The Shack was the 'major spot' in the '50s

Friday, August 27, 2010 | 9:53 a.m. CDT; updated 12:35 p.m. CDT, Thursday, September 30, 2010

Missourian reader Barbara Humphreys Burlison shared this memory of The Shack:

I have no idea how long The Shack was in business but, back in the dark ages of the mid-'50s, when I was a student at Hickman High School, many of our male counterparts hit The Shack with great regularity — mostly because I doubt they ever checked IDs. Occasionally, we girls would join them, and there were several of us who had our nicknames carved into one of those booths. We thought we were hot stuff to be hanging with the college crowd. Of course when there really was a college crowd in there, there wasn't room for us.

I remember it being very dark and mysterious and the word was that the song "The Green Door" was written about its entrance. Many of you won't remember that song, but it was popular in the '50s.

When I got to the university, it was a major stop on the way between the journalism school and my sorority house. It was to the "J" students of that era what the Heidelberg is to today's students, a place to hang out and visit with our friends, and perhaps even "study" a bit. I also seem to remember they had hamburgers and fries, but I'm not sure about that. I can't remember ever eating there.

I was back on campus as an adviser when it burned. I remember feeling sad that an era had passed. We all knew it was slated for destruction because of university expansion, and perhaps its demise in that way was more fitting than if the wrecking ball had taken it out. Still, it was a sad day for all us oldsters.

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Ellis Smith August 27, 2010 | 12:35 p.m.

Cool! I remember visiting The Shack, although I never took a course at MU. Our equivalent was a stupendous drinking establishment known as "Bear Tracks'," a bar and grill located above a bowling alley. It was also referred to as our student union, because in the 1950s we had no student union.

ID was very seldom checked. The bar still exists.

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