Historical Photos of Seymour
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Seymour was incorporated in 1895. The land the town was built on was a marsh. The town’s square originally had dirt streets. In 1904 the Seymour area was a leading producer of apples in the state. A post Civil War house was built by Col. Thomas C. Love north of town, the farm had one of the largest apple orchards in the state, giving Seymour its nickname “Land of the Big Red Apple”. The Col. Thomas C. Love House is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1941 Harold Owen opened a theater on the square, it was open and closed through the years; but currently is open in the winter time when the still operating Owen Drive-In is closed for the winter. The Owen Drive-In used to accommodate small plane pilots who could fly into the theater and watch a movie. Harold Owen still operates the Drive-In during the summer and fall.
In the early 1960s, U.S. Highway 60 ran through the middle of town. In Missouri, Highway 60 runs from the Illinois state line near Charleston, in the boot heel, across the state to the Oklahoma state line near Neosho, on the Ozarks plateau. At that time, also, the Frisco railroad ran through town, providing both passenger and freight service to Seymour, including less-than-car-load service. The Frisco was absorbed by the Burlington Northern in 1980. The old Frisco railroad depot has long since been torn down.
In the early 1960s, most of the business district was centered around the public square. There were three major grocery stores in Seymour—White’s, which was connected with a general store, and owned by Charles White; the MFA supermarket, which was part of the MFA complex (feed and agriculture, hardware and groceries); the MFA general manager was Sherman Eddings, and two of the ladies who worked in the office were Dorothy Herman and Lucille Brown; and Williams’, which was owned by the Williams family, who also had a variety store. There was a feed mill, Marlin Milling, which was owned by the Marlin family. Alvin Marlin had been a paratrooper in World War II and had jumped into Normandy on D-Day. Mr. Pennington owned an Oklahoma Tire and Supply store. Paul Hunter ran the Western Auto Store. The movie theater was owned by the Owen family. The local newspaper, the “Webster County Citizen,” was owned and run by Joe Stanard. Miller’s cafe was on the square, as was a pool hall. Ron Durnford owned an oil company and also a service station, which was on highway 60. An independent auto garage was owned by Wilson Kale (sp?) and Donnie Fann. Joe Criswell owned and ran the local dry cleaners, which was a short way out of the main town on BB Highway.
The postmaster was Bob Nichols, whose father owned a local implement company. The Mayor was Benton George, who owned a tire recapping company. The agent for the Frisco Railroad was Virgil L. Walker, Jr. He was also a veteran of World War II, having served with the 104th Infantry Division in France and Germany. The medical doctor was J.R. Gill, DO. The veterinarian was Louis W. “Doc” Touchen. The librarian at the local library was Mrs. Erb. The largest church was the First Baptist Church, whose pastor was Rev. Moore. One of the pastors who served the Seymour Methodist Church during this time was Rev. August Wilm.
Dean Matney owned and ran the East Side Barber Shop on the square. George “Speedy” Bolinger owned the sundry store (soda fountain). Cliff Winslow operated the “Anchor Inn,” a small restaurant located on highway 60 that was owned by George and Beulah Loveland who owned and operated Loveland Standard Service next to it.. Chuck Carter owned the local propane service.
In the schools, in 1962-63, Walter Hall was superintendent; William Guthrie, principal; in the high school, Bob Mahaffey taught vocational agriculture; Floyd Blankenship taught various science courses; Dean Blankenship taught history; Wayne Barlow taught industrial arts; Bill Halbrook taught physical education and was the coach for sports. Elementary school teachers included Claddie Nichols and Bette Durnford.
City Marshals at various points during the early 1960s time included Jack Griechen and William “Pistol Bill” Silvey. Seymour’s policeman was Fred Cornelius. Seymour had public utilities. Oscar Noel was the electric utility man, while Joe Hensley oversaw the water department.
Seymour was the second largest city in Webster County at that time. It is now the third largest city, having been surpassed by Rogersville. The largest city was, and still is, Marshfield, which is the county seat of Webster County.
(History above Courtesy of Wikipedia – May, 2013)