Augusta, Kansas: Part 11 of 12, State Street, 300 Block

Crossing 3rd Avenue and heading south on the west side, you find Mr. Jackson’s lot. He was a mechanic that seemed to limit his clientele. There never seemed to be more than one car at his place at a time. He and his wife were both pleasant people.

Next, was Howard Motors, a Chevrolet and Buick dealership. The company was owned by Ray Howard. Jack Parker reminded me that I forgot to mention that Howard Motors started out in the 600 block of State Street at the location next occupied by Mr. Blowey and his Augusta Hardware. I think Howard Motors moved into the new location in 1950 or 1951. I began working for them at the new location in the summer of 1952. I got to know the Howard’s pretty well. Ray sang with my Dad in the Augusta Elks Barbershop Quartet. Ray and Veda had 3 kids, Connie, Jackie, and Bill. Bill (William Ray Howard, Jr.) was a friend and classmate. Kenneth Markley was Service Manager and drove the wrecker. Kenny Dickinsen was Shop Foreman and Head Mechanic. Frank Prosser was a mechanic. Hank Funkey was also a mechanic. Phil Harding (brother of Cliff Harding at Scholfield-Hurst Motors) was Parts Manager. Betty Harrison worked in the office. Merle Canfield and Budd Nutter were salesmen. In late 1954 or early 1955, Ray Howard sold to George L. Findley, and it became the George L. Findley Chevrolet Company. George and his wife had come from Wichita. They had a daughter. They bought the David Allison house on Washington Lane. George hired Max Blackwelder, a CPA, to handle the financing and insurance components of the business. I think that during this period, Doug Sawtelle was in charge of the body shop for a time.

Next is the log cabin, the Augusta Historical Society Museum. I’ve already talked about this. I’m glad it’s still there and that it is being well cared for by the Director and the Board.

Next, go across the street to the east side. The only business over there was Crooks Cleaners, a dry cleaning shop owned by Jim Crooks. He was a very nice guy, and he had a son, also named Jim.

Dave Thomas

1/11/2021

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