Thursday, October 16, 2014

Strike up the (American Legion Junior) Band

My friend Ev Brightman brought this photo along to a meeting late yesterday and I borrowed it long enough to scan.

According to Ev, this is the 1958 American Legion Junior Band, directed by Helen Krutsinger. Ev doesn't remember the occasion.

That's the northwest corner of the square, although younger folks might have trouble recognizing it --- so much has been torn down and replaced by newer models.

The Montgomery Ward building still is there, but with upper windows blinded. In 1958, Wards fully occupied both floors of the building.

The good news is that if all goes according to plan those windows will be reopened next year as part of Charitons' facade improvement project.

In the middle distance is the third floor of the Bates House hotel, dating from the 1870s and once Chariton's finest. It was torn down to make room for the present Midwest Heritage Bank.

To the right of the Bates House (east of the alley) is the two-story annex to the Union Block, built by Chariton Masons at a time when their lodge rooms still were located in the "old red bank" building, a joint project of the Masonic and I.O.O.F. lodges. When I was a kid, we climbed a long stair between the Annex and main building to reach the offices of our family physician, Dr. R.E. Anderson.

The Union Block came down during the 1970s and was replaced by what now is Great Western Bank and its loss arguably remains the largest preventable architectural disaster on the square. First National Bank still occupied the first floor of the Union Block when this photo was taken and the Knights of Pythias, club rooms on the top floor. The Knights had moved in after their own south-side building was destroyed by fire in 1930 and the Masons moved to new quarters on South Grand later in that decade.

Finally, far to the right, you can see the neon-lighted sign advertising Halden and Thomas Clothing, at the time the major men's clothing store on the square.

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