The Front Street Garage



(Recreated Front Street Garage sign)

Historical timeline of the property & building

May 12, 1877 – Property was surveyed into separate lots by Cherokee County.
Jul 20, 1877 – Fairbanks deeded to M.S. Fox.
Feb 18, 1878 – M.S. Fox (and wife) deeded it to Jacob Schloss and J. E. Shoenberg (Shoinberg).
Dec 12, 1881 – Jacob Schloss deeded an undivided half of Lot 41 to Meyer A. Cahn (split warranty deed).
Dec 12, 1881 – Meyer A. Cahn deeded half interest to Henrietta Schloss and husband.
Jun 13, 1888 – Henrietta Schloss and husband deeded it to Smith & Moeller.
Dec 6, 1892 – J. E. Sheinberg and wife deeded Lot 41 to Smith & Moeller.
Feb 19, 1894 – J.H. Smith and all included issued a mortgage to Joe Ryan.
Mar 31, 1896 – J.H. Smith & wife and all included issued a mortgage to Mercantile Guarantee Bldg & Loan Assoc.
Sep 23, 1899 – J.H. Smith and all included issued a mortgage of Lot 41 to Edward Zelleken.
Jan 28, 1905 – J.H. Smith issued a mortgage to Galena National Bank.
Apr 10, 1907 – J.H. Smith & wife gave an agreement & mortgage to Louisa Griesser & Smith & Moeller.
Apr 10, 1907 – J.H. Smith and all included issued a warranty deed to Louisa Griesser.
Apr 26, 1907 – J.H. Smith gave assignment to A.C. Simpson (Lot 41).
Jul 11, 1910 – Flora A. Kious and all included granted an assignment to Austis B. Smith.
Aug 5, 1910 – Austis B. Smith granted a release to Cora E. Smith.
Sep 17, 1910 – Cora E. Smith granted an assignment to Austis B. Smith.
Mar 2, 1914 – Lockhart Mining Company granted a mortgage to Joseph Murphy.
Oct 18, 1916 – Louisa Griesser and husband granted a quick claim deed to August Tenner.
Jul 11, 1922 – August Tenner issued a quick claim deed to Oleda Realty Company.
Nov 03, 1925 – Oleda Realty Company issued a corporation deed to F.M. Williams.
Sep 22, 1932 – August Bradshaw issued a lease to Phillips Petroleum Company.
May 10, 1938 – Floyd M. Williams issued a warrant deed to August Bradshaw.
Aug 22, 1941 – August and wife took out mortgage – Citizens State Bank of Galena.
Feb 26, 1954 – August Bradshaw and wife issued a warrant deed to Norman E. Degraff and Wife.
Feb 27, 1954 – Norman E. Degraff and wife issued a warranty deed to August Bradshaw and wife.
Dec 09, 1975 – Mildred Bradshaw issued a quick claim deed to Helen Yount.
Dec 10, 1975 – Helen Yount issued a quick claim deed to Mildred Bradshaw and everyone involved.
Jun 24, 1983 – Mildred Bradshaw and everyone involved issued a deed to Guy Sanders and everyone involved.
Aug 15, 1983 – Guy Sanders and everyone involved issued a deed to Guy & Dorothy Sanders.
Feb 11, 1986 – Mike Hughes purchases property and building from Guy Sanders.
Jul 19, 2014 – Ed Klein purchases property and building from Mike Hughes.

Smith & Moeller Bldg.

Built in 1896 – the former Smith & Moeller Building has stood on the corners of Front and Main Streets for 120 years.

The building was built by Louis K. Moeller & Joseph H. Smith – two prominent business men in Galena who specialized in lumber. The building was to serve as a supply store for lumber, concrete, construction supplies and materials.

Louis K. Moeller, Lumberman
Cherokee County is well illustrated in the scope and magnitude of its lumber trade, which is one of those staple departments of business which gauge the prosperity of the average community. This branch of trade is represented by a number of enterprising firms who carry as complete stocks as can be found anywhere in this section.
One of the pioneers in this line is L. K. Moeller, located on West Third Street. This business was established in 1888 by Smith & Moeller and was operated as such until 1897 at which time L. K. Moeller became the sole owner.
The premises utilized cover about one-half of a city block and all material is kept under rainproof sheds. He has the best of facilities for serving the public, and carries a full line of lumber, lath, doors, shingles, fire brick, fire clay, Portland cement, cement plaster, building paper, asphalt, composition roofing, paint, tile, sewer pipe etc. This business is managed by L. V. Moeller. He is a man of wide experience in this line, has resided here for many years and his name has always been prominently identified with worthy projects that have been advanced in the interests of the community.
Office: West Third (and Short) Street
Phone: 100
Products: Iola Portland Cement, plastering material, fire brick and clay
Born Aug 1854 in Iowa, he died April 11, 1932 at his home at 301 Joplin Street – (Corner of 3rd and Joplin Streets) Galena KS at the age of 76.
He lived in Galena for 56 years. He was the mayor from 1887-1888. He had 8 children.

Joseph H. Smith
Joseph Hudson Smith was a pioneer lumber dealer of southeast Kansas. In 1849 Mr. Smith crossed the plains in a covered wagon with his parents and located in Oregon until the early 1860’s when he removed to Pleasanton, KS then the terminus of the old K.C, F.S.& M. Railroad where he formed a partnership with L.A. Fellmore, who eventually retired in Joplin MO.
As the railroad progressed and built south in Kansas, Mr. Smith followed putting in yards at Columbus KS, Baxter Springs KS, Joplin MO, Webb City MO and one in Galena KS in 1876 where he remained until he disposed of his yards. In Galena, he formed a partnership with L.K. Moeller, under the name of Smith & Moeller, but in 1897 the partnership was dissolved.
Mr. Smith was one of the organizers of the Missouri and Kansas Retail Lumber Dealer’ Association and had never missed a meeting of that association until the last few years of his life.
He died September 4th 1909 at the home of his daughter in Los Angeles CA. Mr. Smith was in his 77th year and has been actively engaged in the lumber business all of his life until the last three years, when failing health compelled him to dispose of his interests.

The Front Street Garage

Front Street Garage circa 1947
(The Front Street Garage circa 1947)

The Front Street Garage served travelers and migrants from 1930 when August Bradshaw bought it to run as a garage.
He sold gas, did auto repairs, fixed flats and sold tires – new and used.

August Bradshaw at parts counter-SM

(August Bradshaw at the front counter)

On Sept 22, 1932 August Bradshaw signed a deal with Phillips Petroleum Company from Bartlesville OK to become a Phillips 66 gas and service station.

In 1944, he added the O.K. Welders to his garage business.
During WWII, August stopped selling gas and started ‘retreading’ tires due to natural resources needed for the war. This continued until his death on March 8, 1954.


(Front Street Garage in the early 1950’s)

Bonnie and Clyde

A few articles are floating on the web and a few rumors have it Bonnie and Clyde used the garage as a repair shop and hide out as one of their apartments / hideouts was in Joplin MO (the apartment story is confirmed and is on the National Historical Registry) and Route 66 was the only way to go from Joplin to Oklahoma where they were known to rob a few banks and gas station on the route in Kansas and Oklahoma. I have done research and cannot confirm this rumor but I am still looking into it and really hope the legend turns out to be true! I think only August Bradshaw and his employees would know if that would be true……


(Bonnie and Clyde posing in front of Route 66 sign)

Satellite Dish Manufacturing

In 1986, a fellow named Mike Hughes purchased the property and turned it into a satellite dish manufacturing and repair shop. He installed ceiling tracks which ran throughout most of the inside of the garage which allowed him to assemble, paint and then dry out the dishes all in one manufacturing line.

As dishes became smaller and more compact, the need to assemble these large dishes fell to the way side and Mike started to build track cars in this garage as well.

After the years have gone by and he had set up shop on 7th Street in Galena, the building became more of a storage space than any thing used for manufacturing. In 2013, I wanted to contact Mike about the building so I called one of the girls who was working at Cars on the Route and asked her to run across the street and grab the phone number off the ‘For Sale’ sign he had on the building.

After being grilled by Mike what I wanted to do with the building (he had turned down several offers as he felt they were not going to save the integrity of the building), we agreed to meet in Galena and talk business.

We agreed after a few code issues were resolved, and in July of 2014, the building would be sold and turned over to me and slowly the work to bring it back to the look of 1947 was to begin.


(Current owner Ed Klein with previous owner Mike Hughes)

Disney/Pixar “CARS” influence

While John Lasseter (producer and director of CARS) was traveling Route 66 with some of his staff back in 2005 to get ideas for their new movie about a race car who gets stuck in a small town on Route 66, he stumbled upon a tow truck, with a tree growing through it and decided to use that as a ‘model’ for the now famous ‘Tow Mater’. The tow truck currently sits at “Cars on the Route” right across the street from the Front Street Garage and is called “Tow Tater” for copy write reasons.

When the group was looking over the tow truck, John happened to notice a building sitting right across the street. In his own words:
“…little things and little moments really influence the entire project. It could be either a character or a place. In Galena Kansas, there is this brick building as old Route 66 turns onto the main street of the town. It has multiple old signs painted on it that have faded with the years. It was a tremendous influence for the town Radiator Springs in the movie. Right across the street, in an abandoned gas station, were these rusty old trucks. One of them was a tow truck which became the origin of the very popular character in the film, Tow Mater, and he is the sweetest character. Mater is voiced by Larry the Cable Guy.” – Summer 2006, Volume 13 / Number 3 edition of Route 66 Magazine


(Comparison of actual mural to CARS mural)

In the ‘Here and Now’

I am currently (and slowly) bringing the building exterior to look like what it did in the 1947 photo. Many of the signs have been reproduced and some of them are actually being displayed at the New Mexico Route 66 Museum in Tucumcari NM until I am ready to install them. I am currently restoring the original neon sign which used to hang outside to the left of the building.

There will be extensive facade work both to the store front and the tin work located above the store front.

In the future, the building will hold a Ford Model A Museum, a White Rose Gas Museum and a 40’s Diner serving food and drinks.

New framing on the southern section.
(New framing on the northern storefront section)


(Additional new framing on the northern storefront section)

Restoring the original neon sign
(Restoring the original neon sign)


(Doing an interview for a Joplin news program about the garage)

Visit us on Facebook at Front Street Garage