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