Chief W.J. Kern (apparently) and two other members of the Webb City Fire Department, circa 1905.

From the 3rd floor
of the Webb City Public Library

Old News

Blake Theater showed non-vibrating, moving pictures of local firefighters in action

Webb City Area Genealogical Society

January 24, 2024

The International Bioscope Company brought moving pictures to the Blake Theater May 9 and 10, 1904.  

Bioscope was a term used for an early film projector. The company promised its method of showing moving pictures wouldn’t have the usual flicker and vibration commonly seen in other exhibitions of this kind.  

The main feature of their presentation would be moving pictures of the Webb City Fire Department in action making a run on Allen (Main) Street and throwing a stream of water on a burning building on Webb Street. The film was made especially for the Bioscope photographer who was in town a few days before the presentation. It was promoted that a fine picture had been secured. Fire runs filmed at Hutchison, Parsons and Pittsburg, Kansas, would also be shown. Other movies shown were “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “Rip Van Winkle” and “Robinson Crusoe.”

Deep well, rather than hydrant water preferred for horses

In 1905, the Webb City Fire Department committee recommended that the five horses kept by the department should be watered with deep well water instead of hydrant water. 

Fire Chief W.J. Kern presented the following report for 1904:  

  • Number of runs, 41
  • Amount of property involved, $73,250
  • Amount of insurance, $24,775
  • Amount of losses, $2,175
  • Cause of fires: defective flues, 6; gasoline stoves, 4; gasoline lamps, 3; boys and matches, 8; unknown, 8; electric wires, 5
  • False alarms, 7.

This image shows the Blake Theater as it appeared in 1904. It was located in the 200 block of W. Daugherty St., across from the current Webb City Post Office.  The theater was built in 1900 and was lost to a fire in 1932. The Civic Theater was built on the site and was open by the winter of 1932.

Webb City Area Genealogical Society

WCAGS members staff the Genealogy Room on the third floor of the Webb City Public Library. Current hours are noon to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month in the Genealogy Room.

Everything you want to know about Jasper County Missouri Schools is available at a site compiled by Webb City Area Genealogical Society member Kathy Sidenstricker.