I think towns are more interesting when they have maintained some of their vintage architectural details. Some buildings get so modernized that the vintage look is lost. One detail that I have always liked is the corner entrance, and five of Cuba’s buildings have maintained these entrances.
Pictured above, you will see what is currently Gordoz Cafe, formerly the Mainstreet Bakery and Cafe, then Back in the Day Cafe, but originally the Cox Complex, named for the doctor who built it for individual businesses, thus the several doors in the building’s facade. The building, which is over 100 years-old, was restored a few years ago by Andy Sanazaro, Jr. and maintains its vintage appearance.
At one time, a frame building stood on the site, but it burned. Later, Dr. Cox, who was also a Cuba mayor, built the brick building in 1907, and it was known as the Cox Complex. The small white building behind the complex was built for Dr. Cox’s mother-in-law, with a larger residence for the doctor’s family sitting where the Reinsch apartments now stand.
The site hosted various businesses over the years: Meramec Drug, Dr. Cox’s office, a barber shop, a dress shop, a bakery, J.H. Breen Realty, and Farris Specialty Store. The building held as many as five separate stores at once. The building’s abstract states that in 1931 part of the Cox Building was leased by Lida Cox to the government for $480 per annum as a Post Office.
Joyce Dorf Stewart’s grandfather ran Dorf Hardware in the complex, and later her father Walter Dorf had a store there called Waldorf Paint & Paper. Stewart remembers that the students gathered at the drug store after school, where they would have entered through the corner entrance that remains.
At the corner of Smith St. and W. Main is Frisco’s, a restaurant owned by Virginia Watson. The 120 year-old building was built to face the railroad track, which was the center of business in the pre-1900s. It eventually became known as Heinies, an Uptown saloon, owned by Henry and Anna Schwent. Other bars to occupy the space after Heinies included Sonny Boy’s, Paradise, and Leo’s Trackside. Now as Frisco’s, it is a popular place to dine and maintains a train-themed decor. Although it was extensively remodeled in 2006, it still has the distinctive corner entrance into the pub area.
People’s Bank moved to this building in 1906, and the Masons were located upstairs. The Post Office was also in the building for awhile. Later John Woodward had a law office and title company in the building. At one time, the Crawford County Title company’s corner entrance at the corner of Smith and Washington ( old Route 66) was enclosed, but when attorney Steve Paulus restored the building to a more vintage appearance, he brought back the building’s corner entrance, which is pictured in one of Viva Cuba’s murals. Paulus said the building was built in 1886.
This more modern building also has the corner entrance although the look isn’t as vintage as the other buildings. This building is probably of the mid-century modern era. Perhaps some of our readers can provide more details about the building and its builder.
Another building with a corner entrance is the office of dentist Don Fuchs. The building has been re-modeled to give it a more modern look, but it has maintained his corner entrance.
Feel free to add any details and comments that you might have about these distinctive buildings. They are built of bricks, boards, and memories.