Thursday, November 04, 2010

Chariton Square Looked Different in Late 1860's


In the late 1860's Chariton was in a period of rapid growth and change.  The railroad had come through Chariton in 1867 and the Civil War had ended a couple of years before that.  Wooden structures were being built to house businesses that were rapidly coming to this town.  Two brick buildings belonging to Matson and another to O.L. Palmer were located on the square.  Matson's was located on the west side of the square, while Palmer's was on the east side.

The picture above shows the east end of the north side of the square.  None of the buildings are now standing.  The first building on the right was a hardware store, followed by an empty lot.  

Wm. McDermit's boot and shoe manufacturers occupied the third lot.  The fourth lot housed the Alex Rogers' furniture manufacturers.  If you were to look close you might see two straight-back chairs dangling from the furniture store front.

The fifth lot housed the G.W. Black Hardware Store, and it and the empty lot next door are still in the G.W. Blake family via the Blake Johnson Family.

An unknown business occupied the seventh lot.  The "new" building, on the final lot, belonged to Colonel Dungan, and was occupied by M. Schworn's General Merchandise business.

The Opposition House, located in the building on the Northeast corner of the square and was of special interest.  Thomas Musselman ran the hotel, restaurant, saloon and apparently a "house of ill fame."  It was located where the Charitone Hotel is now.  (There will be more about the Opposition House in following stories).

A few additional points regarding the photo:  In 1869, the street on the north side of the square (now Court Avenue) was called Madison.  Also, it is interesting to point out the board fence and hitch rail around the courtyard.  The fence was necessary at that time to keep hogs, cattle and horses out of the courthouse yard.  There was also a wooden boardwalk across the street.

Directly north of the old brick courthouse was something unusual - but most certainly a necessity in 1869:  a double outhouse.

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