Goldie Gorman Webster moved to Junction City as a young girl at the turn of the 20th century. Years later, she recalled her memories of those early years in Junction City. In this third part to our Goldie Webster memories series, Goldie remembers the businesses of Junction City that she and her sister, Sylvia, visited with their parents:
“We had two laundries in our area. One owned by the Schmoldt family was on west l4th street. One daughter, Helen, later became Mrs. Roy Luke. Kaufholz Laundry was on east l4th street. There was a monument business operated by DeArmond and Root. It was on the west side of Washington street. We passed it each time we went uptown. Seemed sort of spooky to me when I was younger, since gravestones were displayed near the street. There were two hotels in the north end. The Pacific Hotel, operated by Charles and Martha Fox was on Washington between l0th and llth. It later became the Hamilton Hotel. The Bartell Hotel was in the main part of town, had a cab service of its own. It hauled customers to and from the station. Sam Brazil was the cab driver. Mr. Fox had no cab, but he met the trains and carried customers baggage to the hotel himself.
The little Free Methodist church was there when we came. It is still there, remodeled and enlarged.
Charles Ross had a grocery and meat store on Washington street. His family lived in the rear of the store, and on one side of the store his sister, Haidi, had a small dry goods and millinery store. Mother always bought our Easter bonnets from Miss Ross. She would plant a hat on my head and say, "Turn around and let your little sister see how nice you look in that hat." I always opted for the plain sailor style of hat, with a black velvet streamer hanging down the back. The flowery hats were for my little sister. She was the type for flowery hats, having beautiful blond curls and blue eyes. I, of the mousy colored hair, was not the type for flowered hats. I always had a rubber band on my hat that fit under my chin. In case of wind, the band kept my hat from sailing into the bright blue yonder.
Stanleys had a newsstand on Washington street. The neighbor kids were George, Dorothy and Ruth Edwards. Their father was a trainman on the Union Pacific. Reed & Elam, mentioned earlier, had the grocery on West 7th. One hot day our mother took me and my little sister up town to the store. We walked. While we were in the store, my little sister saw a basket of shiny buttons. She helped herself to one card and put it in her apron pocket. After we went home she took the card out and my mother saw it. She was told that was wrong. Mother then explained that the buttons were for sale and not for little girls to carry away. After further counsel, we put our bonnets back on and trudged to the store. Little sister said to mother, "Mr. Reed had so many that I didn’t think he would care if I just took one pretty one." She was tearful but made her apology as required. The matter closed, but never again did little sister help herself to the property of another.
E. H. Hemingway had a dry goods store on the east side of Washington. Once a year he held a nine cent sale of dry goods. Yardage was sold at 9 cents a yard for some of it. Other yardage was also on sale. This sale always drew a large crowd. Before the store opened lines of ladies stood outside, waiting to get in the door. There was a mad rush when the door opened. Sometimes the ladies selected bolts of material, clutched them in their arms, and hauled them around waiting to be waited upon. Someone else would want some the same cloth and there would be a hassle over it. Children were pushed up against the wall where they had a good view of the melee.
There were saloons on the east side of Washington street. We were never allowed to walk on that side from 10th south. Father said it was not a fit street for children and ladies to travel. Too many drunks were to be seen coming out of the places. I once, curious to know what it was all about, ventured onto that side. It smelled awful and I never went again. There were other stores on that side but they were for adults so we were told.
Look for more of Goldie Webster’s memories in future articles, or stop by the Geary County Historical Society to experience other histories. Do you have experiences growing up in Geary County that you would like to share? We want to hear your stories! Give us a call at 785-238-1666 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Museum open Tuesday-Sunday 1-4pm.