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2017 Book — ‘Lost Treasurers of St. Louis’ by Cameron Collins

August 2, 2019 Books, Featured No Comments
On the shelf at Apotheosis Comics & Lounge

Today’s book isn’t new, it came out two years ago.  I saw ‘Lost Treasurers of St. Louis’ by Cameron Collins in late April at Apotheosis Comics & Lounge, after we had dinner Meskerem Ethiopian next door. Both on South Grand.  At home I confirmed I hadn’t received a copy, so I emailed my contact at Reedy Press asking for a review copy. Boy I’m glad I did!

This month marks 29 years that I’ve lived in St. Louis, so while I didn’t go to high school here I do have nearly three decades of memories. This book helps me remember places I’ve either experienced in person or heard about from others. Few local books have brought me so many hours of joy.

A kaleidoscope of bygone places, events, and items once identified with the Gateway City, Lost Treasures of Saint Louis captures the essence of cherished times that still resonate with St. Louisans. Lost Treasures celebrates dancing to Ike and Tina at the Club Imperial, Bowling for Dollars at the Arena, taking in movies at Ronnie’s Drive-In, and myriad other pastimes enjoyed through the years. Rarely seen photos and artifacts revive eateries like Miss Hulling’s Cafeteria and the Crystal Palace, entertainment and sports attractions like the Goldenrod Showboat and Sportsman’s Park, retail stores like Famous-Barr and Scruggs, Vandervoot and Barney, community establishments like Cleveland High School and St. Bridget of Erin Church, and locally manufactured products like Mavrakos Candy and Falstaff Beer. Gone but not forgotten, all of the subjects featured elicit nostalgia and also reveal how the past has shaped our city. (Reedy Press)

The main organization is as follows:

  • Food & Drink
  • Entertainment
  • Retail
  • Media
  • Community

Each of those have numerous subcategories.

My review copy

The older restaurants are ones that either closed before I moved to St. Louis, or I didn’t eat there before they closed.  Here are the ones in the book I did patronize at least once:

  • 94th Aero Squadron
  • Rossino’s (I thought it was a basement fire trap, but I loved the food)
  • Duff’s
  • Del Pietro’s House of Pasta
  • Shakey’s Pizza Parlor (Not in STL, but I remember eating at a Shakey’s in Oklahoma City in the 70s)
  • Dierdorf & Hart’s
  • Miss Hulling’s Cafeteria
  • The Parkmoor
  • Naugles
  • Lemmon’s

Others in the book that I really wish I’d tried include The Salad Bowl and Beffa Brothers Cafeteria.

From the ‘Entertainment’ section there are fewer that I’ve visited. I always meant to go to National Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, but I just didn’t get there before it closed & moved. I do think I went bowling once at Western Bowl that was at 4041 Bingham. I recall others before they were replaced by Walgreens.

None of the pools & roller rinks resinate with me. I’ve heard of the various amusement parks, but they were before my time. As far as ‘Attractions’ I recall seeing The National Coin-Op and Video Game Museum on Laclede’s Landing years ago. I also remember passing ‘The Elvis is Alive Museum’ in Wright City.

Oh ‘Excursion Boats’ is an area where I have regrets. I know by the time it was a casino The Admiral was no longer what it was back in the day — but why didn’t I go on it just once?

The ‘Nightclubs & Music Venues’ is another where most were before my time. Mississippi Nights was open until 2007, but I never went. I recall the Castle Ballroom building before it was razed.

The ‘Movie Theaters & Drive-Ins’ section includes many I’ve heard of or seen the outside of the building. I  recall seeing the Ambassador Theater  as it was being torn down, I pass by the Loew’s Orpheum Theater weekly.

In ‘Sports Venues’ I so wish I’d gone to something…anything…at The Arena. I’d love a time machine to go back and see a baseball game at Sportsman’s Park. While I have biked at the velodrome in  Penrose Park, the wooden St. Louis Motordrome that was at Grand & Meramec was gone long before I was born.

I’m a fan of food and grocery stores so the ‘Markets, Delis, & Grocers’ section is of particular interest. I’d heard of Bettendorf’s many times, but I don’t recall hearing about Rapp’s. I now live just blocks from the National Supermarkets where I shopped when I lived in Old North in the early 90s.

There are many more sections, all with great photos. You get the idea though, hours of great memories. This gorgeous hardcover coffee table book can be purchased directly from St. Louis publisher Reedy Press, St. Louis bookstore Left-Bank Books, from  Apotheosis Comics (if they still have it), and from you know where.  The latter has a nice preview.

Note that none of the links in this post are affiliate links — I make zilch if you click them.

— Steve Patterson

 

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