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Century-old building has plenty of tales to tell

The Emporium: This ready-to wear store was located at 609-11 Broadway. Michael Fireside, a native of Austria, was the store’s manager, on and off, from about 1918 until around 1930. Business card from the Steve Chou collection.


German-speaking Michael, 27, and Laura Fireside, 25, moved to Hannibal in 1912 as newlyweds. They had married in New York City, after each had left behind their respective homelands in Austria.

Michael’s dream was to own his own clothing store. By 1916, Michael was the manager of Home Clothing Co., located at 104 S. Main in Hannibal. His ready-to-wear clothing competitors included The Famous, located at 101 N. Main; Sonnenberg and Son, 118-20 N. Main; Milton Strong Dry Goods, 102-104 N. Main, Silverberg Dry Goods and Millinery, located at 523-25 Broadway, and Hannibal’s newest clothing store, The Emporium, managed by S. Straus, and located in the new Security Building, located at 609-11 Broadway. It was directly across the street from the Hannibal Post Office, which was then located at 600 Broadway.

Two years later, Michael Fireside left the Home store and accepted a management position with The Emporium. There, off and on for more than a dozen years, he would be a leader in women’s ready-to-wear clothing sales, working side by side with his wife, who clerked at the store.

While the childless couple was still living in Hannibal at the beginning of the 1930s, they would soon make a move. They resettled in Danville, Ill., where Michael Fireside took over management of the People’s Clothing Store, 20 E. Main. He died July 12, 1956, and his wife died Sept. 27, 1983. They are buried at Spring Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum in Danville.

Questionable timeline

An article in the July 26, 1925 edition of the Quincy Daily Herald leaves questions as to exactly when the Firesides worked at The Emporium. The 1925, newspaper article made note of the fact that The Emporium had changed ownership, and was now owned by an eastern firm. With that change, the store would in the future be known as the New Emporium, and would be managed by Mrs. Charles Lambert, who lived on Walnut Street in Hannibal. The manager prior to Mrs. Lambert had been Miss Irene Whitaker.

Yet in 1927, Fireside was once again listed as the store’s manager in the Hannibal City Directory.

Security Building

The Firesides and the Emporium played a small yet significant role in the Security Building’s 100-year history. Many other businesses and fraternal organizations have called this building home.


J.C. Leonard and Son, wallpaper, paints and oils etc. painters, paper hangers and decorators, 609 Broadway.

Railway Conductors, Engineers, Firemen, 609 ½ Broadway.

Bluff City Tent of Maccabees No. 16, meets second and fourth Wednesdays at Security Hall.


609 ½ Broadway, Railway Conductors, No. 39, Railway Carmen, Railway Engineers No. 629 and Railway Firemen, No. 209. Railway trainmen met at IOOF Hall.


Leslie Deason, district manager for Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, 609 Broadway.

Ancient Order of United Workmen, Hannibal Lodge No. 15, meets every Tuesday evening 609 Broadway.

Louida B. Pontius, chiropractor, 609 Broadway.


Gregory Floral, operated by Homer Gregory, was located at 609 Broadway, as was the office of Morris Anderson, attorney.


609, Dreyer Cleaners

611, Huehne Office Supply

The 1950s

While businesses and fraternal organizations were the typical renters of space in the Security Building, Bob Dooley of St. Charles, formerly of Hannibal remembers when three sets of his grandparents lived on the second floor of the Security building.

The door to the second floor was located at the east end of the building. Upstairs, first space to the east, was the AFL-CIO office. Continuing westward were the apartments of Tom and Ruth Dooley, Bob’s paternal grandparents; Everett and Emma Dooley, Bob’s paternal great-grandparents; and Bob’s maternal grandparents, John and Maude Rupp.

There was one bathroom on the second floor, Bob remembers. All three rental units and the AFL-CIO office shared that bathroom. The bathroom had a sink and a toilet, but no tub. In addition, at the back half of the second floor was a community hall, where the union hosted weekend bingo games. The bathroom accommodated the bingo players, as well.

Each apartment consisted of a kitchen, one bedroom and a living room, and a window facing Broadway.

Tom and Ruth Dooley moved to 1623 Grace Street in 1957, where they opened Dooley’s Market.

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