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Dorrance bank building added to historic register

POSTED: August 19, 2011 9:00 a.m.

The Kansas Historical Society is pleased to announce the
newest National Register of Historic Places listings in Kansas. The
listings were entered into the National Register on August 4, 2011, and
include a private residence in Emporia, a 1905 bank building in
Dorrance, an early 20th century African American school in Leavenworth,
and a commercial building in Hutchinson.

The National Register of Historic Places is the country’s official list
of historically significant properties. Authorized by the National
Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National
Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate
and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and
protect America's historic and archeological resources.

Eligible properties must be significant for one or more of the four
criteria for evaluation. Properties can be eligible if they are
associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the
broad patterns of our history. They can be eligible if they are
associated with the lives of persons significant in our past.
Distinctive construction can qualify properties for the National
Register if they embody the characteristic of a type, period, or method
of construction, or represent the work of a master, or possess high
artistic values, or represent a significant and distinguishable entity
whose components may lack individual distinction. Lastly, properties may
be eligible for the National Register if they have yielded or may be
likely to yield information important in prehistory or history. The
National Register recognizes properties of local, statewide, and
national significance.

Below are summaries of the listings:

Cross, H. C. and Susan, House – 526 Union Street, Emporia, Lyon County
Civil War veteran and banker Harrison Cory (H.C.) Cross hired
Emporia-based architect Charles W. Squires to design this high-style
Queen Anne Free Classic residence. The house has an irregular hipped
roof with lower cross gables, is clad with weatherboard and patterned
shingles, a dominant round tower, classical porch columns, and a porte
cochere. It was completed in 1894, just months before Cross’ untimely
death, which led to the public revelation of his massive debt and the
subsequent collapse of the First National Bank that he had organized
with four others. His son Charles was left to handle much of this
financial burden, which pushed him to suicide in 1898. The residence
remained with H.C.’s widow Susan until her death in 1902. The house
transitioned through several different owners including Dr. William
Meffert, who purchased the house in 1909 to use as a private sanitarium,
the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity, which used the residence as their
first fraternity house, and later Scott Mouse who operated a hotel in
the house. Today, it is privately owned and is undergoing
rehabilitation. It was nominated for its local social history and
architecture.

Dorrance State Bank – 512 Main Street, Dorrance, Russell County
The Dorrance State Bank building is located on Main Street two blocks
south of the Union Pacific railroad tracks and across the street from
the National Register-listed Reiff Building. Dorrance was incorporated
as a third-class city in 1910 with nearly 300 residents. It was home to
photographer L.W. Halbe, who created more than 1,500 images between 1908
and 1912, which resulted in an exceptional photographic record of
Dorrance and the bank building. The local bank was a common lending
institution for area farmers and merchants during the early 1900s when
Dorrance thrived as a small farming community. This one-story,
freestanding commercial building was erected in 1905 to house the
Citizens State Bank, which later became the Dorrance State Bank. The
bank did not survive the Great Depression and the building was sold in
1936. The Dorrance Telephone Company used the building as a switchboard
facility, and later it served as a barbershop. The current owner is
rehabilitating the building. It was nominated for its local commercial
history.

Sumner Elementary School – 1501 5th Avenue, Leavenworth, Leavenworth County
Leavenworth’s Sumner Elementary School is located in a traditionally
African American neighborhood surrounded by single-family residences and
churches. The school was one of two elementary schools built to serve
the community’s black students in the 19th century. Lincoln School
served students living in North Leavenworth; Sumner served the students
living in South Leavenworth. The first Sumner School was constructed on
this site in 1866. By 1915, the original building was unable to meet the
needs of its 185 students. Architect Charles Ashley Smith was hired to
design the two-story brick Commercial-style building, which was
completed in 1925 under the direction of longtime principal and
educational leader Blanch K. Bruce. The school continued to serve South
Leavenworth’s African American community for more than three decades,
until Leavenworth schools were desegregated following the Brown v. Board
case. It closed after the 1968-69 school year. For decades following its
closure, the school district used the building as a maintenance
facility. The Pentecostal Church of the Apostolic Faith purchased the
building in 2000 for use as a church activity center. It was nominated
as part of the “Historic Public Schools of Kansas” multiple property
nomination for its statewide significance in the areas of education and
architecture and for its association with Bruce.

Hoke Building – 25 E 1st Avenue, Hutchinson, Reno County
The Hoke Building was commissioned by Hutchinson real estate speculator
and agri-businessman James S. Hoke and built in 1910. It is a four-story
commercial block with retail shops on the lower level and office spaces
on the upper levels. Its construction corresponded with the city’s
transition from farm town to agricultural and industrial powerhouse. As
Kansas farmers turned to wheat as a cash crop, Hutchinson found itself
in the center of Kansas wheat country. The Hoke Building provided office
space for a growing list of wheat-related businesses and organizations.
Among the original occupants was the Hutchinson Board of Trade, a grain
exchange founded in 1910. In addition to Hoke’s real estate office, the
building housed eight grain company offices in 1912. The building also
housed agricultural industries that were non-grain related, including a
lab operated by bacteriologist Martin Dupray that developed animal
inoculations and tested water and feed. Following the death of James
Hoke, the building changed ownership several times until the Great
American Life Insurance Company bought the building in 1952. Today, it
is privately owned and a rehabilitation is planned. It was nominated as
part of the “Commercial & Industrial Resources of Hutchinson” multiple
property nomination for its local commercial history.

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