1870s-era mural hidden from view for 144 years
This FURNITURE sign, which was on the south-facing exterior wall of H.C. Schultz’s furniture store at 207 S. Main, was covered when the adjoining building at 205 N. Main was constructed a few years later. Martin Meyer, the new owner of 205 N. Main, uncovered the sign when renovating his building. It had been hidden from view (and protected from the elements) for some 144 years. Photo contributed by Martin Meyer.
MARY LOU MONTGOMERY
The current, ever-so-popular murals by Ray Harvey and others have transformed dull brick exterior walls in Hannibal into memorable and lasting scenes from Hannibal’s past.
This recent project of the painting of bricks brings to mind an earlier era, when brick exterior walls often served as billboards to promote the community’s commerce.
Architect Martin Meyer, while investing in the restoration of one of Hannibal’s early North Main Street structures, uncovered one such piece of wall art, painted prior to the construction of his building, 205 N. Main, in 1876.
“FURNITURE” in block letters is visible from inside the second story of 205 N. Main, which shares a wall with 207 N. Main.
The sign represents the H.C. Schultz furniture company, which did business at 207 N. Main from circa 1870 until circa 1893.
When 205 North Main was constructed in conjunction with the Farmer’s and Merchant’s Bank building around 1876, the previously exposed southern-facing wall of 207 N. Main and the ‘FURNITURE” mural were covered and effectively protected from the elements by the new building.
Thus, when the restoration project at 205 N. Main was recently commenced, and its 12-foot interior ceiling was removed, the FURNITURE mural saw the light of day for the first time in some 144 years.
Ultimately, Meyer plans to convert the second story 205 N. Main into apartments, and the FURNITURE sign will remain visible on the interior wall from one of those apartments.
207 M. Main
Today, the Schultz Furniture Company, which was in business in Hannibal for some 90 years, is but a faded memory, the family’s primaries long ago called to their eternal home. All that is left are brick and mortar remnants and a few pictures of the business that Henry C. Schultz, a young cabinet (and casket) maker trained in his native Germany, built from the simplest beginnings on Hannibal’s North Main Street, years before the street itself was paved with stone.
At the Civil War’s end, during a period of recovery and regrowth for Hannibal, 30-year-old Henry C. Schultz first opened a business on the west side of the 300 block of North Main Street. Within a few years he would move his business into a building at 207 N. Main, where he would continue doing business until the end of his natural life, which came in 1893.
While Henry C. Schultz was building a thriving furniture business at 207 N. Main Street, the extended family made their home in an imposing two-story brick structure (still standing) on the steepest portion of North Street, numbered 514. (Grooves later built into the street’s pavement offered footing for horses.) The seven Schultz children attended North School, just a block northwest of their house.
Move to Broadway
After their father’s death, three of his sons moved the business to the site of the former Brittingham Hall, which consisted of a half block in the 300 block Broadway. It was an historic building with deep ties to the Civil War. They established their expanded furniture business in the eastern-most storefront on Broadway, and in the cavernous second story of the building. The remaining Broadway street-level storefronts were rented to other ongoing Hannibal businesses.
In this location, the Schultz Furniture Company would continue in business for another generation.
A 25-room hotel located across the street, located in the north side in the 300 block of Broadway, was also a Schultz family operation. As early as 1889, H.C. Schultz owned the property, and leased out its operation to others. Early on, Marshall George F. Reimann conducted the hotel along with his wife, and later Mrs. Arthur Conklin would assume occupancy. The hotel featured 25 sleeping rooms, plus an office, dining room and kitchen.
When H.C. Schultz’s widow Catherine, died in 1898, she bequeathed the property that she and her husband had accumulated during their lifetimes to their children:
Ida E. Schultz Snyder (Born 1866) inherited the hotel in the 300 block of Broadway.
Clara Schultz Horenburg (Mrs. W.D.) (1872-1951) inherited a three-story brick double building at 117 and 119 N. Main Street.
Lillie A. Schultz (1877-1958) inherited a three-story brick double building that was occupied in part by L.W. Boswell and Andrew Hill. Mrs. Schultz also bequeathed her horse and buggy to Lillie.
Henry C., (1867-1927) Edward (1870-1949) and Samuel Schultz (1874-1950) inherited the former Brittingham Hall building, and a two-story brick building on South Fourth Street nearly adjoining the Brittingham Hall building to the south.
William G. Schultz, (1863-1918) the oldest of the children, inherited both the three-story building at 207 N. Main, where the Schultz Furniture Store was located until after the death of Henry Schultz in 1893, and the family home, located at 514 North Street.
The hotel in the 300 block of Broadway was torn down circa 2012.
The former Brittingham Hall building was demolished circa 1964.
Three stories tall, the 37-foot-wide building at 207 N. Main, consisting of a single storefront, now serves as home to the Ralls County Clock Company.
The house at 514 North Street is still standing.
The building at 205 N. Main, owned by Martin Meyer, is currently under renovation, and a new store recently opened for business at street level.
Dating back to 1866, Hannibal’s city directory lists two employees working for “H.J. (sic) Shultz, dealer in furniture &c,” which was located in the 300 block of North Main:
* D. George was a cabinet maker, who lived on Broadway, north of Union House, (which was located on the north side of Broadway.)
H.D. Hamer, cabinet maker, boarded at Commercial House on the levee. (Also living at the Commercial House at the time were J.B. Wise, a saddler working for Jordan & Pitts; and S.H Hornback, a laborer.)
Seen at right is a portion of the former Brittingham Hall building on Broadway, which housed the Schultz Furniture Store for a generation. The hotel owned by the family was located across the street, to the right. Photo from Steve Chou’s vast collection.
Edward Schultz and his wife, May, are pictured on their honeymoon in Miami, Fla., in 1931. Edward was the son of Henry C. and Catherine Schultz. Photo from Steve Chou’s vast collection.
Henry C. and Catherine Schultz raised their seven children at 514 North St., Hannibal, Mo. H.C. Schultz died in 1893; his wife died in 1898. Photo contributed by Martin Meyer.
This advertisement for the H.C. Schultz furniture store, 207 N. Main, is included in the 1871 Hannibal city directory, accessed via the Hannibal Free Public Library’s website.
Mary Lou Montgomery, retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. Books available on Amazon.com by this author: "The Notorious Madam Shaw," "Pioneers in Medicine from Northeast Missouri," and "The Historic Murphy House, Hannibal, Mo., Circa 1870." She can be reached at Montgomery.firstname.lastname@example.org Her collective works can be found at www.maryloumontgomery.com