History Blog 

1934: Estranged couple dance their last dance at Rose Garden

Steve Chou generously shared this photo from his extensive collection. It shows the Rialto Theatre building prior to the refacing. Photo was taken during an American Legion parade in 1939. A few years earlier, the Rose Garden was located on the second floor. Rena Marie Holmes Ransdell was shot to death in the Rose Garden on Saturday night, April 14, 1934. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY The Rose Garden provided a venue for inexpensive entertainment during the otherwise bleak economic days during the Great Depression. Located at 605 ½ Broadway in Hannibal, Mo., for a decade or more the dance hall offered live music to dance to, and an atmosphere to enjoy the companionship of contemporaries, many of wh

Marathon pianist, carnival sideshow performer find happiness together

Robert James and Katie Ransdell Katell, date unknown. (Photo supplied for this article by Marlene Ransdell Oglesby) MARY LOU MONTGOMERY Coney Island, New York, 1930. That’s where the census enumerator caught up with Robert James and Katherine (Katie) Ransdell Katell. Working for a carnival-style sideshow on the peninsula known for such entertainment venues, the two found happiness together in a world far removed from Katie’s roots in Ralls County, Mo. Born to Charles H. and Engelina Ransdell circa 1903, in Clay Township, Ralls County, Mo., Katie attended school at Hydesburg along with her siblings. Her father died in 1911 when she was just 8, and her mother died in 1917, when she was but 14.

Memorials hint of romance between Hannibal residents

Work was started on the “new” Eugene Field school in 1925. The building, still in use as an elementary school, displays this tribute plaque to Myrtle Ledford, a Eugene Field teacher who died in 1924. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY MARY LOU MONTGOMERY Frank Johann was a life-long bachelor, and Myrtle Ledford was likewise a single woman. Each born in 1873, they likely knew each other during many of their mutual Hannibal years. And if inscriptions serve as an indicator, they were close friends until the end. Miss Ledford, a school teacher, taught in the Hannibal-area schools from as early as 1893 until 1924, when ill health forced her early retirement at the age of 50. Mr. Johann, for many years a Hanniba

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