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Stop #18 on the Scott City Historic Walking Tour: In 1902, W. Meisenheimer sold his 2 story brick building (where 1st National now sits). to R.B. Christy and sold the contents and fixtures of his mercantile store to J.W. Roark and his son R.P. Roark. The Roarks relocated their new store in the back of the building in a frame addition. They operated the store for about three years at which time things were getting pretty rough financially, so they approached R.P. Roark’s father-in-law, Dr George Finkenbinder and his son Walter, to buy the hardware section. The sale was made for the hardware stock for $2,000.00 and R.P. Roark stayed with the hardware business. J.W., needing some help in the mercantile business suggested to his 2 younger sons that if they would work the store and help get the finances in better shape, he would make them 50/50 partners.

Roark and Son 2nd Building

Building, House, Plant, Tints and shades

Roark Building, 1915

Wheel, Tire, Land vehicle, Building

Roark and Son Mercantile

Bookcase, Shelf, Building, Black-and-white

Photograph, Shelf, White, Black

Roark Building on Right

Sky, Building, Tree, Residential area

Roark and Son Mercantile

Black-and-white, Interior design, Building, Style

Ed and Frank were merely teenagers but they accepted their father's offer and went to work. Things were financially slow and about six months later, Ed withdrew and went to Twin Falls, Idaho. JW told Frank if he would stay, he would make him a 50/50 partner. Frank accepted and by 1908 with the business going well, they decided they would like a bigger and better store. They approached a couple of young and up-coming new carpenters, Alpha and Clarence Chamberlain, about building them a new store at 514 Main (the site of JB Beaver Advertising today).

In 1914, business was good so they purchased the lot at 401 Main Street for $2,000 andnd in 1915-1916 built the large 2 story brick building, which still stands today. JW retired in 1917. Frank formed a partnership with Phil Whiteman and Earl Van Antwerp and the store was renamed the R-V-W Store. It continued in business until 1936. By 1938, Frank was the sole owner and decided to close the business out. The stock was put up for sale and the business closed.

Duckwalls was then at the site for many years, followed by the J.M. McDonald Co.

In 1992 the building was deeded from the Roark family to the City of Scott City. Mark a Suzanne McCandless were running the Scott City Pharmacy in the old Timmerman Building and needed more space for a new business venture, "The Brotherhood Bookstore," so they rented the building.

They later sold the Scott City Pharmacy to Jon and Gena Brunswig. The Brunswigs purchased the building from the City in 2005 and ran the Pharmacy there until they built a new building on the south end of town. The Brunswigs continue to run an upscale gift store in the old Roark building called "Giftologists" and have remodeled the building. Be sure to peak inside and see the original tin ceilings and some of the original windows and brick. It sure doesn’t look over 100 years old.

Scott County Historical Society. History of Early Scott County. Edition 1. Volume 1. Scott City, Kansas. Scott County Historical Society, 1977.

Lawrence, Deb. J.W. Roark and Son Mercantile Store, Scott City History - Now & Then. May 1st 2017. Accessed May 11th 2021.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Scott County Historical Society

Scott County Historical Society

Scott County Historical Society

Scott County Historical Society

Scott County Historical Society