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1890 – 506 (Old 504) 1st Street

This is another one erected by Paul Bocion in 1890 after the great fire of 18 April 1889. Both this building and the one on the corner were referred to as the Bocion Block.

Map showing location of 506 1st Street
Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

What was here before? There was a wood frame building that had been a general merchandise store then a restaurant. #16, below is the former building in 1884.

This is a one-story commercial structure with a flat built-up roof and a basalt foundation. No elements of the original can be seen on the exterior. Reinforcement with cement block and extensive remodeling have erased the original design.

The first tenant was Thomas Quick & John Taylor’s general store while they waited for their new brick building to be completed across the street.

Maps showing location of buildings
Bocion erected both corner brick buildings, 1890
Men seated and standing in front of building
W.D. Switzer stands in the doorway of his store.

NOTE: We believe that most of the seated gentlemen in the photo are Civil War veterans of the local GAR of which Switzer was a member.

Switzer Drug Store opened here November 1890. William Switzer had been quite unlucky when it came to fires. His drug store had been badly damaged or destroyed in all three of the major fires in Cheney, 1883, 1889, and February 1890. Each time he quickly set up shop again in a new location.

Switzer was followed in 1904 by Lyon & Castleman Fancy Groceries and E.M. Crawford & Company grocery in 1906.

Portrait of William D. Switzer
Colorized image of horse and cart, a dog, and men in front of the building
Lyon & Castleman grocery store

A 1916 map shows the building being used as a moving picture house. Cheney had several early silent movie theaters.

This was the original location of Bair’s Grocery store from 1932 to 1934, before they moved to their long-time location over at corner of 1st and F streets, now the parking lot for Owl Pharmacy.

In the late 1930s, the building was used as storage for Webb Transfer Company.

Bob Tubb’s Cheney Newstand occupied the building from 1955 to 1958.

Map showing buildings
View of north side of block, 1952
1952 view of block

In the mid-1960s, structural remodeling re-enforced or replaced the original brick with concrete blocks to halt the deterioration of the building which was probably made from brick from the Cheney Brick & Tile Manufacturing Company, some of which was of poor quality and has not aged well.

Other businesses that spent time in this space have included The Bargain Shop, Al Isakson’s Sears Catalog Store (1966-1970 when Elsie Ableman purchased it and moved to the Odd Fellows building), Empire Interiors, Town & Country Television, Ms Moustache Boutique, Amy’s Boutique, Sunrise Natural Foods, the Collector’s Gallery, Book Recycler, a massage business, and a gift shop.

In 2012, developer, Steve Emtman, remodeled all three of the buildings on this side of the street.

This former 504 1st Street was renumbered 506 and was the site of Rokko’s Teriyaki Restaurant February 2012 to November 2019.

View of all the buildings on the block
2020 view

Children’s clothing and goods store, Us By The Moon moved into this larger space from 502 1st, holding a grand reopening on 6 April 2024.

Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

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