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Commerce Building
401 N. Broadway
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Commerce Building
- no postmark (c1907-1914)
Commerce Building
- postmarked 1909
Commerce Building
- postmarked 1915
Commerce Building
- photo 2007
Commerce Building
- photo 2007
The Site:
1885--Sanford Fire Map: 24-foot wide, two-storied drug store at the northwest corner of Fourth & Broadway, numbered 451 N. Broadway. (owned and operated by C. W. Dry)
1890--"At the corner of Fourth & Broadway is located one of Pittsburg's most popular drug stores. It was established in 1890 by T. J. Crowell, who had been a resident for twenty-two years. He carries, in addition to everything in the drug line, a full and complete stock of paints, oils and glass, and is also headquarters for school book and school supplies."--"T. J. Crowell, Druggist," Southwest Developer 6.9 (Sept. 1899): [37]
1892--Sanford Fire Map: Same as 1885.
1897--Sanford Fire Map: Two-storied drug store, 24 feet wide, numbered both 451 (old numbering) and 401 (new numbering) N. Broadway.
1902--Sanford Fire Map: 24-foot wide, two storied drug store, 401 N. Broadway, identified as "Old".
1912 “NATIONAL BANK OF COMMERCE IN PITTSBURG THE – Commerce Bldg corner Broadway and 4th. Organized Dec. 1st, 1906. Capital, $100,000; Surplus and Undivided Profits, $15,000.00. Pres. A. E. Maxwell; Vice Pres, C. M. Condon; Cashr, J. S. Maxwell; Asst Cashr, C. S. Smith.” -- R. L. Polk & Co.’s Pittsburg City Directory, 1912 (Siouz City, IA: R. L. Polk & Co., 1912): 11-12.
The Building:
"The new Commerce building formerly known as the New Century building, will make its initial bow to the public today by the opening of the National Bank of Commerce in the southeast corner of the ground floor. Some speculation has been heard as to why the name of the building was changed and the matter was cleared by a recent interview with the owners, where it was learned that the change came about with a recent change in the stock holdings.
The building was originally projected by three owners in the persons of Fred H. Fitch, Albert H. Greef and A. H. Schlanger. Some time ago Mr. Schlanger sold his interest in the building to the National Bank of Commerce, thereby transferring one-third of the stock and increasing the holdings of the bank and the president of the bank Fred H. Fitch, to two-thirds of the entire stock. By virtue of these majority holdings and the belief that the interests of the bank which, by the way, occupies the most desirable room in the building, would be best conserved, the change was made and the name ‘New Century’ which had been lettered across the front of the building was changed to read ‘Commerce Building.’
The National Bank of Commerce opened for business at 407 North Broadway, Dec. 1, 1906, which rooms it has occupied continually until the present change. The new quarters of the institution will be far better equipped both in point of convenience and elegance than the present quarters. The new furnishings consist of beautifully designed tile floor; gray marble wainscoting and counters to match with solid bronze top screens. The woodwork is all of fumed oak.
The old fixtures of the bank have been sold to the Iola State Savings bank and will be moved immediately to that city. The room vacated by the bank will be occupied by the Kettler Furniture Co., which firm will tear the petition out between the present bank room and the one now housing the furniture store. The occupancy of the two rooms gives the furniture store a fifty-foot front.
The first room north of the new banking rooms will be occupied by the Killiam Jewelry store within the next ten days. The firm is now putting in special fixtures for the special convenience of its stock—possibly the most attractive, of which is a cut glass room. This room will be 9 x 12 feet lined inside with glass mirrors and a metal ceiling. The ceiling will be decorated with rows of electric lights artistically arranged which, when illuminated, will produce a brilliant effect with the aid of the polished mirrors and the glistening cut glass.
The Peerless Shoe store will occupy the third room fronting Broadway on the north side of the building. The firm expects to open in its new quarters a week from today. For sometime they have been installing special fixtures for the accommodation of the stock.
According to Frank McKay, who has the rentals in charge, over half of the office, buildings in the three upper stories have been rented. By the first of June the new occupants of these rooms will be moving into them.
Nothing would especially prevent the occupancy of these rooms at once except the installation of the two passenger elevators which it is said will be of the latest improved type of electric motor power. The elevators have already been shipped."
--“Bank Moves In. National Bank of Commerce Occupies Corner Room of New Building,” Pittsburg Daily Headlight, May 25, 1908, p. 2, col. 3.

Crowell Drug Store #1 - "Located near Fourth and Broadway, this frame structure was moved to Sixth and Chestnut, where after some remodeling it was made into a grocery store. It was operated for many years by Mrs. Jennie Linthicum and her sister, Mrs. Kate Stuckey"The Pittsburg Headlight and The Pittsburg Sun, Kansas Centennial Edition, 1961, p. 28D

This is a blown up picture of 4th and Broadway from a postcard postmarked 1905 that shows the original 2 story wooden structure that was on the lot that the Commerce Building was built on in 1908. Crowell's Drug Store occupied this building in 1890.

* List of Building Occupants - as listed in the 1914, 1916, 1919 and 1923 Pittsburg City Directories
Updated August 2013

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