The posters are the result of a 6-month project to compile a history of Main Street. The posters outline how North Main Street has changed over the years.

Bryan Anderson, one of the owners of Hometown Tire and Turf, walked into the library Thursday to see a series of 12 posters lined up on the wall. The posters were covered with black-and-white photos of Main Street as it looked years ago, a brief history of the buildings and a timeline of businesses that have been there.
He, along with Ann Engel, director of McPherson Main Street, and Elisha Beck, a historian working with Main Street, located his building and began talking about how the area has changed since the 1930s.
“It’s cool to see how the buildings used to be,” Anderson said.
The posters are the result of a 6-month project to compile a history of Main Street. The posters outline how North Main Street has changed over the years.
“This is to give businesses an idea of who’s been in the buildings,” Beck said. “It gives them a sense of place — a connection to the history of it.”
Engel said many people in McPherson enjoy looking at the history of Main Street.
“People said they could remember the old businesses,” Engel said. “It gives us a niche to talk about things.”
Beck said the project was funded through a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council. She said she looked through library collections and old yearbooks to learn about Main Street’s history.
She said people also have shared stories and information with her about what they remember about Main Street.
“It makes them feel like they’re contributing to this town,” Beck said.
Beck said some highlighted buildings were chosen because the original buildings are still visible, and others were chosen because they have been changed over the years. Beck said she wanted people to see what the buildings originally looked like.
Engel said after seeing the old photos, people began to wonder why some buildings were changed, such as storefronts with metal covering. Engel said while the metal hides the original buildings, it also has preserved them.
Engel said she hopes some of the metal will come off so Main Street can be registered as a historic district.
Beck is still doing research and collecting photos for two of the posters. The posters also will have QR codes added, which will link to a website with more information.
The posters will stay in the library for a month. Beck said the posters will then be moved to Main Street businesses. She said she hopes the posters will help boost business on Main Street.
“It’s very good advertising,” Beck said. “It might make them go into stores, they might not normally go to.”
Beck said she hopes the project gives the community a good collection of Main Street’s history.
“Bits and pieces are here and there, but we wanted to collect it in one accessible way,” Beck said.