Thursday, May 25, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017
            Today is the last half day of school for students in USD 475.  Although graduation or commencement was held last Saturday, May 20th, today’s story is about the Eleventh Annual Commencement of Junction City High School seniors on the evenings of June 10 and 11 in 1886. 
The Opera House was packed with attentive listeners for both evenings, but the crowd on Friday was the largest ever assembled indoors in Junction City.  The stage was appropriately decorated with evergreen and blooming plants.  The class marched in to music provided by George Killian’s Band.  The class motto, “The World Is Wide” posted in the foreground.  The warm weather caused members of the audience to use hand held paper fans that made it difficult for some of the ladies to be heard as they spoke from the stage.  
            After the formal address to the graduates by Professor Henry B. Pierce, Superintendent Winans briefly summarized the work done by himself and his associates in bringing the class to  this point in the lives of the students. At the end of the speeches, the diplomas were distributed.
            Graduations are a special time for all of us.  The school term for 2016-17 has ended and in a couple of months a new year will begin and this year’s seniors will begin their final year of high school.  Best wishes to them, their teachers, administrators and family members, who will all support students to reach the milestone of graduating from high school this year.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 24, 2017

May 24, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about a group of older businessmen who frequently gathered to discuss the affairs of Junction City.  Lynn Sargent shared his memories of the old west over a soda fountain, which was purchased at the Columbian Exposition in 1892. The soda fountain was located in a Junction City drugstore founded by his father.  Mr. L.W. Sargent first saw this fountain at the Chicago World’s Fair.  It was covered with blue ribbons and he ordered one for his store.  This fountain was still at the family drugstore until it sold out in the early 1940’s.  A Fort Riley carpenter had installed it along with a wood canopy with antiquated frescoes over the top.  At the time, that type of soda fountain was the finest in existence.

            Coca-Cola was first served west of the Mississippi from this fountain and for over 50 years each afternoon at four o’clock the older businessmen of Washington Street could be found at Sargent’s drinking a coke and discussing the affairs of the town.  This gathering came to be known as the “Coca-Cola Senate”.  The fame of this group would long outlast the ornate World’s Fair Fountain, however.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about a robbery that occurred east of Junction City.
            On a Saturday evening in May of 1890, farmer Andrew Nelson was robbed by three masked men who entered his house located about 14 miles east of Junction City.  Each of the robbers had two pistols.  When they discovered Mr. Nelson at home, the robbers ordered him to raise his hands.  While two robbers kept him covered with their pistols, the other one bound and gagged Mr. Nelson.  The robbers then began a search of the house, but they didn’t find anything they wanted.  They told Mr. Nelson to tell them where his money was, but if he didn’t they would kill him.  The robbers were given $25.33, which was all the money Mr. Nelson had in the house.  The robbers were in no hurry to leave the house and hung around for about an hour.  One of them said they had some mortgages to pay off and it was very difficult to do so on what they were earning from 14 cent corn.  When they left  Mr.  Nelson’s place, they took his horses with them. 

            Andrew Nelson’s life had been spared.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is a fish story – but it is not your usual story about the big one that got away.  This fish story made headlines in the “Junction City Union” newspaper in May of 1870.  The article told readers that during excavations in the northern part of Geary County a portion of the remains of a gigantic fossil fish were found.  It had been deeply embedded in the ground and was surrounded by a mass of boulders and other debris.  This indicated that there had been water on that spot.  Although only a portion of the remains were petrified, it was estimated that the monster fish was at least 30 feet in length with a head about a sixth of the fish’s entire length.  It had a large eye and the body was covered with a thick skin similar to that of the catfish.  The dorsal fin extended across the fish’s length.  The article concluded that there were other fossilized fish in the area, which were yet to be examined by experts.

            We have some fossils found in Geary County at our Museum.  Stop by and take a look and imagine what they might have looked like when the animals or birds roved or flew in our part of Kansas.  Our Museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 1 until 4:00 PM and admission is free.  We hope to see you soon!!!  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 19, 2017

May 19, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about the Grand Opening of the Uptown Theater in downtown Junction City in May of 1928. The theater was located on the east side of Washington Street across from the Bartell.  The address was 611 North Washington Street. 
            Seats were filled to capacity as early as 7:00 PM.  Three performances were given and the theater was kept filled until the end of the last show.  Each lady in attendance was presented with a rosebud until the supply ran out at about 9:00 PM.  The roses had come from West Side Floral, who had also sent a beautiful basket of flowers to the management, which was placed at the center of the stage.  Jerry Baler of Lawrence was the guest organist for the opening and his performance on the Reuter organ pleased the audiences as well as the performance onstage by the Bratton Brothers.  A feature picture followed the live entertainment.  The picture was titled “Four Walls” and starred John Gilbert.  Several out of town guests who attended this opening of the Uptown Theater included a number of representatives of California film companies. 

            This format of a live performance followed by a movie was common not only at the Uptown Theater, but also at earlier theaters in Junction City.  Live accompaniment during the movie was also common.  Background music was played by an organist and sometimes by an orchestra, which went along with the action on the screen.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            In late 1949 a displaced family from Poland arrived here to live and work on the McVay farm south of Junction City on Highway 77.  Those were the first DP’s or Displaced Persons to arrive in Junction City.  The family consisted of Gregory Targonski, experienced as an agriculture worker, his wife Helena, their 16 year old son, Zigmund and an eight year old daughter by the name of Sophie.  Another daughter, Maria, who was eighteen was in Colby, Kansas, but was to join the family later.  A married daughter was in Austria, but her husband had immigrated to Canada and she was going to join him there.
            The family was brought to this country under the Displaced Persons program with the arrangements being handled by the Catholic Church.  Working locally with the church was Harold A. Roher.  It was the Rohers who met the family when they arrived by train.  The family’s interpreter was the 16 year old son, who spoke German as well as some English.  The Rohers also spoke German and with the son assisting, the conversation between the McVays and their new tenant family went well.  On their way to Kansas the Targonski family stopped in Chicago and was greeted by a friend of Mrs. Targonski’s who had come to this country several years earlier.  The family was greatly impressed with the vast open spaces in Kansas.  In fact the 16 year old son exclaimed, “We like Mr. McVay’s air much better than the air in Chicago.”

Many of us would say the same, except when there is the burning of the fields in our area.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 16, 2017

May 16, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Today’s story comes from the Police Blotter in May of 1891.  It was reported in the local newspaper in May of 1891 that “crooks” had been at large that week in Junction City.  A successful robbery had been made on Captain Henderson’s residence and an attempted robbery was made upon the Presbyterian parsonage, but was discovered in time to get it stopped.  
            In another story, a watch and chain, together with his pants containing a few dollars were taken at the residence of Mr. T.S. George.
            And in yet another story in the local newspaper in May of 1891 was that of a shop-lifter from Hutchinson who was discovered by Marshal Cullinan as he was leaving the B. Rockwell Store.   It seems the manner in which the thief was trying to conceal two pair of shoes and two muffs under his coat aroused the suspicion of the Marshall.  The thief was fined $100.00 and he was assigned to an apartment in the city jail for ninety days.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            The Ward Chapel AME or African Methodist Episcopal Church was pastored by Reverend Alvin Haskin in May of 1879.  The first chapel was a wood framed building on the corner of 9th and Jefferson Streets.  There was a coal stove in the center of the church to provide heat.  At first the worshippers had a small pump organ, but as the congregation grew, they acquired a piano.  The parsonage was a small five room house located at 208 West 9th Street.  The women of the church were active in supporting the church.  They sold dinners for 35 cents and soda pop for 5 cents a bottle at EVERY gathering or celebration.  The “Windows Mite Missionary Ladies” whose name was later changed to the Arry Williams Missionary Society met on Wednesday afternoons. During the winter months they quilted and in the Spring they would have a dinner and bazaar and sell their quilts.  In the late 1920’s, the church was remodeled to include a balcony and improvements were made again in the 1930’s.  In 1966, the property at 908 North Jefferson was purchased and this became the church parsonage in 1971.  The old parsonage was razed in 1978 and the site became a church parking lot. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 12, 2017

May 12, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            During today’s program we will be sharing information about three more of the historic buildings in downtown Junction City.  Again, this information may be found in a free pamphlet at our Museum titled “A Walking Tour” and can also be found on our blog, which is
            The building at 120 to 122 West 7th Street was constructed in 1929 for Robert Behrend.  It was used as a tire shop.  Before him his grandfather, J.W. Behrend, had a harness shop, which was later run by his sons Henry and William.  Today the building houses the Coryell Insurance Agency.  
            124 West Seventh Street, which currently houses the architectural firm of Deam and Deam, was originally built in 1889 for a dentist by the name of Charles K. Raber.  The Parish brothers had a grocery store there in 1910 and some city offices were housed there in the 1910s and 20s. 
            The final building in today’s program is located at 126 West Seventh Street.  This building and the building to the west were under construction when the 1887 Sanborn Fire Map was being printed.  As of 1905 it housed a music store and grocery.  In 1925, the Odd Fellows occupied the second floor.  Later tenants were Farmers’ Union Exchange, An A&P grocery, Tony’s Restaurant and now houses the Knights of Columbus Hall.

            Take a walk through downtown Junction City and reflect on the history of these buildings and see why we say:  “Our Past IS Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 11, 2017

May 11, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            In the next two programs we will be sharing information about some more historic buildings in downtown Junction City.  The information is from a free pamphlet which you can get at our Museum titled “A Walking Tour”.  41 buildings are highlighted in this pamphlet for you and others to read and reflect on as while visiting our downtown businesses. 
            Today we will look at two more historic buildings. The first is the Rialto Building which is at 607 North Washington St.  If you look at the top of the building you can still see the word “Rialto”.  This building was constructed in 1897 to house the Rialto Restaurant.  By 1908, Mike Frey had a restaurant in this location.  In 1919 eight brothers named Maduros came to Junction City and opened the well-known Good Eats Café, which lasted until 1977.  The façade was restored during the Washington Street restoration of 1999.  The space is where Bella’s Italian Restaurant is currently located.

            The next building is across the street from the Rialto and is the Bartell House, which is located on the northwest corner of Washington and Sixth Streets.  It was opened in 1880, by A.H. Bartell and John K. Wright.  The Bartell House Hotel replaced the Hale House, which had burned in 1875.  There were 66 rooms, parlors, offices, street level shops, a kitchen and a dining room with murals painted by Junction City artist Bertrand Harman.  The Junction City Post Office was located in the southwest corner of the building between 1888 and 1917.  Among the famous guests of the hotel were General Funston, General Wainwright, Sally Rand, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney, Al Jolson, John Phillip Sousa, W.C. Fields and Gloria Vanderbilt. When it closed as the Lamer Hotel in 1979, it was the last operating hotel in the city.  It has been restored and remodeled into a senior apartments, retail office space and at one time housed Kite’s Bar and Grille.    

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 10, 2017

May 10, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            In 1986 a J.J. Pennell photograph of six prominent Junction City matrons wearing turn of the century dress, was donated to the Museum by Sally Powers Dietrich of Topeka.  Several of the ladies were identified on the back of the photo including the donor’s great grandmother, Anna E. Manley Pierce.  Mrs. Dietrich said she thought the group was called “The Budget” but didn’t know the meaning of the name.  However, a faded newspaper clipping discovered amongst some memorabilia donated to the Museum, revealed the mystery.  According to the 1913 issue of the “Kansas City Star”, “The Budget” was a letter writing club.  It further explained that “Twenty years ago, Mrs. Winans, Mrs. Barnes, Mrs. Pierce, Mrs. Carr, Mrs. Brown and her daughter were all neighbors and members of the Universalist Church in Junction City.  They later scattered. Mrs. Pierce and Mrs. Barnes went to Kansas City to live, Mrs. Winans to Hutchinson and Mrs. Carr to Toledo, Ohio, where her husband became the President of a bank.  Mrs. Pierce later moved back to Junction City where she and the Browns continued to live.  In 1894, one year after they had been so widely separated, they met in a reunion in Junction City.  It was suggested that the ladies regularly write to each other.  A plan was evolved so that one of the six women would write a letter once a month to the others. She in turn would read it and write a letter of her own to one of the six and send it with the letter she had received.  This would continue until the first letter writer got in one envelope five letters from each of the other ladies.  The club was called “The Budget” in reference to the combined letters which each received each month and to the wise budgeting of time which the round robin of letters signified.   Today, we can e-mail multiple people to receive the same message and they receive the information almost immediately on their computer or on their phone.  How times have changed.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 9, 2017

May 9, 2017
You are listening to “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.  Today’s story is about a teacher, Miss Anna Dixon, who in May of 1945 retired after completing 39 years in the Junction City School system. She closed out her year and went to the Dixon farm to spend the summer with her three sisters as she had done for the previous 41 years, but that year was different, because she was ending her teaching career.  Miss Dixon was born in a small log cabin on the Military View Farm northwest of Junction City on old Highway 77.  Locally known as the Dixon Place, Anna’s parents raised 11 children on that farm. The Dixon home had always been a meeting place for young people from Junction City as well as those in the rural community.  In the early days there were no fences and the wagon trail ran directly across the military reservation to the Dixon home.  Miss Dixon completed two years at Junction City High School before accepting a position as a rural teacher beginning at Seven Mile School before going to Ogden and then Leonardville.  In January 1905, she entered the Junction City school system and taught there for 39 years.  It was said that she “Built the characters, the ideals, the hopes and aspirations of a small army of Junction City people.” 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 8, 2017

May 8, 2017

This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            This story is titled “Save the Fat – Help Win The War”.  “One tablespoon of fat saved each day for a month will furnish one pound of used fat to speed victory”.  This was a statement found in the “Junction City Daily Union” on May 28th 1945.  The statement came from the Kansas State College Extension Management Specialist.  She was reminding Kansas housewives of this vital volunteer duty to assist with the war effort.  “Fat collection is lagging in small rural areas” she continued, “yet the need for fats is as urgent as ever.  Meat shortage may make fat savings harder these days, but you may be missing ways to save fat.”  She went on to explain that “when one opened a can of sardines, salmon or tuna, there was at least a tablespoon of oil that could be poured into the fat salvage can.  Also, if one parboiled the sausages that county folk were so fond of, then the water should be saved so the fat could be skimmed off; and of course, fried sausage yielded a lot of fat in the frying pan.  It was suggested that all scraps be kept for one week in the ice box then melted down to pour into the salvage can.”  The extension agent then reviewed what one pound of fat saved each month would do for the fighting men of America.  “It would help make 150 machine gun bullets, make 6 bars of military soap, make 19 pounds of synthetic rubber for ambulance tires and help supply the medicines to maintain one military hospital bed for 12 days.” 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 5, 2017

May 5, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Do you know it is against the law to turn your chickens loose to rampage in your neighbor’s garden?  If you didn’t know this, you’d better brush up a bit as the local police force is into the law and intends to enforce it!  So read the headline in the Junction City’s “Daily Union” newspaper in May of 1912.  Two or three parties were said to have already told their tales of woe to his honor, the city court judge, and as many more had been warned.  Residents were advised to get out a hammer and nails and look for “leaks in the coop”. If they couldn’t stop the chickens from getting out on account of a poor pen, the law would not be too sympathetic.  Anyone without chickens was naturally proud of their garden and the law would be on their side if they took out their shotgun to protect their plants.

When riders of horses came to town, they were also reminded that they should use the iron hitching posts put up for the express purpose of tying their horses. The city authorities insisted on keeping its shade trees out of the grasp of underfed livestock and had ordered the police force to keep a sharp lookout for the careless horse owner.  The city was said to be a “tolerable jealous guardian” of its property and it hated, above all things, to have young trees that had just been set out devoured by either horse or cattle.