Days Gone By: Major mall coming to Independence

The Examiner

From The Examiner during the week of March 22-27, 1971:

“MAMMOTH SHOPPING CENTER IS PROPOSED” – A multi-million dollar shopping center proposed for 39th Street and U.S. 71 Bypass was given a tentative green light Tuesday night when the planning commission recommended unanimous approval of a change in rezoning for the property.  A representative from the Dallas office of Sears, Roebuck and Co. announced his company had a firm option on the property bounded by U.S. 71 Bypass, Selsa Road, and 39th Street. 

Photographs weren't that widely used in The Independence Examiner 100 years ago, and page one photos were uncommon, but the paper typically would run cartoons at the top of the front page. Like this one from 100 years ago this week, they often reflected humorously on daily life.

Theodore S. Hochstim, real estate manager for Sears, said the site had been chosen by three major retailers as the best site in the metropolitan area for a regional shopping center. The two other major retailers were identified by William C. Phelps, Kansas City attorney, as Macy’s, already based in the metropolitan area, and Stix, Baer, and Fuller, a major line department store serving the St. Louis area. (Note: U.S. 71 Bypass is today known as Missouri 291.)

“SCHOOLS PLAN ‘CITIZENSHIP DAY’” – Independence school pupils will observe Citizenship Day Thursday under sponsorship of the Independence Community Teachers Association. Mayor Phil K. Weeks, proclaiming the day, urges “all students and teachers observe the day in their schools and to manifest good citizenship at home, work or play by assuming responsibilities as well as enjoying privileges of every citizen.”

“UR DEMOLITION HAMMER TAKES HISTORIC BUILDING” – Another landmark office building in the square area is being demolished in the wholesale ravage in the name of progress. It is the structure known as the Battery Block Building, 217-219 W. Lexington, which was one of the finest and most modern business structures in the whole city when it was erected soon after the turn of the century.

Being razed also is the old Armory, around the corner at 103-105 S. Osage, built in 1914 and occupied by local batteries for a number of years immediately before and following World War I. And the old structure at 115 S. Osage, used in recent years by the Rubon Co., and for many years previously by the old Independence Laundry Co., also is going down.

From The Independence Examiner during the week of March 21-26, 1921:

“TRIED TO CRACK A SAFE” – Safe crackers, or at least would-be safe crackers, between Saturday evening and yesterday morning entered the office of the Stewart & Dimoush planing mill on North Osage street and did considerable damage to the safe. The combination handle was beaten off and some screws removed. Unable to get into the safe in this way, the burglars evidently concluded to blow it and bored two holes in the top. It is probable that they were scared away when they got this far, for the charge was not set.

It is said that the safe is so badly damaged that it will be necessary to replace it. There was nothing in the safe that would have been of value to the safe crackers. There was a large amount of county warrants but of course no one would be able to cash them, even if he dared.

“BOOKS WERE TOO HEAVY” – Joists under the third floor and just beneath the tower of the court house partially gave way Sunday night under the weight of several tons of books, records and other accumulations about the court house. The floor sagged a foot or more at the southeast corner and it was deemed unsafe to enter the room to remove the weight.

A scaffold was erected under the floor and props were placed from the landing of the stairway from the first to the second floor, and on the stairs themselves and by late yesterday the floor was sufficiently proposed to be considered safe for persons to enter the room. The county court today ordered that the books and papers be assorted out, and those no longer of any value be destroyed.

“REMONSTRANCE TOO WEAK” – The Parent-Teacher associations of the Ott school and the Noland school had remonstrances regarding the carnival that is to be put on in Independence during the week of April 5, read last night at the meeting of the city council. The remonstrances stated that the Parent-Teacher associations were against allowing the carnival up to come to Independence as carnivals, they believed, would not in any way tend toward the moral uplifting of the school children.

The matter was given some consideration by the council, but a majority of the members did not seem disposed to pay much attention to the remonstrances. B.J. Scott said he never had seen a carnival that he considered a good one.

A vote was finally taken as to whether the council would rescind its former action of allowing the carnival to come. B.J. Scott from the first ward and L.H. Haas of the fourth ward voted to rescind the vote. The other six councilmen, however, voted to let the matter stand as it is.

– Compiled by Jeff Fox