After being located within the Jasper County Courthouse since 1895, the current Carthage City Hall was built after the former Myers and Garland building (built in 1892) and two other adjacent smaller historic buildings were destroyed by fire May 29, 1988. (Note: Myers and Garland names were used interchangeably throughout this structure's history.)
Today's City Hall lobby contains a unique display of ancient Carthage, Tunisia, artifacts from a former sister city relationship in the 1960s. Also on display is a series of works by Carthage artist Andy Thomas comparing ancient Carthage to Carthage, Missouri, during different periods of time.
For ninety six years, the former Myers and Garland building at this location housed a multitude of businesses. The Carthage limestone facade carried both surnames of its owners Thomas Garland and William Myers (the latter a former Carthage mayor). One popular early occupant at this address was Roach's Queensware and Jewelry Store that sold domestic goods to many Carthage households including a variety of Jasper County Courthouse souvenirs once the courthouse opened in 1895.
By 1960 the building housed the Apartment Hotel and two first floor stores - Brown's Tavern and Ernie Williamson Music Store (1). Williamson who had acquired the building that year, also operated a music store in Joplin, Missouri. In 1980 the structure became known as the Garland Center when it was re-purposed into several shops and the Belle Starr Restaurant on the third floor. The project was developed by Robert DeBaca, Lowell Davis and Tom Kingsbury. Myrabelle Shirley (aka Belle Starr) lived in Carthage prior to and during part of the Civil War years (her father John Shirley owned most of what is now the northside of the square).
The building was occupied by Mostly Books and The Lilly Pad when the fire occurred in 1988. That summer there were two other fires in the downtown district that damaged or destroyed historic commercial buildings. Police vacations were cancelled that summer in order to perform extra patrols of the area until those responsible for the fires were caught (2).
Although City Hall is not a historic building, it is located within the Carthage Courthouse Square National Register District (see link posted here).
Text for this entry written by Michele Hansford, 2018, Powers Museum Volunteer.