May 11, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
In the next two programs we will be sharing information about some more historic buildings in downtown Junction City. The information is from a free pamphlet which you can get at our Museum titled “A Walking Tour”. 41 buildings are highlighted in this pamphlet for you and others to read and reflect on as while visiting our downtown businesses.
Today we will look at two more historic buildings. The first is the Rialto Building which is at 607 North Washington St. If you look at the top of the building you can still see the word “Rialto”. This building was constructed in 1897 to house the Rialto Restaurant. By 1908, Mike Frey had a restaurant in this location. In 1919 eight brothers named Maduros came to Junction City and opened the well-known Good Eats Café, which lasted until 1977. The façade was restored during the Washington Street restoration of 1999. The space is where Bella’s Italian Restaurant is currently located.
The next building is across the street from the Rialto and is the Bartell House, which is located on the northwest corner of Washington and Sixth Streets. It was opened in 1880, by A.H. Bartell and John K. Wright. The Bartell House Hotel replaced the Hale House, which had burned in 1875. There were 66 rooms, parlors, offices, street level shops, a kitchen and a dining room with murals painted by Junction City artist Bertrand Harman. The Junction City Post Office was located in the southwest corner of the building between 1888 and 1917. Among the famous guests of the hotel were General Funston, General Wainwright, Sally Rand, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney, Al Jolson, John Phillip Sousa, W.C. Fields and Gloria Vanderbilt. When it closed as the Lamer Hotel in 1979, it was the last operating hotel in the city. It has been restored and remodeled into a senior apartments, retail office space and at one time housed Kite’s Bar and Grille.