Archive for Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pre-Occupied: Replay Lounge

The former tenants of 946 Mass. from the past 140 years

Photo of 10th and Massachusetts streets circa 1907.

Photo of 10th and Massachusetts streets circa 1907.

June 8, 2010


The Replay Lounge

946 Mass., Lawrence

The same angle of 10th and Massachusetts streets present day.

The same angle of 10th and Massachusetts streets present day.

Have you ever been in one of those arguments where you're trying to figure out what a certain Lawrence business used to be? It's a particular affliction of civically petulant Lawrence townies and lesser, honorary Lawrence townies (honorary Lawrence townies being those who weren't born and bred here but have lived a not-inconsiderable amount of their lives here).

But you might've stumbled across this competitive display of the trivial and the arcane. It tends to start with, "Hey, remember when (Establishment Z) used to be (Establishment Y)?" Then it escalates to, "Actually, I think (Establishment Z) used to be (Establishment X)?" And then it tends to degenerate.

To help you avoid such nastiness, we've started Pre-Occupied, an ongoing series in which we track down the former occupants of particular Lawrence institutions. To kick off the series, we'll investigate the timeline of 946 Mass., known these days as The Replay Lounge.


Using the archives of the Watkins Community Museum, we found that the northeast corner of 10th and Massachusetts streets has housed businesses since the late 19th century. The historical record is spotty before 1870, but considering the town was founded in 1854 and everything was burned down by William Quantrill in 1863, there's not much we're missing from that period. From 1871 until 1915, 946 Mass. was mostly home to a series of grocery and general goods stores. In 1902, W.C. Ellis Grocery installed a pump at the location. It's thought to have been Lawrence's first gas station.

1871 - G.V. Jones Grocery
1875 - E.F. Goodrich Grocery
1886 - W. Bedale Painter
1890 - E.F. Goodrich Wholesale Fruits & Produce
1900 - Messenhimer & Son Grocery
1902 - W.C. Ellis Grocery and Gas Station
1905 - C.L. King Smith
1907 - J.W. Huffines Tinner/General Repair/Second Hand Goods
1909 - Ellis Cash Grocery
1911 - Meyers Emmetner Novelty
1913 - Craig Mile


From 1915 to 1958, a series of car dealerships and service stations occupied the lot. There was a lot of jockeying between Butler-Sanderson and Sinclair Oil for ownership during these years.

1915 - C.W. Smith Autos
1917 - W.C. Ellis Autos
1919 - Butler-Sanderson Motors
1923 - Butler-Sanderson Sinclair
1925 - Sinclair Refining Co.
1927 - Butler-Sanderson Sinclair
1933 - Sinclair Oil
1936 - Butler-Sanderson Sinclair
1940 - Shobe Sinclair
1944 - Williamson Sinclair
1950 - Eldon Smith Sinclair
1958 - M.F. Hudson Used Cars

A scene from 10th and Mass. in "Carnival of Souls" (filmed in 1961) featuring a brief glimpse of the modern day Replay

Enlarge video


The current building was erected around 1960 and proceeded to house financial businesses until 1992. After a brief stint as Democratic Party headquarters for the elections of 1992, a convenience store and food mart called the Kaw River Mercantile Company resided there. On Oct. 24, 1993, The Replay Lounge opened. The Replay began its life as a pinball arcade and burger joint but remodeled many times since then - including adding the patio/beer garden in 1994 - and shifted completely to its current incarnation as strictly a bar-and-music venue in 1997.

1960 - Commerce Acceptance Co.
1974 - Southwestern Investments Co.
1976 - S.I.C. Credit
1980 - Beneficial Finance
1992 - Democratic Party Headquarters
1992 - Kaw River Mercantile Co.
1993 - Replay Lounge


Nikki May 7 years, 10 months ago

So weird, I don't remember the democratic party headquarter or kaw river mercantile. BUT, I do remember burger at the Replay. (I moved here in 1992).

cato_the_elder 7 years, 10 months ago

To the writer of the article: "Northwest" corner of 10th and Massachusetts streets? You might want to recheck that.

captainzeep 7 years, 10 months ago

Yeah! I remember the Hawaiian burger from replay.

David Roberts 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm struck by how quickly businesses turned over in the years prior to the modern era. Seems like a new business would take over every 2-5 years. Is that typical of downtown Lawrence businesses during the late 19th & early 20th centuries?

alm77 7 years, 10 months ago

So, it was never a post office? I swear that building looks just like the post office where I grew up. Weird.

Mike Hatch 7 years, 10 months ago

If you've never seen the movie in the related clip, it's worth buying/watching. Great stuff. It's funny to see what 23rd and Iowa looked like back then.

d_prowess 7 years, 10 months ago

It is interesting that Replay can lay claim as the longest running business in the history of that location.

somedude20 7 years, 10 months ago

I enjoy the replay but their bathroom has not changed since 1871 and smells more like 1622

George_Braziller 7 years, 10 months ago

Bathroom? I wouldn't want to take a bath in that room. I went in there once and it was so ghastly and there was so much urine on the floor I opted to walk out the back gate and relieve myself in the alley because it was cleaner.

Rich Noever 7 years, 10 months ago

Ah, the ambiance of downtown. It's so special!

LogicMan 7 years, 10 months ago

That looks like a prime corner for re-redevelopment. (The no-growth crowd goes "Gasp!")

mr_right_wing 7 years, 10 months ago

I really used to like that place back in the burger and pinball days..... but now......

BruceWayne 7 years, 10 months ago

not sure, but isn't that Marion playing the snare drum on the right?

greenworld 7 years, 10 months ago

I heard the place was a little bit strange and full of freaks.

pal00kaville 7 years, 10 months ago

"Merry Christmas, you wonderful old building and loan!!!!!"

Cody Ochs 7 years, 10 months ago

I could swear that there was a State Farm Agency in the building, maybe right before the Democratic Party HQ...but maybe I am thinking of Beneficial Finance.

Kat Christian 7 years, 10 months ago

The place is disqusting. Don't know how the health dept (if they have ever been in there) would allow such a dirty disgusting place to stay open. I'd rather pee in the woods or the alley then use their bathroom. I say close it down.

Mark Pickerel 7 years, 10 months ago

Please, please, PLEASE write more articles about this kind of thing.

I have been dying to see more history and old archive photos of this area.

Let's celebrate the treasure we have that is Downtown Lawrence. It's a lot of fun to look back.

eighthstreettaproom 7 years, 10 months ago

cool piece here! expound on this this concept please. to the naysayers.....let me just open this can of worms before i should not, i'll open a can of pbr instead as it is apropos when talking replay (actually it's vinho verde, thanks jensen's!) this is a great establishment, and internationally renown at this point. its influence is way beyond what the lay lawrencian can fathom, which can largely be attributed to the 1000's of bands that have performed here, blew minds, had their own minds blown, and then went back to their respective cities to tell the positive tales of what lawrence now means to them. alas, the bathroom is a bathroom in a busy bar.... relax... pee is sterile, and you should never wear flip-flops anywhere other than the pool anyway, which incidentally is also filled with pee, or things worse. speaking of historic transformations, or things worse, the other night i was in the "feather in the cap" of lawrence know.....the one in the old barbed wire factory? well they have mice there. real mice & lot's of them, scurrying around in the dark by the loading dock, finding passage into the establishment seemingly unnoticed. now i've seen some cute little mousey folks at the replay over the years, but never an actual rodent! i've seen a little old lady pass out with her head in the bass drum belonging to a band that was playing very loudly, very very loudly...but never a rodent. as a matter of fact in 17 years as a patron i have seen; full frontal nudity, various scraps, future celebrities performing early in their career, speed dogs, various vomitings, some tomfoolery, celebrating, commiserating, pressed steam burgers, tilts, freeplays, more celebrating, sunburns, frost bite, smoking-then no smoking, alley relays, full posterior nudity, root beer only service, then beer, then booze, indie rock, punk rock, garage rock, new wave, no wave, freak folk, geek folk, great bands, good bands, mediocre bands, very sh*tty bands, shenanigans, lots of; flannel, denim, leather, pleather, gingham, plaid, and that kind of brown denim that construction guys and contemporary "gutter" punks typically wear....... but ultimately what i've seen is an ever evolving community based around this establishment, and never once a rodent. but then again, they don't put on aires of a place that would not have rodents, they just simply don't have them. so naysayers....17 more years with or without you....this will be our town soon...and we have got a just kind of smells like tinkle! love, the tapeworm

volunteer 7 years, 10 months ago

They should rename the place if they are de-emphasizing the pinball. (Get it, Replay?) Fewer than half the machines seem to be operable at any time. And yeah, that place has the worst bathroom of any business in the city that I know of.

Kinda cool, funky patrons, however.

69LHS 7 years, 10 months ago

In the Carnival of Souls movie, the car pulls into the Lawrence Tire and Oil company. my stepdad owned it and we got to watch the scene being filmed from behind the camera. Pretty cool for a ten year old kid at the time.

collared_greens 7 years, 10 months ago

Love these kinds of stories! (Despite being a non-townie)

I wish it was a little more in depth though. Why did the old building have to be torn down if it was continuously occupied?

More info! More pictures!

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