Cherokee-Lemp Historic District
As a child, Jeanette Anderson lived at 2111 Cherokee from 1935 to 1941.
"My grandfather, Charles Kludas, operated a Cigar Store at 2111 Cherokee," Anderson relates. Directories indicate that Kludas had moved his business from the south side of the block to this storefront by 1899. Kludas and his wife Ida raised their 5 children in the 1890's vintage storefront.
The business, "was very profitable and he had to hire an assistant to help hand roll the cigars," Anderson states. The assistant and his family lived in the alley behind the cigar store, which has since been demolished.
In addition to operating the cigar store, Charles Kludas was a Bail Bondsman. In 1935, Kludas died on the Court House steps after posting a bond.
"After my grandfather's death, my father lived with his mother and took over the business," according to Anderson. "We lived behind and above the store just as my grandparents had done. Our living room and kitchen were behind the store and our bedrooms were above the store."
During the 1930's, thousands of St. Louis dwellings, dating to the Victorian era, were dependent on outside privies. Anderson recalled her parents' advanced plumbing. "We had an outside toilet, but it flushed. My parents were proud of the fact we could flush."
Anderson's memories of
the neighborhood include Mrs. Berlacher, the neighbor on the east side, taking evening walks to the corner tavern to fill her little tin pail with beer. A bookstore was on the other corner, and, "the owner's son was my playmate. We loved to mess up the books." On weekends the men in the neighborhood played cards in the back room of the corner confectionary. "A circus used to come once a year and set up on the lot where Berlinger Dairy now stands."
The worsening Depression saw a decline in the family cigar business. "My dad would have to go out every evening to various businesses to try and sell cigars in addition to selling during the day...My dad eventually got a job at Century Electric, but kept the Cigar Store. My mother also worked...and she would sell cigars to any customers that might come in."
During the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the young men of the neighborhood lined up at the old cigar store, then serving as a registration office for the newly instituted Draft Board.