Looking Back: Warren Webb Hardware
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Yes, I’m a week behind with the March calendar photograph. I got so involved in the Jackson County Roads project that I complete forgot to report on the photograph selected for the March calendar page.
Although the date written on the back of the photograph below is 1902, the store may have been built as early as the mid-1890s. I have previously written about the hardware in the Valley News on March 26, 2020.
The back of this photo is dated “about 1902” and identifies the owners as William Warren (second from the left) and Tommie Webb (lower front). The other gentlemen include Watson Hendricks (in front) Orie Morrison (3rd from left), Nob Alexander, Bill Brammer, and two are unknown.
In the 1910 United States Census, Thomas (Tommie) Webb was listed as 60 years-old, single, a merchant and living as a border with the Edward Williams family in Grain Valley, Missouri. After spending a couple of hours on the internet, I can only say this is my best guess. There are at least four Thomas Webbs in ancestry, all living in the area at that time, however, the Williams Home was just a block north of the hardware and he was the only one listed as a merchant.
William A. Warren is much easier to identify. In 1900, he was already the third generation of the Warren Family living in the area. Benjamin and Lucinda Warren came from Tennessee in 1843. They settled at Tarsney Lakes with their children, including Zachariah. He married Nancy Terrance on March 24, 1850. William Andrew was the fifth of their eleven children, born May 20, 1856. William A. and his wife Mary were the parents of William Durwood “WD” Warren, founder of the Bank of Grain Valley.
The Warren Webb Hardware was built on the north side of the railroad tracks on Broadway (now Main Street). Exactly when it was built is unknown to me, however Warren died in 1914. Perhaps that is when the name changed to Loring Hardware. William H. Loring and his wife Ada ran the store until his death in 1930. After that, Walter Hoehn ran the store.
Other than a new roof and asphalt siding, the building had remained much the same when Charles and Mildred Napier purchased it from Cecil and Anna Louise Poage in 1949. The store no longer sold Askew Saddles as the sign on the right of the building advertised, but it did sell about anything else one might need. Sewing machine needles, baby clothes, dishes, garden seed, Cook’s paint, and nails. A garden plow, tools, window glass and washing machines. You name it, you could probably find it at the hardware.
In 1954 the name was changed to Napier Hardware, Plumbing & Heating. The store burned along with the old hotel, in the background, in December 1959. Since that time the property has been a parking lot.
Note: If you feel like you have read this before, you probably did. But many people expressed an interest in knowing move about the calendar photos. This is article number 242, so hopefully, if I repeat some things, I am forgiven!
The Warren Webb Hardware, Circa 1902. Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
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