Awards of Excellence:
Amos Gish Building

Year(s) Listed:
Location Class:
Built: 1917 | Year Saved: N/A
Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance

In 1917, at the height of the oil boom in El Dorado, Kansas, veterinarian Amos H. Gish commissioned a new building at 317-319 S. Main that would serve as auto dealership, livery stable, veterinary clinic, and apartments. The building’s significance comes not only from the role it played in the rapid development and growth of El Dorado but also that it serves as a rare example of the first-generation purpose-built auto dealership. The preservation effort began with removing the metal awning and metal panels covering the historic transom windows on the storefront façade, and reconstructing the storefront to match the historic appearance, including the two large double doors that allowed vehicles to be moved in and out of the showroom. Inside the showroom, the original stamped metal ceiling panels were removed, refinished, and reinstalled, wood trim matching the existing trim on the 2nd floor was installed, and historically appropriate lighting replaced the existing fluorescent fixtures. The original cabinets from Dr. Gish’s surgery room on the 2nd floor were relocated to the rear wall of the 1st floor space to make way for additional apartment space. Upstairs, failing plaster walls were repaired and painted, wood trim and floors were refinished, and new kitchen cabinetry appropriate to the style of the building was installed. In the hallways, historic skylight locations that had been covered were restored to eliminate dark corners and provide natural light. At the rear of the building, the garage originally used as the livery stable was cleaned up, a new overhead door installed, and the clerestory windows restored so that the space can be used as parking for the apartment units.

Federal and state historic preservation tax credits and a Hope VI Grant were utilized to fund this rehabilitation.

The project team included David and Zac Sundgren; PKHLS Architecture, P.A.; William Morris Associates; Mechanical Consultants, Inc.; Johnson Engineering; Hartwell Structural Engineering; Wilkinson Construction; El Dorado Main Street; and Governmental Assistance Services.

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