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Thank you JAlex. My Grandma passed in 1989, so I never was able to get more of the story than what she had told us when we were younger. Thanks also for the microfilm info. I’ll definitely be checking that out.
Update to my previous comment:
The shooting and suicide did indeed take place in O'Fallon Park, as per my grandfather’s death certificate.
Update to previous comment.
I believe a Taco Bell now sits on the spot where the theater used to be.
Kaimann, by the way, is spelled with two “N’s”. The family temporarily altered the German spelling of their name, dropping the terminal “N” during WWII so as not to be associated with Nazi Germany.
The “feud” was actually a case of embezzlement by my great-uncle Clarence. The story, as told to me by my grandma, is that her husband Will (my grandfather) discovered his brother Clarence had been siphoning off money from the business. They drove out to O'Fallon Park, where my grandfather confronted his brother, shot him, then turned the gun on himself. Uncle Clarence survived; my grandfather died the following day, two days before his 53rd birthday. That was in January 1944. (I just read a comment under O'Fallon Theater that these events actually occurred in that theater, rather than the park. Further research on my part is in order.)
Clarence went on to become moderately wealthy. He owned the North Twin Drive-In on Highway 367 (Lewis and Clark) just north of the Halls Ferry circle. He also owned the property on which Christian Hospital NE sits; there’s a commemorative plaque with his name on it in the main lobby.
As the story was told to me by my grandma, the shooting occurred in O'Fallon Park, but as I only have family history and no documentation, I’ll file this as a possibility until I can do more research on my own.
My grandfather was William Kaimann; his widow was my grandma, with whom my mom, my sister, and I lived until grandma’s death at the age of 97.
The story I was told was that my grandfather Will discovered his brother Clarence was embezzling money from the family business, Kaimann Amusement Co. They drove to O'Fallon Park, where my grandfather confronted Clarence, shot him, and then turned the gun on himself. Clarence survived; Will died the following day, two days before his 53rd birthday.
This is the first time I’ve heard that the events took place in one of their theaters, but it actually makes more sense than the drive out to the park. I would love to get hold of the newspaper articles from that time, just to be able to clear up my own family history.
Steve Kaimann was my great-grandfather. The company was Kaimann Amusement Co. At least two of his sons were in the business with him. His son William (my grandfather) ran the Bremen; another son, Clarence (my great-uncle) ran the Bridge, and also owned the North Twin Drive-In, as well as the property where Christian Hospital NE now sits.
Clarence Kaimann was my great-uncle. He also owned the North Twin Drive-In on Lewis and Clark (Highway 367) just north of Halls Ferry Circle.
My grandmother owned the Bremen. My mom, sister, and I lived with her, and I remember going there with my sister as kids in the 60’s. We weren’t allowed to mingle with the public as we were both under the age of 10, so we sat in the balcony, which at that time was closed to the public. Sometimes the projectionist’s kids were there, too. I remember the projectionist would let us come into the booth and rewind the film reels by hand. He’d also let us peek through the little windows for the projector and watch the movie from there. We weren’t allowed to use the public restroom either, so we had to walk all the way down the aisle to the door to the left of the screen and use the bathroom back there. I always thought it was so spooky back there I usually asked my sister to go with me, even though I’m the elder! I also remember how the screen had been slashed at some point, I think in the lower right corner, two parallel horizontal cuts maybe twelve to twenty-four inches long, about two to three inches apart, with a short vertical cut that connected the two, I think towards the left end of the slashes. North St. Louis was already a pretty dangerous place, even almost 50 years ago. Good thinking on Grandma’s part to keep us away from that!
On Monday mornings we’d ride down to the “picture show” as she always called it, to pick up the weekend’s receipts and deposit them in the bank. She’d always let us pick a candy bar from the case and sometimes a soda from the machine. It was the type where you put your cup under the nozzle and push the button to choose your flavor; you could press multiple buttons and mix the flavors – cherry/orange/Coke is yummy stuff for a nine year old, lol!
I was sad when she sold the show, but she was already well into her seventies by then, and selling the theater allowed her to pay off her house. Long afterward there were still reminders of the old place; we had the usher’s broom and long-handled dustpan, the ticket-taker’s chair from the ticket booth, at least a gallon sized can of Popsit Plus popcorn oil, and she must have had several dozen pads of theater schedules which we used as note paper for grocery lists, etc., for the next ten years.