McCoy-Skaggs Co. Then and Now

200 Military Avenue

The old McCoy-Skaggs showroom on Military has served as a service department for decades and it wasn’t until I accidentally discovered a photo of its predecessor that I became interested in the dealership’s history.

W. T. Hale had been in the real estate business prior to obtaining the Ford agency in Dodge City. The W. T. Hale and Son dealership was located at the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Chestnut Street, directly across from the depot. The dealership was sold to former Cimarron Mayor, Francis M Luther, and William F McCoy at the beginning of 1916. I talked about William F McCoy a bit in my post about McCoy Airport.

The Luther-McCoy Motor Company was located in the Bell garage with frontage on Walnut Street.

Dodge City Kansas Journal, January 27, 1916

Within a year, Luther-McCoy had moved their showroom to the Chestnut Street side. Bell’s entire block was dedicated to various automobile and implement dealers at that time.

Francis Luther died of a stroke in August of 1921 leaving his wife, Camilla, and son, Frank Jr., as partners with McCoy. When the Luthers decided to get out of the business in 1930, McCoy teamed up with Harold M Skaggs.

The Dodge City Journal, January 23, 1930

Julian Parham had died in 1929 but his company lived on and Parham Construction was selected for this project.

The Dodge City Journal, February 6, 1930

The 1926 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a residential neighborhood with frame dwellings at the corner of Military and Avenue A.

It didn’t take long for McCoy-Skaggs to advertise at their new location. Also Ford dealers! I had no idea they sold combines.

The Dodge City Journal, June 19, 1930

You can see why I was so surprised to find this photo! It looks completely different from the building currently located on that corner.

The Dodge City Journal, August 14, 1930

The 1932 Sanborn shows the dealership with a bowling alley, of all things, at the west end.

Fifteen years after the dealership was built, it was destroyed by fire.

The Parsons Sun, September 1, 1945

McCoy-Skaggs moved into temporary quarters at Chestnut Street and Avenue B.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, October 20, 1945

McCoy-Skaggs Company, Inc. was formed on February 4, 1946. I assume the new corporation was formed with Wayne E McCoy as an officer due to William McCoy’s retirement. He would have been about 68 at this time.

This ad from 1947 shows the new building which currently occupies the northeast corner of Military Avenue and Avenue A.

Dodge City’s Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, 1947, published by the Dodge City Chamber of Commerce

The image below more clearly shows the Ford sign previously located on top of the giant pillars. I wonder if the signage went back to Ford or if it ended up in a scrap yard.

The Counselor Dodge City Edition, September 1954

It’s so strange for me to think of Falcon and Comet as their own brands.

Dodge City Daily Globe Special Traveler’s Edition, 1960

Unfortunately, the prediction in this ad was a bit too ambitious.

Dodge City Daily Globe, Kansas Centennial Special Edition, July 1961

The name of the company was changed to Skaggs Motors, Inc. in 1966.

Harold Sr died in July of 1967, leaving H. Milt Skaggs in charge.

Dodge City Daily Globe, 13th Special Travelers’ Edition, 1970

For as long as I can remember, J. Milt was the face of Skaggs Motors. Several new structures were built over the years including a new showroom on the giant lot between Military Avenue and Wyatt Earp Boulevard.

The Hays Daily News, May 8, 2002

Frontier Ford Lincoln Mercury, Inc. was formed on February 3, 2006 and for whatever reason, Skaggs Motors wasn’t officially dissolved until March of 2008.

Frontier Ford’s last annual report was submitted in December of 2009 and the dealership is now Lewis Ford.

Here’s how the building looked the last time I was there:

The biggest change is in the old showroom windows (facing south and west), which would have made the space unbearable during the summer. I believe the interior has been remodeled several times and I love that you can still easily guess its approximate age with just a quick glance.

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Ida Beeson Building Then and Now

217 West Chestnut and 216 Front Street

Don’t worry…I’m not making this about the Long Branch! There’s no way I can do better than everyone else who has already written about the famous saloon. It gets a little confusing because there were multiple “Beeson Buildings” in Dodge and two of them were long, skinny buildings with storefronts on Chestnut and Front Streets. This post is about the Ida Beeson Building between First and Second Avenues.

The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map is the earliest available and it, of course, shows a long and narrow saloon at what was then 214 Front Street. There was a small building in the back at 323 Chestnut Street.

You probably already know the Long Branch burned in December of 1885. Chalk Beeson and his partner, William Harris, had gotten out of the saloon business but Chalk retained ownership of the building.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, December 15, 1885

The property owners got busy rebuilding right away. Weston and Trost were the architects and the group of buildings was called the Union Block.

The Dodge City Democrat, May 22, 1886

Isa S Richards occupied the upstairs offices on the Chestnut Street side in August of 1886.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, August 31, 1886

The United States Signal Service also moved in to the upstairs rooms along Front Street that August and G. T. Inge’s store occupied the main room on the Chestnut side.

The Dodge City Democrat, September 11, 1886

By February of 1887, the storefront on the Chestnut side was vacant and plans were in place to remodel the space for a new bank. Meanwhile, Boyer and Hobble moved their insurance and real estate office to the north basement room but they only stayed a few months.

The American State Bank of Dodge City was formed on March 25, 1887. You’re not going to believe this but the charter and articles of incorporation survived.

I love how the paper claimed Dodge had “three good and reliable banks.” I beg to differ!

The Dodge City Democrat, April 2, 1887

The Dodge City Times, April 7, 1887

The 1887 Sanborn map shows offices at 403 Front Street and the bank at 319 Chestnut Street.

In April of 1887, Wicks and Harrison moved their law office into the basement rooms on the Front Street side and were joined by realtor J. P. Erwin. Sherwood and Dickinson were offering farm loans from the main floor rooms on Front Street.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, May 17, 1887

Isa Richards moved his office in January of 1888 and the spot was occupied by County Attorney, W. E. Hendricks. Physicians Wright and Plumer also had offices in the building at that time.

In May of 1888, T. C. Owen moved his Star Barber Shop into the basement room on Front Street.

The Dodge City Times, March 28, 1889

I should note that this building was initially referred to as Chalk’s building but the property was listed in Ida’s name by August of 1888.

Many of you have seen this photo before. It seems like the date is usually given as 1890 but I believe it was taken a bit earlier.

Photographer Unknown

The American State Bank stopped being a thing in September of 1889 and the fixtures were shipped to Ingalls in January of 1890.

Western Kansas Ensign, September 20, 1889

J. S. Carson’s tailoring shop moved into a room on the Front Street side in February of 1890. He had recently moved to Dodge from Pueblo. Harry Newfer also moved a grocery into the bank’s old spot that month. Newfer, however, sold the grocery to J. M. Bell two months later.

Dodge City Democrat, April 5, 1890

The Globe-Republican, January 21, 1892

R. W. Evans bought out J. M. Bell in September of 1894 and continued at the “old stand” until he moved the store to the Wright Building in March of 1895. Mrs. M. M. Wolff and Ella Steinman moved their millinery store in the former grocery the following month.

The Globe-Republican, March 29, 1895

Wolff and Steinman moved their store to Arkansas City in March of 1897 and M. M. Gwinner moved his City (not Star) Bakery into the spot.

The Globe-Republican, March 11, 1897

In February of 1901, Gwinner sold City Bakery to Roy W Burnett.

The Globe-Republican, February 14, 1901

Gwinner then changed his mind and bought it back in August of 1901. Dentist R. W. Hellwarth established his office over the bakery in October of 1901.

The Globe-Republican, November 8, 1901

It appears the cakes and candies business was not all fun and games, though.

The Live Stock Farmer, January 5, 1904

Brothers W. A. and Ernest Sturgeon bought Gwinner’s City Bakery in November of 1906 for $8,000.

The Globe-Republican, November 22, 1906

Pioneer Barber Shop began in the 1890s. By 1909, it was owned by Will Lowman, who was married to Grace Sturgeon. This ad shows the block had been renumbered between 1905 and 1909.

The Daily Clarion, May 20, 1909

Lowman sold the shop to Charles McKenzie, who then sold it to Frank Cox in November of 1911.

The Dodge City Kansas Journal, December 1, 1911

The 1911 Sanborn shows both the old and new street numbers.

Judge B. F. Milton set up his office above Sturgeon’s in September of 1913.

The Dodge City Globe, September 18, 1913

After Chalk died, Ida moved into rooms on the second floor of the Front Street side. I’m sure she was thrilled to learn about the papered-over flue hole.

Dodge City Daily Globe, December 10, 1915

Although Ida sold the building in March of 1918, she continued living on the second floor until October of 1918.

Dodge City Daily Globe, March 30, 1917

The 1918 Sanborn shows Sturgeon’s had expanded to take up the entire first floor of the buiding.

Taylor-Sturgeon Tire Company was located at 216 Front (in the basement, I believe) from about June to November of 1920.

The Dodge City Journal, November 25, 1920

As I mentioned here, the Sturgeon family decided to focus on the Fourth Avenue bakery and closed the Chestnut location at the end of 1920. The former bakery underwent an extensive remodel and Dr. Milton D Reynolds moved his jewelry store into the spot in January of 1921.

The Dodge City Journal, January 20, 1921

Harry Grose bought the Sturgeon’s Confectionery fixtures and equipment. His wife was Minnie Sturgeon and they moved everything into the space at 216 Front Street.

The Dodge City Journal, January 20, 1921

Dr. Ernest C Main opened his chiropractic office above Reynolds Jewelry in June of 1924.

The Dodger, November 25, 1924

W. P. Childress had the American Barber Shop at 216 Front Street in August of 1924.

The Southwest News, August 21, 1924

Two months later, it was the Shorty Grubbs Barber Shop.

The Southwest News, October 23, 1924

From approximately 1926 to 1928, 216 Front Street was home to the Gents Barber Shop.

I’m not sure exactly when the ornate Victorian details were removed but they were still present in this photo from around 1930.

Photographer Unknown

The 1932 Sanborn shows the dividing wall on the first floor was once again in place.

Sometime between 1937 and 1947, Reynolds Jewelry Co. became Morgan Jewelry. The barber shop became Sunflower Barber Shop.

By 1953, Arvin Heichen Jewelers was on the Chestnut side and that was the last store to occupy the space.

Dodge City Daily Globe Kansas Centennial Edition, July 1961

The Jack Harned Barber Shop occupied the Front Street side until Schafer’s Cafe took the spot in 1960.

Polk’s Dodge City (Ford County, Kansas) Directory 1960

Schafer’s moved and was replaced by El Poche Cafe.

Dodge City Daily Globe Kansas Centennial Edition, July 1961

In this famous post card, it’s easy to see the El Poche Cafe sign two doors west of Bill’s Tavern. You can also see that the Victorian roofline had been completely erased from existence.

These photos, which were taken just prior to demolition, are just depressing. All of those insanely ornate buildings became sad and shabby.

If you stand right here and look south, you’ll be staring over the former Ida Beeson lot.

It isn’t exactly inspiring but I guess a parking lot is better than a dilapidated wreck of what once was.

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Wardrobe Cleaners Then and Now

801 North Second Avenue

Since Dodge City’s neon signs have all but vanished, I feel compelled to photograph them whenever I see them…even if the neon is long gone. I grabbed a few shots of the very cool sign at Wardrobe Cleaners a while back and didn’t give the building much thought. Then I was looking into another business and noticed an ad from 1922. I had no idea it had been around for so long!

The county website says this building was constructed in 1920 but that is impossible. In 1920, Dodge had only two laundries: Dodge City Steam Laundry on Chestnut Street and People’s Steam Laundry on Trail Street. The structure on this site in 1920 was the frame dwelling shown on this 1918 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.

Simon R. Sprecher and Frank Palmer started “The Wardrobe” at 605 Second Avenue in early 1921.

The Dodge City Journal, January 27, 1921

That would be the building on the left in the photo below.

In 1922, the post office was on Second Avenue where the Ensueno Boutique is currently located.

The Dodge City Journal, March 9, 1922

Talk about a dangerous line of work!

I’m not sure exactly when Palmer exited the business but by May of 1924, he was working as a car salesman.

Sprecher had the current Wardrobe Cleaners location built in 1928 and it included a fur storage vault in the basement. I think it’s awesome that the slogan “We Know How” survived and is still on the sign out front. You’ll also notice the same logo was still being used in the 1960s.

The Dodge City Journal, July 4, 1929

Clearly, the current sign is not the original.

The Catholic Advance, February 21, 1931

The 1932 Sanborn shows storefronts along Second Avenue with the dry cleaner frontage on Vine Street.

Lawrence W Anderson (formerly of Skillington Tailoring Company) bought the business around 1937 and it became known as Anderson’s Wardrobe Cleaners. He also owned Anderson Cleaners at 306 West Chestnut Street. If I understand correctly, he was married to Leona Kliesen.

The Catholic Advance, July 9, 1938

The photo below was taken during the parade for the world premiere of “Dodge City” on April 1, 1939. Unfortunately, the flag is blocking the view but you can still see a good portion of the sign.

Photo by Frank Locke

This full-page ad celebrating the end of World War II is epic.

Dodge City Daily Globe, October 20, 1945

Leona’s siblings, Laurence E “Bud” Kliesen and Lucyle (Kliesen) Day, bought the business in the early 1950s and it was owned by various members of the Kliesen family for more than 30 years. Let’s see if I understand this all correctly! Bud died in 1960 and Kathryn (Kliesen) White bought his share. After Lucyle died in 1962, Katie and her husband, Norval, bought her share as well.

Polk’s Dodge City (Ford County, Kansas) Directory 1962

Katie famously cleaned law enforcement uniforms at no charge as well as the local nuns’ habits. Their son, Laurence “Buddy” White, worked at the shop for about 20 years.

Photo courtesy Katie White-Majerus

Some of you may remember a model church being displayed in the window of the store.

The Advance Register, January 12, 1951

This story is about W. P. Kliesen, the architect who designed the church, and I am including the full newspaper article referenced in the story below.

Katie sold the business to C. W. Edwards, who owned it for several years before selling to Henry Burge. Today, the business is Jamie’s Wardrobe Cleaners. It’s awesome to see a building still serving the same purpose with nearly the exact same name for almost 100 years.

Special thanks to Katie’s granddaughter and my classmate, Katie White-Majerus, and her family for filling in the blanks for this story. Any mistakes or misunderstandings of the relationships or timeline are 100 percent mine!

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Merchants State Bank Debacle, Part III

407 N Second Avenue

Part I covered the five-year timeline of the Merchants State Bank. Part II covered the fallout. Now it’s time to talk about the building itself. As mentioned previously, this Victorian beauty was built in 1886.

The 1892 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the McCarty Block pictured above with addresses of 714 and 715 Second Avenue. This was prior to the staggered odd and even street numbers.

While George Hoover was winding down the process of foreclosing on properties so creditors could be repaid, his wife was selling flowers and sometimes pants in the bank building.

The Globe-Republican, March 31, 1892

George R Cochran also set up a crop insurance office there.

The Globe-Republican, May 23, 1892

The final payments to creditors were made in January of 1894 at which time Hoover, R. W. Evans, and E. F. Kellogg opened a new bank in the old Merchants State Bank building.

The Globe-Republican, January 12, 1894

Kellogg, who had worked at First National Bank, was the Cashier. The starting capital was $6,000 – much more modest than the $50,000 claimed by the Merchants State Bank. This new private bank was called Bank of Dodge City.

The Globe-Republican, May 11, 1894

Things then became very boring! After four years of nothingburgers, the bank went public. State Bank of Dodge City was formed on December 6, 1898.

Ford County Leader, December 9, 1898

You can just barely make out “STATE BANK OF DODGE CITY” on the south end of the building in the post card below.

Richard Evans, Jr. opened a law office on the second floor in November of 1904. A. B. Reeves also had a law office up there as early as May of 1909. E. F. Kellogg suffered a stroke and died the following month and was replaced by W. B. Wolfe.

Photographer Unknown

The 1911 Sanborn Map shows the block had been renumbered and the bank’s new street address was 407 Second Avenue.

1919 was when things got weird. I was unable to find any information about why the building needed to be replaced. It was less than 35 years old and I never found any indication it had been damaged by fire or had any other significant issues. Maybe it was just viewed as being dated.

The Dodge City Journal, March 6, 1919

The bank was open for business in the old post office building next door by mid-April and the new building was ready by the end of 1919.

The front of the new structure was covered with white tile, which I’m sure many of you will recognize. It doesn’t look like a two-story structure when compared to the extremely tall post office building but later photos better show its height.

I guess you just had to see those copper curtains in person. Perhaps the word “artistic” was used because they were less than attractive.

The Dodge City Journal, August 5, 1920

State Bank of Dodge City and Southwest National Bank merged in September of 1922. Southwest National had been right next door in the old post office building. Operations were continued in the State Bank building.

The Dodge City Journal, September 7, 1922

The photo below was taken in 1925. You can see the old post office still looked like a Victorian building at that time.

Photographer Unknown

This photo was taken in March of 1930 and something terrible had happened to the old post office. Suddenly, it resembled a brick shoe box.

Photographer Unknown

State Bank of Dodge City was merged out of existence in January of 1933 when it was combined with Kansas State Bank to form Fidelity State Bank. Operations were consolidated at the current Fidelity building located at Second Avenue and Walnut/Gunsmoke Street.

The Hutchinson News, January 3, 1933

Here’s another familiar name! By June of 1933, the W. A. Layton Land and Investment Company was located at 407 Second Avenue.

Opportunity, June 1, 1933

By 1937, Layton’s land company shared the building with Dodge City Shoe and Hat Shop and White Star Taxi. But it was the next occupant most of you will recognize.

1947 City Directory and Business and Professional Guide for Dodge City, Kansas

Lester’s son, David, bought the agency in 1963. Butler Insurance Agency was in that location for more than 20 years.

Photo by Hoover Cott

This photo was taken right before the Urban Renewal Project demolition. It clearly shows there was room for a second floor even though it still looks short next to its neighbor.

Photo by Joleen Fromm

The old Merchants State Bank building was located just west of El Capitan stands today. More specifically, it would have been across from the north end of the statue’s base.

You can play with the Google Street View to change the perspective and see where it was in relationship to the remaining structures when Second Avenue was a through-street. I’m really interested to see how everything looks once the new streetscape project is completed.

If you like what you see, be sure to subscribe (way at the bottom of the post on mobile devices) to receive an email each time a new post is published and share on social media. You can also buy me a cup of coffee using the donation form. Thanks for reading!


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