JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI, SUNDAY, APRIL 5,1931 From Jefferson City's Yesterdays * * * * * When City Hall Was a Four Story Business Building Housing the Towns Only Theater and How It Was Bequeath to the City. BY LUTKEWITTE. A STREET SCENE OF 1882 The legal barriers that would be encountered if Jefferson City ever sought to dispose of the present city hall site recalled the early history of the building, how the municipality municipality came into possession of it and something of the history of the property immediately adjacent thereto. We are indebted to John A. Linhardt, Linhardt, former grocer and' former city official for many of the facts contained in this article and for the picture accompanying it. The four story, and in its time, imposing building in which the government government of Jefferson City has been conducted for more than forty years, was built by Joseph M. Clark more than half a century ago. The fourth floor was for many years a theater, and some of the noted theater folk of that period played "•' i, stopping stopping off frequently for one night stand in Jefferson City enroute from the theaters in St. Louis to Kansas City and other points west. Later, the theater was moved to the Clark Hall, now the McClung Transfer Transfer Company's barn on East Capitol Capitol Avenue, which in turn yielded to the Lohman opera house on East High Street later was succeeded by the Jefferson Theater on the north side of East High Street. A Near Tragedy. Old timers recall a near tragedy when a cry of fire arose in the Clark Theater and there was a general general rush for the inadequate exits. Several women fainted and had to be carried out but the cry proved to be a false alarm and the audience, audience, for the most part, remained calm and left the building in orderly orderly procession. The first story of the building at the time was occupied by a livery stable. But we are wandering wandering away from Bragg Hall. For several years after the fourth floor ceased to be the town's theater, a box factory was conducted there, and it was during that time that a fire broke out. John A. Linhardt was fire chief at the time. It was a volunteer department without fire engines and modern equipment. The volunteers were inspired to deeds of heroism by a pride and —triotism and a love for their town. Mr. Linhardt Linhardt and the other firemen of that period who are still with us, do not recall just how they managed to save the building from destruction but they succeeded in confining it to thc fourth floor. It was so badly damaged, however, that It was never rebuilt, Major Clark contracting to .„ „ _.„ „„„„ „„„ have it roofed over the third floor, gresslvc, aristocratic setting of the tnc Mufi ic Hall was erected. Later a small tower was con- ' chin Is lifelike. Thc paintings of Mrs Jlrst ' floor was lor many structcd, which for years housed'- " •••--•• -.-,.. the fire bell that not so many years ago sent its compelling call to all parts of the city, summoning the volunteer firemen to duty and other; other; to look on. Several years ago the aging tower and the obsolete and useless bell were removed. A Handsome Bequest. Major Ck -It in his will which was probated December 12, 1880, bequeathed bequeathed the building to Jefferson City with the provision that one room was to be set aside for a memorial memorial hall and that a bronze statute of Major Clarke, a life sized paint- be contracted for and placed in the designated memorial room. He provided further that the building he held in trust for the city until the rentals produced $3,000 which he considered sufficient to pay for the statute and the paintings. paintings. Then it was to become the property of the city as long as the provisions of the will were carried out. Recently the memorial room was given to the city engineer and the statute and paintings were moved to the city clerk's office on the first floor. Tlie statue, surrounded by a railing has been placed In a conspicuous conspicuous position near the corner of the building where It is visible to all who pass. Older residents declare that the statute is an excellent likeness of trance thereby carrying out the provisions provisions of the will more satisfactorily satisfactorily than under present conditions. When he was advised that the plan would meet with legal obstacles unless unless an agreement could be obtained from the Clark heirs, if any, he abandoned it, In (ho Days of '83. If the city hall building Is ever replaced it will have to be done through a bond Issue and uven then the Clark will provision must and should be continued. The accompanying picture showing showing a part of the west side of the city hall building and the Dallmeyer and Llnhardt buildings, was made in 1882. The lot between the city hall and the Dallmeycr building remained remained vacant a little more than a the city's benefactor, that the pose 1 5 ;car aftcr tno picture was made. Is characteristic and that the ag- Tlicn tnc building, known as ing of his wife, Mrs. Lavenia Clark, and smaller paintings of his two sons, Marcus and Junlus S. Clark, . . Clark and thc two .sons are said to cu Pi(-'cl by thc Bodenhcimer saloon be real works of art. Mrs. Clark and lho U PP<-T floor by thc Capital was a handsome woman of gracious, and dignified bearing. Considered Sale. The late Mayor Thomas, realizing the value of the corner occupied by Water Company offices. It is now occupied by Stone and Ward pool hall and thc uppc-r floor has become part of the Missouri Pacific offices. Thc Dallmeycr Store of 1882 was the city hall and taking into con-1 owned and conducted by thc late siduration thc fact that the building building was deteriorating, discussed the possibility of selling it. He believed that enough could be realbxjd to buy a less conspicuous tract upon which a building more suitable to present day needs could be erected. It was his plan to create a real memorial room for the paintings, to place the statute of Major Clark In Col. W. Q, Dallmeyer, former fitatc treasurer and head of thc Exchange Bank. Thc store v^ under thc active active management of Fcrd P. Dall- meycr who afterwards became city clerk. That store Is now occupied by thc Missouri Drug store. Middle afTcd residents remember quite well when It was thc New York Racket store under the management of the a niche overlooking the main en- I late J. W. Hcskclt. City Builders. The Llnhardt store was conducted by J. Christ Linhardt as a grocery and queenswarc emporium. His son, John "A. Llnhardt was associated with him. The son assumed charge of the business upon the death of the elder Llnhardt. The younger Llnlmrdt became one of the city's prominent men. He was frequently drafted to run for city office, once as alderman and several times as city treasurer, a position he never actively sought but always received. He conducted the grocery and queonsware store until he aold out to the Gateley corporation. It marked the passing of a landmark on High street. The store has since became the Vogue Ladles' Rcady-to- Wcnr Shop. Mr. Linhardt has retired retired from business. He 'i in good health and has many more years of usefulness to the community ahead of him. Among the group In front of the building herein described and pictured pictured arc thc late Christ Llnhardt, the late Louis Conrath. father of Julius H. Conrath, ex-postmaster, who conducted a bakery adjacent to tho Llnhordt store, John Llnhardt, and 'others who have been almost effaced from the picture and, also, apparently from memory. There is nothing quite no fascinating fascinating as delving into the yesterdays, dealing with thc pioneers who laid the groundwork for thc fast growing growing and magnificent city of today. Some of them arc still with us and they have a rich store of reminiscences reminiscences from which wo hope to borrow from time to time for the Sunday edition of the combined newspapers.