Son helps keep his father’s business central to the community

Logan Shoe Repair, opened by Benjamin Harrison Logan in 1919, was a longtime community fixture.

Ben was born in Callaway County in 1892 to Dixon and Martha (Brandon) Logan, the seventh of 12 children. He was a porter at the Monroe house.

The Lincoln Institute established an industrial school in 1891, providing education in the agricultural and mechanical arts to prepare students for useful trades. Ben obtained a shoe repair certificate in June 1914.

After graduating, he traveled to Norfolk, Virginia where he was a civilian government employee and used his new skills.

Ben returned to Jefferson City and married Eula Oliver Sanders in 1916. They had five children: a girl and four boys.

After working in a shoemaking workshop at Porter Stephens Menswear, Ben opened his own business in his home at 524 Lafayette.

To supplement the family income, Ben worked as a janitor in the morning before opening the store and after it closed. The whole family got together. Her sons got up early in the morning to help her before school, and Eula helped clients while Ben was away.

Eula received her Sewing Certificate in 1913 and her BA in Pedagogy (the Method and Practice of Teaching) in 1916. She worked in the Washington School cafeteria and worked in the restaurant business.

Ben and Eula’s children took advantage of educational opportunities at the University of Lincoln. Collette, graduated from Lincoln and taught for several years at Poplar Bluff. She moved to Washington, DC, and was employed as a statistical supervisor in the United States Department of Agriculture. She married George Gordon in 1956.

Before World War II, his son Harrison was a carrier for the railroad. He attended Lincoln University after his release and was a long-time employee of the Mercurio Market on the High Street. He then worked as a truck driver for Curt Coy’s Moving. He and his wife, Laurie, lived in Saint-Louis for many years.

Another son, Herbert “Cab” attended Lincoln University after the war and married Josie Chism in 1944. They had a daughter.

Cab, originally employed as a custodian at Exchange Bank, rose through the ranks to vice president of the Dunklin Street branch. He was the first black man selected to play for the Jefferson City Redbirds amateur traveling baseball team.

Leon, the youngest, was an outstanding basketball and baseball player in high school and played shortstop for the Jefferson City Mohawks baseball team.

He attended Lincoln University and the Washington Drafting School in Washington, DC, then worked as a drafting engineer and heating and air conditioning contractor in DC.

Leon married LaVerne Henderson in 1954 and they had two daughters.

Ben’s eldest son Robert Kenneth learned shoe repair from his father and joined the company in 1938 while attending Lincoln University. He married Fredie May Galbreath in 1942 and they moved to Davenport, Iowa, where he was a civilian employee at Rock Island Dockyard.

Two daughters were born in Davenport before the family returned to Jefferson City around 1947. Their son was born in Jefferson City.

Kenneth took over his father’s business and Ben continued to serve as a janitor for various downtown businesses.

Like his father, Kenny did janitorial work to supplement his income. Bill Wallendorf had janitorial contracts for several commercial establishments and state office buildings in the city, and Logan was his part-time employee.

Logan Shoe Repair was open 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays with a repairman on duty from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday extended hours until 6 p.m. Eula continued to help customers while Kenny worked at his caretaker positions before and after the opening.

When the Logan House was demolished to make way for the Rex M. Whitton Freeway, Kenny was forced to find a new location for his business. It opened at 628 E. Dunklin St., then moved to 620 E. Dunklin St., across from Turner’s Service Station.

He liked to visit customers and people who stopped by his shop. He was proud to own his own business and the work he did.

Fredie May was a preschool supervisor at the community center on Dunklin Street, then became an elevator operator at the Central Trust Building and the Broadway Building.

Kenny closed his shop in 1962 and moved to Pohl’s Shoes & Repairing behind the Ecco Lounge, before moving to the corner of Jefferson and Dunklin streets. He remained at Pohl’s until they closed in 1999.

Kenny wasn’t ready to retire and was considering new locations for his business when he was asked to move to Dave Gilmore’s saddle shop in the 600 block of East High Street. It suited him perfectly and he worked there until his death in November 2005.

Kenny and his father, Ben, have repaired shoes for residents of Jefferson City for 86 years.

Nancy Arnold Thompson is a retired medical administrator and a regular contributor to this column.

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