A school friend, Kathy Bigley Wright, recalls the Hula Hoop craze that took the country by storm. She has also shared a photo of a Hula Hoop contest on the Eugene Field Elementary School playground (when it was still being developed). Notice the plaid craze that seemed to coincide with the Hula Hoop craze. 

Ancestors, Legends & Time

Remember when?

Jeanne Newby

It is still 2022 so we still get to spend some time looking back through the years… as if I have to have an excuse to look back through the years!

• How many of you remember Wheeler’s Shoe Store and Repair on Daugherty Street? It is hard to believe but he opened that shoe repair business 100 years ago.

• 119 years ago, the new four-room school house in Johnstown was completed. J.W. Beddingfield was Principal.

• The first World Series was 119 years ago when Boston beat Pittsburgh 5 games to 3.

• Memorial Park… Do any of you remember the World War I cannon in Memorial park?

• Some of you still remember having a telephone operator respond when you picked up your phone receiver. Do you remember that when you heard a siren you could ask the operator where the fire was and she would give you the address? A couple of our readers said they would hop on their bikes and be at the fire about the same time as the fire truck if the fire was nearby.

• Another reader recalls that the operator sometimes got a bit nosey. You would tell the operator what number you wanted to call and she would make the connection. Occasionally, if the operator recognized your voice, she might make a comment like, “That isn’t the same girl you called last night!”

• The phone numbers in those days were pretty simple. The Sentinel was 2, the Missouri Utilities Company had the honor of having the number 1. Some numbers were two digit like the Chamber of Commerce was 52 and Webb Corp was 29.

• Rob Roy Ratliff recalls when Hal Wise, editor of the Sentinel, would not mention Joplin in the paper but referred to it instead as “the big city” or “the town nearby.” Ratliff also fondly remembers that the most popular part of the Sentinel was the social column, telling everyday things about everyday people.

• It was stated in the newspaper that on October 15, 1882, E.T. Webb’s new home at Liberty and Joplin (Broadway) was receiving its final coat of paint.

• It was also stated in the 1882 newspaper that “a local farmhand had eloped with the farmer’s wife. He left a note that said, “I have tooked your wife, but you are welcome to my last week’s wages which I did not draw and I hope that squares things.”

• 157 years ago, Jan. 17, 1855, the temperature reached 17 degrees below zero.

• When the first water tower (the black “smoke stack”) was installed in Webb City it was determined that the corner of Tracy Street and Hall Street was the highest natural point in Webb City. It was also noted that the area where Mount Hope Cemetery (then referred to as the Bigger Place) was considered a high point. The man-made high point in town was the hill where the Praying Hands sit.

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.