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West End building served needs of the blue-collar neighborhood


Edmond Jones and others are pictured in front of his grocery store, which was located at 315 Market Street, at the intersection of Lindell Avenue and Market Street. He operated a grocery and feed store in this location for nearly a decade, during the early 1900s. Photo from Steve Chou’s collection.

Located at the “Y" of intersection of Market Street and Lindell Avenue, Hannibal, Missouri, during the days when vehicles were horse-drawn and nearby trains were propelled by steam, a pentagon-shaped, two-story brick building hugged the sidewalks of these two major traffic arteries. The building provided both retail and residential accommodations for the blue-collar neighborhood.

During its lifetime, 315-317 (later renumbered 2311-2313) Market Street served as host to food and feed stores, restaurants, residences, a billiards parlor, a dairy, boarding houses and much more.

The occupants of this building were as diverse as the neighborhood itself: German, Irish, black, single, widowed and divorced; and there were railroaders, street car operators, cement plant workers, a teamster, a cooper, and a Civil War widow.

Across Market Street (in recent years) from Charlie Flatt’s electric motor shop (2300 Market), and across Lindell Avenue from the former Western Brewery, the building at 2311-2313 Market, was most recently occupied by Martha’s (Crystal) Letter Shop, until her death in 1969, followed by Clara’s Rummage Room. The building was demolished circa 1979.

Following are the stories of two people who both lived in, and earned their livelihood from, this unusually shaped building at Market and Lindell.

Annie Kirby

Irish-born Annie Kirby moved to Hannibal from Sedalia, Mo., following the 1882 death of her husband, Civil War veteran George W. Kirby, in a railroad accident. Already living in Hannibal at the time was their daughter, Annie R. Hardy, wife of Francis R. (Frank) Hardy, a railroad engineer, and their three children, Charles, Ira and Stella.

In order to support herself, Mrs. Kirby opened a restaurant and boarding house at 315 Market circa 1887, providing food and lodging for men who worked in the neighborhood. She continued in business at this location through 1893.

Boarders in 1888, according to the Hannibal city directory of that year, included:

Frank Palmer, teamster

Charles McDavitt, brakeman

Edward Ford, laborer

Thomas H. Finn, fireman M.P. Ry.

Wesley Butner, cooper

Boarders in 1892:

Frank J. Miller, laborer

Bernard Finn, wiper MK&T

Thomas Doyle, trackman H. Ry. Co.

Charles E. Bunby, tele operator

Nearby businesses in 1888:

John E. Braxton, colored, barber, 303 Market

Webb Camery, carpenter and builder 303 Market

W. Thomas Rouse, boots and shoes 303 Market

William C. Rendlen, grocery and residence, 310 Market

Joseph Hotchkiss, blacksmith and horseshoer, 314 Market

Hannibal Street Car Line, Michael Doyle and James O’Hern, proprietors, 300 Market

Saloon, Mrs. Catherine A. Rendlen, 103 Lindell

Mrs. Kirby’s husband had died in March 1882, while working as a brakeman on Conductor John Dean’s train on the Kansas and Texas division of the Pacific Railroad, between Sedalia, Mo., and Parsons, Kan. He was killed at Flat Rock bridge, between Osage Mission and Walnut, Kansas, south of Fort Scott. While on the engine, his head either came into contact with the bridge, or he fell from the engine. His body was found below the bridge. His remains were brought to Hannibal on No. 152, and burial took place at Riverside Cemetery. Annie Kirby died July 29, 1901, and is buried near her husband.

Ironically, Frank Hardy died the year following his father-in-law’s death. While his family remained in Hannibal, Frank Hardy had boarded between runs over Peter Kuhn’s cigar manufactory in Sedalia.

Mr. Hardy was due to go north on his run on Sunday night, May 13, 1883, but fell ill, and headed toward the K&T shops to request that another engineer go in his place. Before he arrived at the shops, he fell on the sidewalk in front of another engineer’s house, where he was discovered in a perilous condition. He was treated by several physicians, to no avail. The treatment he received was for “a severe attack of billions colic.” His death came on May 14.

A special train car was equipped to take Mr. Hardy’s remains back to Hannibal, where he was buried near his father-in-law in Section G-163, Riverside Cemetery.

Jones family

Following Mrs. Kirby’s move of her boarding house to 306-308 Market St., circa 1896, Singleton G. Hoagland and his wife Clara took possession of the building at 315 Market, renaming the boarding house, the Wedge House.

By 1907, Edmond Jones (pictured in front of his store) and his wife, Mary Ellen, were operating a grocery, flour and feed store at this site, and living upstairs. They would remain in business here for nearly a decade, until Mr. Jones took a job with Metropolitan Insurance Company. At that time, he and his wife Clara purchased a house across the street, at 2314, Market, where they would raise their daughter, Virginia, and live out their natural lives.

Note: During the era of the first World War, Edmond Jones shared office space in the Hornback Building, 500 Broadway, rooms 21 and 23, with J.F. Henry Hoffman. (From 1937-1959, William B. Spaun, Hannibal attorney and this author’s father, occupied those same two office spaces for his law office, before moving to the first floor upon the death of Dr. James Chilton, who previously occupied those rooms.)

Edmond Jones ultimately went to work for Goddard Grocery Co., as a traveling salesman. He died in 1939, at the age of 61. His widow died in 1950. They are buried at Fairview Cemetery, Frankford, Mo.

This illustration shows the route of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, in 1931. The railroad was the first to enter Texas from the north, and early on cattle trains used this route, stopping in Hannibal to water and rest the cattle. George W. Kirby, mentioned in the accompanying story, died in a rail accident south of Fort Scott, Kansas, in March 1882. He is buried in Hannibal’s Riverside Cemetery. Illustration by Mary Lou Montgomery.

This segment of the 1885 Hannibal Sanborn fire prevention map shows the neighborhood where a two-story, brick, pentagon-shaped commercial building stood at Lindell and Market streets for nearly 100 years. At the time this map was drawn, Annie Kirby had a boarding house and restaurant in this now-demolished building.

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," and "The Historic Murphy House, Hannibal, Mo., Circa 1870." She can be reached at Her collective works can be found at


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