By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer
A rundown 1907 store and boarding house has a new lease on life as a memorabilia-filled gathering place in Elida.
Glen Shot of Elida finished restoring the North Side Feed Store with the help of friends and his son, and now the community can drop by for a cup of coffee and a chat.
“It’s just a hang-out place,” said Corky Newberry, who is helping Shot with the “Elida Memories” building.
Anyone can come by the building on the Elida square for free beverages and snacks, to look at photographs from Elida’s earlier days or to browse through the collection of knick-knacks and pictures, many of which have a Western or old-fashioned theme.
“It’s about the past,” Shot said.
Most of the decorations he found at flea markets and antique stores, but different people donated the Elida photos. A church in Amarillo provided one of the pianos.
The work at Elida Memories isn’t quite done, as Shot changes the decorations as he sees fit. Shot and Newberry are also building a bird aviary beside the building.
“It’s something to give the cats something to do — you know, watch the birds,” Shot joked.
Newberry hopes to finish the aviary in a matter of weeks.
Last winter, Shot and his son Mark began cleaning up the building, and Clovis artist Paul von Johl painted a mural of Elida and the surrounding countryside at the turn of the century. Newberry said people started gathering there around last summer.
Since then, Shot has hosted game nights, and the building housed a private Christmas party. He also recalls out-of-town visitors.
A man bicycling to Wisconsin painted a small mural of an old silo on the back wall to earn money. Later, the man called to let Shot know he’d reached his destination.
In November, a dentist from Alaska stopped during his cross-country trip on a motorcycle he’d bought in Tulsa, Okla. He told his hosts Elida was the friendliest place he’d visited and said he would return this winter.
The roadwork on the square has slowed traffic to Elida Memories, but Newberry said he thought a number of people would come in the morning and afternoon once the work was finished. Shot said he wants to invite musicians to play, and Kent Graves, who helps with Elida Memories and whose brother sold it to Shot, said they would like to serve stew and cornbread.
Graves said they “just want to keep the coffee pot full, and people come in to say hello.”