Quote from 1914 Buchanan Co. History Vol. 1 p. 224 “Independence in the Early Sixties” (1860’s) The streets in Independence in the early days were always in a dreadful condition. They were uneven and muddy, the sidewalks were a menace to life and limb. The first sidewalks in town were of oak, or elm boards, often twisted and full of splinters – when pine planks were introduced it was considered a great improvement. Not until 1864 was a grade established on Main Street (1st St. E); before that time the merchants had built according to their fancies and the inclines and declivities of the street. At the east end of the bridge, the street was some 5 or 6 feet lower than it is now and every time the river was very high that portion of the bridge and street were inundated. This was greatly improved after the grade was established – Main Street was ploughed up and leveled – excavating was done from Walnut St. (3rd Ave.) east, and filling in from Walnut Street west to the bridge and the bridge was raised up 5 feet at the east end. Buildings were upgraded and between 1864 and 1874 Independence was a thriving community. May 25, 1874 saw tragedy. A devastating fire started in a frame building on Chatham St. (2nd Ave. NE) south to Main St. and then west to the river. The winds carried the flames across the street and that whole block was lost. There were 39 businesses, 2 hotels, one church, 5 dwellings and 2 livery stables lost. Rebuilding began immediately on the top of the limestone foundations. These limestone foundations have recently been ‘brought to light’ by the 2012 downtown sidewalk program. Stereview shows businesses rebuilding 18874-5. Notice ladders.