Rev. Bradbury Regrets the Loss of the Pioneer Hotel
Lincoln Republican, 9 August 1917
We felt bad when they pulled down the Old Pioneer Hotel. Why not have kept it for bygone days, and filled it with relics. Now last week Charley Ratzsch has demolished the old historic Coolbaugh store. It used to stand on the Lincoln State Bank corner and was the best store in the county. It was built in 1873, just before the grasshopper year, when everybody was hard up and Everett Coolbaugh could not trust everybody without “going up” – but when he felt good he was very happy and generous and was a friend in need to many. He had a noble, good Christian wife to help the poor, and in every other good work – church and Sabbath School. Though a strong Scotch Presbyterian, she, after the death of her husband, married a Methodist preacher. Well! – he got a great wise help-meet. D.E. Coolbaugh and wife were among the first members of our Lincoln Presbyterian church, and sacrificed to build it – the first church building in our county.
Jim Travis was their store clerk; a fellow full of fun, and knew how to tell a good story. He still lives in Rogers, Ark. But lost his good wife, Theodosia Henderson and his son – often I have slept with Jim on the front porch of the store on a hot summer night.
John Henry, the next clerk, was a wonderful up and down man; a fine writer of poetry and a reporter for the papers. Once when the doctor relieved his pain he said, “he felt as heaven was on a picnic” – “Poor Fellow,” he was an “opium fiend.” – Frank Riddle, their next clerk, was always on the track, quiet and faithful.
The old store building kept its colors flying till the very last. Bonie Rees the inventive genius, with his electric apparatus, fruit trees and repair shop, held one side of the store, and Jimmie Gray, the original Scotch Irishman, had his Shoe Polish Parlor in the other side. But now it is all gone. But these sweet memories in our heart of those once there will never die.
Charley Ratzsch we forgive you – you are replacing it by a great big mercantile structure. But we still love the past. – H.C.B.