In 1971 an open area along Main Street was chosen as the new site for a memorial honoring Hannibal's other native who impacted American culture.
He didn't write novels or make it big in Hollywood.
He grew up and did what most can only dream of. He played baseball.
Jake Beckley was just a typical kid on Hannibal's South Side, but when the opportunity came up in his young adult years to play baseball, everything sky rocketed from there.
He played more than 20 years of baseball and in 1971 — the main reason why an memorial site had to be chosen — Jacob Peter Beckley was elected to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. The most popular of the inductees that year was undoubtedly the great Satchel Paige, but it was a special day in Hannibal because one of their own had made it to baseball heaven.
A marvelous red-stoned monument was installed and a crowd gathered for a ceremony to commemorate it.
But today downtown Hannibal is in another transition and in the four decades since that monument was placed at what is now the entrance of the Planter's Barn Theater parking lot, new sidewalks are being installed to improve the historic downtown area and in the middle of it all is the Jake Beckley Memorial site.
It was probably never intended to be moved, but with construction in the vicinity, Hannibal Parks and Recreation is taking advantage.
Workers with the department removed the monument early Wednesday morning and are storing it at the Parks and Recreation facility until ground is broken next spring on the site where a revamped memorial will be built.
It could be something entirely new. It could be something that incorporates the monument that's occupied the site for 41 years. It's all open for discussion now, but revamped is clearly something that could be expected.
It's been over a year since an artist's rendition came out of the memorial site, but Parks and Recreation Director Andy Dorian has said it's just not feasible. Parks and Rec has been "back at the drawing board" for quite some time and now it appears this holiday season could bring a glimpse to what's expected.
Dorian said Wednesday that a new rendition or at least an idea of what's going to be done at the site could be available by Christmas.
But it doesn't end there, by Opening Day in the spring it's also possible the new memorial site could be finished or at least taking shape. Dorian said there's much to discuss when it comes to the Park Board and Beckley's memorial is part of the talks.
Just like the start of next baseball season, all there is to do is wait.
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