“A City with A Future” is how the City Directory described Pittsburg in 1968. As the Crawford County Historical Museum celebrates its 50th Anniversary, let’s look back at what was happening in our history fifty years ago.
Did you know in 1968 we had fifteen neighborhood taverns? Who remembers them all? Does Friendly Tavern with the Drenik brothers behind the bar on 802 South Broadway (now Splash Pool), ring a bell? How about Mr. Thomas owning the Grand Club, appropriately named, located on Grand Street. The only tavern left that is still going strong today, also named for its address, is the 311 Club located at 311 E. 7th Street, and opens at 3 pm – easy for its customers to remember.
There was no excuse to get ones’ hair done in 1968. Pittsburg boosted a total of forty-five beauty salons! If anyone wants to see what it was like to perm, curl, or dry your hair before the 1970’s, visit our fashion exhibit. It will make you appreciate just how far technology has come. For the men, there were twenty-two barber shops. All have closed, but if you see Jack Lemon, I bet you he will still give you a piece of Double Bubble Gum. However, you are still in luck in you are looking for a barber. Today, you can visit Ray’s Barber Shop next to the Hotel Stillwell. Just look for the classic barber pole.
Who remembers the shopping stores downtown during the 1960’s? From being pampered while being outfitted at Littles (Spigarelli Law), to The Palace (Rosa Bella), the fancy dresses at Seymour’s (Butler’s Quarters), Walt Panneck Men’s Wear (Piece of Cake Nutrition), Coulter-McGuire Men’s Clothing (Repurpose Boutique & Angelic Boutique), and taking the elevator at Ramsey’s (The Home Place), everyone had their favorite and stopping at a red light is sure to bring back memories for many as they glance over at a building. To help ease your nostalgia, check out the fashion exhibit at the museum.
Although the businesses are gone, they left us reminders of where they once stood. Talk a walk downtown to look for ghost signs they left behind. You might also find a name in an alcove. Take a walk past the beautiful new event center, Butler’s Quarters, recently preserved by owners, Mandi Jo and Blake Butler, and see the historical Seymore name in mosaic tile.
While it’s fun to look back and remember our past, it is also fun to look to the future for new businesses and events to come. Fifty years later, “A City with a Future,” can be still be described for Pittsburg as it continues to promote prosperity.
Come celebrate the Crawford County Historical Museum 50th Anniversary, June 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. We are pleased to announce special guest, author and historian Adrian Zink attending our Open House. Mr. Zink will give his program at 1 pm, Hidden History of Kansas. Kansas' storied past is filled with fascinating firsts, humorous coincidences, and intriguing characters. Author and historian Adrian Zink digs deep into the Sunflower State's history to reveal these hidden and overlooked stories. Mr. Zink’s book will be available for purchase at the museum.
— Amanda Minton is the director of Crawford County Historical Museum as well a lecturer of history at Pittsburg State University.