This is the sort of post I don't enjoy writing, but it would be hard to overlook the fact that a portion of the alley-side wall of the southside Gasser Block collapsed over the weekend.
I don't know when the collapse occurred, but noticed it late Sunday afternoon. Didn't see it Sunday morning, but that may have been because I was focused on getting myself and a rather large salad to church on time rather than on the scenery.
Such wounds can prove fatal to an old building of this sort, in limbo since its last business occupant, the Sportsman Bar, closed a few years ago. Such damage can be repaired, of course, but that takes cash.
This is the oldest building on the south side of the square, dating from 1875. Here's a paragraph from The Chariton Patriot of Dec. 29, 1875, describing it:
"The best building that has been erected during the year is Mr. G.F. Gasser's south side brick. This is 41 x 70 feet, and is two stories high and is classed among the best buildin1gs in the place. It is a substantial structure, with cellar under the whole and divided into rooms as follows: The lower story is divided into two store rooms, and the upper into four rooms, three of which will be used for offices and the other and rear room, which is about 30 x 40, is designed for a dancing hall, or for other purposes requiring more space than the common office rooms. It will, however, for the next year or probably longer, be occupied by Burch & Scoby's business college. The brick and stone work on this building was done by Mr. Geo. B. Routt and the carpenter work by Mr. M. Ritzer, both of whom are good mechanics, and have credit for doing a good job on this block. The roof is of tin, and was put on by Messrs. Goodrich & Ensley, the enterprising south-west corner tinners. On the whole, the building is a good one, and speaks well for the enterprise and thrift of Mr. Gasser. Its cost is about $7,000."
George Frederick Gasser (1849-1894) was by trade a grocer and baker who moved his business here from a frame building on the west side of the square. It's had many owners, and names, since.
There's really only one positive thing to do in response this morning. If you know someone who owns one of our historic buildings and consistently devotes to it the time, energy and financial resources needed to keep it in good repair --- say thank you!