Old Towns Don't Die, they Just Fade Away…
Hecht City did not make the obituary column on February 5, 1873, when Corning took over. The 150 Hecht City natives merged with the newcomers, the Hecht City buildings remained and gradually vanished from the street scene. The greatest aggregation of them had settled on the long block, No. 22, between Elm and Pine, and became a tough job for the City Dads in the 80's. Hecht Brothers had moved their commissary to the Cairo and Fulton right-of-way long before the town of Corning was platted and the two-story frame was so far out in the street that it obstructed traffic. At the North end of Block 21, Buck Kilgore's saloon of 1872, another two-story frame, obstructed Elm Street, as well as West First. The owner of the lots had set his fence in line with the buildings. In the middle of the block, Wm. G. Akers - Clay County's first sheriff (his broken tombstone in the graveyard should be repaired) had built this Akers House to accommodate the C and F workers nearly on the alley due to the permanent mud hole, one of three on First Street. To say that First Street straggled is expressing it mildly.
Early Corning was an easygoing town so the citizens walked around the obstructions until 1885 when they decided it was time to put a bit of pressure on the owners and shape up.
Wherefore J. H. Hardesty, owner of lot 60, Block 21, appeared before the board, September 22, 1985, W. P. Lawson, mayor, and petitioned that the Cassidy Saloon Building be condemned as a public obstruction. The board gave the owner D. Mondy of Pocahontas 30 days to move it. At the same meeting the Iron Mountain was ordered to fill the muddle South of the depot between the main line and the switch track.
The spirit of reform is contagious, at the meeting on November 7th, Mr. Mondy was told to move his saloon, or the town was going to do so, and J. H. Imboden who had taken over Hecht Brothers, was notified that the old commissary had to be moved within 60 days. On November 18th a special meeting was called to pay Z. T. Daniels 20 dollars for moving the D. Mondy-Cassidy Saloon to the alley back of the Staley (Crystal) corner. D. Mondy was an Irishman, kin to pioneer Pat Martin, and he wasn't aiming to take the seizure of his property lying down … and the town of Corning had a lawsuit for damages to think about. F. G. Taylor was appointed as defendant, but the Council became a bit cautious and although Imboden's 60 days notice had expired long since, the board allowed F. G. Taylor, $2.50 for negotiating with Mr. Imboden and 50 cents for speaking to D. Monday - total three bucks. Also $5.00 for plats of the town proving the town's ease, total eight bucks! Then a grant of $10.00 for any future work on the problems - Grand total, 18 bucks! But before the session adjourned F. G. Taylor was paid $30.00 as town attorney - $48 in one day! Corning was broke for the rest of the year.
T. B. Staley, city recorder, struck a humorous note in the minutes of April 20, 1886: "The Council met in special session at Staley's Drug Store in Upper Corning, about 100 yards from the Iron Mountain Railway Depot in the County of Clay and State of Arkansas, Township of Kilgore, W. D. Block No. 21, about 30 feet Northwest of the site of Jack Cassidy's Old Saloon". Elm Street was 60 feet in width and the building blocked half of Elm. The lawsuit dragged on until March 2, 1887, meeting then the town agreed to compromise with D. Monday.
Moving the Hecht Building was delayed until June 20, 1887. Citizens of Corning donated $75.00 and Mr. Hecht agreed to pay the other $75.00. The job was to be completed by July 20th and the minutes of July 23, 1887, reported the job had been done.
After two years of work, The Ghosts of Hecht City were finally shoved in a closet. Corning began to look good like a good community should!