Sweet Springs Missouri Smith Stores Company

Oftentimes in a small town, it takes one passionate individual to make a difference in the growth and prosperity of the area. One of the very early residents of Sweet Springs was Charles K. Smith. He and his family had commercial ties to the town in the early days when it was known as Brownsville. They operated the Smith Brothers Lumber Company and had a vision to make Sweet Springs into a commercial destination for a great shopping experience that could compete with the neighboring towns of Sedalia and Marshall. The Smiths invested their resources on the east side of Miller Street, where they endeavored to revitalize the downtown district. In the early 20th century, Smith's stores were a key element to the active commercial community.

Smith began developing multiple lots downtown in 1911 and the Smith's stores occupied portions of the East Side of South Miller Street. These buildings were designed with a colonnaded facade, which was distinct for the downtown region of Sweet Springs, which gave the building a modern 20th-century feel. Additionally, the frontage style provided a covered walk to protect shoppers from the weather. Many of the buildings in the immediate area are of Queen Anne style and are uniquely independent from one another.The Smith Stores Company occupied 313-325 South Miller, which contained a two-story three-building shopping complex.

In 1911 Smith was also the catalyst behind the construction of a luxury hotel with a similar colonnaded frontage similar to the Smith Stores. However, the hotel did not open until 1919, when Smith was no longer the owner.

In 1912 there was a broad range of commercial businesses that operated in the Smith Stores location. They included a drugstore, operated by F. H. Tisdale; a hardware store with a tinner, plumber, and steamfitter; a furniture and undertaking establishment operated by H. Renken; and a dry goods store and a grocery store operated by Ed Reavis. Locating multiple businesses in the same building location was cost efficient and was a relative new commerical business practice for the time. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the Colonnade Hotel in 1937; however, the colonnaded front buildings of the Smith stores remain and are currently being restored. The Smith Stores Company buildings are part of the Historic District listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.



313- 325 South Miller Street, Sweet Springs, MO. 65351 ~ Located across the street from the Sweet Springs Historical Society Museum