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This property's early owner, Robert McFarland, sold this parcel in 1851 to John Shirley who eventually owned most of the property that comprised the north side of the square. He operated a hotel and livery stable until he and his family, including daughter Myra Belle Shirley (later known as Belle Starr), left town for Texas during the Civil War. (A marker in the sidewalk further down the block at 119 East 3rd, notes Shirley's ownership of the square's north side.) R. H. Rose was one of the Carthage's early settlers after the Civil War and opened a dry goods store. His first location was one of the storefronts below the Burlingame & Chaffee Opera House (136 East 4th Street, see Clio entry for address). A few years later, H. G. Damon began construction of a new commercial building across the Carthage square at Third and Main Street and R. H. Rose moved to that location. His store was a large establishment and had over thirty employees.Through good marketing and managing, Rose and son G. A. Rose after him, managed to survive the fierce competition of Carthage dry goods stores (at any one time numbering at least a half a dozen similar stores) and continued operations until the early years of the Depression. The building is in the Carthage Courthouse Square National Register Historic District.


  • Damon Building with a late 20th century remodeled facade.
  • Main Street side of the Damon Building showing more original building details.
  • Carthage Foundry name at bottom of cast iron pillar details.
  • Damon Building as pictured in the 1888 Carthage City Directory.
  • R. H. Rose Mercantile Company packing tissue from the turn-of-the-twentieth-century as displayed in 175th Anniversary of Carthage Exhibit in 2017.
  • Digitization on CLIO is part of Powers Museum's "Digital Carthage" project in honor of Carthage's 175th Anniversary Celebration (March 28, 2017 through March 27, 2018).
  • 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.

Eventually three storefronts were created in the former mercantile space and offices were opened on the second floor. During the remainder of the twentieth century, among the various occupants of these spaces included the following: Reynolds Hardware, Edmiston's Department Store, Wallingford Shoe Company, Barnes Jewelry, and Baird News. In the1980s, the Flatlander Gallery was located here and sold artwork by Carthage artist Lowell Davis, creator of Red Oak II village located northeast of Carthage. 

The first floor of the historic front facade was covered in the 1970s but the western wall of the building still exhibits Carthage limestone keystones above the bricked-in windows on the second floor and many Carthage Foundry-made cast iron pillars on the first floor. 

Vandergriff, Sue. Then and Now. Carthage MO: author, 2003.

Powers Museum Vertical Files: Damon Building & Rose Mercantile.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

2017 Building photographs by Michele Hansford.

Building illustration former Powers Museum exhibit image.

Wrapping paper in Powers Museum Collection.