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Ghostly image of Hornback Building's long-time occupant, Dr. Mary S. Ross

This is believed to be the only known photo of Dr. Mary S. Ross, who practiced medicine in Hannibal's Hornback Building at Fifth and Broadway from 1909-1939. STEVE CHOU COLLECTION

Steve Chou’s collection of historic photos numbers in the thousands. At least that many times I have searched through his digital photos, looking for details that touch upon associated words that I’ve written.

In the Jan. 16, 2016 edition of the Hannibal Courier-Post, and on my website, (click here to read the story and see associated photos) is a picture of the Hornback Building, circa 1912, located on the northwest corner of Fifth and Broadway in downtown Hannibal.

I’ve seen this picture a hundred times. But this week, I saw something I never noticed before. There is a grainy image of a woman sweeping the stoop. I found it when I enlarged the photo to read the names painted on the building’s windows.

There, I believe, is an image of Dr. Mary Sophia Ross, who practiced medicine in Hannibal from pre-1911 until her death in 1939. Jean Moore of Pittsburg, Pa., remembers Dr. Ross, and confirmed that the image on the stoop resembles the way that Dr. Ross carried herself.

Is it Dr. Ross, or perhaps a ghostly image of Dr. Ross, reminding us of what an important figure she was in Hannibal’s past? You be the judge.


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