Kansas family restaurant survived the Depression, but not the pandemic
Mark Martin poses for a photograph inside the permanently closed Brookville Hotel in Abilene, Kansas, October 10, 2020. Martin's family restaurant weathered two world wars, the Dust Bowl, and the Great Depression, serving up heaping plates of hand-battered fried chicken, mashed potatoes and creamed corn to a devoted clientele. But it could not survive the pandemic. The restaurant, nestled by the highway in Abilene, Kansas, closed permanently on Sept. 25, after struggling to break even amid shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. "We're kind of in shock that this will be the end of it for us," said Martin, the fourth generation to run the Brookville Hotel, a name that reflects its origins as a small hotel in nearby Brookville, Kansas that his family acquired in 1894.