Chic Style Shoppe served Market clientele for 30 years
Mrs. Lena Sperry Locke (Mrs. Edward Nelson Locke Sr.) poses in front of her store, Chic Style Shoppe, at 1248 Market St., in the spring of 1967. She was married to Mr. Locke Aug. 28, 1962, at the Arch Street Methodist Church. Photo contributed by Randi Quinn Widaman
MARY LOU MONTGOMERY
In the years leading up to the second world war, Lena M. Sperry opened a women’s clothing store at 1248 Market Street, next door to the east of the ever-popular Ben Franklin Store.
In a storefront previously housing the Hirner Shoe Store, Lena - a native of Ralls County - utilized the business finesse learned from a decade as sales clerk for the Laundau Bros., dry goods store, in order to start her own business.
The store, Chic Style Shoppe, may have been a part of a chain of stores catering to women, as stores of the same name are advertised in newspapers during the 1940s in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Oklahoma.
Lena Sperry, born in 1889, was one of the nine children born to Civil War veteran, Corp. Adam VandeBoe Sperry, (1842-1910) and his wife, Susan E. Sperry (1849-1934).
Their children included, (as culled from various sources):
Ann Lucretia Sperry (Jackson), 1873-1954;
Jennie F. “Fannie” Sperry (Layne), 1875-1949;
John Leslie Sperry, 1878-1948;
William Van Sperry, 1880-1950;
Orville A. Sperry, 1881-1937;
Myrtle Helen Sperry (Martin) 1884-1968;
Margaret Susan Sperry (Culler) 1888-1912;
Lena Mae Sperry (Locke), 1889-1978; and
Mary Esther Sperry (Howard) 1893-1978
Sisters Lena, 19, and Margaret Susan Sperry, 21, moved from the Ralls County farm on which they resided with their parents, and were living in Hannibal by 1909, a year before the death of their father.
The sisters were working at the Star Shoe Company. They lodged with another sister, Jennie F. Sperry Layne, and her husband, Harry (or Harvey) A. Layne, at 312 Spruce.
Orville A. Sperry, brother to Lena, Margaret and Jennie, moved to Hannibal in 1923 with his wife, Myrtle. Mr. Sperry worked for a time at D.C. Handley’s barber shop, 1518 Broadway. The young couple moved back to Center, Ralls County, circa 1930, where they lived out their lives.
Margaret Susan Sperry married Harry F. Culler, a Hannibal mail carrier, and in 1912, she gave birth to their first child. Tragically, Margaret died of peritonitis just 11 days after giving birth. Her son, Harry Willard Culler, also died in 1912. Margaret was 23 at the time of her death. Mother and son are buried together at Barkley Cemetery, New London.
By 1916, Lena Sperry was working as a saleslady for the Landau Brothers, at 1408-10 Market St., where she worked almost continuously until 1939, when Jacob L. Landau retired. Lena then briefly worked for Laudau’s successor, Propps Uptown Store, same address, operated by Isadore S. Propp.
In mid September, 1940, Lena Sperry opened her own store, a few doors to the east of the Landau/Propp business. The building her new store occupied previously housed Hirner’s Shoe Store, operated by John A. and Thelma Hirner. John Hirner died in 1938, at the age of 54.
Lena’s store came to be during a still-thriving business era along Market Street. Located nearby were:
Norman W. Raible’s grocery store, 1240-42 Market;
Kroger Grocery and Baking Company, 1234 Market;
Ben Franklin department store, 1246 Market;
American Trust Company, 1301 Market;
J.C. Bowles liquor, 1238 Market;
John Indorf shoe repair, 1241; and
Hofbauer Drug co., 1401 Market.
By 1946, Lena Sperry had purchased a two-story, frame house at 112 S. Tenth. That house had been owned and occupied during the first decade of the 20th Century by the Herrick family, including Virginia Herrick, a teacher at Central School, and her brother, John, a blacksmith.
The house, now demolished, was on a site which now serves as a parking lot for the First Christian Church of Hannibal.
In August 1962, Lena was married to Edward N. (Joe) Locke, a widower. Together, they lived on S. Tenth Street and operated the Chic Style Shoppe.
He died in October 1971, and was buried in Fort Madison Cemetery, Fort Madison, Iowa.
By 1972, Chic Style Shoppe was closed.
Lena Sperry Locke died Dec. 12, 1978, at Shady Lawn Lodge, No. 8 Stillwell Place, Hannibal.
She was buried at Salem Cemetery, Ralls County, Mo., near her parents. She was 89 at the time of her death, and was the last surviving child of Adam V. and Susan E. Mulhern Sperry.
Lena Sperry Locke operated the Chic Style Shop at 1248 Market St., for some three decades. Photo contributed by Randi Quinn Widaman
This advertisement for the Chic Style Shoppe was published in the Ralls County Record newspaper on Friday, Sept. 13, 1940. Newspapers.com
111 South Tenth. Esley Hamilton, in the Historic Inventory conducted in 1982, wrote that Miss Mary Jane and Miss Virginia Herrick had this house constructed circa 1897. It was situated on Lot 9 of the subdivision of property conducted by Fred Waller Sr., in 1897. Address changed circa 1912, and Lena Sperry Locke lived in the same house, then numbered 112 S. Tenth St., from the mid 1940s up until the early 1970s. Photo source: Historic Inventory, State Historical Survey and Planning Officer, Jefferson City, Mo.
Market Street, looking east, in the spring of 1967. At left is the familiar Long's 5-10, and immediately to the right of the store is the Chic Style Shoppe. Photo contributed by Randi Quinn Widaman
Mary Lou Montgomery retired as editor of the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post in 2014. She researches and writes narrative-style stories about the people who served as building blocks for this region’s foundation. Books available on Amazon.com by this author include but are not limited to: "The Notorious Madam Shaw," "Pioneers in Medicine from Northeast Missouri," "The Historic Murphy House, Hannibal, Mo., Circa 1870,” “Hannibal’s ‘West End,’ and the newest book, “Oakwood: West of Hannibal.” Montgomery can be reached at Montgomery.firstname.lastname@example.org Her collective works can be found at www.maryloumontgomery.com