CAMDENTON, Mo. — After years of disrepair, the Night Hawk and Kitty Hawk buildings are getting new life. The owner of Janine’s Flowers, Janine Bullock, and her family have purchased the buildings and are renovating them.
“Janine just really couldn’t stand the possibility of it being torn down so we decided to take on quite a big project and we’re just slowly trying to get it watertight and clean it up,” said Amy Uxa, Bullock’s daughter-in-law who’s been part of the effort to fix up the building.
Night Hawks was a popular tavern and diner in Camdenton with origins before Bagnell Dam was built in the 1930s. This excerpt from the 50th Anniversary of Bagnell Dam "yearbook" explains the venue's history:
In 1933 Jack and Toots Stottler came to Camdenton, started the Night Hawks, operated 10 years and made it one of the best restaurants between Jefferson City and Nevada. They sold it in 1944 to Buford and Anna May Foster who have operated it since. In 1948 they built a two-story annex, which added much to the Night Hawks. First, a night club and a private dining room. Later, it was turned into a gift shop. The lower level was improved into a club room. A bowling alley was installed on the second floor, existed for 12 years, was moved and apartments installed.
In 2018, the city bought the two buildings for $8,671 after some had expressed concerns for health and safety. The former restaurant and bowling alley had stood vacant for many years and had fallen into disrepair with a deteriorating roof and possible water leaking in the basement. Night Hawks had stood at that spot since the 1930s, but now there was some concern that the building might fall in.
Originally the city had planned on demolishing the building and selling the lot, but Camdenton locals spoke out about the historical significance of the buildings for the town. In 2020, the city announced a 45-day window for someone to purchase and rehab the property. Otherwise the city would continue with its demolition plans.
In December of last year, Janine Bullock and her family bought the property under the name Millington Properties LLC. The total came to a little over $11,000, mostly due to expenses relating to the sale. Uxa says they plan on fixing up the buildings and leasing them out to local businesses, possibly a restaurant or shopping area. And they hope to have a focus on the family-friendly.
"We just want to help spruce up Camdenton," Uxa said, adding, "Camdenton needs a place... for people to go with families and stuff to do."
Uxa doesn’t yet have a timeline for when the building will be available to lease. The family is doing many of the repairs themselves, including removing wet insulation, taking down plaster and removing wiring.
“It’s a fun project though. I’ve really enjoyed it. But we have a long way to go still,” Uxa said.
It may be a while before Night Hawks is back on its feet, but many Camdenton locals will be glad to see that this local landmark has been saved from demolition and is on its way to recovery.
For more information about the project or for questions about leasing the space, contact Amy Uxa at 314-307-2467.