Butler County Courthouse
Construction on the courthouse was completed in 1909. The major source of funding came from the Kafir Corn Carnival which was an annual event held in El Dorado, Kansas. The Kafir Corn Carnival was so successful that it often drew in excess of 20,000 people to the downtown area of El Dorado. The courthouse came close to not becoming a reality. In 1870 a major uprising between the city El Dorado and the city of Augusta took place. Augusta had set its sites on becoming the county seat by taking it away from El Dorado. After a heated political battle, which included rumors of ballot box stuffing and a lock out of the existing courthouse by the Augusta Sheriff, El Dorado managed to retain its title as the county seat.
Citizens State Bank
There has been a two-story bank with canted entrance at this location since before 1884. The building continues to house a bank. An undated historic photo shows that the bank occupied the northernmost twenty-five feet and a separate business occupied an adjacent building to the south. It is unclear when the bank expanded to the south and the two buildings were given an overall design change to coordinate them (likely the 1920s); but the modifications had been made by the ca. 1940s, as evidenced by a ca. 1940s photo. The building also has undergone considerable renovation more recently in 2014.
Coutts Museum (Butler State Bank)
This building was built in 1917 for Butler State Bank. It was still a bank in 1930; but had been converted to an office building by 1946. In 1964, Warren Hall Coutts purchased the building to house his law office. After his son died in 1965, Coutts founded an art museum in his honor. The building continues to house the Coutts Art Museum.
El Dorado Arms Hotel & Theater
The El Dorado Arms Hotel was completed in 1921. The $500,000 project was financed in part with $150,000 in stock, purchased by 250 El Dorado citizens. Like many 1920s hotel projects, this one included a theater, designed by the Boller Brothers. The contractor was Reuben Reed, with F. Bergolte as superintendent of construction. The Board of Directors of the El Dorado Hotel and Theatre Company included Robert Hazlett, JB Adams, Robert Bradford, NF Frazier, Clayton Loomis, WB Stone, RY Taliaferro and WR Childs.
El Dorado Carnegie Library
The El Dorado Carnegie Library is a former public library, constructed in 1912. Did you know that El Dorado has ties to one of this country’s most famous and wealthiest families? Andrew Carnegie was one of America’s most successful industrialists. It was Andrew Carnegie that made the El Dorado Carnegie Library possible with a $10,000 grant. In 1959, a new library was built in El Dorado; as a result this building was eventually purchased privately and in the 1980s it was renovated and converted into private offices. It is currently the home of PKHLS Architecture.
El Dorado Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot
With the discovery of oil in 1915, the city’s population soared and there was an urgent need for a new larger and modern depot. In 1918 the current El Dorado Missouri Pacific Depot was completed at the same location. Over the years is served the Missouri Pacific Railroad, carrying passengers and freight to and from the city of El Dorado. The depot was often a center of many memories as men and women departed from this depot on their way to one of two World Wars. For many soldiers, it was the last view they had of El Dorado and for those returning it was the first view they had of home often greet by large crowds of family and friends. One of the most famous passengers to arrive at the depot was President Theodore Roosevelt.
Ellet’s Opera House
Ellet’s Opera House is an example of Italianate Architecture, the predominant style for commercial building during the 1870’s and 1880’s. Character-defining features of this style include tall narrow windows, cornices, and details such as hood molds. There were two principal periods of downtown development in El Dorado. The first of these occurred in the 1880’s. The second, in the 1910’s and 1920’s, coincided with the oil boom. During the second boom, a new brand of capitalist replaced or modernized many of the 1880’s buildings. Today, very few of the town’s earliest commercial buildings remain.
Farmers & Merchants National Bank
The current building was built between 1917 – 1923. There has been a bank on this corner since before 1884. The current building was built between 1917 and 1923 to house the Farmers and Merchants National Bank. From 1945 through at least 1969, the building was home to Trombla’s (jewelry store). Trombla’s was founded by Mr. and Mrs. LG Trombla in 1917. In 2014, renovations the building are returning it to its historic look.
In 1917, T.R. Reed was commissioned by Amos Gish to construct the Amos H. Gish Building. Amos Gish operated his veterinary practice out of a second-story office and leased the first-story retail and rear garage space to various auto and storage business over the years. Gish and his family lived in an apartment on the second floor while renting the additional apartments. The Amos H. Gish Building was approved on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012 under Criterion A in the area of Commerce.
There was a two-story masonry building at this location by 1884. This was the historic location of Haberleins, a men’s clothing store. The business was established in 1911 by AG Haberlein. It was still in business in 1969. (El Dorado Times, 21 November 1969.) The current appearance dates to ca. 1930; although the building was damaged by fire in 1973. The building’s exterior appearance has changed little since its construction in 1930.
The Masonic Temple was completed in early 1922, constructed at a cost of $100,000. (El Dorado Times, 6 January 1922) The Patmos Lodge was chartered in 1870. The building is topped by a second horizontal limestone band, brick entablature, limestone cornice, and brick parapet with cast-stone cap. A stone sign in the center bay at the entablature reads “PATMOS LODGE No. 97 5871 5821″ and has a Masonic symbol.
On the evening of May 23, 1940, with the El Dorado Municipal Band in concert, dedication ceremonies took place for “The Baseball Plant” – McDonald Stadium’s original name. Though the entire stadium was not yet finished, the remainder of the field was in place for the evenings dedication. Total construction cost scarcely exceeded $26,000. The stadium could easily seat 900 spectators with parking for 500 vehicles. Upon completion, the field was known across Kansas as one of the most complete and modern sports centers in Kansas.
Skelly Oil Company
The Skelly Oil Company building was built between 1917 and 1923. In 1930 it was occupied by Skelly Oil Company as their office building. Skelly Oil Company has a long and impressive history in El Dorado.
This three story brown brick building was built in 1920. And originally was the site of St. Luke’s Hospital from 1923 until 1930. Prior to 1920 there was a two story building on this site that housed the El Dorado Hospital from 1917 to 1923.
United States Post Office
The United States Post Office was completed in February 1921 at a cost of $95,000. Which in today’s dollars (2015) would be approximately $1,149,000. In 1947 a rear addition was added which included four vehicular bays.
114 W. Central
There has been a two-story masonry building on this parcel since 1884, when there was a grocery here. In 1887, there was a restaurant, barber shop, and offices. There was a drug store here by 1899 until after 1946. The current façade dates to ca. 1930. The building appears to be historically associated with the adjacent building to the west.
This is a two-story orange brick Commercial Style building. The lower façade has an asymmetrical recessed aluminum storefront with blond brick bulkhead.
120 W. Central
This building is comprised of what was formerly two separate buildings. The building on the east was extant as a two-story building by 1912, when it housed an IOOF lodge. The west building was built between 1912 and 1917 for a movie theater. The east building was expanded between 1917 and 1923 when the complex housed a movie theater, drug store and lodge. There was a movie theater and lodge here in 1930. The lodge remained in 1946.