f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Colonial Tavern

Posted Monday, February 1, 2010, at 7:25 AM

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Simpson Oil Co. opened the Colonial Tavern on Oct. 1, 1932 at the corner of West Broadway and Highway 61 in Cape Girardeau. The top photo was taken in 1934. The lower photo made in 1960 shows how the building had changed over the years. Originally there were gas pumps in front. There was a sign over the main entrance: COOL with a penguin standing next to it. On the sign above, the tavern became a restaurant.

Sharon Sanders found these items from Out of the Past:

Oc. 1, 1933

Colonial Tavern, West Broadway and Highway 61, observes first anniversary with special dinner menu.

Feb. 24, 1934

Mrs. Jerome "Dizzy" Dean, stopping for lunch with Mrs. Ray Doan at the Colonial Tavern, predicts her husband will lose no more than five baseball games hurling for the St. Louis Cardinals this season.

May 10, 1934

The Rigging Loft, new dining annex to Simpson's Colonial Tavern, is completed. The interior represents a ship.

June 6, 1934

V. Ernest Field of Indianapolis, Ind., is expected to be the chief speaker at a meeting of the Optimist Club at the Colonial Tavern tomorrow night; Field is the president of the international organization of Optimists.

Oct. 1, 1939

Colonial Tavern, 7th anniversary, free flowers, free cigars.

March 19, 1943 (Friday)

It looks like "Ladies' Night" at service clubs meetings here are about over, and food is reason; management of Colonial Tavern, where Optimist and Kiwanis clubs and Jaycees meet, says it will probably discontinue serving ladies' night meals because of rationing and inability to get sufficient amount of food.

Dec. 9, 1944 (Saturday)

Management of Colonial Tavern has been taken over by H.E. Martin under lease made with Simpson Oil Co., owner of establishment; E.R. Jarvis, manager of coffee shop in Dunn Hotel at Sikeston, is partner with Martin in lease but will remain at Sikeston.

Jan. 22, 1945 (Monday)

Bosses' night dinner is held by Junior Chamber of Commerce at Colonial Tavern, with 65 members and guests attending; annual Junior Chamber award is given to John L. Wieser, selected because of his outstanding work in community and wartime projects.

May 23, 1947

Frank Armstrong and Ross Lemons of Sikeston have purchased food department at Colonial Tavern from Alvin Sanders; Mrs. R.G. Busch, sister of Lemons, will manage department, and Frank Peters, chef who has been employed at Rustic Rock establishment at Sikeston, is new chef; the two men own Rustic Rock and will continue to operate it, spending part of their time here; Armstrong managed food department at Alvarado five years before war and also operated hotel restaurant in Sikeston; Lemons had charge of old Lemons Grain & Feed Co. here before war.

Aug. 4, 1950

Jerome "Dizzy" Dean, ex-major league pitching great now developing rotund appearance and snow-white hair, regales Kiwanis Club with some of his baseball experiences while guest of group at Colonial Tavern; Dean has been in town with tryout camp conducted by New York Yankees, with which he is connected.

July 23, 1953

Colonial Tavern restaurant closes for relocation and remodeling.

Nov. 24, 1953

Colonial Tavern on Highway 61 reopens after considerable remodeling under management of Thomas Freeman; he formerly operated wholesale meat business.

Dec. 17, 1953

Colonial Tavern, remodeled, holds open house. Established 1932.

Jan. 30, 1958

Dennis M. Scivally, architect of Cape Girardeau's scenic Outer Drive and the engineer behind much of the road development over the entire county, is honored for a half-century of devoted service at a dinner at the Colonial Tavern; Scivally, who was appointed county highway engineer in 1908, takes the opportunity to announce his retirement from that post.

Oct. 5, 1972

Mr. and Mrs. Alvin J. Sanders have leased the Colonial Restaurant and property to Chantos-Withers, Ltd., with a purchase option; the establishment will now be known as Colonial Manor; the corporation is composed of Robert Chantos of Peoria, Ill., James K. Withers and William M. Bryan of Cape Girardeau; Mr. Sanders, who operated the restaurant the first year following its construction in 1932, left for other interests and then returned in 1934; with the exception of short periods, he has been the operator since that time; Sanders purchased the property from the Simpson Oil Co. in 1963, extensively remodeling and expanding the dining facilities; Sanders is now retiring from active business.

May 10, 1977

Purchase of Colonial Manor, Broadway and Kingshighway, is announced by the new owners, Clarence and Randy Hoskins, brothers; the Colonial was purchased from James Withers, who acquired it several years ago from Al Sanders and has since operated all or portions of the facility; the new owners will renovate the interior and will open a membership supper club; also featured will be a discotheque and an area for civic club meetings.


Colonial Tavern, at the junction of Broadway and Highway 61, opened its doors in October 1932. About 50 Cape Girardeau men were entertained at the new tourist hotel, compliments of members of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Present for the opening dinner were Jerome "Dizzy" Dean, pitcher, and John "Pepper" Martin, outfielder, both members of the team. Other speakers included Paul Dean, brother of Dizzy, and James Dean, their father.

H.G. Simpson, manager, stated that the Tavern had been built with the idea of providing a high-class recreation center just outside the city limits and a place for tourists to stop while traveling.

April 19, 1988

Plans are announced for the demolition of the Colonial Tavern to make way for a four-story building to house Cape County Bank.

April 29, 1988

Public hearing on request for special use permit for construction of four-story bank building tops Monday's City Council agenda; Cape County Bank of Cape Girardeau has announced plans to tear down C & A building, formerly Colonial Tavern, and erect 30,000-square-foot building; special use permit is needed as city code allows for up to three-story building in C-2, general commercial zone.

from Southeast Missourian, July 5, 2002:



---- When Dizzy Dean visited his brother, Paul, in Cape Girardeau in 1944, it wasn't the first time the two baseball-throwing brothers were in the area.

---- Turning the clock back a dozen years from 1944, the Dean brothers were among celebrities attending the grand opening of the Colonial Tavern just outside the city limits, on the west side of Kingshighway at Broadway, on Oct. 1, 1932.

---- Jerome Dizzy Dean, Paul Dean, and the Deans' father, James Dean, and baseball fielding great John "Pepper" Martin were on hand for the opening by Simpson Oil Co.

---- Two years later, the Deans became even bigger baseball celebrities when they combined to win 49 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1934, then teamed up to win all four World Series games. Dizzy won 30 regular-season games and two in the series. Paul won 19 during the regular season and two in the World Series.

---- Colonial memories

---- Some memories of the Colonial Tavern came to mind recently when the restaurant, which was in existence from 1932 to 1988, appeared on the Faces & Places page of the Southeast Missourian.

---- The Colonial was built with the idea of providing a high-class recreation center just outside the city limits, as well as a place for tourists to stop, said H.G. Simpson, the facility's first manager.

---- Alvin J. Sanders purchased the tavern in 1963, and in 1972, it was purchased by Chantos-Withers Ltd., a corporation composed of Robert Chantos of Peoria, Ill., James K. Withers and William M. Bryan of Cape Girardeau. It reopened under the name of Colonial Manor, a restaurant. It was sold in 1977 to Clarence and Randy Hoskins, who planned to operate it as a membership supper club and discotheque.

---- The tavern was later used as an office building. It was razed in 1998 by County Bancorporation Inc., for the four-story Cape County Bank, which was later purchased by Union Planters Bank.

---- Charles King of Delta tells a story about the early Colonial: "There are no keys to the building," said King. "When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the business was going to close for a day. The Colonial had been constructed as a 24-hour operation and had always remained that way. No key was to be found, so Al went down to the building and slept there."

---- "The picture of the Colonial Restaurant, brought a lot of memories to me," said Margie Huber of Cape Girardeau. "There were not many restaurants in town then. I worked there as a waitress. We would serve big, warm cinnamon rolls late at night when the ball games were over. People would flock in to get a roll, cup of coffee and lot of pats of butter to go on them."

---- Shirley Reutzel remembered when Roy Rogers stopped at the restaurant.

---- "Roy was going west then, from Ohio," said Reutzel. "I remember he had Trigger with him."

---- Bobbie Ulrich remembers selling vegetables to the restaurant.

---- "I lived on Gordonville Road," said Ulrich. "As children, my sisters and I would load vegetables onto a small wagon and take them to the restaurant and sell them to the cooks."

---- Many callers, including Sam Kelso, William O'Kelly, Helen Keller and Mildred Loos, said the Colonial put out the "best hamburger steak ever."

---- Richard Slinkard, a one-time worker at the Colonial, still has the old columns from the original restaurant.

---- "When they redecorated, they gave me the columns," said Slinkard. "I'm using them on my front porch now."


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  • Fred,

    For a number of years in my pre-kindergarten era, we lived in a trailer on top of a hill just south of the Colonial Inn. The hill has long since been hauled away.

    My Dad owned a construction company that built roads and bridges, so he was an early riser. When I was a kid, I spent many a morning at the counter of the Colonial Inn watching Dad drink coffee.

    One thing I remember in particular was there was a counterman who worked there who hated Harry Caray, the Cardinals sports broadcaster, with an ardent and purple passion.

    The regulars would start talking about what a great job Harry had done on the game the night before just to turn the guy's crank.

    Before long he would be reduced to a sputtering, apoplectic rage.

    You'd have thought he would catch on after awhile, but everyday was Groundhog Day with this guy.

    -- Posted by ksteinhoff on Mon, Feb 1, 2010, at 11:49 AM
  • GM built some ugly cars in 1959. I know the '59 Caddie is one of the icons of the 50's, but I always thought that it was tacky. GM cleaned the design up considerably in 1960, and they are much better looking cars. They did well to start from scratch in '61.

    Mr. Lynch,

    I know that cars is not the subject. But since they are almost always featured in the pictures, do you have any shots of some of the old dealerships? Especially of AMC or Studebaker dealerships! Thanks for the blog!

    -- Posted by Lumpy on Tue, Feb 2, 2010, at 8:59 PM