The Hidden Gem of Belton, Missouri: Uncovering Main Street's History

The Shawnee people have a long-standing presence in Belton, Missouri, located four miles west of the city, just across the Missouri and Kansas border. This area was known as the Black Bob Reservation. In 1906, a building was constructed in Belton that would become a hidden gem of the city. This building was used as the City Hall, and it served as a stage for school programs, graduations, and musical recitals.

In the 1930s, it became the headquarters of The Grace Company, a children's clothing factory. The building underwent many changes over the years. It was used as a movie theater, then a library, and then the city offices. Firefighters and their trucks were located there at one point, as was the police department under the stage with cells in the jail. In 1974, when a new town hall was built next door, this building was scheduled to be demolished. Fortunately, many people joined forces to develop a plan to preserve Belton's history.

The building was transformed into a museum in the front half and a public meeting room in the back. Today, Main Street Theater LLC offers live entertainment with the gifts and talents of local artists. All of the water that flows south of Main Street goes to the Grand River and then to the Osage River before eventually flowing into the Missouri River 10 miles east of Jefferson City. This is just one more example of how Main Street has been an integral part of Belton's history.

Lola Shoman
Lola Shoman

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