Do These Photos Say Cape?

I have a friend who was looking for some stock photos of Cape to use as headers on a web page. I started poking around and came up with these old and new photos that I think capture some of the spirit of the town.

The biggest challenge was finding pictures that would fit the exact format shape – a skinny horizontal.

Photographers HATE to shoot for shape

Photographers HATE going out to shoot for shape. We always figured that was a sign that the page designer was too lazy to work with the most story-telling photos on deadline. He wanted to dummy the page early so he could go home early.

Photographers, of course, believe that every photograph is perfectly composed. Some would express that conceit by printing their photos “full frame” with black borders that indicated that the picture had not been cropped. (Guilty as charged.)

Of course, as a guy who had to do his own layouts, I found that sometimes cropping the photo made the page look a lot better. It was OK if I did it; it was a mortal sin if someone else did it.

Photo gallery

Since I’m not exactly sure what my friend is looking for, I’ve pulled together photos that you’ve seen before and some that were in the pipeline. I’m curious to see what you think best says “Cape Girardeau.”

If she uses any, I’ll post the website address. As always, click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.


Last Wimpy’s Bites the Dust

Generations of Cape Girardeans came of age at Wimpy’s. For most of us it was the grocery store / hamburger joint at the corner of Cape Rock and Kingshighway shown here in this 1966 time exposure. You can see more Wimpy’s photos over the ages and read some interesting comments at my Feb. 8, 2010, posting.

The first Wimpy’s opened in 1942 on the west side of North Kingshighway, near the entrance to Arena Park. Fred and Ethel Lewis ran the establishment while their sons, Freeman and Frank were in the service in World War II.

The youngest brother, Billie (Bill) joined the family business when it moved to the Cape Rock location in 1947. It was a teenage hangout until 1972, when the property was sold to a bank in 1973.

Wimpy’s Skyway Restaurant opened at the Cape Airport in 1960, expanded from 12 to 25 seats in 1961, then closed in 1967.

Moved to 506 S. Kingshighway

Bill opened a new Wimpy’s at 506 S. Kingshighway after the Cape Rock location closed. He catered to the breakfast and lunch crowd.

In the late 90s, Gary and Diane Garner, shown above, had a car lot on Morgan Oak. They heard rumors that a new bridge was going to be built. “OK, we’re done,” he said they thought.

They happened to hear that the woman who owned the Wimpy’s building wanted to sell it after the restaurant closed in 1997, so they moved Gary’s Car and Truck Sales there. I shot this photo Oct. 26, 2009, and didn’t think about running it until Ray Boren (Class of 55) posted a photo and note to a Central newsletter showing that the building had been torn down.

I searched through The Missourian for a story, but couldn’t find anything that would tell what the land will be used for.

All we have left are memories

With the razing of the last Wimpy’s, looks like all we have left will be memories of seven-cent hamburgers, cherry Cokes and endless loops between Wimpy’s and Pfisters.

Lewis Brothers’ obituaries

Wimpy’s in 1966, 1967 and 2009

Wimpy’s Intersection in 1966

My friend, Fred Lynch, Southeast Missourian photographer, had a picture of the original Wimpy’s building taken in the 1940s in his blog.

I spent some time at the second iteration of Wimpy’s, when it moved across the street to the corner of Cape Rock Drive and Kingshighway. I went into the store a lot of times as a kid, but it wasn’t a normal teenage hangout of mine. I think I was more of a Pfister’s kind of guy.

I took the time exposure above sometime during the summer of 1966. I don’t know if I shot it for a story or if it was just a finger exercise to practice shooting night photos. The headlights and taillights of cars left the light streaks.

Busy intersection for wrecks

I have pictures where Wimpy’s was the backdrop for one of the many crashes that occurred at the busy intersection before traffic signals were installed. My Dad’s construction company had the project to widen that section of Kingshighway. The state created room for the turn lanes by turning the shoulder into travel lanes, something he thought was a mistake. He thought they should have widened the road, but you build to the specs, not to what you think is right.

This picture from 1967 appears to be some kind of minor motorcycle accident.

Wimpy’s was gone in 2009

I took this time exposure Oct. 13, 2009. Wimpy’s has been replaced by a bank, which is closed and for sale. Traffic lights make the intersection safer, but there are a lot fewer cars to control at night after the demise of Wimpy’s.