Perkins Grocery Then and Now

306-308 Walnut / Gunsmoke Street

If you haven’t walked around downtown Dodge City lately, I suggest you do. There are so many buildings that are completely unrecognizable…in a good way! I don’t know why everyone was so obsessed with modernizing perfectly appealing brick buildings but there were some unfortunate decades, y’all. Downtown Dodge went through an extended awkward phase. It’s no wonder people didn’t want to shop there. But now all these interesting façades are surprising the hell out of me and I am here for it.

Walnut Street was all residential up until about 1887, when a couple businesses were established on the block between Second and Third Avenues. The block has since been renumbered but there was a carpentry shop at what is now 308 Gunsmoke. By 1892, that building was a stable and it was moved or demolished sometime between then and 1899. The dwelling to the east with the current address of 306 Gunsmoke was the residence of a mail carrier named James W Madison from at least 1915 until June of 1917. He later moved to a home on Second Avenue.

The county website indicates the current structure was built in 1920 but the 1926 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the frame dwelling and empty lot at that location. The 1932 Sanborn is the first to include the current building, which makes sense when you consider the style of brick used.

Weyand Feed & Seed Company appears to have been the first business to occupy the new building. A 1961 ad in the Globe indicated the business was started in 1932 so that tracks.

The Ford Progress, June 17, 1932

George Weyand died in 1928 and I believe it was his son, Glen, who ran the business that moved to 312 W Chestnut circa 1944. Glen’s sister was Esther Eckles.

The Catholic Advance, March 28, 1936

Busley Brothers had a packing house in Dodge and there was also a business in Colorado. The third Busley Grocery operated at 308 Walnut until the mid 1940s. By 1947, S.N. Perkins was operating the store.

The Advance Register, September 7, 1951

At some point, it appears the store may have expanded to occupy the entire building because there was no listing at 306 Walnut for ages. Seymour Perkins died in October of 1956 at the age of 64.

Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 3094 was located there from 1957 to about 1960.

Photo by Hoover Cott

Then the Marine Corps League Lodge was in that spot in the early 1960s. By 1967, Vance Harvey operated Harvey’s Club in the building. Those were prime years for “modernization” and I don’t think anything good happened there for a long time.

This is how the building looked for as long as I can remember…empty and forlorn.

And this is the same building now:

Clearly, some of the decorative elements were added during the remodel but assuming the brick veneer is original…why the hell would you cover it with cheap garbage? This is gorgeous!

If you click on this Google search link, there are several interior photos. All I can say is do it again!

Spoiler alert: They did.

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