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NOSTALGIA

They’re gone now along with the impending closure of Macy’s downtown store.  We’re talking about Nugent’s, Famous-Barr, Scruggs Vandervoort & Barney, Stix, Baer & Fuller, Garlands, Kline’s, Sonnenfeld’s, Cunningham’s, Werner-Hilton, Richman Bros., Bond’s, National Shirt Shop, Lane Bryant, Boyd’s, Wilkinson’s, Wolff’s, Stacy Adams, Red Cross Shoes, Birdie’s Hat Shop, Kresge’s; Schneider Millinery – all of which wove the fabric of a booming downtown St. Louis.  There were the popular restaurants over those years: Trader Vic’s; the Orient; Rio Room; the Forum; Tunnelway; Max Carl’s; the Pines; Grecian Garden’s; Miss Hulling’s; the Washington Cafe; the Holland Bldg. Cafeteria, Tutenberg’s and F&E Sandwich Shop. There were the burlesque houses: Garrick, Grand and Harry Wald’s World, where he was overheard to say, “That stripper is great except for two little things.”  Merchants prospered.  Long gone are  Central Hardware, C.E. Williams Shoes, Greenfield’s Poultry and a bevy of hardware stores. Saloons had their doors propped open, and bartenders kept running out of Tom Collins mix in this normally vodka, scotch town. The old Union Market building remains and houses a Drury Inn and the wonderful Jf Sanfilippo’s Ristorante. The naked downtown district is shrinking to small town size.

11 Responses to “NOSTALGIA”

  • KITTY says:

    Downtown isn’t shrinking: ITS DEAD!

  • Rich Krechel says:

    I’m afraid Kitty is right. The demise of the old Famous-Barr building is the last nail in the coffin. I will always have memories of what it used to be. My mother would take us downtown on the streetcar on Monday night when they were open late. We would have dinner in the Rose Room at Famous or at The Orient. One of the other sad things to see was the closing of Miss Hullings’. I had eaten there for more than 50 years.

  • Anonymous says:

    If only Kitty and her friends would have come downtown and spent some of her millions, downtown would then be OK and Macy’s would still be open.

  • Wastingaway says:

    Where are the Cubbie Baer’s, Mortie May’s, we have no leaders anymore. Those guys led with their own dough. We are left with politicians as leaders and they only want to take our money.

  • jean valjean says:

    When I was 19 (1972) I interviewed for a job at S. G. Adams, the old business supplies store downtown. The owner took me to an office in the attic, where I felt like Woody Allen’s Zelig character talking to Charles Foster Kane, with the office calendar reading 1923 and the owner writing everything with a quill pen. The building, hooked up to the old downtown underground steam network, even smelled old…..like walking into the Old Courthouse or Arcade Building.

  • Jake Gittes says:

    Don’t forget Carson (Union) May-Stern on the SE corner
    of 11th and Olive, diagonally across from the Post-Dispatch
    building and KSD Radio/TV, which kept Habs House across the
    street in business. Kudos to the Bergermeister for remembering
    F&E Sandwich Shop–that’s a trivia answer in itself. And also
    the Famous Barr basement coffee shop! At age 12 I would take
    the 91 Delmar-McKnight bus downtown with a friend for a dime
    and have a burger, fries and a coke at the counter. Sometimes
    we’d spring for the express bus for 15 cents or even the
    Shopper’s Express for a quarter. Spent time in the coin and
    stamp department at Famous, grabbed a KXOK or WIL music survey
    at Melody House near 4th and Washington, and hardly missed a
    single Thursday night dinner with my grandpa at Miss Hulling’s
    at 11th and Olive. Different times: truly a lost era.

  • Towncar07 says:

    Yes, all those old places mentioned are full of memories…just think for a moment IF Ed Whitacre had not been so socially ambitious, think what this town would be like with AT&T headquartered here…And Ralston run by locals, and A-B with a Busch at the helm…And MacDonell-Doug still in the family, the Cohens running what might be now a STL style Home Depot…and on and on…I saw the end coming when TWA left it’s morals with the likes of Carl “how hard can I squeeze” Ichan..and the TWA STL HUB ceased to exist…The City may have prospered because there was a reason to be civic…now the reason is just trying to survive, and many are not, and many more won’t.

  • Towncar07 says:

    I’m getting old here but I remember the Carson-Union-May-Stern [Uncle Dick Slack] was a proud sponsor of the Roy Queen Show on KXLW 1320AM (Country-Western theme) and Roy made headlines when he cried unashamedly on the air as he learned that his only son had (incurable cancer)., and when the building burned to the ground, it was a most spectacular fire that, because of it’s collapse, finally resembled a gigantic High School pep rally bonfire…could be seen for miles… KXLW, the station that brought you both George “The G” Logan, and the always bell toned voice of Jesse “Spider” Burks. Circa 1953

  • cynical says:

    Towncar07…you are right in describing the Carson-Union-May-Stern fire as spectacular, in a close race with the Highlands fire a little later on. As to Spider Burk, do you remember his pink Cadillac convertible, and being allowed to sit in the studio while he was on the air? And the blasting to prepare the sight of Famous-Barr in Clayton? And the Pevely Dairy fountain? And the policemen, on foot, patrolling neighborhoods, and knowing everyone on your block, and being allowed to stay out until the street lights went on, without your Mom or Dad giving it a second thought? I could go on and on about the wonderful memories I have about growing up in St. Louis…those were the days, my friend!

  • Rich Krechel says:

    How fun to read all of these great comments. We are all showing our age, but we share some wonderful memories. Towncar07 is so right about the demise of TWA and it’s hub here in St. Louis having such an adverse effect on the city. We built a wonderful new convention center downtown, but nobody wants to come here for a convention because they cannot get a direct flight anymore. I refuse to fly on American Airlines for this very reason unless I absolutely have too. Delta and Southwest get my business.

  • Towncar07 says:

    This is meant in the most reverent way…I listened to “Spider” and I remember his pink Caddy with the black leather interior, parked in the rear of the then studios of KXLW on Forsyth, and the chuckle comment was when he came driving in your direction, all you saw thru the windshield was fingernails and teeth. My favorite part of his show was the “Down the Ally behind [his] house” blues section…and he told me that he absolutely hated blues…it was such an “ignorant” music style…he played the then modern Jazz and scat but was forced to give the last hour to the blues. Just about the time he could take it no more he was fired…but then Bill Garrett came on the scene with KATZ1600AM and played just Gospel and Blues, and the audience went with that new station. The Pevely fountain was the Ted Drewes of Clayton…and as a Kerckhoff family member recalled, that they were so lucky that no one playing in the fountain on those hot nights was electrocuted, since the colored flood lamps were hooked up to 110V…no low voltage except in your car.

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