June 27, 2017
You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Another in our series of historic buildings in downtown Junction City is today’s story.
Many of you know that J.J. Pennell was a well-known Junction City photographer between 1886 and 1922. In 1908 he built the building at 801 North Washington Street, which housed the Miller Pharmacy at the street level and his photography studio upstairs. After Pennell’s death, his widow and son moved from their home on Fourth Street to the second floor of this building. It was here that Joseph Stanley Pennell, J.J.’s son, wrote the novel The History of Rome Hanks, which was a best seller in 1944. In 1960, Joseph sold the building to the College of Emporia and moved to Oregon after his complaints about a noisy calliope was not dealt with by city officials.
The main floor was then occupied by Gambles Department store, the second floor by the Red Cross and apartments and the basement by Republic Printing. In 1998, the building was restored and occupied by Geary County Court Services.
There are 41 buildings highlighted in our free pamphlet, “A Walking Tour”, which is available at our Museum at the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets. The information about the historic buildings was collected by Bruce McMillan and Eric Stahl. Stop by our Museum for a visit and take the walking tour of our historic downtown business district.