neumeyer’s book signing for his photo documentary book, Cape Girardeau Then & Now back in 2010.

When Mrs. Bock wrote Around the Town of Cape Girardeau in Eighty Years, she asked if she could use one of the photos on the back cover of her book. I didn’t hesitate to give her permission. She sent me a copy of the book in return. I was pleasantly surprised to see she had some extraordinarily nice things to say about a piece I wrote about her husband, Howard Bock, when he died.

Mr. Bock Changed my life

Howard Bock CHS 23In the curious way that things in Cape are intertwined, Mrs. Bock was my Cub Scout den mother and knew I was interested in photography. When I got to Central, her husband was in charge of the Tiger and Girardot photo staffs and asked if I’d like to join. That was, indirectly, the start of my photography career.

We saw different slices of time

Jo Ann Bock BookHoward and Jo Ann Bock were getting married (1950) just about the time I was getting born (1947), so we view Cape through slightly different lenses. She stayed in Cape, except for a few years, and I left in 1967, although Cape has never left me.

In the introduction to one of the chapters, she says, “Sometimes a person will ask why I didn’t mention this place, or that person, or recall a special event. My answer is that memories take different directions with people.” Maybe that’s why even though she and I plow the same ground, we come up with different crops.

Her view of Broadway

Vandeven Merchantile Company 1967She and a city directory did a good job of creating a list of businesses and residences along the Broadway corridor. We have some memory overlap on some long-time businesses like Vandeven’s and the movie theaters, but a lot of places she remembers were long gone when the 1960s came around.

Here’s a partial list of what I found along Broadway between Kingshighway and Main Street.

Library and Courthouse

Cook kidsids playing in courthouse fountain on Cape Girardeau's Common Pleas Courthouse grounds June 29, 1967She and I both spent a lot of time in the Cape Public Library when it was located on the grounds of the Common Pleas Courthouse. Unlike these kids, she “never felt right about playing in the fountain with that soldier staring down at me.”

Just for the record, the soldier that stared down at her was smashed by a falling limb. The pieced-together original lives at the Jackson Courthouse, and a replacement casting stares down at children today. Maybe the new one would be less intimidating.

The George Alt House

Trinity Lutheran School neighborhood c 1966We both served our time in the George Alt House, turned into Trinity Hall by Trinity Lutheran School.

A walk down Main Street

107 Main St Cape Girardeau MO 10-20-2009 - Hecht's Mrs. Bock takes us for a walk down Main Street, reeling off a list of businesses that are mostly not there. In fact, the only business still in operation is Zickfield’s Jewelry. Hecht’s is gone, as is Newberry’s, where she worked in the infant clothing department for 15 cents an hour.

Here’s a page where I posted photos of many of the businesses I remembered from my era. The current generation will think Main Street was nothing but bars and antique shops with a little art thrown in.

Hurrah for Haarig

Meyer-Suedekum 03-29-2010_2679That’s the name of her chapter covering the Good Hope / Sprigg area. She drops names like Hirsch’s for groceries, Suedekum’s for hardware, Cape Cut Rate for drugs and the anchor, Farmer’s and Merchants Bank. If she mentioned Pure Ice, I must have missed it.

Music and Majorettes

Homecoming 34Mrs. Bock devotes several chapters to the Cape Girardeau music scene: choirs, operettas, plays, the Cape Choraliers, the Girardot Rose Chorus, and local dance bands. She also mentions being a Central High School majorette in 1946.

SEMO Fair

SEMO Fair Groscurth's Blue Grass Shows MidwayShe and I both spent time at the district fair, both as kids enjoying the rides and exhibits, then later covering it for The Southeast Missourian.

Bring on the Barbecue

Wib's BBQ Brown Hot (outside meat) sandwichThis chapter touched on two of my favorite barbecue places: the Blue Hole Garden and Wib’s.

 Parade of Photographers

GD Fronabarger c 1967You don’t serve as a high school publication adviser and a Missourian reporter without running across that strange subset of humans (some would debate that human part) called photographers. She was suitably enough impressed with us that she devoted a whole chapter to photographers she knew and worked with.

One-Shot Frony, AKA Garland D. Fronabarger, was one of the most unique newspaper photographers I ever ran into. His gruff exterior covered up a gruff interior. He got his name because he would growl around a pipe or cigar clenched between his teeth, “Don’t blink. I’m taking one shot,” push the shutter release and walk off.

Paul Lueders, a Master Photographer who shot almost every school group and class photo for years, was the opposite of Frony: he was quiet, patient and willing to take however long it took to get his subject comfortable.

She mentions several other professional and student photographers who crossed her path over the years, then launches into two pages of such nice things about me I thought maybe I was reading my obit.

How do I get a copy?

Jo Ann Bock Book backIf you grew up in Cape, you might find yourself between the pages of Around the Town of Cape Girardeau in Eighty Years. She manages to work in more names than the phone book. So, how do you get copy?

The book is available on Amazon for $15.49. It’s eligible for free shipping though Amazon Prime, so if you sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime by January 10, you can save some money and get it in two days.

 

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.

Civil War Fort A

Everybody who grew up in Cape learned about Fort D. Maybe you even went on a field trip there.

If that was D, were there Forts A, B, C and E? Well, there wasn’t a Fort E, but A, B and C existed.

Missourian librarian Sharon Sanders wrote about efforts to preserve Fort A, which was atop the bluff at the end of what is now Bellvue Street. Her research, as always, is worth reading. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

She’s not a dry historian, either. she likes to toss in tidbits like, “A 1922 story reports 12-year old Wilson Gibbs chased a rabbit into a a cave at the site. While the rabbit made its escape, Gibbs did stumble upon two jugs of moonshine. A law-abiding youth, Gibbs turned the illegal liquor in to Justice of the Peace C.M. Gilbert. There’s no mention of whether anyone claimed the whiskey.

Scenic lookout proposed

In 1960, Sharon reports, there was talk about creating a scenic overlook/turnaround at the end of Bellvue. The project never got anywhere.

Here’s what’s on the right side of the street today. That apartment building has been there since at least the mid-60s, because Missourian reporter Arlene Southern lived in one of the first floor apartments.

Fort B became SEMO

If you have good eyesight, you MIGHT be able to spot a gray marker in the median of Normal Avenue just east of the red brick crosswalk between Kent Library and Academic Hall. That marker notes the location of Fort B, which was to guard the Perryville and Jackson Road approaches to Cape Girardeau.

St. Francis Hospital site was Fort C

The old St. Francis Hospital site in the middle of the marked streets was the location of Fort C. It’s occupied by the Fort Hope housing development today.

I’ve written about some of the landmarks in this photo.

Pure Ice Becomes Home City Ice

Ray Boren posted a note on two of the Central High School email newsletters that Pure Ice Co., a Cape institution since 1926 has been sold. I’ve always had a fascination with the place, located at 314 South Ellis, east of where St. Francis Hospital used to be.

I think it started when I’d go to work with my dad. He’d stop by when it was still dark to get ice to fill up the water cans for the job sites. The ice plant made the most delicious noise: there was the Clunk! SLLLLLLLLLLNNNNNNNNKKKKKK WHAM!! sound the ice made as it was released from the bowels of the building, slid down a chute and landed at the end. One experience was all it took for you to learn to NOT to have your fingers where the ice came down the chute.

Finally, there was the Chink! Chink! Chink! as dad chipped the 25-pound blocks into smaller pieces, using a wooden-handled ice pick with Pure Ice printed on it.

After breaking up the ice, he’d halve six or eight lemons, squeeze the juice into the water and throw the peels into the cans. “Lemon juice cuts thirst,” he’d proclaim. (And, he was right.)

Photos date back to 2000

I’m not sure when I started taking pictures of the place. I shot these in 2000, 2010 and 2011. There are others, but I couldn’t put my hands on them right away.

The one thing I HAVEN’T been able to do is talk my way inside the ice plant. I gave it a try this summer, but the owner turned me down because of “safety and insurance” reasons.

When I heard that the ice company had been sold, I gave Home City Ice a call to see if I could get in. Rumor had it that they weren’t making ice there because the product was being trucked in from elsewhere. Surely there can’t be any safety issues to go where equipment isn’t working, right?

After being passed around a couple of times, I was told the Chief Financial Officer, Jay Stautberg, was out of the office, but if I left him a voice mail, he’d get back with me. I did, and much to my surprise, Stautberg returned my call within a couple of hours.

Here’s a shot through the window

He confirmed that they had, indeed bought Pure Ice Co., but he couldn’t give me the OK to shoot inside because they only bought the business and signed a lease for cold storage. The Pure Ice folks had held onto the building. Stautberg also confirmed that the ice sold in Cape was being trucked in from two of their facilities, “but I’m not in operations, so I can’t tell you which ones.”

All in all, he was friendly and helpful. “We’re a family business and they were a family business, so we were a good fit,” he said. Pure Ice signs will gradually be replaced by Home City Ice ones.

A Cape resident said the sale may cause problems for one of his friends who does ice sculptures. He needs blocks of ice weighing as much as 800 pounds. The new company, it was thought, may only supply crushed ice. I hadn’t heard that in time to ask Strautberg, so I don’t have an answer to the question.

Sign was for how much ice to leave

While it’s true that Pure Ice on Ellis dates back to May 26, 1926, I discovered that it actually had its origin in Morrison Ice and Fuel in 1903 in a building that was just torn down for the new casino. Morrison became Riverside Ice and Fuel and was eventually bought out by Pure Ice. When refrigerators first started coming out, Pure Ice sold Coolerator iceboxes, but marketed them as a replacement for the old-fashioned wooden iceboxes (with a $5 trade-in), not as refrigerators as we know them today. Home ice delivery went on in Cape until the 1960s.

The sign above was to be placed in the window so the iceman would know how much ice to drop off. Note the phone number – 44 – only two digits.

Pure Ice photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

 

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.