Foster, Missouri back When

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A cousin sent me this photo. Even the date is uncertain, but judging from the car it must have been taken about 1904. Note the wagon wheel on the car. When one bought a wagon back in that era, the wheels were optional, because there were so many – perhaps four – available. It all depended what purpose the wagon would serve, how heavy the loads.

Cars were sold in the same manner. Even though only one type of wheel was available they were optional. It cost extra to own a car with wheels.

Considering the number of people present, it must have been Saturday. The tallest building was the Foster Bank, owned and operated by the Doolittle family. Hardly visible, the next building was also a bank.

A wealthy gentleman came to Foster, and fell out with the Foster Bank. So he went next door and built a bank of his own. As the story goes, he was the only depositor.

When I came along some forty years the bank was still there, but the gentleman and the vault were both gone. By the time I was a teenager, the Foster Bank had become a grocery store and the store owner stored cattle feed in the lobby of the gentleman’s bank.

Foster Bank 02This is what the bank looks like after another fifty years have passed.

Notice on the second floor we can see light through the trees. The light is coming through what was once a window of an undertaking business. Sometime around the time of the Great Depression the undertaker mysteriously vanished, never to be seen, or hear from again.

Sometime during the mid-fifties the store owner, who now owned the bank, hired my uncle and a classmate to clean out the undertaker’s room. It had remained locked for more than forty years, and they had to break in. They found the place filled with funeral clothing, and caskets. My uncle happened to glance at my classmate as he opened the lid of a casket and found a wax dummy inside.

 

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