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Spectacular Christmas Eve fire guts historic Hannibal building

Photo of 1233 Market Street, Hannibal, taken Saturday morning, Dec. 26, 2015, following the Christmas Eve fire. MARY LOU MONTGOMERY


A spectacular fire erupted in a long-vacant building at 1233 Market Street on Christmas Eve 2015. Thanks to the timely, efficient and even heroic actions of Hannibal firefighters, the fire was contained to the single building, sparing the buildings that adjoin to the east.

Walt Chandler operated Vogue Designs Florist in the building that he owned at 1233 Market Street for a number of years, including the mid 1980s.

During an interview in June 2015, told the story about a unique fact about the building. It featured a door with a glass panel in the basement that led to a room built underneath Market Street. He heard a story that years ago, the room was used for cock fights. When he went in the room while he owned the building, it consisted of clean concrete. “We never used that room for anything,” he said.

The building was previously used as a bar, operated by the Schanbachers. Walt Chandler said the floor had a gradual slope to it. “There were eight drains in the floor. If a drunk came in on Saturday night and “urped” on the floor, they used a hose to clean it up and it would go right to the sewer.” At least, that was the story he was told.

The Schanbacher business is verified through the Hannibal city directories, accessed online via the Hannibal Free Public Library.

In 1911, Gottlieb Schanbacher and wife Fredericka owned a saloon at 113 Market Street, so numbered before the numeral changes that came during the next decade. In 1918, their son, Carl F. Schanbacher, was operating a saloon in the same building, renumbered 1233 Market. By 1920, the effects of Prohibition had impacted the saloon business. In 1920, Carl F. Schanbacher operated a soft drink business at that site, but by 1923, he had joined his brother, Fred J. Schanbacher, in the meat market business two doors to the east, at 1221 Market.

From time to time, members of the Schanbacher family lived upstairs over 1233 Market. Their multi-generational family home was located at 3232 Pleasant Street, which now corresponds to the area south of West Ely Road near the entrance to the Surrey Hills subdivision. In 1913, Gottlieb Schanbacher owned a nearly 50-acre tract of land in this area. (Source: 1913 Marion County Atlas)

Chandler said that there was a hand-operated elevator at the back of the building, which was used both by the Schanbachers and by Walt Chandler.

He also said that there was an eight by ten cooler in the basement. The cooler was removed before he purchased the building.

Chandler ultimately sold the building, and in 1990, Wayne and Teddie Pafford operated Unique Floral Design in that space. The Unique Floral Design sign still hangs at the front of the building.

1900 Census

Gottlieb Schanbacher, 42. Born in Germany in 1857. Immigration year, 1884.

Fredrica Schanbacher 35

Carl Schanbacher 13

Katie Schanbacher 12

Edna Schanbacher 4

Fredrick Schanbacher 8

Gottlieb Schanbacher was working at Western Brewery in 1885, which was located at 111, 113 and 115 Lindell Avenue. William F. Schanbacher was proprietor. In 1895, Gottlieb Schanbacher was a fireman, and lived on Lincoln Avenue, near Grand. In 1897, he was operating the saloon at 113 (later 1233) Market.

Gottlieb Schanbacher died June 14, 1911, and is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.

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