- Sharleen Wurm
Oberlin Businesses in 1879
Taken from the first edition of the Oberlin Herald June 17, 1879
The Most Prosperous and Thriving Town in Northwestern Kansas. ---
Its Rapid Progress. -- The Different Branches of Business and the Businessmen.
On our arrival at Oberlin some three weeks ago, after having shipped the material for the starting of a paper at another point in the county, we were so completely surprised with the growth and magnitude of the place that we at once concluded it was of no use to "kick against the pricks," but turned under to the inevitable and the result is apparent.
On a visit to this place in September last (1878) the town comprised two general stores (one frame and one sod), one log hotel, one log blacksmith shop, one sod residence and one frame in course of erection. But today, after a lapse of only eight months, we can hardly realize that the change is real, and lest the reader should think that having started our paper here would tend somewhat to magnify our optics, we give below the general mention of the rapid growth of Oberlin.
Below we give the various branches of business houses in operation in Oberlin at the present day:
The first general store was operated by Mr. Van Wormer, whose entire stock was afterward purchased by J. W. Allen & Son, who have continued to add to the business till now they carry one of the largest and best-assorted stocks, including all kinds of general merchandise, west of the Missouri River. They have just moved into their new store building and added a full line of hardware and tinware.
Mr. R. A. Marks was the next to embark in the mercantile trade, and, with fair dealing and strict attention to business, has succeeded in building up a good trade in general merchandise, of which he carries a full and well assorted line.
These, together with the log hotel and log blacksmith shop, comprised Oberlin in October last. (1878) and the only visible improvement was a residence building then in course of erection for our esteemed townsman, Mr. George Colby, who has since had erected the two commodious structures now occupied, one as a furniture store and the other a harness shop.
Mr. Mark Wright, who now has charge of the latter, had arrived and commenced work in town several weeks before the building was ready, having plenty to do, and has already established an enviable reputation as a first-class workman. And well he might, as we do not believe his superior as a workman exists In the State.
Next of the pioneers of last fall is the firm of Bariteau Bros., who at once erected a drug store which they filled with a completely new stock, including schoolbooks stationery, paints. oils, etc, and in which they have treated their customers, having secured a lasting and profitable trade. Dr. A. W. Bariteau being the leading physician of the county, and much absent in practice, they have recently procured the services of Mr. Frank Douglass, a courteous and energetic young man of over four years' experience, who is fast gaining the friendship and respect of all with whom he comes in contact.
This is about all that existed of Oberlin until some three months ago, since which time the following valuable additions have been made, of which we will make more explicit mention when time and space will permit:
Messrs. Hitchcock & Latham, a new and complete line of Staple and Fancy Groceries, Tobaccos, Cigars, Flour, Feed, etc. Also, Oranges, Lemons and other Fruits in season.
Messrs. Beckwith & McCall, a full stock of general merchandise, including Dry Goods, Groceries, Notions, Hats, Caps, Boots and Shoes, in fact everything kept in a first-class general store. Their long experience and method of doing business insures them success.
Mr. A. J. Allen a full line of general merchandise, which he advertises for sale cheap for cash, his motto being "small profits and quick returns."
Mr. Wm. A. Frasier, a stock of all kinds of Furniture that would be a credit to any of the older counties in the State, which he is offering so low that none will think of doing without furniture after learning his prices.
Messrs. S. & S. C. Maddox, a new and complete stock of everything in the Drug line. Neatly and tastily arranged in the building on the corner southeast from the Oberlin House.
Mr. J. B. Colt, with everything in the Hardware line from a knitting needle to a crowbar; also plows, barbed fence wire, a first-class workman employed, he is prepared to manufacturer or repair anything in the tin, copper, or sheet iron line.
Mr. Ed Knowles, having just completed a substantial and spacious building, is daily receiving from the road and opening out an immense stock of all kinds of Hardware, which he is selling at bed rock prices.
Messrs. Crow & Carroll have during the punt ten days opened out with a full and complete new stock of general merchandise, consisting of everything required in this market. They bid fair to get their full share of public patronage.
Messrs. Ed E. Chapman & Co., are also now I'll engaged in opening out their mammoth stock of Dry Goods, Groceries, Notions, Boots & Shoes, Hats & Caps, Ready Made Clothing, and etc. The stock, when all in, will speak for itself.
Messrs. D. C. Moser & Co. have recently opened a new stock of Family Groceries, and keep in connection therewith a restaurant, where a square meal may always be had by paying for it.
0. C. Hough conducts a neat butcher shop on the east side of Penn Avenue.
John R. Fisher is our industrious and enterprising boot and shoemaker.
F. F. Bliss barber and hairdresser.
The legal and land interests are carefully looked after by the following; Bertram & Parker, Bowman & Johnson, J. C. Wilson, Bishop and Addleman.
Shaw & Coard, gunsmiths and wagon makers.
Joseph Boddy, carpenter and wagon shop.
Ira Kellogg, contractor and builder.
Surveyors— S. L. Bishop and G. Boring.
Two large and well stocked livery and feed stables. One D. W. Bruce and the other by Boley & Douglass.
Blacksmith Shops—Ayer & Smith and J. C. Tracy.
Two well stocked Lumber Yards by R. a. Marks and Geo. Persinger.
J. H. Wamsley and Jake Wilson each keep a first-class Restaurant.
The Hotels of Oberlin are institution of which the town has reason to be proud. The Oberlin House, by J. A. Rodehaver, and the Tremont House, by Byron Churchill, are kept in first-class style, are large and commodious, with sample rooms for the accommodation of commercial travelers and every attention given to the comfort of guests.
The foregoing, as near as we have been able to learn, comprise the business interests of our young and growing town, which can now boast of valuable improvements being made daily.