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1886 – 502/504 1st Street

This corner building at 502/504 1st Street was rebuilt from the ruins of the former brick building after the fire of April 18, 1889 by saloon owner and wholesale liquor dealer, Paul Bocion.

Map showing location of building
Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

What was here before? Mr. Bocion had his wholesale liquor business and saloon on this corner.

He had been in business in Cheney for five years when in 1886, he built a fine two-story brick building with his saloon and liquor business on the ground floor and the Masonic lodge hall upstairs. The 1889 fire, that wiped out much of the downtown east of College Ave, gutted Bocion’s building, though the lodge was able to save their charter and a few other documents.

Portrait of Paul Bocion

Paul Bocion immigrated from Switzerland in 1857. While in Cheney, he was a well-respected businessman, president of the volunteer fire department, and member of the city council, as well as the Odd Fellows lodge.

He rebuilt the building as a one-story on the original basalt foundation. It has a flat roof and built-up front façade that originally had a center and two corner parapets. The side and upper front façade are still mostly intact, minus the parapets. The lower front and interior have been remodeled numerous times and split into two commercial spaces housing 502 and 504 1st.

Maps showing location of buildings
1890 1 story building
Building with parapets on roof
Roof had 3 parapets

The building housed a saloon until the early 1900s and then became a general merchandise store. Around 1916, it became a sweet shop called Krispy Korn Korner.

Mrs. Josephine Leidloff’s Sweets N’ Eats restaurant took over in 1922. In 1924, the Cheney Free Press praised her redecoration:

“With the aid of colored lattice work, trailing vines and plants, rich wall coverings, neat booths and a restful lighting effect, all artistically planned and arranged, the interior of the Sweets N’ Eats refreshment parlor at the corner of Normal Avenue and First street has been transformed into a veritable bower.

Several new booths of pleasing appearance have been added, and the refreshment parlor arranged prettily in a secluded corner, apart from the remainder of the store. The new arrangement is a decided improvement, suggesting quiet harmony to those who dine there.”

1924 Advertisement
Mrs. Josephine Leidloff opened in 1922
Interior of restaurant with lunch counter, stools, and booths
Kyle Pugh Sr. behind the counter at Sweets 'N Eats, April 1931. Booths are at far left.

Sweets N’ Eats was a popular eating spot, when in 1943 new owners, Mr. and Mrs. Wally Davidson, renamed it the College Inn which operated to 1966

View of north side of block, 1952
By 1952 the roof parapets were gone.

The building was then split into 502 and 502 1/2. The corner space held the State Liquor store for a decade, followed by an insurance office, jewelry store, carpet store, tanning salon, and the Creative Touch Beauty Salon. On the east, another insurance office, sporting goods store, bicycle shop, deli, beauty shop, and clothing store were a few of the occupants.

Boy Scouts march in front of buildings
1971

In 2012, local developer, Steve Emtman, remodeled all three of the buildings on this side of the street. You can still see evidence of the first tenant of 502 1st, the Red Rooster Coffee Company which closed in 2014.

It was followed briefly by Cadence Massage & Esthetics, as well as Us By The Moon before they moved to larger quarters.

In 2024, The Coco Bee of Colfax opened a new store here, selling luxury candles & scents.

The old 502 1/2 became the new 504 1st. It has been home to the West Plains Chamber of Commerce and Body Language Tattoo. Boxing Tiger Tattoo opened in the space in 2023.

Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

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