Stubbs’ Pak-A-Snak

Photos by James D. McKeown III, courtesy Steven McKeownThere has been a monster thread on the Facebook group Growing Up in Cape Girardeau about the businesses in the 1600 block of Independence. I wrote about the Pak-A-Snak, Fire Station No. 2, the Donut Drive-In, the Sunset Barber Shop and the Pink Pony Lounge in 2010.

Reader Steve McKeown sent me a bunch of scans of family photos his dad had taken way back when. From time to time, I go looking through them. This time I saw a shot of the front of the Pak-A-Snak after a windstorm had blown through town.

How do you spell that?

Photos by James D. McKeown III, courtesy Steven McKeownVarious people on Facebook came up with all kinds of variations of the name of what was probably Cape’s first convenience store. It’s a little fuzzy when I blow it up, but the sign on the building says Stubbs’ Pak-A-Snak. That’s also the spelling The Missourian used in several business briefs.

Second floor added in 1966

Pak-a-Snak 03-31-2010Frony’s business column in the August 18, 1966, Missourian said that construction is underway on a second floor to Stubbs’ Pak-A-Snak Market, 1606 Independence, this to be occupied by the Jack and Jill Play School, now in a dwelling at 1600 Independence and operated by Mrs. Marjorie George.

That means that Steve’s photo was taken before 1966. This one was taken in 2010.

Farrows opened Pak-A-Snak in 1933

The Missourian reported in January 13, 1960 that “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Farrow have purchased Farrow’s Superette at 1830 Bloomfield from Herman Schmittze …. Mr. and Mrs. Farrow sold the market 10 years ago to Mr. and Mrs. Al Schoen.

“Mr. and Mrs. Farrow have been in the grocery business since 1933 when the built Cape’s first drive-in grocery store, the Pak-A-Snak, now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Porter Stubbs. The Farrows now own the Snappy Sak-It on Highway 61, which they built and they will continue its operation.

Don’t forget to click it

Buy From Amazon.com to Support Ken SteinhoffWe’re getting into the season when folks are thinking about buying gifts. I encourage you to shop locally, but if you order from Amazon, click on the Big Red Button at the top left of the page (or this one) to get to Amazon. I’ll make about 6% on anything you purchase, and it won’t add a penny to your cost.

It’s a painless way for you to help me keep the computer running and the gas tank filled to bring you these stories.

Perryville Pumpkin Farm

Perryville Pumpkin Farm 10-01-2014Bob Campbell did a story on the Perryville Pumpkin Farm in the September 28, 2014, Missourian. When Friend Shari and I wrapped up our business at the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum, I suggested we head up the road to take a look at it.

I had never seen so many different colors, shapes and varieties of pumpkins and squash. They aren’t ALL orange and round, children. Bob’s story said the farm raises 146 varieties of pumpkins. There are some that have long necks like swans; others are covered with “warts” and look like brains.

Rides, mazes and more

Perryville Pumpkin Farm 10-01-2014We got there late in the afternoon, so we didn’t take advantage of a lot of the things the farm had to offer like rides out to the fields, the one-mile corn maze, the pumpkin slingshot or Sophia the simulated cow. I couldn’t even convince Shari that it would be fun for her to crawl through the straw tunnel while I photographed her head sticking out from time to time.

We bought some small items

Perryville Pumpkin Farm 10-01-2014We both bought some small, colorful pumpkins and squashes to take back to our mothers. It’s little things like that that keep you listed in the will (sorry Brothers David and Mark).

Shari was kitty-captivated

Perryville Pumpkin Farm 10-01-2014

Shari, who is owned by two cats, fell in love with this kitten. Mom Meckler said they were overstocked on kittens, noted how Shari was “the only one the cat would allow to pick her up,” and brought out a cardboard box for her to take it home to St. Louis. I tried to guilt her into taking it, but she called that evening to say she was going to have to pass this time, and to find the critter a good home.

Curator Jessica saw this photo and said she wants the black and white cat. She’s coming to Cape in November, so maybe it’ll find its way back to Ohio.

Pumpkins in the semi-wild

Perryville Pumpkin Farm 10-01-2014One of the farm’s pumpkin patches bumps up against the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery. It’s a bit disconcerting to look in one direction and see hundreds of pumpkins, then look over your shoulder to see hundreds of tombstones.

How to get there

Here is the Perryville Pumpkin Farm’s website. They are open 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., from September 1 through October 31.

If you want to make a Perry County day of it, stop by the Altenburg museum for the new exhibit, Revision: Recovery, Repair, and Transformation by artist, Kurt Mueller of Minneapolis. Mueller is the fifth generation descendant of the 1839 German-Lutheran immigration to Perry County, MO This extraordinary exhibit consists of sculptures, paintworks, and assemblages including detailed narratives of the artist’s journey.

The opening reception is Saturday, October 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. It is free and open to the public. The exhibit will be shown from October 4 through November 7, 2014. If the exhibit is half as impressive as its catalog, it’s going to be worth a scenic drive to see.

 

My Missourian Carrier Bag

Southeast Missourian carrier bag 03-01-2014_2087I was shuffling boxes in my storage shed behind the house to make room for stuff that was overflowing my office when I opened a box that contained some stuff I could throw away without hesitation. Wadded up in the bottom of the box, though, was what might have been my first Southeast Missourian carrier bag.

I’ve been wracking my brain to remember the guy who hired me as a substitute carrier for the whopping pay of $2.50 a week for six days of delivery and collecting on Saturday morning. I think his name was Bob, and I was impressed at how together he seemed to be. He didn’t spend a lot of time teaching me the route: we walked it one time on one afternoon, then he handed me the collection book and said, “Don’t miss anybody.”

So short the bag dragged the ground

At 12 years old, I was so short I had to carry the bag cross my chest like a bandolier to keep it from dragging the ground. That might be why the bottom has a big hole in it. The bags had a long piece in the back that would fold forward to TRY to keep the papers from getting wet if it was raining. You can see it hanging down behind the bag.

Bob passed the route on to Jerry Collins. Houses were starting to pop up all over the place, so eventually the route was split and I got one of my own. I started out with about 90 customers and grew the route to around 300, which meant I needed to find two subs of my own. After paying them and buying the papers from The Missourian, I was making about $24 a week, half of what I made as a Missourian reporter.

I’m sorry that kids today don’t have the opportunity to carry papers like I did. I learned responsibility, how to keep books, customer relation skills and salesmanship. That’s a lot for a kid who hadn’t hit his teens yet.

There ARE Dumb Questions

1967-01-14 Dearmont Fire 4How many times have you been told “There are no dumb questions?” Take it from me, there ARE dumb questions. I asked one. More about that later.

The Missourian’s January 16, 1967, front page lead story was “Cake Fires Girls’ Dorm,” with three of my photos. Clothing and bedding were destroyed and smoke and fire damage were extensive when fire enveloped a room in Dearmont Quadrangle, women’s residence hall at State College, Saturday night (January 14).

Wally Sinwell looks at birthday cake

Dearmont Quadrangle fire 1-14/1967Wally Sinwell of St. Louis, right, who used hall extinguishers to contain the blaze, looks at birthday cake whose candles ignited paper, while firemen view the room.

B & C wings were evacuated

Dearmont Quadrangle fire 1-14/1967Girls living in B and C wings, in pajamas and pincurlers, were evacuated, but later returned to their rooms.

Contents damaged

1967-01-14 Dearmont Fire 5A fire which apparently started from a birthday cake Saturday night damaged a room on the fourth floor of Dearmont Quadrangle. Damage was extensive to the room and its contents. Firemen said mattresses on the bunk bed were destroyed, clothes in the two closets were badly burned and smoked, drapes on the windows were ruined and the ceiling will have to be redone.

Carroll Walker, dean of students, said the room was occupied by two freshmen, Miss Mary Lou Halliday, Shipman, Ill., and Miss Patricia J. Ham, St. Charles.

Preparing surprise birthday party

1967-01-14 Dearmont Fire 3Walker said the girls told him they were preparing to celebrate the birthday of Miss Halliday. Some of the girls had taken her down the hall in order to surprise her.

Miss Martha Susan Owen and Miss Iris Anne Hargrove, both of Paducah, Ky., and Miss Patricia Ann Singrun, St. Louis, were in the room decorating for the party. Mr. Walker said they told him they were putting toilet paper on the ceiling and some was on the floor when a piece of the paper fell from the ceiling across the lighted candles on the birthday cake. The paper burst into flames and the girls said they tried to put the blaze out, but couldn’t.

Here’s the dumb question

Dearmont Quadrangle fire 1-14/1967That was the official version.

Somewhere in a box in my shed is a tape recording I did of my interview with the girls where they confirmed that they had, indeed, dangled toilet paper all over the room. With luck, it’ll never be found and played.

“When we walked into the room with the birthday cake, a streamer dropped onto one of the candles and the whole room burst into flames,” one of them told me.

My question, which I tried as hard as I could to haul back into my mouth, was, “Was it supposed to?”

I think a withering glance was the only answer I got.

Student fought fire

Dearmont Quadrangle fire 1-14/1967Walter J. Sinnwell of St. Louis, a student who was in the parlor of the quadrangle when the fire broke out, collected building’s fire extinguishers and attempted to put out the blaze.

Miss Halliday said that at one point the fire was thought to have been put out by the extinguishers, but when they went out looking for more extinguishers, some one heard and explosion – “probably a can of hair spray or spray deodorant” – and the room was engulfed in more flames than before.

Cake remained intact

1967-01-14 Dearmont FireCapt. Paul Kesterson said a pumper, a ladder truck and nine men went to the scene. The Seagraves pumper and 140 feet of one-inch hose were in use for two minutes.

He said one of the girls was concerned because a radio her mother had given her Christmas was damaged. Through it all, he said, the birthday cake remained intact. It had some dirt and water on it, but was still in one piece on the hallway floor.

Photo gallery of women’s dorm

I have to admit that charging into a women’s dorm was a lot less exciting than I thought it would be. I never knew there were so many different forms of pincurlers. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the sides of the photos or use your arrow keys to step though the images.

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.