Beard’s Sport Shop, 818 Broadway

A reader was asking me about 818 Broadway. It’s been a whole lot of things, but it’ll always be Beard’s Sport Shop to me. When I photographed it in 2009, the sign on the front of building said Grace Cafe, but I think it had already closed its doors. I used to go to Grace Cafe when it was located in the old Vandeven’s Mercantile building at Pacific and Broadway because they had a fast internet connection.

Ornate decorations

I never noticed how ornate the trim was on the building until I looked at these photos. I thought that it might have been added recently, but Fred Lynch had a Frony photo of Beard’s and Wayne’s Grill that shows it clearly in 1961.

When Friend Shari and I shot the interior of the Broadway Theater in December, we retreated across the street for some coffee to thaw out. I couldn’t remember the name of the place, but a Missourian business column on April 18, 2011, said “Calix Coffee opened at 818 Broadway, at the former Grace Cafe location in Cape Girardeau. Owner Andrew Whaley, Jackson, previously worked at Grace Cafe as a barista. The shop sells coffee and fresh baked pastries, and Whaley hopes to add sandwiches and salads in the future.”

That must be it.

You can barely make out the Beard’s sign in a photo I ran the other day of a wreck at night on Broadway.

Interested in Pinterest?

I’m always a little slow in adopting new social media, but Son Matt added a new button to the front of the blog. You’ve been able to “Like” a page on Facebook and Google+ for some time. Starting last week, you could “pin” an image on Pinterest. It’s probably easier to show you some of my stuff that’s been “pinned” than to try to explain it. It’s sort of a nice way to get a high-level feel for the kind of stuff I shoot.


Broadway End-to-End

I was trading some messages with Nicolette Brennan from the City of Cape about a picture of Broadway for a project she’s working on. That got me to thinking about how many Broadway stories I’ve done. I’ve documented the street from the river’s edge to the old Colonial Tavern on the west end. Click on the photos to make them larger and click on the links to go to the original story.

So many teens were dancing at the old Teen Age Club at Themis and Spanish that the floor was bouncing and a city inspector shut ’em down. They moved the dance to the bank parking lot at the corner of Main and Broadway.

Crash at the Colonial Tavern

The Colonial Tavern was my dad’s morning coffee stop where everybody would gather to hash over the previous night’s Cardinal game. A sports car picked this night to plow into the building that was at the west end of Broadway.

The park that got away

A three-acre tract of land on the south side of Broadway east of Hwy 61 was donated by the Doggett family with the understanding that the the land would be developed into a park similar to Dennis Scivally Park on Cape Rock Drive.

The family felt that the tract hadn’t been improved in the past 10 years, so they filed a suit to reclaim the land. A granite marker with the name “Doggett Park” next to the Masonic Temple parking lot is all that remains of the park.

Crash at Broadway and Fountain

Sometimes what you think is going to be an inconsequential story resonates with readers. Fred Kaefpfer, who was directing traffic at this crash at the corner of Broadway and Fountain, turned out to be Cape’s singing policeman. It became one of the most-commented stories of the early blog. The Idan-Ha Hotel shows up in the background of the photo.

Idan-Ha Hotel burns

The Idan-Ha Hotel, which had caught fire in 1968, caught fire again in 1989.

Star Service Station – Cigarettes 25 cents a pack

The Star Service station at the corner of Broadway and Frederick gave stamps with your gas. Ninety stamps would get you $1.50 worth of free gas.

Annie Laurie’s used to be Brinkopf-Howell’s

Niece Laurie Everett’s Annie Laurie’s Antiques, across the street from the Star Service Station used to be a funeral home. It’s the top-rated antique shop in Cape County now. Shivelbines Music, across the street, got a new sign in November.

Bob’s Shoe Service

Bob Fuller’s Bob’s Shoe Service was where I stocked up on Red Wing boots, the ideal footwear for a photographer. They’d shine up acceptably for formal wear (at least as formal as I ever got), but you could wade water and walk on fire with no worries.

507-515 Broadway

The 500 block of Broadway has had an interesting past.

Discovery Playhouse – Walthers’s Furniture

I was glad to see some life around the old Walther’s Furniture Store and Funeral Home. The Discovery Playhouse has become popular in a short period of time. Here is was before it opened.

Lutheran Mural Building razed

When I shot the Discovery Playhouse, I had no idea that the landmark building across the street was going to be torn down within a couple of years. It was best known for the huge blue mural on its side.

Rialto Theater roof collapses

A rainstorm caused the roof of the old Rialto Theater to collapse in 2010. This story contains a bunch of links, including one that tells how I met Wife Lila there when she was working as a cashier. This picture is of the 1964 Homecoming Parade.

Broadway Theater is still impressive

I managed to talk my way into the Broadway Theater on a cold December day. It still has the feel of the premier theater of the city.

What’s going to happen to the Esquire?

When I did this story in October 2011, it looked like the Esquire Theater was going to get new life. A new owner had an ambitious plan to renovate it. The latest stories in The Missourian make it sound like the project is unraveling.

Here’s a piece I did about its art deco history. In September 1965, I used infrared flash and film to capture kids watching The Beatles movie Help! It was the first (and only) time I used that technique.

Pladium / D’Ladiums – it’s still the same

I wasn’t a pool player, but those who were spent their time in the Pladium (now D’Ladiums) across from Houck Stadium or the Pla-Mor, next to Wayne’s Grill and the Esquire. The Beav still rules the roost at D’Ladiums.

Vandeven’s Merchantile

Howard’s Athletic Goods and a handful of other businesses have moved into the building at the corner of Broadway and Pacific over the years, but it’ll always be Vandeven’s Merchantile to me.

It dawns on me that I have even more photographs along Broadway – way too many to inflict on you in one shot. I’ll hold off putting up the rest of them until another day. Don’t forget to click on the links to see the original stories.


A Broadway Fender-Bender

Looks like there might have been a minor fender-bender east of Pacific on Broadway on a warm night when the streets were wet. The negative is in poor shape, but there are all kinds of interesting things captured in the frame. Click on the photos to make them larger.

  • I think it’s a fender bender because the car in the foreground (with a Ford Groves license plate) is empty.
  • There’s a small crowd of gawkers gathering on the sidewalk.
  • There’s a guy standing behind the second car exhibiting body language that he’s not particularly happy. You can see that same sort of thing at another crash at Fountain and Broadway where you can also read about Cape’s singing policeman, Fred Kaempfer.

Barely worth two shots

  • It had to have been minor because it was only worth two shots. It wasn’t newsworthy enough to make the paper and it didn’t look like it would turn into an insurance job.
  • The Esquire Theater is showing Walt Disney’s Moon Spinners.
  • The Wayne’s Grill sign is still lit, probably open to catch late-night moviegoers. Wayne’s was the home of the best filet I’ve ever eaten, all for $1.25.
  • Beard’s Sport shop is on the left side of the street just beyond the Esquire and just before the phone company.
  • There’s a guy standing in front of the price sign at the Cities Service gas station, so we don’t know how much you had to pay to fill your tank, but I’m guessing it was going for about .39.9 a gallon. Thoni’s price wars that took it down to 19 cents didn’t usually make it that far into town.
  •  If you look above and to the left of the highway signs, you can see one of the cheesy plastic rose baskets that were supposed to symbolize City of Roses.
  •  Vandeven’s Merchantile is on the right. There’s a sign that looks like it says “Novelty Shop,” that might have been Bodine’s Gift Shop at 823 Broadway. Beyond it is the vertical sign for Radonics Electronics Radio and TV.

Is the Esquire deal off?

When I was home last fall, the big news was that the Esquire Theater, closed for first-run movies since 1984, was going to renovated by its new owner, John Buckner.

Well, it looks like the excitement might have been premature. One of Buckner’s enterprises, a new restaurant named Razing Cain, closed in less than a month. The Missourian is reporting that Buckner is now “rethinking” if he’s going forward with the Esquire project.



Wayne’s Grill

Many of my lunch hours at Trinity Lutheran School were spent in Wayne’s Grill, Beard’s Sport Shop and Vandeven’s Mercantile in the 800 block of Broadway. My folks were good enough to give me permission to leave the schoolgrounds to eat lunch at Wayne’s. A burger and a coke were 35 cents, the same as lunch at school. Add 15 cents and you could get fries. A great coconut cream pie covered with “calf’s slobber,” as Dad called meringue, was two bits.

If Dad took us out in the evening, we would order a bacon-wrapped filet Mignon, the steak against which I have measured every steak thereafter. It was a whole buck and a quarter. I celebrated most of my Saturday Missourian paydays by having one for lunch.

The photo above was taken Sept. 12, 2001, long after Wayne’s had turned into a variety of other businesses. At some point, but I don’t remember when, there was a pool hall in the building.

Original Wayne’s was east of the Esquire

When Brother Mark and I rode by the building Oct. 14, 2007, it had changed appearance again. The marque on the Esquire had fallen down, so the sidewalk was blocked off. You can see more Esquire photos here.

When I first started eating there, Wayne’s was located on the east side of the Esquire theater.

A brief in The Missourian on May 17, 1961, said that “the sale Mrs. Miller’s Cafe, 828 Broadway, to Wayne Freeman has been announced by Mrs. Eva Mae Miller. Mrs. Miller said the sale becomes effective today and she will close the restaurant at the end of tonight’s business.

“Mr. Freeman is owner and operator of Wayne’s Grill, 816 Broadway. Presently, he said he plans to remodel the Miller’s Cafe before reopening it sometime this summer. He will also continue operation of Wayne’s Grill until 1963 when his lease expires. The property was acquired early this year by the Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.

“Mrs. Miller and her late husband, W. B. Miller, bought the cafe six years ago after moving here from Marion,Ill. She plans to devote her time to the operation of her business at the Plaza Cleaners and Coin Wash in the Town Plaza for the present.”

Wayne’s is nothing but memories and parking stops

When I went back to look for Wayne’s in the fall of 2009, it was gone, gobbled up for more parking for Southeast Missouri State University.

Wayne Freeman’s obituary appeared in the paper Feb. 21, 1984. “Wayne E. Freeman, longtime owner of one of the city’s best-known restaraunts, Wayne’s Grill, died Monday, Feb. 20, 1984 following an illness of several months. He was 69 years old.

“Mr. Freeman was born April 7, 1914, in Salem, son of Evan and Ruth Gerhardt Freeman. He married the former Dorothy Pregner. Mr. Freeman had resided here since 1948, moving here from St. Louis. He operated Wayne’s Grill here from 1949 until his retirement in 1974. He was a member of St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish, the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, and the American Legion. Mr. Freeman was a veteran of World War II.

“Surviving are his wife; a son, William W. Freeman, Ballwin; brother, Thomas R. Freeman, Cape Girardeau; and grandchildren, Jennifer K., Caitlin Suzanne and Erin Elizabeth Freeman. Pallbearers will be Dr. Keith Deimund, Jack Slaughter, Gale Heise, Joseph Quatmann, Dennis Stockard, Richard Esicar and Ken Werner.”

I remember Dorothy

Wayne wasn’t particularly outgoing, at least to me. I remember him as a skinny guy who handled the grill. If he said a dozen words to me in all the years I went in there, I’d be surprised. For some reason, I picture him with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, but I could be wrong about that.

His wife, Dorothy, on the other hand, was a peach. She may have been one of the first adults I called by her first name. I’m not sure I even knew her last name until I did this story. If she wasn’t busy, she’d come over and talk with me like I was a regular customer, not some kid from elementary school.