Telephone Building named to Kansas historic register

Telephone building accepted to Kansas historic register

Goodland’s United Telephone Building has been accepted to the Kansas historic register.

United Telephone Building named to Kansas historic register

At their Aug. 12 meeting, the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review placed Goodland’s United Telephone Building, 1003 Main, on the Register of Historic Kansas Places. The board’s vote was unanimous. Listing on the Kansas historic register is the first step toward a listing on the national historic register. A week later, Amanda Loughlin, National Register Coordinator, Kansas State Historic Preservation Office, sent the building’s nomination to the National Park Service for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Loughlin said the building displays “impressive architecture” that is largely intact from its 1931 construction. “It is an excellent example of Art Deco design,” she said.

The building is a two-story brick Art Deco structure. In the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (PDF), local historian Lloyd Holbrook described the building. It has “distinctive Aztec clay tile exterior decorative elements, using colors of red blue and yellow, contrasting against the light body tile color and brown brick.”

Next stop: National Register of Historic Places

The park service has 45 days to review the nomination. After the review the park service may make suggestions and send back the application for further information. That is rare. Usually the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places simply adds the nomination to the national register. Loughlin believes the Telephone Building “should be a pretty big shoo-in.” The national designation should arrive in mid-October.

Benefits of listing

Listing on the register confers several benefits. It shows state validation of the building as a landmark worth preserving and visiting. It also confers financial benefits. Tax credits for rehabilitation and maintenance are available at both state and federal levels. “The tax credits help to protect the building and provide financial benefits for fixing it up,” Loughlin said.

The National Register of Historic Places lists the following benefits:

  • Becoming part of the National Register Archives, a public, searchable database that provides a wealth of research information.
  • Encouraging preservation of historic resources by documenting a property’s historic significance.
  • Providing opportunities for specific preservation incentives, such as:

> Federal preservation grants for planning and rehabilitation
Federal investment tax credits
> Preservation easements to nonprofit organizations
> International Building Code fire and life safety code alternatives

United Telephone Building during Goodland Jubilee in the 1930s.

Historical society to restore the Telephone Building

Jane Philbrick of the Sherman County Historical Society said the society intends to “restore and protect this beautiful Goodland landmark.” The telephone building will become the new home of the Parker Research Center.

Sherman County purchased the building in 1994 and has been using it as a storage facility ever since. They gifted it to the historical society in 2017.

The building needs much work to restore it to its original condition. “This is a very big project and will be expensive as the building has been empty for 23 years,” Philbrick said. The list of repairs and restoration includes the exterior windows, tucking and pointing of the exterior bricks. Anyone wishing to donate money, volunteer time or donate expertise should please contact the Sherman County Historical Society at 785-899-6773.

Goodland has three more properties on the historic register: the Ennis-Handy House, Goodland Post Office and the Carnegie Arts Center. Sherman County Courthouse, also built in 1931, is another outstanding example of Art Deco architecture, as is Goodland Junior-Senior High.


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