Volland General Store Turns 100

Posted on October 14th, 2013 at 12:45 pm by


 
Twelve miles southwest of Alma, Kansas (home of Flint Hills Residences I and II) the renovation of the Kratzer Brothers General Store is picking up momentum in the microtown of Volland. Surrounded by the Flint Hills’ most abundant resources, tallgrass prairie and gentle rolling hills, Volland once was a bustling ranching / railroad community and home to Bill and Otto Kratzer.

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Kratzer Bros General Store

Volland, Kansas

Volland, Kansas

The two brothers began a small general store that developed into a successful mainstay in the region, supplying locals with everything from cane fishing poles to oysters to penny candy. Most importantly, the Kratzer General Store supplied its customers with an abundance of generosity and good humor that is fondly remembered by locals today. Some of these memories can be imagined when flipping through Otto’s personal photographs.

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Approaching its 100th birthday, the General Store found itself slowly deteriorating and needing some Kratzer generosity. The roof of the building had fallen in, damaging the all three floors and leaving it open to the elements. Inspired by the Symphony in the Flint Hills held near Volland, the Kratzer family decided it’d be better to find someone to restore the building, rather than sell it for the bricks.

Symphony in the Flint Hills

Symphony in the Flint Hills

This dream is now our dream. Working with invested locals, years of debris have been hauled away, brush and poison ivy have been cleared and the handsome brick walls have been stabilized. The next phase of work is underway.

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The plan for the building is simple and flexible. The first floor contains an open layout ideal for events including dining, dancing, and exhibitions, and will include a catering kitchen and restrooms. The second floor is set up for more of the same, plus a wee-scaled apartment that’s proportional in scale to Volland.

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The custom metal detailing and fabrication makes this an ideal project for us. From exterior staircases and awnings to handrails and structural bracketry we’re developing a series of very special components to honor the history of the Kratzers and the building’s role in the community. Also of interest, we’re exploring a heavy timber structure for the interior rebuilding, including a structural douglas fir floor.

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Should you find yourself in Volland on October 20th between 2 and 4 pm, come on by for an ice cream social to honor the building’s 100 year anniversary. And to see what we’re up to. If you do come, bring something to share, like Bill and Otto would have done.

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