History of 1605 Central Avenue

"The Bell Building"

The plains Automobile

The building located at 1605-1607 Central Avenue, what we now refer to as “the Bell Building”, has a deservedly proud past. It began life when constructed in 1913 as the
showroom for Plains Automobile. Built seven years before the Lincoln Highway was paved, the dealership sold luxurious Buick autos from their new three-story showroom.

This dealership, and the vehicles they sold were sufficiently prestigious at that time, that articles were written in the local newspaper describing each purchase and the expressions of pride for the new owners. Cars were moved to and from the second and third floor showrooms via a large elevator in the rear of the building near the doorway into the Plains Garage, which served as the service facility for the dealership.

Plains Automobile enjoyed considerable success initially selling only Buicks (1913-1916), and later both Buicks and Cadillacs, throughout the teens and twenties. Plains Automobile was ultimately sold, becoming Symons Buick-Pontiac-GM in the early 1930’s. Symons ceased business around 1949. The building was purchased by John Bell sometime between 1950 to 1952 with the intent of creating needed office space in downtown Cheyenne. Bell added a fourth story and removed the automobile elevator from the back of the building. He then removed the large showroom windows from the first, second and third floors. He replaced these with smaller inset double-hung windows on the second and third floors. He substituted 1950’s-style street-level doors and storefront windows on the first floor. Unfortunately, rather than defining a bright new future for the building, Bell’s purchase and these changes mark the beginning of a long and steady decline for the building that bears his name.