Bee Hive Store Then and Now

I wish I could remember where I saw it but an article was published a while ago about the Bee Hive store and the author couldn’t determine who had owned it in the beginning. While researching other businesses, I’ve run across tons of advertising for this store so I thought it would be fun to see if I could figure it out.

The building across from the Wright House, which had previously housed the Ford County Globe, had been sold by Morris Collar to A. H. Snyder in August of 1882. Snyder was in construction and mining, though, so I don’t believe he ever operated a dry goods store. I think he was just investing in real estate.

It doesn’t seem like the storefront was occupied for a while because the Presbyterian Church hosted a Christmas dinner there in 1883. And if it was related to the Presbyterian Church, you could bet my great-great-grandmother was involved!

The Dodge City Times, December 20, 1883

1884 was a weird year for the Snyder building. In February, it was to house a saddlery and a furniture store. You’ll see the Dunn name at this location again later.

The Dodge City Democrat, February 23, 1884

Dunn had moved into the furniture store spot by March 1 but then consolidated with McVeigh and Kirkpatrick to form Dunn and Kirkpatrick later in 1884. But then there was suddenly a new dry goods store without a name. None of the ads I found mentioned a business name or proprietors. I only found a quick note about a “party from Denver” and their “stock of notions” going in there.

The Dodge City Democrat, August 16, 1884

There was a Roworth and Veatch in Pueblo, Colorado but I’m not sure if they had a presence in Denver. Henry Jabez Strange (from Colorado) and John James Summersby arrived in Dodge City in 1884 and in September, they bought the dry goods store of Roworth and Veatch.

The Dodge City Democrat, September 13, 1884

Here is the first ad I was able to find for the Bee Hive:

The Globe Live Stock Journal, September 23, 1884

The Bee Hive advertised everything from dress goods to dry goods to table linens to shoes. The 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the Wright House at the northwest corner of Chestnut Street and Bridge/Second Avenue. That would place the Bee Hive across the street at what was then 723 Second Avenue.

The Dodge City Times, January 22, 1885

In March of 1885, the Bee Hive was “comfortably quartered one door below their old stand.” It would have been simpler to just say the new location was on the ground floor. Fires were a constant problem in those days and it appears the store got an assist from the locals that December.

The Dodge City Times, December 3, 1885

The Bee Hive moved to temporary quarters in the bank building while awaiting the completion of the brick Sitler Building on Bridge/Second Avenue. At this time, Bridge Avenue covered the area north to roughly Walnut Street and it was called Second Avenue further north. It really depended on the map, though. And people just called it whatever. The new home of the Bee Hive was on the east side of Bridge Avenue between Walnut (Gunsmoke) and Spruce Streets. On the 1887 Sanborn Map, the street number was 813 but today it would be the equivalent of 606 N Second Avenue.

The game of musical chairs continued and the Bee Hive moved again in August of 1886.

Wilburn Argus, August 20, 1886

This time, they moved back to their old corner of Second and Chestnut after a new brick building was constructed. This article references a queensware shop to the north of the Bee Hive and the 1887 Sanborn Map shows one next to a dry good and clothing store at that location.

The Dodge City Democrat, September 11, 1886

I also found an announcement about the O. K. Barbershop opening in the basement of the Bee Hive and the 1887 Sanborn Map shows a barbershop in the basement of that building, which had been renumbered 805 Second Avenue. There was also a bath house in the basement.

In March of 1887, the Bee Hive added dressmaking to their repertoire with Minnie Horn in charge of designing and cutting.

The Globe Live Stock Journal, July 26, 1887

In August of 1887, Dr. O. H. Simpson moved his dental office into the front rooms above the Bee Hive.

The Dodge City Times, September 20, 1887
The Dodge City Times, February 9, 1888
The Globe-Republican, October 29, 1890

In November of 1890, the Bee Hive was so busy Strange and Summersby were forced to hire additional staff to properly greet all of their customers. In February of 1891, the store was expanded into the north end of the building. The 1892 Sanborn Map shows dry goods and clothing in the south room and clothing in the north room as well as the businesses on the second floor.

The Globe-Republican, October 28, 1892

In May of 1893, Strange and Summersby expanded again. A hole was cut in the ceiling to provide indoor stairway access to the upstairs room where the Phenix Industrial Club had previously been located.

My great-great-grandfather arrested two ill-mannered individuals who stole merchandise from the Bee Hive in April of 1894.

The Globe-Republican, April 20, 1894.
The Globe-Republican, November 30, 1894
The Ford County Leader, November 15, 1895

In October of 1896, Strange and Summersby announced their exit from the clothing business. It seems like they may have later reconsidered.

The Globe-Republican, October 1, 1896

The Bee Hive was awarded a six-month contract to provide dry goods to the State Soldiers’ Home at Fort Dodge in December of 1897.

Western Kansas Live Stock Journal, February 1, 1900

Is it just me or does a lighting system with *gasoline* running through it seem much more dangerous than electricity?

The Dodge City Democrat, January 25, 1901

In December of 1902, Summersby sold his interest in the Bee Hive to George T Martin, who had managed the store for some time. Originally from Kentucky, Mr. Martin arrived in Dodge City in 1881 and worked for Wright and Beverly, then York, Parker, and Draper. The new firm’s name was Strange and Martin. George’s brother, John, moved with his family from Great Bend to work at the Bee Hive.

The Globe-Republican, December 25, 1902
The Globe-Republican, March 12, 1903
The Journal-Democrat, May 18, 1906

George Martin obtained full ownership of the Bee Hive in May of 1906. H. J. Strange had been in poor health for several years and he moved with his family to Denver, hoping the climate would aid in his recovery.

The Globe-Republican, June 28, 1906
The Globe-Republican, May 6, 1909
The Dodge City Globe, December 29, 1910

The 1911 Sanborn Map shows Second Avenue was renumbered and the Bee Hive went from 805-806 to 500-502 Second Avenue, which are the current numbers for that building.

In 1912, the Bee Hive had a telephone line installed and the store was assigned lucky number 13.

The Dodge City Kansas Journal, July 26, 1912

George Cochran bought the Bee Hive building in February of 1913 and announced plans to move the Mosher and Cochran Drug Store to that location once the Bee Hive’s lease expired…in four and a half years. He also planned to install a new front on the building to make it look more modern. When the reporter asked George Martin whether he had considered buying the building, he said he expected the Bee Hive to outgrow the space before the end of the lease term. By February of 1914, his prediction seemed pretty accurate.

The Dodge City Daily Globe, February 10, 1914

Now this is fascinating. In July of 1914, the Bee Hive offered $1.10 for each silver dollar received. The Federal Reserve was created on December 23, 1913. Coincidence? I think not.

The Dodge City Globe, July 2, 1914

You may recall from previous posts that there are several buildings listed with incorrect dates of construction on the county website. This building is no exception; The county says it was built in 1915 but the Bee Hive had clearly occupied it since 1886 and was still there in 1916.

Dodge City Daily Globe, February 18, 1916

George Martin sold the Bee Hive to Frank Dunn of Garden City in December of 1916 with Dunn taking over the store January 1, 1917. Remember the Dunn furniture store back in 1884? Mr. Dunn immediately began remodeling the north room of the building. An automatic elevator was installed! The basement was finished and the storefront was modernized with plate glass. The most notable change, however, was the name. After more than 30 years, this was the end of the Bee Hive.

Dodge City Daily Globe, January 2, 1917

George Cochran made plans to move the Mosher and Cochran Drug Store into the south room of the building as soon as the Dunn’s space could be remodeled. I believe that was the last time the two sides of the building were occupied by one business. In addition, I have read that George Cochran tore down the Bee Hive building and put up a new one but it was only an assumption on the part of the author. The building was heavily remodeled with a new brick veneer but it appears to be the same structure. On the 1918 Sanborn Map, you can see the drug store on the corner of Second and Chestnut with the dry goods store just to the north.

In this post card, you can see the WWI memorial that was on Second Avenue as well as the Mosher and Cochran Drug Store on the northeast corner.

Photographer Unknown

By 1928, Dunn’s Dry Goods had moved to 308 W Chestnut and the space at 502 Second Avenue became home to Levinson’s Ladies Ready-to-Wear.

Photographer Unknown

By 1947, Burke’s Shoes was listed at 502 Second Avenue and they were there for-EVER. Literally! Or at least until 1994-ish. In this postcard, you can just barely make out the Burke’s sign on the right.

Photographer Unknown

502 N Second Avenue is now home to Dulceria La Chiquita.

Mosher & Cochran stayed on that corner until about 1965, although Charles Ashley Mosher died in November of 1949 and George Daniel Cochran in October of 1960. Brown’s Shoe Fit opened in 1965 at the corner of Second Avenue and Wyatt Earp Boulevard and stayed there until 1997, when the business moved to Comanche Plaza. Since then, the corner has housed Trails West, Flowers by Irene, and now Yogi’s Vape Shop.

Here are some photos I took around Christmas last year:

I had never heard of the Bee Hive until I started looking through old newspapers for completely unrelated stories. It’s fun to see how journalism and advertising have evolved over the past 130-plus years. We tend to assume the sales and reporting techniques we’re so familiar with now are much more modern than they actually are.

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Who Killed Walter Locke?

The quick answer is, “No one. He died of a stroke.” But there’s just so much more to the story and if you could go back in time to 1922, I bet anyone you asked would tell you Ivan Stultz killed Walter.

I promised a more detailed post on the Bargain Store/Eckles Department Store and this one was definitely worth the work. It’s no secret that people with an entrepreneurial spirit tend to experience highs and lows, some of which can be quite dramatic. Walter N Locke was no exception and he saw more than his fair share of boom and bust cycles.

He came to Dodge City from Pennsylvania by way of St. Joseph, Missouri around 1884 and found himself Deputy Sheriff under Pat Sughrue by 1885. Walter and O. A. Bond were granted “franchise and exclusive right to maintain, operate, and carry on the telephone business for and within the limits of Dodge City, Kansas…” in October of 1886. He was also one of the proprietors of the St. James Hotel. Walter married Josephine Tilghman on November 17, 1886 and you’ll remember that their daughter, Hattie, married Otto Theis and was half of the inspiration for naming the Lora-Locke Hotel.

Walter was involved in everything. Fraternal organizations, business organizations, real estate, insurance, groceries, you name it. He reopened the Cox livery stables in September of 1891 but these were some rough years. There were failures and foreclosures. He became an auctioneer.

Walter was a junior partner in Fitzgerald & Locke and in the spring of 1894, he was traveling all over the eastern US ordering stock for the new store.

The Dodge City Democrat, July 14, 1894

Walter really understood marketing and throughout the lifespan of the store he would rely heavily on half to full-page ads…sometimes on the front page, above the fold. I wanted to include them all but he advertised ALL THE TIME. It appears to have worked because the store was expanded in April of 1895.

Somewhere along the way, the Bargain Store acquired a co-manager.

The Ford County Leader, July 12, 1895

The store moved to the R. M. Wright building in early 1898. I’m not sure when it opened but at some point, Fitzgerald & Locke had a store in Lakin. I believe that branch was sold in December of 1908.

Western Kansas Live Stock Journal, February 15, 1900

Walter’s son, Frank, was 16 years old in 1903 and I found a brief mention that he was “holding down the clothing department” at the store. I imagine he first began helping out there at a much younger age.

We know from my previous post that Walter wanted to build the new Bargain Store at Second and Walnut long before he was able to make it happen. Construction would require an enormous amount of capital so Fitzgerald & Locke, the Stubbs & Barkley grocery, and A. D. Smith & Son store were combined to create the Dodge City Mercantile Company.

Things were shaping up by the summer of 1908.

The Journal-Democrat, June 12, 1908

The Dodge City Mercantile Company was officially created on February 20, 1909. By March, the building had been accepted from the contractor and the fixtures were being installed. The store opened on April 19, 1909. This piece gives a ton of information about the layout of the building as well as the people working there.

The new store was completely wrecked by a massive fire on November 1, 1909. You may not be able to read the tiny type but I wanted to show what an enormous blow this was to Dodge City and everyone involved.

The Globe-Republican, November 4, 1909

The loss was calculated at $180,000 with only $76,000 in insurance. In addition to the working members of the Dodge City Mercantile Company, there were 45 employees who were jobless until operations could be resumed. Incredibly, there were no serious injuries.

After the fire, the town rallied to keep the Bargain Store in business.

Operations were spread out all over with space leased in three separate buildings.

The Globe-Republican, March 10, 1910

The new building was occupied by late September of 1910 and operations gradually ramped up throughout October. Walter formed the Locke Mercantile Company on October 3, 1910. I see that the Dodge City Mercantile Company was dissolved but the Secretary of State website doesn’t list a date.

Even though the Bargain Store was his baby, Walter still had all sorts of other business arrangements. In addition to apparently managing Gwinner’s new shoe store on Second Avenue, he was still involved in real estate.

The Dodge City Globe, August 22, 1912

The Dodge City Globe, November 7, 1912

Here’s a fun photo with a bunch of old-timers! Frank Locke and my great-grandfather, Merritt Beeson, were good friends. Frank did Merritt a huge solid by taking over management of the Chalk Beeson Theater after Wolf Goldstein was run out of town for being Jewish. More about that outrage later.

The Dodge City Globe, July 23, 1914

There’s no easy way to share this next one because of how the text was broken up but I think you get the idea…the place was both massive and magnificent.

The Dodge City Journal, October 9, 1914

Dodge City Daily Globe, January 1, 1917

So do you remember me telling you about how excited I was to ride the elevator at Eckles? The first modern elevator was installed at the Bargain Store in 1917.

Dodge City Daily Journal, March 1, 1917

Walter had a reputation for being a generous employer and often held Christmas dinners for his staff at the O’Neal House Hotel in addition to handing out monetary gifts.

Dodge City Daily Journal, December 26, 1917

So the Bargain Store made it through all kinds of turmoil including the shortages caused by WWI but the betrayal of Walter’s trust by Secretary and Treasurer, Ivan E Stultz proved to be too much.

The Dodge City Journal, December 8, 1921

Because it was an officer of the corporation who was accused of embezzlement, the creditors immediately took over operations of the store so everything could be analyzed.

The Hutchinson News, December 15, 1921

Stultz pleaded guilty to three counts of embezzlement totaling $1,100 but the company initially suspected he was responsible for more like $17,000. Regardless, each count carried a penalty of one to three years. The auditors kept digging and found irregularities plus his personal account at the store totaling more than $27,000 and then everyone started calling in their notes because it was obvious Stultz was going to prison.

The Dodge City Journal, February 9, 1922

Walter suffered a paralytic stroke at the store on April 22, 1922. By the 27th, he seemed to be showing some improvement but that was really just wishful thinking.

After Ivan was sentenced to prison, his wife filed for divorce.

The Dodge City Journal, May 18, 1922

And then Ivan died in jail only days later. With that issue resolved, the committee of creditors could move forward with normalizing operations.

The Dodge City Journal, June 15, 1922

The Dodge City Journal, June 22, 1922

In early July, Stultz’s widow signed over to Walter the deeds to three lots (one with their former residence and two vacant lots) in the Fairview Addition. Walter, in turn, signed them over to Prudential Trust Company. Meanwhile, Olavus A Donhowe of Clarinda, Iowa was hired to manage the Bargain Store the first week of July.

Walter unfortunately died on July 17, 1922 and it was noted at the time that people close to him believed it was the Stultz affair which caused his demise.

The Hutchinson News, July 18, 1922

As previously mentioned, the Bargain Store continued on for a time but it just wasn’t the same.

The Southwest News, May 9, 1924

The building was sold to the Eckles brothers, who opened the Eckles Brothers Department Store in May of 1926.

I haven’t forgotten about the follow-up grocery post! Archival materials were promised by a certain someone and I will get that wrapped up just as quickly as I can. In the meantime, that book isn’t going to research itself.

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!

Donation

Your support keeps the caffeine flowing! Make a one-time donation. Your contribution is appreciated!

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