217 West Chestnut and 216 Front Street
Don’t worry…I’m not making this about the Long Branch! There’s no way I can do better than everyone else who has already written about the famous saloon. It gets a little confusing because there were multiple “Beeson Buildings” in Dodge and two of them were long, skinny buildings with storefronts on Chestnut and Front Streets. This post is about the Ida Beeson Building between First and Second Avenues.
The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map is the earliest available and it, of course, shows a long and narrow saloon at what was then 214 Front Street. There was a small building in the back at 323 Chestnut Street.
You probably already know the Long Branch burned in December of 1885. Chalk Beeson and his partner, William Harris, had gotten out of the saloon business but Chalk retained ownership of the building.
The property owners got busy rebuilding right away. Weston and Trost were the architects and the group of buildings was called the Union Block.
Isa S Richards occupied the upstairs offices on the Chestnut Street side in August of 1886.
The United States Signal Service also moved in to the upstairs rooms along Front Street that August and G. T. Inge’s store occupied the main room on the Chestnut side.
By February of 1887, the storefront on the Chestnut side was vacant and plans were in place to remodel the space for a new bank. Meanwhile, Boyer and Hobble moved their insurance and real estate office to the north basement room but they only stayed a few months.
The American State Bank of Dodge City was formed on March 25, 1887. You’re not going to believe this but the charter and articles of incorporation survived.
I love how the paper claimed Dodge had “three good and reliable banks.” I beg to differ!
The 1887 Sanborn map shows offices at 403 Front Street and the bank at 319 Chestnut Street.
In April of 1887, Wicks and Harrison moved their law office into the basement rooms on the Front Street side and were joined by realtor J. P. Erwin. Sherwood and Dickinson were offering farm loans from the main floor rooms on Front Street.
Isa Richards moved his office in January of 1888 and the spot was occupied by County Attorney, W. E. Hendricks. Physicians Wright and Plumer also had offices in the building at that time.
In May of 1888, T. C. Owen moved his Star Barber Shop into the basement room on Front Street.
I should note that this building was initially referred to as Chalk’s building but the property was listed in Ida’s name by August of 1888.
Many of you have seen this photo before. It seems like the date is usually given as 1890 but I believe it was taken a bit earlier.
The American State Bank stopped being a thing in September of 1889 and the fixtures were shipped to Ingalls in January of 1890.
J. S. Carson’s tailoring shop moved into a room on the Front Street side in February of 1890. He had recently moved to Dodge from Pueblo. Harry Newfer also moved a grocery into the bank’s old spot that month. Newfer, however, sold the grocery to J. M. Bell two months later.
R. W. Evans bought out J. M. Bell in September of 1894 and continued at the “old stand” until he moved the store to the Wright Building in March of 1895. Mrs. M. M. Wolff and Ella Steinman moved their millinery store in the former grocery the following month.
Wolff and Steinman moved their store to Arkansas City in March of 1897 and M. M. Gwinner moved his City (not Star) Bakery into the spot.
In February of 1901, Gwinner sold City Bakery to Roy W Burnett.
Gwinner then changed his mind and bought it back in August of 1901. Dentist R. W. Hellwarth established his office over the bakery in October of 1901.
It appears the cakes and candies business was not all fun and games, though.
Brothers W. A. and Ernest Sturgeon bought Gwinner’s City Bakery in November of 1906 for $8,000.
Pioneer Barber Shop began in the 1890s. By 1909, it was owned by Will Lowman, who was married to Grace Sturgeon. This ad shows the block had been renumbered between 1905 and 1909.
Lowman sold the shop to Charles McKenzie, who then sold it to Frank Cox in November of 1911.
The 1911 Sanborn shows both the old and new street numbers.
Judge B. F. Milton set up his office above Sturgeon’s in September of 1913.
After Chalk died, Ida moved into rooms on the second floor of the Front Street side. I’m sure she was thrilled to learn about the papered-over flue hole.
Although Ida sold the building in March of 1918, she continued living on the second floor until October of 1918.
The 1918 Sanborn shows Sturgeon’s had expanded to take up the entire first floor of the buiding.
Taylor-Sturgeon Tire Company was located at 216 Front (in the basement, I believe) from about June to November of 1920.
As I mentioned here, the Sturgeon family decided to focus on the Fourth Avenue bakery and closed the Chestnut location at the end of 1920. The former bakery underwent an extensive remodel and Dr. Milton D Reynolds moved his jewelry store into the spot in January of 1921.
Harry Grose bought the Sturgeon’s Confectionery fixtures and equipment. His wife was Minnie Sturgeon and they moved everything into the space at 216 Front Street.
Dr. Ernest C Main opened his chiropractic office above Reynolds Jewelry in June of 1924.
W. P. Childress had the American Barber Shop at 216 Front Street in August of 1924.
Two months later, it was the Shorty Grubbs Barber Shop.
From approximately 1926 to 1928, 216 Front Street was home to the Gents Barber Shop.
I’m not sure exactly when the ornate Victorian details were removed but they were still present in this photo from around 1930.
The 1932 Sanborn shows the dividing wall on the first floor was once again in place.
Sometime between 1937 and 1947, Reynolds Jewelry Co. became Morgan Jewelry. The barber shop became Sunflower Barber Shop.
By 1953, Arvin Heichen Jewelers was on the Chestnut side and that was the last store to occupy the space.
The Jack Harned Barber Shop occupied the Front Street side until Schafer’s Cafe took the spot in 1960.
Schafer’s moved and was replaced by El Poche Cafe.
In this famous post card, it’s easy to see the El Poche Cafe sign two doors west of Bill’s Tavern. You can also see that the Victorian roofline had been completely erased from existence.
These photos, which were taken just prior to demolition, are just depressing. All of those insanely ornate buildings became sad and shabby.
If you stand right here and look south, you’ll be staring over the former Ida Beeson lot.
It isn’t exactly inspiring but I guess a parking lot is better than a dilapidated wreck of what once was.
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