Apr 20, 2020

Our Past is Present

Posted Apr 20, 2020 5:05 AM
Did You Know This About Geary County History?
Did You Know This About Geary County History?

By Dr. Ferrell Miller

Geary County Historical Society Board Member

“Two Drug Stores Which Were Located On North Washington Street”

According to Cutler’s History of Kansas, C.H. Ward organized a drug store in 1880, though there is no record of the building. However, a photo taken in 1899 documents the Ward business at the location of 622 North Washington Street in Junction City. It remained a drug store through numerous owners.

In 1919, the drug store was owned by Roy Eisenhower, whose brother was Dwight D. Eisenhower. Dwight, our 34th President of the United States, would occasionally visit Roy and patrons at the store. When Roy died in 1942, his widow ran the store for two more years.

It was the Leedy Drug Store in the late 1940’s and 50’s. Drug stores were both pharmacies and gathering places for getting caught up on the latest gossip, having an ice cream soda, a Coke or similar product. Drug stores replaced bars where hard liquor could be purchased and consumed during Prohibition. 622 N. Washington Street is currently occupied by Netquest Computers.

The Baskin/Clewell Drug Store was located at 816 North Washington Street. The building was built in 1904 by pharmacist C.H. Baskin, who lived upstairs with his wife, Laura. Charles Clewell, a brother of Laura Baskin, acquired the business in 1917 and eventually his oldest son Roy Clewell, became the proprietor. The soda fountain had a twelve foot counter with onyx pillars and three oak-framed mirrors behind it.

This was the last of the “old-fashioned drug stores” in Junction City. The store closed when Roy Clewell died in 1978. Central National Bank remodeled the building which now houses the Pottberg, Gassman and Hoffman accounting firm.

“Geary County Historical Facts To Use For A Trivia Game”

During this Coronavirus Pandemic in which we are isolated from others and are to stay home, it may be possible that some of you (like me) are getting bored!!! Below are some facts about Geary County history that could be used in a trivia game. Enjoy testing or just sharing these with your friends on Facebook, your family at home, during face time, or other means of communicating using social distancing, of course. Here are the facts. Be creative and turn these into trivia questions.

* Junction City was the first town west of the Mississippi to distribute Coca-Cola at Sargant’s Drug Store, often called the Coca Cola Senate. The location was at 710 N. Washington where Eye -Ware Junction is now located.

* In the fall of 1857, the name Junction City was formalized. Junction City was chosen because of its position where the Smoky Hill and Republican Rivers joined with the Kansas River.

* Junction City was incorporated in January of 1859.

* The Opera House was originally built in 1882. It caught fire in January of 1889 and was restored and reopened in October.

* Junction City was one of the first towns in Kansas to have a kindergarten in 1927.

* In 1929, the “Uptown Theater” was one of the first theaters in Kansas to be equipped with “talkies” or motion pictures.

* Some of the famous guests at the historic Bartell Hotel located at the corner of Sixth and Washington Street in Junction City were Gene Tierney, John Phillip Sousa, W.C. Fields, John Wayne and the Russian Grand Duke Alexis.

* Fort Riley’s first name was Camp Center, because it was believed to be the geographic center of the United States. However, it has been learned that the actual center of the 48 contiguous states is near Lebanon, Kansas in Smith County.

* Davis County, the original name of Geary County, was named so after Jefferson Davis. The name change came about because Davis had become the President of the Confederacy. Geary was chosen in 1888 after John Geary, an early Governor of the Kansas Territory.

* Walker Stone Company was one of the first industries in the area.