Carrie Rengers

C Major Guitars & Banjos may be gone, but That Place will live on (+video)

Almost 40 years after the first C Major Guitars & Banjos sign went up near the southeast corner of Douglas and Hillside, any C Major traces are gone.

“It makes me sad,” says Kathy Roush Major.

Her late husband, Clif Major, opened the business in 1978 and moved it to the corner in 1979.

“It was the vintage guitar and amp store where famous people from all over the world came and jammed,” Roush Major says.

Eventually, it morphed into a music venue called C Major Rockin’ Daddy’s and then, after closing for a time, became the Uptown Conservatory of Music at Clif & Kathy’s Abode before permanently closing in 2012. A C Major sign always remained, though.

“It’s a landmark,” Roush Major says.

“It’d be like painting over Dockum,” she says of the building across the street, calling both historic places.

Roush Major says she knows it was not her building or decision about the sign, but she says, “It’s the last of something different.”

The owner of the building decided to paint it, including the sign, says Michael Newmont, who is renting the space.

“We had hoped to keep that corner wall with Clif’s old information up there,” he says.

“There’s a lot of people who have an interest for that little spot for what it used to be.”

Now, he hopes to do a tribute to Major inside with a collage on a wall, “kind of like a wall of remembrance.”

Newmont has A1 Media Services next door.

In the former C Major space, he’s going to have meetings about the Javita Beverage herbal-infused drinks he sells. His partner, Libby Petrie, is going to promote the NuSkin/Pharmanex line through meetings there.

“It’s a meet-and-greet gathering venue now,” Newmont says.

They’re going to rent the space for parties, too, and Newmont says he hopes to eventually have music back in the space on Friday and Saturday nights.

“We really would like to see that spot active again like it used to be with people coming and going,” he says. “It used to be quite the hangout.”

Newmont says he’s decided to call the venue That Place. The name comes from him trying to tell people where the building is.

“Well, do you remember where C Major Guitar used to be? It’s that place.”

A new sign will go up on the building that says That Place.

Wichita architect Dean Bradley says there’s hope for the old sign, too. He says it’s always possible that the C Major sign could reappear as a ghost sign.

A ghost sign is a sign that’s either fading or recently exposed that had been created in the distant past.

“Well, in 50 years, maybe this will appear as a ghost sign,” Bradley says. “They have to get covered up before they become ghost signs.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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