From 1898-1902, ambitious Checotah townspeople invested in the city's future by building impressive red brick Romanesque structures. The Block shown in the antique engraving was planned by Mr. W.E. Gentry, "The Father of Checotah."——————————
This arch is the only original structure that remains following a devastating fire on August 15, 1992. This was the entrance to Checotah's First National Bank which opened July 5, 1898.
Expansion to the east began with the Hutchinson Mercantile (IOOF Building) - 1898, which also housed the Masonic Lodge and later became the town's only 3-story building (1912). Next was H.D. Kniseley & Co. (1899), "the oldest & largest drug establishment in Checotah". The second floor of the Sherwood & Avery Building (1901) was known as Tuckabatchee Hall, the hub of Checotah's social activities. Tuckabatchee in Creek means "add to & stick together". The building was purchased in 1925 by Checotah Masonic Lodge #86, A.F. & A.M., and its first floor was occupied by Vandiver Hardware from 1940-1991.
Three other 1901 buildings completed the block: The Chenault Mercantile was later owned by grocer's Vandiver & Blackwell (1924-1971), Marsh Drug, and the previously razed Checotah Hardware.
The Gentry Group
Following intensive study by Checotah Main Street's Arch of Triumph, Inc.
a group of local investors formed
The Gentry Group, L.L.C.
whose goal it was to rebuild commercial space appropriate to the Gentry Block's 1982 listing in the National Register of Historic Places Business District.
Dedicated October 28, 1997
From Diversity - Unity