top of page

Former thriving business district ultimately lost to river’s ravages

Flooding river photo

This photo shows the 100 block of Third Street, South Side, facing north, circa 1903. At the north of the photo is the brick structure, which housed the St. Louis and Hannibal Railroad freight depot. PHOTO FROM THE HULL, ILL., HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION


Flooding ultimately dealt demise for the once-bustling business district of Hannibal’s 3rd Street, South Side – as it was known at the beginning of the 20th century. The street south of Bear Creek was later renamed South Main Street, and today it is virtually devoid of buildings and commerce, claimed by the repeated overflow of the expanding Mississippi River and swollen Bear Creek over the course of time.

The accompanying photos, loaned from the Hull History Museum, show two views of the northern-most block of this street. Who are these people who are pictured in and about the businesses during a major flood.

The street began to the north at the point when a pair of bridges crossed Bear Creek, leading horse teams across the creek, which separated South Hannibal from North Hannibal. Just beyond the visible bridge in photo 1 is the Kettering Hotel and bar, which served travelers making cross-country connections at Union Depot, located directly across the street.

• 100 S. Third SS: A two-story brick building, just to the west of the visible bridge on the south side of Bear Creek, is the depot serving the St. Louis and Hannibal Railroad. This building was constructed parallel to the creek, and included loading docks and a freight warehouse.

Information gathered from Hannibal city directories, Sanborn insurance maps and various other sources reveals the following:

• 106: Frank Shuck and his wife Katie operated a saloon at this address. Frank Shuck was born in 1862, a native of Missouri. He married Katie in 1881. As of the 1900 census, they had two children living at home, Mamie Shuck, 13, and Nellie Shuck, 18. Katie Shuck was born in March 1863 in Ohio. They made their home at 518 Broadway.

• 108: C.R. Buchanan conducted a cigar factory at this address in 1903. He advertised his cigars were union made. The Mirror of Hannibal, published in 1905, described Mr. Buchanan as “one of the South Side’s most enterprising men (who) enjoys a large clientage among the leading men of this section.”

In later years, he left cigar making and accepted the lucrative job as Hannibal jailer, earning between $175 and $200 a month. In 1919, his salary was $55 per month, and 20 cents for each meal served to city prisoners. With the start of Prohibition, the Hannibal jail was nearly empty in November 1919, and Buchanan served only 15 meals for the entire month. He announced he was economically forced to return to his former position as cigar maker, while still retaining his city position as jailer. (Source, Moberly Evening Democrat at, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 1919) The following year, Hannibal Mayor Mills fired the jailer, citing that “police business is the poorest on record.”

• 110: (1903: P.H. Miller and A.L. Brickey; 110 ½: J. Porter Alley)

• 112: In 1903, the extended Tomer family lived at this address: Harry A. Tomer was a bartender. Also living at this address were Alicia, Charlotte (widow of Isaac) and Richard E. (and wife Carrie). Harry was born in about 1863 in Missouri, the son of Isaac Constantine Tomer and Charlotte Greenleaf Smith Tomer, and Harry died on Feb. 13, 1932, in Hannibal. He is buried at Riverside Cemetery. In 1879, Charlotte Greenleaf Smith Tomer operated a boarding house – the Tomer House – on Broadway opposite of the Public Square, 409 ½ Broadway. In 1881 the Tomer family’s address was 411 Broadway. Harry Tomer practiced a number of professions throughout his life, including that of Hannibal fireman. He was badly injured in a fire at the H.P. Long fire in April 1909, at which Hannibal firefighter Harry Tessmer was smothered to death.

• 114: In 1903, Benjamin Wenzel, boot and shoe maker, or cobbler, (wife Christina Schanbacher Wenzel). She was the daughter of Michael and Barbara Schanbacher of Hannibal. Benjamin died on Jan. 29, 1918 in Hannibal. Benjamin was born in Germany during February 1838. They were parents to Minnie Wenzel, Albert Wenzel, and Lauri E. Wenzel.

• 116: Siedler & Vollmar’s Bar, the building with the large Anheuser Busch sign, south of the St. Louis and Hannibal Railroad Depot. They advertised they were the last stop at an establishment of this type before going by rail to the Atlas Cement Co. Operated by Gustav A. Siedler (wife Sarah) and Albert Vollmer.

• 118: Frederick Ogle and his wife Fannie lived at this residence. Ogle was a conductor for the MK&T Railroad.

• 120: In 1903, Robert O’Donnell was associated with his brother, Thomas, in a business called O’Donnell Bros, an undertaking and embalming establishment located at 403 Broadway. They also framed photos. In addition, Robert O’Donnell was a barber, conducting business at 120 3rd St., SS, where he and his extended family also made their home.

• 122 Dwelling 1903: Residence of David O’Donnell and his wife, Maria. Retired.

• 124 Dwelling: Thomas L. Holmes and Thomas V. Holmes

• 126: Teas and coffees: 1903: George H. McClintic. Residence, 225 1/3 Broadway.

• 128: Reuben S. Dudley was a barber operating a shop at this address in 1903. Born about 1859 in Barry, Pike County, Illinois, as of the 1920 census he and his wife, Maggie, were making their home at 1249 Market St. They had at least three children they raised in Hannibal, Lottie L. Dudley, Aleta M. Dudley and Hellen E.M. Dudley.

• 130: Samuel H. Martz operated a barber shop at this address by 1905. He was born in Illinois, 1867. He and his wife, Fidella Delts Martz, had at least two children, Grace Martz, and Daniel M. Martz. Samuel Martz grew up in New Canton, Pike, Ill., son of William A. Martz and Drucillia Martz.

• 200: William W. Ellingsworth (wife Sophia) barber 200 3rd St. SS, residence 506 Hill. William was born in 1862 in Kentucky. William and his wife had two sons together, Herbert L. and Dewitt W. Elllingsworth. He died April 22, 1914.

 Recent Posts 
bottom of page