Florence’s largest commercial building of the 1890s was the Union Block that replaced several older and smaller stores. Built by James Hall, the Union Block contained two upstairs halls. One was used as the Florence Opera House which became a popular venue for touring productions. In its heyday Florence was one of the foremost entertainment towns between St. Louis and San Francisco. Today the autographs of old vaudeville troopers can be found on the back wall of the stage area.
Union Block 1890
Although containing four separate stores, the building appears as one due to the single row of huge double-hung windows with transoms that run the length of the entire front facade. 1890 saw the I.O.O.F. Hall above Hawkes Meat Mart and a saloon; then followed the Palace Bar, Hadley’s Mercantile, a grocery in 1901, and one of Florence’s five newspapers, The Tribune and Weekly. 1912 saw a movie theater and another newspaper, The Democrat. 1955 saw the Capri Café & Bar occupy the ground floor until 1991. A restaurant now occupies