History Blog 

Granitoid: Paving the walks of Hannibal, a step at a time

John H. Huss, reprinted from the Shelbina Democrat on Feb. 20, 1901. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY “There is no mistake in saying that Hannibal has some of the worst-kept sidewalks of any city of its size in the country.” That commentary on the condition of the walkways in Hannibal, Mo., was offered by the Quincy Daily Journal on Nov. 16, 1899. It was true. Hannibal’s walks consisted of crumbling brick, rotting board planks or crushed stone and cinders. But all that would soon change, as a unique type of paving material was introduced into the area as the new century dawned. The new material, called granitoid, consisted of crushed granite and cement. The cost, when first introduced in Kansas City, Mo.

McCooey family amassed wealth; left a lasting educational legacy

This photo, reprinted from Steve Chou’s book, “Bluff City Memories,” shows the 100 block of North Fifth St., Hannibal, Mo., from the vantage point of Central Park. The photo dates to the spring of 1872. Circa 1890, Mrs. Ann McCooey and her adult children called the house at the right their home. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY In the year 1859, two Irishmen operated stores in the 100 block of East Hill Street, Hannibal, Mo.: Tilden R. Selmes and Thomas McCooey. As tensions were mounting which would ultimately lead to the Civil War, Tilden R. Selmes was a leading banker and merchant in Hannibal. Doing business in Hannibal since pre-1850, the “Selmes Block” was located at the northeast corner of what is n

Ossie Caler died in a ‘folding bed accident’

A close look at this 1918 photo shows a sign in the 300 block of North Third Street (looking south) in Hannibal, pointing to “Caler’s Transfer & Boarding Stable. The sign is near the front of the light-colored two-story house at left. At that time, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Caler lived at 310 N. Third Street, and the transfer company was located behind their house, facing North Main Street. STEVE CHOU COLLECTION MARY LOU MONTGOMERY A note beside Ossie Caler’s name on the 1913 records at Mt. Olivet Cemetery serves to raise more questions than it answers: Cause of death: “Folding bed accident.” That’s a curious plight for a 53-year-old woman, the wife of a well-known Hannibal businessman, the mo

‘Unloaded’ gun, snuck into St. Joseph Academy, stole the life of James Clune’s daughter in 1875

St. Joseph's Academy, circa 1880. 111 Broadway, built in 1848, demolished circa 1923. Photo contributed by Marion Schnelle, it is now part of the Hannibal Arts Council's Hannibal as History collection. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY The 1870 census paints a fairly typical picture of an Irish immigrant and his family living in Hannibal. James Clune was born about 1826 in Ireland, and resettled along with other family members in Hannibal during the late 1850s, following a mass exodous of his fellow countrymen triggered by poverty and blight in their native land. By 1870, James and his wife Johannah were settled into a house on the east side of Third Street, across from North Street. While James worked as

Walk of Fame
6-page July newsletter
Click image to read
6-page August newsletter
Click image to read