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Days Gone By: Independence urged to save its history

The Examiner

From The Examiner during the week of Sept. 21-26, 1970:

• “PRESERVING HISTORICAL SITES URGED” – The city needs to act now if it is to preserve historical buildings in old-town Independence, the city council was told Monday.

An ad from 50 years ago this week in The Examiner.

The buildings suggested for preservation included the Jackson Square Courthouse; the Log Cabin Courthouse; the 1859 jail museum; the building west of the Elko store on west Maple; the Trinity Episcopal Church, where the Trumans were married; the First Presbyterian Church, where Harry S. Truman attended as a boy; the Truman House; the William McCoy house on Farmer west of Spring; the Vaile mansion; the Waggoner house, Pacific and Spring; the Overfelt-Johnson house, Walnut and Pleasant; the Reuben Wallace house, Main and St. Charles; the Webb house, Osage and Mill; the Joseph Smith III house on West Short west of Lexington; the Jones H. Flournoy house, Cottage and Stone; the Episcopal Rectory, Noland and Pacific; the Napoleon B. Stone house, west side of 23rd and Noland; the Williamson house, south of Walnut on Pleasant; the former C.C. Chiles house, now the Maples Hotel; and the Scarritt House, Elizabeth and Main.

Raymond Blake, a retired member of The Examiner advertising staff and chairman of the committee making a presentation to the council, advocated the revitalization of the city as a major tourist center. 

“Independence is asleep at the wheel if it doesn’t go after the tourist trade,” he said.

• “‘DIRTIEST AIR IN TOWN’ AT U.S. 24 AND NOLAND” – Noland Road at U.S. 24 has been designated as potentially the corner with the “dirtiest air in the city.” The distinction qualifies the busy intersection for the first carbon monoxide sampling count to be taken by city health officials. The information will be fed to federal groups who will set up air pollution controls across the nation.

“We chose U.S. 24 and Noland,” said health department sanitarian John Brown, “because the traffic department of the city recommended it as the busiest intersection in the city. That also qualifies it as having the dirtiest air too.”

From The Examiner during the week of Sept. 20-25, 1920:

• “FOR BETTER AMERICANISM” – A large and appreciative audience attended the lecture given by Colonel Dan Morgan Smith, at the stone church, Sunday afternoon. Colonel Smith, who is an eloquent orator, spoke on the famous “Battalion of Death,” which he commanded in the battle of St. Mihiel, France. He made a stirring appeal for better Americanism, to the end that the sacrifice made by the American soldiers be not in vain.

• “A NEW ST. LOUIS” – When prohibition went into effect there were 2430 licensed saloons in St. Louis and 22 breweries. Now there is not a licensed saloon and the breweries have turned to other activities and the thousands of men employed in the liquor business a few years ago are now employed at better pay in more congenial work.

• “WALNUT CROP IS BIG” – Home grown walnuts are in the local markets, prices at 50c a peck. The nuts sell cheaper if bought unhulled at the farm gate. Some farmers still hold to the custom of giving the nuts away or leaving them to the squirrels, not caring to go to the bother of hulling and marketing. The farm boy can make a neat profit besides having a lot of fun gathering walnuts and preparing them for sale. Although many of the fine walnut trees in this region were cut down and used up for gun stocks during the war, many fine ones still are left. The yield is large this season, it is said.

– Compiled by Jeff Fox