Rural Missouri - February 2018 - 17
These photos of the old Gosche Store show how it looked before and after the store was renovated after it was moved from its original location to Kenny Schlitt's property in Oran. A team of
movers transported the old store a little more than a mile down the road to the property where Kenny restored it to reﬂect what it looked like in the '40s, '50s and '60s.
it the short 1.25 miles down the road. "It really only was moving for about 45 minutes," Kenny says.
The building hung above the foundation for two weeks as
blocks were installed beneath the old store. It ﬁnally was set
down and Kenny got busy with restoration.
The lifelong Oran resident - he says he's moved four times in
his life, all within 2 miles of each other - worked with the original
bar and shelves in an effort to recreate how the store looked in
the 1940s through 1960s. The glass display case isn't original but
comes from a nearby store so it has Oran history. The beer box
and pool tables aren't originals, but they are the same brand where
locals could get their "3.2" beer on Sundays and shoot a game of pool.
Dan Hahn has lived his entire life one-half mile from the original location of
the store. He remembers stopping by the store with his father when he was a
"I'd get a candy bar and soda and watch him play cards," says Dan, who
now stops by the renovated store when he can. "I remember the bar too. It
was about 3.5- or 4-feet tall and I remember always trying to get my head high
enough to see over it."
Dan calls the old store that Sam Gosche ran the original Walmart. "He would
sell you anything. People would stop by for guns, ammunition, food, shooting
matches or you name it," says the SEMO Electric Cooperative member.
Kenny has acquired items big and small through donations, estate sales,
auctions and more to decorate the store. Old Chaffee and Oran high school
yearbooks dot the bookcase for those who stop by to browse. In the old feed room
at the back of the store, Kenny has a 1950s mechanical gambling machine that
resembles a modern-day pinball machine. "This is just a work in progress," he
says. "There's a place somewhere in people's hearts where these items
remind them of older days."
The counter behind the bar is ﬁlled with items like old metal containers that once kept herbs and spices, a donut maker from years
past, a Veg-O-Matic food preparer and plenty of old tin signs.
After many hours of hard work, the restoration efforts had left
the store in good enough shape to host a gathering.
"New Years Day 2015 we had a little party here where we got
friends and family together," he says. "I had two aunts and an
uncle that came to that ﬁrst gathering and when they walked
in, their eyes got cloudy and they said, 'Oh my God, it's just like
how it used to be.' I think mission accomplished on that one."
While the store is on Kenny's private property, he has hosted birthday parties, class and family reunions, senior class pictures, baby showers, photo
shoots and more. He invites anyone interested in the store to contact him
about getting a tour. "I'm open by opportunity," he says.
Kenny doesn't charge to use the facility. If he does get donations or makes
any money from an event hosted at the store, he donates it all to Alzheimer's
research to support a cure for a disease that has affected a few of his family
"I've gotten a lot of support from the families that live and farm here in this
community," he says. "I want this to be kind of an agricultural and country
museum to see what life was like in rural southeast Missouri in the '40s, '50s
For more information on Gosche Store contact Kenny Schlitt at 573-887-1900
or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below: An old cash register still sits on the bar of the old Gosche Store in Oran. Below right: Kenny Schlitt has acquired old yearbooks from area high schools for guests to enjoy in the store.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - February 2018
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Rural Missouri - February 2018 - Contents
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