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St. Mary’s Avenue landmark fell to wrecking ball in 1939

The two-story frame structure located at 2627 St. Mary’s Avenue in 1939, and owned by George Silman, was scheduled for demolition. the building is believed to have been erected in 1907 and was formerly a grocery store, with lodging on the second floor. It was to be demolished to make way for a parking lot. This building was directly to the south of the Goody Good barbecue restaurant, on land now occupied by the Smith Funeral Home in Hannibal. Photo contributed by Steve Chou.


A long-established neighborhood along St. Mary’s Avenue remains primarily intact, following its establishment as the Mary L. Smith Jr. subdivision back in 1912. This section of Hannibal served as home to William Barnes Smith (1880-1948) from the time of his marriage to Catherine Owsley (1883-1944) until he moved to South Tenth Street in the mid 1930s.

This addition to Hannibal proper consists of land southwest of St. Mary’s Avenue, from Lamb Avenue on the east, to Hawkins Avenue on the west. Primary streets include a portion of Chestnut and Hope streets.

Smith inherited the land upon the 1904 death of his grandmother, Mary Lowry Barnes Smith (Sr.). His own daughter, born circa 1905, was named after his mother. When he subdivided the land in 1912, he named the subdivision in honor of his only child. James W. Plowman served as trustee of Mrs. Smith’s will.

Circa 1907, William Barnes Smith (whose father, Catesby Barnes Smith, died in 1881) lived with his wife, Catherine (Kate) Owsley, at 324 Chestnut, on the south side of the street near Hawkins. He earned his living at that time as a gardener, growing produce on this fertile bottom land, and in turn selling it wholesale to local merchants.

Two years later, William and Kate moved to the 2300 block of St. Mary’s Avenue. Street numbers changed circa 1912, and by 1916 the young family was living at 2619 St. Mary’s, in the portion of the Mary L. Smith Jr., subdivision facing the avenue.

Today, property in this block is numbered 2603 (built in 1920), 2607 (built in 1929), 2611 and 2619 St. Mary’s Avenue. The last address is the location of Smith’s Funeral Home. In years past, the Smith Funeral Home lot was home to the Goody Goody Barbecue stand, and to a local landmark building torn down in the mid 1930s.

2235/2627 St. Mary’s

Directly to the south of the old Goody Goody, facing St. Mary’s, was a two-story building believed to have been constructed in 1907 for use as a grocery store. According to the 1907 city directory, William S. Audrey and George M. Burch offered for sale groceries, feed, coal, and wood at 2235 St. Mary’s.

Two years prior, circa 1905, William S. and Nora Audrey had a store across the street, on the northeast corner of St. Mary’s and Ratcliffe. About 1906, they moved to the larger quarters across the street, at 2235 St. Mary’s, with the addition of Burch as a partner.

In 1909, Avis McClenning sold groceries, flour, feed and meat at 2235 St. Mary’s.

Other known occupants of this landmark building:

1911: A.J. Payton grocery store, 2235 St. Mary’s Avenue, managed by John M. Payton.

1912: address changed from 2235 to 2627 St. Mary’s Ave.

1916: David H. and Rhoda Wallen, 2627 St. Mary’s, grocery and residence.

1918: William and Harriett Freeman, 2627 St. Mary’s, residence.

1920-22: Joseph W. and Margaret Trice, 2627 St. Mary’s, residence.

1923-1927: Freda, Josephine, John and Pearl Lomax, 2627 St. Mary’s, grocery and residence.

1929: George Buttgen, restaurant, 2627-29 St. Mary’s.

1935: George W. and Esther Silman operated the Goody Goody at 2629, and lived in the two-story building to the south, at 2627 St. Mary’s.

Note: In 1925 George M. Burch would be associated with the Burch Furniture Co., 305-07 N. Main, Hannibal.


George O. Buttgen died in 1937, at the age of 40. He was the proprietor of a barbecue establishment in Hannibal.

John A. Freeman (1844-1929). Harriett Freeman (1852-1938).

George W. Silman (1892-1955). Esther Pearl Silman (1894-1957).

Avis McClenning (1862-1950) later became a Hannibal police officer, before moving to Shelby County, Mo. Elizabeth Moody McClenning (1866-1950).


A 1939 newspaper article supplied by Steve Chou, prior to the demolition of the old two-story landmark, revealed the following:

The house contained 15 rooms.”The basement is entered by an old fashioned cellar door on the north side of the building. The front part of the basement, facing St. Mary’s Avenue, is partitioned off into three coal bins. The rear part of the basement, with an entrance off Hawkins Avenue, has a concrete floor and is modeled into a four room apartment. A stairway leading from the first floor to the basement was closed several years ago and since that time there has been no way to go from one floor to the other except by using an outside entrance to that floor.

“The first floor, formerly one large room, which was used for the grocery store, was partitioned off into five rooms several years ago, and used as living quarters for the Silmans. The second floor has six rooms and were formerly used as two three room apartments.”

This photo shows the original Goody Goody, which was located at 2629 St. Mary’s Avenue. First built and operated as a barbecue stand by Ralph and Amanda Stephens in 1925, the building would undergo renovations over the years under a series of owners, finally closing as a donut shop in 1963. Beside the shop, to the left, is a two-story building which at the time housed a grocery store at 2627 St. Mary’s Ave. In 1914, Mrs. M.C. Jessup operated a grocery store in this building, and in 1916, David Wallen operated a grocery here. Dan Perez/ TampaPix RetroMetro Oklahoma City

The Mary L. Smith Jr. subdivision of Lot 2 in Hawkin's Original Subdivision of the West Half of the southeast quarter of Section 30, Township 57, Range 4 west, and also a strip of land on the southeastern side of an un-numberered triangular lot in Garth's Addition to the City of Hannibal. Obtained from the Marion County Recorder's office, Palmyra,

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 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 Her collective works can be found at


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