200 N Second Avenue
I always assumed this building was car-related but had absolutely no idea about its history. Then I took a photo of a Smurf building and wondered how it got that way. It turns out there was a series of wood frame buildings at the southeast corner of Bridge/Second Avenue and Locust/Santa Fe Trail Streets going back to at least 1884.
The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a second-hand store on this lot with frontage at 407 Locust Street. There was a lot of renumbering going on in Dodge City at that time and by 1887, the corner was home to a hardware and implement store with a new address of 301 Locust.
The 1892 Sanborn shows a grain warehouse at 301 Locust and by 1899 the lot was empty. It stayed that way until sometime between 1905 and 1911. The Ford County website says the current structure was built in 1910, which is impossible.
The 1911 Sanborn shows a frame shed at 219 Santa Fe Trail with the Second Ave side numbered 208. There was no other structure on the 200 block of Second Avenue. By 1918, the lot was once again empty and no address was listed.
In May of 1922, W. F. (not H. F.) Rhinehart of Howell, Rhinehart and Company began construction on a brick building taking up all of lots 19 and 20 in the 200 block of Second Avenue.
Homer Graves moved his car dealership to the Rhinehart Building in August of 1922. He had previously been associated with the City Garage at Central and Chestnut.
J. J. and Ray Weigel bought Graves Motor Company in April of 1923. Homer Graves was suffering from poor health and planned to retire in California.
Sutton Chevrolet moved into the spot at 206 Second Avenue in February of 1924.
White Eagle Oil Co. was supposed to open a service station on the corner but it appears John Carson had an auction house located there initially. The auction house moved to 419 West Chestnut in March of 1925.
It didn’t take long for W. F. Rhinehart to add on to the east end of the building. Sutton Chevrolet had outgrown its old showroom and moved into the new addition. If it isn’t clear, Santa Fe Street was actually Santa Fe Trail.
C. F. Bryan opened a grocery store at 204 Second Avenue in June of 1925.
McCarthy Auto Supply moved into the old Sutton space in September.
The addresses for this building are extremely confusing. In addition to the newspaper typos, someone seemed to have been inventing street numbers. You’ll see what I mean further down.
It didn’t take long for Sutton Chevrolet to move to Military Avenue. And this is where things get weird. In 1926, Dodge City Motor Company was in the old Sutton Chevrolet spot at 213 W Trail Street. What’s confusing about that? I’m glad you asked. I read a story published in 1954 that said Dodge City Motor Company opened at their (then current) location at 200 Second Avenue in 1944. But Dodge City Motor Company existed in 1910! Carl Fay went to work there as a mechanic that year! So unless it was a completely new entity with the same old name, that story completely missed the mark.
The 1926 Sanborn shows an L-shaped brick building with frontages at 206 Second Avenue and 217 Trail Street cuddled up against a mostly wood frame filling station on the corner. You can also see the new addition to the east, which filled in lots 17 and 18. The street numbers stopped at 208 Second Avenue and 219 Trail Street. Unfortunately, the maps shows filling stations on both sides of Second and businesses didn’t regularly list street addresses in their ads. I believe the station on the west side of Second was a Standard but I really have no idea about the east side during the ’20s.
The 1932 Sanborn shows the same configuration of the two adjoining structures. Just as a side note, see the rail siding in the middle of Maple? If you scroll down to the Google satellite view, you can still see where it was paved over.
Any. Whey. In 1937, Clinton Service Station was at 208 Second Avenue. Glenn Rexroad, who had moved to Dodge in 1923 to work in the Weigel Brothers garage, had a garage attached to the Williams Motor Sales Company at 200-202 Second and the spot at 204 Second was occupied by the Earl Smith Café.
By 1947, Dodge City Motor Company was listed at 200 Second and apparently took up the east building as well. Baird’s Café had taken over the spot at 204. And I *think* the filling station on our corner was a Clarence Fetter 66.
It’s so weird but this station was repeatedly listed at 210 Second, which was not a thing. The flour mill was at 300. It hurts my brain.
By 1953, Ensminger’s Air Conditioning & Heating Co. had moved into the spot at 213 West Trail Street.
Back to 1954, when Dodge City Motor Company was owned by Cecil and Eddie Doll (Liberal) and Ray Sellers (Dodge City). There were also dealerships in Meade, Minneola, Spearville, Protection, Cimarron, and Beaver, Oklahoma. Also, that section of Second Avenue had two lanes of brick with on-street parking!
By 1956 or ’57, Dodge City Motor Company had moved basically to the opposite street corner and morphed into Sellers Motors. Good grief, there were so many dealers in Dodge during this time I don’t know how anyone could keep them straight. Why so many *Plymouth* dealers? The parts of the Rhinehart building that had housed the dealership were vacant. 204 Second Avenue had become home to Orkin Exterminating Co, Inc.
The aerial photo below shows the filling station had been filled in and you can see the addition on the east end of the building.
And here’s a close-up that shows how tight the corner used to be. Second Avenue still had diagonal parking at that time.
By 1959, Crum Oil Co. had taken over 210 Second Avenue, which still didn’t exist. Besides Ensminger’s and Orkin, the rest of the big building was vacant. In 1960, only Ensminger’s was operational. Things were looking up a bit in 1961, however. Barnes Appliance Service had taken over the spot at 204 and Davis Motorcycle Sales & Service was in the old filling station.
There were a lot of changes over the next year, though, and the Harley shop was replaced by Cool-Temp Awning and Window Company.
Dodge City Automotive Supply, Inc. was formed on October 31, 1962 and set up shop in the space at 200-202 Second. That basically gets us into the configuration we remember. In the flood photo below, you can see the Westinghouse logo on the sign for the appliance store.
I believe there was a fire at Barnes Appliance Service in August of 1966 that caused extensive damage in that part of the building and after that it was all Dodge City Automotive Supply on Second. Brown Manufacturing Co. and Brown Tent and Awning had the Trail Street side. Dodge City Music Co. occupied the old filling station on the corner until the early 1970s when they moved to 213 West Trail.
But remember how tight that corner was? How many times did you back up at the light for semis trying to turn east on Trail while you were waiting to turn south on Second?! I remember being shocked when the old filling station disappeared and Trail was widened. The visibility was amazing all of a sudden.
Dodge City Automotive Parts, Inc. was formed on January 4, 1984. Somewhere along the line, Dodge City Automotive became a NAPA.
The NAPA people painted the brick Smurf blue. Most of the windows were removed. It wasn’t a great look. Then NAPA built a new store just to the south and the original Rhinehart Building was apparently used for storage.
You can see from the Ford County GIS map that the current parcel is pretty huge. I’m not sure if both buildings were always considered one parcel or if that was changed over time. It’s really easy to tell from this view how the intersection was improved with the widening project.
Click here to see the Google Street View. You may have noticed on the Sanborn maps that there were rail sidings on Maple Street and the alleyway to the south of Fairmount Creamery. The Google satellite layer below still shows where the sidings were paved over.
This is all that is left of the original structure. It’s really obvious where the storefront entrances had been. The building was never what one would consider ornate but it does have some cool details.
Clearly, I took that photo before it was painted purple and black. Paws and Claws now occupies the building and I’m glad it’s being used. This is what happens when you look at a building and begin to wonder…
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