Blog: The end of the Golden Dragon (06/21/22)

1997 saw the end of the Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant, 217 N. Kingshighway, in Cape Girardeau.

Long a popular dining and socializing spot, the Golden Dragon was brought down by a bright yellow backhoe in the spring of that year, its place replaced by a new Alliance Bank. But even as the backhoe’s hungry claw scraped the old Airline Cafe, Les Lindy Jr. was able to lay claim to part of the establishment, buying the globe that was part of the building’s sign at a number of restaurants in this place. .

Plans to demolish the Dragon were announced in May 1997, and the walls came down the following month.

Posted May 17, 1997 in southeastern Missouri:

The former Golden Dragon restaurant, 217 N. Kingshighway, will be demolished to make way for the new Alliance Bank, which hopes to open within 90 days. (Southeastern Missouri Archive)


By B. Ray Owen
Southeastern Missourian

The banking scene in Cape Girardeau County is changing.

Three names familiar to banking customers half a decade ago – Capital Bank, First Exchange and Amerifirst Bank – are history.

Soon on this endangered list are the Boatmen’s Bank and the Roosevelt Bank, which are victims of mergers.

Names such as Alliance Bank, Capaha Bank, First National Bank & Trust Illinois-Missouri, and NationsBank are banks of the future in Cape Girardeau County.

NationsBank is the giant, having bought Boatmen’s, which was once the largest bank in Missouri and the 10th largest in the country.

With the new banks and the disappearance of familiar names, consumers in Cape Girardeau County will not really gain as many local banking centers.

Five years ago, in 1992, the county had eight banks in 24 locations. As of this weekend, there are seven banks in 23 locations.

And when all new banks open and existing banks reschedule their locations, that could total up to 10 banks across 28 locations.

The Missouri Division of Finance, which operates in accordance with legal requirements, has a voice in the banking community.

“There are a number of considerations before allowing new banks to come into an area,” said Earl Manning, commissioner of the Missouri Division of Finance. “We consider the amount of capital, the character of the organizers and bank managers wanting to organize or settle in an area.”

Two other vital considerations relate to the saturation of banking markets, Manning said. “We consider the need and convenience for new banking operations and the effect on existing banks in the region,” Manning said.

All of these considerations are factored into each nomination, Manning said.

The first new bank on the Cape Girardeau County scene will be Capaha Bank, formerly Tamms State Bank in Tamms, Illinois.

Capaha has already received authorization to move into the region and will be open within 30 days at 3168 William.

Alliance Bank and First Bank And Trust of Carbondale, Illinois, have filed applications to enter the local market.

One of the applications is for a new bank — Alliance Bank. Alliance founders look at the building that houses the former Golden Dragon restaurant at 217 N. Kingshighway.

“We plan to demolish the existing building and install a modular bank building,” said Carolyn M. Hurst of Perryville, chair of the new bank’s board of directors. “We are hoping for an opening at the end of the summer.”

Directors and officers of the new bank met with Manning. Officers include Robert Blank, Cape Girardeau; Robert Meyer, Dexter; Robert Hartle and Rhonda Wallace, both of Jackson; Bryan E. Pogue, Fredericktown; and Hurst.

Pogue, of People’s Community Bank in Greenville, will serve as president of the bank, which will be capitalized at $4 million. Wallace will serve as vice president and cashier.

Alliance asked the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. federal deposit insurance for the proposed bank.

Meanwhile, First National Bank & Trust Co., 509 S. University Avenue, Carbondale, has filed an application with the Comptroller of the Chicago Currency Office for permission to move its main office from Carbondale to Highway 61 at Fruitland.

Carbondale Bank has also filed an application to establish First National Bank & Trust Co., Illinois-Missouri, at the Fruitland site.

Commerce Bank, with two locations in the county – one in Cape Girardeau and one in Jackson – will soon double that figure. The commerce announced plans to open a branch at the Lexington-Route W intersection and will move into the University Center on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University when the Boatmen’s Bank retires.

Boatmen’s, which will eventually become NationsBank, is closing two branches in Cape Girardeau – at the university and at 100 Broadway, leaving it with six locations.

Union Planters Bank, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, entered the Cape Girardeau scene on January 2, 1996, with the completion of a merger with Capital Bank. Union Planters also has six locations in Cape Girardeau County, three in Cape Girardeau and three in Jackson.

Roosevelt continues to operate as Roosevelt Bank at 211 S. Silver Springs Road, but will eventually be absorbed into the Mercantile Bank Group.

Mercantile Bancorporation Inc., an $18.2 billion multi-bank holding company headquartered in St. Louis, and Roosevelt, a $9 billion savings holding company headquartered in St. Louis, announced the merger in December.

Mercantile has three branches in Cape Girardeau and an ATM in West Park Mall.

The banking scene in Cape Girardeau County has changed over the past year and more changes are expected to take place this summer. Consumers in the county could have up to 10 banks and 28 locations where they can do banking business.

Cape Girardeau County Banks and Branches as of May 1997:
— Boatmen’s Bank — total of eight locations, five in Cape Girardeau, two in Jackson and one in Fruitland.
Cap Girardeau locations:
— 2001 William, Principal Bank
— 2 S. Mt. Auburn Road
— 800 N. Kingshighway
— 100 Broadway
— Southeastern Missouri State University
— 320 W. Main
— 1846 Jackson Blvd.
Fruit land:
— 5721 Highway 61 N.
* Mercantile Bank – three locations in Cape Girardeau.
— 325 N. Kingshighway.
— 3060 William.
— Town square.
— ATM at West Park Mall.
* Southeast shore — one location at Cape Girardeau.
— 111 S. Broadview.
* First National Bank — one in Cape Girardeau and one in Jackson.
Cape Girardeau:
— 2027 Broadway
— 2125 E. Jackson Blvd.
* Commerce Bank – Two locations, one in Cape Girardeau and one in Jackson.
Cape Girardeau:
— 160 S. Boradview.
— 2025 E. Jackson Blvd.
Proposed at Cape Girardeau:
— Junction of Lexington and Route W.
— Southeastern Missouri State University.
* Union Planters – six locations, three in Cape Girardeau and three in Jackson.
Cap Girardeau locations:
— 407 N. Kingshighway.
— 325 Broadview.
— 101 S. Mt. Auburn Road.
— 101 O. Main.
— 2210 Highway 61 East.
— 7276 O. Main.
* Roosevelt Bank — a location in Cape Girardeau.
— 211 S. Silver Springs Road.
* Banque Capaha, National Association, a location in Cape Girardeau.
— 3168 William.
*First National Bank & Trust Company, Illinois-Missouri, a location in Fruitland.

*Alliance Bank, a location in Cape Girardeau.
— 217 N. Kingshighway.
Total number of banks, Cape Girardeau County, existing and proposed, 10. Total number of locations and branches, 28.
Cape Girardeau County Banks in February 1992 (five years ago):
1. Boatmen’s Bank, six slots.
2. Mercantile Bank, three locations.
3. South East Missouri Bank, one location.
4. First National Bank, one location.
5. Capital Bank, six locations.
6. First Exchange Bank, four locations.
7. Amerifirst Bank, one location.
8, Commerce Bank, two locations
Total banks five years ago, 8. Total locations, 24.

Posted June 7, 1997 in southeastern Missouri:

The old Golden Dragon Restaurant building at 217 N. Kingshighway fell victim to a demolition crew on Friday to make way for a new bank. (B. Ray Owen ~ Southeast Missouri Archives)


By B. Ray Owen
Southeastern Missourian

Les Lindy Jr. wanted a little piece of history from the old Airline Lounge.

He got it.

Lindy, owner of Lucky Find Antiques in Gordonville, bought at a recent auction the nearly half-century-old illuminated, rotating globe that stood atop the structure.

“It will cost a lot more to get it down than what I paid for,” Lindy said Friday.

The Golden Dragon Restaurant globe and sign were all that remained at the site at 217 N. Kingshighway Friday night.

Lindy was on hand Friday as a piece of mid-century history came crashing down as Eagle Excavation demolished the building.

The Golden Dragon, also known as Airline and Grogg Shop, was demolished to make way for a bank. Also present for the scrapping was Robert Meyer of Dexter, an executive of the proposed new Alliance Bank, which applied to enter the local market.

“We’re looking to put a modular bank building here,” Meyer said. He said the building could be in place within 60 days.

The recorded early history of the airline building, which was outside the city limits at the time, is sketchy. But it dates back to the 1930s or earlier, when it was the Airline Cafe and Motel, which later became the Airline Lounge.

A bystander at the demolition site on Friday said it was called Airline because at one time a small airstrip was located on the site.

The airline building was badly damaged in the 1949 tornado that swept through the city. The airline was rebuilt as the Airline Club, complete with an eye-catching sign and the 4ft globe.

The airline was one of Cape Girardeau’s first nightclubs. It featured a number of groups stopping in on trips between Memphis and St. Louis.

Some of the best musical groups played at the airline during its heyday as an airline lounge, particularly during the rock ‘n’ roll era of the 1960s.

“It is unclear when the building was the Grogg Shop, but lettering for the store was found on some of the front windows which had long been hidden by the new exterior walls.

The airline became the Golden Dragon Restaurant in the late 1960s and continued to operate as a Chinese restaurant under multiple owners until it closed earlier this year.

To learn more about the Golden Dragon and other businesses at this location, visit:

* airline club

* The Azzurra Cave

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