Cape Red Star District named after shoe brand

Monday, October 4, 2004

If you have a question, e-mail or call Speak Out (334-5111) and identify your call as a question for "Fact or fiction?"

Q: I'm wondering if you could tell me why the area of Cape called Red Star is called that?

A: The Red Star District was named for a brand of shoes made by the old Roberts, Johnson and Rand Shoe Factory on North Main Street, said several people with ties to the district. According to one source at Red Star Baptist Church, who talked with county archivist Jane Randol Jackson last week (who talked with Missourian librarian Sharon Sanders, who talked with me), this particular brand of shoes and boots had a red star on the heel. I must point out that Sanders, who previously had been told the name's origin, researched early Missourian archives for an official explanation. None was to be found, but she did locate promotional pieces for the factory that shows the star.

Q: I like the column you did on 100 years of sports trivia. My question is, I was told that when Kenny Knox came to Southeast as the new football head coach in the 1950s, he changed the school colors to red and black. I graduated from Southeast, and would be curious to know, what were Southeast's school colors before the red and black?

A: According to Ann Hayes, news bureau director at Southeast Missouri State University: "The official color is and always has been only red. The school colors were never changed to red and black during the 1950s. Tradition holds that the red color is used in combination with black and white, which are considered complementary colors. Today's athletic uniforms, stationery, publications, Web sites, signage, etc., all have these colors in common."

Q: Cape Special Road District has blacktopped County Road 318, but they left about one mile of gravel in the middle. Why?

A: Actually, only about half of County Road 318 is under the jurisdiction of the Cape Special Road District, and the area you are referring to was paved by the county. The reason for the gap is partly because the county was not granted easements by one of the the propery owners there. But even if it had, not all the road would have been paved.

"The reason we didn't do all the road is that we try to do one mile in three or five places in the county in one year rather than putting the resources all in one place," explained Scott Bechtold, county highway administrator. "In this case, we paved people who had granted easements already and whose turn came up. In that gravel section, we didn't have an easement from one of the property owners. But even if we had all the right of way, we would have only done a mile. Once the property owner who hasn't signed sees the improvement, he might give up a little room and we can do it in the future. Our policy is to work on areas where the property owners have given us the right so we don't spend money on acquiring property."

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian. He can be reached at or by calling 573-335-6611.

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