by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
This photo was a gift to the Historical Society from Joe Ann (Lang) McAlister. The photographer, probably her grandfather, would have been standing in front of the old depot looking to the northeast. One can certainly recognize the Bank of Grain Valley in the center of the photograph.
It is difficult to say when it was taken, however it was probably in the late 1930s or early 1940s. The building on the left is now a part of the Bank of Grain Valley. Dawn Buckallew, a former bank employee, was told it was a originally a saloon. Raymond Grubb, a 1961 graduate of GV HS and a long-time Grain Valley resident, remembers it as Pop Thomas’ Pool Hall when he was in high school.
The door at the back of the bank opened to a stairway leading to the second floor. In the 1950s Dr. Charles Himmler, DO had an office there. In those days, he cured most ailments with an “adjustment.” He also gave eye examinations and sold glasses which had to be ordered from “the city” and arrived in about two weeks.
Further left is the building at the corner of Main and Front Street going east. Now the tattoo parlor, it has housed a variety of businesses over the years. I first remember it as a marina back in the 1950s when Tarsney Lakes was a “destination” for city folks wishes to spend a weekend at the lake. Tarsney had a big dock area, a lake side restaurant and a “beach” for swimming. The build on Main Street has also been a plastics factory, a beauty shop and a pawn shop.
Next is the Huff Building. It was originally a hotel. I have a vague memory of the gas pumps, but they were not in use in 1949 when my parents purchased Loring Hardware, the building on the right side of the photo. I do not know when the building ceased being a hotel. I do remember a restaurant was briefly opened on the first floor. I mostly remember the lower level as a vacant building, while the upstairs had two or three apartments.
It was in one of those apartments that a man fell asleep smoking on the night of December 9, 1959. That building, along with our hardware, burned to the ground that night. Ten days later in a special election Grain Valley finally passed a bond to get water. The vote for city water had failed several times. On December 19, 1959 there were only 3 NO votes. The hotel and our store are now a parking lot.
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