The ongoing renovation of the McGinty Building on the Neosho Square recently uncovered a hidden surprise of days gone by.
Revealed beneath a portion of removed stucco on the west side of the building, in bold black lettering, is the word “McGinty’s”. Below that is declared, “The home of Hart Schaffner & Marx Clothes.” Above it all, in colors of green, red, and black, is the logo of Hart Schaffner & Marx - a medieval trumpeter on a horse.
The Chicago-based men’s clothing company traced its roots to 1887, and was incorporated under its eventual name in 1911. The company changed its name in 1983, and in 2009 filed for bankruptcy, selling off all its assets.
The particular logo that is painted on the original brick of the McGinty Building - and so wonderfully preserved all these years, hidden from our view - was apparently used in the 1950s and 60s. After that the trumpeter seems to have been turned in the opposite direction, among some other changes. The logo painted on the McGinty building was done at least after 1955 because it isn’t there in Life magazine photos taken of the building that year.
As for McGinty’s Department Store itself, on the southwest corner of the Square, most people living today who grew up in Neosho before the dawn of the 21st century probably remembers going in there as a kid for clothes, shoes, or whatnot. There are enough positive reminisces about McGinty’s - and the McGinty family - to fill a book.
The building itself, at 101 E Main, was constructed in 1895, at the site where the wooden Armstrong House hotel once stood. The Armstrong House was lost to a fire in 1881.
The Golden Eagle Clothing and Dry Goods Store operated there from 1895 to 1918, when the building was purchased by brothers A.C. and James McGinty as a new location for their clothing store, which they had operated since 1904 at another location.
A.C.’s son, Hale, later started working at the store and eventually managed it for decades. Hale’s son, Steve, later managed it as well. The family sold the business in 1991, though it kept the McGinty name. McGinty’s closed its doors for good about a decade later.
I was privileged to know Hale McGinty, and let me just add to the mountain of previous compliments about him by saying he seemed to be a kind and courteous gentleman.
I am very happy David and Christy Sims are bringing new life to what has become a Neosho landmark.
-Wes Franklin writes a weekly column, That History Guy, for The Neosho Daily News.