Monett was a railroad town. If there's any doubt, glance through the pages of the city directory published in 1914, twenty-seven years after the town was founded. It lists hundreds of men in railroad jobs: engineer, brakeman, fireman, signalman, switchman, conductor; station master, dining car chef, ticket agent, claims agent, postal clerk, express messenger; car inspector, coach cleaner, boilermaker, machinist, hostler, steel gang, section hand; works in yards, shops, round house, freight house, cinder pit.
After the railroad, the largest employer in town was probably Fredrick's Cigar Factory. The directory lists only William Fredrick and Arthur Erwin as cigar makers, but a Monett Times article in January, 1914, said the firm employed 20 people and made over a million cigars a year. An April, 1918, article said it employed 60 people. The firm advertised for young women employees, and a 1913 postcard shows 8 young women employed by an unnamed cigar factory, most likely Fredrick's.
Other important employers were the E&F Steam Laundry and the ice plant. A September, 1912, newspaper ad said the laundry employed 20 people, and on a rough count from the directory, the ice plant employed 13. When Monett suffered a dangerous typhoid epidemic in 1914 caused by polluted drinking water, the ice plant had the only deep well in town and furnished safe drinking water for the schools.
The town also had a flour mill, Patterson's, and a bottling works owned by John M. Breece which handled Lemp's Falstaff Beer as well as soft drinks. The town's manufacturers besides Fredrick's were a sash & door works, a harness factory and the Barnsley Brothers Cutlery Company. The directory lists one person each affiliated with the harness factory (Joe Bobski) and the cutlery factory (U. S. Barnsley), although there were probably others.
A few men living in town listed themselves as farmers, but surprisingly few listed occupations specifically serving agriculture. C. Auffert was a grain dealer, Elmer Meador secretary of the berry association, Jake Stark a fruit tree agent, Farris Thomas a veterinary surgeon and W. E. Thornberg owner of a feed store.
The town had six doctors, including a woman osteopath (Ida Johnson), five dentists and and seven attorneys. The display ad for Dr. William West's hospital says that it had graduate trained nurses and pulmotor, oxygen and X-ray equipment. The pulmotor was a type of respirator that first came into use about 1911, so very up-to-date. The hospital accepted medical and surgical cases, but not cases of contagious disease. There were also several druggists in town, including Logan McKee, who published many of the early postcard photographs of Monett and who had piloted the DeChenne aeroplane in 1911.
Monett in 1914 had a light plant, a gas works and the Missouri & Kansas Telephone Company, which eventually became Southwestern Bell. The automobile was growing in importance. Garretson Brothers Livery opposite the post office offered both automobiles and carriages. The Wagner Motor Car Company at 6th & Broadway was agent for the Paige Motor Car and the only car dealer listed in the directory, but also offered the blacksmithing services of Drew Taylor. A. E. Spratley ran the Monett Garage, and Thomas & Thomas listed automobile and carriage painting as a specialty. F. M. Reinsmith and Davis & Chapell Hardware sold automobile supplies. Matt Butler listed himself as an automobile salesman, the only one in town. The directory lists no gas stations, and none of the display ads bothers to mention that the merchant sold gasoline.
The town had two movie theaters, the Bijou and the Gem, and five saloons. Harry Smith worked at both the picture show and the pool hall. Rex Leckie and A. Meyers listed themselves as ball players. Leckie had played for Monett's semi-professional baseball team the Athletics several years earlier. Mrs. Gibbs listed herself as a beauty doctor, and Velmer Neushwang called himself a butter maker. There were 9 grocers in town and several butchers, but no listed dairy. Bud Russell ran the peanut stand. The directory lists four Monett men in college, including Claude Woolsey, and five working in a pool hall. There were 10 teachers and 6 ministers, as well as 9 bartenders, 3 saloon keepers, 3 wholesale liquor dealers, 2 beer agents and 1 whiskey dealer. H. C. Cox, the Budweiser distributor, offered home service.
The directory was published December 5, 1914, by the Monett Record, a newspaper rival at the time to the Monett Times. Its display ad claims "First Class Job Printing" but lists a subscription to the paper as $2.00 on one page and $4.00 on the next. A. H. Cox, one of the town's druggists, is listed as a saloon keeper, presumably a confusion with H. C. Cox, the Budweiser man. No serious effort is made to alphabetize the listings beyond the first letter, and the spelling is atrocious. My grandfather, A. E. Banks of rural route 2, is listed as A. E. Binks. The surname of the hardware dealer S. A. Chapell is spelled three different ways in three different places. The owner of the bottling works John Breece is also John Breese, and the owner of the cigar factory William Fredrick is also William Frederick. The Frisco Saloon at 5th & Front is said to be located at 5th & Trout. Perhaps the Record's typesetter has some personal acquaintance with the place.
The directory has four sections:  (1) A roughly alphabetical list of businesses, heads of households and employed adults in the city, with occupation and the number in the family; (2) A list of persons on the city's four rural mail routes (RFD = Rural Free Delivery); (3) Corrections; and (4) A classified list of the city's businesses, which does not include all of the businesses listed individually in the alphabetical section. The plan of the directory and publication date are found on the Inside Front Cover. Here is the complete directory in PDF format, and here are links to the directory's 60 individual pages:
|Inside Front Cover||Hu-Je||U-Wa|
|Steam Laundry Ad||Ju-Ky||Wh-Wi|
|Ba-Bi||Ma||RFD 1-RFD 2|
|Br-Bu||Mc-Mi||RFD 2-RFD 3|
|Ca-Cl||Mu-Ot||RFD 3-RFD 4|
|Da-Dr||Pu-Ri||Classified Page 1|
|Dr-El||Ri-Ru||Classified Page 2|
|Ep-Fl||Ru-Sc||Classified Page 3|
|Fl-Ga||Sc-Sm||Classified Page 4|
|Ga-Gr||Sm-Sp||Classified Page 5|
|Gr-Ha||Sp-Su||Inside Rear Cover|
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This site created by Bob Banks. Comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome.