McCoy Airport Then and Now

So there I was, studying the 1932 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Dodge City and before I knew it, I had fallen down an airport rabbit hole. If you’re like me, you know all about the old airbase west of town and may have even attended a party or two in one of the old hangars. Not that I ever did that…I swear. What I didn’t know is that Dodge City had an airport back in 1928, and it wasn’t at the current site east of town.

There was talk of building an airport in 1926 but since Southwest Kansas is so flat, planes could basically just land wherever.

The Southwest News, October 21, 1926

William F McCoy of the Luther-McCoy (and later McCoy-Skaggs) Motor Co. owned a home at 1500 Central Avenue in 1925. A couple years later, he bought a quarter-section northeast of his house to build an airport.

This article is interesting because it places the McCoy Airport between 6th and 14th Avenues. I’m not sure what happened with that tract, but the airport was definitely not built there.

The Hutchinson News, August 1, 1927

My grandmother was born in 1921 and I remember her telling me she rode in a biplane when she was very young. She said it was quite a thrill. I have no idea if Merritt and Beth took her to this event but I can’t imagine them missing it.

The Hutchinson News, September 8, 1928

The Hutchinson News, September 27, 1928

Aviation, October 6, 1928

I also remember Irene telling me about Charles Lindbergh coming to Dodge and I just assumed he used the municipal airport but that land hadn’t even been leased yet.

The Emporia Daily Gazette, October 23, 1928

A revolving beacon light was installed to guide night flyers in November of 1928. The lamp cost about $500 plus another $800-900 to install the electricity. The Transcontinental Air Transport (later TWA) planned to use the McCoy Airport until the municipal airport was ready for service.

The Hutchinson News, February 21, 1929

In August of 1929, the Department of Commerce Aeronautics Branch reported McCoy Airport had two runways with a standard 100-foot white circle marking the center of the field. There were no services but the landing field did have two 30’x40′ hangars.

The same month, the City of Dodge City leased county farmland east of town, which had previously been used as the county poor farm, for a municipal airport. The timing was terrible, however, and the Dodge City Municipal Airport wasn’t operational for several more years.

I’m as shocked as you are to learn Dodge City had a School of Aeronautics in 1929.

The Dodge City Journal, September 12, 1929

By 1931, the Airway Bulletin indicated that McCoy Airport had day services only. Hey, it was better than no services!

So where, exactly, was this airport? I found a brief history submitted by the City circa 2018 that said McCoy Airport was at the current location of Gibson’s Pharmacy. Based on the 1932 Sanborn, that is incorrect.

McCoy Airport is shown at the northeast corner of an intersection of two country roads, which doesn’t seem super helpful but it actually is. Gibson’s Pharmacy is on Central Avenue, which was not listed as a country road in 1932. Avenue A north of Comanche, on the other hand, was listed as a country road.

This 1933 Sectional Aeronautical Chart for Wichita (not Witchita, for heaven’s sake) shows the McCoy Airport being basically due west of Wright. Same in 1934 but on the 1935 Chart, you can see the Dodge City Airport along Hwy 50 but no McCoy Airport. That’s because the landing field’s last use was in 1934 and the beacon was relocated to the new airport east of town.

It must have been a timing issue between the chart and the bulletin but in 1934 there was no listing for an operational airport in Dodge City.

Airway Bulletin No. 2, September 1, 1934

I attempted to use the coordinates from the 1929 Airway Bulletin above to confirm the location but the conversion was off just a bit. The red pin in this Google Maps screenshot is too far east.

I already knew the airport was directly NE of a water tank and 1 1/4 miles north of the court house. I found a 1924 article stating a new baseball diamond was built in a field at the end of Avenue A, east of the stand pipe. That was important because I wasn’t sure how long a water tower had been located just east of Central. The Air Bulletin made no mention of hazards other than to the southeast of the airport so I knew it had to have been far enough northeast of St. Anthony’s Hospital to pose no problems.

After staring at every map I could find until my eyes crossed, I reached the conclusion that McCoy Airport must have been located at the northeast corner of Avenue A and University Drive. It looks like there was an entry road located approximately where San Jose Drive is today.

I reached out to the City of Dodge City for confirmation and hit the jackpot! The aerial photo below was taken facing the southwest. You can see the standpipe at Central Avenue and what is now La Mesa Drive plus St. Anthony’s Hospital in the background, and if you really squint, you can see what was then (and to most of us) the Senior High School. This is seriously one of the coolest photos I’ve ever seen of Dodge.

Photo courtesy City of Dodge City

The much more recent photo below was taken from Avenue A and the bypass looking south. The old airport site would have been way down near those trees on the left side.

Photo by Hoover Cott

And here are some photos of the area now:

Bonus Content: Since I was there poking around, here’s a 1944 Chart showing the Dodge City Army Air Field. This 1969 Chart shows the old airbase was abandoned and also the airport at Wilroads Gardens, which I didn’t even know was a thing.

Researching this old airport was really fun. I can’t believe all of this information was just out there, waiting to be rediscovered.

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Golden Kue Then and Now

320 West Chestnut Street / Wyatt Earp Boulevard

It seems strange to me that a business which was so well-known when I was growing up in Dodge City barely exists in the digital universe. It was much easier back then to visualize the current structure’s past life. But naturally, I was curious about what had stood on that corner in the distant past.

The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows houses facing Third Avenue and a wood frame photo gallery to the east. Brick construction hadn’t yet been mainstreamed by the continual devastating fires. The 1887 Sanborn map shows the same two frame houses but brick structures had begun popping up in the neighborhood. Also, the blocks were renumbered in the three-year span between maps.

Speaking of fire, the 1899 Sanborn map shows the dwelling north of the corner was vacant and badly burnt. That former residence was demolished prior to the publication of the 1905 Sanborn. The house on the corner was then removed to make way for a bigger and better Home Steam Laundry.

The Globe-Republican, October 10, 1907

J. S. Black sold the laundry in January of 1908 to Charles Collins and E. E. Phillips of Larned. The building at Third and Chestnut was ready in June. About this time, it was generally referred to as Dodge City Steam Laundry but occasionally, the papers would still mention Home Steam Laundry.

The Bucklin Banner, July 9, 1908

By September, Mann’s Photo Gallery had moved into the room on the west end of the second floor.

The Globe-Republican, September 17, 1908

In October of 1908, E. E. Phillips discovered his partner, C. E. Collins, hadn’t been depositing funds into the business bank account and bills were not being paid. He demanded a full accounting and Mr. Collins left town. Otto Theis and U. G. Balderson bought the laundry the following month.

The Globe-Republican, February 25, 1909

In August of 1909, The World Brotherhood moved across the street from their previous location in Chalk Beeson’s building at the southeast corner of Third and Chestnut.

The World Brotherhood, August 13, 1909

The 1911 Sanborn shows a downtown area that had been completely transformed. You may have noticed in the ad above that the blocks had also been renumbered again. The 1926 Sanborn was the last map to include Dodge City Steam Laundry at Third and Chestnut. A building permit was issued to U. G. Balderson in January of 1927 for a new one-story laundry building at 611-619 West Chestnut Street.

Jack Voorhies opened an auto repair shop in the old laundry in October of 1929.

The Dodge City Journal, October 24, 1929
The Dodge City Journal, October 31, 1929

The 1932 Sanborn shows a filling station at 318 West Chestnut Street and a small store at 316. Since it’s a black and white pdf, I have included a screenshot to save your eyes.

I had initially assumed the current building had replaced the one which had housed the laundry but when I compare the 1926 and 1932 maps, it is clear they are the same structure. The main floor had simply been opened up to allow vehicles to drive through the filling station. This was confirmed by the county website, which indicates the building dates back to 1908.

By 1937, that corner was home to Schneider Service Station #1 and Dine-A-Mite Cafe was at 316 West Chestnut.

1939 Post Card

Now is probably a good time to remind you of how jacked up the addresses for this block were/are. The current address for the business on that corner is 320 W Wyatt Earp Boulevard, which would make the spot labeled as a store 318. But the 1932 map above clearly shows the building as 318-316. I have no idea when exactly the numbers changed. Because the post card is so cute, I’m going to say it was in the Golden Kue building…but if I’m being honest, it totally could have been another door to the east.

The 1947 directory gives us a bit more clarity; Daniel Service Station was located at 320 West Chestnut Street and Allphin Bar was next door at 318. Does the Allphin name sound familiar? It should!

There really was a ton of turnover at a corner with a ton of visibility. In 1953, Alvin Petersen had Al’s Cities Service there that included “Cities Service Products, Washing, Lubrication, and Tow-In Service.” There was a renter in an upstairs apartment but that was it. It looks like that was the last time a service station operated on the corner of Third and Chestnut.

C. Ray Hopper and Keith Koehn operated Service Electric there from 1955 to 1959 and then the building kind of hit the skids. It was completely vacant from 1960 until Clarette Kimbrel opened the Real Kurl Beauty Salon upstairs sometime in 1962.

In the mid-1960s, Carl Allphin opened Golden Kue Billiards. Remember, the front area of the building was turned into a triangle so it was a small place. I remember seeing vehicles parked where the pumps had been but I don’t think it lasted through all of the 1970s. Mr. Allphin died in July of 1982 at age 90.

This is what the building looked like when I was a kid:

If I remember correctly, it was painted a sickly pale lime green color that could have been hospital surplus paint. Back then, it was kind of a sketchy area. Since it was on our way home from daycare, I spent quite a bit of time staring at it while my mom was stuck at that damned stop sign waiting to turn left onto Wyatt Earp. Like, the color was so bad it was mesmerizing.

The Pizza Hut opened around the summer of 1990. It has been remodeled several times since then and expanded to fill the space at the north end where another beauty shop had been.

Here are some photos I took a while back:

The building no longer looks like it will topple over with the slightest breeze…which is nice.

UPDATE November 3, 2022: I was recently sent this photo of the Golden Kue which was taken in 1970. You can see the Front Street demolition in the foreground. Terrific find!

Photo courtesy of Paul Kornechuk III

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Goddard’s Women’s Wear Then and Now

212 West Chestnut Street / Wyatt Earp Boulevard

Goddard’s was a Dodge City institution and I was shocked when it closed. I was also shocked to find out what the building actually looked like once that horrible metal siding was removed. It’s true…I do reject much of modernity.

Because of its historic location, I wondered what had been in that spot before Goddard’s. The county website shows the current building was constructed in 1909. I’m no expert but I don’t see how that can be possible. It just looks very frail. I’m sure the bricks were damaged by the siding but they really look old and worn down, especially when you compare them to the Mosher & Cochran building to the west, which received a new brick veneer after the Bee Hive was sold.

When I started looking at the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, I had to remind myself that this block was renumbered a few times. For context, the 1884 Sanborn shows a wood frame dwelling with an address of 305 Chestnut.

Former Chalk Beeson business partner and postmaster James A Arment had a paint shop in the future Goddard’s location that burned in December of 1885.

The Globe Live-Stock Journal, December 15, 1885

By 1887, there was a brick building in that spot that was numbered 301 Chestnut. At that time, there was a drug store and a jewelry store on the main floor with offices above. After studying every map available, I’m saying the structure was built between 1886 and 1887 and would love it if one of you could fact check my amateur assessment.

The Dodge City Democrat, January 22, 1887

The real estate office of E. T. Brockman and Co. moved into an upstairs office in April of 1887 and the jeweler referenced on the map was H. J. Dunlap. The architectural firm of Weston & Manning occupied Room 4.

Cash O Waring and his family moved to Dodge from Cardington, Ohio in 1888 and their shoe store was initially called J. B. Waring and Son. They apparently had a giant boot outside their store that was painted bright red.

The Dodge City Times, March 14, 1889

Dr. S. Jay Crumbine’s office was located above the shoe store beginning in May of 1891.

The Dodge City Times, July 24, 1891

J. B. Waring’s health wasn’t great and Cash took over a few years before his father died from “sugar diabetes.”

The Globe-Republican, December 24, 1891

The 1892 Sanborn shows “B & S” on the main floor and offices above still with an address of 301 Chestnut and the 1899 map showed the same. It wasn’t until I started reviewing the newspapers that I realized the maps were saying “Boots!” and “Shoes!”

I noticed an interesting detail on the 1905 map. There is a notation near the northwest corner of the building that it was “badly cracked.”

The Waring and Miller families were related by marriage and William B Miller joined the store as a junior partner.

The Globe-Republican, May 27, 1909

The 1911 map shows both the old address of 301 Chestnut and the new/current number of 212 West Chestnut, still home to “B & S.”

Will Miller sold his interest in the store in January of 1914 and moved his family to San Diego. Three months later, Cash Waring put his house on the market. Waring sold the business to J. P. Holbert in May of 1914. Actually, Waring traded the store and his residence for Holbert’s place in California.

Dodge City Daily Globe, July 31, 1916

Hardin Ebey’s law office was located above the shoe store in 1916 along with the Fashion Shop, which did cleaning, pressing, and tailoring. Leave it to our good friend, Frank Locke, to save the day.

The Dodge City Globe, October 26, 1916

J. P. Holbert sold the shoe store stock in October of 1916 and Southwest National Bank opened at 212 West Chestnut Street on November 20. Fixtures from the old Kansas State Bank building were purchased and moved into this new location. As an aside, the Holbert affair was quite interesting. He also sold his house and everything in it so he could take his family on a tour of the western US for a few months before resettling in California.

Dodge City Daily Journal, November 15, 1916

Interestingly, B. F. Zimmerman (the O. G.) was Assistant Cashier at Southwest National Bank prior to accepting the same job at the Kansas State Bank, which later became Fidelity State Bank and Trust Company. Fidelity currently owns the building we’re studying. It’s a small town, y’all.

Numerous articles about these changes listed the address as 214 Chestnut but none of the early maps or directories show this address ever existing. Troy Robinson’s former photo studio directly to the west has 214 on the door. I believe Troy wrote about the weirdness of the addresses for the first floor of that building being on Second Avenue but the upper floor is assigned to Wyatt Earp Boulevard because of the side door.

The 1918 Sanborn shows a bank on the main floor with a sign painting business (Dodge City Sign Works) above. The bank later moved to the corner of Second Avenue and Chestnut Street. The Hub Clothing Store, which had been around forever, moved into the bank’s old spot in July of 1918.

A. G. Triplett (manager for several years) and Earl Gardner of Salina purchased The Hub in September of 1919. After a fire at the previous location in the Gwinner Building, Aikin’s Studio began occupying the entire second floor in January of 1920.

The Dodge City Journal, October 27, 1921

Earl Gardner died in March of 1924 and William H Gardner assumed his spot in the partnership. Triplett sold his interest in The Hub to Gardner and R. D. Barekman (Gardner’s son-in-law) in February of 1925. A. L. Lyon bought into the business in August of 1925.

A fire which originated in the furnace room caused smoke damage to their entire stock in 1926, which appeared to be the end of The Hub Clothing Co. The 1926 Sanborn simply shows a store at the location. By 1928, the space was home to Miller Clothing Co.

In January of 1931, The Pollock, Mapel & Beck Shoe Company was formed with $7,000 of capital by John Pollock and his son-in-law, Frank Mapel. Their shoe store was located at 212 W Chestnut Street but they had previously operated a grocery store in Greensburg.

I’m finally able to share an item of interest from The Dog Robber! Lee Lippmann was previously manager of Levinson’s Ladies Ready to Wear and Shoes at 502 N Second Avenue. Levinson’s was a small Kansas chain that started in El Dorado. This will be relevant later.

The Dog Robber, November 1931

I never did see anything about the Beck referenced in the company name. Perhaps the Beck was silent.

Hodgeman County News, October 13, 1932

Regardless, the shoe store remained in the same location until at least 1937.

So back to Lee Lippmann. He worked at Levinson’s as early as 1930 and his wife, Jeannette, also worked there. Herman Levinson died in August of 1939 and the 1940 Federal Census shows Lee Lippmann owned a ready-to-wear ladies store so I’m guessing Levinson’s became Lippmann’s at that time. Mrs. Levinson initially put out a statement regarding the Hutchinson store saying operations would continue after Herman’s death but that location was sold within a year or two. Jeannette was the buyer for the Lippmann’s store.

I’ve read in a couple places that Earl Goddard bought Lippmann’s Ladies Ready to Wear in 1945 but I also found ads for Lippmann’s from 1947 to 1949. It’s entirely possible that the name was changed later and I do know the Lippmanns relocated to Baltimore.

Dodge City’s Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, 1947, published by the Dodge City Chamber of Commerce
1947 City Directory and Business and Professional Guide for Dodge City, Kansas
The Advance Register, December 16, 1949

I started seeing directory listings for Goddard’s in 1950 and the newly released Federal Census from that year does show Earl Goddard owning a clothing store.

Dodge City Daily Globe Special Travelers’ Section, 1960
Polk’s Dodge City (Ford County, Kansas) Directory, 1961

Apologies for the crappy angle on this one but you can see the Goddard’s sign on the left where the metal storefronts begin.

Photographer Unknown

Earl Goddard died in 1997 and his wife, Sue, died in 2002. Their daughter, Carolyn, ran the store until it closed around 2005. From what I can recall, there hasn’t been a retail store in this location since. The display windows usually contain tourist information and exhibits.

Photo by Troy Robinson

Here’s a photo I took of the store a while back. You can still see the Goddard lowercase logos in the storefront.

I would love to know the story behind those art deco-esque accents and how anyone would consider covering them up with metal. These old buildings need to be allowed to show their age.

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