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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Downtown remodeling reveals history mystery

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  • The name is faded and has long been out of sight.
    A recent renovation to a downtown building has revealed the name “Greenberg’s” on the brick front of 318 South Main that Thomas Schnittker has purchased and is rebuilding for an office for his business.
    Also on the front of the building is an old steel I-beam with the words “Lunch at all hours” indicating that Greenberg’s may have been a café.
    The words came to light when an aluminum covering on the front of the building was removed as part of the building renovation. Birds had nested in the aluminum front piece for years creating an unsanitary area for bird droppings on the sidewalk.
    Dead birds were found between the decorative piece and the brick front along with old nests and many broken eggshells.
    One of the workers for Fred and the Boys Construction that is doing the work on the building, Cade Noble, said there was a strong smell in the debris behind and in the sign.
    Darrell Shumway used to work for the Pratt Tribune years ago when it was located in the 300 block of South Ninnescah and he remembered in 1963 it was Joe Helsel’s bar but he didn’t remember the name “Greenberg’s” on the front of the building.
    A review of city records back to when it was first purchased from the Pratt Center Town Company in 1885 have no Greenberg listed as owners so it may have been someone renting the property from the owner.
    A close inspection of the words Greenberg’s and Lunch At All Hours reveals that other words are painted underneath but they are very faded and hard to see.
    A quick look at the records in the Pratt County Historical Museum also found no mention of Greenberg’s. Charmaine Swanepoel, museum curator, said she would do some research to see if she could come up with the history of the name.
    City records reveal that Vera Foster sold the property to Eldon Meigs in 1968. In late March 2009, a state record 30 inches of snow fell on Pratt in 24 hours causing critical damage to the roof of the building. Bob Blasi bought the building and had it razed leaving only the front façade. Tom Schnittker eventually bought the property and is construction an office for his business. Part of the construction included the removal of the aluminum piece in the front of the office.
    Schnittker is keeping the original brick front for the building.
    In the meantime the Tribune is seeking information about the building and the name Greenberg’s. If anyone can identify the name or has specific memories of the building, they are asked to contact the Tribune and share that information with reporter Gale Rose.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Tribune number is 620-672-551 and the office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except holidays.

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