Posted by: marthabernie | March 27, 2015

Phillipsburg, Missouri – Laclede County – about 1910

scan0002This photo was sent to me by a cousin whose grandmother, Reba McMenus Harrill, lived all her life in Phillipsburg.  This shows the Odd Fellows Hall in the center of the photo (the two story brick building).  As near as I can figure from some writing on the photos, it was built in 1908.  The Farmers State Bank was housed in the area at the right rear where you can see windows and doors.  Upstairs there was a theatre where movies were shown in later years, and the lower level was a store.  My great uncle, William Grant McMenus (Uncle Willie), ran his general store from this building for many years.  He was retired by the time I went to Missouri with my mother the first time, but since he lived but a short distance away, he often came down to the town and hung out with the locals.  I remember meeting him at the store.  I was eyeing a Grape Nehi in the cooler that was on the porch, and he saw me.  Next thing I knew, he handed me the grape soda and off I went to sit on the edge of the porch and drink it.  I am sure he went in and paid for it (or put it on his account), but I thought he was wonderful because he could just give me whatever I wanted.

His grandson, Blake McMenus, told me a story more than 40 years later about growing up in Phillipsburg.  His grandfather (Uncle Willie) owned the store above, and another grandfather or uncle owned the Montgomery store down the block to the left.  Blake would go from store to store, thinking he could just take whatever he wanted because grandfathers and other relatives encouraged him to do so.  Paying was not a custom with which he was familiar.  When he got to another store run by cousin Warren McMenus, or any of the other stores on the block, again he thought he could just take whatever he wanted.  Mom or Dad or Grand Dad would have to go along behind him, paying his “account”.

If you look to the middle left of this image, you can see three men sitting on a platform which must have been related to loading or unloading railroad cars, or maybe it had to do with railroad signals, I don’t know.  Phillipsburg was a stop on the Frisco Line for many years.  You cannot see the railroad tracks in this photo but you can see the wooden planks which were next to the tracks to facilitate loading and unloading.  I have put an enlarged inset below which shows the three men on the platform.


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