Looking Back: West Side of Main Street
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
In the July 22, 2020 edition of the Valley News, I wrote about the Williams’ Building. Constructed in 1912, the spacious garage was equipped for handling the work of the machines of the community and of tourist parties. Today, 110 years later, the build still stands. It is a part of the “historical” downtown area of Grain Valley.
West Side of Main Street
Historic Downtown Grain Valley
In 1919, the following article appeared on the “Grain Valley News” page in the Oak Grove Banner.
Building Being Repaired
“The Williams Building, formerly occupied by Huff and Baumgardner Garage is being renovated. New shelves are being put up and arrangements are being made to use the building for a store. As to what line of business will occupy this store has not been published. But rumors have established butcher shops, dry goods stores, furniture stores and grocery stores, but so far no one has moved in.”
(If the wording or grammar seems strange, please know if it is copied as written in 1919.)
Today, the Williams Building is occupied by an annex to The Bank of Grain Valley and The Pottery Palace. But over the last century, this building has housed many businesses. When it was renovated in 1919, the left half of the building became Storms’ Drug Store. Edward Storms and later his son George “Ellis” Storms were the pharmacists. In those times, the fundamental role of pharmacists as a healthcare practitioner was to check and distribute drugs to doctors for medication that had been prescribed to patients. A college degree was not required for this occupation. In the 1950s Jim Casey bought the drug store. Casey’s had no “prescription” drugs, only band-aids, gauze and ointments, aspirin, cough syrups, and ex-lax, personal grooming products, miscellaneous items, beer and a soda fountain (literally all of life’s little necessities)! I remember on other owner for a year or so. Shortly after the last drug store closed, it was bought by the Bank of Grain Valley.
At some point the post office was moved to the right side of the building. It was there that I bought 3-cent stamps! The U. S. Post Office occupied a very small area at the front. Patrons entered the door into a short hall way. On the left, you could go into the post office. At the end of the hall, the door led to Grace Mickel’s restaurant. Those were the days when coffee was a nickel, vegetable beef soup or ham and beans soup were 50-cents and a piece of homemade pie was a quarter! Those were the “good ole’ days,” for sure!
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society
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