Augusta, Kansas (Part 8 of 12): State Street, 400 Block, West Side

Crossing 5th Avenue and heading south on the west side of State Street, we come to the C.R. Calvert Company, a department store. The store was managed by O.R. Fowler and his wife. They were always professionally dressed and groomed, smiling, and welcoming to everyone who entered the store. One of the sales people was Kathryn Moser, wife of Ralph Moser, and mother of Vern Moser, who was 2 years older than I. Mom always looked for Kathryn when we went to Calvert’s because she was so good at fitting both boys and girls. The Elks Lodge moved from the Penley Building to the space above Calvert’s.

I believe that next was Jack’s Place, a beer joint owned by Jack Thompson. Jack’s Place had a bar, a pool table, and some domino tables. If I remember correctly, Jack’s daughter, Margaret, married Coach John Hutter.

Next was Bartholomew Furniture. I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t acquainted with the family. They were Jack Parker’s grandparents, and were well know and well-liked around town. I remember hearing the name in the conversations of my folks and aunt and uncle. (Jack Parker is still an active octogenarian.) After the Bartholomew’s quit the business, that location was occupied by another furniture company whose name escapes me. One of the sales people there was Jane (Guest) Fennell, who was a niece of my great-aunt, Rachel (Wright) Peebler. Jane was always one of my favorites. For a time, the Guest family lived 2 doors south of us on Cliff Drive. During World War II, Jane was going with or engaged to Charlie Fennell. Charlie was away from home in the Air Force. I can remember playing out in the front yard with my sister and seeing Jane standing on her front porch, waiting for the mailman. Often, she lucked out and would call to us saying, “I got a letter from Charlie!” We would then go sit on the front porch with her as she read the letter to us. Jane and Charlie had a daughter, Dana (Fennell) Perez that I knew as a toddler, but haven’t had the pleasure since she’s grown up.

Next, would be Scholfield Hatchery. Gene Scholfield, my friend Keith’s dad, operated this business for several years. I don’t remember who managed it after Gene and Jap Hurst opened Scholfield Hurst Motor Company. One of the main things I remember is seeing the colorful baby chicks at Easter time.

Next, was the Augusta Daily Gazette. It was a 4-way partnership. Elsie Harrison ran the office, Mike Cyphers was the make-up and press man, Paul Cyphers was the linotype operator, and Bertha “Bert” Shore was a writer, reporter, and columnist. My Mom worked in the office for several years. They also hired Bill Schul as a reporter and H.G. “Hutch” Hutcheson as Managing Editor. I applied for work as a paper boy a month before my 12th birthday on August 27th. Elsie told me that when I turned 12, I should go in and get a Social Security Card and then come and see her the day school started. She said that one of her carriers was quitting so he could play freshman football. It all worked out, and I carried the paper for a year. There were a half dozen paper boys, but the only 2 I remember are Acey Bill Cody and his younger brother, Irwin Cody. Irwin is still around and he probably remembers better than I.

Next was a beauty salon owned by Frances Polk. Mrs. Polk was the mother of Virgil Polk who was 2 years older than I; he married my classmate, Bobadell Hill. I think Virgil’s dad drove a farm gas truck, delivering petroleum products to farmers.

Next is the State Street Lounge, owned by a man named Leo. I can’t recall the last name. Maybe Kiser?

Last on the block was the Pontiac/GMC dealership. Charlie Rawlings left his filling station at 6th and State and took over this business. Then, in 1956, he sold it to Don Cunningham. I worked for Don Cunningham’s Pontiac for a few months before joining the Navy.

Dave Thomas

1/8/2021

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