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June 22, 2017

April 1879 Magnolia Mills and in 1890 Magnolia Opera House Opens at Pine-Washington Intersection

Magnolia Mills Opened in April of 1879, Warrensburg, MO 
(Innes Elevator Mills)
Hartman & Markward Flour Mill Sanborn Insurance Map 1883
Warrensburg, MO
Did you Know? In the years 1882-84 Johnson County Missouri produced more grain than any other county in the United States!
Innes Mills
Link to Full Report From a DNR Report, State of Missouri
This mill and the new Missouri Pacific railway were two of the main reasons "New Town" Warrensburg grew so fast in  the 1870's and 80's.  Any art major at UCM will remember this old mill as the building to sketch.
The Magnolia Mills started operating in 1879 in Warrensburg,  Johnson County, Missouri. The large frame mill and elevator building occupies the southwest corner of the intersection of West Pine Street and Washington Avenue, facing east. The original mill building was three stories tall, with a flat roof, drop siding, and evenly spaced double hung windows. In 1884, the building was greatly enlarged by the addition of a three story frame elevator topped with a monitor roof and large cupola. A one story warehouse was added to the southwest corner of the building around 1888, and expanded to its present size sometime before 1907. The last major expansion occurred around 1918, when a fourth floor was added to the mill. The elevator was sheathed with lapped weatherboard siding when it was built, and the mill was re-sheathed to match, apparently at the same time the fourth floor was added. The building remained largely unchanged from that time on, and housed a mill business throughout the period of significance, which runs from 1879-1946. In the late 1940s, a modern concrete elevator and mill were built onto the west end of-the warehouse, and milling operations were gradually moved into that part of the building. 



The property has been in the same family (Innes) since 1933, and is still being used for a feed mill. The older parts of the building currently house the mill office and a feed store, and they have changed very little in the last century. The building is the only structure on the property, and it exhibits a high level of integrity of design, setting, materials, workmanship and association.
ca. 1900 Magnolia Milling and Investment Co., Warrensburg, MO
The Magnolia Mills building occupied most of a city block on the edge of Warrensburg's downtown commercial district. It was a massive wooden building which sat close to West Pine Street on the north and Washington Avenue on the east. The tracks of the Missouri Pacific Railroad ran close to the south wall of the building, and the land directly west of the mill property was vacant. The mill complex today only includes a newer section which consists of low mill building and a tall elevator. The addition, which was constructed of concrete in the late 1940s, sits more than 50 feet away from the rear wall of the original mill location, and was separated from the earliest parts of the historic building by a low brick and frame warehouse, part of which dates to ca. 1888. The change in building height and construction materials clearly differentiated the two portions of the complex, and the addition did not significantly affect the integrity of the original mill. The historic part of the building was constructed in stages, as time and expanding business needs dictated, and it consists of three main sections: the original mill of 1879, a large elevator which was added in 1884, and a low frame warehouse, part of which dates to the 1880s.
Construction on the original mill began in the fall of 1878, and Magnolia Mills opened for business in April of 1879. The new building was a three story, heavy frame structure which measured roughly 40' by 50'. Each story contained evenly spaced six-over-six windows; there were three bays across the north end and four bays across the wider east facade. The flat roof was edged with a small overhanging cornice, and a simple awning sheltered the ground floor along the north and east sides. The walls were sheathed with wide drop siding and the building sat on a full basement of sandstone blocks. A large sign with the words "Magnolia Mills" against a light colored background was painted directly onto the weatherboards in a wide band which ran between the second and third stories. (See photo above) which is believed to have been taken shortly after the mill opened.)There were also small one story ells on the west and south walls, both of frame construction, each with a flat roof and double hung windows. The mill was originally powered by a 60 horsepower steam engine which occupied a separate basement level room on the west side of the mill. The engine room had brick-lined stone walls and was enlarged around 1888. Neither the small frame ells nor the engine room have survived to modern times. Although the lot the building occupies is now relatively level, it originally slanted sharply down to the west, making the west elevations a full story taller than those on the east. 

Magnolia Mills, Warrensburg, MO (Innes Mills)


Magnolia Mills Warrensburg, MO  1918

Warrensburg is the seat of Johnson County, and was the largest town in the county throughout its early history. The town was founded in 1836, and soon became an important trading center. It was incorporated in 1856(55), during a period of railroad-spurred expansion. The original settlement was laid out just west of the present downtown, but the center of development shifted east when the Missouri Pacific Railroad came through the area in the mid-1850s. A history of the town which was written in 1881 noted that after the railroad depot was erected in 1867, "the merchants became frantic until they located their business near the station house." The area surrounding the depot became the commercial center of town, and dozens of new buildings were built there in the next few decades, including three new flour mills.The business climate remained favorable, and by 1881 the Warrensburg business directory included more than 200 separate listings. Of those, six represented owners of the flour mills. Commercial production of flour in Warrensburg dates to around 1856, when William Dougherty built a large frame mill southwest of the original town center. The Dougherty mill operated for about a decade, after which the business was moved to the nearby town of Holden. A large new flour mill opened in 1867, about the same time that Dougherty's mill left town. 
Electric Light Plant
Pump Station at Pertle Springs
Ice Factory
Magnolia Mills
Warrensburg, MO 
That business was called the Eureka Mills, and it was for many years the premier flour mill in the area. A description of it which was written in 1881 noted that "this is one of the largest mills in the west....they have eleven hands at work constantly, running night and day." The success of the Eureka Mills must have inspired others to go into the business, for two other mills opened in Warrensburg in 1879. One mill, the Warrensburg Elevator Mills, was added to an existing elevator, and the other represented a brand new business venture. The latter was the Magnolia Mills, which was built and operated by two former Eureka employees, Wm. H. Hartman and Isaac Markward. Hartman and Markward worked at the Eureka Mills during the same period of time, and it is likely they met there. William Hartman was born and raised in New Jersey, and he worked as a miller there before he moved to Missouri in 1868. He was apparently skilled at his profession even as a young man, for he spent several years as the head miller at the Eureka Mills before going into business with Markward at the age of 37. Isaac Markward was born in Pennsylvania in 1848, and moved to the Warrensburg area around the same time Hartman did. He too worked at the Eureka Mills, and was boarding with Eureka owner F. C. Fike when recorded for the 1870 population census. The men apparently spent enough time working together at the Eureka Mills to come to the conclusion that they made a good team; they formed a partnership, and in the summer of 1878 construction began on their mill building at the corner of Pine and Washington. The mill opened for business in April of 1879. In spite of competition from the Eureka and the other mill in town, the Magnolia Mills prospered, and was soon one of the leading flour mills in the area. One local paper later wrote of Hartman and Markward that "the success of this institution, under their management, was phenomenal."
Their early success may have been due in part to the practice of shipping much of their flour out of town, rather than depending solely on the local market. They had chosen a building site close to the tracks of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, a location which made it easy and inexpensive to ship the flour out of town. A description of the mill which was published just two years after it opened noted that .".they ship principally to St. Louis, though they do a large home trade." The capacity of the mill was then 120 barrels of flour per day, much of which went directly to St. Louis. (The Eureka's output was 200 barrels/day, and the much smaller Elevator Mill's was around 25 barrels/day.) The quality of their flour was of course the most important factor in their success, and their reputation in that area was quickly established. In 1881 they were producing three different kinds of flour, one of which "took a premium in 1880 at the St. Louis fair." The brands produced at that time were the Magnolia Fancy, the Magnolia Choice, and the Magnolia Atlas. Magnolia flour must have been redistributed once it arrived in St. Louis, as the same description claimed that "the 'Magnolia Flour' has a reputation extending far and wide all over the west."
First Culp Elevator Mills, Jesse J. Culp, Warrensburg, MO
Hartman & Markward Warrensburg, MO Magnolia Mills


Innes Elevator Mills in the Background, West Pine Street, Warrensburg

Magnolia Mills - Innes Elevator Mills Warrensburg, MO

Magnolia Mills - Innes Elevator Mills Warrensburg, MO

U-Turn Post Sat in Front of Innes Mills, Warrensburg, MO

Magnolia Mills - Innes Elevator Mills Warrensburg, MO

Late 1990's Being Torn Down,  Innes Elevator Mills, Warrensburg

Innes Mills Today, Warrensburg, MO
Magnolia Opera House
Markward and Hartman businessmen decided to expand their holdings and build a combination office building and theatre.  The Magnolia Opera House Opened on October 25, 1890.  The building still stands located on the northeast corner of Washington and West Pine.  It was built three stories high of red brick.  The first floor was subdivided into smaller rooms while the theatre portion occupied the second level.  The theatre entrance was on the west side and to the rear of the building.  Double doors and stairs lead to a vestibule where the tickets were sold.  The patrons could then either go into the main theatre or up the balcony.  The main area seated about 500 people and the balcony seated about 300.  This was one of the first places to sport electricity.  The moving picture had a bad effect on the place.  Near the start of World War 1 it closed.  The first regular nickelodeon in Warrensburg was in 1907 in a building on Holden Street just at the head of West Pine.  Within a year there were three "Electric Theatres" as they were called, in operation in Warrensburg.
Interior of the Colby, Kansas Opera House, Magnolia was probably similar
Magnolia Opera House, NE Corner From Magnolia Mills, Warrensburg, MO  Opera House Back, Left Side
Opened Oct 29, 1890
OPENED BY PATTI ROSA.
Warrensburg's New Opera House Opened Last Night Good Attendance.
Sedalia Bazoo
"Warrensburg, Mo., October 29, 1890
Special. The Magnolia opera house "was opened here last night under favorable circumstances, by the Patti Rosa Company of Tom Crane’s three act drama entitled "Margery Paw." The proprietors, Hartman & Markward, and their manager, Mr. Al Morrow, spared no pains and strained every point to make the entire performance in their opera house a howling success. And they succeeded, too.
It was well known here yesterday that the company would arrive on the morning train from the west, and by the time the train arrived both sides of Holden Street from the railroad track to the St. Cloud hotel, where the company stopped, during the day were lined with people. The company was met at the depot by the Warrensburg band, who escorted them to the hotel.
Magnolia Opera House, Warrensburg, MO (Warrensburgh)
As soon as the doors were opened in the evening the opera house commenced to fill up and at 8 o’clock; when the curtain went up every seat in the house was occupied. The play lasted two hours and thirty minutes, and everybody retired well pleased. The opera house building is a neat two-story brick structure situated on the on the northeast corner of Washington and Pine, built at a cost of $25,000. The opera house is on the second floor of the building with the main entrance in the rear and has a seating capacity of eight hundred five hundred in the parquette and three hundred in the balcony. On the stage there are six sets of full pieces, and seven set pieces with two dressing rooms to each side. The house is lighted with ninety incandescent lights and heated by steam, and in fact has all the modern improvements. Nothing but the best attractions will be bonked. The next attraction will the "Town Lots," Tuesday November 4th, 1890.
Magnolia Opera House, Warrensburg, MO.  I. Markward, Manager
Magnolia Opera House and Train Depot, Warrensburg, MO ca. 1910

1904 World's Fair Train Wreck, The Magnolia Opera House was 
 Used as a Temporary Morgue
1904 World's Fair Train Wreck 29 Dead

ca 1910 Warrensburg Wholesale Grocery, Co, Was Directly East Across
from Magnolia Mills, Innes Mills Warrensburg, MO

Warrensburg, MO by Lisa Irle

Mills.-The first mill in Warrensburg was built about 1858, by William Dougherty about a half mile southwest of Old Town. It was a large three-story brick building, with stone around lower story and two run of burs. This mill was kept running during the war, though several times the soldiers took all his grain. After the war he sold to his brother-in-law, John Smith, who ran two or three years and then moved the mill to Holden, where it was running successfully in 1880.
The "Eureka Mills," well known to many of us, was built in 1867 by Land, Fike and Company. It was one of the largest mills in the West, costing $40,000. Eleven hands were kept at work, besides eight or ten coopers making barrels for them, and shipped an average of a carload of 125 barrels daily. (See history of W. L. Hyer, who was with this establishment from an early day.) The Roseland Company now owns the property.
The Warrensburg Grain Elevator & Mill was built in 1869 by S. M. and E. C. Fitch. It has had many changes, was destroyed by fire, but its successor is still doing a large and increasing business at the same place. 
The Magnolia Mill was completed October, 1879, and owned by W. H. Martman and Isaac Markward. It has had very few changes of ownership, has greatly increased in size and business, and is now owned by the Magnolia Milling & Investment Company, a corporation in which Messrs. Daniel Bullard and H. F. Kirk are the active members. It is the only mill now in Warrensburg making flour, making one brand, the Crystal, which is very unusual and normally can always sell more than they can manufacture.
Original Railroad Depot Warrensburg, MO


Mills.-The first mill in Warrensburg was built about 1854, by William Dougherty about a half mile southwest of Old Town. It was a large three-story brick building, with stone around lower story and two run of burs. This mill was kept running during the war, though several times the soldiers took all his grain. After the war he sold to his brother-in-law, John Smith, who ran two or three years and then moved the mill to Holden, where it was running successfully in 1880.
The "Eureka Mills," well known to many of us, was built in 1867 by Land, Fike and Company. It was one of the largest mills in the West, costing $40,000. Eleven hands were kept at work, besides eight or ten coopers making barrels for them, and shipped an average of a carload of 125 barrels daily. (See history of W. L. Hyer, who was with this establishment from an early day.) The Roseland Company now owns the property.
The Warrensburg Grain Elevator & Mill was built in 1869 by S. M. and E. C. Fitch. It has had many changes, was destroyed by fire, but its successor is still doing a large and increasing business at the same place. 
The Magnolia Mill was completed October, 1879, and owned by W. Hartman and Isaac Markward. It has had very few changes of ownership, has greatly increased in size and business, and is now owned by the Magnolia Milling & Investment Company, a corporation in which Messrs. Daniel Bullard and H. F. Kirk are the active members. It is the only mill now in Warrensburg making flour, making one brand, the Crystal, which is very unusual and normally can always sell more than they can manufacture.
below  Kansas City journal. (Kansas City, Mo.), 02 June 1899


Omaha daily bee., November 19, 1902

below Kansas City daily journal. (Kansas City, Mo.), 20 Sept. 1896
below - Kansas City daily journal. (Kansas City, Mo.), 29 Oct. 1896
Kansas City daily journal. (Kansas City, Mo.), 03 Nov. 1896


The St. Louis Republic. (St. Louis, Mo.), 23 May 1902
The weekly intelligencer. (Lexington, Mo.), 12 Dec. 1891

Kansas City daily journal. (Kansas City, Mo.), 21 Nov. 1895
Empire Hall Warrensburg Hosts Poultry Show

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