A checkerboard, a great cup of 'Joe' help downtown visitors enjoy the experience


Family gathered together Father's Day weekend for a glorious wedding aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat. As if the event had been planned at an exotic resort, guests were never at a loss for something to do in this historic town.

Of particular interest was the unique ambience offered at Java Jive, 211 North Main Street, which is touted as the first coffee shop west of the Mississippi River. Housed in one of Hannibal's most historic downtown buildings, Katie Welch and her crew not only offer coffees and teas, but a delightful array of menu choices. My choice is always the Pollock sandwich.

But on this visit - along with family members - the tin ceiling, collective artwork, available local newspapers, worn wooden floors, overstuffed couches and game corner - combined together as an attraction in itself.

My grandson reached for the checker board and said to his uncle, "Want to play?" And they did. Makeshift pieces melded together to build lasting memories.

I love downtown Hannibal. Memories from my childhood of a bustling Main Street business district, combined with the dark days of abandonment following devastating floods, to rebuilding and reinvestment following the 1993 completion of Hannibal's flood wall, bring to full circle the life of the historic district.

Want to know what business occupied the Java Jive building back in 1875? Click here

Learn more about this unique downtown eaterie. Click here

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