From the Morgue by Sharon Sanders en-us The complicated history of the Orpheum Theater The Orpheum Theater opened on Good Hope Street in Cape Girardeau in 1917. No, wait. It opened in 1913. No, no, that's not right. It really opened in 1909, but it was originally the Grand. Confused? I'll confess, I was when I started digging into the history of the Orpheum as I prepared to note its centennial. But, in truth, the theater that eventually became the Orpheum was originally the Grand Theater. Missourian clippings indicate the Grand opened its doors in December 1909... Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0600 Himmelberger house damaged in fire Late in December 1941, fire severely damaged the pretentious home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Himmelberger at 325 N. Sprigg St. While the conflagration did extensive damage to the home, the occupants -- Charles and Louise Himmelberger -- were uninjured. The 1941 blaze wasn't the first time the house was damaged by flames. On Sunday, Feb. 26, 1939, firefighters answered an alarm to the house at 5:40 in the morning. While the fire was contained to a single room on the first floor, the rest of... Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0600 Old Lorimier home to Scripps marker This image of the Scripps marker in Old Lorimier Cemetery accompanied the 1938 article reproduced below. It was taken by G.D. Fronabarger. (Southeast Missourian archive) Among the most unusual grave markers at Cape Girardeau's Old Lorimier Cemetery is that of William Scripps and his wife and daughter. The stone, shaped like three individual grave markers, was erected in the 1820s, before there were paved streets to the old burial ground. It is likely the stone was hauled to this... Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0600 A trapper's story John Ackman, a Cape Girardeau County farmer of the Neelys Landing area, told the story of an old hunter, who taught him how to trap beaver and other varmints. It's an interesting tale, retold in 1940 by Missourian correspondent John Putz, that I thought I would share. Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600 Christmases past In the spirit of the season, I dug up a couple of articles dealing with the way Christmas was celebrated in years past. Here's hoping you and yours have a very merry Christmas. Published Dec. 22, 1941: Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600 Local reaction to Pearl Harbor attack (G.D. Fronabarger ~ Southeast Missourian archive) Last week in this space, I brought you several articles detailing the Missourian's coverage of local sailors who lost their lives in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. In researching that blog, I wondered what the local reaction to America's entry into World War II was. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, several Missourian articles dealt with the men and women who were known to be living and working... Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600 The world changed Dec. 7, 1941 The world changed on Dec. 7, 1941, as the United States of America was ushered into World War II, willing or not. That morning, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands, killing around 2,400 Americans, including two sailors from Cape Girardeau County. While we easily remember the name of the first man killed from Cape County -- Lloyd Dale Clippard -- how many of us know the name Noble Harris? Young Harris of Fruitland died on the Arizona. One of his shipmates, who was also killed... Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600 Odd little items make up this blog From time to time, I like to put together a blog of unrelated stories. Unrelated, except that they're all a bit odd and can't easily fit into a blog on a broader subject. Take, for example, this first item. The photograph, which is filed in our archive under "Sports," has always caught my eye when I thumb through that folder. I didn't know the story behind it until I came across it while researching the "Out of the past" column. Published Oct. 4, 1966, in... Tue, 29 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600 Cape Rock artist died in 1941 Unless you're very familiar with St. Louis artists of the past, or are a student of Cape Girardeau history, you probably have never heard of F. Humphrey Woolrych. Woolrych was born in Sidney, Australia, the son of Francis Woolrych, an Englishman according to most sources, although F. Humphrey's death certificate clearly states that his daddy was born in Australia. F. Humphrey's exact date of birth is also a bit of mystery, with some sources (including his death certificate)... Tue, 22 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600 20th anniversary of May Greene School Nowadays, young people have never heard of May Greene or her long history as an educator in Cape Girardeau. About the only thing to remind the public of this pioneer teacher is the small park that bears her name at the northeast corner of Themis and Fountain streets. But in years gone by, Miss May's name also graced a neighborhood school in the south end of town. She was held in such esteem that the board of education unanimously named the new, Ranney Street school in her honor on May... Tue, 15 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600 Cape Girardeau once had a paint factory Late in October 1941, Charles E. Peterson, a senior landscape architect working on the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and the National Park Service in St. Louis, traveled to Cape Girardeau looking for clay. Aided by several locals, Peterson found what he was looking for and returned to St. Louis with about 100 pounds of material "mined" from an embankment on Cape Rock Drive near Twin Trees Park. Peterson was hoping to locate the source of the clay used to make paint that had... Tue, 08 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600 Coerver house becomes surgical hospital A small note appeared in a recent Out of the Past column based on the following article from the Friday, Sept. 29, 1916, edition of The Daily Republican. DR. SCHULZ TO TAKE OVER COERVER PROPERTY OCT. 24 -- RUMORS OF WEDDING Dr. G.B. Schulz, who recently purchased the Coerver property at the corner of Broadway and Frederick Street for a consideration of $12,000, will move into the home Oct. 24, so reports were heard about town today. Friends of Dr. Schulz stated that he would be married... Tue, 01 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Brown mansion destroyed in 1916 I have always found it curious that, although it wasn't demolished until 1916, I have never been able to find a photograph of the Wilson Brown mansion in Cape Girardeau. Brown, a former Missouri auditor and lieutenant governor, had the house constructed in 1840 on property now bounded by Frederick, Middle, Good Hope and Morgan Oak streets. The only image I have seen of the mansion appears on "A Capitol View of Cape Girardeau," a drawing of the town, with drawings of individual... Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Red granite church dedicated in 1941 The First Church of God, also known as Emerald Street Church of God, is a unique church structure. While most religious edifices in Cape Girardeau are built of brick and light-colored stone, the church at 500 Emerald St., sports a showy red granite exterior, courtesy of its late pastor, the Rev. J.H. Shirrell. Along with preaching the Word of God, Shirrell was a building contractor. He and members of his congregation were responsible for the work done to the church in 1941. In October of... Tue, 18 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Navy Days brought LST to Cape Girardeau in 1945 As I write this blog, my feet are still aching from all the walking and standing my sister and I did during the weekend's glorious Cape Girardeau Heritage Days. From concerts to tours and demonstrations, to colorful quilts and a touching memorial at Fairmount Cemetery, the first few days of October were everything a history lover like me could want. One of the things we skipped, though, was the tour of LST 325 (Landing Ship Tank 325, as my brother pointed out). Not because we weren't... Tue, 11 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Sorghum making a fall tradition My friend, Louise Duncan, has told me on several occasions how her father and mother, Silas W. and Mary Cardwell, operated a sorghum mill near Dutchtown. According to Louise, the Missourian did a story on the Cardwell operation, but despite my best efforts, I haven't been able to find that article. I did find the Cardwell name attached to a sorghum operation "on the Rauh farm west of Dutchtown" as early as 1943. According to Mary Cardwell's obituary in 1996, the family... Tue, 04 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Commerce lad survived the wreck of the USS Memphis In the summer of 1916, the USS Memphis -- an armored cruiser that had been launched by the U.S. Navy in 1904 -- was destroyed, when errant waves tossed the ship about in the harbor of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Internet sources such as Wikipedia note that the Memphis, which had been anchored in the harbor, could not get away quickly enough to avoid being battered by the waves. The ship rolled dramatically and began taking on water through its gun ports, ventilators and, eventually,... Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0500 St. Mary's makeover that never was Artists' concept drawings have always fascinated me. I love to compare what architects conceived for a project to what was actually built. Or, in the case of St. Mary's Cathedral, NOT built. In the spring of 1937, a scheme was hatched to re-make St. Mary's Church in Cape Girardeau (it wouldn't become a cathedral until 1956) and enlarge the grade school to its south. The Southeast Missourian carried an extensive explanation of the work to be done, as well as two concept... Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0500 A few of Frony's '41 fair photos September in Cape Girardeau can mean only one thing: The SEMO District Fair. In 1941, Girardeans enjoyed what they called the second year of the "renewed" district fair. An institution since 1855, the fair had its financial ups and downs. But in 1929 the exposition came to a screeching halt. After the fair closed its usual run on Sept. 21, 1929, the city -- which had owned the fairgrounds since 1916 -- sold off its various fair buildings: the hog house, the barns, the judge's... Tue, 13 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0500 1951 train derailment in Cape Girardeau Thankfully, train derailments are few and far between in Cape Girardeau. That was one of my first thoughts when I stumbled across the story of a 1951 train derailment in the Red Star district of the city. The second was, "Man, I wish we had the negatives for these photographs." Even when copied from the microfilm, the photos taken that day by G.D. Fronabarger are impressive. What's also impressive is that no one was injured in the accident. Published Saturday, Aug. 18,... Tue, 06 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0500