General Store - 1 step

Old Cowtown Museum Tour

General Store - 1 step

Wichita, Kansas 67203, United States

Created By: Old Cowtown Museum


The General Store in the Business District at Old Cowtown Museum represents the earliest mercantile and banking operations in the young city. Before Wichita received rail road service in 1872, general stores were the primary outlet for any and all types of groceries and dry‑goods. The general store sold everything needed and available to life as it was lived in 1870s Wichita. Rea Woodman said that her father, W.C. Woodman, sold everything from shot to coffins. Vegetable seeds, chairs, several kinds of soap, pipes, pills and tonics, notepaper and pens, garden tools, candles and lamps.

After the rail road came to Wichita, general stores could distribute all the goods available elsewhere in the United States. Eventually, the rail road also would facilitate the growth of specific retail businesses and the decline of the central and important role the general store had in early Wichita.

General stores were also the forerunner of banks in Wichita. As cash and coin were not always available, and grocers let customers buy on credit, due at the end of the month, or until the crops came in. Banking in Wichita developed as a natural outgrowth of credit and bookkeeping systems used by general store merchants.


East wall - "clothing" fabric and toys section

Northeast wall - crockery, bolts, garden tools, business desk

Northwest wall - Note the commercial "ice box", garden tools, housewares

West wall - "grocery" section - coffee and canned goods, medical and tobacco

This point of interest is part of the tour: Old Cowtown Museum Tour


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