"up-town" store, 1214-18 Grand Ave., replaced an
earlier store at 710-720 Main Street.
The store founder was John F. Schmelzer, German-born manufacturer
of firearms, who came to America from Oldenburg, Germany, in 1844
and settled in Hartford, Conn., where he was associated with
He arrived by Missouri River steamboat at Leavenworth, Kan., in
1857 and started the business which became Schmelzer Arms
His son, Charles J. Schmelzer, spent his boyhood days in
Leavenworth where he attended grade and high school, becoming
associated with his father at the age of 16.
During the 1880s Charles traveled in the West by wagon, selling
firearms and ammunition. His route took him through Nebraska and
Kansas and out to the Colorado line. He often recalled seeing
stacks of buffalo hides around the old-time trading stations.
John, the father, retired in 1887 and the firm was moved from
Leavenworth to Kansas City at that time. The business was
incorporated in 1896 with a capital of $75,000 and by 1907 had
grown to a $300,000 firm. Incorporated as "J. F. Schmelzer
& Sons," the sons were Charles J. and Herman F.
The old promotional post card pictures signs on the Schmelzer
store front listing guns, fishing tackle, firearms, fireworks,
cutlery, athletic goods, bicycles, talking machines, Kodaks and
toys. Later, golf equipment was a popular item.
The legend on the reverse side reads "Schmelzer Arms Co. at
1214 Grand Ave. is the most interesting store in Kansas
City." Many Kansas Citians of that day would have agreed,
especially men interested in hunting and sports.
Charles J. Schmelzer was president of the Chamber of Commerce in
1900. He was one of the founders of the Priests of Pallas parade.
Kansas City Times
October 18, 1975
Photo of the Schmelzer Arms Company
Photo of the Schmelzer Arms Company Baseball Team