It was a red brick structure, roof caved in, windows gone, interior and floors rotted into the cellar. Not an uncommon sight in ghost towns across rural America.
This one was at Volland a railroad shipping point for Flint Hills cattle in the early days of Wabaunsee County.
A century earlier it had been the Kratzer Brothers General Mercantile, general store serving the area ranching community.
What became generically referred to as The Volland Store was actually much more, according to area old timers’ memories.
Thursday evening was for family shopping and visiting. Community picnics were Sundays on the west lawn.
The teacher at the nearby one room school stopped by most afternoons, and children dropped in for a penny candy.
Charismatic storekeeper Otto Kratzer greeted country patrons until his death in the early ’70s. Initially family descendants tried to maintain the building, but that became impossible from a distance.
Three decades of Mother Nature’s toll was heavy on The Volland Store becoming a skeleton of the past. Yet those strong brick walls never wavered.
From urban Mission Hills Jerry and Patty Reece found locale acreage comforting fulfilling lifelong fascinations of ranch living with horses.
“The Volland Store was in danger of being torn down, yet begged to be saved,” forever preservationist Patty Reece said.