Early Gardens in Cape Girardeau

September and December 1985

(Unsigned notes from a paper prepared about 1935 for the Historical Society)

This information in this page was furnished me mostly by:
1. Mrs. Retta Cluley Clark, born in 1847 in Philadelphia. Her father, John N. Clucley, moved to Cape Girardeau when Retta was five years old.
2. Mrs. Julia Moon Pieronnett who came to Cape Girardeau with her parents in 1857, from Bordentown, N.J.
3. Mrs. Magdalina Hursch Bahn, born in Madison, Ind., who came here in 1857.
4. Miss Amy Kimmel

About seventy-five years ago the streets in Cape Girardeau were Main and Spanish streets downtown and Jackson Streets on the hill. Most of the American and French families lived downtown and the Germans on the hill. They did not associate much and mistrusted one another.

At that time there were three beer gardens in Cape Girardeau. These were small groves fenced in and used as amusement gardens and picnic grounds. The oldest of these was Frank's Garden, belong to Adam Frank who kept a saloon and hotel on Main Street opposite the Woolworth Store (Main and Independence). His garden was situated east of the old Bass Albert home on West Broadway, now occupied by a Mr. Adams (opposite Houck Stadium). Here were small tables where lunches and beer and other drinks were served. There was dancing and all kinds of amusements. Mrs. Pieronnett once went there to a Fourth of July celebration. She was wearing a white dress. Two drunk men got into a fight and some blood was spilled on her dress. She fainted! Adam Frank sold this place to the German Catholic Sisters of Charity for a hospital and they operated it as such for many years. The "Old Man Painter"--so called by Mrs. Clark---gave the lot on Sprigg St. where St. Mary's High School now stands to the Sisters for a hospital. They sold the old hospital on West Broadway to Sebastian Albert and built a new one on Sprigg and William Sts.

Another beer garden was just north of Turners' Hall and belonged to that building. The stage in the hall was so arranged that it opened into the hall or out onto the garden, so that shows could be staged in summertime to audiences in the garden or to those in the hall in the winter. This building and garden were later sold to Mr. Schuchert, father of Miss Mollie. He renamed it the Opera House and built his home in the garden. This hill is opposite the Missourian Building on the north.

The third beer garden was adjoining on the north of old Cramer home at the corner of Broadway and Pacific Sts. It was known as Cramer's Garden -- now occupied by Hilde's Bottling Works.

"Frank's Garden"

Frank's Garden at 1107 Broadway, on the present site of the Adam's house, was a popular beer garden before and after the Civil War. During the war it was closed. The Ermertz family moved into the little home in the garden and lived there during the time that Mr. Frank did not operate the place. Mrs. H.H. Mueller of Jackson was Ida Ermertz and was a little girl at the time. She recalls the garden as a real beauty spot. A long arbor extended from where the filling station on the corner is now (1935) located to the back door of the small house. It and a summer house were covered with Wisteria. There were beautiful flower beds in which grew all the old fashioned flowers. A row of silver poplars enclosed the grounds.

When the garden operated there was a ten pin alley, swings, the first flying Dutchman, in Cape Girardeau, the music grounds out by the band organ, and other amusement equipment. All the equipment was made by a local blacksmith shop, Studmaster and Schultz. An orchestra played in the afternoon and again at night for dancing.

During the war, Union troops often marched past the garden. Mrs. Ermertz and Mrs. Heil baked break, Mrs. Hirsch furnished meat, and the three women made clothes baskets full of sandwiches. Coffee was brewed in large iron kettle in the yard, poured into buckets, and the children served tin cups full of steaming coffee and sandwiches to the soldiers as they passed by. Mrs. Mueller was too small to serve the coffee, but she could pick up the cups which the soldiers were obliged to drop on the ground as they marched by. She would also assist in washing the cups in a big wash tub of water, which was placed in the yard. Often she sat on the fence and yelled to the marching blue coats, "Rah!! In the Yagie Gag!" (Yanke Flag).

The report reached Cape That Price was going to attack the town. Women and children were hustled out of bed and onto a boat and then to Devil's Island in the Mississippi River. The Island has long since disappeared but at that time it was in the river not far from Cape. A large frame house stood upon it. Mrs. Mueller remembers slipping in the mud in the dark, and also, that she received a spanking for the mishap. The woman who owned the large house on the island was in sympathy with the Confederate cause and treated the Federal refugees with scant courtesy. She fed them on a hard tack and water.



The Cape Girardeau County Genealogical Society was organized in May 1970, a non-profit organization, its primary purpose is education in the field of genealogy. Membership is open to individuals upon payment of the annual dues of $10, or a couple for $15, per year, beginning in May. Life membership is available for a one-time payment of $250.

CGCGS publishes a quarterly "The Collage of Cape County" in March, June, September, and December, sent free to members. All members are encouraged to submit articles for publication.


Cape Girardeau County Genealogical Society
PO Box 571, Jackson, MO 63755
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