Canadian County is one of the nation’s fastest growing counties, and Yukon sits on the county’s east side. Two drovers, the Spencer brothers, founded Yukon on the Chisholm Trail in 1891, and they immediately brought the railroad through town, naming the primary thoroughfare “Spencer Avenue.” Known today as Main Street or Route 66, Yukon’s historic corridor sparkles with architectural gems.
The Bass Building
The southeast corner of Spencer Avenue and Fifth Street was once home to a saloon. But in 1898, Ohio brothers Harry and George Bass razed the building and built their store at today’s 456 and 458 W. Main Street. Their Bass Mercantile Company sold everything imaginable, including midwife and mortuary services.
Between 1898 and 1902, a large Bohemian/Czechoslovakian population gravitated to Yukon. George Bass learned the Czech language, since many first generation Czech wives never learned English. He often loaded up his wagon and headed into the countryside to sell various goods. When people didn’t have money to pay, he bartered or carried the accounts until his customers hit better times. He also made regular trips into the area, buying eggs and butter from local farmers.
The Bass building has remained in the family, evolving into different businesses throughout the years. Today, George Bass’ grandsons, George and Fenton Ramey, have their law offices in the Bass Building.
The Mulvey Building
From Virginia, twins Odie and Mike Mulvey arrived two years after the Spencers founded Yukon. The Mulveys created two store locations before building their own structure in 1904 at today’s 425 W. Main Street. Their two-story red brick building has a roofline that is steeped with a gabled pediment. The red brick is inlaid with lighter colored outlines. Mulvey’s still has the recessed entryway with front-exterior, turn-of-the-century tiles underfoot, spelling ‘Mulvey Mercantile Co.’ The metal awning continues to showcase the pressed tin ceiling tiles.
The Mulveys bought other businesses that sold out. So, Mulvey’s eventually included half the buildings on the north side of Main Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets. Known as “Yukon’s Big Store,” it was the largest retailer in Yukon, and possibly the state, until the 1930s.
The Mulveys sold anything that anyone wanted or needed, even embalming services. Grain binders hit the market, and the Mulveys brought 150 in by train, selling them all. Everyone in the area came to the huge barbecue they hosted, and farmers used their best horses to pull their binders in a parade.
The Mills and Grains Elevators
All of Czech heritage, brothers John and Frank Kroutil, along with A.F. Dobry, created the Yukon Mill and Grain Company on Main Street during the early 20th century. Powering it with steam-powered electric generators, their Yukon Electric Company also allowed the city to enjoy electricity. As the largest flour plant in the Southwest, they produced 2,000 barrels of flour daily. “Yukon’s Best Flour” shipped nationwide and abroad. In the 1930s, A.F. Dobry and family sold out and built their Dobry Flour Mills across the street, producing Dobry’s Best Flour. These iconic structures tower over Route 66 from both the south and the north.