Chillicothe Missouri Stone Music Hall Store
Spencer A. Stone was born on April 1, 1853 in Connorsville, Wabash County, Indiana to Kentucky native Spencer A. Stone Sr. and his wife Miss Ellen Daily. The death of his parents at an early age, left him an orphan. When he was fifteen years old, he left Indiana to live in Iroquois County, Illinois to attend school and worked in the mercantile business. When he was twenty-one years old, he traveled to Iowa and Nebraska, until finally settling in Chillicothe, Missouri in 1876 or 1877. Mr. Stone had conducted businesses in the city as a retailer on North Locust Street in undertaking and a dealer in chromos, picture frames, photograph albums, oil paintings, mouldings, toys, queensware, home furniture, and musical instruments. He was a member of the fraternal organization of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows (I.O. O. F.). He married Miss Lucinda Garr, the daughter of Reverend John Garr of the Methodist Episcopal Church on August 24, 1876. They had four children; Arthur D., Virgil B., Ethel M., and Guy H.
Spencer A. Stone gained more attention as a musical instrument dealer and obtained his own store. According to the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Chillicothe, Mo in 1890, the address of the one-story building was 620 Washington Street, where the music teacher E. A. Strong conducted his business in 1891. The Sanborn Map of 1896 obtains a two-story building with the address changed to 512 Washington. The brick building has a cast iron exterior and four double-hung windows with arched transoms, iron-plastered columns, and molded iron sunbursts on the second floor. S. A. Stone moved into the new building in 1892 and established his music store.
By 1901, John A. Stone, a relative of S. A. Stone, began working at the store until he became manager the following year. He began selling about 150 sewing machines along with musical instruments. J. A. Stone began remodeling the interior in 1904 with new wallpaper, and fashionable furniture; relocated the office towards the front entrance, and the talking machine department was moved to the back of the store. He installed a seating area with a mirror for ladies inside the door entrance. A new roof was constructed and the upstairs was transformed into Music and Sales rooms. The company name changed from Stone Music Hall to Music and Sewing Machine Company Store. By 1907, the store was overstocked with 25 brands of pianos and constructed walls to divide the piano rooms upstairs. S. A. Stone serviced bulks of products to small dealers and his son Guy H. Stone was a floor sales clerk in the Phonograph and Small Goods department. In May 1909, John A. Stone sadly ended his own life and S. A. Stone resumed his manager position afterward.
After working at the music store for 50 years, S. A. Stone sold his business to retire in 1927. He was the oldest music dealer in Chillicothe at this time. For several years, his health began deteriorating until his death on April 13, 1931. Spencer A. Stone provided entertainment in the commercial business world. He gathered different age groups in the community and non-locals to come together at his music store. In the 1940s, the site became the Cummings Furniture Company Store with Ed Cummings as the owner. Today, the property now houses the Salty Hippo Art Studio and Retail Store.