Q: I recently was given a photograph of the Ridge Prairie Saloon, which was owned by a relative, Henry Becherer. The saloon was on the southwest corner of U.S. 50 and Old Collinsville Road, directly behind what was The Dandy Inn. On the lower right-hand corner of the photo is the name Reime Studio, Belleville, IL., which photographed the owner and patrons outside the saloon. Now, with the recent closing of The Dandy Inn, I’m curious about Reime Studio.
Tom L. Reaka, of Freeburg
A: When it came to Belleville photographers, the Reime family was anything but a flash in the pan.
As early as 1890, you could have found the following advertisement in Belleville city directories: “F. Reime, photographer and artist. Large photos and crayon portraits a specialty.” (Long before people shot selfies, early photographers would enhance fuzzy enlargements by coloring them with crayon.)
F. — Frank — Reime was the son of Paul Reime, who was born in Germany in 1839 and immigrated to the United States in 1881. He moved to Belleville the following year to open a carpet-weaving business.
Young Frank had other aspirations, starting his photo shop at 21 W. Main St. in his early 20s. For the next 52 years, his studio would be a Belleville institution, moving briefly to 815 Freeburg Ave. in the ’20s before finding a permanent home at 26 W. Main St. during the Depression. He also was a leading figure in the Catholic community, becoming a charter member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Catholic Holy Name Society and the Third Order of St. Francis, according to his obituary.
He died in 1942 at the age of 75, but two sons kept the studio going strong. In 1915, Adalbert Reime had graduated from the Bissel College of Photography in Effingham, and Winfried Reime followed in his father’s footsteps as well. However, they apparently could not interest a third generation in the business, which disappeared from the directory after 1955. The brothers, both in their early 80s, died about a year apart in the late ’70s.