South of the Tracks: J. S. Dillon Stores

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

The post continues the series South of the tracks. The east side of Main was the home for several grocery stores over the years, including Dillons.

314 N. Main Location

In 1910, a man with a new ideas for grocery stores came to Newton. J. S. Dillon was a successful businessman from Sterling, Ks where he operated a wagon and buggy repair shop since the 1890s.

“Dillon’s Cash Grocery”

He bought out Lee-McDaniel Store, south of the tracks, and opened a grocery store on the east side at 314 Main.

Evening Kansan Republican, 30 June 1910.

With his new store, Dillon introduced Newton to a new way of doing business – cash and carry. Most businesses operated by allowing customers customers to charge their purchases and pay at a later date. Home deliveries were expected.  Dillon opened “Dillon’s Cash Grocery: Save Money by Buying on the Cash Plan Here.” Dillon’s store did not operate on credit, nor did he provide home delivery.

Evening Kansan Republican, 25 July 1916

In 1915, Dillon opened a cash and carry store in Hutchinson, Ks.  A year later, he closed the Newton store and focused all of his efforts on stores in Hutchinson.

Evening Kansan Republican, 27 September 1916

J. S. Dillon left Newton for 10 years.

200 N. Main Location

The building at 200 N. Main was the last structure built on the east side of Main in the 200 Block. The 1909 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map notes “2 story brick building to be erected here.”

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1909 Clipping of 200 Main, Newton, Ks, east side.

Several stores were located in the building 1910-1924.

Star Grocery 1910-1917

Between 1910 and 1926, the two-story brick building  was home to many grocery stores. The first business was the Star Grocery which opened December 1910 at 200 Main.

Evening Kansan Republican, 31 December 1910

The Star Grocery moved to a location at the corner of Broadway and Main,  Newton in approximately 1917.

Livingstons 1918 – 1922

Evening Kansan Republican, 20 February 1918

Evening Kansan Republican, 3 November 1922

Glenn’s Grocery 1922 – approximately 1924

Evening Kansan Republican, 24 November 1922

J. S. Dillon & Sons Return to Newton

In approximately 1926, J.S. Dillon returned to Newton and located his business at 200 Main.

J. S. Dillons & Sons, 200 N. Main, Newton

Interior of J.S.Dillon & Sons at 200 Main, Newton, 1926.

Interior of J.S.Dillon & Sons at 200 Main, Newton, ca. 1930.

320 Main Location

Dillons, 320 N. Main, Newton, Ks, ca. 1956.

Inside the new store at 320 Main

Interior Dillons, 320 Main, ca. 1956

Today, Furniture Warehouse is located at 200 Main and the Dillons location at 320 Main is closed.

Dillons moved several more times.

  • 12/1936 – 6/ 1964: 700 Main, Newton
  • 7/ 1964 – present day: 1216 Main, Newton
  • Dillons also opened a store at 1410 Kansas Ave, Newton.



South of the Tracks: Bank of Commerce

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

With this post, we continue to explore the history of the buildings south of the tracks. Straight across from the Newton Hotel building at the corner of 3rd & Main,  E.L. Parris built a grand home for his new Bank of Commerce. Today, the building constructed between 1885-1889 is one of the oldest of the buildings along Main in Newton.

Note on construction dates:  The earliest photos of the building show “Commerce Block 1885” in the cornice; however, according to newspaper accounts the structure was not finished until spring 1889. The 1886 Sanborn map does indicate a small stone structure at 226 Main.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1886, detail of 3rd & Main, Newton.

Commerce Block

In April 1889 the editor of the Newton Daily Republican declared; “this will be one of the finest business blocks in the city when finished and the builders, Messrs Parris and Hanna are to be congratulated upon the enterprise shown by them.” The new Bank of Commerce, one of five banks in Newton, was scheduled to open May 1, 1889.

Drawing featured in the Newton Kansan, 19 December 1889

Newton Kansan, 19 December 1889

The Hanna Bros also completed their portion of the block where  W.C. Anderson opened a grocery in June 1889.

Newton Daily Republican, 28 March 1889.

Parris’ timing was bad. The Newton Panic of 1890 struck November 27, and brought down several Newton banks, the Newton Street Railway, and the Electric Light Company as real estate values plummeted.  Parris was one of several Newton businessmen that were bankrupt over night.

Newton Daily Republican, 13 December 1890

After the failure of the Bank of Commerce the building was home to several different businesses.

Parade, 200 Block of Main, east side, ca. 1890.

Powell & Krueger

In 1892, the partnership of Powell and Krueger opened a grocery to 214 Main and at some point  the store was moved to 226 Main.

Newton Kansan 16 July 1896

In his December 31, 1920 obituary, W. A. Krueger was hailed as “one of Newton’s successful businessmen, having been in the general mercantile business at 226 Main for the past twenty-nine years.”

W.A. Krueger Dry Goods, Shoes, Groceries, 226 Main, Newton, ca. 1910.

An early April wind storm caused damage in 1895 to the upper floors which may have been a rooming house with  F.P. Hinkle’s Drug Store on the first floor.

“Two large windows in the second story of the Commerce Block above F.P. Hinkle’s Drug Store on the corner of Main and Third street were blown out about 8 o’clock.. The room was occupied by Will Byers and J.B. Aubrey . . . standing under the glass when it fell, but were not injured.” (Newton Daily Republican, 6 April 1895)

In 1918, a post office sub station was located at Kruegers where “one of the daughters will give the attention desired by the southside patrons.”

Newton Kansan, 10 January 1918.

Main, looking north, ca. 1899.

Corner of Main & 3rd

At some point the cornice was removed and part of the windows bricked over.

200 Block, Main, 1961. Earl Brown Wholesale Candy & Tobacco, 226 Main; Supernois Furniture, 224 Main; Hazel Phillips, PA, 222 Main; Wiens Realty & Carl’s Barber Shop, 218 Main; Stukey’s Beauty Shop, 216 Main, Roxy Theatre, 214 Main.

Most people today likely remember  Supernois Furniture at 224-226 Main.

Supernois Furniture 224 Main, Newton, 1975.

Today, 226 Main is home the the Metcalf Sisters Antique Mall.

Then & Now: 1910 & 1992

Bird’s Eye View looking east down 3rd Street from Main.. Newton Hotel, lower left, Commerce Building 226 Main, German M.E. Church 215 E. 3rd in the background, 1910.

Bird’s-eye view from top floor of the Old Mill looking down E 3rd Street, 1992.

Additional Sources

  • Newton Daily Republican: 21 January 1890

South of the Tracks: The Newton Hotel

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

While the Old Mill Building was saved and repurposed, not all were so lucky. In the late 1960s early 1970s, structures dating from the 1880s and 90s were torn down. This is the early history of a building that was not saved – the Newton Hotel.

South of the tracks, Main street, ca. 1890.


Main, south of the track, looking south, ca. 1890. Swartz Lumber Building on the left. Newton Hotel is on the right.

The Newton Hotel, 1970.

Newton Hotel on the left, Old Mill on the right, ca. 1970.

Photos of Demolition, ca. 1970.


Newton Hotel Building, 225-227 N. Main, Newton, prior to demolition, ca. 1970


Newton Hotel Building, 225-227 N. Main, Newton during demolition, ca. 1972.

Newton Hotel Building, 225-227 N. Main, Newton, during demolition, ca. 1972.


For such an impressive structure, it was difficult to pin down the early history.

The late 1880s was a time of growth and optimism in Newton. The Ragdale brothers built a grand opera house at the corner of Broadway and Main in 1885. Many of Newton’s wealthy built homes along East 1st and West Broadway. Business were also growing along Main street on both sides of the tracks.   E.L. Parris opened the Bank of Commerce at the corner of Main and 3rd, in 1888 south of the tracks.

225-227 N. Main

An 1884 Sanborn map shows a small stone structure at 225 Main identified as a furniture store.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1884.

A much larger stone structure is indicated at 225-227 Main on the Sanborn map in 1886.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1886.

In 1886-87,  Tin Works with George C. Jones, Tinner, and Bradt & Hubbard Hardware advertised a “New Hardware Store” located at 227 Main.

Newton Daily Republican, 27 September 1886.

” Should Do Good Business”

Next door, at 225 Main, the Metropolitan Hotel with restaurant opened in 1886, C. B. Chapman proprietor. The Newton Daily Republican noted “the dining room is handsomely fitted up.  The Metropolitan should do good business.”  L.W. Warner worked as clerk and Mrs Lizzie Beekwith was the cook.  There were two waitresses, Miss Ella Grove and Miss Bertie Ingol according to the 1887 directory.

In 1887, Mme. French, a fortune teller, returned from Europe.  The Metropolitan became her headquarters where she told “the past and future by planets and astronomy, brings parties together; places the charm upon the head and gives luck and prosperity.”

Newton Daily Republican, 28 July 1887.

By summer 1887, the Metropolitan Hotel was for sale. Described as “a large 3-story stone building of 30 well arranged and well ventilated rooms, and everything is in first-class order; is situated on Main street, south of the depot and is doing a fine business, every room being occupied.”

Over the next several years, the hotel underwent several changes of management. In 1888, under the management of J. Wilson the hotel was “thoroughly renovated” and renamed the Globe Hotel.

Newton Daily Republican, 13 December 1888

Boom and Bust

The 1890s were something of a reality check for Newton businessmen. On November 27, 1890 fortunes were swept away in an instant,when a financial panic swept  through Newton. Eight banks closed  and real estate plummeted. Many prominent businessmen went bankrupt, including E.L. Parris, financier of the Commerce Block at the corner of 3rd & Main.

Newton Kansan, 27 November 1890, p.1.

The Newton Kansan noted that “men who retired at night happy in the thought that they were on the road to wealth, awoke in the morning to find that the boom had busted and their wealth only a myth.” 

No doubt the bust played a role in the turnover of owners and managers at 225-227 N. Main for the next seven years.

“There’s Money In It”

Optimism returned when the  Santa Fe division headquarters relocated  to Newton in 1897.

The editor of the Newton Daily Republican observed, “Now that prosperity has invaded Newton, some one should start up the old Globe hotel.  With the right kind of a man in it, there’s money in it.” 

Someone took him up on it. A June 26, 1897 notice in the Newton Daily Republican announced the “Re-opening of the Globe Hotel.” The hotel under the management of Goodyear & Short from Nickerson, Ks had “refitted from top to bottom” including interior improvements and new furniture “making it one of the finest hotels in the city.”

Newton Daily Republican, 26 June 1897.

The building also served as the polling location for the Second ward throughout 1890s.

Evening Kansan Republican, 3 April 1899.

In 1898, the building became the Hotel Newton or more commonly the Newton Hotel. City council  spent time at the May 19, 1898 meeting discussing the “exceedingly deplorable” conditions around Newton.  First they discussed “the cellar of the Newton hotel and the building adjoining it to the south, . . .  it was thought best to fill them up, as they were of no used and filled with odorous water.”  They also planned to “tour the city and notify property owners to remove manure piles and clean out-houses. . . before warm weather sets in.”

The Weekly Republican reported July 1, 1898 on the meeting of the Newton Cyclists’ Association, which had chosen the Newton Hotel along with Frank Tyson’s restaurant, as “the official hotels for bicyclists” for an upcoming event.

Throughout this time, the proprietors  of the hotel frequently changed.  In 1902, Davis & Evans were proprietors and in 1905 W.C. Simmons took their place. By 1911, successful Newton hotelier J.W. Murphy was managing the business.

The Fire Marshal reported in November 1911 that  several of the larger buildings in Newton including the Newton hotel, Duff & Son Furniture Co and the Opera house were adequately equipped with fire escapes.

“Cure Guaranteed”

The hotel was a favorite stop for visiting  experts including “the physicians and surgeons of the Chicago Curative Institute . . . cure guaranteed.”

Newton Kansan 24 August 1900.

Another frequent guest was “the Boy Wonder” who was skilled in “the science of magnetic healing.”

Evening Kansan Republican, 31 October 1906.

Several other business were located on the first floor of the building including Lee & McDaniel New & 2nd Hand Furniture, and the Home Furnishing Store.


Lee & McDaniel Home Furnishings, 3rd & Main, Newton, Ks ca. 1910.

Photos of the Newton Hotel



200 Block Main, west side, Parade, ca. 1906. Red arrow indicates the Carnegie Library Building, Newton Hotel large building on the right corner of the photo.


Newton Milling & elevator Co., Hotel Newton on the left, ca. 1922.


  • Newton Daily Republican:  20 September 1886, 26 September 1886, 18 February 1887, 2 July 1887,  15 January 1889, 15 January 1897, 1 June 1897, 26 June 1897.
  • Weekly Republican 1 July 1898.
  • Newton Kansan: 19 May 1898, 23 November 1911.