St. Anthony’s Hospital Then and Now

1800 Central Avenue

I remember my grandmother taking me to Safeway and telling me all about the massive hospital that opened in that location when she was five years old. At the time, I couldn’t understand why it was built at what was then the ass-end of nowhere. That led to the history of St. Mary’s, et cetera, and so on…which I will leave for another day.

If you look at the master page of the 1918 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, you will see the northernmost street was Magnolia. Comanche Street was still a county road.

The famous McCarty Hospital was located on Spruce Street just west of Central Avenue.

Photographer Unknown

In May of 1922, the Sisters of St. Joseph began managing McCarty Hospital.

The Catholic Advance, May 6, 1922

The Sisters then assumed responsibility for the Thompson-Pine Hospital (building on the right) located at 1405 Central Avenue in July of 1922.

Photographer Unknown

Side note: The home on the left belonged to Dr. Thompson.

The Sisters continued operating the two hospitals, which I will discuss in later posts, until they could construct a new facility. Property for the new building was purchased in January of 1925.

I should stop here and note that there was plenty of anti-Catholic sentiment in Ford County at this time. Letters to the Editor expressed concerns the Catholics were taking over! First St. Mary’s Academy, then the new Roman Catholic Church, and now a Catholic hospital. Horrors! Many locals felt any new hospital in Dodge should be operated by Protestants. They were the majority, for heaven’s sake!

I’m not sure why it was assumed the hospital would be called St. Mary’s. As if she were the only one. There also seemed to be some subtext regarding the use of Wichita firms.

The Southwest News, June 25, 1925

Construction of the new hospital was projected to cost $215,000 with an additional $85,000 in equipment and furniture. Excavation began in July of 1925 with St. Anthony’s opening on May 28, 1926.

The Catholic Advance, June 5, 1926

The article went on and on and on and…I…spared you the fluff. You’re welcome.

The 1926 Sanborn shows St. Anthony’s but it still way out there. Comanche still wasn’t Comanche at that time.

As an aside, I have learned that the records from these closed adoptions still exist in many cases. So if all the parties are deceased, you can obtain the records from a family member’s adoption.

The Catholic Advance, June 25, 1927

Anyway, I’m a big fan of this entrance. Yuge. I love what they did there.

Photographer Unknown

As a surprise to precisely no one, St. Anthony’s quickly ran out of space. It was regularly over capacity in 1927, much like every other institution in Dodge. By 1930, an addition was in the works which would increase the capacity to 100 rooms. It would also include space for the nurses’ living quarters.

The Catholic Advance, June 28, 1930

The tone of this local article about the new wing was much more positive than those which had been printed earlier.

The Dodge City Journal, July 3, 1930

Here’s a surprise! The addition was initially (maybe?) planned to run along Central Avenue. I never saw another mention of this configuration.

The Spearville News, July 3, 1930

The new addition was dedicated on January 29, 1931. Imagine the photographer waking up in 2023 with the ability to straighten photos digitally.

The Catholic Advance, February 21, 1931

Somehow, the planned capacity of 100 rooms turned out to be only about 80 when the wing was completed. In addition to the emergency room, St. Anthony’s also had three operating rooms and a nursing school.

The Catholic Advance, February 21, 1931

The 1932 Sanborn shows the new wing with that weird angle along the front. You will also note that Highway 50 followed Central Avenue north to the bypass at that time.

The extension looks better on the post cards but still…awkward.

In case you’re wondering why I keep including photos from the same angle, it’s because I appreciate the changing styles of the cars parked out front.

A separate building for the nurses’ living quarters was built in 1938.

The Hutchinson News-Herald, October 23, 1938

In 1951, the capacity at St. Anthony’s was 75 beds and 15 bassinettes. Improvements were made in the spring of 1956.

And more renovations in 1957. I’m just thinking about how miserable that third floor would have been during the summer.

The Advance Register, May 24, 1957

In 1960, the former laundry was remodeled into a new Physical Therapy Department.

Dodge City Daily Globe, Kansas Centennial Edition, July 1961

By 1961, the hospital only advertised 56 beds.

Polk’s Dodge City (Ford County, Kansas) Directory 1961

The chapel was renovated in 1962.

The Advance Register, October 21, 1962

The Sisters were still investing in St. Anthony’s in 1966.

The Advance Register, October 28, 1966

On November 30, 1970, Sisters of St. Joseph announced that St. Anthony’s would close the following March.

The Catholic Advance, December 3, 1970

When St. Anthony’s closed in March of 1971, a lot of the equipment was installed at Trinity Hospital on Sixth Avenue. The closing caused a general panic in Dodge since it left us with only one small-ish and older hospital.

The Hays Daily News, November 30, 1971

In August of 1973, Safeway announced they would build a new store on the site of St. Anthony’s once a zoning change request was approved. This Ford County GIS map shows how the St. Anthony’s land was subdivided in December of 1973.

Here are the actual drawings:

The demolition of the hospital buildings was quite a process.

Photo by Troy Robinson

Local legend Alle Craig took her students to sketch the wreckage.

Dodge City Daily Globe, March 8, 1974

After all attempts at finding another use for the building failed, it was literally picked apart brick by brick.

Dodge City Daily Globe, March 15, 1974

Safeway held an auction at their old location on First Avenue in December of 1974. And this…THIS is what replaced that hospital with all of the ornate details.

Photo by Troy Robinson

Safeway did one of their famous reshuffles in 1988 and the store became a Homeland.

Dodge City Daily Globe, December 27, 1988

Heartland sounds much more wholesome. I just can’t remember if it was simply “Heartland” before it was “Gene’s Heartland” or if it was always Gene’s. Regardless, that change was made in the early 2000s. Gene’s Heartland Foods became Carter’s Thriftway in September of 2014 and the store was remodeled at that time.

1800 Central Avenue is currently home to Farmers Country Market, Hilltop Liquor, and a Shell gas station.

The statue of St. Anthony was recently relocated to what was then Western Plains Medical Complex. It’s kind of interesting because that hospital recently became part of St. Catherine’s. Very fitting!

Here’s how the old St. Anthony’s site looks now:

Clearly, the building’s appearance has been improved over the years. It no longer stands out like a pair of brown corduroy bellbottoms (with the exception of the clashing royal blue awning.) Normally, I’m all about leaving buildings as original as possible. But this one really sucked! So kudos to whomever un-sucked it (To whom, Brother).

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J. C. Penney Co. Then and Now

618 North Second Avenue

Lots of Dodge City locals remember when Penney’s had a store on Second Avenue. How it got there and what it looked like originally? Maybe not so much!

This was a residential neighborhood for many years. The 1887 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a frame dwelling at what was then 817 Second Avenue. The block was renumbered around 1909 and the 1911 Sanborn shows the old and new street numbers. That house on the corner was then at 622 Second Avenue.

By the time the 1918 Sanborn came out, a tailor shop occupied the house on the corner but that structure was demolished to make way for a filling station.

The 1926 Sanborn shows the filling station at 622 Second Avenue and I believe it is partly shown in the photo below. You can see a tiny bit of the Santa Fe Trail Garage sign to the far right. Further down the block are signs for Drake’s Grocery and J. S. Rush Hardware.

Photographer Unknown

The J. C. Penney store did not move to Dodge City. It was a process. The Hub clothing store was located at 215 West Chestnut Street, one door east of Sturgeon’s Confectionery. J. B. Byars and Charles Imel continued at that spot when they bought The Hub in 1914.

Charles Imel died in January of 1917 and J. B. Byars purchased Imel’s share in the store. The new firm was J. B. Byars and Co. and he called the business the Golden Rule Store. In October of 1917, the Golden Rule moved to the northeast corner of Walnut Street and Second Avenue, where most of us remember seeing Warshaw’s Menswear. E. Marsh and H. M. Starks bought shares in the new Golden Rule Mercantile Company.

Dodge City Daily Globe, October 15, 1917

The name of the store was changed to J. B. Byars and Co. in November of 1920 with no change of ownership. At that point, the chain had 20 stores located in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska.

By the time the J. C. Penney Company bought out Byars in 1929, there were more than 100 stores. That is an incredible growth spurt.

The Dodge City Journal, July 11, 1929

Dr. T. L. McCarty’s real estate company still owned the lots north of the *new* post office on Second Avenue and a new building was planned for J. C. Penney where the White Eagle filling station stood.

The Dodge City Journal, January 30, 1930

Unfortunately, Dr. McCarty died the same day this note was printed.

The Dodge City Journal, April 3, 1930

J. C. Penney moved into the new space around August 15, 1930.

The Dodge City Journal, August 21, 1930

The 1932 Sanborn shows JC Penney at 622 Second Avenue.

By 1937, these buildings had been renumbered and JC Penney was listed at the current address of 618 N Second Avenue.

This photo from April of 1939 facing northeast shows a bit of detail at the far left. Check out those windows!

Photographer Unknown

This post card looking south on Second Avenue clearly shows the J.C. Penney building when those giant windows were still in place.

Photographer Unknown

The building underwent an extensive remodel in 1951 and the windows were destroyed.

Photographer Unknown

We make fun of people who say they’re going to “Walmart’s” but in this case, calling the store “Penney’s” was correct.

Polk’s Dodge City (Ford County, Kansas) Directory 1953

So much optimism in this ad celebrating the Kansas Centennial!

Dodge City Daily Globe, Kansas Centennial Edition, July 1961

As you more than likely know, the brand-new Village Square Shopping Center held some pretty major grand opening events in July of 1970.

Dodge City Daily Globe, July 20, 1970

By this time, most of the Urban Renewal demolitions had been completed and the remaining businesses were bailing on downtown Dodge.

Dodge City Daily Globe, July 20, 1970

One last note on the mall location before we get back to the building at hand; Until very recently, the store exterior still boasted that old Penney’s sign. I knew I should have gotten a photo the last time I was in Dodge.

Dodge City Daily Globe, 13th Special Travelers’ Edition, 1971

It was a revolving door at the old Penney’s store for several years. Ashley’s Outlet occupied the space from about 1975 until 1977-ish.

Dodge City Daily Globe, September 4, 1975

Remember catalog stores?! Looks like Montgomery Ward had one there from 1978 until about 1981.

Dodge City Daily Globe, December 22, 1978

I had completely forgotten that Garnand Furniture had a store in Dodge. However, it only lasted at this spot from about 1981 until 1985.

Dodge City Daily Globe, January 30, 1982

There was an announcement stating the store would reopen as The Furniture Store when Garnand closed in 1985 but then it was suddenly Dodge City Furniture and Appliance.

Dodge City Daily Globe, August 9, 1985

This is kind of weird. Dodge City Furniture and Appliance had a quitting business sale in January of 1986 but we all know the store lived on for a couple more decades up on the bypass. I really don’t understand how that all transpired.

Anyway, the spot was home to Roselle’s Fabrics by at least 1990. This store existed for about 20 years and it seemed like I heard every one of their radio commercials. Remember when downtown merchants still had real sidewalk sales? It was never the same at the mall.

Dodge City Daily Globe, March 21, 1997

I’m not 100% certain when Carlos Boots opened on Second Avenue but it seems like the store was there forever. Possibly 2001-ish? The boots carried their own label and the store was pretty amazing.

I believe El Jalisciense Western Wear has been on that corner since at least 2015. Their Facebook page has quite a few photos. It’s quite a large space and they have a really good selection.

Here’s how the exterior of the building looks today:

We can all learn from this example: Never, EVER fill in the windows! The building is by no means unattractive (kinda hate the stone, though) but keeping the windows would have likely made the building eligible for grant money. Keep it as original as possible, people!

Regardless, I’m glad this building has gotten consistent use and care over the years. Having such a large building continuously occupied is a huge help to all of downtown.

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Sandy’s Cafe Then and Now

101 Walnut/Gunsmoke Street

We’ll be here forever if I try to tackle this entire building at once. Since Sandy’s Cafe had a cool sign at one point, I thought I would start with the back side of the building.

The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a wood frame icehouse at the southwest corner of Walnut Street and Railroad (Central) Avenue. This icehouse sat behind George Cox’s livery stable and wasn’t assigned a street number.

Ham Bell’s Elephant Livery took up the entire lot on the 1899 Sanborn. The north end of the building had been assigned an address of 217 Walnut Street and the east side was assigned 606 and 607 Railroad Avenue.

This lot was completely empty by 1905. By 1911, the streets had been renumbered (some renamed) and the lot was assigned addresses of 101 Walnut Street and 509 Central Avenue.

The county website says the current structure was built in 1938, which is impossible. The correct answer is 1915.

George Cochran teamed up with the Kennedy family to build a large reinforced concrete structure to house auto sales and repair as well as a machine shop and event hall. The original plans for the building did not include an opening on the Walnut Street side.

The interior plans changed during the process, however, and the hall became a rooming house to be run by Nate Reese.

The 1918 Sanborn is the first to show the current structure. At this time, the building had street addresses at 101-103 Walnut Street and 100-102 Chestnut Street. You’ll notice the map lists a garage capacity of 90 cars and 8 Pyrene extinguishers. Those were probably products of the Pyrene Manufacturing Company.

This is the earliest photo I’ve found of the building but it only shows the Chestnut Street side. Since we learned in this post the Popular Cafe moved into the Gluck Building across the street in March of 1919, it was taken some time between then and 1923.

Photographer Unknown

George Cochran bought the Kennedys’ half-ownership of the building for about $20,000 in April of 1923. Archie and James Owings and partner T. B. West moved their Buick dealership to the old Kennedy Brothers Garage.

Although “Kennedy Siblings” doesn’t have quite the same ring, it would have been more accurate. Sister Lucille Kennedy was involved in various businesses with her brothers Henry, William, Frank, and Ben until Henry died in May of 1930.

The Owings and West Building was completely remodeled at the beginning of 1930 by Parham Construction at a cost of approximately $15,000. The stucco was replaced by red brick with decorative florets spaced along the exterior. The Dodge City Journal made a fact error in their original reporting, which was corrected below. Harris Sporting Goods Company was next door to the appliance store at 103 Walnut Street.

The Dodge City Journal, February 20, 1930

Though this listing ads little value, I can’t help but include everything I find in The Dog Robber.

The Dog Robber, November 1, 1931

The 1932 Sanborn shows the building had been broken up into several different retail spaces.

Holt’s Cafe was located at 101 Walnut Street as early as 1932.

Hodgeman County News, October 6, 1932

The photo below was taken in April of 1939.

Photographer Unknown

Sometime between 1942 and 1945, the cafe became Miller’s Lunch.

Dodge City Daily Globe, October 20, 1945

By 1953, the business had been purchased by Howard and Bessie Sanders, who renamed it Sandy’s Cafe. They also owned Sanders Liquor Store. Gwinn Title and Investment Company was located at 103 1/2 Walnut Street.

The cafe was sold to Gene Davis sometime before 1959 and he had an unfortunate incident with an exploding oven.

Dodge City Daily Globe, April 15, 1959

Davis hung in there, however, and reopened Sandy’s in the same location.

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

103 1/2 Gunsmoke Street was vacant by 1961, as were several of the upstairs apartments.

Photo by Art Morenus

This color photo was taken just prior to the demolition of the O’Neal Hotel.

Photo courtesy Marin Lix

John Schafer bought the restaurant in 1970 and sold all of the old equipment.

Dodge City Daily Globe, February 19, 1970

Schafer’s Cafe held a liquidation auction in April of 1974.

Garden City Telegram, April 6, 1974

I’m not completely clear about when the storefronts on Gunsmoke were combined into one space. But they definitely were! The US Army Recruiting office was there from about 1975 until at least the early 1990s.

Muller/Jacobs Computer Services held a grand opening at 103 Gunsmoke in July of 1999.

Nancy Churning had Data Supply of Dodge City on that corner from around 2000 until about 2005 . You can still see a ghost sign on the east door and I’ve included a photo in the slide show below.

The location was home to Fashion Corner from about 2007 to 2012.

Fruteria Laguna Grande is currently located in that spot. Their Facebook page has a bunch of interior photos so you can see how it looks inside. Most of the shots are tight on the food but if you scroll down, you can see the displays and some interior features.

Here’s how the exterior looks now. Some of these pics were obviously taken before the road construction! The gray winter skies were regrettable.

Dodge traditionally had several grocery stores spread out all over downtown and it’s wonderful to see them return. People still live downtown, in case you didn’t know, and it’s awesome to have groceries within walking distance.

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Gluck’s Opera House Then and Now

201 West Chestnut Street/Wyatt Earp Boulevard

Dodge City had an opera house at least as early as July of 1878 when the frame building G. M. Hoover constructed for the Dodge City Varieties was remodeled by Ben Springer into a hall suitable for “first-class entertainers.” The popularity waxed and waned over the years and several locations boasted an “opera house,” although that description may have been somewhat exaggerated.

In July of 1879, Chalk Beeson’s orchestra played at the “Fireman’s Fourth” celebration in the New Opera House at the northwest corner of Front Street and First Avenue. Locals most often associate James Kelley with the Opera House, initially because the hall above Beatty and Kelley’s restaurant was used for performances. It opened and closed fairly regularly and Straeter’s Opera House reopened above the restaurant in December of 1881.

The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a wood frame saloon and opera house at the northwest corner of First Avenue and Front Street. The address at that time was 223 Front Street. In those days, Chestnut Street hosted the back sides of the businesses.

Mysterious Dave (Dave Mathers) operated the saloon back then. For whatever reason, he shot and killed Marshal Thomas Nixon on July 21, 1884. Nixon had shot at Mysterious Dave the week before, but the cause of the dispute remains…a mystery.

Mysterious Dave – Photographer Unknown

Dr. T. L. McCarty planned a new opera house and skating rink on Second Avenue between Walnut and Spruce Streets in early 1885. That was a very good thing because the Beatty and Kelley building burned in November of 1885.

James Kelley hired Weston and Trost to design a beautiful new opera house that would take up the entire parcel with frontage on First Avenue. The door to the upstairs opera house was at the west end of the building on Chestnut Street.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, January 26, 1886

Weston and Trost also designed the Union Block just to the west.

The Dodge City Democrat, May 22, 1886

The 1887 Sanborn Map shows a brick opera house taking up the entire west side of First Avenue between Front and Chestnut streets with the stage and scenery at the south end of the second floor. The main floor housed five storefronts from 705 to 709 First Avenue. This was before staggered odd and even street numbers. There were also businesses in the basement rooms.

Ford County Republican, January 18, 1888

W. J. Fitzgerald bought the opera house in July of 1898 but it turned out to be a quick flip.

The Dodge City Democrat, July 15, 1898

The following month, Fitzgerald sold the building to former Dodge City Mayor, Adolphus Gluck for a modest profit.

The Globe-Republican, August 11, 1898

Here’s a photo my great-grandmother had in the Beeson Museum collection:

Photographer Unknown

Although the ordinance passed years before, the block was finally renumbered in April of 1909 and the storefronts were found at 401 to 409 First Avenue. The 1911 Sanborn shows both the old and new street numbers.

In February of 1912, Gluck hired an architect to make some design changes which included plans for a new roof. Before those plans could be finalized, the building burned to the ground. An explosion occurred in the early morning hours of March 10, 1912 and witnesses reported seeing the roof of the building blown several feet in the air.

Gluck hired architect Reuel A Curtis to design the new building that summer. Kansas building codes had changed and new opera houses were prohibited above the ground floor. Gluck believed that Dodge could no longer support a dedicated opera house so he instructed Curtis to design a commercial building instead.

However, Gluck abandoned his original plans in October of 1912 when it was determined that the west wall of the building, which was the only one remaining, couldn’t handle the load of the new structure in addition to supporting Carrie Bainbridge’s building next door to the west. Gluck immediately put up For Sale signs on the lot.

Ultimately, the opera house replacement was designed to rest on a steel framework rather than on the walls and the For Sale signs were removed.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, March 4, 1913

L. L. Taylor leased the northeast corner for his offices in September of 1913. This was the same spot he occupied prior to the fire. Hiram T Burr and Walter L Bullock followed in October.

The Santa Fe Railroad offices moved to Gluck’s building in March 1914 and occupied 15 rooms on the second floor.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, March 18, 1914

The Bedell and Son Jewelry store moved to the spot at 203 West Chestnut Street in April of 1914.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, May 16, 1914

H. W. O’Neal opened the Past-Time Barber Shop and Confectionery at 403 First Avenue in June of 1914.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, June 22, 1914

Ross King and Jack Thomas opened the King-Thomas Tailoring Company at 201 West Chestnut Street the same month.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, July 9, 1914

Frank Bangs bought the Bedell jewelry store in January of 1915. His brother, Ross, moved to Dodge to manage the store.

Bangs and Company went on to operate several locations in Kansas.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, January 20, 1915

In October of 1915, the King-Thomas Tailoring Company became The Fashion Shop. Frank Finklestein took Ross King’s place in the partnership.

Dodge City Daily Globe, October 28, 1915

The Fashion Shop was sold in July of 1916 and it became the Sample Clothing Company.

Dodge City Daily Globe, June 27, 1916

Jack Thomas continued his tailoring and dry cleaning business in another location. Sample Clothing Company was owned by J. B. Fractman and managed by W. B. Appell. The new store opened on July 22, 1916.

The barber shop changed hands a couple times and expanded to include a smoke shop with billiards and snacks.

Dodge City Daily Globe, February 17, 1917

William Warshaw of Kansas City arrived in Dodge in March of 1917 when he purchased the Sample Clothing Company. Appell continued managing the store, which reopened under new management on March 17, 1917.

Dodge City Daily Globe, May 18, 1917

The 1918 Sanborn is the earliest available online to show the new fireproof building.

Around May of 1919, Sample Clothing Company became Warshaw’s Clothing Store.

The Dodge City Journal, May 15, 1919

Taylor and Millikan had moved to the Cochran Building at Central and Chestnut by 1920. The smoke/barber shop continued its revolving door of owners and was refinished in white enamel in 1920.

The Amy Supply Store moved to the corner space at 401 First Avenue in 1923.

The Dodge City Journal, November 15, 1923

The 1926 Sanborn shows an added street address of 202 Front Street. In the post card below it looks like there’s a door at the west end along Front Street which could possibly coincide with that number.

Warshaw’s moved to the corner of Second Avenue and Walnut Street in October of 1930. Dodge City Music Company moved into their old space at 201 West Chestnut Street.

The Dodge City Journal, October 30, 1930

The 1932 Sanborn shows a couple awnings had been added along First Avenue and Front Street.

By 1937, the spot at 201 West Chestnut was occupied by the Lore China Shop but I was unable to find any additional details. At some point, the second floor was remodeled into apartments.

In this post card from around 1938, you can see the building hadn’t changed much.

Photographer Unknown

Argus Natural Gas Company occupied the spot at 201 W Chestnut by 1942. At that time, it appeared the storefronts on First Avenue were both vacant.

By 1947, Farm Electric Supply Corporation was located at 401 First Avenue and the Club Bar was next door at 403. Argus Natural Gas had become People’s Natural Gas.

Ross Bangs died in 1951 followed by Frank in 1952. Frank’s son was Frank Simrall Bangs and he continued the family business.

Polk’s Dodge City (Ford County, Kansas) Directory 1953

By 1953, Howard and Bessie Sanders had opened Sanders Liquor Store at 401 First Avenue. 201 West Chestnut became home to Securities Acceptance Corporation and that’s where my grandmother, Ann (Hemphill) Holladay, worked in 1954.

The Counselor, September Issue, 1954, Dodge City Edition

The apartments upstairs were occupied into the mid-1950s. By 1955, Earl Kay had bought the liquor store and renamed it Kay’s Liquor Store.

Bangs and Co. closed sometime between 1957 and 1959 after operating more than 40 years in the same location.

Polk’s Dodge City (Ford County, Kansas) Directory 1957

Remember that little door on the Front Street side? That space was also turned into an apartment and a residential listing popped up in 1959. John J Cox bought the liquor store around 1960 and it became known as Cox Retail Liquor Store.

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

The former Bangs location was vacant until George King, Jr. opened King’s Boys Wear around 1961. By that time, the upstairs apartments and the apartment on the Front Street side were vacant.

The neighborhood was becoming very seedy and by 1967, the King’s Boys Wear location at what was then 203 West Wyatt Earp Boulevard was vacant, as was the former liquor store spot at 401 First Avenue. The Club Bar Tavern was still holding on, however. The name of the loan company had changed to Associates Finance Company and it was still operating at 201 West Wyatt Earp.

You know what happened next…progress.

Garden City Telegram, September 11, 1969

The photos below were taken just prior to demolition. The doorway in the middle of First Avenue still looked like something special, even with the building in such a sorry state.

This is how the opera house lot looks today from what would have been the Chestnut Street view:

First Avenue looking south

Pretty much everyone from Dodge hates what happened to downtown during Urban Renewal. The good news is we seem to have learned from our mistakes. I’ve been walking around downtown a lot lately and there aren’t very many vacant storefronts. Remember when your grandparents told you to take care of what you have if you want it to last? It appears the message has finally been received.

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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