BLOCK 128, NORTHEAST CORNER MAIN STREET, 100 BLOCK EAST 9TH AVE.
PHOTO 4: Taken circa August 1879.
The building shown in the 1879 photograph shows "McCommon & Harter Drug Store." Inasmuch as this building was located in Block 128 on the northeast corner of Main Street and East Ninth Avenue, with its entrance in the 100 block on Main Street, it is covered in this section. It is unfortunate that a photograph cannot be found that shows the buildings extending to the east of the drug store in 1879.
Historian Jerry Wallace furnished the following information relative to the name of the street and avenue depicted in this photograph. "When the Walnut Valley House was started and for some time after it was on the corner of Broadway and 5th Avenue; later it was changed to Main Street and 9th Avenue." [Addresses were changed for streets and avenues circa March 1871.]
There is some question as to the opening date of the Walnut Valley House inasmuch as one source stated it opened on Sunday, October 16, 1870. The account given by J. P. Short and published in 1926 states that he opened the hotel on October 14, 1870.
The first hotel, erected on the northeast corner of Main Street and the north side of East Ninth Avenue, was the fourth building erected on Main Street.
Walnut Valley House.
In 1870 Winfield had been made the county seat, and a stage route had been put in operation along the Walnut River, from Emporia. Winfield greatly needed a hotel for the accommodation of people who desired to locate, and Col. Manning, president of the Winfield Town Company, induced Mr. J. P. Short to erect a hotel building by offering him two lots on the northeast corner of Broadway and Fifth Avenue. The free offer was accepted, and the building was erected on lots 11 and 12, Block 128. During the construction, Mr. Short lived in a tent, thus partly renewing the old army life, without the attendant bullets and graybacks. Short received a monthly pension of $8.00 at a later date due to receiving a gun shot wound to his left hand during his service in Company M, 8th New York Artillery.
James P. Short was appointed Deputy Treasurer of Cowley County on July 6, 1870, by John Devore, County Treasurer. Devore held the office until July 2, 1872, inasmuch as Geo. B. Green, elected on November 8, 1870, failed to give bond and qualify. In 1874 the management of the County Treasurer during 1870-1872 came into question. John Devore responded on March 5, 1874. "At the time of my election, the office was of little conse quence, and I could not afford to leave my farm to live at the county seat to attend to its duties. Having been for some time acquainted with Mr. J. P. Short, and having confidence in his ability and integrity, I appointed him my deputy as soon as there were any duties to perform in the office, and he held said appointment and attended to all the duties of said office until it was turned over to my successor, Mr. Kager. I paid no attention to the office, never handled any of its money in any way or shape, never received a cent of profit, not even a fee (as I gave all the fees to Mr. Short to attend to the office) from first to last. But the office actually cost me my bond and stamp then required by law. Nor until last week, did I know that there was any irregularity in the accounts or books of said office."
Lucius Walton, W. H. Grow, and S. M. Fall composed a committee that was requested by the Cowley County Commissioners to examine the books and accounts of A. A. Jackson as County Clerk and John Devore as Treasurer under the management and control of J. P. Short, Deputy Treasurer. They gave a lengthy report on May 30, 1874, stating that they had found the books and accounts in a very confused and tangled condition, Treasurer Devore not having made a settlement of his accounts during his term of office and turning the office over to his successor without paying over moneys in his possession.
In March 1874 J. P. Short built a small office on his lot on Main Street.
The Winfield Courier had the following item on July 17, 1874. "Ex-Deputy County Treasurer J. P. Short has settled with the County Board and paid into the Treasury and produced receipts sufficient to cover the delinquency claimed by the investigators. The board has ordered the committee to proceed with the examination of Treasurer Kager's books up to date."
In 1925 Mrs. J. P. Short provided Mrs. W. G. Anderson of the Winfield Free Press with a document written by J. P. Short relative to the Walnut Valley House, which was printed in the Winfield Courier in 1926. This item was submitted by Richard Kay Wortman and appears in the hard-bound book, Cowley County Heritage, published in 1990.
Short stated the following: "Early in the summer of 1870 the writer came down from the Walnut Valley in company with Lem S. Cook, of Topeka, who with his brothers had taken claims on the river in South Bend, the same now being the Magnolia farm. The land was unsurveyed and belonged to the Osage Indians with whom the government was treating, with a view to buying. There was not a house between the Walnut and Arkansas rivers, the settlers had staked out claims along the streams. Some months previous, the Indians had driven them out and burned their cabins, but most of them had drifted back. New ones came in and all were waiting for the lands to be thrown open for settlement."
Short stated that Col. E. C. Manning had formed a town company and laid out a few blocks on Main Street on which two log structures and one frame building were erected. These and two small dwelling houses comprised the town of Winfield at that time. Lots were given away to any person who would put up a building, though no title could be given until later. A stopping place for prospective settlers was badly needed and the town company offered Short some free lots to erect a hotel. Short did not think much of the project. Later a tri-weekly mail route down the valley from Emporia was established; the treaty with the Indians made; a newspaper started, and a steam sawmill brought in, and the hotel project began to look good to Short. Erection of the building soon after began. The foundation rock came from an area near the present (Graham-Union) cemetery; the dimension stuff was sawed from logs cut on the river and the shingles from walnut logs cut in the present Island Park. The pine siding, flooring, and finishing lumber was hauled from Emporia, the nearest railroad point, over one hundred miles northeast. Wolf and Mentch, carpenters, living on nearby claims, did the carpenter work. There being no masons or material in the country, the inside walls were covered with plaster board paper, the partitions made of flooring, and the stove pipes ran out through the roof. The building was the first one on the east side of Main street and the first two-story frame in the town.
Short described his trip with furniture for the hotel. "The fall of 1870 was wet. After being on the road a week, delayed by high water, there being no bridges, and the future proprietor nearly drowned at the Little Walnut ford above Douglass, the teams loaded with furniture, bedding, and provisions arrived from Emporia, and on October 14, `The Walnut Valley House' was opened.
"Robert Camp was clerk, Mrs. Jerry Evans, cook and landlady, and Miss Sue Hunt, waitress and chambermaid. On the first floor was the office, dining room, and three bed rooms, with kitchen in an addition on the rear. The upper floor was all in one room, called the `corral.' The beds stood heads to the wall on each side with a two foot space between them. The mattresses were filled with `Prairie feathers,' which grew from three to six feet high all over the country. Springs had not got out on the frontier that early.
"As cold weather came out and people could not comfortably sleep under wagons, business increased. The beds were gradually pushed together and new bedsteads made of native walnut lumber filled in till the whole row was solid and the only way to get into bed was over the top of the footboards.
"Occasionally some fastidious traveler or drummer would kick on having to get into a bed thirty-two feet long with sixteen bed fellows. Then he was shown down to the `bridal chamber,' a palatial apartment about six feet square, where he would not have more than two or three bedfellows, the name `bridal chamber' being used only to give the tone to the house. Later preparations were made to attach hooks to the walls on which to hang the surplus sleepers, when Mrs. Bradish came to town, started another `tavern,' and the congestion was relieved.
"Nothing being raised in the country, the menu was not extensive. Hog and hominy appeared often. Yet there were delicacies served, not often found now, at the Waldorf- Astoria, the principal meat being buffalo steaks and roasts. Hunters returning from Harper and Barber counties kept the town glutted with buffalo meat at three or four cents per pound, in quantity. Some deer were brought in and wild turkeys were plentiful at fifty cents each.
"The next year I paid $2 per dozen for prairie chickens and $3.50 for domestic. Canned goods came mostly from Baltimore and were high. A two pound can of peaches or tomatoes sold for fifty cents; prunes sold three pounds for a dollar; and `String' dried apples sold four pounds for the dollar.
In the spring of 1872 Mr. J. P. Short developed matrimonial tendencies. He sold the fixtures and rented the building for other purposes. The "Walnut Valley House" became a reminiscence.
A Short History of James P. Short.
James P. Short was born in Livingston County, New York, in 1845. His grandfather, Phillip Short, a pioneer in Geneseo Valley, New York, was nearly seven feet tall and had tremendous strength, weighing over 300 pounds at one time. He and his sons literally hewed out their homestead from the virgin forest. J. P. Short's father, Col. Josiah Short, became an extensive land owner, and later in life engaged in milling, getting out timber and lumber, and engaged in other business enterprises. Col. Short was a colonel of the militia, in the old general muster and training days, in the 1840s. He died before the War of the Rebellion. After Col. Short's death his widow, Mehitabel Livermore Short, born in Massachusetts, moved to Lima, Livingston County, New York, in order to give her children a proper education. Lima was the seat of Genesee College and Genesee Wesleyan Seminary.
James P. Short attended Genesee Wesleyan Seminary and was preparing to enter college when, at eighteen years of age, he enlisted on November 16, 1863, in Company M, 8th New York Heavy Artillery, raised in Western New York. Short served until May 1, 1865. His regiment, under Col. Peter A. Porter, was first stationed at Forts McHenry and Federal Hill, Baltimore, Maryland. In the spring of 1864, when Gen. Grant took command of the Army of the Potomac for the final struggle, Col. Porter asked for field service and the regiment was assigned to Hancock's (2nd) Corps, and went through the campaign from the Wilderness to Petersburg, and later on to Appomattox. In this campaign of almost continuous fighting the regiment lost heavily. At Cold Harbor, about 12 miles out of Richmond, the regiment lost 505 men; Col. Porter and seven others officers were killed. Col. Bates and Maj. Blake were killed in the St. Petersburg assault. During the initial actions against this Confederate strong point, June 15-23, 1864, regimental losses were 308. A large regiment with 12 companies of 150 men each, instead of the normal 10 companies of 101 men each, the total enrollment was 2,575. In its ten months of combat the regiment lost 1,010 in action, of whom 361 (or 14 percent) were killed.
In one of the numerous battles around Richmond, Mr. Short was severely wounded, and spent most of the time thereafter at Lincoln Hospital, in Washington, until mustered out at the close of the war in 1865. Short received a monthly pension of $8.00 at a later date due to receiving a gun shot wound to his left hand during his service in Company M, 8th New York Artillery.
Returning home, James P. Short again entered school, but found himself far behind the class on account of his two years' absence, and soon decided to take Greeley's advice and go West. He started for California, going by steamer from New York, then across the Isthmus of Panama, and up the Pacific Coast to San Francisco, a three weeks' journey. In 1869, the Union Pacific Railroad was completed to the coast, and Mr. Short, disposing of his restaurant business in San Francisco, returned East on the eleventh through train to Omaha. The trip took nine days. In the spring of 1870, James P. Short journeyed with his mother and sisters to Topeka, Kansas, where the Santa Fe Railway had started and was building westward toward Emporia. From there he set forth for Cowley County.
In the spring of 1872 Mr. J. P. Short married Lissa M. Phillips, a native of New York State, who had journeyed west to visit her brother, Edgar D. Phillips, one of the first settlers, and the first trustee of Rock Township. Mr. and Mrs. Short had three children: Phillip P., Edna H., and Ethel F. In August 1926 Phillip Short was living on a farm near Winfield. One of J. P. Short's daughters, Mrs. Newton Anderson, was living in Colorado; the other daughter, Mrs. L. A. Millspaugh, resided in Winfield.
James P. Short was appointed Deputy Treasurer of Cowley County on July 6, 1870, by John Devore, County Treasurer. Devore held the office until July 2, 1872, inasmuch as Geo. B. Green, elected on November 8, 1870, failed to give bond and qualify. In 1874 the management of the County Treasurer during 1870-1872 came into question. John Devore responded on March 5, 1874. "At the time of my election, the office was of little conse quence, and I could not afford to leave my farm to live at the county seat to attend to its duties. Having been for some time acquainted with Mr. J. P. Short, and having confidence in his ability and integrity, I appointed him my deputy as soon as there were any duties to perform in the office, and he held said appointment and attended to all the duties of said office until it was turned over to my successor, Mr. Kager. I paid no attention to the office, never handled any of its money in any way or shape, never received a cent of profit, not even a fee (as I gave all the fees to Mr. Short to attend to the office) from first to last. But the office actually cost me my bond and stamp then required by law. Nor until last week, did I know that there was any irregularity in the accounts or books of said office." Lucius Walton, W. H. Grow, and S. M. Fall composed a committee that was requested by the Cowley County Commissioners to examine the books and accounts of A. A. Jackson as County Clerk and John Devore as Treasurer under the management and control of J. P. Short, Deputy Treasurer. They gave a lengthy report on May 30, 1874, stating that they had found the books and accounts in a very confused and tangled condition, Treasurer Devore not having made a settlement of his accounts during his term of office and turning the office over to his successor without paying over moneys in his possession. The Winfield Courier had the following item on July 17, 1874. "Ex-Deputy County Treasurer J. P. Short has settled with the County Board and paid into the Treasury and produced receipts sufficient to cover the delinquency claimed by the investigators. The board has ordered the committee to proceed with the examination of Treasurer Kager's books up to date."
James P. Short's activities in Winfield kept him busy. He served as Winfield Township Trustee in 1873 and in that year became Deputy County Clerk. In March 1874 Short built a small office on his lot on Main Street. He was the first assessor in Winfield, a city clerk, member of the board of education, president of the Winfield Building and Loan Association, and secretary for the Cowley County Agricultural Society during the period when the first county fairs were held. A Republican, Mr. Short cast his first vote for U. S. Grant. He was a member of Siverd Post, No. 85, G. A. R., and, universally, commanded the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens.
A humorous article relative to Short and his wife's sewing machine appeared in the July 6, 1876, issue of the Winfield Courier. "A Victim. One morning last week one of our citizens happened to mention something about a sewing machine. It proved to be the most unfortunate remark he ever made. It had scarcely fallen from his lips till he was besieged in front and stormed in the rear by a half dozen full-grown sewing machine agents. This town seemed alive with them. A long legged, cadaverous representative of the `Howe' grabbed him by the arm and proceeded to extol the merits of `the original eye-in-the-point-needle machine.' On his left a `Grover & Baker' man clung nervously to the lapel of his coat and rapidly delivered himself of the following: `The only genuine thoroughbred lock-stitched, hemmer, filler, tucker, back-acting, noiseless running machine in existence is the Grover & Baker. You pay eighty dollars down and we take your note for the other half on sixty day's time, secured by chattel mortgage, a deed of your house and lot, and a _______.'
"Here the citizen found he was in for it. With a look of terror on his face, he broke away from his tormentors and rushed frantically down the street only to fall in the arms of a big, red-nosed Singer ambassador, who began his piece with: `I represent the only reliable sewing machine in the world. Our machines have taken premiums at Vienna, London, and the World's Fair. They are noiseless running, easy guiding, self-adjusting, double tracked, steel railed, all wood, and finely finished. We warrant them not to break a thread, skip a stitch, ravel or run down at the heel. Buy one, make your wife a present, and your home henceforth will be a paradise. The citizen tried to explain that he didn't want a machine, that it was all a mistake. But the hungry cormorant stuck to him closer than a brother.He looked back, saw the Howe and G. & B. man accompanied by a `Wheeler & Wilson' linguist swooping down on him, while on the opposite side of the street stood a `Family Sewing' hoodlum ready to expatiate upon his patent filling, pleating, bias-cutting, combination machine. In despair he cried: `Villains, unhand me,' as he tore himself away and rushed madly through the alley towards his peaceful home. They followed him. With tattered coat and disheveled hair he rushed in, bolted the door, and fell into a chair. His wife bathed his head and put flannels to his feet while the agents climbed the fence and recited in solemn chorus: Ours is the only labor-saving, self-acting, temper-cooling machine in the world.
"The `victim' came uptown Monday, bought a dog collar and a double barreled shot gun. His name is J. P. Short, and he says the next time that his wife sends him uptown for a sewing machine needle and those agents tackle him, there will be funerals of a third grade order in our quiet little city."
J. P. Short and his family sometimes lived in Winfield; at other times they resided on their farm, situated on the west half of the northeast quarter of section 34, township 32, range 4 east, located just outside the city limits of Winfield. He erected large and commodious buildings, and planted about 10 acres in fruit and ornamental trees and shrubbery. The Black Crook Creek, which ran across the corner of his place, was well timbered, and in location, quality of land, and excellence of improvements, his farm was considered as one of the model farms of Cowley County. In September 1877 the farm of J. P. Short produced about 300 bushels of late Crawford, Snow, and Heath Cling peaches, the latter being very large and excellent for pickling. He left samples at Green's Drug Store, where customers could leave orders. He also sold peaches from 50 to 75 cents per bushel at his farm.
In 1878 and 1879 J. P. Short erected a frame residence and two stone residences.
In 1880 J. P. Short was City Clerk, with his office in the Page building. His residence was located on the west side of Manning Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.
Second Occupant, Short's Lots, Block 128.
On June 19, 1873, L. B. Paul moved into his new store room on the corner of Main and 9th Avenue. He advertised his grocery store, calling it the "Diamond Center." He was located nearly opposite the "Old Log Store."
Third Occupant, Short's Lots, Bock 128.
In August 1874 A. H. Green had moved his drug store into the former store owned by Paul and installed a soda fountain. He was doling out what little ice was left in Winfield. By November 1874 John M. Reed, Painter, had an office over Green's Drug Store. It appears that a new owner took over Green's drug store in September 1875: J. P. Sloan. Mr. Sloan fitted up the upstairs to his Main Street building, known as Green's drug store, the front room of which was to be occupied by W. P. Hackney as a law office. J. P. Short was the contact for rental of a nice office room over Green's Drug Store in October 1875.
In January 1876 A. H. Green purchased the news department and stationery of Police Judge W. M. Boyer, first news dealer in Winfield, located on Lot 10, Block 128. By 1879 the "News Depot" was owned by McCommon & Harter Drug Store.
In August 1876 County Attorney A. J. Pyburn formed a law partnership with O. M. Seward, late of the Ann Arbor law school. Their office was over Green's drug store.
In May 1877 an addition was added to the rear of Green's drug store. In June 1877 two events occurred of importance: Green's marble soda fountain was in operation and J. N. Harter, who became a druggist some years before, came to Winfield and took full charge of Green's Drug Store.
Fourth Occupants, Short's Lots, Block 128.
In November 1877 Ira L. McCommon and Joseph N. Harter purchased the drug store of A. H. Green, and continued the business under the firm name of "McCommon & Harter."
On March 18, 1880, the firm of McCommon & Harter was dissolved. J. N. Harter changed the name from "McCommon & Harter" to "Harter Brothers' Drug Store" after he took charge. George Emerson, physician, and O. M. Seward, attorney, maintained quarters above the Harter Brothers' Drug Store.
Fifth Occupant, Short's Lots, Block 128.
On November 16, 1882, the Winfield Courier announced that J. N. Harter had purchased the interest of his brother, Charles L. Harter, in the Harter Brothers' Drug Store. The name was changed to "Harter Drug Store."
Changes began on May 28, 1885, that affected the final disposition of the "Harter Drug Store." Henry Goldsmith, who handled books and stationery at the post office, purchased the building, located at 823 Main, for $12,100 from Col. E. C. Manning, receiving the deed on May 28, 1885. By August 27, 1885, Goldsmith had put in a fine new plate front and a corner entrance, replacing the unsightly wood stairway that had led to the post office heaven for years, and put in its stead a neat and substantial front iron stairway and portico on the south of his building.
The Farmer's Bank.
On June 25, 1885, the Winfield Courier announced the following real estate transaction.
"The Farmer's Bank has purchased, through Messrs. Harris & Clark, the J. P. Short corner, where Harter's drug store is. They get seventy-five feet of the lot for $7,500. They will immediately begin the erection of a fine two story bank building. J. P. Short will also build three two story buildings, one fronting on Main street and two on Ninth Avenue.
This announcement was followed by another in the July 9, 1885 issue. "The Farmer's Bank folks have about determined to make their fine new bank building, on the Harter corner, three stories, with a basement. Our Masonic order is negotiating for the upper story for a lodge room."
Winfield City Council Orders Changes.
On August 3, 1885, the Winfield City Council, of which J. N. Harter was a member, met and ordered changes to be made to the J. P. Short landmarks located on the corner occupied by Harter and others. Five structures were to be sold: Headrick building; Harris & Clark office; Bliss & Wood grain office; a harness shop that had been purchased by A. H. Doane; and a tin shed that had been purchased by H. G. Fuller. The sixth structure, the J. N. Harter building, was to be moved over in Ninth Avenue.
Removal of J. P. Short Landmarks: 1885.
On August 10, 1885, all of the J. P. Short landmarks located on Lots 11 and 12, Block 128, East Side of Main Street, were sold by Short and moved off his lots to make room for the Farmer's Bank Building, on the corner of Main Street and 9th Avenue, Winfield, Kansas.
A. P. Johnson bought three of the buildings, paying $87 for the Headrick building, $100 for the Harris & Clark office, and $51 for the Bliss & Wood grain office. A. H. Doane paid $101 for the harness shop and H. G. Fuller paid $5.00 for the little tin shed. Plans were made to move these structures to residence lots. The fate of the "Harter Drug Store" had not yet been determined on August 10, 1885. It began moving around the streets of Winfield!
J. N. Harter moved the contents of his drug store into a building next door to the furniture store of J. W. Johnston. His new drug store was located at 916 Main Street. Dr. George Emerson maintained his office over Harter's drug store at the new location.
Location of Post Office After Rembaugh Became Postmaster.
George C. Rembaugh, a Democrat, received official notice of his appointment as postmaster of Winfield on August 27, 1885, vice D. A. Millington, Republican, who had voluntarily resigned. Prior to Millington's resignation, the post office had been maintained
by Goldsmith. After Rembaugh became postmaster, he was told by Henry Goldsmith that he would not extend the lease as he considered the post office a nuisance to his business.
Democrats began to squabble over the post office location. Some wanted it located on the Jennings-Crippen lot on the corner of 8th Avenue and Main; others wanted it put on Ninth Avenue. A stock company offered to buy the Fahey building, the present location of the Ninth Avenue Hotel, for the post office. The Winfield Courier commented on the situation in its August 27, 1885, issue: "The house is divided against itself and numerous caucuses fail to bring peace. George is immovable, and will put the post office where he pleases, in conformity to public convenience and general satisfaction, regardless of the post office location cranks." In the same issue another article appeared. "The post office change of location is finally settled. As no particular location can possibly be satisfactory to all the unterrified, George has finally hit upon a plan that will be sure to suit. He has rented the old Short building lately occupied by Harter's drug store, now in the street and on wheels, and has engaged Fred Kropp's mules to haul the post office about town everywhere any Democrat wants it. It will receive and deliver the mails at the depots and then roll off around town. This plan seems to satisfy everybody except Arthur Bangs. He is kicking like a Texas steer, for it will `bust up' his mail carrying business.
The Winfield Courier of September 10, 1885, had the following item.
"A good Democrat informed us that the post office matter was settled. George has concluded to put it in the Ninth Avenue Hotel. The plan of putting it on wheels has been given up on account of the many heavy weights among the Democrats and the necessary travel it would take to follow up the caravan. No doubt there will be some dissatisfaction among the ones who were in favor of having it in their front yards. But all can't be pleased."
This leaves the final disposition of the former "Harter Drug Store" in question. Some of the old-time citizens of Winfield, Kansas, maintained it was still in existence in 1901 on Ninth Avenue. No address was given for the building's final resting place.
Farmer's Bank Building. [1885-1886].
J. P. Short and John A. Eaton, cashier and resident manager of the Farmer's Bank, combined forces to erect the bank (with the assistance of Architect Willis A. Ritchie from Lima, Ohio) on the northeast corner of Main Street and East Ninth Avenue.
On September 3, 1885, the Winfield Courier announced that Ben Herrod and Hank Paris had the contract for excavating the Eaton-Short cellar. The Courier described the contemplated bank building, stating that it would be built of gray stone, with blue stone trimmings, and would have a galvanized iron cornice, crestings, and dormer windows, with a slate roof, mansard and gothic front on the third floor part of the building. It was contemplated that the building would cost $20,000.
The article further stated that the building would be 50 by 115 feet, of which the front 50 by 75 feet would be three stories. At the rear, a 40 by 50 ft. two-story building, fronting on 9th Avenue, would have the same style of finish and general appearance as the front part except the mansard front.
Mr. John A. Eaton's part of the building (25 by 75 feet of the corner) would have two good basement store rooms, well lighted and ventilated, with a fire-proof vault for each. The first floor would contain the Banking rooms, with Mr. Eaton's law office with side entrance at the rear, and a large burglar and fire-proof vault for the bank. Two broad, easy stairs were contemplated which would give access to the second floor rooms of the building: one stair in the center of the Main Street front, the other near the center of the 9th Avenue front. The second floor of this building would contain three suites of offices of three rooms and a closet to each. Mr. J. P. Short's part of the building would have a good cellar, but no basement rooms. The first floor would have three good store rooms with a rear light and entrance to each. The second floor would have ten suites of offices of two rooms each, connected by wide folding doors.
Eaton and Short did not contemplate finishing the third floor. It was stated that when this was done, it would make at least six good office or sleeping rooms. They considered the building would become the "Office Block" of Winfield and that it would contain thirteen suites of the best lighted and ventilated offices in the city.
Excavation by contractors Hank Paris and Ben Herrod for the building was completed in mid-September 1885. The Winfield Courier reported on September 17, 1885, that Paris and Herrod had taken out eighteen hundred cubic yards of dirt in twelve days and that all the contracts, except painting, had been let. Conner & Sons had the contract for mason work; McKay & Pettit, for carpentry; and John Craine, for the plastering. On November 19, 1885, the Winfield Courier announced that the planing mill of Warner & McIntire was turning out the frame and fancy work for the Farmer's Bank building. On December 17, 1885, the Winfield Courier commented that the Hardware and Stove House of I. W. Randall & Co. was fitting up the Farmer's Bank building with steam, gas, and water.
In March and April 1886 the Farmer's Bank began receiving occupants. Among those listed was a Mr. A. G. Haltinwanger of Charleston, South Carolina, who had leased the rear business room of the Farmer's Bank building, where he put in a large wholesale and retail stock of cigars and tobacco. Jarvis, Conklin & Co. put in a handsome real estate and loan office. Harris, Clark & Thompson as well as Bliss & Wood occupied the first room of the basement. Dr. F. H. Bull took the three rear rooms in the second story of the bank for his dental rooms.
The Thursday, April 8, 1886, issue of the Winfield Courier, had the following item.
"J. P. Short feels aggrieved. He advertised elegant suits of office rooms in the Farmer's Bank block, and the gentle compositor made it `Torrance-Fuller block,' which he expects to own in time, but doesn't claim yet. We gladly make the correction and kill the compositor."