John Deere Plow Co. Then and Now

I know I said I wasn’t doing this anymore but it’s just this once. I can stop whenever I want.

John Deere equipment has been present in Dodge City from the very beginning and of course, it could be purchased at F. C. Zimmermann’s store.

The Dodge City Times June 7, 1879

After Frederick Zimmermann’s death in 1888, his widow formed the Zimmermann Hardware and Manufacturing Company.

The Dodge City Democrat April 19, 1901
The Journal-Democrat August 3, 1906

John S Rush first worked at the store as a clerk, then as manager, and he ultimately bought out Matilda Zimmermann’s share of the business.

The Dodge City Kansas Journal August 6, 1909
Post card, photographer unknown
The Dodge City Kansas Journal August 19, 1910

John Rush began selling parts of his business in 1922 and retired completely in 1923. The other implement dealers in Dodge carried Case, International Harvester, McCormick, and other brands but I wasn’t able to identify another local John Deere dealer until Dodge City Implement Company was formed on March 17, 1926.

The Dodge City Journal July 4, 1929

In August of 1929, the City of Dodge City transferred land to John Deere Plow Co. This block is where City Hall once stood per the 1926 Sanborn Fire Insurance map.

The Dodge City Journal August 29, 1929

By October, Dodge had exciting news.

The Dodge City Journal October 10, 1929
The Dodge City Journal February 27, 1930
The Dodge City Journal February 27, 1930

I had been walking my poor dog all over town taking photos of all the buildings I find interesting and this was one of them. I really knew nothing about it other than I love the John Deere ghost signs, which can be seen from all over the central part of town. One day, I just happened to look through my copy of Dodge City’s Diamond Jubilee Souvenir from May 1947 (Published by the Dodge City Chamber of Commerce, Printed by Journal, Inc., with “The Story of Dodge City” by Merritt L Beeson and Carl F Etrick) and look what I found!

That sign on the roof must have really been something to see! Now I want to know what happened to it so if you have any ideas, drop me a comment.

Here’s how she looked a few months ago:

The roof is relatively new (I checked) and the place is being used, thank God. I won’t start in on the windows and doors because it could be so much worse.

I also won’t bore you with recent history regarding Dodge City Implement Company (merged out of existence in 1974) and its replacement, Dodge City Implement, Inc. (1987 to 2007). They moved wayyyy out east to a location with a ton more space but a lot less character. Dealership consolidation across multiple industries was inevitable and will continue, as will the shift from family farming to corporate giants. It’s as depressing as framed-in windows and bricked-over doors.

Posting will be sporadic for the next few months since we’re working on an off-grid project in Arizona. Does this mean I’ll be one of those nutty people you see getting rescued on TV? Absolutely not, but you can count on me complaining about the struggle in this space. You can also count on me showing up for the Cowboy Band’s tribute to Chalk Beeson on April 24.

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