Santa Fe depot, Harvey House oldest buildings in Clovis

By Don McAlavy

I n 1908, Burns Agency was started in back of the old Citizens Bank on Grand Ave.

It was an insurance and real estate business, but moved several times. It’s now at 5th and Mitchell streets.

It was started by Frank Burns, but ran many years by a son, the late Jim Burns, and now his wife and son own it, I think.

Clovis Floral Co., at 5th and Wallace streets, is the oldest business by the same family and at the same location since 1922. The founder was H. C. Gettys. Jim Craven worked there many years, but is now working for Russell Muffley.

Citizens Bank was founded in 1916 and has been continuously owned by the same family, the Skardas. A. W. Skarda and Sid Boykin organized it, but it is now run by Lynell Skarda, a lawyer and about around 90 years old.

His son is working there now I think. That bank is now in it’s second location.

When you talk about old buildings, the Santa Fe RR depot and Harvey House are the oldest in Clovis. Building started in 1906-07.

The first saloon was the Turf Saloon on west side of South Main, next to the railroad property built in 1907. In fall of 1907, the owner of the Turf Saloon, Hill A. “Doc” Jenkins, built the second oldest home in Clovis, at 209 Rencher. The first oldest house has been torn down these many years.

In 1974, the High Plains Historical Fd., Inc., founded by yours truly, got the Crain family to donate the “Oldest House In Clovis.”

Since I moved to Florida in late July, 2004, Harold Kilmer, president of this historical society, was crippled and no one opened the oldest house at the fair, I heard. A shame. It will I think eventually, sooner than later, be given to the Fair Board to operate as they see fit.

I have not been out at the fairgrounds to see what the “Oldest House In Clovis” looks like in the last seven years. I left Clovis in 2004, headed to Florida, since my wife’s father died, old-timer, Ridgley Whiteman.

Our kids in St. Petersburg told my wife and I to come down to Florida and be with them. Well we have, and every year almost we come back to Clovis, and this coming September 3-5 my wife Kathy and I will be in Clovis as I will be what they call the Class of 50 (that’s my old class) and celebrate the class of 60, whatever that means.

I think my old class that is left wants to join as a class again and see what each other looks like again.