Pampa’s Business District ca 1904

Johnson Mercantile Company store at present 101-5 North Cuyler

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

In 1885 John F. Johnson came from his native Tennessee to Kiowa, Kansas , where he soon entered the general merchandising business. He and his brother-in-law, H.E. Hoover, were operating a store in Kiowa at the time the Southern Railroad was being constructed across the Texas Panhandle. Johnson followed the railroad by opening stores in Woodward, Indian Territory ( Oklahoma ), and in Higgins, Canadian, Miami and Pampa . The Johnson home in Canadian was an outstanding two-story brick house especially noted for Mrs. Johnson’s paintings.

On May 24, 1902, Johnson bought Lots 13-24 of Block 15 in the original town of Pampa . These 12 lots on 25 foot frontage were the first lots sold in Pampa for business purposes.

The Johnson Merchantile Company store is said to have housed everything from “lockets to caskets.” Its valuation of $10,000, as recorded in the Gray County Commission Court Records (1, p. 51) indicated that there was a sizeable amount of merchandise.

The Johnson building also housed an office of the law. Presumably this was first occupied by T.J. “Tom” Crawford, Jr., the first sheriff of Gray County . Crawford took office on August 3, 1902, 55 days after the county was organized. He was adept with a branding iron as well as with the shooting irons of his trade.

The Pampa Post Office was moved to the Johnson building and John F. Johnson was appointed Postmaster on September 18, 1902. Johnson declined to serve, and Bruce Waterfield was appointed to replace him on November 22, 1902.

Some of the first dances in Pampa were held at the Johnson building. Later the building housed an undertaking establishment and the First State Bank (First National Bank) when it was first organized. Some of the early denominational churches met in the Johnson building until they acquired buildings of their own.

At Christmas time, decorated trees were kept in the Johnson building. Just before Christmas men took turning plows around the street and laid out fir trees around all the blocks. Then people of the area went to the one-room schoolhouse (513 East Francis) for a Christmas program.

J.N. Duncan, who came to Pampa in 1906, bought the Johnson Mercantile Company and the name of the building was changed to J.N. Duncan Hardware and Furniture which opened February 1, 1907. J.N. Duncan was elected mayor of Pampa when the town was first incorporated on February 17, 1912.

In 1998 the Dollar General Store occupies the space at 101-5 North Cuyler .

Brunow Building at 101 South Cuyler

In 1903 Dr. Vittorio Emanuel von Brunow, Pampa’s first doctor, bought Lots 11 and 12 of Block 5 in the original town of Pampa and had a two-story white frame building constructed at 101 South Cuyler. The von Brunows lived upstairs and the lower floor was used as doctor’s office and drug store. It also housed the telephone office with 24 plugs connecting Miami and Panhandle, and it was the third location of the Pampa Post Office from 1903 until 1913.

Records in the National Archives show that Vittorio E. von Brunow was appointed the fourth postmaster of Pampa on October 23, 1903. However, People always referred to Mrs. Brunow as the Postmistress.

After trains left the depot, Fay Martin, telegraph operator for the railroad, brought the mail to the Brunow house in a two-wheel cart pushed by hand. People gathered to wait for Mrs. Brunow to put up the mail while one man was always asking, “Has the mail been distributed yet?”

Dr. Brunow, as he was generally known, purchased the first car in Pampa a red, one-cylinder Velie with a steering bar instead of a steering wheel. He tore over the rough wagon paths and frightened horses within hearing or seeing range. He got tired of having to fight roads full of chug holes, so he borrowed a road grader and evened the country roads. For thirty-eight years he served the people in and around Pampa with ceaseless effort. He died on May 7, 1941.

In 1926, when Pampa was growing rapidly because of the oil boom, the white frame von Brunow house was moved to 825 West Kingsmill and a red brick building was constructed at 101 South Cuyler. The von Brunows had a large apartment in the building and a beautiful rooftop garden where they walked their dogs. Many people have lived in apartments in the Brunow Building or have operated businesses there, notably the L.T. Hill Company store and Levine’s Department Store. The red brick building was destroyed by fire on Christmas night in 1981.

In November 1996, B and N Farms, Inc. (owned by grandsons of Vera Lee von Brunow Andis) sold Lots 11 and 12 of Block 5 in the original town of Pampa to the City of Pampa . It was stipulated that the site should be used as a public park known as “The Dr, V.E. von Brunow Park.” In 1999 a Texas Historical Marker will be dedicated in the park which is now being developed.

Home of Eli Vincent at 109 South Cuyler

Eli and Georgia Vincent and Wiley and Katie Vincent came to the Lefors area on October 18, 1902, the day that the first Gray County Courthouse was dedicated, Eli and Wiley were brothers and Georgia and Katie (Crawford) were sisters.

Eli and Georgia bought a house at 109 South Cuyler and kept boarders. It seems likely that Alice and Beryl Wynne boarded with the Eli Vincents while they attended Pampa ‘s first school in 1903-04. In 1907 Jesse S. and Minna Wynne bought the Eli Vincent house and moved from Panhandle to Pampa .

Often Mrs. Brunow would cross the vacant lot between the Brunow and Wynne houses for an afternoon visit with Mrs. Wynne. If a rancher came for his mail, Mrs. Brunow would go to her home for his mail and then return to the Wynne house to resume her visit.

The first building of the Gray County State Bank was constructed in 1907 on the lot between the Brunow and Wynne houses. The Wynnes removed a fence south of their house so that J.C. Studer of Canadian could build Pampa ‘s first meat market between the Wynne house and Ace Harmon’s store.

Much of the information about the early days in Pampa was obtained from members of the Vincent and Wynne families, especially Beryl Wynne Vicars.

Harmon and Crump at 123 South Cuyler

In July 1905 A.B. Harmon and A.B. Crump bought Lots 1 and 2 of Block 5 in the original town of Pampa from Cornelius C, Cuyler and Frederic de Peyster Foster (trustees for White Deer Lands). Harmon and Crump, the second merchandise store in Pampa , faced west at the intersection of East Atchison and South Cuyler .

In 1911 A.A. Tiemann, who had been a partner with Harmon in Shamrock, came to Pampa to open Harmon-Tiemann Gent’s Furnishing Store which was the first haberdashery in Pampa .

Pampa ‘s business district ca 1904

(References)

Johnson Mercantile Company Gray County Title Co.,Inc.

Museum Mementoes

#38 (7-2-92) First mercantile building once housed sheriff’s office, bank, church, dances (and post office)

#52 (8-5-92) Pampa ‘s commercial district develops in early 1900’s

#68 (4-4-94) Duncan , early businessman, first mayor of Pampa Gray County Heritage, pp. 43,80

Brunow Building

Museum Mementoes

#46 (2-3-92) Dr. Vittorio von Brunow, first physician to serve Pampa , was South Carolina native

#47 (2-4-92) Dr. Vittorio von Brunow owned Pampa ‘s first car, seized desperado

#48 (4-1-92) Nurse Smithers marries Dr. Brunow

(4-9-92) Lemuel von Brunow honored with tribute

# 72 (8-23-94) A little red Velie was the first car in Pampa

#94 (6-4-97) Pampa ‘s first resident doctor was V.E. von Brunow

Gray County of Texas (Bi-centennial Souvenir Program), p. 18

Eli Vincent/ J.S. Wynne

Gray County Heritage

F 1045 Vincent, Wiley and Katie 1121 Wynne, Jesse and Minna

Museum Mementoes

#74 (10-18-94) Wynne family moved to Pampa in 1907

Harmon and Crump

Gray County Heritage

F 1004 Tiemann, A. A. and Hallie

Museum Mementos

# 106 (9-12-98) Pampa haberdashery owned by A, A, Tiemann.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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