At the age of 16 Alexander Hamilton Morrison moved to Chicago to seek his fortune. Three years later he was in business and a merchant and contractor. Alexander moved to St. Joseph in 1850 at the age of 28 and started his long business career. This made him one of the most influential St. Joseph businessmen in the last half of the 19th century.
His career spanned the construction of railroads, shipping docks, factories, and city business buildings. He managed all of these enterprises as well as insurance agencies and mercantiles. His factory named Morrison wooden-ware produced tubs, pails, clothes pins, handles, etc. He is also credited with constructing and managing the Chicago and Michigan Lakeshore Railroad. Alexander also became a politician holding posts in the county and State Legislator. In 1860 Alexander constructed the entire 200 block of State Street where the Pump House Grille now resides along with 10 other store fronts. Although the front facades have changed, all of the original buildings still remain.
Many enterprises have been inside these buildings since 1860 including groceries, clothing, hardware and general merchandise. In 1925 it was known as the Palace of Sweets, becoming the State Street Restaurant in 1936 until 1938. Then it became the Aragon Bar until 1961 becoming the Idle Hour Bar until 1971 and then the Pump House Lounge until 1975. In 1976 Henry Ingier bought the Pump House and changed it to HI’S Saloon which had a storied history and was well known as the St. Joe Bar famous for its dancing DJ’s, Christmas decorations, and wild parties right up until the current owners bought it and restored the building, almost completely rebuilding the dining room side. The latest rendition of the Pump House opened in 2000 restoring the past name from the 70’s and making it more of a Restaurant then a bar. Nevertheless a St. Joe Tradition continues and we would like to thank-you for visiting us and we’ll do our best to make your visit most enjoyable. We hope our new menu will tantalize your taste buds and that you will return in the future. Thanks very much for your patronage and for being a part of our downtown.
Manager - Kevin Hanner