Imagine the first block of East Broadway if this building were still there.

Ancestors, Legends & Time

The Jamison Building was originally built as a livery, including an elevator for carriages

Jeanne Newby

Once again we are going to visit a beautiful building that once stood proudly in Webb City and is no longer there. Changes that have taken place are often forgotten and we want to remind everyone how things were before the changes.

At 109-111 E. Broadway, once stood the beautiful Jamison Building. It was built in 1901 and was first used as a livery stable, operated by the Burris family. This sturdy three-story brick building, featuring Carthage Stone and wonderful arched windows, was handsome. There was an elevator that carried items from the first floor to the third floor. That elevator carried carriages to the third floor for storage during the livery stable era. The ground floor was used to stable the horses.

In later years, the building moved up from horses to automobiles. There was a car salesroom on the first floor and once again, the elevator was handy to move cars to the second and third floors.

Rex Metallic Casket Co., located across Broadway, made use of the Jamison Building by storing caskets to be shipped at a later date. Webb Corp, just three blocks east on Broadway, also used the building for storage.

But in 1948, the building really became important as the Missouri National Guard leased it.

The history of the National Guard in Webb City started in January 1909. It was reorganized after World War I. The 203rd Coast Artillery, Houn Dawg Regiment, “G” Battery was under the command of Cpt. Ray E. Watson. The regiment had served under Col. Watson in the Aleutian Islands on the Alaskan Coast.

Early in 1949, the National Guard was once again organized in Webb City as Company “B” 135th Tank Battalion and later as Company “B” 203rd Armor and had headquarters in several towns, including Webb City. The commanders were: Cpt. Mel Kennedy 1949-1951, Cpt. LeRoy Skinner 1952-1954, Cpt. W. Terry James 1955-1962, Cpt. Jimmie C. Morris 1963-1965 and Cpt. Don Miller 1966-1967. (This information was compliments of Col. W. Terry James, retired.)

The 1947 City Directory lists the Missouri State Guard Armory at 201 S. Main St., and records show, 109 – 111 E. Broadway was leased to the National Missouri State Guards in 1948. I received a letter from James O. Toutz, who remembers joining the Missouri National Guards in the spring of 1949, along with many of his classmates who were graduating. Webb City citizens recall the men doing drills along Tom Street, weather permitting.

We would like to take a moment to thank those young men and all the others who served our country. Webb City always had citizens willing to serve in the military.

A new site was required by the state that was to be provided by the city and be cost-free. Such a site was obtained on South Ellis Street in 1960. The unit commander at that time was W. Terry James. Before the new armory could be completed, the Missouri National Armory at 109-111 East Broadway Street burned on May 22, 1963. History notes that Sergeant E.J. Gamble, entered the burning building and saved records and the history of the unit by passing his file cabinets through a window to helpers below.

The National Guard, under command of Jimmie C. Morris, used part of the Elks Building at Webb Street and Broadway until the new federal armory was completed and dedicated on Oct. 17, 1965. 

Crowder College has since converted the armory for use as its Webb City campus. It was renovated, and after the extension was completed, that original building was remodeled again.

Webb City was well represented in the wars, and there are two memorial plaques standing in Memorial Park for the service men lost in five wars. In the “Webb City, Carterville, Oronogo History” books put out by the Webb City Area Genealogical Society, there are pictures and stories of many of the service men from this area. God Bless America and those who serve and protect us.

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.