Another Historic Downtown Building Gets Some Attention

Workers from Mid-Continental Restoration Company work on the front of the building at 20 N. Scott. New awnings, siding, and paint are improvements being added to the building.

The Fort Scott downtown area is seeing new life.

Already approximately one dozen buildings have been purchased by new buyers and are being or have been renovated in the last few years.

Judy and Jerry Witt, who sold their suburban home and moved downtown to an apartment at 9 Main Street, have also purchased a  building in the back of their living space, located at 20 N. Scott Avenue.

The purchased building has 1,812 square feet on each floor and was built in 1880 as a harness shop, Jerry said.

“Harnesses were put on horses to pull wagons,” he said.

“It’s the small building north of the Courtland Hotel,” Judy Witt said. “It was formerly owned by Jim Shoemaker and before that, it was a coffee shop.”

“I wanted to preserve it,” Jerry Witt said. “I wanted to see renovations on Scott Avenue.”

“It was basically in good shape,” Jerry said. “We finished the downstairs area; redid the bathroom and put new cabinets in.”

“The upstairs has a commercial kitchen,” he said.  “Three sinks, a double oven, and a range.”

“We hope to have an area for a small business on the lower level,” Judy said. “And an apartment upstairs.”

“The idea is someone could start a business downstairs and live upstairs,” he said.

“I’d like to see something like an ice cream shop or popcorn,” he said. “To serve the visitors to the fort (Fort Scott National Historic Site).”

The building will be for rent, when the reno is completed, which should be the end of the year, he said.

Jerry and Judy moved downtown last year.

“We have a front door on Main Street and a back one on Old Fort Boulevard,” he said. “I talk to a lot of visitors to the fort and find out where they are from.”

Old Fort Boulevard is directly in front of the national historic site.

Jerry said he is enjoying living downtown.

Jerry and Judy Witt hand out Halloween candy in front of their apartment on Main Street on October 30. Taken from the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.

“We are part of everything going on,” he said. “And it’s close to restaurants. There is always something happening. It’s beautiful and peaceful at night.”

“I have my rental office in the front room of my condo,” he said. “It’s the only one-story building on Main Street.”

The Witts own three businesses on North Main Street that currently house Audette Davis’s beauty shop,  Mary Eastwood’s upholstery shop, and Stacy Gooderl’s healthy living store, he said.

This week Mid-Continental  Restoration Co. of Fort Scott was working on the front side of the building at 20 North Scott Avenue.

“They are doing siding, awnings, painting, and bringing the brick back to life,” Judy said.

20 North Scott Avenue. Nov. 16, 2021.

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