Early History

Alma’s Oldest Building, Palenske Hall

The oldest surviving building in Alma, Kansas is today known as Palenske Hall, named after Fred Palenske, the benefactor of the Wabaunsee County Historical Society. The building was built in 1873 for hotel operator, Peter Degan, however, in its early years the building most commonly housed saloons. This view by Gus Meier was taken in the mid-1890s, after repairs and renovations were made following the 1890 fire which engulfed four buildings in the block. In 1907 the front of the building was removed and a “modern” façade was constructed. In 1907 Louis Palenske purchased this building, remodeled it, and opened the Commercial National Bank at this location. In the 1950s and 60s the building was home to Frank’s Produce. Today, Palenske Hall is the home of the Wabaunsee County Economic Development Agency, and the Wabaunsee County Office of Emergency Management. palenske-hall-website

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