f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

'Tis the season on Main Street

Posted Monday, December 10, 2012, at 12:00 AM

Dec. 10, 1976 Southeast Missourian

It's Ho! Ho! Ho! and a'shopping we do go in Cape Girardeau these hectic days as Christmas creeps up at an ever faster pace. Shoppers are converging by the thousands on stores in the city's business areas; automobile traffic is at a year's peak and parking is at a premium everywhere.

Here is a northward view of Main street from Independence, showing congestion of both parked and moving vehicles with shoppers lining both sidewalks. (Fred Lynch photo)

Some of the stores visible on the east side include Montgomery Ward, Osco Drugs, Otasco, Ross Young Clothing, Lee Optical and Radio Shack. On the left side include Oglander's, P.N. Hirsch, Zickfield's and Personal Finance.


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  • In 1976, all of the mentioned stores and more were great places to shop. There were department stores, cafes, discount stores, jewelry stores, a hardware and a drug store, you name it, something for almost anyone. Too bad that we aren't able to recover some of these businesses which are needed to revitalize downtown.

    -- Posted by JungleJim on Mon, Dec 10, 2012, at 12:43 AM
  • I think the saddest thing about the demise of downtown shopping as it once was is the loss in variety. It's not just that you can't find a wide variety of merchandise in downtown anymore, you can't find it anywhere in Cape Girardeau.

    Let's face it, West Park Mall sucks. I'll never understand why its owners can't give it a much-needed makeover after 30 years, especially when there is so much traffic in Cape Girardeau from the surrounding region. Kentucky Oaks Mall in Paducah was recently renovated. And in Jonesboro, Arkansas, an entirely new mall opened just a few years ago in response to rapid growth in that area. While that probably won't happen in Cape Girardeau, the community certainly deserves much more than what Worst Park Mall has to offer in the variety of stores and the quality of the shopping experience. That mall is so dated and tired.

    Don't get me wrong, Cape does have a lot of retail options. But sadly, there's not much to shout about, and the things you'll find at Macy's, JCPenney, Walmart, Target, and Kohl's are the same things you'll find in Anywhere, USA. The ambience of the sprawl west of I-55 is no better than that of the mall, either.

    Hopefully the makeover of Broadway, continued improvements to both SEMO campuses, and the nearby casino will spur additional investment in downtown, and someday Cape Girardeau will have more shopping options in downtown. The stores on the west side will always have the bulk of the traffic, but a more vibrant downtown with unique specialty stores and local dining options can only benefit the entire Cape Girardeau community.

    -- Posted by SEMO2STL on Mon, Dec 10, 2012, at 9:27 AM
  • Two Beatles in the same pic!

    -- Posted by racer3694 on Mon, Dec 10, 2012, at 3:08 PM
  • Now thats how I remember Christmas shopping in Cape.

    -- Posted by bagman on Mon, Dec 10, 2012, at 8:38 PM
  • Also, notice the shoe factory in the background, where the casino now stands.

    -- Posted by tom on Tue, Dec 11, 2012, at 12:22 AM
  • I noticed those Beetles too. I'm JUST old enough to remember when Volkswagens were everywhere, and when downtown shopping was fun. I miss those Beetles, and I miss downtown shopping like this!

    -- Posted by SEMO2STL on Tue, Dec 11, 2012, at 8:22 AM
  • One old Main St tradition (at least at the North end)that made things fun for the staff began about Noon on 24 December and ended when the bottle(s) emptied around closing. In many cases wives had to pick-up their husbands. Anything requiring assembly later in the evening was a challenge.

    Is this still honored in the stores across US 61?

    -- Posted by JTL on Tue, Dec 11, 2012, at 11:18 AM
  • One Christmas Eve the soused Buckner-Ragsdale delivery team played Santa Claus and took the packages on the late afternoon run to whomever they fancied. The Lamkins spent that night wrapping and delivering replacement items to those who had actually paid for them.

    -- Posted by JTL on Tue, Dec 11, 2012, at 11:44 AM
  • Wow..I didn't seem to think this was all that long ago until I really saw it and read the story & comments too. 1976 sometimes just feels like yesterday..

    -- Posted by DKKCCG on Mon, Dec 30, 2013, at 6:39 PM