Court House Square

Designated on original town of Vandalia plat recorded on July 29, 1871, as the Court House Square. This site, on one city block is on the west side of South Main. Possession was retained by A. McPike, founder of Vandalia, and after his death in 1904, the title passed to his heirs. For many years, this park was the site for a bandstand and in 1938 a monument, in recognition of war veterans, topped by the town's old liberty bell, was erected in the NE corner. In the early 1950s, the area refectory companies donated money to Vandalia for health care facilities but redesigned the grant funds for recreational purposes. Vandalia Recreation Association proposed construction of a library-community building and requested the city petition McPike heirs to deed the square to the City of Vandalia. In 1955, the title was cleared, the bandstand was raised, and the city leases a portion of the park to the association. Construction was completed and the building occupied in 1957. In the early 1960s, a parking lot was built west of the building to accommodate employees of the garment factory.

In 2017, the old library was torn down and replaced with the Eastern Missouri YMCA the next year. The monument, in recognition of war veterans, topped by the town's old liberty bell are still there.

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Vandalia's Liberty Bell

In 1908, a bell was installed by the City of Vandalia in the top of the iron windmill frame of the water well located on the west side of the 100 block of North Main Street. This bell was a very efficient form of communication, including sounding curfew, fire alarms, and taps for the lowering of the flag. On November 11, 1918, following a big Armistice Day Parade celebrating the end of World War I, the bell rung so long that it cracked from the crest to its rim. The bell continued to be used in its current state until January 31, 1924, when it was given to the American Legion. On November 11, 1938, following a big parade, the members of the American Legion Post Auxiliary No. 167 held a dedication service of the red granite memorial stone located in Court House Square. Inscribed on the front of the stone are the words: "Vandalia's Liberty Bell mounted on this shaft by the citizens of Vandalia and community erected to the memory of veterans of all wars. Unveiled and dedicated on November 11, 1938." And the history of the Liberty Bell was inscribed on the back of the stone: "This Liberty Bell was cracked while ringing out the glad tiding of the signing of the armistice of the World War at eleven o'clock on November eleventh nineteen hundred and eighteen."

Quick Fire Guns

When Jerry Maxwell was in the first grade, he remembers walking down Main Street and seeing guns at the Veterans Memorial in the park. But in 1942, the United States had a scrap drive t collect metal for World War II and someone took the 1,205-pound guns to the elementary school to be melted. Ever since he had wanted to restore those guns to the park. Maxwell decided to build the guns himself. They were erected on either side of the Liberty Bell Memorial. During his 50th class reunion in 2004, the guns were dedicated to the city on behalf of the Vandalia High School, class of 1954 and Maxwell Trailers, his company on Mexico, MO. The 105-mm gun was the first military gun after the cannon, used in 1809. It was nicknamed the "Quick Fire Gun" because it could fire about 25 to 30 bullets per minute and had five-mile range.

Maxwell Gun