Monday, June 26, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            One of Geary County’s most famous military connections happened when the county was still known as Davis County, in the mid 1800s.  General George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry live on in history for their untimely end at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, but before that, Custer arrived at Fort Riley as Colonel to the newly formed 7th Cavalry.  He brought with him his wife, Libby Custer, who recorded her husband’s life in her books Tenting on the Plains and Following the Guidon.   In these books, she recalls not only her husband’s movements, but also her own time in Geary County and her interactions with other famous historic figures. One of those was Wild Bill Hickock, who had acted as a scout for Custer.  We have a picture of Will Bill, which was taken in Junction City by A.P. Trott. There are other items in a display, which  contains one of Libby Custer’s books and a picture of Wild Bill that would be of interest are located in our Main Street Gallery on the first floor of our Museum.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 23, 2017

June 23, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Before beginning today’s story, I would like to again thank Gaylynn Childs, our past Executive Director of the Geary County Historical Society, for doing most of the research and writing the articles shared on “Our Past Is Present”. She spent countless hours and days putting together stories we have shared since her retirement.  This is one of those many stories.
            In mid-June of 1949, it was announced that the supervision of the Fort Riley Grade School through the Junction City school system had been authorized by the Board of Education. The signing of a contract to put the plan into effect was approved at their monthly meeting. 
            The arrangement, authorized by the recent session of the Kansas Legislature, meant that the Post school should be operated the same as any other unit of the Junction City school system, according to D.A. McConnell, Superintendent of Schools. The announcement explained that all teachers would be hired locally and would be expected to meet the same qualifications required in the city schools.  It was expected that all Fort Riley children from Kindergarten through sixth grade would attend the school.  It was tentatively planned that there would be seven teachers, one of whom would be the Principal. In 1948 the Post school had more than 200 pupils.  So some of the fourth, fifth and sixth graders attended school in Junction City due to over-crowding.  The Department of the Army funds would be provided for all expenses of the school, but the funds received would be administered by the local officials.  It was further determined that the Fort Riley School would have its own Board of Education, however, today Fort Riley schools are responsible to the USD 475 Board of Education. That’s today’s story.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            We have shared that there are 41 buildings listed in the free pamphlet “A Walking Tour”, which is available at our Museum at the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets.  Building number 18 listed in the pamphlet is the Rockwell Building. 
            Bertrand Rockwell was a Civil War veteran, who began his dry goods and grocery business in Junction City in 1865.  In 1880, he built a new brick building at 723-725 North Washington Street.  The building burned in 1888.  In 1889 the B. Rockwell Merchandise and Grain Company reopened on the same site and in the present building.  The Rockwell firm continued in business until the 1920’s.  The ground floor was later occupied by Woolworth’s, the Scott Store and later it was a Duckwall Store.  In 1986, the original façade was restored by Dr. Ned Price, who was a local veterinarian, and others. 
            When you take a close look at the building you will see decorative holes in the north wall.  This was known as woodpeckering.
            The Rent-A-Center is currently located at 723 and Edward Jones Investments is located at 725 North Washington Street. 
            We hope you have enjoyed the information about some of the historic buildings in downtown Junction City.  Take some time to visit us at the Museum and take the walking tour downtown to become even more aware of why we say “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today we are sharing information about the Steadman Building in downtown Junction City.  The exact date of this building’s construction is unknown, but photographs show a single story frame building as late as 1905.  A 1910 Junction City Souvenir brochure stated that Dr. C.E. Steadman and his son Dr. L.S. Steadman had well-appointed offices at 708 North Washington with Downing’s Pharmacy at the same address.  In 1913, the building housed Kibbey’s Drug Store and in 1923 it became Costello’s.  By 1925, Quality Drug was located at this site with the dental offices of Dr. Wade upstairs.  In the 1940’s Claire’s Ready-to-Wear Dress Shop took over the location. The Dress Shop,  which was run by Clair Dickman, had some famous clientele who frequented the shop.  Among those were Lana Turner, Gene Tierney and Sally Rand, who were in the area at that time.  In the 1990’s the First National Bank purchased the building.  The current occupant is the Exchange Bank Trust and Financial Office.  
            The building has been remodeled, but when visiting the inside of the building, it is easy to imagine the displays of dresses and displays both on the main floor and along a balcony where some of the formal dresses were available for trying on and purchasing. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017
            Parks are important to the quality of life in any city and Junction City’s Heritage Park has been a focal point for all kinds of local happenings.  A number of years ago Theresa Durand, the daughter of one of Junction City’s early mayors, reminisced about growing up in this town in the late 1800’s. She stated that her parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.O. Rizer, arrived here in 1865 and the park was here then.  “I shall never forget how my sisters and I enjoyed marching through the park around the fountain and onto the corner of Washington and Sixth Street, where Lily Murphy, a young widow operated a popcorn stand.”  Theresa stated that the “aroma of the hot buttered popcorn was irresistible, so we bought a sack of it for five cents.”
            The special night of the week in the park was Friday.  That was band concert night.  People from all over Geary County brought their families in to enjoy the music.  Three Bandstands were built in the park over the years and the Friday night concerts by the Junction City Municipal Band have been a community custom for over a century. 

            Band concerts continue this summer, but they are held in the air conditioned C.L. Hoover Opera House every Sunday in June beginning at 7:00 PM. The concerts are free and delicious popcorn is available for a donation. You can enjoy the popcorn and a cold soft drink or adult beverage while listening to our Community Band.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 19, 2017

June 19, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            68 years ago in our town, the philanthropy of a local young man got the summer’s swimming season off to an exciting start.
            It was reported in the “Junction City Union” that the six year old boy could have won a popularity contest at the Municipal Swimming Pool during a June afternoon in 1949.  He was passing out $20.00 bills.
            The youngster found the bills in a billfold at home and immediately started on  his brief, but highly successful project of giving the money away.  There was a total of $240.00.  On his way to the swimming pool, he met a couple of other youngsters, who agreed to accept $70.00 of the money.   
            The money went even faster at the swimming pool, when there were others eager to help the young lad with his philanthropy.  That was until --- someone notified the police.  Most of the money had been distributed when Police Officer Berl Woodland arrived.  He suggested that some of the receivers might like to give back the money.
            Well…. Some did, but some did not.  The final score was about one dollar for every two given away was recovered.  $151 of the $240 was returned. 

            Philanthropy is a good thing – if the money comes from a legitimate means. It is wise to keep in mind that what seems too good to be true, probably is too good to be true.  

Friday, June 16, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about the role of a water boy at a construction site in 1912.
According to the “Junction City Union” newspaper an old fashioned “water boy” was still employed by the Ziegler/Dolton Construction Company. Clarence Cubes was the young lad who carried buckets of water to the men employed by the construction company.
In July of 1912, Clarence was working at the Zee Dee Building which was then under construction on Washington Street.  All day long he climbed from the top to the cells, down ladders and over scaffolding to give every man on the job a drink of water.  The job of the water boy was a hard one and Clarence made about 16 rounds each day to the 40 men employed on the building site.  This was one of the labor saving methods employed by the contractors so the workers didn’t have to stop their work to get a drink by leaving their work site and walking down to the hydrant. 

            Today many construction workers prefer to have their own water bottles or large containers of water near their site.  We hope everyone who is working outside remembers to drink plenty of water to protect themselves and stay hydrated.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 15, 2017

June 15, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            Today’s story is about a new machine at a local quarry.  In June of 1866, Captain O.J. Hopkins’ new stone cutting machine was used for the first time in the Junction City Quarries.  It was set to work on a Tuesday morning and was said to have worked “positively delightfully."  It was a simple machine formerly used for sawing logs using horse power.  For sawing stone, it was a perfect success.  A stone 22 inches by 17 inches was sawed through in exactly two minutes.  This success wrapped up Captain Hopkins’ big goal in the stone business as he prepared to add steam power and improved saws.  He predicted this would revolutionize building interest in the whole country by facilitating stone work and greatly reducing the cost.  The next month another visit was made to the quarries by the newspaper and the editor noted that the Captain had rigged his quarry with a derrick and track making it resemble a coal mine.  The saw machine ran perfectly for 7 or 8 hours a day without failing and without sand or water, which demonstrated the suitability of the local stone for sawing.  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 14, 2017

June 14, 2017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s broadcast is about another in our series about historic buildings in downtown Junction City.  This information comes from our free pamphlet titled “A Walking Tour”, which is available at our Museum at the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets in Junction City. 
            Today we will be sharing about the Hall and Porter Building located at 712 to 714 North Washington Street.  This is one of the oldest buildings in downtown Junction City.  It housed Hall and Porter Drugs, which was organized by E.T. Porter in 1866.  An 1870 photo shows a flat stone façade, which was replaced with the current brick in the 1940’s.  The stone is still visible on the north side in the alley.  Later tenants included: People’s Drug Store, Louis Teitzel Photography (which was upstairs), the W.G. Glick Jewelry store, the J.C. Teitzel Shoe Store, Lashelle Shoe Store and Lancaster Grocery Store. 

            The current business at 712 North Washington is Flint Hills Investment and Midway Travel is at 714 North Washington Street.  We again encourage you to take a walk downtown and see some of these historic buildings, but first stop by our Museum and pick up a copy of the free “Walking Tour” pamphlet to make your tour even more interesting. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 13, 2017

June 13, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            During the next couple of weeks of broadcasts during this time we will be sharing more information about the historic buildings in downtown Junction City. 
The source is a free pamphlet we have at our Museum titled “A Walking Tour”. 
Today we will visit the Blattner and Blakey Building at 615 to 617 North Washington.  615 is occupied by a video games store, however, 617 North Washington is currently unoccupied. The Blattner and Blakey Building was a hardware business as early as 1874 and was mostly in the south half of that building.  By 1885, John Davisons’ carriage and buggy business was located there and Palace clothing occupied the northern part of the building, which was added in about 1880.  The date at the top of the Blattner and Blakey Building represents a remodeling, which visually joined the two buildings.  Other later occupants of this building were the Glick Jewelry Store, the Rizers’ shop, Lytle’s Berkshire Department Store and Gatherings on the Prairie.

            Next time you are downtown, take a closer look at the Blattner and Blakey Building at 615 to 617 North Washington Street.  Take along a copy of our free pamphlet and see downtown Junction City in a different way than perhaps you have seen it before.  You will see why we say:  “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 12, 2017

June 12, 2007

            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            Today’s story is about a new town, which was to be started between Ogden and Fort Riley.  This is according to an article in the “Junction City Union” newspaper in June of 1917.  It was reported the town would be called Kellyville, but it was later named Army City. 

            H.P. Powers of Junction City had earlier bought the old Dyche Farm east of the Fort Riley reservation boundary.  This was a property consisting of over 3,000 acres with about 150 acres  on either side of the Union Pacific right-of-way between the post and Ogden. Mr. Powers had no sooner purchased the place than the announcement was made that the new Fort Riley training area Camp Funston would be located on the Ogden Flats and he was asked by many to name a price for the property.  The Carolina Land Company made a contract to handle all the building for Army City and an advertising campaign began announcing the public sale of lots.  As a site for thousands of WWI soldiers stationed at Camp Funston in 1917 and 1918, this new boom town thrived.  However, its lifespan lasted only five years.  Following the end of WWI the Camp was closed and razed in 1922.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 9, 2017

June 9, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Yesterday’s story was about the flood of 1908.  Today’s story takes us back to June of 1905, when a tornado struck the northeast part of Jefferson Township in Geary County at about 10:00 in the evening.  It caused a great deal of damage to property and crops.  The first flood took place near the crossing of the Kaw River.  This was the Country Club on Whiskey Lake. Tents and camper’s outfits were carried off into adjoining fields.  Some of the fourteen persons were there to spend the night and they took refuge in the clubhouse where they had to remain.  Big trees were broken by the force of the wind.  Further away from the river, the storm seemed to gather force.  At Jake Boiler’s place corn cribs and a windmill were blown away.  At John Cameron’s farm the out buildings and front porch to the farmhouse were wrecked.  Mr. Cameron had finished putting up two stacks of alfalfa a few hours before the storm came and in the morning there was nothing to show where the stacks had been.  The wind turned the large barn on John McIntyre’s place on its foundation, and the back part of Mrs. Rasmussen’s house was blow away.  Clarks Creek was out of its banks in the morning and it was impossible to cross the Coffey, Settgast or Conrow bridges with teams of horses on account of the water being as much as ten feet deep on the approaches. 

            We have had some strong winds lately, but apparently nothing the tornado of 1905. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 8, 2017

June 8, 20017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about the “Flood of 1908”. On June 8, 1908 the local newspaper headlines read:  “Bottom Land Along the Republican River Under Water – Many Fields Destroyed-Street Car Line Out of Business- Washington Bridge Damaged – North Span went out.”  This was the damage inflicted on Geary County by the flood of 1908.
            Shortly after midnight the rain began to pour down and continued for several hours for a total rainfall of 1 and 3/8 inches.  However, a great deal of rain had fallen in the previous 12 hours in all parts of central Kansas.  Saturday evening the Republican River stood at 13 feet and it was thought the crest of the flood had passed.  However, by 11:00 it was at 15 feet and by 8:00 AM had reached 17 feet and remained stationary.
            Water had been over the fields at Alida for several hours and was rising, causing great damage to the fields and killing some livestock.  Between Junction City and Fort Riley, the Republican was now one-half mile wide and flowing with a terrific current.  About 40 feet of the north approach of the Washington Street Bridge had gone out and the current was rushing through the gap. 

            By Sunday afternoon the local Union Pacific agent received word that the UP train number 104 eastbound would not come here.  It would leave Abilene on the Santa Fe tracks to go to Kansas City.  The Rock Island tracks between Manhattan and Topeka were under water and washed out in many places.  Water was also over the Union Pacific tracks between Junction City and Fort Riley, and much damage would end up being done there.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Our Past Is Present June 7, 2017

June 7, 2017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            On June 14 of 1900, the public was invited to inspect their new Court House.  The following invitation appeared in the local newspaper as follows:
            “The Junction City Commercial Club invites you to inspect your new Court House and has prepared the following general program: 
            9:00 AM-2:00 PM inspect the Court House
            2:00 PM there will be a dedication address by Judge O.L. Moore
            2:30 PM there will be a band concert and speeches at the City Park
            Everybody come out and have a good time.  Per order of the Committee.
Court House.”
            Well, that was the plan.  However this dedication was postponed by the Commercial Club and the County Commissioners after consulting with each other and concluding that since the wheat harvest would be in full operation during mid and late June, a better date to invite people to see the new Court House would be July 4th.  This would attract more people and not interfere with the wheat harvest. 

            We have a picture of the Court House being built at our Museum.  The picture is hanging on the wall on the first floor of the Museum.  Stop by and see it and other displays when you have a few minutes or a few hours.  We are open from 1 until 4 every day Tuesdays through Sundays.  We would love to show you around and hear your stories about Geary County.