Rhinehart Building Then and Now

200 N Second Avenue

I always assumed this building was car-related but had absolutely no idea about its history. Then I took a photo of a Smurf building and wondered how it got that way. It turns out there was a series of wood frame buildings at the southeast corner of Bridge/Second Avenue and Locust/Santa Fe Trail Streets going back to at least 1884.

The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a second-hand store on this lot with frontage at 407 Locust Street. There was a lot of renumbering going on in Dodge City at that time and by 1887, the corner was home to a hardware and implement store with a new address of 301 Locust.

The 1892 Sanborn shows a grain warehouse at 301 Locust and by 1899 the lot was empty. It stayed that way until sometime between 1905 and 1911. The Ford County website says the current structure was built in 1910, which is impossible.

The 1911 Sanborn shows a frame shed at 219 Santa Fe Trail with the Second Ave side numbered 208. There was no other structure on the 200 block of Second Avenue. By 1918, the lot was once again empty and no address was listed.

In May of 1922, W. F. (not H. F.) Rhinehart of Howell, Rhinehart and Company began construction on a brick building taking up all of lots 19 and 20 in the 200 block of Second Avenue.

The Dodge City Journal, May 18, 1922

Homer Graves moved his car dealership to the Rhinehart Building in August of 1922. He had previously been associated with the City Garage at Central and Chestnut.

The Dodge City Journal, August 24, 1922

J. J. and Ray Weigel bought Graves Motor Company in April of 1923. Homer Graves was suffering from poor health and planned to retire in California.

The Dodge City Journal, April 5, 1923

Sutton Chevrolet moved into the spot at 206 Second Avenue in February of 1924.

The Dodge City Journal, February 14, 1924

The Dodge City Journal, May 22, 1924

White Eagle Oil Co. was supposed to open a service station on the corner but it appears John Carson had an auction house located there initially. The auction house moved to 419 West Chestnut in March of 1925.

The Southwest News, March 19, 1925

It didn’t take long for W. F. Rhinehart to add on to the east end of the building. Sutton Chevrolet had outgrown its old showroom and moved into the new addition. If it isn’t clear, Santa Fe Street was actually Santa Fe Trail.

The Southwest News, March 26, 1925

C. F. Bryan opened a grocery store at 204 Second Avenue in June of 1925.

The Southwest News, June 18, 1925

McCarthy Auto Supply moved into the old Sutton space in September.

The Southwest News, September 3, 1925

The addresses for this building are extremely confusing. In addition to the newspaper typos, someone seemed to have been inventing street numbers. You’ll see what I mean further down.

The Southwest News, September 24, 1925

It didn’t take long for Sutton Chevrolet to move to Military Avenue. And this is where things get weird. In 1926, Dodge City Motor Company was in the old Sutton Chevrolet spot at 213 W Trail Street. What’s confusing about that? I’m glad you asked. I read a story published in 1954 that said Dodge City Motor Company opened at their (then current) location at 200 Second Avenue in 1944. But Dodge City Motor Company existed in 1910! Carl Fay went to work there as a mechanic that year! So unless it was a completely new entity with the same old name, that story completely missed the mark.

The 1926 Sanborn shows an L-shaped brick building with frontages at 206 Second Avenue and 217 Trail Street cuddled up against a mostly wood frame filling station on the corner. You can also see the new addition to the east, which filled in lots 17 and 18. The street numbers stopped at 208 Second Avenue and 219 Trail Street. Unfortunately, the maps shows filling stations on both sides of Second and businesses didn’t regularly list street addresses in their ads. I believe the station on the west side of Second was a Standard but I really have no idea about the east side during the ’20s.

The 1932 Sanborn shows the same configuration of the two adjoining structures. Just as a side note, see the rail siding in the middle of Maple? If you scroll down to the Google satellite view, you can still see where it was paved over.

Any. Whey. In 1937, Clinton Service Station was at 208 Second Avenue. Glenn Rexroad, who had moved to Dodge in 1923 to work in the Weigel Brothers garage, had a garage attached to the Williams Motor Sales Company at 200-202 Second and the spot at 204 Second was occupied by the Earl Smith Café.

By 1947, Dodge City Motor Company was listed at 200 Second and apparently took up the east building as well. Baird’s Café had taken over the spot at 204. And I *think* the filling station on our corner was a Clarence Fetter 66.

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

It’s so weird but this station was repeatedly listed at 210 Second, which was not a thing. The flour mill was at 300. It hurts my brain.

Farm Directory 1st Edition, Issued 1948, Ford-Gray Counties, Kansas

By 1953, Ensminger’s Air Conditioning & Heating Co. had moved into the spot at 213 West Trail Street.

Polk’s Dodge City (Ford County, Kansas) Directory 1955

Back to 1954, when Dodge City Motor Company was owned by Cecil and Eddie Doll (Liberal) and Ray Sellers (Dodge City). There were also dealerships in Meade, Minneola, Spearville, Protection, Cimarron, and Beaver, Oklahoma. Also, that section of Second Avenue had two lanes of brick with on-street parking!

The Counselor, September Issue, 1954

By 1956 or ’57, Dodge City Motor Company had moved basically to the opposite street corner and morphed into Sellers Motors. Good grief, there were so many dealers in Dodge during this time I don’t know how anyone could keep them straight. Why so many *Plymouth* dealers? The parts of the Rhinehart building that had housed the dealership were vacant. 204 Second Avenue had become home to Orkin Exterminating Co, Inc.

The aerial photo below shows the filling station had been filled in and you can see the addition on the east end of the building.

Photographer Unknown

And here’s a close-up that shows how tight the corner used to be. Second Avenue still had diagonal parking at that time.

Photo by Hoover Cott

By 1959, Crum Oil Co. had taken over 210 Second Avenue, which still didn’t exist. Besides Ensminger’s and Orkin, the rest of the big building was vacant. In 1960, only Ensminger’s was operational. Things were looking up a bit in 1961, however. Barnes Appliance Service had taken over the spot at 204 and Davis Motorcycle Sales & Service was in the old filling station.

Dodge City Daily Globe Kansas Centennial Special Edition, July 1961

There were a lot of changes over the next year, though, and the Harley shop was replaced by Cool-Temp Awning and Window Company.

Garden City Telegram, April 12, 1963

Dodge City Automotive Supply, Inc. was formed on October 31, 1962 and set up shop in the space at 200-202 Second. That basically gets us into the configuration we remember. In the flood photo below, you can see the Westinghouse logo on the sign for the appliance store.

Photo by Art Morenus

I believe there was a fire at Barnes Appliance Service in August of 1966 that caused extensive damage in that part of the building and after that it was all Dodge City Automotive Supply on Second. Brown Manufacturing Co. and Brown Tent and Awning had the Trail Street side. Dodge City Music Co. occupied the old filling station on the corner until the early 1970s when they moved to 213 West Trail.

But remember how tight that corner was? How many times did you back up at the light for semis trying to turn east on Trail while you were waiting to turn south on Second?! I remember being shocked when the old filling station disappeared and Trail was widened. The visibility was amazing all of a sudden.

Dodge City Automotive Parts, Inc. was formed on January 4, 1984. Somewhere along the line, Dodge City Automotive became a NAPA.

The Hays Daily News, June 3, 2002

The NAPA people painted the brick Smurf blue. Most of the windows were removed. It wasn’t a great look. Then NAPA built a new store just to the south and the original Rhinehart Building was apparently used for storage.

You can see from the Ford County GIS map that the current parcel is pretty huge. I’m not sure if both buildings were always considered one parcel or if that was changed over time. It’s really easy to tell from this view how the intersection was improved with the widening project.

Click here to see the Google Street View. You may have noticed on the Sanborn maps that there were rail sidings on Maple Street and the alleyway to the south of Fairmount Creamery. The Google satellite layer below still shows where the sidings were paved over.

This is all that is left of the original structure. It’s really obvious where the storefront entrances had been. The building was never what one would consider ornate but it does have some cool details.

Clearly, I took that photo before it was painted purple and black. Paws and Claws now occupies the building and I’m glad it’s being used. This is what happens when you look at a building and begin to wonder…

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Royse Building Then and Now

100 Military Avenue

This is a building I’ve never thought much about. Everyone knows it’s an old Montgomery Ward that was remodeled into commercial office space. I had no idea it’s actually two buildings, built five years apart, and veneered to look like a single structure.

The early history of this property is very confusing. The 1887 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows an empty lot at 101 Military and a large frame dwelling next door at 102, before the City standardized with odd and even addresses on opposite sides of the street. There are no notations about it being condemned.

The 1892 Sanborn also has an empty lot but now there’s a note that says “strip condemned from Railroad Avenue.” So weird! The empty lot still shows condemned on the 1899 Sanborn but then a house was built there! And it still said condemned for years! The frame dwelling at 101 seemed to be very large with a fancy rounded wall on the west. The same dwelling remained at 102.

So the 1905 Sanborn shows the whole lot condemned from Railroad/Central. The address was still 101 Military then and the same dwelling was next door at 102. The 1911 Sanborn shows a condemned strip along Railroad but it isn’t written over the house like the 1918 map. The block had been renumbered making the address 100 Military. It looks like a garage was added behind the house. The house next door is listed as 104…maybe because the lots were so big. There is no 102 on this map.

Why am I harping on this? The March 1914 obituary for Mrs. G. M. Hoover listed her address as 100 Military, which is impossible because it said the Hoovers had lived there for decades. It must have been the house next door? George then died in July of 1914 and all the articles listed 100 Military also. So bizarre. The household and personal effects were sold at public auction and the location was 100 Military. 104 was also advertised as a rooming house but I didn’t find a connection to the Hoover name. I don’t get it.

The 1918 Sanborn shows a condemned house at 100 Military and it looks like the one at 104 had been remodeled. But really, that lot had been marked as condemned for so long, who knows what kind of condition the house was really in at that time.

The county website says the current structure at 100 Military was built in 1925. I initially thought that could actually be correct! Except it says the *whole building* was constructed in 1925, which is obviously wrong. B.R. Royse (who held a patent for a lidless teapot) had the first piece built in the Spring of 1925.

Once they got started, things progressed very quickly.

The builder was J. N. Parham and his company also did the excavation. Concrete was all poured for the floors by September of 1925. The photo below appears to show the Royse Building under construction just to the left of the O’Neal Hotel.

Photographer Unknown

The Superior Garage was up and running by December of 1925 and managed by B. R.’s son, Chester. Small town side note: In September of 1918, C. F. Royse bought out T. H. Traynor’s interest in City Garage (formerly Hale & Son). So then it was Fay & Royse.

Carl Fay (former manager at City Garage) and C. E. Williams (of the McCoy Garage) teamed up with an Overland dealership and garage that advertised 24-hour service! This was probably because it was also a storage facility. Fay & Williams moved into the Royse building in late December or early January of 1926.

The Southwest News, February 25, 1926

The 1926 Sanborn shows one garage at 100 Military and the same old frame dwelling next door at 104. I can’t get over the shape! I totally understand maximizing your square footage but yikes with the geometry.

By 1929, the operation was the Carl Fay Motor Company.

The Dodge City Journal, August 8, 1929

Around 1930, the building appeared to have been occupied by Continental Oil Company. The 1932 Sanborn shows two garages covering both lots with the first floor of the new addition built in 1930.

By 1937, Schneider Super Service Company was located at 100 Military and Combs Automotive was in the adjoining building at 106. In 1939, the filling station was a Palmers Conoco. By 1947, Muncy-Snell Motor Company occupied the space at 100 Military, Combs Automotive was still at 106, and American Legion Post No. 47 was at 108. I read somewhere that Montgomery Ward leased 100 Military Avenue in 1947 but this is confusing, as there were other businesses still operating in that space through the early 1950s.

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

By 1953, Hart Oil Company was located at 100 Military but Montgomery Ward had taken over the west end of the building by 1955. The city directories are kind of confusing because they listed the spot as Montgomery Ward Warehouse and that was likely partially true but it was also their tire and auto shop. The main Montgomery Ward store remained at First and Walnut during this time.

The photo below was taken before the second story was added to Combs Automotive.

Photo courtesy Kansas Heritage Center

It looks like the second floor was added sometime between 1955 and 1961.

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

Imagine thinking this was a good idea. If anyone reading this actually used one of these or knows anyone who did, PLEASE (I’m begging you), leave me a comment. I need to know how it went.

Great Bend Daily Tribune, October 18, 1963

B. R. Royse had died in 1950 at the age of 91 and his estate sold the building to Hubert and Frank Piland in 1965. I found a brief newspaper reference to the “new” Montgomery Ward store in July of 1965 so they must have moved everything from Walnut/Gunsmoke by that time.

Photo by Troy Robinson

By 1967, Combs Automotive had moved to 520 West Trail Street and Montgomery Ward (managed by Troy Compton) occupied both buildings. According to the Kansas Historical Society, the building was given an overall design change around 1970. In the aerial photo below, you can see two distinct roofs but a unified exterior appearance.

Photo by Art Morenus

Montgomery Ward didn’t make it past the 1970s. I found a reference to the buildings being remodeled and rebranded as 100 Military Plaza around 1980 and I didn’t think that could possibly be correct. But then I saw this masterpiece: Ranch. Oak.

Garden City Telegram, April 14, 1980

The photo below shows how I remember Military Plaza in my mind’s eye.

Photo by Troy Robinson

The parking structure was apparently added around 1987. Since the combined buildings became 100 Military Plaza, it has housed attorneys, accountants, brokers, nonprofits, government agencies, et cetera and so on.

The block was surveyed by A-Z Land Surveying in September of 2001 and the whole document package is available here. The shape of the building is so bizarre. I can only imagine what a nightmare it was for the people tasked with installing the current blonde brick veneer.

When you enter the building now, it’s impossible to detect its 1920s origins.

Photo by Norman Holladay

If you look at the satellite view from Google Maps, it’s pretty obvious from just looking at the roof that the structures weren’t built at the same time. And that the west end did not make a rectangle!

The Street View goes back to 2007 so you can take a trip around the block and see the Central and Spruce views as well.

All of this because I saw an old newspaper ad and was curious about what the heck building that could have been. I seriously just assumed my entire life that Montgomery Ward *built* Military Plaza when they outgrew the original store. Coming soon is a story about the evolution of early Dodge City auto dealers that includes some of the same names.

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Rath Theater Then and Now

205 West Chestnut Street / Wyatt Earp Boulevard

I’ve seen a ton of ads for the Rath Theater while looking for other things but I never paid attention to its location. The other day, I glanced at the address and realized the history of this plain building was really something.

Most Dodge City locals are familiar with Jacob Collar’s furniture and undertaker supply business. He was succeeded by Charles Dickerson who was later bought out by McVeigh and Kirkpatrick.

The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the back of a frame structure at what was then 328 West Chestnut Street. In those days, the store fronts were mainly located on the Front Street side and this lot had a furniture store with rooms for rent. The firms of F. A. Dunn and Co. merged with McVeigh and Kirkpatrick in October of 1884 and the new store was called Dunn and Kirkpatrick.

The Dodge City Democrat, November 29, 1884

They also had a store in Garden City. The partnership was dissolved in July of 1885 with Dunn assuming responsibility for the Garden City store and Kirkpatrick taking the one in Dodge. It is unclear how this transpired but suddenly there was a firm called Kirkpatrick and Dunn, this time with G. A. Dunn as partner.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, November 10, 1885

A catastrophic fire accelerated their construction plans in December of 1885. The map below isn’t to scale but at least it gives an idea of the layout. The fire started in a saloon right next door to the furniture store.

The Dodge City Democrat, December 12, 1885

The furniture store moved to Henry Sturm’s new brick building and excavation at the old site began almost immediately. Kirkpatrick and Dunn teamed up with their neighbors to the west to expedite rebuilding of the block.

The Dodge City Democrat, February 20, 1886

Just as the new building was nearing completion, the firm of Kirkpatrick and Dunn was dissolved. George Dunn retired but retained ownership of the structure. Ed Kirkpatrick continued the business as a sole proprietor as of late 1886.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, November 2, 1886

The 1887 Sanborn Map shows the furniture store taking up the entire building with frontage on both Chestnut and Front Streets. The block had been renumbered and the new address was 325 West Chestnut Street.

There were some issues early on with brick work having to be shored up on the new buildings in this block. The bricklayer was later killed by an architect in Denver after being accused of using inferior materials. Coincidence? We’ll never know.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, March 6, 1888

In May of 1895, Ed Kirkpatrick hired an undertaker by the name of Charles Hulpieu, who had recently moved from Garden City. When Ed Kirkpatrick moved his family to Arkansas City in early 1900, Charles Hulpieu and his brother-in-law, E. S. Adam, bought the store.

The Globe-Republican, January 11, 1900

Carrie Bainbridge, who as most of you know was Robert Rath’s mother, had bought the building around this time.

E. S. Adam bought out Hulpieu’s interest in the business in August of 1901. He operated as a sole proprietor until August of 1902 when the business became E. S. Adam & Company. His partner in this new company was former mayor, Adolphus Gluck. That partnership was dissolved with Gluck’s retirement in August of 1903 and Adam was a sole proprietor once again.

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving dinners in the Hulpieu-Adam family must have been a gas!

The Globe-Republican, January 28, 1904

Hulpieu had gone to work for the Russell Furniture Company and his brother-in-law was having none of it. But about a week later, the Russell Furniture Company bought out Adam’s store and installed Hulpieu as Manager. E. S. Adam then made arrangements to get outta Dodge…as one does.

The Globe-Republican, May 12, 1904

The business was called Home Furnishing Company and it was around for ages. The 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a furniture store on the main floor with club rooms upstairs. The club rooms seemed to have been used by Woodmen of the World, the Eagle Club, the Moose, etc.

Home Furnishing Company moved to a new location across Chestnut in early 1909 and Pastime Billiard Hall moved to the old spot that March with J. F. O’Neal as proprietor. O’Neal also operated a barber shop on the main floor.

The 1911 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the building’s new address of 205 West Chestnut Street. The building was destroyed in the Opera House fire on March 10, 1912.

In October of 1912, debris was still being cleared from the site in preparation for rebuilding. O’Neal thought he would be able to reopen his establishments but the Rath family had other ideas. Carrie Bainbridge terminated O’Neal’s lease based on the argument that the building was destroyed by a fire and this invalidated the lease. O’Neal sued and the courts initially sided with Bainbridge. O’Neal appealed and the case dragged on for quite a while.

In the meantime, the structure was rebuilt and Robert Rath planned to open the Rath Theater on December 7, 1912. Jack G. Abbott was hired as Manager.

Nothing ever goes exactly as planned and the 400-seat theater opened on December 30, 1912 to a packed house.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, December 28, 1912

You are not going to believe this but “From the Manger to the Cross” can be viewed online here.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, June 10, 1913

Jack Abbott left for California and began working at a company that manufactured motion picture film. He was replaced as Manager by F. A. Etrick.

Meanwhile, J. F. O’Neal’s suit against Carrie Bainbridge went all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court. He didn’t get his lease back but he was awarded compensation.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, March 9, 1915

Dances were held on the second floor above the theater.

Dodge City Daily Globe, September 21, 1915

The upstairs rooms were also used for various courses in shorthand and commercial spelling. Some courses were taught by traveling instructors but J. E. Shinn also gave instruction.

Dodge City Daily Globe, March 9, 1916

In October of 1916, F. A. Etrick announced he would become Rath’s competitor at the end of his lease. J. E. Shinn became the new manager and the theater was remodeled.

Dodge City Daily Globe, October 2, 1916

Ray Peacock of Stafford leased the theater in early 1917 and it reopened March 1. He was having trouble finding housing in Dodge. Go figure! The theater was remodeled again with new seats and new projection equipment.

1918 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the theater with frontage on both Chestnut and Front Streets. By 1920, the theater was operated by Frank E Drake. J. E. Dunbar operated a piano tuning business upstairs in the Moose Hall.

Etricks’ Directory of Ford County 1920

It was reported that Drake sold the theater to H. G. and Oscar Souder at the beginning of July 1921 but something may have prevented the sale from being finalized. W. H. Harpole purchased the theater later that month and it was redecorated again.

The Dodge City Journal, July 28, 1921

Harpole is the one who reopened the establishment as the Cozy Theatre, which many of you may remember. He was also a partner in the Crown Theatre and had a long-term lease at the Chalk Beeson Theater.

The Dodge City Journal, September 22, 1921

The Cozy was redecorated yet again in May of 1925. Its regular programming was shown at the Chalk Beeson during that time. This photo shows the Front Street entrance in 1925.

Photographer Unknown

In this photo from March of 1930, you can see the Front Street entrance looks more like two exits and it’s very utilitarian.

Photographer Unknown

In June of 1930, the Cozy was gutted by a fire that started in the basement.

The Spearville News, July 3, 1930

Clearly, the Cozy was remodeled and reopened. By 1931, it was a Fox theater and it had its ups and downs opening and closing and reformatting. Although the Cozy found itself running second-rate shows in the 1930s, it was part of the premiere of “Dodge City” in April of 1939 due to the insane demand for tickets.

By 1947, the Cozy was still plugging along and the upper floor was used as a residence.

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

But by 1953, the entire building was vacant.

Photo by Troy Robinson

Around that time, Glenn Cooper bought the building and it was renamed the Loy Theatre. The upper floor was once again used as a residence. That renaissance was short lived, however, and by 1955 the building was home to Paul Warner Appliances with the Knickerbocker Club upstairs.

Disabled American Veterans and Automatic Door Controls Company used the upper floor for a brief time around 1960 but the appliance store remained on the main level until the bitter end.

You know what happened next. Progress.

Garden City Telegram, September 11, 1969

The photo below shows the Wyatt Earp Boulevard entrance shortly before demolition.

Photo courtesy Marin Lix

Here is the Front Street entrance. You can see the building interiors were already being cleared.

Photo courtesy Marin Lix

Click here for the Google Street View of the block as it appears now.

As much as I hate to see historical buildings destroyed, they were allowed to deteriorate to the point where it was basically the only option. Funding was much more difficult to obtain in those days. Building owners have many more resources now to help with historic preservation before it’s too late.

UPDATE: A reader sent me a screenshot from a British Pathé newsreel that shows the exterior of the Cozy during the world premiere of “Dodge City.” Instead of taking my chances with their licensing requirements, I’m linking here to the short newsreel. Enjoy!

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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Gwinner’s Cafe Then and Now

504 N Second Avenue

Gwinner’s Cafe was a Dodge City institution for decades. You may notice the Gwinner Building on Second Avenue south of Fidelity State Bank displays the year 1951 on its parapet. That seems kind of odd given the ages of the surrounding structures. So what was the deal? Amazingly, the county website shows this building was constructed in 1920. I don’t mean to be a jerk but…and there’s always a but…how?

This particular lot was slow to be developed. The block consisted of frame dwellings in 1884 and by 1887, the lot was empty. And that’s how it sat for about two decades. The first commercial structure to appear at 504 Second Avenue on a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map was a confectionery in 1911.

It turns out John Felkel and Ira Beck started the Palace of Sweets in the “new” Hoover Building just north of the Bee Hive in the Fall of 1907. Felkel had worked at the City Bakery for several years prior to this.

The Globe-Republican, November 7, 1907

The Hoover Building also had a north room at 506 Second Avenue, which housed a drug store started by R. C. Mershon of Stafford the same month. Because of the way the block appears now, it’s hard to visualize the two sharing more than a common wall. By August of 1909, the drug store had been purchased by George D Cochran.

Ira Beck exited the partnership by April of 1910 leaving John Felkel as the sole proprietor. It seems a little odd to advertise oysters with candies and ice cream but the US hadn’t completely recovered from its oyster obsession in 1910.

The Hutchinson Daily Gazette, April 14, 1910

Although it wasn’t heavily advertised as a dining establishment, The Palace of Sweets served lunch “at all hours.”

The Dodge City Globe, April 30, 1914

Martin M Gwinner built a bakery on Fourth Avenue in the Summer of 1888 when he was 25 years old. The City Bakery was located just north of J. H. Crawford’s grocery store. He later moved the business to Chestnut Street. So remember, John Felkel got his start working for Mr. Gwinner at City Bakery. This copy is a hot mess but it explains how the business became Gwinner’s Palace of Sweets.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, October 2, 1914

The article failed to explain that the bakery side of the operation was sold to the Sturgeon brothers and the confectionery portion was sold to Harry Grose.

It’s really difficult to find good depictions of the building as it appeared during that time but this ad helps. It’s absolutely bonkers to compare this image to the current view.

Dodge City Daily Globe, March 14, 1917

Anyway, Gwinner’s Palace of Sweets did steady business for a good long while.

The Dodge City Journal, December 9, 1920

Martin’s son, Donald, worked at the Palace of Sweets after college. Donald was a talented clarinetist, who played with the Dodge City Cowboy Band for a time. Around 1924, the shop began advertising as simply Gwinner’s with a new logo.

The Southwest News, April 18, 1924

The 1926 Sanborn is kind of interesting because it added 504 1/2 Second Avenue. I believe the second floor of the south end housed the Unique barber shop and beauty parlor, which was purchased by Edward Craig and Jack Cahoon (both formerly of the Pioneer Barber Shop) in 1926. The previous owner was C. O. Grounds. So maybe a building permit was issued in 1920, which is what the county is going by. At any rate, the Perfect Bakery occupied the north end of the building at that time.

I really like this postcard because in addition to the Gwinner sign, it also includes the First National Bank Building before the appearance of their first painted sign where the Stan Herd mural is now.

Photographer Unknown

This photo of the Cochran Building shows just a tiny bit of the original Gwinner Building to the left. It had a lot more detail than the current utilitarian structure.

Photographer Unknown

Before restaurants started ordering everything premade from Sysco and US Foods, they actually cooked stuff!

The Ford Progress, July 4, 1930

Sweetbriar Shops, Inc. was founded in Colorado in 1931 by Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Barron and they began with three stores. The chain incorporated in each of the various states in which they operated and they formed The Sweetbriar Shops, Inc. in Kansas on February 6, 1935. The Dodge City store occupied the north end of the building at 506 N Second Avenue for several years.

This photo from 1939 shows the bank on the corner, Sweetbriar one door south, and Gwinner’s to the far right. I’m not sure when it happened but it’s clear that the building was split into separate parcels with different owners. I believe Martin Gwinner only bought the south end.

Photographer Unknown

This photo from just a little later, shows the Gwinner sign out front as well as the first painted sign at First National Bank. You can also see the Hiram T Burr advertisement on the old Post Office, which has been covered up for several decades by a Texaco sign.

Photo by Frank Locke

It’s unclear when Martin finally retired for real but the Gwinner-Aten Cafe, Inc. was formed on March 8, 1944. Donald’s sister, Grace, was married to Clarence Aten and I’m not sure which of them was Donald’s partner…maybe both.

Martin died in November of 1945 at the age of 82 and his widow, Carrie Blackburn Gwinner, retained ownership of the building. The cafe continued until disaster struck in 1950.

Anyone who knows anything about Dodge City knows full well that this was not, in fact, the worst outbreak of fires in the town’s history but it is probably the worst example of arson here. As of September 21, there was “no trace” of the arsonist. Sweetbriar was moved into a temporary space at Hutton Electric at 505 First Avenue while their store was rebuilt. There were no plans for the continuation of Gwinner’s Cafe in Dodge City.

The Hutchinson News-Herald, February 18, 1951

Construction of the new building was underway by April of 1951. Meanwhile, the Sweetbriar chain was expanding in Kansas with the Great Bend store opening in 1953.

Great Bend Daily Tribune, August 22, 1953

Carrie Gwinner died in September of 1953 at the age of 89 and is buried next to Martin at Maple Grove Cemetery in Dodge. Donald moved to Colorado but his sister and her husband stayed in Dodge.

The image below shows Fidelity State Bank on the corner with the new expansion in the former Sweetbriar spot. I was so excited to find this one because it hasn’t looked like this in my lifetime.

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

And here is how the new Sweetbriar store looked at that time.

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

In the mid-1970s, the Sweetbriar chain headquartered in Denver consisted of 65 stores in roughly 14 western states. I believe the Hutchinson store opened in February of 1970. They even had their own branded store charge card as early as 1972.

The Hutchinson News, July 24, 1973

This photo shows the southward expansion of Fidelity and Sweetbriar’s new home in the old Palace of Sweets location. You will notice the windows had been removed from the new Fidelity building by the time it was taken.

Photo by Troy Robinson

I only have vague memories of Sweetbriar and that’s apparently because they went out of business in 1984 or 1985, with their last annual report being filed in Kansas for the year ending December 31, 1984. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Sweetbriar moved to Village Square Mall a few years before the store closed.

There have been many, many establishments in the old Gwinner Cafe since Sweetbriar moved. The Street View on Google Maps will take you back to 2007. The building currently looks much better than it did from 2007 to 2018!

It is currently occupied by my studio and their website has quite a few interior photos. The studio is located upstairs in the big room and the exposed brick is amazing.

I’m not sure if the arsonist was ever caught but now we know why there’s such a young building on that old block.

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Graf-Essen Grille Then and Now

103 West Chestnut Street / Wyatt Earp Boulevard

I received a question from a reader a while back regarding a restaurant his father had owned on Chestnut Street sometime in the 1940s. He was wondering if I knew anything about it. I did not! His father, James Graff, had been the head chef at the Lora-Locke Hotel prior to opening his own restaurant. It’s taken me a while but here’s what I found…

Dodge City Times, March 31, 1877

The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the original Dodge House on Front Street along what was then Railroad Avenue. By 1887, the hotel had expanded quite a bit and the Front Street side was mostly dedicated to storefronts.

The 1892 Sanborn shows a completely altered appearance. By 1899, it was an empty lot and it stayed that way for quite a while. In those years, the area near the Santa Fe Depot had a livery stable, some houses, and a lot of empty space. This was all wrapped up in the failure of the Merchants State Bank, which was a five-alarm dumpster fire that ruined a lot of people. Former mayor, Adolphus Gluck, purchased this lot from the County in November of 1899 for $1,450 with the intention of building a hotel.

The 1918 Sanborn finally showed another structure on the lot which had been renumbered 103 West Chestnut Street. After years of failed negotiations with hotel developers and the Phenix Industrial Club, Gluck hired prolific Dodge City builder J. N. Parham to construct a large building with retail and office space in the spring of 1917. This is not to be confused with the other Gluck building at First and Chestnut.

I believe the first tenant was the Auto Supply Company, which opened on May 14, 1917.

Dodge City Daily Globe, May 14, 1917

Ernest Hendricks moved his Edison Cafe into the space at the corner of Front Street and Central Avenue in August of 1917.

Dodge City Daily Journal, September 23, 1917

William Kliesen sold large volumes of produce in the west room facing Front Street.

Dodge City Daily Globe, September 24, 1917

I briefly mentioned The Hub here. The first Hub Clothing Store in Dodge City opened in July of 1887 but this one is totally unrelated. The new Hub was a branch of The Hub Clothing Company in Salina and they sent A. G. Triplett to manage the store, which was just to the west of the auto parts store.

Dodge City Daily Globe, September 28, 1917

The Hub moved to what we all think of as the Goddard’s building in the summer of 1918. Their old location was leased by the Ford County Democrats to use as party headquarters right after it was vacated. The Popular Cafe, owned by brothers Harry and Jesse Holmes, leased the spot in February of 1919.

The Dodge City Journal, February 27, 1919

The second floor office spaces were leased by a variety of tenants over the years: Gwinn Title and Investment Co., Millikan Realty Co., Francis McAdams Real Estate Investment Co., Vinson Laboratory, Throm School of Dancing…you get the idea.

The photo below from 1925 shows the Front Street side looking pretty normal.

Photographer Unknown

The Popular Cafe moved to the new Cochran Building in the mid-1920s and was replaced by the Hollywood Cafe in the 1930s. On the Front Street side, there was a taxi company at 100 Front Street.

The Ford Progress, July 3, 1931

A pool hall operated under various names at 102 Front Street until at least 1937.

The Dodge City Journal, January 24, 1924

Sometime between 1937 and 1947, the second floor was renovated and opened as the Ernest Hotel. Finally, Adolphus Gluck’s vision for a hotel at that location was realized.

By the mid-1940s, the spot at 103 West Chestnut was home to the Graf-Essen Grille.

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

Meanwhile, the building was sold in 1951

The Hutchinson News-Herald, April 17, 1951

James Graff”s restaurant occupied the location at 103 West Chestnut Street until the mid 1950s when it was replaced by Eldon’s Lunch. Eldon Baird moved his lunch restaurant down the block to 119 West Wyatt Earp Boulevard (name change alert!) at the end of 1959 or the beginning of 1960.

The hotel was also renamed in late 1957 or early 1958 to capitalize on the Old West legend. They apparently forgot to remit their sales tax to Topeka.

The Evening Eagle (Wichita, Kansas) August 15, 1958

This was not a popular area of Dodge for photography. Most photos I’ve seen of this block along Chestnut are of the Ham Bell building on the north side of the street. The south side was just not well documented. I’m sure that’s partly because of the lighting and partly because things get seedy near bus stations and train depots.

The photo below is so close! It’s the correct building but one door too far to the west. The spot at 103 1/2 West Wyatt Earp is pictured here with “Party Room” on the window. It had previously been La Vieas Retail Liquor Store. DeLuxe Beauty Shop was located at 105 West Wyatt Earp.

Photo by Don Miller

You can just barely make out the “Lunch” sign down the block in the photo below. At this time, it was called Town Lunch.

Photo by Don Miller

In this one, the “Lunch” is behind the one-way street sign on the left but you can make out “Town” in the vertical section of the sign behind the light pole. The Wyatt Earp Hotel survived until at least 1967 with Carole Kincaid as Manager.

Photo by Hoover Cott

Sometime in the 1960s, the restaurant name changed to Brice’s Lunch and I believe it was owned by William McVey at least part of the time before the music stopped.

The Front Street side of things was bleak. At one point, the entire 100 block was bar after tavern after pool hall. I’m sure there was some connection between the Brice’s Cafe which was located at 100 Front Street in the 1940s through 1953 and the later Brice’s Lunch referenced above. At that time, the business next door at 102 Front Street was the Wagon Wheel Tavern and it survived until the late 1950s. The spot was vacant from that point on. After Brice’s moved, El Cap[itan?] Snooker was located at 100 Front Street followed by the Supper Club around 1957. That establishment lasted until the mid-1960s.

Photo by Russel Lupton

By 1967, there were no business listings in the 100 block of Front Street…for obvious reasons.

You already know what happened next.

Garden City Telegram, September 11, 1969

Thanks to Urban Renewal, here’s how the corner looks now:

There’s clearly not much to see but the area looks a lot better than it did over the couple decades after demolition. The City has done a good job of smoothing out all those rough edges.

I was hoping to find a menu, a postcard, or even a matchbook cover from the Graf-Essen Grille but had zero luck. If anyone has anything that may be of interest to the Graff family, please send me a message via the Contact page and I’ll pass along the information.

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Langton-Beadle Building Then and Now

501-503 North Second Avenue

I’ve been putting this one off for a while. Not because it isn’t interesting but because it’s kind of depressing. This building is one of the oldest in Dodge City and it’s been through some things. It honestly looks like Mom and Dad had a fight and the wreckage was just kind of left forever as a reminder of how pissed they were. Because F you…that’s why!

In addition to being a seriously historic building, it’s also on what I consider to be the most historic of the intact street corners in Dodge. I’m sure everyone has an opinion on that and you’re welcome to argue with me in the comments.

The Wright House was operating as early as 1879 but I’m not certain whether it occupied the northwest corner of Bridge/Second Avenue and Chestnut Street from its inception.

Ford County Globe, August 5, 1879

However, I did find a reference from May of 1880 placing the hotel across from the old Globe building so it was definitely there by that time. The Wright House had several different managers during these years. The hotel closed for remodeling at the end of 1881 and reopened in February of 1882.

Ford County Globe, February 21, 1882

Ida (Davis) Beadle opened her millinery and dressmaking shop in 1879. When I think of a shop called Mrs. Beadle’s, I imagine a proprietress of a more advanced age than 28. Ida moved her store to a building she had constructed just north of the Wright House in 1884 after paying R. M. Wright $600 for the parcel. Her building wasn’t affected by the fires in 1885 but she did experience a significant inventory loss due to looting.

Ford County Globe, April 8, 1884

The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map is the first one available for Dodge City and it shows a large frame structure at the corner of Chestnut Street and Second Avenue. The addresses for the building at that time were 773-774 Second Avenue.

The Wright House office and dining room were remodeled again at the beginning of 1885, which was a total waste because the property was sold to James Langton & Co. about the third week of January. The new owners intended to convert the building into a general, hardware, and implement store. The Wright House was scheduled to close March 1, 1885.

Kansas Cowboy, January 24, 1885

I don’t know what the Kansas Cowboy writer was smoking but $50,000 in 1885 would be more than $1.5 million today. That’s a helluva risk in a town without adequate fire suppression. Speaking of which, the Langton and Sherlock Building survived both of the big fires in 1885.

Everyone was encouraged at this point to use brick for construction for obvious reasons. James Langton announced in December of 1886 that he would be building a 50′ x125′ brick structure at the site of the old Wright House. The local firm of Weston and Manning was hired to design the building in 1887, which had evolved somewhat from the original idea.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, April 12, 1887

Because of the building’s symmetrical appearance from Second Avenue, I always thought it was built as one unit and then later subdivided. However, I read several articles about the Langton and Beadle buildings (sometimes called blocks) being excavated and constructed at the same time so they may have always been separate parcels. Together, they required 400,000 bricks.

The 1887 Sanborn Map shows a brick building under construction on the site with a hardware store in the middle of the street. Here’s an explanation:

The Globe Live Stock Journal, May 17, 1887

It seems like a very strange arrangement but at the time, Front Street was the main drag and Chestnut was considered to be somewhat remote. You know, being a full block north and all. Incidentally, the county website confirms the current building dates back to 1887. Every now and then, we agree! The old Wright House building was relocated near the round house to be used again as a hotel for railroad workers. Beadle’s bright green frame building was moved to the corner of Second Avenue and Walnut Street to make way for construction.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, July 12, 1887

The building was ready for use in November of 1887 and it was an absolute showstopper. The artist *had* to have embellished it somewhat, right??? I just don’t see how this could have been an accurate representation of the completed structure.

The Dodge City Times, November 10, 1887

A public library was established in a room above Mrs. Beadle’s store in December of 1887.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, November 29, 1887

The papers reported that Langton and Sherlock sold their portion of the building to H. L. Sitler for only $15,000 in May of 1888, which is roughly the equivalent of $467,000 in 2022. However, Langton and Sherlock were still listed as the owners on the tax rolls in 1891. The hardware store continued normal operations until the stock was foreclosed on by Cox, Galland, and Sherlock in August of 1888.

Times-Democrat, September 6, 1888

It would require an entire book to adequately explain what happened with Langton, Cox, Merchants’ State Bank, the Ford County Treasurer’s Office, etc. Let’s just say James Langton nearly took the entire county down with him. He was sued by Carrie Rath, the State of Kansas, and pretty much anyone else who had any business dealings with him. He died in a car accident near Salt Lake City and creditors were pursuing his estate years after his death. It was ugly and many reputations were ruined.

In February of 1889, Langton Hardware Company moved from the corner of Second Avenue and Chestnut Street to one of Dr. Galland’s rooms south of the tracks at the corner of Bridge and Locust Streets. This is where I remind you that Locust was changed to Santa Fe Trail before it was shortened to Trail Street. And Bridge, of course, was finally standardized so it was all Second Avenue.

Sam Stubbs then moved the Central Grocery into the old Langton building and I believe they occupied the space with frontage on Chestnut Street. The second floor of the Langton building underwent renovations for use as a Masonic Hall in the Summer of 1889. At the same time, Mrs. Beadle was looking for occupants for her side of the building.

The Dodge City Times, August 15, 1889

You may recall when the Third Ward School was condemned, high school instruction was moved to the rooms over Mrs. Beadle’s store. Now you know how that happened. It doesn’t seem to have solved all of her problems, however, because she was advertising her store room for rent in December of 1889. Ida seemed to be much more savvy than James Langton with regard to knowing when to expand or pull back on spending. She rebranded and expanded her offerings to include lower priced household goods when times were tough.

The Dodge City Times, June 12, 1891

Mrs. Beadle announced she was exiting the millinery business in November of 1891 and operations were winding down in July of 1892.

The Dodge City Democrat, July 16, 1892

Mrs. J. A. Bessey bought the business in August of 1892. The Beadle family relocated to Denver and later Little Rock, Arkansas. Mrs. Bessey continued operating the store as The Fair.

The Dodge City Democrat, December 10, 1892

And that lasted about a minute.

The Dodge City Echo, January 19, 1893

It’s kind of neat to see how the back ends of the buildings evolved over time. The 1892 Sanborn shows the Masonic Hall on the second floor with retail on the main level. The 1911 Sanborn shows big changes; The block was renumbered to 501 and 503 Second Avenue and 300 W Chestnut on the south frontage. Although the new Masonic Temple was completed in 1908, the Lodge Hall still appears on the second floor. The weird little space behind the north end was filled in a bit with what looks like storage.

This is also the point at which my brain begins to melt. It was a big ‘ole building with a lot of tenants and a ton of typos. It’s impossible to accurately track who all was in which space so I’m just going to drop some ads here in date order.

The Dodge City Globe, February 2, 1911

The Dodge City Globe, June 1, 1911

The Dodge City Kansas Journal, November 24, 1911

The Dodge City Kansas Journal, April 12, 1912

The Dodge City Daily Globe, October 21, 1913

Dodge City Daily Journal, May 3, 1917

Dodge City Daily Globe, October 18, 1918

The 1918 Sanborn shows almost all of the space behind the north end had been filled in with just a small access passageway along the north wall.

There was a massive fire that ruined the upper floors in October of 1919. This could help explain why the vintage post card images differ so greatly from the initial artist’s rendering of the building from the grand opening.

After the fire, Harold Ripple bought the Rose Shoe Store and moved his operation there. The newspapers couldn’t figure out how he fit in a full day of work at the railroad in addition to all the time he spent operating his shoe store. The IOOF temporarily relocated to the T. F. Garner Building at Third Avenue and Chestnut Street. The Aikin Studio moved over the Hub Clothing Store on Chestnut.

The Cross Studio took over Ripple’s Shoe Market’s space in February of 1920 and then M. E. (Mack) and C. L. Hebrew bought the studio from D. A. Cross in July of 1920.

The Dodge City Journal, July 22, 1920

Lydia Byerley’s By-Erly Hat Shop occupied the corner with frontages on Second and Chestnut. By 1924, she had moved to a space next door in Locke’s Bargain Store.

The Dodge City Journal, August 24, 1922

The 1926 Sanborn shows the Kuhn Brothers Drug Co. on the south end and a courtyard against the Eckles wall on the north end.

The Southwest News, December 16, 1926

This post card shows a completely different roofline than what was printed in the 1887 newspaper. Still a stunner! And still one cohesive structure.

The photo below is from March of 1930 and I love it for a couple reasons; The Langton-Beadle Building still looked like people cared about it plus the First National Bank Building was under construction in the background.

Photographer unknown

This 1930s post card shows the completed First National Bank prior to its first painted sign and the Langton-Beadle Building still had most of its ornamentation.

Photographer unknown

Kuhn’s Drug Store was still around in the 1930s. Dr. X. F. Alexander had an office upstairs. The frontage at 306 West Chestnut Street housed T. L. Baskett & Co. Real Estate. Stovall Studio leased 503 N Second Avenue and there was also room for L. L. Taylor Real Estate, Railroad Building Loan Co., and Lane A Dutton, Attorney.

The Catholic Advance, February 9, 1935

By 1942, the Stovall Studio had become Stovall-Pfiester Studio and then simply Pfiester Studio by 1947. The studio had also moved upstairs by that time and the lower level housed the Singer Sewing Machine Co. The Tar-Jay Store and Ray Francis Plumbing & Heating were new occupants of the corner building.

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

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

Things kind of settled down in this building after a lot of turmoil. By 1953, Mi-Lady’s Shop was on the corner with Clement B Schmidt upstairs and Singer Sewing Machine Co and Pfiester Studio were still on the north end. The spot at 306 West Chestnut was either vacant or taken up by the clothing store until about 1957, which is when D. E. Lawrence & Co. (accountants) occupied the space.

This photo is really cool. You can see things had begun going sideways with half of the building painted white but at least it still had personality.

Photo by Hoover Cott

Here’s one from the Chestnut Street side, looking east. You can still see it was fancy, especially in comparison to the updated veneer on the Cochran Building across Second Avenue. If you go by the Langton-Beadle Building today, you can still make out a ghost sign on the upper brick facing west. It’s visible in the Google Street View linked below.

Photo by Hoover Cott

Dodge City Daily Globe, Special Travelers’ Edition, 1960

Speaking of Pfiester Studio, this is one of the most confusing ads I think I’ve ever seen:

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

In 1962, Mi-Lady’s Shop was still on the lower level of the south end with the Hostess Room upstairs and the Harman’s Barber Shop on the Wyatt Earp side. Singer Sewing Shop Co. and Pfiester Studio were still next door.

According to the Kansas Historical Society, Eckles Department Store expanded into the space at 503 N Second Avenue in 1963. That would explain how their spinoff store, One Door South, ended up in that location. But Eckles couldn’t have occupied the whole space initially because the sewing machine shop was still there in 1967 with Jack Betts as Manager. Unless they meant that Eckles bought the sewing machine shop, in which case I just need a break.

This photo taken from the old flour mill makes me a little stabby. Like, not only did the Eckles metal siding ruin everything but then it was taken a step further and that crappy mismatched brick across the top was slapped on there like they could somehow camouflage the destruction of the decorative elements. This, my fellow Americans, is a war crime.

Photo by Troy Robinson

In case you’ve been squinting at the sign in the photo above, I think that was The Piccadilly Shop and it may have preceded Second Hand Rose. It wasn’t around for very long.

Do you all remember Second Hand Rose? It was a clothing store in the spot on the corner but the clothes and accessories weren’t second-hand. I believe it was open in the late 1970s and part of the ’80s. Professional Hairdressers occupied that spot in maybe the late 1980s through the mid ’90s. If I’m thinking of the correct shop, they had a tanning bed that we used as teenagers until some Tipper Gore-esque busybodies decided minors couldn’t tan without parental permission. Ridiculous.

Olympic Village was in the north end of the building in the 1980s and it seems like The Locker Room has been there ever since but I’m sure I’m missing something in between.

In more recent years, the Parrot Palace was on the corner in the mid-2000s and Dodge City Snow Station has been there since at least 2018. Rizo’s Barber Studio had a space upstairs in 2018 but I believe they moved to the mall.

Here are some photos I took a while back from Second Avenue:

I completely flaked on the glorious ghost sign that’s still visible on the backside of the building so my mom grabbed these:

If you want to study recent changes to the building, Google’s Street View slider goes back to 2007 so you can zoom in on the before and after views of the Great Siding Debacle. Make sure you go around the corner and study the Wyatt Earp frontage as well.

I’ve mentioned Barkley’s before and it’s kind of cool to see evidence of its existence all these years later. Studying these decaying buildings provokes a sort of panic to document every single inch of them before it’s too late. I know grant money is available but the application process is confusing, time consuming, and frankly…daunting.

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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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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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