History Lives in Downtown Sheridan

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Closeup of Bernard Thomas' mural of the J.H. Conrad and Co. general store. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Closeup of Bernard Thomas' mural of the J.H. Conrad and Co. general store. (Photo by Pat Blair)

Sheridan Media continues its look at the 25 Sheridan County sites that are on the National Register of Historic Places. Today's focus is on the city's Sheridan Main Street Historic District.

Downtown Sheridan has been called the heart of the city, and the buildings that line Main Street from Burkitt north to Mandel still show the city's western roots. Most of the buildings have changed little in appearance from when they were constructed around the turn of the century. The Hospital Pharmacy at 1 S. Main is topped by a mural, painted by the late Bernard Thomas, that shows how the building looked around 1883 when it was a general store. The former home of J.H. Conrad & Co. is in fact the oldest building in the Historic Downtown District and the only remaining false-front building in that area.

A little farther south, the Keenan Building, now home to HUB-BHJ Insurance, is on the site of Sheridan's first hotel. The wooden-framed Grand Central was built in 1883. It was replaced in 1916 by an apartment structure named for its builder, Dick Keenan. Across the street, at 100 South Main, is the Western Hotel Building, built in 1896 by James Birchby. It too replaced an older structure, the wood-frame Windsor, which was built in 1887.

The Palace Cafe at 138 N. Main is one of the few businesses downtown whose use hasn't changed through the years. It opened for business in 1910 as a restaurant and has remained a restaurant. In its early years, both floors of the building provided meals for patrons.

The Beaver Creek Saloon at 112 N. Main occupies Sheridan's first town hall and fire station. The city's fire wagons were kept behind the still-visible arched doors. The police department and municipal court occupied the second floor. City prisoners were housed in a corrugated iron jail behind the main building.

Those interested in learning more about downtown Sheridan's history can visit the downtown Sheridan Association's web site and download a printable version of the Historic Downtown Sheridan Walking Tour.

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Brian's Boot & Shoe dates to 1910, when it was the Antlers Rooms and Bar and, in the 1930s, a billiards parlor. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Many downtown buildings retain the decorative flourishes that were common in late 18th/early 19th century architecture. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Hospital Pharmacy occupies the last false-fronted building on Main Street. The building is topped by a Bernard Thomas mural that depicts its appearance soon after it was constructed in 1883. (Photo by Pat Blair)