Clio Logo

Selden B. Griswold operated a long-time grocery business at this location in a brick building that was destroyed by fire in 1972, along with three other structures to the west on the south side of the square. Griswold, a Civil War veteran of the 53rd Illinois Infantry, was one of Carthage earliest merchants as the town rebuilt from its Civil War destruction. He hauled his first store goods himself by wagon from Sedalia, Missouri, the nearest railroad point (1). In 1882 his company focused entirely on the wholesale grocery trade in the region and continued that practice until the late 1920s. (Griswold died in 1918.)


  • Griswold Grocery building, circa 1888.
  • Griswold Grocery coffee bag, 1910, displayed in 175th Anniversary of Carthage Exhibit at  Powers Museum in 2017.
  • Digitization on CLIO part of Powers Museum's "Digital Carthage" project in honor of Carthage's 175th Anniversary Celebration 2017-18.
  • Funding for the Walking in the Wards tour was made possible by a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Spring 2017.
  • First Griswold Grocery building on site, c. 1868-72.
  • Detail from previous image. It is unknown if owner S. B. Griswold is pictured. Carte-de-viste by Hunt & Bulgin, Carthage photographers.

The brick building pictured here first replaced Griswold's original frame structure constructed in 1868 (latter seen after the project's logos) the year he came to Carthage (2). The second building was built prior to 1884 and used by the Griswold Wholesale Grocery Company into the twentieth century. Among later occupants of the building were the Karbe Grocery and Jed Brown's Meat Market in the 1930s and from the 1940s until the 1972 fire, Western Auto occupied the building.

If you walk around the new professional office building on this site today, you can see a mural on the wall of the former Burlingame and Chaffee Opera House that was painted by Webb City, Missouri, artist John Biggs in 2006 for the former Main Street Carthage organization (3). The scene features a Victorian ball at the opera house (see Clio entry for same) and was created by a grant from the Helen Boylan Foundation. The Bee's Old Fashion Variety Store and Ben Franklin, owned by Sue and Jack Vandergriff, was occupying the opera house building at the time of the mural's painting.

"Carthage, Missouri Store Front Civil War CDV," eBay seller item printout from October 1, 2000, listing previously viewed at http://cgi.eBay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dn?/viewitem&item-447905585 [web citation may be wrong due to half characters visible on print out in vertical file at Powers Museum] (4 - photo caption).

"Death of S. B. Griswold," Carthage Weekly Press, October 31, 1918, no page given (1 & 2).

Powers Museum Vertical Files: Griswold Grocery.

Roberts, Chris. "Painter Cover Carthage with murals," Joplin Globe, April 7, 2006, as consulted September 30, 2019 at https://www.joplinglobe.com/news/local_news/painter-covers-carthage-with-murals/article_6a78ca5d-cea0-534e-9c1b-291a3cdf6dc2.html (3).

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Former Powers Museum exhibit image created from 1888 Carthage City Directory.

Coffee bag in Powers Museum collection.

First building photographs taken from 2000 eBay listing "Carthage, Missouri Store Front Civil War CDV" (4).