W.T. Grant Company

W.T Grant Co. 1964-06-03These two shots were tacked onto the end of a bunch of pictures taken at Central. I liked the young man reading a comic book because I whiled away many a happy hour perusing the comic books in Child’s while Mother was shopping. I, being one who believed in keeping my comics pristine would NEVER have folded the pages back like this miscreant is doing. It caused me untold pain when I came home from college and saw what my destructive younger brothers had done to my collection.

[Note:Wife Lila asked, “Do you REALLY want to label the young man as  miscreant?” It is obvious that SHE didn’t collect comic books. You gotta call ’em as you see ’em.]

Grants operated from 1906 to 1976

W.T Grant Co. 1964-06-03When you look at this slightly fuzzy photo of a little boy in cowboy boots looking and wishin,’ you know where the phrase “like a kid in a toy store” came from. The sign behind him lets us know he’s shopping in Grants, “Famous for Extra Saving and Extra Quality.”

I thought Grants was in the Town Plaza, and a quick check of the 1969 City Directory confirmed that it was at 2138 William Street. The manager was Tom Larson.

The first W.T. Grant Co. 25 Cent Store opened in Lynn, Mass., in 1906. Sources say that they were slower than Kresge stores to adapt to the grown of the suburbs and the change in shopping habits. I can remember seeing Kresge stores (although I’m not sure if Cape had one), but I didn’t realize until now that they were the forerunner of K-Mart. W.T. Grant’s bankruptcy in 1976 was the second-biggest in U.S. history.

I probably helped contribute to their bankruptcy because I don’t recall going out of my way to shop there.

Free the Plants!

Plaza Galleria 04-16-2011About this time in 2011, I wrote about a spooky place in Cape where I swore I could hear plants screaming. The Plaza Galleria, behind the Town Plaza Shopping Center, had been closed since 2005, but the plants in the lobby had been left behind. (You can click on the photos to make them larger or follow the link to see more examples.)

Plaza Galleria is out of sci-fi movie

Plaza Galleria 04-16-2011There must have been enough roof leaks to water the plants and keep some of them alive, with their leaves pressed against the glass lobby’s window panes like they were trying to get out. Some didn’t make it.

Missourian reporter Shay Alderman had a story in Wednesday’s paper that the Plaza Galleria is scheduled to be razed in the next few weeks. The building held the area’s first supermarket in 1969, and served as an ice skating rink in the 1980s.

Dying plant in the Royal N’Orleans

Royal N'Orleans 04-14-2011I started looking for orphaned plants in closed buildings. Here’s one in the Royal N’Orleans from April 2011. Looking through the window at tables still covered with tablecloths was sad enough, but the neglected plant gave the 1806 landmark a real feeling of being abandoned.

Cairo storefront

Closed storefront - Cairo - 07-04-2011I spotted these plants on the 4th of July 2011 in what I took to be some kind of government office in Cairo. I didn’t know if the office had closed or if the occupants were just careless in their watering.

Some managed to escape

Cairo 11-13-2012When I went back in November 2012, the office was empty. Someone must have taken the plants that were still alive.

Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church

Mt Moriah Missionary Baptist Church - Cairo - 01-28-2013This plant was behind a window in the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Cairo.

Blomeyer Drive-In screen being eaten

Montgomery Drive-in in Blomeyer 03-20-2010The concrete Montgomery Drive-In screen in Blomeyer looks like it’s being devoured by something out of one of the sci-fi movies that once played on it.


Restore, Restore, Restore

The message two days ago was Backup, Backup, Backup. The mission today was Restore, Restore, Restore.

Well, life is good. I replaced two external devices that I used for data storage with one Drobo S that holds five drives and “stripes” the data across all of the drives. I can lose one drive without data loss. I COULD have formatted it so I could lose two drives, but I would have lost storage space. So, my five drive bays are filled with two 2TB drives, 2 1.5TB drives and an oddball 320GB drive I had kicking around. After the overhead the redundancy claims, I have 4.82TB available to me. (I can remember when I was impressed to get 1.4MB on a 3-1/4″ floppy.)

Drobo was easy to install

Most of you won’t need that kind of storage, but if you do, I highly recommend the Drobo. My kid has one like mine at home and an eight-bay at his office. He kept trying to convince me to move in that direction, but I hate to spend money until and unless I have to.

The nice thing is that you can mix and match drives, then put in bigger ones when you need more space. You don’t have to go through any big gyrations to make it work. The thing that took the most time was getting a stripped screw to let go of the side rails in my old device. Drobo installation consisted of loading the Drobo Dashboard software, sliding the drives in the bays (the cover, a nifty translucent plastic that lets you see diodes and flashing lights is held on by magnets), plugging in the power and and data cables and formatting the drives (took five minutes).

Backblaze worked

I touted Backblaze’s cloud backup system in my earlier post, but I have to admit that I wasn’t completely confident that it was going to be able to handle a 228GB zip file, but it unpacked clean as a whistle.

If you’re not backing up your data on a regular and reliable basis, I highly recommend this service. It’s five bucks a month to back up unlimited amounts of data. If you click on this link or the image above, it’ll take you to Backblaze. If you sign up for the service, I get a tiny piece of the action. Since the darned service is so cheap, trust me when I say “tiny.”

Salting the elephants

I used the expression “salting the elephants” when a vendor tried to tell me that he didn’t need to prove that his backup system actually worked. He said the restore was so reliable (and so much trouble to make work) that I should just trust him that it would perform as described. (The elephant photo, by the way, was taken at the Town Plaza.)

“So, basically, if I buy your system,” I said, “I’m going to be salting the elephants and assuming that just by HAVING it, I’ll keep failure at bay. Is that your pitch?”

He looked at me quizzically, so I filled him in.

A guy is sitting on a park bench minding his own business when a stranger in a suit sits down next to him. They nod, but otherwise ignore each other. The stranger opens his coat, extracts a salt shaker and shakes it over his shoulder.

Guy One thinks this is unusual, but shrugs and ignores it. A few minutes later, Guy Two repeats the action. This goes on several times until Guy One just has to ask.

“It’s none of my business, but what’s with the salt shaker?”

“It keeps the elephants away,” was the answer.

“There aren’t any elephants around here.”

“See, it’s working.”

Unlike the vendor, I have actually done a restore with Backblaze, so I feel comfortable recommending it.

Central High School Aerials

This view of Central High School from the early 1970s is looking from the southeast corner roughly to the northwest. Caruthers Ave. is running along the right side of the photo. The new gym is under construction and the swimming pool with its bubble hasn’t been started. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Central High School aerial 2011

This photo of Central High School (now Central Junior High School) is taken from about the same angle. Caruthers is on the right side of the picture, Independence is at the bottom and Broadway runs left and right at the top. You can see the “new” gym that was just getting started in the first photo, along with the domed swimming pool. Town Plaza Shopping Center is in the bottom left.

Central High School SE to NW

This 2011 view is from the southeast to the northwest. The intersection of Caruthers and Independence is in the lower left-hand corner.

Northeast corner

We’ve circled to the northwest corner of the property in this 2011 shot. Caruthers runs left and right in the foreground of the photo. Kingshighway is at the top.