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Walking in the Wards - Ward 1 - Downtown Carthage MO
Item 14 of 24
Construction began in early 1883 for this $7,000 multiple purpose structure that included city offices, fire and police departments and jail (then called the calaboose and located behind this structure). The building also held engine rooms for the early municipal water works. Horses that pulled fire department equipment were housed across the street at Crandall Livery (building now gone). The structure was remodeled in the early 20th century and continued to serve the City of Carthage as a fire station and in many other capacities including the long-time Civil Defense storage facility as directed by Opal Johnson from offices in Memorial Hall. In the 1980s this structure was converted by the City of Carthage for use as a museum dedicated to the history of the Battle of Carthage (July 5, 1861; see Battle of Carthage State Historic Site Clio entry, East Chestnut Street). The property is within the National Register of Historic Places Carthage Courthouse Square Historic District (see link below).

  • City Hall as it appeared in 1885 Carthage City Directory.
  • Carthage firemen outside City Hall building on Grant Street circa 1914-15. Pictured are Carthage's second Fire Chief S S Mathews (third from left) and firemen (left to right) Neely, Whiteman, Wheeler, Huffer, Ayler, and Woods (no first names).
  • Civil War Museum and Harrington Block located next door. Before the Jasper County Courthouse was built, offices on the second floor of the Harrington Block were used for Jasper County business and a passage way between the two buildings existed.
  • Part of larger mural on the Battle of Carthage that greets visitors entering the Civil War Museum. The work was created by Carthage artist Andy Thomas and features battle action around the former Jasper County Courthouse.
  • Diorama of pre-Civil War Carthage courthouse square on view at Civil War Museum.
  • 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.

In 1895, city offices moved into the Jasper County Courthouse on the second floor of the new courthouse since the city had contributed $50,000 to the courthouse construction project to guarantee the courthouse remain in Carthage. Jasper County government had been without a permanent home from the time the town was re-built after the Civil War's total destruction of the town. Temporary county offices even included the upstairs rooms of the Harrington Building located next to the 1883 City hall with access into the second floor of the city building. 

Today the former City Hall building includes museum exhibits on life in Carthage during the Civil War years, including African-Americans, Native Americans and Myra Belle Shirley (aka Belle Starr) whose father owned much of the land on the north side of the courthouse square (including portions of this structure's property). The museum also features Civil War-themed artwork from local artists Bob Tommey and Andy Thomas.

Hansford, Michele Newton. Images of America: Carthage Missouri. Charleston SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2000 (1).

Vandergriff, Sue. Then & Now: An Architectural History of the Carthage, Missouri Square & Nearby Structures. Carthage, Missouri: author, 2003.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

City Hall image former Powers Museum exhibit image.

Firemen photograph former Powers Museum exhibit image and found in Hansford source cited above (1).

2017 Photograph of museum and Harrington Block by Michele Hansford.

Mural photograph by Michele Hansford.

Diorama photography by Michele Hansford.