Ancestors, Legends & Time

Saturday night entertainment at the 5 & 10

Jeanne Newby

A few years ago, I received a note from someone who did not want to be recognized if I printed her story, and I will honor her wishes. She started out by saying that her memories may be too far back for my column. No way! I love memories whether they were many years ago or just last year. A memory worth treasuring in your mind is worth sharing with anyone willing to listen! And I am listening… and sharing! We will call our mystery lady Nickle.

Nickle says: My memory is of a place rather than a person… but since it takes people to run a place, both are involved. My memory goes back as far as 1918. (You read it right, 1918). I was born in Prosperity, which was a boom town. We had a bustling Main Street. There was a drug store, post office, department stores, doctor office, shoe repair shop, barber shop, restaurants, two horse stables, and others that I can’t remember.

There were three wooden school buildings. In 1907, one was destroyed and replaced by a brick building, which still stands in excellent condition. There were so many children, it was necessary to have two school sessions a day… one from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the other from 1 p.m to 6 p.m. (Those poor teachers!). 

The Methodist Church, Northern Baptist, and a small church established by “Mother” Hailey Flannery were always filled to overflowing. Also, two saloons in town… also full!!

The highlight of the week was Saturday night when Dad loaded Mom, and the nine kids into our Model T and headed for Webb City. We would have to drive about two miles before we got to Carterville to the concrete road (the highway), which took us to Webb City and our destination, S.H. Kress’ 5 & Dime. That was Heaven on Earth! Every family within driving distance in our area headed for the dime store on Saturday night. 

There was a bakery, the dime store, a chili joint, and a bandstand from Broadway Street south to the Alley. The Hub was located across the street. The women all went to the Hub first, and the men gathered in front of Kress’ Dime Store. Most them were friends and that was their place to meet (gossip) and catch up on all the news …even discussed baseball. Then the women would leave the Hub and drop off all their purchases and packages with the men while they went inside the dime store. That’s when the visiting really got underway. It was just wonderful until the doors closed at 9 o’clock and we all went home to wait a whole week to go back.

Time passed… I graduated from high school and got a job at Rex Casket Co. It was a great place to work, and I made money and good friends. At noon each day, everyone headed for the dime store. Most of the girls working there were from Carterville. They are gone now, but no doubt some of them have descendents in the area. Pauline Jeffries worked the candy counter for years. Her cousin, Freda Moore, worked at the Victrola/record counter. She played all the latest records and joked and laughed with anyone who would stop and talk with her. She was very witty and a lot of fun.

Nina Breeden, from Carterville, worked the cosmetic counter, and Helen Henritz was across the back where they sold tools and other handy things. Orpha Weaver, from Oronogo, was in the office for years. There were more Carterville girls, but I have forgotten their names.

I never made a trip to Webb City to shop without stopping at Kress’ 5 & Dime. But time passed, and I suppose I outgrew its uses, and then one day…the doors were closed. But there will never again be a place in my life like S.H. Kress’ 5 and Dime.

Now you know why I nicknamed this lady Nickle.

Thank you so much, Nickle, for sharing your fun memories of the 5 & Dime and those special Saturday nights on Main Street. Please don’t hesitate to write a few more memories to share with us. I’ll keep your name a secret!!

Other families have shared their memories of Saturday nights on Main Street in Webb City. Some families would even go to town early to park their car in the best spot for visiting with everyone. Then the family would walk back to town and enjoy their favorite parking spot.

If you get a chance to drive by the old Kress’ 5 & Dime you can see the improvements being made to the building as it begins another chapter with a new history.

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.

This aerial photo with the layout of the Hatten Farms Golf Course actually goes with last week’s article by Jeanne.

Hi Jeanne,

I enjoyed your column on the second golf course. I grew up on Crestwood Drive and our yard had one of the old greens and a tee box. One of our neighbors remembered the course from when he was a boy. He said it was referred to as “Roney’s Pasture” and was a nine-hole course.

Most of the course had been lost by the time our house was built there, but we had a recognizable green in the back yard. That is, we had one until a bulldozer used the green to turn itself around while doing prep work before our house was built. There’s just enough left that you can recognize where it was, if you know where to look. The tee remains obvious today, despite my brother and me using it as a motorcycle jump for our dirt bikes. I’m sure that didn’t worry our mother at all.

Greg Salchow

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.