The Yates Center Courthouse Square Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in May of 1986. It is comprised of 41 buildings, two structures and one site built between 1883 and 1928. The district is made up of a concentration of two-story sandstone and brick Italianate and one- and two-story brick. Early 20th Century Commercial buildings are located on all four sides of the Courthouse Square. These buildings represent the historical, judicial and commercial core of the city and display a moderate to high degree of architectural integrity.
The Light Hardware Building - Built in 1904 by Robert Kemmerer and Ernest and Henry F. Stockebrand, the Light Hardware Building was known originally as the Stockebrands and Kemmerer Department Store. The building was placed on the Register of Kansas Historic Places on May 4, 1985, and was listed on the National Register in October of 1985. It is the key building in the Yates Center Courthouse Square Historic District. No expense was spared in the construction of this showplace and people came here from miles around to buy everything from shoes and haberdashery to ladies' hats and groceries. The Light Hardware Building won a 1986 award of excellence from the Kansas Preservation Alliance.
East Side of Square
The Metal Front Buildings - These four sandstone buildings were constructed originally in 1884, but a fire in 1894 destroyed two of the structures on the sites and the second story of the existing structure. The two buildings were rebuilt about 1897 almost exactly as originally constructed, the "short" building remained as a single story building. The Yates Center National Bank Building (on the far right), although damaged in the fire, was repaired and remains today much the same as it looked in 1884.
South Side of Square
The Burnside's Bakery, Stockebrand & Stockebrand Store - These pair of two-story sandstone and cast iron Italianate buildings were erected between 1883 and 1897.
The Waymire Block Building was constructed between 1893-1897 by H. Waymire, a pharmacist and local entrepreneur, the Waymire Block building is another example of the town square's ornate Italianate and Neo-Classical pressed metal-fronted buildings. It is a sandstone structure with brick front, bracketed metal cornice, metal pediment and cast iron piers.
The Woodson Hotel - Built of rusticated Yates Center sandstone blocks in 1887, the stately Woodson Hotel, another key building in the historic district, anchors the northwest corner of the square and compliments the turn-of-the-century architecture seen throughout the historic district. The Italianate design influence is expressed in the hotel's bracketed modillioned wooden cornice and white stone string course connecting all the hooded window lintels on the first and second floors. The west storefront end of the building was used originally as a salesman's sample room and later as a parlor. Although it has not been operated as a hotel since the early 1970's, rooms in the Woodson Hotel were rented as apartments as recently as the early 1980s. In its heyday, the Woodson Hotel accommodated such notable guests as singing cowboy Gene Autry and Buffalo bill and his medicine show.
West Side of Square
The Sandstone Buildings - The six sandstone buildings at the north end of this side of the square are the oldest in the historic district. They were all built between 1883 and 1889 of locally-quarried sandstone and share similar stylistic details, including arched second-story window surrounds. four of the buildings have keystones and five quoins, or decoratively patterned bricks around the window openings. Notice the carved sandstone roses on one facade and the title "Dr. S.J. Bacon 1884" on the other building.
The Steiners' Building was built in 1883, historically known as the Fred Stewart and Company General Store. The building was used originally as a general merchandise store on the ground floor with lodging rooms in the second story.
The C.B. & H.T. Laidlaw Office Building - Originally built by the Laidlaws as an office building in 1913, the building is an excellent example of an early 20th Century commercial brick building. Its style is defined by a corbelled brick cornice and simple brick division posts.
North Side of Square
The Wilkinson-Park Building - Built in 1904, this building represents a transitional example of brick Italianate commercial architecture. Like the courthouse and the Light Hardware Building, it displays a white stone string course connecting paired, arched windows with projecting stone window hoods. Originally the building housed a jewelry store. The H.H. McCormick Print Shop built in 1900 is an ornate Italianate and Neo-Classical brick and sandstone building with elaborate pressed metal cornice and facade. it retains its original storefront and is another key building in the historic district. Originally it was an office and lodge hall. In 1903, M.S. Bacon established a drugstore that remained here until 1937, when a pool hall went into the building's eastside. It remained a pool hall until 1972.
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