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Sunday, Mar. 1, 2015
John G. Putz, historian and poet
Posted Thursday, February 26, at 12:00 AM
John G. Putz (above) served as this newspaper's Jackson correspondent for 40 years. I first became familiar with him through articles the Missourian published on different aspects of the history of Cape Girardeau County. Judging by the quality of his writing, I just knew that, when I pulled up his obituary, I would find he graduated from the Cape Girardeau Normal School, or some other institute of higher learning. ...

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The forgotten La Mascot
Posted Thursday, February 19, at 12:00 AM

History records numerous steamboat tragedies on the Mississippi River, including the explosion and sinking of the Sultana near Memphis in 1865 and the fire that destroyed the Stonewall at Neelys Landing four years later. Around 1,800 persons, many paroled Union soldiers, lost their lives in the Sultana tragedy. On the Stonewall, nearly 210 were killed...

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Valet Laundry was owned by an optimist
Posted Thursday, February 12, at 12:00 AM

This newspaper received a number of comments when this photograph appeared in an online gallery of some of G.D. Fronabarger's work, and again when it was featured as the "Picture of the Past" in a Sunday edition of the Southeast Missourian. Callers and e-mailers identified it as a building that stood at the corner of North Spanish and Mason streets and was torn down when Isle Casino was built...

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Photo recalls 1922 Sulphur Springs train wreck
Posted Thursday, February 5, at 12:00 AM

The New Broadway Theater in Cape Girardeau, 1922. (Southeast Missourian archive photo by Lueders Studio) Contrary to what you may be thinking, this isn't a blog about the New Broadway Theater in Cape Girardeau. This blog is about the photo itself and the sign hanging from the theater's marquee...

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Boxing inaugurates Arena Building
Posted Thursday, January 29, at 12:00 AM

Here's a bit of trivia you may not know: The first public event staged at the A.C. Brase Arena Building in Cape Girardeau was a Golden Gloves boxing tournament, organized by the Junior Chamber of Commerce (the Jaycees). Development of the land that would become Arena Park and construction of the civic arena began in the spring of 1937. ...

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We all scream for ice cream
Posted Thursday, January 22, at 12:00 AM

Gladys Smith of Scott City called me recently to identify the photo below, which we ran on a Sunday History Page. The woman, Gladys told me, was Emma Bennett, and the boy obviously enjoying ice cream scraped from the paddles of an old-time ice cream freezer was Emma's son, Robert...

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Longtime employees retire from newspaper
Posted Thursday, January 15, at 12:00 AM

The beginning of a new year in 1965 meant the end of the careers of four, longtime employees of the Southeast Missourian: Fred C. Gerecke, Flora Deneke, Jean L. Giroir and Herbert Howes. Together, they had 124 years of work experience at the newspaper...

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Mules for E.P. Coleman
Posted Thursday, January 8, at 12:00 AM

On my computer at work I keep a file of stories I find interesting and that I think I may eventually transform into blogs. One of those stories featured the above photograph. Unfortunately, only the two men in white shirts are identified. They were, from the left, Tom Scott of Benton, formerly the sheriff of Scott County, and R.D. ...

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The long life and death of George Washington Davis
Posted Thursday, January 1, at 12:00 AM

Just days before he was to celebrate his 99th birthday on Dec. 25, 1921, "Uncle" George Washington Davis told readers of The Southeast Missourian it was his ardent wish to live one more year: "Uncle Wash is religiously inclined. 'If God will let me live one more year, until I am 100 years old, I will be satisfied and will be willing to die. But I do want to live one more year,' he said earnestly."...

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Cape's first muny Christmas tree celebration held 100 years ago
Posted Thursday, December 25, at 12:00 AM

Common Pleas Courthouse Park was the scene of the first Cape Girardeau municipal Christmas tree celebration in 1914. This snowy picture was taken Dec. 30, 1935. (Southeast Missourian photo by G.D. Fronabarger) I understand Councilwoman Loretta Schneider is trying to drum up support for a municipal Christmas tree in Cape Girardeau. ...

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Items from a 1939 edition
Posted Thursday, December 18, at 12:00 AM

I never know what I'm going to find as I page through the old issues of the Southeast Missourian, looking for items to use in the daily "Out of the Past" column. Dec. 16, 1939, struck me as having some interesting items. The front page was filled with news about the war in Europe; a huge fire at East Prairie, Missouri, that destroyed a flour milling operation; prospects for employment through the National Youth Administration and the Works Progress Administration; the capture of a "mad (female) slayer" in Phoenix, and efforts locally to feed and clothe the needy.. ...

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The Warsaw, the Gladys and the A.C. Jaynes: Ferry service in Cape Girardeau
Posted Thursday, December 11, at 12:00 AM

The death certificate of Alvin Charles Jaynes lists his occupation as "retired farmer." Likewise, his son Roy A. Jaynes' certificate says he was a farmer and stock dealer. A second son, Finis Jaynes, was a self-employed refrigerator repairman. But those familiar with Cape Girardeau's history know these men for a much different occupation. They were river men who ran the ferry between Cape Girardeau and the Illinois shore for almost 30 years...

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Clemens remade the Renaissance building
Posted Thursday, December 4, at 12:00 AM

A recent drive through downtown Cape Girardeau revealed that Sherry and Mike Yeager at Renaissance, the home decor store at the southwest corner of Main and Broadway, have been keeping things fresh. Their building sports a new, white paint job that has transformed its appearance. Congratulations to them. The building looks clean and attractive...

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Mystery of the Missing Bell solved
Posted Thursday, November 27, at 12:00 AM

Sam Welker, a retired Cape Girardeau firefighter, and his brother have been wearing out their shoe leather lately trying to solve what they thought was a grand mystery. Call it: "The Mystery of the Missing Bell." They noted a reference I included in an October "Out of the Past" column about the blessing of a bell at the new Saint Francis Hospital on Good Hope Street in 1914. ...

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From reading room to public library
Posted Thursday, November 20, at 12:00 AM

(Cape Girardeau's Carnegie library in Courthouse Park.) While the folks at Southeast Missouri State University have been celebrating the legacy of Sadie Kent and her library's 75th birthday, patrons of the Cape Girardeau Public Library have plenty to crow about too. A century ago this month, a group dominated by the prominent ladies of the city opened a reading room and public library in a building at Themis and Spanish streets...

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Bus serves as camper for Jackson family
Posted Thursday, November 13, at 12:00 AM

Back when I was a kid, my parents would pack my three siblings and me into their Ford van, along with enough food to feed an army for a month, and we'd drive to Kentucky Lake for a weekend, maybe a three-day weekend. Never a full week that I can recall...

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The indomitable Sadie Kent
Posted Thursday, November 6, at 12:00 AM

This month, Southeast Missouri State University is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Kent Library, named for the woman pictured above: Miss Sadie Kent. I never knew Miss Kent. She died a decade before I was born. But Judith Ann Crow's 1968 front-page story about the university library's namesake is one of my favorite stories written by my friend and mentor. It's a lengthy article, but well worth the read to become better acquainted with Miss Kent...

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A few odd clips
Posted Thursday, October 30, at 12:00 AM

I've spent the past couple weeks trying to work ahead so that I can go on vacation. Because of this, I haven't had as much time as usual to devote to this blog. For that I apologize. Still, I hope you'll find these odd stories I've cobbled together as interesting as I did...

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Chief Lewis reflects on fire department career
Posted Thursday, October 23, at 12:00 AM

I'm not picking sides in the upcoming fire tax vote, but I do think in light of that election, it's appropriate to take a look back on the progress the Cape Girardeau Fire Department has made over the years. An article about Fire Chief Carl Lewis' retirement in 1974, after 37 years with the department, gives a good review of the advancements made since the Good Intent Fire Department made its debut in 1880. ...

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Pirates win diamond glory in 1964
Posted Thursday, October 16, at 12:00 AM

In the summer of 1964, Scott Koch, 10, was the winning pitcher in a game that brought his Southern Division Pirates diamond glory in the form of the championship of the Minor League City Series. Koch, still a resident of Cape Girardeau, recently brought me the stories and pictures his mother had collected of that championship season...

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From the Morgue
Sharon Sanders
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The Southeast Missourian's resident historian Sharon K. Sanders blogs about interesting pieces of local history pulled from the newspaper's morgue -- the place where our old editions are kept.
Hot topics
The forgotten La Mascot
(1 ~ 2:02 AM, Feb 19)

Photo recalls 1922 Sulphur Springs train wreck
(1 ~ 2:27 PM, Feb 7)

John G. Putz, historian and poet
(0 ~ 1:38 PM, Feb 6)

Valet Laundry was owned by an optimist
(0 ~ 1:38 PM, Feb 6)

We all scream for ice cream
(2 ~ 5:43 PM, Jan 24)