When a movie crew came to the Independence Square Courthouse, its historical significance was cited as a rationale for using the old building.

But for historical accuracy, old timers know there are accouterments and trappings that have disappeared over the years. My favorite missing detail is the pigeons.

Pigeons were a big part of the Square when Harry Truman walked the streets and should be considered as necessary for historical accuracy.

Motion pictures usually characterize the town squares of important world cities as adorned with pigeons underfoot. And many depict a complement of old folks on benches or young children delighting in feeding the cooing crowd.

I grew up in a neighborhood near the Square where for years the “rats with wings” circled in small clouds. While attending Noland Elementary School, my friend began capturing pigeons from the Square. He built a cage to house them, and it was captivating to watch them come and go. The birds became his personal pets.

One day he took me with him. Armed with only a large fish net and our bare hands, we snuck up to a disabled exhaust fan behind a building.

My friend began spinning the fan, trapping a pigeon inside. As fast as possible he swung the net into place, covering the blades. When the blades stopped rotating, the pigeon came out flappin’ right into the net. Unharmed, she was taken home to join a new flock.

By the time I was in William Chrisman Junior High, I met another friend who had tamed a wild pigeon from the Square. “Phineas” would perch on the power lines near the corner of Maple and Delaware, and when school let out, he would flutter down upon my friend’s head or shoulder for the walk home.

And believe you me, it is a very startling sound when a pigeon comes in for a landing, flapping his wings in the middle of a group of unsuspecting junior high kids.

Nowadays, all the pigeons are exiled or missing from the Square. Lately, I’ve noticed they spend their days on the masts of street lights on Noland Road, south of 23rd. They congregate eight and nine on each light.

Occasionally, I see a few around the Square for a day or so, but they never stay for long. My hunch is that somebody is creating a hostile environment for them, pouring anti-freeze in the gutters or in puddles on the roofs. Or perhaps the city is using a pesticide like Bird-X or a controlled substance like Tangle-Foot.

Oh sure, I remember when the sparrows took over the Square. All those Bradford pear trees were full of them. The sparrows flocked in swarms, made lots of noise and produced piles of poop. And I’m glad they got rid of them.

But I’m a little nostalgic about the pigeons. A courthouse courtyard without pigeons is a very sterile atmosphere. Pigeons are a sign of life even if they foul things up a little bit.

With a little work, they can be kept clean, tamed, and even raced. Wouldn’t that be a calling card? Independence Square ... Home of the “Show Me State” Racing Pigeons!

And so my advice for those who plan to frequent one of the fancy eateries on the Square for the Thanksgiving buffet: Go for the prime rib. Squab should be more than our local delicacy.