f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Batten-Weiss Furniture flooded

Posted Monday, October 11, 2010, at 1:35 PM

The Mississippi River covered Water Street in front of Batten-Weiss Furniture Co. in Cape Girardeau. The photograph by G.D. Fronabarger was published July 26, 1951 in the Southeast Missourian.

This was before the floodwall was constructed and dedicated in 1964.

Our librarian, Sharon Sanders, found these major floods that occurred in that time period, along with crests:

1947 -- 41.88 feet

1948 -- 37.8

1950 -- 32.1

1951 -- 41.8

1952 -- 38.3

1958 -- 33.9

The building has several signs painted on it.

A story in the July 21, 1970 edition of the Southeast Missourian describes the changing business scene.

Days of long ago told in Water street building signs

A story of changing business and and economics is told in the lettering on this old Cape Girardeau landmark on the Mississippi waterfront at Themis and Water.

The many signs, gradually fading with age, but giving way only grudgingly, tell of business success and failure and transfers of ownership.

At least three furniture companies have used the building, Hobbs Furniture Co. topping them all. Then Townsend Furniture Stores and Batten-Weiss used the building. For some it was a warehouse, for others a combination warehouse-sales building.

There once was a clothing store there, as a sign at the corner notes. and, at the front, where some of the stucco has given way is another chapter in the building's history, hidden away. The letters ETA can be seen.

Long gone days when Coca-Cola sold for a nickel send back nostalgic memories in this day of 15-cent sodas. The sign tells a tale of economics.

There are other signs on the building, which once suffered ravages of many floods on its first floor, but time has erased their message.

The building is now used for storage.

Editor's Note:

The August 17, 1950 Southeast Missourian reported Payton O. Patrick purchased the interest of Louis A. Weiss in the Batten-Weiss Furniture Co.

Henry Batten retained his interest in the store that became Patrick Furniture Co. The store was modernized with the basement section on Water Street and the front of the store at 42 North Main Street.

Today the building at 19 N. Water St. is the Port Cape Girardeau restaurant. David B. Knight and Associates opened the restaurant in December 1974. It was purchased in 1988 by Dennis "Doc" Cain.

Excerpt from July 6, 1999 Southeast Missourian:

The property dates to the Spanish land grant to Louis Lorimier, Oct. 26, 1795. It was once owned by Bartholomew Cousins, who laid out the city's first streets. Later it was owned by the Giboney family and the Houck family.

The building was originally constructed as a 3 1/2- or four-level building, and in the early years, was used as a chandlery, a business that supplied goods for riverboats and riverboat workers.

During its colorful lifetime, the Port Cape building has housed a number of businesses, including a hotel, brothel, furniture store, warehouse for bootleg whiskey during prohibition and restaurant.


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  • That looks like a 1952 or 53 Buick Roadmaster so the photo couldn't have been shot in 1947.

    -- Posted by voyager on Mon, Oct 11, 2010, at 12:58 PM
    Fred Lynch
    Agreed. The flood was probably in the early 1950s.
  • time to go catfishin'!

    -- Posted by dr.pob on Mon, Oct 11, 2010, at 7:08 PM
  • voyager: That does appear to be a 52/53 Buick Roadmaster man those cars could run built like a tank those days was when america was america wish we could roll back the clock.

    -- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Mon, Apr 11, 2011, at 12:18 PM