Augusta, Kansas: Part 9 of 12, State Street, 400 Block, East Side

Crossing 5th Avenue and heading south on the east side of State Street, we first encounter a 2-story, white stucco building on that southeast corner of State and 5th. My first remembrance is that this was Hudson’s Department Store, operated by a lady named Florence Hudson. I remember my Mom taking me in there one time to buy a pair of bib overalls. This was real grownup attire for a grade school kid. For a few years, Mamie Hall had her book store at this location before moving up to the next block. Now, we come to the important stuff about this location. I believe that the address here is 432 State. My Mom told me that I was born in an upstairs apartment, but never told me the address or what store it was above. I was at least 60 years old before looking at my birth certificate and having it register that my birth address was 432 ½ State Street. I’ve had some thoughts of petitioning the Chamber of Commerce to install a bronze plaque on the wall of the building saying, “Dave Thomas was born here.” However, I’m realistic enough to know that the plaque would probably say, “Dave Thomas was born here. So, what?”

Next, we have Chisman Shoe Repair, owned by Jesse Chisman. Jessie’s wife was in the store on most days, taking care of the customers. I don’t remember seeing Jesse without a smile on his face. The Chisman’s had a daughter who was a couple of years older than me. I think her name was Shirley. Jesse was a brother to Jim Chisman, a mechanic, who I think worked for Martin Brothers Motors. Jim and Anna Chisman had a son, Robert, who was a couple of years older and married my classmate, Mary Burch.

Next were the offices of a young CPA named Dick Maddox. He and his wife were nice, friendly people.

Next was Lovellettes Furniture. I remember that my Mom liked this couple.

Next was Southwest Bell, the telephone Company. This was where the operators worked, back when we had operators.

I think next was the old theater. It had been closed for years. I think Mrs. Bisagno played piano for the silent movies here.

Next, I think, was Elerick’s Cleaners. Frank Elerick had died, but I got to know his widow, Pearl, as she was a good friend of my Aunt Rachel. Pearl lived a block over on School Street across from the old Coca Cola building.

The bowling alley was along here, somewhere. I tried bowling a few times and enjoyed it, but never got hooked on it.

I can’t remember what the last businesses were. Guess my brain is giving out.

Dave Thomas


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