f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Auto Tire and Parts, Walther's in 1920s

Posted Monday, May 3, 2010, at 7:30 AM

An umbrella shades two women walking west along Broadway at the Middle Street intersection in this 1920s photo. Note the rising hemlines on their dresses. Some of the businesses on the south side of the block, at left, are Auto Tire and Parts Co., Latimer Secretarial School, a cafe, a pool room, Red Hot Coney Island, Square Deal Variety Store, Cape Exchange Bank and Bergmann Grocery.

Across the street are Walther's Furniture Store, Parisian Dry Cleaning and Western Dye Works. Another sign reads Maytag Aluminum Washers.

Auto Tire and Parts celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009. Its first store opened in Cape Girardeau at Broadway and Spanish Street. The store also carried wagon parts.

As cars became more popular, the store concentrated its efforts more on auto parts rather than tires. By 1929, the store stopped selling tires.

Today Auto Tire and Parts NAPA has more than 40 locations in Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. -- (from Southeast Missourian, Oct. 6, 2009)

Walther's Furniture Store was established in 1864 at the corner of Broadway and Middle.

In 1916 the original store building was torn down and the present structure erected. The store closed its doors in 1984.

From 1987 to 2002, the old Walther's building housed Cast-A-Ways, a consignment clothing store.

Today the renovated building is home to the new Discovery Playhouse, 502 Broadway.


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  • I shot some pictures of the building and neighborhood when I was in Cape a couple of months ago. I was surprised to learn that Walther's had been in operation for 120 years, making it the oldest retail business in Cape.


    In doing that research, I ran into a fascinating obituary for "Sam Randol, well-known colored ice dealer...among the better colored citizens of Cape Girardeau and stood high both among the people of his race as well as among the white citizens. He had been in the ice business here since a young man and was known by most every family in the city."

    What was amazing about that was that the year was 1922, it was on the front page of The Missourian and that it ran directly beneath a shorter obit for prominent businessman Albert Walther, of furniture store fame.

    -- Posted by ksteinhoff on Mon, May 3, 2010, at 8:06 AM
  • Another great photo. I also enjoy the input of ksteinhoff.

    This is among my favorite photos so far...

    -- Posted by bobby62914 on Mon, May 3, 2010, at 2:49 PM
  • Thanks, bobby62914.

    I was Class of 65 at Central and worked for The Jackson Pioneer and The Missourian in both staff and freelance positions from 1963 through 1967.

    After bouncing around papers in OH, NC and FL, I retired in 2008 and have started digitizing my old pix for the blog above.

    Fred and The Missourian have been kind enough to overlook my shameless self-promotion whenever it's relevant. I'm glad you've enjoyed my stuff.

    The Missourian is providing a great service by preserving Frony's old work. Most places threw their history into a dumpster.

    -- Posted by ksteinhoff on Mon, May 3, 2010, at 3:15 PM
  • In a shameless act of self promotion, my website is www.BobbyMayberry.com

    I am also a pseudo-journalist; I am the editor of a small weekly in western Kentucky...

    -- Posted by bobby62914 on Mon, May 3, 2010, at 4:07 PM
  • Kudos to both Ken and Fred. While the rest of the city is bound and determined to knock every old building in town, there are a few people left who want to preserve some sense of history.

    Great work, guys.

    -- Posted by John R Cash on Mon, May 3, 2010, at 6:57 PM
  • I'm glad we have pictures. Now we can bring in the bulldozers.

    -- Posted by Red Devil on Tue, May 4, 2010, at 6:35 AM
  • City tearing down old buildings? I think it is private individuals buying property.

    -- Posted by insider63785 on Tue, May 4, 2010, at 11:55 AM