A Bit of Cherokee Street History

Posted by Anne McCullough on January 4, 2016 | Comments Off on A Bit of Cherokee Street History

Deichman Music store, on Cherokee, between Texas and Jefferson was a high school hang out as the local “record shop” (as in phonograph records).  We also had a big following with the nurse trainees at Lutheran Hospital, a couple blocks away.  I worked after school from Roosevelt High and weekends.

I worked there as a salesman, selling the old 78 rpm, shellac phonograph records. This would have been 1950-1955.  If you were a “people watcher” you would have been in heaven walking around Cherokee as it was a mixture of all south side peoples.  We had four restaurants, a Velvet Freeze ice cream shop, two auto supply (Western Auto & J&R), J. C. Penny’s, and many shoe stores. Also an outside fruit/veggie stand, and 3 (count them 3) 5 and 10 cent stores (Woolworth, Kresge, Neisner), all whom employed many young women.

There was this St Louis Policeman, Ray Mostillovich who was given an award for the most “muffler” citations by the Mayor. Ray would come by each night at closing time (9 PM) when all the boyfriends in their cars lined down Cherokee waiting to pick up the dime stores gals, and he would say to each driver, “Start it up and rev it”….oops(Glass Packs)were too loud here is a ticket.

Our records shop was part of the Gil Newsome, “Top 10” radio program citywide on the radio.  Each afternoon, they  would phone us for the sales tallies of the top selling records.Playing them later that evening.  We sold records to many of the “Teentowns” that operated around the area for their dances.  The store was owned by George and Lill Deichman, George played in the U.S. Army Band in his Army days during WWII.

The year I left, records were converting to the 45 rpm, small plastic records, with the big hole in the middle, HiFi was coming into existence, and the LP was being born.  Major artists of those days were:  Joe Stafford, Frankie Laine, Patti Paige, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, etc.

The minimum wage the dime store girls and I earned was as I remember $0.50 hr.

Of further note during this period, many of the Cherokee sales clerks met after work Friday & Saturday nights at Johnny Allen’s Watermelon Stand at Compton & Cherokee during the summer.  A slice of cold melon, or an RC cola, in one of the vine covered booths, clerks resting their tired feet, batting the breeze with our girl friend, or buddies.  Johnny Allen loved all the kids, and welcomed young people, as well as families.

Hope this story brings back some memories for you.

 

Bill Keller,

Crestwood, MO


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  • Quoted

    “The beauty of the maturation of Cherokee Street over the past couple of months is that it has not shown a familiar trajectory for a St. Louis revitalization. There are no posh nightclubs with "pioneer" status nor any ultra-elite art galleries present.

    Rather, there's an organized community dedicated to improving quality of life and maintaining the uniqueness of St. Louis's most diverse and urban business district.”
    stldotage.blogspot.com

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