It was once an automotive business. Today it houses a restaurant, nail salon, women’s clothing store and a data supply shop. The Owings and West Building takes up the stretch on the west side of Central Avenue between Front Street on the south and Gunsmoke on the north.
In Dodge City’s early years many businesses occupied this location. By 1884, George B. Cox operated a livery stable on the site which remained until around 1900. The original Dodge House Hotel, which Cox was part owner, stood immediately south where the parking lot and Wyatt Earp Blvd. is today. By 1905, the stable had been razed and a small one-story "lunch" building stood on the lot. The lunch building existed until 1911.
In 1915, the current Owings and West Building was built, making it more than 100 years old. It had two storefronts facing south and two facing east, with a 90-car garage on the north end which fronts Gunsmoke (formerly Walnut).
In the structure’s first 15 years, the building was home for auto supply, repair and sales businesses, including Owings and West Auto Co. which was partially owned by Archie and James Owings.
In 1930 after a major remodel, Western Union Telegraph Co. moved its offices into the corner. Argus Gas Co. to Western Union’s west, and Harris Sporting Goods and Kansas Gas Equipment were to the north on the Gunsmoke side. Photographs show the Western Union office still occupied the building as late as 1958.
Despite the addition of an awning and other minor changes to the Owings and West Building, it is a contributing member of the Dodge City Downtown Historic District. The building’s parcel address is now listed as 101 West Gunsmoke Ave.
Kathie Bell is the curator or collections and education for Boot Hill Museum.