Nieces Are Working to Renovate the Payne Building At 6th and Main


Al and Luanna Niece outside their new purchase, the building at 6th and Main Street, Fort Scott.

Al and Luanna Niece, from Blanco County, TX, purchased the dilapidated building at 6th and Main in June 2023 to renovate.

The Nieces have plans for building at 6th and Main: two apartments, an ice cream shop, and a gentleman’s bar. The building is across the street from the Fisher Park Ballfield.


Al Niece owns Niece Equipment of Kansas and has had a plant in Fort Scott’s Industrial Park, since 2012. The company manufactures, sells, and leases water trucks, fuel/lube trucks, and water towers, according to its website.

“We fell in love with Fort Scott, the community, the downtown,” Luanna said. “We are trying to give back.”

The building was built in 1889, with A. B. Payne as the owner. It was built for apartments and a printing shop, Luanna said. The name of the building was Shultz and Paine.

The Shultz-Paine Building from a postcard in the 1880s. Luanna Neice said Ann Rawlins at the Old Fort Genealogical Society was a great source of information on the building and provided this photo.

One interesting fact discovered in looking at the history of the building: “The building’s owner was friends with Mark Twain,” she said. Twain was a humorist, journalist, lecturer, and novelist who died in 1910.

The Nieces plan to make two apartments on the top floor, one for themselves and one for a rental.

The street-level floor will be renovated to make an old-fashioned “soda jerk fountain and ice cream shop” with candy and “simple foods like hot dogs”, she said.

Luanna and Al Niece stand in front of the future ice cream shop on the south side of the first floor of the building. This entrance will be reconfigured, Al said.

The basement will be Al’s hangout, “Like in the movie ‘Speak Easy’, a gentleman’s bar,” she said. “It will be his mancave, probably called ‘Al’s’.”

From the basement looking up the two stories during demolition. Submitted photo.

“We hope to have renderings (of the future building plans) in about a month,” Al said. They met with the builder last week and hope to be open by next summer, he said.

Koen Construction is the builder, Al said.

What attracted the Nieces was that “this building is a stand-alone one,” she said. “And it has a lot next to it, land. About 6,000-10,000 square feet.”

Looking south from Main Street, the building’s lot is lower than the sidewalk on the left side of this photo.
Some relics from the demolition are the old elevator shaft and gears. Submitted photo.

The Nieces also own the building that houses the Brickstreet BBQ Restaurant, the River Room Event Center, and the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team office on North National.

Brickstreet BBQ is located at the corner of Oak Street and National Avenue on Fort Scott’s northside. The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team office is north of the restaurant.  The River Room Event Center is located on the second floor. Al Niece also owns this building.




8 thoughts on “Nieces Are Working to Renovate the Payne Building At 6th and Main”

  1. This is why we should be favorably disposed to people who are not from here. Outsiders can sometimes see the value of our community we are too cynical to notice. Be kind to new people! Thank you Al and Lu!

  2. I love these old brick buildings! It is great to see that someone wants to invest money in history, rather to just tear it down and build another drink stand!

    Hats off to Al and Lu!

  3. We lived next door to that building for 45 years and raised our seven children at 505 S. Main. It was sad to see that magnificent old building decline from a nice-place-to-live apartment house for the elderly to a derelict and abandoned building. Congratulations to the Nieces, we wish you great success! We’re sorry we’re no longer your neighbors.
    Dan and JoAnn Meara
    Kansas City, Kansas

  4. I am so excited about this and truly appreciate the Nieces making a commitment like this to Fort Scott! I know it’s going to be awesome!

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