OZARK VIEWS AND COMMENTS
Cassville’s main thoroughfare from 10th Street south has taken on various guises over the decades, some for good and some that have exhausted commercial potential.
It’s always an interesting thought to remember these ancient contributors to our way of life, which was once called “the good life, our way” by a metropolitan writer. So, I’m going to start at 10th Street and work my way south with names and places as I remember them.
Cross the Branch The home of a pioneer family, Will Brown, which was frequently flooded, is now the Dollar General, and across the Main is a single station and quick stop, then there was Smith Florist and later a cafe that moved due to flooding, After the old Landis House (now Hutchens Construction) there was Cole Bakery, then Leonard Mitchell Tire and Recapping. Across the street and on the shore of Little Troublesome was Clark’s Conoco, a motel and restaurant.
Then across the Cassville-Exeter train tracks was Pete Stephen’s Station, then Robbie Bower’s Café, Field’s Photo, Nicoll Furniture, and closing that block was the Billiard Room, later Edmondson Food Store . The C&E Depot and Bill Smith Tire occupied the opposite side of the street.
Preddy Grocery started the next block, then came Blythe Cleaners, Edie Appliances, Main Street Barber Shop, Blythe Grocery and Dillinger’s Café, later Thelma Dowell’s Dress Shop. Across the street was the Long Bar, Pelican Liquor, then Barber’s Locker Plant and Meat Market. At the head of this block was the First National Bank, now Tomblin’s Jewelry.
Starting around the square, businesses included Wooten Drug with Dr. EE McDaniel and dentist Dr. Ingram located upstairs. Dryer’s Shoes and Riddle’s Leather Repair and Olson Beauty Salon (home of the Olsen Redheads women’s basketball team) complete this block.
The Cassville Post Office has been a fixture since it replaced the Smith House, the nearby Dingler Residence has survived.
What began as the Cassville Municipal Building with a library, offices, gym, and stage later became the Hall Theater. This block also included offices for Rolland Meador Jewelry, Lynn Mitchell and Carl Seal, and Dr. Mary Newman. A small space housed an old fire truck. Vacant land was used for screening early films on Saturday nights, with the Cassville Republican being housed in the Barry Hotel building. The First Baptist Church has long stood at the original location of Stintzi Florist and an early kindergarten built by Carrie First on the grounds was Miller’s Furniture and Appliances.
Rowland’s Clothing owned by Ursula Rowland and managed by Russell Moore was in the south corner before the OTASCO of Hull with a law firm next door, followed by the Wilson Turner shoe store and later Wiley’s Western Auto, Cassville Democrat, South Side Barber Shop, KE Brown Jewelry, the music store started by Carl and Electa Mitchell, later the bus station. Around the corner was Dr. Glen Horine, DDS and Doc Kisler’s cafe and Chick Pearl station, later Jimmy Turner station, now Cassville Democrat.
Nearby was Railway Ice Co., which was the site of Arthur Smith’s new First National Bank, which replaced the Irwin Hotel, a gas station, and the Baker-Seely Market.
To the west of the bank, Monett Savings and Loan was built. When the company went bankrupt, the Chamber of Commerce was presented with the property.
The east side of this location began with a relocated Rowland’s, which had housed Murray Dodson’s Western Auto and Coone’s Grocery, which once served as a bowling alley.
Commerce Bank was part of the West Zone, along with Masonic Hall (upstairs) Gambles, Thompson Furniture and Appliance, Fanning’s Department Store, Owl Drug, Dr. Salyer, JJ Miller Drug.
Behind these companies was LeCompte Lumber and opposite Cassville MFA. Down the street, Fisher Blacksmith operated by Otis Fisher, and nearby Cassville factory stood on Flat Creek.
Back at the red light at the intersection, Gale Cope had a grocery store, and Ozark Furniture operated for years in what had been the Houn’ Ditch Inn, owned by Gentry German, who has been immortalized in prose books” Voice of Bugle Ann” in recognition of her fame in fox hound breeding and training. On Main St., Kenny Cowan Motors, now a flea market. Where the Sonic is now was Charles England’s Skelly station. Also in the neighborhood is a McDonald’s, a supermarket, replacing Manley Courts and Thomas Dariette. In this area Barry Electric Co-op operated for several years, later purchased by Don Carr for Fastrip and corporate headquarters.
Towards Casey’s present location, still at the west four-way stop, was the 4-Way Deli (which later became Sears) Ford Motors, a new hardware store, a bank (which makes Cassville a major home for six banks). In far west 10th Street, a number of companies have replaced Forest Products on properties owned by Jerry Watley.
Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee into the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and the Missouri Southern State University Regional Media Hall of Fame.