f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Federal Building razed 1967

Posted Friday, August 30, 2013, at 12:00 AM

March 31, 1967 Southeast Missourian

The pounding of a heavy wrecking ball Thursday left a gaping hole in the rear of the old post office building, being demolished to make room for a new federal building. The upper level cavity was the United States District Courtroom. At right is the derrick from which the ball swings. In the background on the right is the Marquette Hotel across Broadway, and to the left is the Idan-Ha Hotel. (Southeast Missourian archive)

Headache Ball Gives Nostalgic Heartache

That "headache ball" which weighs 3,100 pounds will have the old postoffice-federal building on Broadway broken up into bits and pieces by tomorrow, Charles Hintz of Hintz Wrecking Co. said today.

"We could have had demolition completed today," he continued, "but construction of a shelter sidewalk around the work area held us up."

Actual demolition of the building began yesterday after salvageable material had been removed from the inside.

Mr. Hintz, when asked how difficult a task demolition of the old federal building is, said, "we've had some that were harder to get down, but this is a well-built building."

He pointed out that concrete buildings are sometimes more difficult to demolish. The federal building was of steel frame construction with granite and stone exterior walls.

The ball used in the demolition is swung towards or dropped down on the building. The amount of damage done at one time depends on what sort of material it meets.

"Sometimes," the crane operator said, "we swing it several times before anything happens, and then a whole section comes down at once."

From the appearance of the building this morning, the ball does its work extremely well.

The future home of what was once the federal building is a dump on Country Club drive, it was reported. Most of the exterior material is not worth the cost of salvage, according to Mr. Hintz.

Some of the steel beams, however, which are straight enough for future use, will be salvaged and sold, he said.

The building, built in 1910, served as Cape Girardeau's postoffice until a new facility was constructed in 1965. It was also home of the Federal Court here.

Previous blogs:

Old post office had Cape's first revolving door

Old Post Office (Federal Building) 1958

Courthouse corner 1967


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  • Sad that this was demolished shortly before historic preservation efforts were in full swing!

    -- Posted by f528cmp on Fri, Aug 30, 2013, at 10:21 AM
  • So, how many buildings are left that are truly historic or architecturally interesting?

    -- Posted by semowasp on Sat, Aug 31, 2013, at 7:13 AM
  • My opinion: The Marquette Hotel, Missourian Building, old Opera House, old Masonic (Keys) building, Common Pleas Courthouse, Reynolds House, Harrison-Huhn house, Old St. Vincent's, old Hanover Lutheran, St. Mary's Cathedral, Centenary UMC, St. James AME, and many more. Cape has a lot of historic and architecturally interesting buildings. We need to do what we can to protect them.

    -- Posted by Sharon Sanders on Sat, Aug 31, 2013, at 4:59 PM
  • Don't disagree with the list, but how much are you willing to spend to save them? The lesser knowns?

    Would you not agree that most of the really historic downtown buildings have disappeared in our lifetime?

    -- Posted by semowasp on Sun, Sep 1, 2013, at 7:00 AM
  • I am lucky enough to live in one of Cape Girardeau's oldest homes. So I do know a little something about historic preservation on a very personal level. People who have chosen to live in old houses make a commitment to saving our heritage a piece at a time. I'm not sure I agree with your last question. Yes, we have lost some significant historic buildings. We can't change the past. But we can make the effort to preserve what we still have. I think that's a responsibility of all those who love Cape Girardeau and its history.

    semowasp, I'd be interested to see your list of "historic buildings we've lost in our lifetime."

    -- Posted by Sharon Sanders on Sun, Sep 1, 2013, at 1:10 PM
  • "Some things are classic, some things are just old" from 'Shiny Shiny' by the Rainmakers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0enQqS0V10

    -- Posted by fxpwt on Sun, Sep 1, 2013, at 7:12 PM
  • I'm thankful to folks like Ms. Sanders who spend their own money to preserve a old buildings. I'm not sure how far the obligation extends to government. For instance, is the cost of the new roof on the Hecht building, rumored at more than $400,000, the responsibility of Cape. The Glenn House is another ambiguity as it apparently can not pay for itself.

    In addition to her list I would include Sturdivant Bank Building, Port Cape, old Jeremiah's, Houck-Juden buildings on Spanish, Shlvelbine music store, Brinkhoff-Howell, the Oliver-Leming house, Academic Hall and its off-shoots the Harrison-Sheets house and the McBride-Flenge-Lamkin house, The Training School, the Vandivoort house, houses along Bellvue, Celebrations building, The Playdium, The Purple Crackle, Osterloh house, Black House, Oakwood, Graystone, Elmwood, Oliver houses near campus, Kelso House, Good Hope sites (names unknown), Sprigg Street Tavern building, tavern/sporting house on Independence, brewery house on the hill, and, as she says, several others. BUT, how much am I personally willing to spend to preserve them is another question.

    -- Posted by semowasp on Mon, Sep 2, 2013, at 7:19 AM