Hannibal's 150 cab company served as hub of The Wedge

Note: I wrote the following story in december of 2010, interviewing Jim Matson of Hannibal, regarding the years he lived in the area known as the Market Street Wedge. Mary Lou Montgomery

Hannibal Courier-Post (MO) - Saturday, December 18, 2010

Author: Mary Lou Montgomery

The 150 cab company has been a topic of discussion in the past week, as Courier-Post readers have been sharing stories about the Market Street Wedge area. Jim Matson, now 73, moved in with his grandparents, Isreal and Lena Turner, when he was 4. For a number of years, he lived with his grandmother in an apartment behind the Ben Franklin store, which was located along the Market Street business district. His memories of the district are keen. "The 150 cab company belonged to my cousins, Buck and Earl Holman," Jim said. "Buck and Earl were brothers, Buck lived by where Hannibal Rental is now, on Industrial Drive. He had horses down in there. Earl lived a little bit farther up. They operated (the cab company) for years and years, Buck died first then Earl died. God I don't know how many years" they owned that cab company. Jim described the businesses along Market Street, on the north side, where he traversed as a boy. The Wedge Cafe was operated by the parents of a boy he used to run around with. A shoe store next door, then Sawyers Grocery Store. "Tim and Doris. They was good people. I worked for them. I stocked millions of cans of fruit on the shelf for them." Red Nelson ran the Annex Cafe. Then Bob's Tavern. We lived above Bob's Tavern, in the fifth window on the Broadway side, me and my Grandmother." Then the old Kroger building, Morgan's Pool Hall, Dr. Hancock, veterinarian, and Shephards Tavern. After the old Raible Grocery Store closed, Al Till opened a tavern in the building. Chic Women's Dress Shop, operated by Lena Sperry. "She was one of the best ladies. I did so much carpenter work for her it's lucky I didn't rebuild that building for her." Then there was the Ben Franklin Dime Store. "When my grandmother took me when I was 4 years old, we lived downstairs on the Broadway side. It was a big building, facing Market. I lived on the Broadway side of the building." An old German man operated Shafer's butcher shop, then there was Red Yohn's tavern and Red Yohn's pool hall. Next to that was Harry's Barber Shop, and Elder's Furniture. "That building is still standing," Jim said. "On up on Broadway, was the Maidrite." On the south side of Market at Lemon, where Dr. Walterscheid would later build his office, "was a two-story house, and a lady used to sit there and play the guitar 23 hours a day on the porch. On the corner, Toalson's Bakery. He was mayor of Hannibal for awhile. Jack Hedges appliance, Schanbacher's grocery store, and Frank Genovese plumbing." "I was born in the corner, a diagonal building, corner of Market and Church Street, two old maids had a book store there, and that's where I was born. Go across Church Street and come to the American Trust Bank, owned by the Raible's. Cross Glascock Street and come to a building, Whalen's drug store, it's a parking lot now. Next was Lewis Cleaners. Other places were usually empty to where the West Side Cab Company was." Jim worked for Otto Bailey in the evenings; he also worked at Wedge Cafe, "I scrubbed enough floors and these big, old windows, and washed Al Till's windows and Sawyers Grocers Store." Tim Sawyer was with the fire department, Jim said, when he and his wife took over the business from her mother. Doris Sawyer's brother was called Gasoline Alley. On the north side of Broadway, there was the Coffee Cup restaurant and Robinson's funeral home. "Over the funeral home, they had dances," Jim said. Then Schwartz Brewery. "I loaded beer trucks, for Henry Schwartz when I was a kid, I wasn't supposed to, but I did. A dollar a day." The Elite tavern was the last building on the block. "When I was a kid I had to work; I stokered furnaces and everything; life is life - you take it as you go. I shoveled snow, washed windows, mopped floors, washed tables, anything. At Maple Avenue and Broadway was Otto Bailey's Phillips 66 station. Jim worked there, too. "In 1960 I started driving a dump truck and been driving since. Lomax one year; Jim Silvey, I drove for him till he passed away. Bross two years; when they broke the new quarry into Saverton, I hauled rock to the cement plant; then worked for Denzil Culp." Now at the age of 73, "I thought I would slow down a little bit."

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