|History of Bennington, continued.....|
| Dr. J. K. Osborne opened the first drug store in Bennington in 1879. His was the second building in Bennington - Mr. Parker's general store being the first.
Main Street, also known as Nelson Street, was paved in 1923. Many years ago Jim Chapman had a general store, including groceries, on the west side of Main Street.
Squires Walters maintained an early day real estate office east of the depot, about 1/2 block West of Nelson.
There was an early day cemetery on the grounds where The Methodist Church stands and later it was moved to the present location.
Bennington has had lodge orders including Masonic, I.O.O.F., Woodman and Royal Neighbors, Rebekahs and Order of the Eastern Star.
O. H. Shepard was the first mayor.
A paper written on the history of Bennington states that Bennington is an Indian name meaning "place of fine trees." The same article also states that Mr. Parker gave the town its name after Bennington, Vermont.
Many years ago a livery barn stood east of Bennington and Nelson about one half block on the North side and one evening while a large gathering was assembled at the Presbyterian Church the barn burned.
Mr. J. S. Boyle opened his real estate and insurance business in 1886 and his first office was above Shepard's General Store. When the Bennington State Bank vacated their first building, Mr. Boyle moved to that location and remained there until his retirement. The building was removed in 1933 to make way for the new Dr. C. C. Boyle Clinic Building.
The first opera house was located at 201 North Stark and in 1909 Robert Quinn built the second opera house on the ground where the R. R. Schiebler Truck Line now is located. The floor of the first house was in exceptionally good condition and Mr. Quinn used it in the second building. Mr. Fred Hogrefe was one of the first managers in the new building.
A. D. Blanchard and Mr. Rodges owned an elevator south of the railroad tracks on the west side of old 81 highway. This elevator burned before the fire of 1912. In those days a band shell stood on the Southwest corner of Nelson and Bennington.
Years ago a Dan Eicholtz had a stockyard back of where the United Church, formerly the Presbyterian Church stands.
B. F. Markley Light and Power Company began operation on July 3, 1913 and supplied Bennington with electricity. The plant was situated near the river where the Markley Grist Mill stood. A 130 horse power water wheel was the source of generating power at the plant. A 50 horse power engine stood by for emergency purposes. In the beginning twelve hour service was furnished each day and twenty-four hour service from Sunday until 6 a.m. on Wednesday. Today Kansas Power and Light supplies Bennington with electricity.
In 1913 a water system was installed. The water was pumped from a deep well into the water tower by a 10 horse power electric motor.
The Bennington State Bank was organized in 1884 with J. H. Nelson, son of Christ Nelson as president, Wm. Rowe, vice president and E. M. Morris, Cashier. The bank building was located about where the City and E.M.S. offices stand today. Sometime before 1912, it was moved into a new building located on the northwest corner of Nelson Street and Washington Street. In January 1946, the Nelson family sold the bank to the Berkley family. In January 16, 1959, the Bennington State Bank once again moved and began operations in a new building located on West Washington Street.
The Farmers State Bank was organized in 1906 with Rudolph Rehberg as president, H. J. Quinn, vice president and A. M. McAdams as cashier. In 1917, Mr. W. S. Arbuthnot, father of Dorothea Austin, joined the bank. Mr. Arbuthnot also served as a Senator in the State Legislature from 1922-1930 and on the state highway commission from 1940-1946.
In 1900, Mr. Mac Shepard began the rural telephone company in Bennington. He started with 75 phones, with the first telephone operator being Miss Ola Shepard, a sister of Mac and Carrie Shepard. The original switchboard equipment was housed over the O. H. Shepard Store, which was destroyed by the fire of 1912. Then the equipment was located in the Leidigh and Havens Lumber Company until a new building was erected on Washington Street. After the Shepard ownership, the telephone company was sold to the American Telephone Company; then it became United Telephone and in 1960, the Bennington branch was sold to the Twin Valley Telephone Company, which converted the system to dial service.
The Spitzer House, the first hotel in Bennington, was opened for business on June 1, 1883, by Captain G. J. Spitzer. This building was located on the Northeast corner of Bennington and Nelson. Some years later Mrs. Pershing became the hotel operator and on the night of April 25, 1912, a fire broke out in the hotel and all of the business buildings on the west side of Main Street burned, with the exception of the Farmers State Bank and the J. S. Boyle real estate and insurance office. On the east side of Main Street everything burned with the exception of the Chas. E. Dale Jewelry, which was housed at 108 N. Nelson. Will Straight's pump shop, the print shop and Vineyard's Barbershop were located about where the Post Office is today. Two businesses located north of Washington Street did not burn either. They included the Bennington State Bank and the Leidigh and Havens Lumber Company.
In the summer of 1904, Dr. L. M. Hinshaw came to town to serve an internship under Dr. Roberts, who had an established practice with offices at 108 East Washington. After the 1912 fire, Dr. Hinshaw moved into office space above the post office and before long his brother, Dr. E. B. Hinshaw of Harveyville, Kansas, who was a dentist, came to town and shared office space with Dr. L. M. Hinshaw. Dr. E. B. Hinshaw was called into the service during World War I and after his discharge began practicing in Marysvile, Kansas. Dr. E. B. Hinshaw was married to Louise Markley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Markley of Bennington.
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