#tbt In May of 1948, Caruthersville was celebrating the addition of a “downtown” Standard station to join the “uptown” station at 11th Street and Ward. Managers for the new station were Bob Gardner and Shirley Neff (who later was manager at the local J.C. Penney Store).
#tbt These pictures were taken in 1897 in Gayoso. Caruthersville Public Library recently acquired a collection of photos of both Gayoso and Hayti that were taken by members of the Dorris family. (This photo says “Mollie Dorris 1897” in pencil on the back of it – yet another reason it is so important for families to label their family photos.)
In 1898, Gayoso was being threatened by the Mississippi River eroding its banks and encroaching on what was then the county seat of Pemiscot County. An election was held and, even though Hayti was closer to the location of Gayoso, the larger number of voters in Caruthersville brought the county seat here. All records were moved to this city in 1899.
#tbt This was the Caruthersville City Hall in 1913. It was located on West Third Street, as it is now, but closer to the river – in the vicinity of the bank parking lot. It served the city until 1961 when the present Muicipal Building in Caruthersville was dedicated at the former site of Frisco Park.
#tbt With the opening of Grizzly Jig in its new location on Truman, today we are featuring a drawing of the original occupant of the corner of East Third and Ward Avenue – the Cunningham Store Company.
This post is long, but gives the reader an idea of the style of writing from the early 20th century. Especially note what the only two items were that this store did not sell.
In a business directory “Pemiscot County Missouri – Describing its Resources, Enterprises, and Opportunities and the Men Behind Them” from 1919:
“The evidence of the rapid growth of Caruthersville into one of the leading cities of Southeast Missouri and the general business prosperity of the community is symbolized in the upbuilding of the Cunningham Store Company, located on Ward Avenue and Third Street.
This is one of the pioneer mercantile establishments of Caruthersville, having been established away back in 1892, and was conducted under the style of Cunningham Brothers until June 16, 1903, at which time the Cunningham Store Company was organized.
The store is a credit to its owners as well as to the city. The main salesroom is 70×150 feet in size, with an L 50×70 feet and is equipped throughout with modern fixtures and filled to overflowing with everything in the line of general merchandise of the better quality. They also utilize another building at the rear of the main salesroom which is 70×90 feet in size and two stories in height. This structure is used for the storage of farm implements and heavy goods and they also have a large implement yard adjoining these buildings.
They handle everything for the comfort and convenience of the community they serve. Included in their stock may be found dry goods, notions, clothing, furnishings, hats, shoes, ladies’ ready-to-wear garments, millinery, staple and fancy groceries, hardware, farm implements, household necessities, furniture, stoves, ranges, etc. In fact, everything except drugs and coffins.
In all departments they require the services of about 18 clerks and assistants, and patrons are shown the best of attention on all occasions.
Handling a very heavy stock of high grade goods, quoting moderate prices and adhering to straightforward methods, this company has been the means, in a great measure, of keeping Caruthersville trade at home where it belongs and a laudable spirit of home patronage is evidenced more and more each season than heretofore because of the splendid advantages presented by this concern to the shopping public of the community.
The gentlemen at the head of this enterprise have devoted the greater part of their lives to mercantile pursuits and know just what to buy and where to buy in order to meet the demands of all classes of people.
The company is incorporated under the laws of the State with the following wide-awake, public spirited and progressive business men at its head: C. L. Cunningham, President; P. J. Cunningham, Vice-President; Tom M. Smith, Secretary; C. H. Cunningham, Treasurer; and J.A. Cunningham, Manager. These gentlemen are among the leading financial citizens of Pemiscot County and their names are closely allied with the commercial and agricultural development of this community.
#tbt These four young men – Buster Turnbow, Elva Ray McClendon, Wayne Speight, and Jimmy Hendricks – “staged” a yearbook photo in the early 1960s, pointing out the new sign at Production Credit Association on West Third Street, which commemorated their 30th anniversary of assisting with farm loans in Caruthersville.
#tbt This photo of early Hayti was received in the Gayoso pictures that we recently acquired. Here in a picture around 1900, flood waters covered the main street downtown since a levee to hold back the Mississippi had not yet been constructed. The names on some of the businesses at that time are clearly seen.
#tbt On the 10th anniversary of the new Caruthersville High School that opened on February 18, 2011 – and to give attention to the historic snowfall we have dealt with over the past week, here are three of the iconic “snowfall” pictures of the “old” CHS that graced a number of the high school yearbooks over the years.
A quote accompanying one of these pictures read: “And we remember how our school appeared to us in the winter…the first big snowfall settling quietly over the campus…the footprints of frolicking teen-agers making a pattern on its smooth surface…these scenes are a part of our memories of life at CHS.”
(As a bonus, you can catch of glimpse of Kay Malin Snow, the hardest working librarian at Caruthersville Public Library in one of these photos.)
#tbt Mrs. Marie Chappell’s 3rd grade at what was then Westside Elementary during the 1958-1959 school year are shown in a class picture.
Identified are first row (l-r) Nita Malone, ? Kwajalein Green, Vickie Townsend, ?, and ?; second row (l-r) ?, Donnie Peeler, Terri Michie, Phillip ?, Susan Andrews, Johnny Griffy, Marvin ?, and Mike Odom; third row (l-r) Mrs. Chappell, ?, Keith Robertson, Paul Grubbs, Sharon Worth, Tommy Thrasher, Kay Malin, Sherry Hemphill, ? and ?
If you can recognize any of these 3rd graders who weren’t identified, feel free to let us know their names.
#tbt Featured here is an eighth-grade graduation program from the Caruthersville Grammar School in 1934. Note that it was held in the morning at 10 a.m. You may be able to recognize some of the names, as well as the handwritten pencil notes beside them.
#tbt With the Mississippi River above flood stage in recent days, here is a look back to flooding in the early 1900s. These photos were from our recently acquired Gayoso collection, but at least a couple of them depict outside of Hayti (with the low levee and the railroad tracks).
#tbt These pictures show the former Central High School in Hayti from the front and back, as well as a picture of their gymnasium that was built in 1952-53.
The first school building was constructed in 1932. It had two rooms on the front, with two small rooms on each end. These small rooms were built for restrooms but could not be used due to the lack of a sewage system. The building had a large room across the back with a stage on the north end. This room was divided by two sets of folding doors, which when closed, formed 3 rooms.
In 1935, grades nine and ten were added and in 1939, the eleventh and twelfth grades completed the school.
Hayti Negro (Central) High school developed into the largest school for Blacks between Memphis, TN and St. Louis, MO. Less than 1,200 graduated from this school during its existence, but over 5,000 students attended.
In addition to serving the local community, students came from Steele, Hermondale, Gobler, Kennett, Malden, Wardell, Deering, Portageville and small farms all around the Bootheel. (Excerpt from the book “Our Story” by Iona Griggs Hollins. This book, in its entirety, is available on our website at cville.lib.mo.us or just Google Caruthersville Public Library. Direct link is http://cville.lib.mo.us/local-history/
Ms. Hollins gave her blessing for us to share it, as she wants to get the pictures and memories out to as many people as possible.)
As written on this photo, this is a shot of Cottonwood Point as it looked in 1955. From the number of homes in the background, it appeared that a number of people lived in the town at this point. Note the chickens in the foreground of the picture.
This picture shows Main Street in Hayti, looking toward the east, in 1918.
The Caruthersville Class of 1923 was photographed on the Eastwood Memorial Methodist Church yard. Class sponsor was Julia Hawkins (Mrs. N. C. Hawkins)
Seated left to right: Wendell Setzer, Louise Duffey, Maury Roberts, Kathryn Hale, Clement Nanson, Gladys Siler, Clay Garrett, Genevieve Bloker, Fred Watkins, and Julia Hawkins.
Standing left to right: Ruby Kelley, Hayes Gowen, Hester Hawkins, Lynn Moore, Helen Dillman, Edward Mulliniks, Sadie Williams, Leslie Morgan, Frances Aquino, Cratus Riley, Edith Wilks, Lowell Foster, Mary Alice Scott, Otho Pierce, Grace Amburgey, Byron McKay, and Helen Powell. J. L. Daniels was not pictured. (Photograph was donated to the Pemiscot County Historical Society by Frances Aquino Hiller, longtime Caruthersville teacher)
This picture was taken in Caruthersville during high water in 1913. LaForge Furniture and Undertaking is shown right behind the passenger boat.
With the water above flood stage at Caruthersville right now, here are some more flashbacks from past flooding on the Mississippi. The first picture shows a side view of the same LaForge business pictured last week. The other shows a man on horseback on the levee (made mainly of sandbags) south of Caruthersville in 1913
The October 14, 1949 issue of The Democrat-Argus featured an ad for Caruthersville Motor Company, where Mr. Joe B. Michie, the proprietor of the Stadium Cab Company discussed his pleasure with the Dodge and Plymouth autos he had purchased for his six taxi fleet from this dealership. Shown in the bottom photo are: (left to right) Robert Hundhausen, driver, Bill Carter, driver, Mr. Michie, owner and driver, Ralph Cheney, driver, and Bervis Bethel, driver.
Fire chief Charlie Jones brought the top picture to the Pemiscot County Historical Society meeting this month, showing the location of the Stadium Cab company, right outside of the Stadium Theater at 11th and Ward Avenue.
#tbt Sixty-four years ago this weekend – June 4-7, 1957 – the streets of downtown Caruthersville were packed with sightseers for the Caruthersville Centennial Parade. One hundred years of the city’s history was celebrated with events like a beard-growing contest, a pageant called “Legend of Caruthersville”, and a greased pig contest were held during the festivities. Many residents still remember the centennial weekend with fondness and amazement as they remember the huge crowd that thronged Ward Avenue.
#tbt We are featuring the Caruthersville Centennial in 1957 during June and here is a collection of photos, showing the “jail” for those who were clean-shaven, some of the costumes, and some of the methods of travel in the parade, horses and carriages.
This June we are featuring pictures of the Caruthersville Centennial that took place in June of 1957. These ladies showed off their period dresses, that were in many cases, homemade. How many of them do you recognize?
Completing our tribute to the Caruthersville Centennial in 1957, one of the highlights was a street dance on East 5th Street in front of the City Pig, owned and operated by Van Johnson for many years. (This location is now Lux & Luv.) Many residents came to dance and many more came to watch the dancers.
Sawyer’s Drug Store occupied the northwest corner of Fourth and Ward for many years. It was one of the oldest pharmacies in the city, coming into existence before 1917. This is one of the most recognizable buildings in downtown Caruthersville since the “bones” of the building have remained relatively constant from Sawyer’s through the ownership of the former Casino Aztar when they first moved to Caruthersville in the mid-1990s and it is now occupied by attorney Daniel Cornacchione. Seen also on the right is the building that housed Stanfield Jewelry for many years, which is now a hair salon.
#tbt Times have indeed changed since this photo from the early 1900s. Steele’s first oil company served in the manner shown – a horse-drawn vehicle loaded with fuel for customers. Today’s services are much different, but the need is still the same. This fuel was undoubtedly kerosene or “coal oil” used for lamps as light (both in the homes and later on the fronts of automobiles); in cooking to start fires; for pouring on fresh wounds; and for swallowing with sugar, believe it or not, to ease a sore throat. (Photo provided to the Pemiscot County Historical Society by Jo Alice Utley a number of years ago.)
Here is an overhead shot of the town of Bragg City taken around 1955. Labeled on the photo are the various businesses and important buildings – an interesting view of the past.
The initial settlement at Bragg City came into existence in 1894, following the construction of the Kennett to Caruthersville railroad, a branch line of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. It was initially called Owl City, due to the hooting of owls in the woodland through which the railroad was built. The town was laid out in 1894 when the railroad was extended to that point.
Upon the establishment of a post office in 1915, it was renamed Clayroot after the nearby Clayroot Island between Little River and Elk Chute; A post office called Clayroot was established in 1911, and the name was changed again in 1917-1918 to Bragg City after W. G. Bragg of Kennett, who owned large tracts of land in the area.
In the 2010 census, Bragg City had a total of 149 inhabitants.
The Bootheel Antique Car Klub (B.A.C.K.) got its start in the early 1960s when a group of local men who collected old cars got together and decided to host an annual event, Trade and Trophy Days, and even race the cars on the old Fairgrounds track. It was always a big event and hundreds would come, not only to take part in the show with their collector car, but to be a spectator at the always-exciting races.
In 1956, Brownie Troop 168, led by Mrs. Elva Gilmore, visited Kasper’s Bakery and enjoyed their treats. Shown here are (front row, left to right) Phyllis McCormick, Donna Hensley, Carolyn Chilton, Becky Hinchey, Linda Robinson, Connie Swafford, Mary Farrow, and Karen Henley (back row) Mary Klemp, Susan Hubbard, Phyllis Williams, Juanita Joines, Margaret Ann Gilmore, and Chlora Proctor.
Kasper’s Bakery opened in 1948 by Herman and Georgia Kasper at 509 Ward Avenue. For many years, it was said that Kasper’s Bakery had the best donuts from St. Louis to New Orleans along the Mississippi River. On Saturdays during the summer, the Delta Queen would make stops in Caruthersville and the passengers would disembark and rush to the bakery to get fresh baked goods and donuts. Saturday nights would be a busy time for the bakery with shoppers stopping in late for goodies.
Thanksgiving and Christmas were the prominent holidays for the bakery with orders for cakes and pies piled high for the customers. Birthday cakes were ordered daily. Wedding cakes were a specialty and were carefully loaded for delivery to area church receptions.
Kasper’s Bakery, closed after Herman’s death in 1973, has been missed by many, especially the donuts, brownies and yum yums they offered. (History from “A Collection of Memories anbd Recipes from the Legendary Kasper’s Bakery” published in 2016. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
This picture is of the officials of the old Pemiscot County Fair Association. It was taken by Gallian Studio at the 1923 fair. The fair, later renamed the American Leion Fair, was the highlight of the year in Pemiscot County until 1965, the last year of the fair’s existence.
Kneeling in the front row, left to right, are the little boy, Bob Dorsey, then W. H. Dorsey, Harry Ridgely, not known, W. M. Collins, and Whitey Paster, who was a racing official. In the back row, left to right, are Jeff Roland, Doc Davis,W. P. Robertson, not known, Frank Cunningham Sr., H. V. Litzelfelner, Judge Albert Pendleton of Kansas City, starter of the horse races, Judge H. C. Schult, John Scott, and Bob Sharp.
The fair brought as many as 10,000 people in a single day to Caruthersville to enjoy the rides, the exhibition hall, where quilts and jellies and jams were judged, the food tents where fed thousands of meals during the six-day run of the fair, the grandstand show, and, of course, the horse races..
The races were held on a half-mile oval dirt track with cars and trucks parked in the infield with people standing on them to see the races.
The grandstand was always full of spectators. The highlight of the fair’s history was in 1945, when President Harry S Truman, Missouri’s only U.S. president, came to the fair.
Other photos are a promotion flyer for the 1916 Fair and a later photo of the thousands of cars in the parking lot for the event.
W.A. Samford’s store in Holland and the Holland Bank are shown as they appeared in 1912, when the population was about 400.. It was during this time that Holland had several stores, hotels, doctors, and other evidence of an up and coming town. This little spot in the woods of Pemiscot County was originally known as Middleburg. The woods and the name of Middleburg disappeared and the families of J. C. Winters and J. W. Holland settled there in 1871 and the town took the latter family’s name.
The Holland depot, also, is a reminder of how it used to be. (The bulletin board on which arrivals and departures were once posted is seen to te right of the windows and a mailbox hangs at the left.) Oldtimers reported remembering when passenger trains made stops; when five people worked there, one of them a telegraph operator. Trains traveled on the Frisco tracks until the late 1900s, but passenger service had been discontinued years ago and the freight trains just passed through Holland.
S. E. Judon, publisher of the Pemiscot Argus and the grandfather of Mrs. Noel Dean, speaks at the laying of the cornerstone of the “new” Pemiscot County Courthouse in 1924. The background shows some of the framework that will be used in the construction.
This is how the north side of the Hayti square appeared in the early 1900s. (This is where Conran Memorial Library now lives.)
In late 1947 a new store – Toni, Inc. – opened as soon as it could find an available building in Caruthersville. Toni, Inc. was a modern department store and was located at 420 Ward Avenue, occupying the former location of the Bernstein Furniture Company (where The Golden Rule operated for many years). The store handled most clothing items, as well as piece goods, and merchandise for the home.
Managing the store was Owen H. (Tony) Ferris who came to Caruthersville in 1944 as manager of the J.C. Penney Company, where he stayed until December of 1946 when he conceived of the idea to organize a home-owned business in which he would be the active head.
It was written at the time that “Opening of a business of this sort is indicative of the forward trend in business circles in the Caruthersville community, which, as a community, has been showing real grownth in recent months and years. And the attractiveness of this store, with the completeness of its merchandise coverage, gives still an added reason why people like – and do well – to come to Caruthersville to do their trading”.
#tbt The 1964 Caruthersville Post Office staff Christmas Party guests were: Mr. and Mrs. Bailey Brooks,Calvin Dunavant, Mr. and Mrs. W. F. James, Oscar Farrow, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Tillman, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Neeley, Murel Andrews, Jack Searles, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Malin, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Walker, Wade Southerland, Mr. and Mrs. John Butrum, Mr. and Mrs. EdTutt, Mr. and Mrs. Leo McAdams, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Ferrell,Mr. and Mrs. Lavanda White, Mr. and Mrs. James Bingham, and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Malin. (Not pictured were Mr. and Mrs. Gene McElyea)