When I was working at The Athens Messenger with Bob Rogers, we had a technique we used when we wanted to goof off. We’d shoot something like a old general store in a decaying coal town and run a photo of the outside of the building along with a brief description and a promise “tomorrow we’ll go inside.”
I’m going to do the same thing with the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center, formerly the First Baptist Church at 926 Broadway. Tomorrow, “we’ll go inside” to see the plaster reproductions of ancient, Medieval and modern works of art that Louis Houck bought at the end of 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
Third First Baptist Church
This building was really the third home of the First Baptist Church.
The original First Baptist Church was organized Aug. 13, 1834, with a membership of nine. I did a post about Cape’s first Protestant church across from the Common Pleas Courthouse in 2012.
The congregation had swelled to 719 by the time it moved to 926 Broadway. Part of the growth – an increase of 258 – was attributed to Billy Sunday’s revival in Cape in 1926. Here’s The Missourian’s front page account of Billy Sunday’s arrival in town.
University bought building in 2003
The university bought the church in 2003 for $3.5 million. The congregation relocated in 2006, and the university remodeled portions of the building in order to occupy it in 2007. The stained glass windows remained.
Photo gallery of Wehking Alumni Center / First Baptist Church
Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery. And, don’t forget, we’ll go inside tomorrow.
On the way down Broadway, I spotted Dino’s Pizza and recalled seeing a story in The Missourian that the building had been bought by the university and was going to be torn down. The April 28, 2014, Business Notebook said asbestos abatement would begin in the next few weeks, and demolition of the building would start the week of May 19. The property will be seeded and become green space, the university told The Missourian.
Building badly damaged by fire
The Missourian reported on August 11, 2011, that Dino’s Pizza at 1034 Broadway was heavily damaged by an early morning fire on August 10. Investigators thought it was an electrical fire. Two cats were removed from the building, but they died of smoke inhalation.
The building was condemned by the city a month after the fire. The Missourian reported that Owner Kostas “Gus” Demopoulos said the building will be demolished, but as of right now, he intends to rebuild. According to the condemnation notice, he will have 30 days after Sept. 25 to either repair or demolish building.
As you can see, the 30 days managed to drag out almost three years.
Nicholas Demopoulos died Feb. 5, 2011
I never had a Dino’s pizza so far as I know. Our family always headed to Tony’s Pizza Palace across from the Rialto Theater.
What I didn’t know until I read his obit was that Nicholas Demopoulos, who took over ownership of Dino’s, had been a pizza cook at Tony’s when he and his family came to Cape Girardeau from Greece in 1969. He had quite an interesting life.
Click on the photos to make the disappearing Cape landmark larger.
I had to do a quick honk ‘n’ wave trip to St. Louis to get something from Brother Mark; then I had to talk Wife Lila through a computer issue. On the way over to Sis-in-Law Marty’s house to break the news that an error message means that her hard drive is terminal, I stopped off to wish Altenburg Museum Director Carla Jordan a safe trip to Baxter Springs to help out in the aftermath of the tornado there. Her family is OK, but there are a lot of people who need support.
So, that meant I was scrambling for something to post. When in doubt, go cruising in the dark.
True confession time: I couldn’t find a place to park, so I put on the four-way flashers and knocked off a few frames of Kent Library and Academic Hall. I didn’t even bother to set up a tripod or deal with the funky color balance.
Academic Hall still impressive
If I had taken more time to work on the exposure, you would have been able to see the new dome better.
I was afraid I’d get caught parking illegally, which might mean being incarcerated in the Advanced Wrestling class I was supposed to attend when all the other PE electives were full in 1966. I think my decision to transfer to Ohio University was done less because they had a good photo program, than because they didn’t require PE.
A building with clean, strong lines
I appreciate the clean, strong lines of Academic Hall. It looks the way a public building SHOULD look.