Chapter 7 - The Historical Square of Sarcoxie
Approaching the historic business district, the unique square comes into view. The park in the center of the square is unique because most small town squares contained court houses not gazebos. The gazebo sits in the center of the square where it was originally built in 1904 under the inspiration of J. J. Sprague. The original design had two levels with bathrooms on the lower level and a band stand on the upper level. Over the years, the bathrooms had to be removed converting the gazebo to the single story structure appearing today. The gazebo has provided a stage for government officials to speak, concerts and ceremonies to be held.
As in years past, the square remains the hub of social events. Over the years residents and visitors alike have participated in various events. Automobile Day brought people to town to see the new gas run cars and the parades circling the square. Families traveled to town to enjoy the weekly Saturday Exchange Day as they brought their produce and items to town to sell and trade at the local businesses. Old Timers reminisced, “Everyone parked their cars three and four deep around the square. They left their keys in their car in case someone might need to leave early. If there weren’t keys in the car, the car was just pushed out of the way. No one ever had to worry about their car being stolen.”
The festivities went well into the night as citizens listened to the musical entertainment, danced, shopped, picnicked and just socialized with old friends. The young folks hung out at the Sarcoxie Confectionary owned by Sam and Neta Feather and then watched a John Wayne movie at the “Avalon”. Parents might attend a special political meeting at the “Star”, the local opera house.
The square still draws crowds for the annual “Chief Sarcoxie Days” celebration, the city wide garage sale, the annual Christmas light display and the parades that make their way around the square during various celebrations. Locals and “out of towners” alike enjoy the musical performances while sitting under the shade trees, talking with old acquaintances and enjoying the food during the festivities. The Senior Citizens building is always busy hosting morning coffee or noon lunch, monthly chicken dinners, hot chocolate after the Christmas Parade and any other event that might need a meeting place where visitors and residents congregate.
Yes, Sarcoxie was the perfect small town to grow up in said many locals as they shared their stories. A town that cares and looks out for their neighbors! This attitude still prevails!
Prepared by Michelle Gautz August 3, 2013, Revised February 23, 2015
Material taken from the National Registry of Historic Places designation October 20, 2014, #14000872