A Slice of Old Joplin

From the recollection of Bud Belden in Pioneering Days, we get a glimpse at one of the tastier elements of Joplin’s past:

“Mr. E.E. (Jimmy) Denham owned the Hub and where ever hangs the Denham sign good fellows congregate. The roast beef at the Hub was something to write home about. Jimmy had an attendant who served it at all hours. Small portions of roast beef Au Jus sliced thin by the attendant who dipped each juicy morsel in natural gravy before placing it on a slice of rye bread you held extended in your left hand. Then you tenderly pressed the top slice in place and you had a sandwich of which the Angel’s sing. The sandwiches were delicious and they were free. How gladly we would exchange our gold for them today.”

Ernest E. Denham’s “The Hub” was located at 103 East Fourth in Joplin, Missouri. He later operated the Rex Billiard Parlor.

A Prince Among Men: Oliver S. Picher

The following story is taken from Bud Belden’s memoir “Pioneering Days.” His father, Charles Belden, founded Belden Electric Company and wired many Joplin homes for electricity.

“When engaged in wiring the residence of O.S. Picher the boys discovered a case of Scotch Whiskey. Being alone in the house they placed a bottle on the kitchen table where all could wet their whistle as they passed by. Unexpectedly Mr. Picher returned about 4 P.M. and immediately work centered in the basement and in the attic. But when any of the malcreants did appear, Mr. Picher no doubt noticed their unusually bright and shining eyes as they peered at him from dirty faces. Being an observant man, Mr. Picher noticed this condition was general among all members of the crew.

Then his suspicions were confirmed for some of the boys started talking and removed all doubt. As the boys were preparing to get away hastily, Mr. Picher must have had an idea, for he stopped them and said, “You fellows look tired, you’ve been working hard all day. How about taking a little drink with me before you go?”

Now there was a regular fellow. Sure, the day was finished, they would be glad to. O.S. then assembled them not in the kitchen but in the dining room and served them in manner grand. Iced ginger ale in tall gold rimmed glasses with White Horse Scotch Whiskey. They were a sorry lot weaving around in dirty overalls but they sang the praises of Mr. Picher loud and long.

He was to them a Prince among men and so remained until one day Dad received his check for the work done. From the bill [Picher] had deducted fifty dollars with the notation in large letters, For WHITE HORSE.”