Theater marquee on Broadway coming down

Thursday, January 3, 2008
Workers began removing the damaged marquee in front of the old Esquire Theatre on Thursday in the 800 block of Broadway in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

Worker are dismantling the marquee of the unused Esquire Theater at 824 Broadway nearly three months after a truck collision with the sign forced owner Phil Brinson to barricade the sidewalk.

City officials had been pressing Brinson, who also owns Buckner Brewing Co., to deal with the sign's damage for many weeks, said Tim Morgan, head of the city's inspections department."The time period stretched out," Morgan said Thursday afternoon. "The council was asking when the sidewalk would be back open, and we came to an understanding about getting something done in a relatively short period of time."

In early October, a tractor-trailer turning onto Broadway from the adjacent alley scraped against the marquee. More recently, high winds brought down parts of the soffit, said Ken Eftink, director of development services for the city.

Brinson originally put up a plastic fence barricade to keep pedestrians from walking under the marquee. When the soffit blew down, police put up barricades on the street to prevent parking.

Brinson did not return messages left on his mobile telephone.

The theater, which opened in 1947, closed in the 1980s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

There were no formal inspections and no written notice to Brinson that action was needed, Morgan said. "That would have been the next action," he said. "I tried to do it all verbally, and I felt he was doing what he told us he would do."

The job of removing the marquee should be finished this week, Morgan said.

For updates, check back at or read Friday's Southeast Missourian.

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