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Sunday, December 20, 2020

60 years of Memories: Places that used to be


Memories Of Sixty Years In Butler

by James Ring


Every so often, I look at a spot in Butler and think “such-and-such was once there.” You’ve probably done the same thing, and you’ll be just was right as I am, so if I get my recollections wrong you can forgive and gently correct me. 


There will, someday, be those who look at the just-razed site just off the Square on West Dakota street and recall that Herb and Lena Anderson had a dry-cleaning business in a two-story building beside that alley. Or, a block farther west, the vacant lot on the south side of the street was the Marion Arnold Feed Mill. And just a stone’s throw north was the Wheatley Radiator shop, where you could get your car motor’s cooling system flushed or repaired.


Before the County government’s sprawl, there were businesses off the southwest corner of the Square on Delaware street, like Boss Evans’ auto repair shop and a musical instrument’s repair place, now the parking lot for the Bates County jail. Across the street stood A.C. and Molly Jennings’ home, next to the Jennings Supermarket, now the County administrative offices. Farther north on Delaware street was the telephone office, with real live people inside who could receive payment for your phone bill and talk about repairs your telephone instrument, which they actually owned but you rented as part of your service. The building’s site is now the parking lot for repair trucks.


The parking lot east of the Square, on Lyons street, was the Butler Lumber Company before that lumber yard was destroyed by fire; the parking lot west of the Ohio Street United Methodist Church was once the Logan-Moore Lumber Company, which met the same fate. And the vacant lot just off the Square on the west side of North Main was where the Culver-Underwood funeral parlor once sat. 


Out on the Highway 71 strip, on the corner of Orange and Adams streets, the lot next to our now-abandoned Sonic restaurant was the site of the Nu-Sho walk-in movie theater. And further south was the Laundromat coin-operated laundry and various other businesses, now a cleared space. If one goes on down to the Stop Light (for years, Bates County’s one-and-only traffic signal until WalMart demanded one)  the block between Fort Scott and Dakota held the Osage Valley Electric Co-op, later Barr Motor Company’s Ford dealership, before being replaced by the Hardee’s  restaurant, which is now inside the Citizen’s Bank building.


On the west side of the Strip, I’ve been told that the building north of the Highway Hamburger grill was once the telephone office. Across from it sat Buck Henson’s Ice plant. And NAPA auto parts, brought into town by the Everett brothers (now CarQuest) used to sit farther south on its lot in an earlier building. And who could forget Harry Cherry’s gas station, now the D&D tire shop?


Know why there’s a Bishop street on west 52 highway, running to the south just before the underpass below the railroad tracks? It’s because Jerry Bishop’s auto parts store was located at the end of the block. On west, just beyond the underpass, one found Dale Crocket’s ready-mix concrete business on the north side of 52. 


And so it goes. Times and businesses change, even though the land they sit on is eternal. One day the familiar stops we make today will be gone and something will take their place.