The Donehoo Block, as photographed from the roof of the Newland Hotel. The Sentinel was formerly located in the portions of the building with the rectangular awning (movie marquee) and rolled-up awning. – Bishir Photo 

Ancestors, Legends & Time

Fire destroyed half a block downtown – twice

Jeanne Newby

Let’s take a moment to remember a building that graced downtown Webb City but is no longer with us.

As Webb City was just beginning to develop, many of the business buildings were made of wood. There were several incidences where those wooden framed buildings would catch fire and the fire would spread. So the city of Webb City made an ordinance that all buildings in the business district would be made of concrete block or brick.

On the northeast corner of Main (Allen) and Church streets, at 15 S. Allen St., G.W. Scott built the Pacific Hotel in 1877. He previously had the Scott House, located at 101 N. Allen, which had burned down in 1875. The Pacific Hotel, with its 20 rooms, dining room and parlor was an impressive hotel in the center of the bustling new town.

Dr. Donehoo wanted to make a real estate investment and purchased the Pacific Hotel Building in 1880. Sadly, the building burned in the famous fire of 1883, which took out the half block from Church Street north to the Middlewest Building. Dr. Donehoo came back in full force and rebuilt the half block with brick. And the Donehoo building made it through almost 100 years. In December 1982, fire again destroyed the half block of buildings. 

The Donehoo building had been home to many businesses. The upstairs had rooms to rent for residences and some businesses. The ground floor was for business purposes. I don’t have all renters listed, but here are a few to give you an idea. The years listed have been verified by me. The business may have been there earlier and/or later.

There were other businesses, too, that I need to verify. After all, 100 years is a long time, and I never seem to finish my research.

9 S. Allen, Groom & Hockett

Falstaff Bar, William Groom and Charles Hockett, 1905

9 S. Allen, 2nd floor, Cigar Factory, 1906

9 S. Allen, Saloon, 1915

9 S. Main, Culver & Benward 

Café, 1925

9 S. Main, Main Street Barber Shop, Sam Battalia, 1928

9 S. Main, C.H. Vradenburg 

Jewelry, 1928

9 S. Main, Main Street Barber Shop, 1947

9 S. Main, B.J. Payne Tavern, 1947

9 S. Main, The Empress, 

Marion Perry, 1969

11 S. Allen, Pool & Billiard, 1906

11 S. Allen, Rochester Café, 

Master Chef – 1909

11 S. Main, The Empress Theatre,

1915, 1928

11 S. Main, Vacant, 1947

13 S. Allen, Harness & Buggies, 1906

13 S. Allen, Saloon, 1915

13 S. Allen- Stag Bar,1919

15 S. Allen, Dry Goods, 1906

15 S. Allen, second floor, Millinery, 1906

15 S. Allen, Southern Club, 1908

15 S. Allen, McAllister’s Café, 

W.B. McAllister;  Furnished rooms, upstairs; Home Cooking, 1915

15 S. Main, C.L. Satterlee Furniture, 1928

15 ½ S. Main, Howard Downs, 1928; Mary McDonald, 1928; C.L. & Bessie Satterlee, 1928; Thetis Satterlee, 1928;

15 S. Main, Sentinel Daily paper, Hal Wise. Established in 1879. Move to this location in 1928. Verified still there in 1947 and 1959; The Wise Buyer, named after the Wise family, was added in 1938

15 S. Main, Winston’s News Stand, 1950, 1951

15 S. Main, Sentinel Office, weekly paper, 1959, owned by Max Myers and William Myers

Most of the businesses in the building at the time of the fire did not rebuild. But the Webb City Sentinel did move across the street to the Zinc Ore Building at 8 S. Main Street. A parking lot and personal garden exist in that location today. You can see by the addresses and years that Allen Street changed to Main Street in 1921.

Jeanne’s new book, “The Zinc City, Webb City, Missouri” is now available at Webb City Chamber office and other local retailers, such as Maggie Jane’s Gifts, at 8 S. Main St.

Jeanne Newby

A lot of us appreciate the Bradbury Bishop Fountain, but Jeanne actually worked behind the counter making sodas while she was in high school. She knows everything about Webb City and is a member of the Webb City R-7 School Board.