347 North Pacific Street

SEMO's Pacific Hall 347 North Pacific 10-10-2014The building at 347 North Pacific was purchased by Southeast Missouri State University in 1980, but I’ll always remember it as Dorington Apartments, the place where Carol Klarsfeld lived.

Carol Klarsfeld by LeudersCarol was a tiny little thing who was always up for an adventure. There was a tale that she put more miles on her mother’s car than she was supposed to. Having a logical mind, she thought, “The speedometer counts up when the car is going forward, so it should count backward if the car is going in reverse.”

The prospect of driving many miles in reverse didn’t seem practical, so she jacked up the rear of the car, put it in gear and gunned it. Her logical skills far surpassed her mechanical skills unfortunately. In the story I heard, the jack slipped and the car took off at high speed in reverse.

When she and her mother moved from a ranch house to the Dorington Apartments, Carol was afraid that her neighbors would keep an eye on her and rat her out if she came in late or engaged in other shenanigans. She quickly found out that apartment dwellers are more anonymous than people who live in houses.

History of 437 North Pacific

I wasn’t able to find out when Carol’s apartment was built, but a search through Missourian archives turned up information about some of the people who lived at that address, most notably R.B. Potashnick and his family. Here’s a sampling of stories. Longer one contain links for more information.

  • January 29, 1926Mrs. C.W. Stehr is confined to her home suffering from injuries received when she fell on the ice in front of her home, 347 North Pacific Street, her right wrist broken in two places.
  • October 19, 1926Mrs. Farnham Clark, who has been visiting Miss Lucille Buck of 347 North Pacific for several days, left today for her home in Menoninee, Wis.
  • August 11, 1931Miss Lucille Bock and Herbert Bock, 347 North Pacific, left today for a motor trip to New Orleans and other points in the South.
  • October 24, 1932Miss Marie Kinder, 343 North Pacific Street, and Robert Richards, 347 North Pacific Street, spend several days with friends in LaSalle, Ill. Mr. Richards also transacted business while away. (There’s another brief that says “Almost every night the young people of Cape Girardeau are driving out Sprigg Street to Blue Hole for delicious sandwiches and soft drinks.”)

Why we vaccinate kids today

SEMO's Pacific Hall 347 North Pacific 10-10-2014

  • January 31, 1934 – Today’s contagious disease list in Cape Girardeau contained nine new names, eight measles cases and one of chicken pox being reported to City Health Officer Henry Haman, Jr. The measles cases are Mason Martin, Red Star suburb; David Phillipson, 228 North Frederick Street; Bobby Johnson, 545 South Benton Street; Jimmy Bauerle, 916 Good Hope Street; David Samuels, 123 North Spanish Street; Mary Potashnick, 347 North Pacific Street; Bobby Adams, Perryville Road; and Landess Mills, 102 North Ellis Street. Virginia Hughes, 118 North Frederick Street, has chicken pox.
  • June 14, 1938 – Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Potashnick, daughters Mary and Ann, 347 North Pacific Street, Mrs. Ben Vinyard, 322 North Pacific Street, Mrs. Geraldine Young, 331 Bellvue Street, and Don Black, 316 Bellvue Street, spent Monday in St. Louis and attended the Municipal Opera that night. Mr. Potashnick remained on business.
  • February 6, 1939 – R.B. Potashnick, a contractor, 347 North Pacific Street, spent the weekend at his home here and returned to St. Louis today on business. Mr. Potashnick last Friday was awarded a contract, aggregating over $414,000 for construction of Rural Electrification Administration project lines in the vicinity of Macon. He was recently given a contract for constructing a similar project in Elsinore and district.
  • September 13, 1951 – A chauffeur-driven 1950 Cadillac sedan and a 1939 Buick collided at the intersection of Hopper Road and Kingshighway Wednesday. Both automobiles were damaged. The Cadillac was owned by R.B. Potashnick, 347 North Pacific Street, and driven by Joe Nelson of 605 Merriwether Street. The Buick was driven by Ben Seitze, 1514 North Rand Street.
  • June 8, 1962 – The second fire within 48 hours broke out this morning at the R.B. Potashnick home, 347 North Pacific Street. The original fire caused damage estimated at $75,000 to $100,000. Chief Lewis, commenting on the [first] fire, said when firemen arrived at the house a big hole had already burned through the living room floor and a radiator had fallen through to the basement. Mr. Potashnick, a widely-known contractor whose company has handled many multi-million dollar projects throughout the country, came from St. Louis to survey the damage, but later left for Georgia on business. Mrs. Potashnick was scheduled to arrive from Ohio today.
  • April 2, 1968 – About $100 in underclothing was stolen from a basement clothesline in an apartment belonging to Mrs. Wayne Nations, 347 North Pacific.
  • November 14, 1980The Dorington Apartments, 347 North Pacific Street, will soon house classes in the SEMO State University’s College of Business. The university purchased the structure this week for just over $300,000.

Benjamin F. Hunter Cabin

Benjamin Hunter Cabin 08-09-2014If you look off to your right on the way down the lane to the Old McKendree Chapel, you’ll see an old log cabin if the weeds aren’t too high.

Sarah Stephens, wrote her thesis on Benjamin F. Hunter Log Cabin: A Social History Plan in fulfillment of the requirements for the B.S. degree in Historic Preservation in 2008. She did a great job of telling the history of the cabin, which was built outside Sikeston in the mid-1800s, taken apart in the early 1980s, then reconstructed on this site.

Rather than rehash the excellent job she did telling the history of the structure, the family who donated it, the conflicts that tore Southeast Missouri apart during the Civil War and the cabin’s eventual move, I encourage you to follow the link above. There’s something for just about anyone who is interested in the history of this region.

Think the Civil War was tough?

Benjamin Hunter Cabin 08-09-2014What I found as interesting as the historical notes surrounding the physical structure was the academic in-fighting that went on in determining where it was going to go. The first site was ruled out because it was going to become the Show-Me Center. The next site was ruled out when “the biology department threw a fit because that land was to be a bird sanctuary.”

” Next, they went to the college farm, marked off a site just East of Old McKendree Chapel and set the stakes and flags. Someone else got upset, so they couldn’t have it there. It ended up that they could have the corner of the present site of the house.”

What’s happening now?

I usually make it out to Old McKendree Chapel at least once every visit, and I’ve noted that there hasn’t been a lot of activity at the log cabin in recent years. It looked like the place was being treated with benign neglect.

Ms. Stephens confirms that: “Interest in developing a living history farm and interest in the cabin dwindled as time went on and the work required to maintain the vision became over whelming.

In 1992 the driving force behind the effort, Dr. Arthur Mattingly, retired. Little work was done with the cabin after Mattingly left. Dr. Bonnie Stepenoff continued work on the cabin in the mid 1990s, including repairs on the roof, chinking and daubing the walls, placing a gate around the property, reglazing the windows, and conducting additional student research.

With the closing of the University Farm and the creation of a technology park in conjunction with the extension of East Main Street and a new entrance to Interstate 55 concern over the future of the cabin surfaced again. The Historic Preservation program along with the University Foundation have begun working to give  the log cabin another chance. Finances remain the main issue with working with the house.

The future of the B.F. Hunter log cabin is uncertain, but with renewed interest and funding available the log cabin may be able to serve as a learning tool for preservation students and maybe one day for the community. The one lesson the B.F. Hunter log cabin has taught the University is the need to have long term goals which can be a reality.

Editor’s note: I don’t think Southeast Missouri State College has learned that lesson yet. The institution seems to be better at destroying historic landmarks than preserving them.



Dome Darkening Nicely

Academic Hall dome 10-110-2014

Academic Hall’s dome has lost the copper shine it had when I photographed it in March of 2013.

March 2013 with shiny copper

Academic Hall dome 03-02-2013

I wonder how long it’ll take to get the nice, green patina the old dome had? Here are some earlier stories about Academic Hall.


Cement Plant from SEMO

Cement Plant from North Henderson 10-10-2014

I wanted to get an updated photo of the dome of Academic Hall to contrast with the shiny copper dome I took in the spring of 2013. On my way down North Henderson on a drizzly afternoon, the cement plant popped up above the horizon.

As you can see, the trees around here are just starting to turn. I was afraid all the dry weather would cause the leaves to turn brown and fall off before we saw the neat colors.