It’s too bad there aren’t any Falls nearby. Well, let’s see what the 20th century left as it filled the sails of this Kansas community. I don’t know why I’ve started here, except that it’s an interesting contrast. Something got knocked down, and the other building isn’t going to move a muscle.


We go to the Pratt Tribune, whose founders never thought the URL would have three consecutive Ts.

The same old story: it opened in 1930, which couldn’t have been worse.

With only two floors completely finished, the hotel opened for business in June. Room rates were $1.75 for rooms with a lavatory and stool and $2.50 for rooms with a complete bathroom. The hotel contained 85 guest rooms, three apartments, a Grill Room, barber shop, drug store, and a ballroom and was considered the ultimate in luxury.

The hotel lost $500 in the first month but made $750 the next month. The Pratt Hotel Company failed to reach its goal of $120,000 and the Elson Construction Company assumed ownership in 1933.

According to that newspaper story from 2009, it had been vacant for 20 years, but you know it’s going to end up as housing. Possibly senior housing. Googling . . . ah. Opened in 2015 as an apartment building. It’s going by its last name, the Parrish. The interiors do not appear to be overly bestowed with charm.


As Google Street View saw it before the overhaul:



Another addition to the city in 1930:


They liked ‘em crisp. This was the Convention Center whose construction spurred the Hotel project. Fun detail: “A new auditorium floor was installed after a Shrine Circus elephant fell through.” Poor elephant.

Nice job preserving this one . . .


And a lousy job on the ground floor. Another 1930 building: banner year for Pratt!

Closed in 2013; the website is now all Chinese. Comments at Cinema Treasures say it’ll be converted to a Christian Youth Organization HQ.

An example of the way modernization can erase the boundaries between different buildings, and relegate the upstairs to unpersonhood:


It’s almost like they were ashamed to cover it up:

Or perhaps something fell off and revealed the old OXFORD PAPER sign.

For all its disharmony, it’s actually not bad.

Did you notice the disharmony? The way the first floor is arranged around thirds, and the second floor around fourths? The way the bricked-up window under the arch is a bit taller, which adds more visual discontinuity, but somehow is better now that it’s bricked?

Why yes. Yes it was exactly what you think it was.


Cinema Treaasures: “The Kansas Theatre was built in 1940 for Charles Barron, and was located almost directly across the street from his Barron Theatre.”

The man made his mark.

A beaut:


But you’d be surprised to see what it looked like originally.

A strong windstorm damaged the third floor so severely that it had to be removed five or six years after construction. A turret was left above the entry. The lobby was lowered to street level in 1917. Much of the debris fell into the basement, forcing a tailor and barber to vacate the shops they leased. During the 1930s, the turret was removed and the deteriorating red brick was covered with the current buff brick.



More next week! Interesting little town.