The Walnut Inn is one of the paintings featured in the book being sold by Tarkio College. The building was built in 1889 by David Rankin and John Hanna at a cost of $1,600. The two-story brick building was used as a general, hardware, and harness store. Sleeping rooms were located on the second story of the building. In 1911 the building was converted into a hotel and restaurant. The name, Walnut Inn, was selected due to the beautiful interior finish of black walnut that was cut on the Marshall ranch. The building underwent several renovations. In 1972 the Walnut Inn was purchased by Robert McCoy and murals of Tarkio’s historic buildings were painted on the walls of the dining room by his aunt, Edna O’Dell. Tarkio College purchased the building in 1989 and converted the north dining room into a small theatre. In 1993, the Mule Barn Theatre Guild became the owners, renovated the building and leased it out. Then a local family purchased the building, which became vacant around 2000. The elements took their toll and the building was eventually condemned and demolished in 2017. The Walnut Inn was an important regional hostelry and center for social activity. Many weddings, receptions, dinners, art fairs, and civic meetings were held in this building known for its elegant historical decor and its beautiful walls constructed of native black walnut.
Tarkio College is selling a pictoral history book, “Tarkio Memories – Through the Art of Edna McCoy O’Dell.”
Edna Dean (McCoy) O’Dell, the daughter of Chesten H. and Mary E. (Neal) McCoy, graduated from Tarkio High School in 1931 and married Duff D. O’Dell in 1942. They made their home in Tarkio, where Edna was employed as a bookkeeper for St. Joseph Light & Power and later for Tarkio College.
Edna was very active in the Tarkio community and lent her artistic talents to the betterment of all. Maybe best known were her murals in the Walnut Inn Towne Room depicting current and past buildings in Tarkio. Later, Edna painted several murals of bank buildings for the Farmers State Bank Community Room.
The Walnut Inn had become vacant and was deteriorating badly. An effort was made to capture Edna’s beautiful murals before the building was demolished. Donald Jagger was able to photograph them, so that Edna’s artistry may continue to be admired and enjoyed. Edna’s family has given permission for her art to be presented in this book. Any proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Tarkio College. Anne Amthor did research on the history of the buildings. Editing and page layout was done by Carol Jagger.
To request a copy of the book or to request enlarged prints or any single photograph for framing or on canvas, contact Donald Jagger Photography, 12016 County Road 4001, Holts Summit, MO 65043, 660-623-0859, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.