Sunday Stories: Sutherland Longhorn Bar

Excerpted from the Sutherland Centennial 1891 – 1991, published in 1991.

The earliest reference to the Longhorn Bar in Sutherland is “Mr. Joe Altmeier was the first owner of the Longhorn Bar. It was located on the west side of Walnut Street in the building where John Emery had operated a Drug Store, and had moved it.” (Sutherland Centennial, p. 84).

While no date is given for that reference, elsewhere in the Sutherland Centennial Book, we find that “In July, 1932, four strangers robbed Emery’s store of a number of watches. Mr. John Emery moved his drug store and fountain to the southeast corner of Front Street and Walnut St. In May, 1934, a new all modern automatic ice cream machine was installed at the drug store.” (Sutherland Centennial, p. 58)

The inference is that sometime between the 1932 robbery and the 1934 installation of new equipment, the Emery Drug Store had moved. From that, we infer that the Longhorn Bar in Sutherland dates from approximately 1933.

The further history of the Longhorn Bar shows that the bar was later sold to C.R. Frisbie, who moved it across the street east where it occupied the north part of the building that housed the S.G. Aden Grocery Store. There were apartments and rooms on the second floor. In later years, Hurshel and Vera Wisdom operated the Sutherland Style Shop on the whole lower floor. The building has since been demolished.

Robert Goedert, who had worked for Mr. Frisbie later purchased the business from Mr. Frisbie and in time moved it to 924 First Street.

Subsequent owners were Wesley Van Vleet (July 1958), George Kallhoff, Art and Henrietta Minshull, Gene and Margaret Baker (October 1978), who moved the business to its current location in the mid 1990’s, Terry Schmidt, and present owners Dave and Becky Cheloha (2004). (Sutherland Centennial, p. 84)

In all, the Longhorn Bar has been a fixture in Sutherland for more than 80 years, with nine owners.
The buildings occupied by the Longhorn Bar have a very storied history as well. The bar currently occupies the footprint of four original buildings.

On the corner is the Sutherland State Bank Building. The reference the Centennial book states “February 20, 1908, saw the bank moving to a new building on the corner of Front and Walnut Street.” (Sutherland Centennial, p. 41).

Next to that, on the east on First Street (The original Front Street) is the Star Theater building. While the date of the construction of the building is unknown, in 1934, during the construction of the Sutherland Reservoir, John Townsend was hired by the Goodall Company of Ogallala to oversee the preparation of the Star Theater. Improvements to the theater in October, 1939 included new upholstered seats and air conditioning. The Star Theater continued operating in Sutherland until the mid 1970’s. (Sutherland Centennial p. 102)

Directly to the north of the Sutherland State Bank Building, the Longhorn Bar occupies a building that originally held three separate business locations opening on Front Street. The earliest reference to this building in the Sutherland Centennial book is that James F. Humphrey constructed the building sometime during the late teens. (Sutherland Centennial, p. 45). At one time, Tim Aden’s great-great uncle Vance VanArsdall, operated a barber shop in one of the business locations, sometime before 1921 when both he and his wife, along with an infant daughter, died of an influenza epidemic. (Sutherland Centennial, p. 591, and “Find A Grave” records for the Sutherland Cemetery).
Finally, Dave and Becky Cheloha purchased a vacant lot that had previously been occupied by a building that was originally the post office, and is believed to have been built in 1911. This building was condemned and demolished in 2014. The vacant lot will eventually serve as the beer garden for the Longhorn Bar.
It was announced in early April that longtime Sutherland business, the Longhorn Bar, has changed ownership. Dave and Becky Cheloha, after having owned the bar for 12 years, have sold the business to Tim Aden.


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