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Business Men of Abilene to be featured in new Jeffcoat Exhibit

Do you remember the good ol’ days when you could go to Nockey’s for a hamburger after a Friday night football game? Or what about going to Bankes to have an ice cream sundae on a hot July afternoon? And who didn’t want to go to a movie on Saturday night at one of the Abilene theaters owned by the Strowig boys?

The new exhibit at Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum will not only feature pictures of these and many more business men of Abilene, but will help you revisit the past and relive your memories of growing up in Abilene and visiting these stores and there owners.
Many of the businesses featured now have new owners, but a few of them remain the same. But the memories you have of the times spent there will last forever.

Come in to Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum and take a walk down memory lane.

Our hours through Labor Day are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Beginning September 8 the hours will be Monday and Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. After hour tours of the museum can be made upon request.

This exhibit will run from Thursday, August 7 through Sunday, December 7, 2014. Make sure to stop by Jeffocat Photography Studio Museum at 321 N. Broadway, Abilene, Kansas. You can also check out our website at and find us on facebook at

Jeffcoat Museum to feature Viola exhibit

Ralph Harold Viola and Mattie Mae Whelan Viola 1943Ralph Viola was on his way to Denver to find work and a home in order to relocate his family there from Kansas City in August 1903. And it was on this trip that he met Cecil Brooks, a traveling salesman from Abilene who persuaded Viola to open up shop in Abilene.

In February of 1904, Ralph H. Viola opened his own shoe repair shop and, in due course, went on to open other businesses, such as a grocery store, a cabin-camp motel, and of course RHV Hardware, amongst other businesses. Ralph and his wife Mattie were very family oriented and all of the children worked for their parents at one time or another. Some of the grandchildren even worked in the family businesses.

Ralph and Mattie Viola, along with their nine children, are all deceased. Their grandchildren and their families continue to carry on that wonderful Viola tradition. Take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the days when you would stop at Viola Corner for a tank full of gas and a cold Pepsi or maybe a new pair of shoes at the Viola Shoe Store.

The Viola family has provided delightful memories for Abilene in the last 110 years and an exhibit will run from January 21 to May 31, 2014 at the Jeffcoat Museum. The museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday and Tuesday or by appointment. The museum will be open the evening of Friday, April 11 and during the day of Saturday, April 12, which is the weekend of the Eisenhower Marathon, which the Viola family is involved in.

Step back into time and learn about Ralph, Mattie and their nine children” Mary, Ralph, Vernon “Short”, Loretta, Violet, Theodore “Ted”, William “Gig”, Victor “Vic” and Albert “Tootie” and their families.