Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The thesis depicts the history of five locations in the Historic Chestnut Street District of Hays, Kansas. Those locations, titled Peach Tree Corner, the Wiesner Building, the Strand Theater, the Basgall Building, and the Lamar Hotel, provide prime examples of the businesses that made downtown the commercial, social, and architectural center of the town of Hays. While these places once served as the centers of downtown events and commerce, over time, many fell out of use or were changed architecturally. Most likely, this was due to disconnection with the past. Many of the prior portrayals of Hays seem to only concentrate on the history of Fort Hays, the Wild West, and Volga Germans, but the history of the town involves many more elements. The chronicles of the aforementioned downtown locations begin in the earliest days of Hays, but also continue up until present day. Also, present downtown business owners desired to answer the questions of patrons about the history of their buildings, but the owners only had fragments of the history. Places such as the Ellis County Historical Society and the Kansas Room at the Hays Public library possess collections filled with photographs, newspaper clippings, and many other resources pertaining to the history of downtown buildings, but the information in the resources was yet to be organized into extended narrations of specific addresses. After the information was compiled into comprehensible histories, the downtown businesses owners were given the stories and accompanying exhibits that will serve to engage the curiosity of customers and help them all develop a greater appreciation of the past.
Copyright 2008 Elisha Beck
Beck, Elisha, "History of Select Businesses in the Historic Chestnut Street District of Downtown Hays, Kansas" (2008). Master's Theses. 3054.