White Deer Land Museum

Pampa’s First Business District Was Very Small

The Johnson Mercantile Building was constructed in 1902 by J.F. Johnson of Canadian. He bought the first commercial lots sold in Pampa (Lots 13-24 of Block 15). The property was purchased by J.N. Duncan in 1906, and the name of the store was changed to J.N. Duncan, Hardware and Furniture. The M.E. Moses Variety Store now occupies this location.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

The home of Dr. V.E. von Brunow, who came to Pampa in 1903, served as the doctor’s office and clinic. It also housed the telephone office with 24 plugs connecting Miami and Panhandle, and it was the third location of the Pampa Post Office.

After the trains left, Fay Martin, telegraph operator for the railroad, brought the mail to the Brunow house in a two-wheeled cart pushed by hand. People gathered to wait for their mail and one man was always asking, “Has the mail been distributed yet?”

Often Mrs. Brunow would cross the vacant lot between the Brunow and Wynne houses for an afternoon visit with Mrs. Wynne. If a rancher came for his mail, Mrs. Brunow would go to her home for his mail and then return to the Wynne house to resume her visit.

At some later time the first building of the Gray County State Bank was constructed on the lot between the Brunow and Wynne houses. The Fairview Cemetery Association met there on May 22, 1909.

The J.S. Wynne house was first occupied by the family of Eli and Georgia (Crawford) Vincent who kept boarders. (Perhaps Beryl and Alice Wynne boarded there when they attended the first Pampa school in 1903-04. The Wynnes moved from their ranch southeast of White Deer in 1907, instead of 1903 as previously stated.)

The Wynnes removed a fence south of their house so that J.C. Studer of Canadian could build Pampa ‘s first meat market between the Wynne house and Ace Hannon’s store.

The general merchandise store owned first by Ace Hannon was next owned by Sam Rider and then by C.B. Barnard, who came to the Panhandle around 1890 and grew wheat on a small farm near White Deer. Later Barnard had a combination dry goods and grocery store at 102 South Cuyler. In 1925 he was elected the first president of the Pampa Chamber of Commerce.

The J.C. Rider livery stable at the corner of Foster and Gillespie (Lots 13-16 of Block 6) was a block east of the Cuyler Street “business district.” Rider rented teams and vehicles; many of these transported lawyers and others with business at the courthouse to and from Lefors. Ranchers brought their bedrolls if they had to stay overnight. Their food consisted of crackers, cheese and potted ham, or a lunch they had brought along.

Lester Sills, whose daughter Lottie married Alex Schneider, Jr., came to Pampa in 1904.

In about 1904, Sam and Charlie Thomas were responsible for getting the first tractor in the area. It was an International Harvester Mogul and worked on one cylinder. Both the first combines and tractors were introduced by the Thomas brothers who pioneered machinery of all types.

Only six pupils attended the Pampa school in 1904-05. Beryl and Alice Wynne stayed on their ranch near White Deer and there is no information on the other two of the original ten. Miss Lillian Carrington was the teacher, and the trustees were John Chapman, S.C. Case and M.K. Brown.

Mrs. C.A. Tignor kept a copy of a program presented on December 10, 1904, to buy an organ for the schoolhouse. Twelve “thespians” of the town took part, including M.K. Brown, Ashpy Bell, T.V. Lane , Larry Rider, and Katie Vincent. The admission for this entertainment was $.25 and $.15 At the close there was a “box supper” for which the women of the community furnished the boxes.

The first section of land in the vicinity of Pampa was sold to settler O.A. Barrett in December of 1904. Barrett’s name is on Plat 55 of the Southside Addition to Pampa ; he sold this plat to Joe Bowers in 1907. At that time there were only three houses on the south side of town.

Barrett also constructed a building at the corner of West Foster and South Cuyler on the west side of Cuyler Street . C.B. Barnard had his combination grocery and dry goods store at 102 South Cuyler. It is speculated that this building housed the Barrett Land Office where the Fairview Cemetery Association met on October 14, 1908.

The corner at 100 South Cuyler has been occupied by the Gray County State Bank (Pampa National Bank in 1930-31), Pampa Drug #2, Perkins Pharmacy, Berry’s Pharmacy, Clyde’s Pharmacy, Fabric Center, DeJon’s Jewelry and State Farm Insurance.

On September 22, 1982, the building was destroyed by fire which began in the Salvation Army Thrift Store at 102 South Cuyler. At that time, the property belonged to the “Panhandle Towers Company” owned by Joe, “Red” and Bill Hawkins.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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