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More Memories

Posted Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at 11:00 PM

This photo was taken in front (the Elm Street side) of the old library before it was a library. That's me on the left and my friend Carol Hunting on the right. The blinds are up in the living room, because my baby sister was inside, looking out, and we built the snowman for her to see. I think she was sick and couldn't come out, so she asked to see his face, and we put another one on the window side.
It seems that my "Memphis Blues" blog hit a nerve, and several of us have been reminiscing about the wonderful old houses in the area - particularly Dexter and Bloomfield. The postings have brought back some warm memories of the past, when houses were unique and individual. Unfortunately, some of the homes that we remember are gone - like the one with the round tower on Walnut Street.

Others are mysterious - like the "Haunted Holmes," and we'd like to know more about it.

I have several more photos of the old library, taken in the mid-fifties, when my family lived there, just before the library board gathered up enough money to turn it into a library. It was an absolutely magical place to live - full of cubbyholes and corners, never boring.

The room you can see off to the left in the photo was a sunroom with screened and (I think) glassed windows all around. I don't recall that we used it for much of anything, but I did sleep out there in the summertime sometimes, and I remember the sound of the turtle doves in the big oaks in the yard.

Not many people had air-conditioning in that era, but the Elm Street house was always cool, probably because of the thick walls. The old, original kitchen was especially cool, since it had extremely thick brick walls and was situated in the back, away from the rest of the house. There was no heat in it, so we only used it in the summer. My bedroom was once in there, too, and another time we used it as a summer dining room.

I'm putting my sister to work finding more of the old photos. Our dad was an amateur photographer and developed his own photos over at the home of a fellow flight instructor. My little sister was his favorite subject. She was just a toddler during our time on Elm Street.

She's also the one who almost set the house on fire by playing with matches in my brothers' front bedroom, just off the screened-in front porch. She couldn't have been over two or three, when it happened, and she was so frightened that she ran out and shut the door behind her, thinking it would go away, I'm sure... We had to call the fire department, and it was all quite exciting.

Those were happy times.

We've also been talking about Malden Air Base on the Memphis blog, since Mrsdolphin is curious about the old Army barracks, which have been torn down. We can't seem to agree on which buildings they were. I've also put my sister to finding the old photos from our time on the base (before the move to Dexter). I think it would make a fun blog.

It would be cool if some of the "old timers" in the area would try their hand at blogging about the old days - especially giving the history they remember about the old homes. I know the Statesman is looking for bloggers. If you're interested, contact Editor Bobby Greer and check into it.

One way or another, it looks as if I need to come down to Dexter and take some photos of the old buildings we're talking about. I don't know, though; is it legal to post pictures of someone's house? I'll bet I need to get their permission - except in the case of the little house across from the Christian Church - the one that lovebooks says is for sale.

How about it, folks? What are your favorite houses in your town? Oh, wow, Yellow Rose, there is a fantastic old house in Essex! What's the story on that one???

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I remember Carol Hunting! And Peter Hunting! They lived on Chautauqua Lane in yet another neat old house on the corner of either Forrest or Rannells. And it's still there.

-- Posted by lovebooks on Wed, Mar 12, 2008, at 11:09 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Yes, indeed! That was a neat old house - much better than the new one which they built in that subdivision in the hills to the south of town. My sister-in-law, brother-in-law and I were in Dexter Sunday, driving around, waiting for the 2:30 movie - We drove through the subdivision where the Huntings built a house, but I couldn't even recognize it! My family had a lot out there and were getting ready to build, when Malden Air Base closed, and we had to move.

When Carol and I were freshmen, I would have to wait at the bottom of the hill for her, because our old '53 Ford station wagon would slip out of second gear, and I would roll screaming back down the hill. So, when I took her home, she would hold the gear shift in second gear, while I used both hands to steer up that crooked hill! It was so much FUN!! We laughed and laughed.

I guess you remember that Pete Hunting was killed in the Peace Corps, don't you? They were a wonderful family! Her dad was a flight instructor at Malden Air Base, too.

Ok lovesbooks...you seem to be quite a buff when it comes to who lived/lives where and when...so can I ask you something?

There's a house on Worley Rd. (the dead end hill that is off East Grant by the big water tower at the end of Locust (I believe), and an elderly couple just packed up and moved away and plan on selling it for cheap. It is a tan brick home with a circle drive, and it somewhat looks like an old funeral home. It's the third house down on the left, and was owned by a man by the name of Bob Colove. Do you know the place? If so, is it an old funeral home? We've tried contacting the owners to see what they would sell it for, but their number has been disconnected. But I think my husband would have a hard time living there if it is, in fact, an old funeral home. Thanks for any info you may have!

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Wed, Mar 12, 2008, at 10:47 PM

Mrs. D, I'm on the prowl. I'll find out something because I have a friend that lived at the top of that hill. We used to play all around that water tower, and the gulleys behind it. I used to be scared to death to walk down that hill toward Worley's pond without my brother or his buddies because there was a pack of dogs that would go crazy.

I'll find out about the house!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Thu, Mar 13, 2008, at 9:32 AM

All right! A mystery!!! Blogger mysteries solved here!! I love it!!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Mar 13, 2008, at 5:13 PM

Most of the barracks buildings have been torn down on the airbase for many years. I think there are still 3-4 right at the northeastern corner at the edge of highway 25. I grew up living in one of the duplexes back across from the softball fields in the 70's. There may be one or two barracks buildings back toward the airport but I am not sure. I haven't been down memory lane in about five years out there. Maybe the next time I am down home I will do that, just to relive the childhood and all the fun we had there.

-- Posted by SKDellinger on Sat, Mar 15, 2008, at 10:49 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Next person to go down there needs to take pictures! When you get them, let me know, and I'll figure a way to post them on here.

My sister wants to come over to Southeast Missouri in early April, and we for sure want to go down to the air base and poke around. We also plan to go to that reunion in September. She's already contacted the association through that site that one of our blogger buddies mentioned.

The barracks at the Northeast Corner of Highway 25 have been torn down. Those are the ones I've been referring to. I drove by last Tuesday just to make sure those were the ones that were torn down, and sure enough, they were!

-- Posted by sc1120 on Sun, Mar 16, 2008, at 9:34 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Wow, sc2210, I was just talking about you! You posted at exactly the same time as I did!

Well, I guess we don't need for you to take a picture of where the barracks USED to be, do we??

MrsD, I drove past that house on Worley Road you were wondering about. It looks empty, but there isn't a sign in front of it. It would sure amaze me if it was ever a funeral home, though.

-- Posted by lovebooks on Tue, Mar 18, 2008, at 10:57 AM

Well...lovebooks...the things that made us wonder if it was once a funeral home were:

There are a set of double doors at the south end of the front of the house that looked like the doors the family members would exit on the side of the building.

Then there's the circle drive.

Last but not least, there's the carport and the way it's built.

I don't know for sure if it is...but it sure did give a striking resemblance (?) of one. I still haven't heard anything either. I did go to the city hall, and request one of those forms where you can request information on the home. But they wanted to charge $10.00 an hour for their research time (and they gave themselves 3 days to research), and 10 cents per piece of paper that the report produced. I felt that was a bit on the outrageous side...so I passed and hoped there would be a sign there sooner or later.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Tue, Mar 18, 2008, at 4:00 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Lovebooks, as you can see, it's our dear, young-in-years-but-old-in-mind Mrsdolphin who wanted that information. I might remember the house if I were to see it again, but I can't place it right now. Still, thanks for the follow-up.

As neat as the library house was to live in, an even neater place was the last one where we lived - on the Pyletown Road. We called it the Smith Farm. I don't remember which Smith owned it, but it was at the top of the hill, across from the Boyd country school, where my brothers had the good fortune to go. It was a large, two-story white frame house with four bedrooms and a large hall upstairs. There was an enormous old barn out back. Now, that's life! I wish I could see it again, but it burned years ago.

The 3 story house white house (it was blue or gray before) was built by a Dr.Hux at the turn of the century. It is spectacular inside,has a LOT of bathrooms and bedrooms,parlors,big old kitchen,and the third floor has an awesome view.It has a basement/root cellar along with the three full stories. Mrs.Helen Ross owns it now,her late husband and her bought it from the Hux Estate in about 1980,and put a boatload of money into restoring it,upgrading electrical,plumbing and heating/AC. It has all the original woodwork,and Mr.Ross was a stickler for authenticity.

(I guess the white vinyl siding is the exception,but it's tough painting a house that huge,or finding someone to paint it).

What I find fascinating is it has a garage,and the 2nd garage is another smaller house.Mrs.Wilson (Dr.Hux' daughter)lived in the main house with her hubby and her batchelor brother Dick Hux had his "pad" out back. My Mom says he drove an El Camino and golfed a lot.

I only know Mrs.Ross,very wonderful,sweet,hard working lady who you see working outside a lot,with her daughter and grandkids.

It had been for sale but never sold(a long time ago) you have to have some moolah to keep up/heat/cool/insure/pay taxes on this beauty.

EVERYBODY in and around Essex says "when I win Powerball,I'm going to try to buy the Ross house..."

Yeah,you'll need Powerball Bucks!:)

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 11:58 AM

Oops,forgot,the Ross House is in Essex,on the right as soon as you hit the city limits going south on FF.Got a little excited there,although Essex has several nice older homes that have been restored.

I think of my own ancestral home,built at the turn of 1970 in a classic "ranch style"with the 3 bedroom,1 bath some idiot dreamed up until the kids came along.Yes,the King has his own throne now,well when the Queen isn't busy-haha.

I'll hear about that.

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 12:05 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Yellow Rose, this is exactly the house I was asking about! Anyone who's been to Essex can't miss it! What a treasure! (No offense to your 1970 "classic ranch style..."

MD, you bring up yet another part of history that's so dilapidated, I don't think there's any chance of bringing it back...and that's Pyletown. That poor old town has seen some better days. From what I've heard, it had some really interesting quirks about it. But, of course, it also has it's haunted stories...like any other town that looks that way. They could be true, but I doubt it.

Oh, and there used to be a house on Vine Street here in Dexter that some of you may have stories about. It was right across from the old library, and if I remember right, it was yellow or tan in color. It was 2 or 3 stories, right next door to the church. One of my best friends from middle and high school lived there once upon a time, but I was only allowed to visit a couple times. Now they've torn it down and made a bigger church parking lot. I'm sure one of you have a story about it. From what I remember, it wasn't in very good condition, but you could tell it had a bit of age to it. And there was also a large brick one that sat across from the one with the circle room on the corner of Mulberry and Castor. What was the story on it? It was just torn down last year...though it didn't actually look in that bad of shape.

By the way, thanks lovesbooks...not sure where my manners went yesterday.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 1:43 PM

I remember the house across from the old library. At one time the pastor from the church and his family lived there, and that's when I remember playing in it (that was my neighborhood). And yes, it was torn down for parking. The last family that lived in it just absolutely trashed it. You could drive by there at night and see a dozen kids running around with all the lights on, and you could see inside, and it was awful. Do you all remember the kind of boarding house type house on the corner of Vine and Elm? Had like a closed in porch upstairs and I think I remember being told it was a boarding house at one time. It was also torn down.

And here's a biggy that I remember fondly: Corner of Walnut Street and Carter. Huge white house with green shutters. The lady that lived there alone owned the two small rent houses on the first block of Carter. Now a brick house sits there that used to be the PCA office. But that house was amazing, inside and out.

MD, you wouldn't remember the "funeral home" house because it wasn't there when I was a kid trekking down Worley Road. It's a relatively new style house. In fact, when I was a kid there weren't any houses on that road except a couple of tiny shack types. The Worleys had the nice house on the road, across from a huge white gorgeous barn. It's still there, but it's about to fall down.

-- Posted by lovebooks on Wed, Mar 19, 2008, at 2:03 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Well, I don't remember a barn, so I guess I need to take another drive through Dexter. I also don't remember a boarding house or the one next to the church. I barely remember the church. Mmm..we went to Bible School there one summer. I guess parking lots are always an issue for a church, but I do hate to see an old house torn down for that purpose. Seems unchristian, somehow!

Ghosts in Pyletown? Well, that would make a trip down there imminently worth it!

How's the flood situation south of Dexter?

People in North Stoddard County are having to crack out the old maps to find creative ways to get from one town to another. It certainly pays to know the backroads right now.

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Mar 21, 2008, at 3:19 PM

So sad that so much history is being lost. Unfortunately there are so few people who really care any more. Anyone who has dealt with rental properties understands how hard it is to get tenants who will treat the property well. I had so many memories from growing up on the airbase, but my "home" was torn down several years ago. But it's always nice to reminisce. My husband and I just moved to southern Illinois from central Illinois and are thinking of going to visit with the kids in Bluff this weekend. We were hoping to ride the motorcycle but with the weather forecast, not likely to happen. Keep posting the wonderful memories.

-- Posted by SKDellinger on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 8:33 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Do be careful, as Poplar Bluff has had MASSIVE problems with the flooding!

And, to complicate matters, it's gonna be in the upper 20's tonight! Can you believe the weather we've had this year???? The world is turning topsy turvy!!!

The world, along with the recent weather, scare me. Ever wonder if it's truly nearing the end? Wow...just the thought of that gets me all nervous and thinking. I just hope this weather isn't a sign of things to come. My great aunt has always said that, in weather, there are 2 extremes that fall back to back. So I'm wondering just how very true that may be. If it is, and we had such an oddball winter...I'm wondering if I don't want to try and hibernate through spring too.

And I looked it up a few weeks ago (right after the first of our torential (sp?) rains) and the Farmer's Almanac, which is usually so very close on how the weather will be, was WAAAAY off on our rainfall totals this year. According to what they've recorded, we've just experienced our whole years worth of rainfall in March.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Tue, Apr 15, 2008, at 9:36 AM

MD, what year/years did your brothers go to school at Boyd? That was the last country school my at which my dad taught(1960-61), before teaching at Central.

I've been reading some of the archived blogs trying to figure out who GL is.

BTW, on one of the blogs you mentioned the book,"Dexter A Pictorial History" I compiled the section on, "Log Cabins to Mansions and Their Families". Thanks for your comment about the book.

-- Posted by genbug on Tue, Feb 10, 2009, at 4:00 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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