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Demolition of old KFC building reveals business history at First and Main in Pratt

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Demolition began this past week on the old KFC building, located on the NE corner of First and Main streets in Pratt. History was revealed in the teardown, prompting memories of years past for some. According to city leaders, up next at that location is a Scooters Coffee Shop.

Though to some it may have seemed to be an eyesore for much longer, after standing empty for four and a half years, the old KFC building on the NE corner of the First and Main Street intersection in Pratt came tumbling down on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. A demolition crew used heavy equipment to tear down the walls and then clean up the rubble.

"The lot has been purchased by an individual who plans to put up a Scooter's Coffee Shop," said Pratt City Manager Bruce Pinkall. "We actually haven't had a conversation with him about when this new construction will take place, we are just in demolition and cleanup mode at this time."

Pinkall said the all of the concrete at the corner location will be removed and a new landscape with some green in it will take its place.

"It's going to be very nice," he said. "It won't be a dine-in establishment, but there will be a few parking spaces for those who want to pull up. Mostly it is a drive-thru business."

Pinkall said he hoped the new business coming in would be a positive addition for the Pratt community, with patrons continuing to support coffee shops already with established niche clientele.

"This is a unique opportunity for us," he said. "We certainly hope it is a complement to what we already have to offer locals and visitors to Pratt."

When the heavy equipment moved in last Wednesday and started knocking down the old walls of the former Kentucky Fried Chicken building, bystanders stopped to take pictures. Some were amazed to see walls from a former gasoline station still standing in the interior of the building, with KFC walls built around them.

According to Pratt City Clerk Lou Kramer, the last electric bill was paid by KFC on April 18, 2016. The business at 100 N. Main Street was established as part of the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in 1983, according to information from the Pratt County Historical Museum. Prior to that it was Clark's Mobil Oil Corp, start date 1970. And prior to that it was Young's Service Station, a Mobil garage established in 1960.

Looking even farther back into history, the busy corner was also once the location of the Maxfield Hotel, owned by various proprietors from 1926 to 1952. The first business registered at that location, according to museum records was the Hupp Hotel, established there in 1915.

Charmaine Swanepoel at Pratt Historical Museum said that prior to becoming the Hupp Hotel, a building there was a residence belonging to Mr. and Mrs. J.K Hupp, who built a 10 or 12 bedroom home in 1897, which they maintained with a staff of servants for their family and bachelor friends.

"After an addition was added in 1907, it was operated as a hotel under the name of the Hupp House and was managed by the Hupp's son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Nelse McDowell. As the town grew, the building was again enlarged and operated as the Maxfield Hotel," Swanepoel said.