Friday, July 20, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 20, 2018

July 20, 2018
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Royal R. Clemons brought his family from New York and settled on a farm in 1868.  In 1870, he was appointed the first postmaster for the rural settlement, which at that point had no name.  A meeting of area residents was called to make an attempt to name the little community.  Finally it was decided that since the post office was located in Mrs. Clemons chest of drawers, she should be allowed to choose the name for the town.  In a spell of homesickness, she selected “Alida,” which was the name of one of her girlhood friends in New York. 
            In 1872, the Junction City and Fort Kearney Railroad was built through the area and that motivated John Grasberger to build a log store along the railroad track.  Soon after Royal Clemons and George Wilson were working with him to build a grain elevator and later a stock yard, a blacksmith and lumberyard near the frame depot.
            About the same time a number of Swiss-German immigrants settled in the area including the Lehman and Gfeller families.  In 1890 P.H Gfeller, Royal Clemons and George Wilson formed the Alida Co-op and Elevator Company and bought out the Grasberger store. 
            In the early years of the Alida settlement, church services were held in homes and later the schoolhouses in the area.  In 1881 the St. John’s Evangelical Church building was constructed two miles southwest of the town.  For the century of its existence, social life in Alida centered around the school and church buildings with box suppers, pie socials, school programs and church services meeting the needs of generations of Alida students over a 75 year period. 
            The grain elevators were always a landmark for Alida.  Over the years they were rebuilt and improved three different times with the last being just two years before the town was demolished to make way for the construction of Milford Lake.   And in the end it would be the elevator that would provide Alida with its last claim to fame. 
            There were four businesses and approximately six residences plus the landmark grain elevator on the site.  In March of 1964, it was announced that a group of Junction City developers led by Dr. L.W. Wisby had secured permission from the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to turn the one-time Alida grain elevator into a “swanky” hotel and dining facility. Permission from the Corps had been granted for this restaurant, but was later rescinded after they said further studies indicated the base of the 15 foot concrete elevator would not support the planned structure after the site was inundated with water after Milford Lake became a reality.   So, the elevator was to be imploded.  The demolition took place October 7, 1965.  It took several tries to implode the elevator as it toppled into the waiting pit.  Then the demolition contractor still had to break up the debris with a bulldozer so none of the debris protruded more than four feet above ground. 
            It appeared that like the hardy souls who had lived on and worked the fertile fields around Alida for four generations, the landmark elevator was not going to exit easily.  Today, as we travel on or around Milford Lake, we need to remember that there are dreams and history that lie at the bottom of that man-made Lake. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 19, 2018

July 19, 2018
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story comes from an article written for “The Daily Union” newspaper by our Curator, Heather Hagedorn.  The title of her article was “They Walked Among Us:  Sally Rand and Her World War II Rodeo.”
            On June 27-29 of 1924, Junction City hosted what the “Junction City Union” newspaper called a “Gigantic Rodeo.”  The event featured 150 rodeo stars.  Sally Rand was one of those top ranked celebrities. The event was held at Rather Stadium on the west side of Junction City. 
            Prior to the start of the ride, Sally spent many days traveling on a rodeo caravan to towns and cities within a 75 mile radius of Junction City to promote the event.  While staying in town, Sally was presented with a “key to the city” at a Junior Chamber of Commerce dinner.  She also received a badge and the title of honorary Geary County Sheriff. 
            Sally Rand’s husband enlisted in the Army during WWII and trained at the Cavalry Replacement Training Center at Fort Riley.  It was through him that Sally and some of their friends from the rodeo circuit put together this 1942 Rodeo fundraiser for Fort Riley’s Army Emergency Relief Fund.
            About 14,000 people were estimated to have attended the two day rodeo with the peak crowd of about 5,000 people on Sunday afternoon.  This large crowd remained despite a torrential downpour, which turned the grounds around Rather Field into a sea of mud.
            $2,500 cash prizes were awarded to the winners in the different categories of the rodeo. Tickets were 75 cents for general admission and $1.00 for grandstand seats. 
            This year the Geary County Rodeo Association will host their rodeo, which is one of the largest open rodeos in Kansas.  The event will be held July 20 and 21 this year at the Geary County Fairgrounds located at 1025 South Spring Valley Road.  Ticket prices are somewhat higher than in 1942, but well worth it if you like rodeo.
            And… that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 18, 2018

July 18, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            We have been recently sharing some stories about early businesses in Junction City.  Today we want to briefly tell you about The B. Rockwell Merchandise and Grain Company and Sargent’s Drug Store. 
            Bertrand Rockwell decided to locate his business here in October of 1865.  It would be the B. Rockwell Merchandise and Grain Company and the building was located on the east side of Washington Street. For 20 years, Rockwell’s father lived in the store and worked with him.  Typical business hours were from 5:30 A.M. until 1:00 PM daily.  The Rockwell’s stocked everything needed in a home or on a farm and they were willing to trade homegrown products for goods. .
            The business made history when they shipped the first railroad cars of wheat and corn from Kansas City overseas by way of the Gulf of Mexico.  For over 25 years the firm made Junction City the best market for grain in the State of Kansas.
            Although the store suffered three disastrous fires, the last one occurred in 1888.  Today, the brick and stone structure that replaced the fire-ravaged building has been restored to its original appearance and stands at the southeast corner of Eighth and Washington Streets. 
            Another early business in town was the Sargent’s Drug Store, which became the home of Junction City’s famous “Coca-Cola Senate.”  In 1865, Major O.J. Hopkins, who was stationed at Fort Riley, wrote to his father-in-law in Indiana about the opportunities for business in the new town near the fort.  James Sargent and his son William arrived in Junction City a few months later and by August of 1866, they had opened a drug store in a building owned by Ruben Emick on the east side of Washington Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets. The Sargent Drug Store was at 706 North Washington, where it remained for 76 years and was run by four generations of the Sargent family.
            In the 1890’s an Army officer who came from Atlanta, Georgia told the Sargent’s about a new and refreshing drink he had tasted there.  It was called “Coca-Cola”.  Lindon Sargent was persuaded to order some of the syrup and Sargent’s became the first business west of the Mississippi to serve Coca-Cola.  It was served cold, but without ice and led to the drug store’s designation as the “Coca Cola Senate.”  Businessmen, farmers and locals all gathered at Sargent’s daily to drink this unique beverage and discuss the news of the day and happenings around town.  The Drug Store was sold in 1941 and thus came an end of a 75 year history. 
            The Eyeware Junction is located at what is now numbered 710 N. Washington Street in the former Sargent’s Drug Store. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 17, 2018

July 17, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Last Tuesday, we shared information about John Phillips Sousa and his performance at the Opera House in 1904.  Remember Sousa had been here for a previous performance in 1902.  He and his band members spent a night at the city’s most prestigious hotel, the Bartell House, on the corner of Sixth and Washington Streets in Junction City. 
            In 1904 the plan was to arrive by train, play the concert at the Opera House and the leave immediately for Salina.  However, let’s go back a few years when Sousa was still the director of the Marine Band.  He had served under five presidents and composed many of his most famous marches while with the band. 
            David Blakely, who was a promoter, convinced Sousa to leave the Marines after Sousa and his band completed two successful tours.  So he left the Marines in 1892 and formed his own concert band.  It was on the return voyage from Europe in 1896 that Sousa wrote his famous march “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” 
            When the United States entered WWI, Sousa was 62 years old.  He joined the Naval Reserve as musical director.  He received the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was paid $1.00 per month to conduct concerts throughout the country on behalf of Liberty Loan drives.
            He was known as the “March King” and died in 1932 and is buried in Arlington Cemetery near the city of his birth. 
            When Sousa and his band came to Junction City for their performance at the Opera House in 1904, the town’s merchants and businessmen announced they would be closed during the hours of the afternoon concert “to give those who desire an opportunity to hear Sousa’s band.”  This was done in spite of the fact that the business district was full of out of town shoppers.  The next day the “Union” newspaper summed it all up with the following statement.  “Sousa gave a matinee concert in the Opera House Friday afternoon that will long be remembered by all who heard it.  There was not a vacant seat in the house and most of the people who come in from surrounding towns and the post were disappointed, for they thought they would get to hear Sousa on the streets.”
            Our Opera House has hosted many talented performers.  If it has been a while since you have attended a performance, please plan to do so during the next season.  You can go online or call the C.L. Hoover Opera House for information on how to get tickets at 785-238-3906.
            And that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 16, 2018

July 16, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story comes from an article written and is published in the book Set In Stone, which is available at our Museum at a discounted price for members of our Society.  The article was written by Gaylynn Childs, retired Executive Director of the Geary County Historical Society.
She wrote that Washington Street in Junction City reflected the diversity of our town from the beginning.
            The first structure built in this town when it was new was the “Claim House."  It was built in the summer of 1848 on the southwest corner of Seventh and Washington Streets where the George Smith Public Library was before it closed and has since become the George Smith Reception Hall.  It was built by a young Scottish immigrant soldier who was an apprentice carpenter.  Edmund McFarland was paid $50.00 to erect this first business in Junction City.
            The influx of early merchants and their hastily built places of business was common along the western frontier.  What was unique was the great diversity of people who could be found here in those early days. 
            New Englanders and Pennsylvanians were prominent among the city’s founders.  Most were strong Free-states or Abolitionists, who came to assure that Kansas would not enter the Union as a “slave” state. 
            The end of the Civil War brought a new influx of settlers to this area.  The arrival of the railroad in 1866 brought crews that were mostly Irish and German. By the end of the 19th Century Italians and Mexicans were also represented. 
            The homesteaders and farmers who settled the rural regions of Geary County were predominantly German and Swiss immigrants.  The build-up of Fort Riley in the latter part of the 18th century brought in a colony of Swedish and Norwegian settlers, skilled in the stonemason’s trade.  When Fort Riley became the home of the 9th and 10th Cavalry for a brief time in 1867 and again in the 1880’s, the black “Buffalo Soldiers” settled their wives and families in Junction City.
            When the United States began to send its armies abroad at the beginning of the 20th century, Junction City’s population and business district reflected the places our Fort Riley troops served.  Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese have all now become second and third generation Junction Citians. 
            Many of us often comment about how cosmopolitan our community is and how much we appreciate the diversity even today that is our town in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
            Well… thanks for reading today to “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 13, 2018

July 13, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Our most recent “Memories at the Museum” was held on June 24th at the Museum.  Those who attended shared their memories about businesses that are no longer in our town.  In a little over an hour, Roberta Kelly, Verleen and David Carlson, Lynette (Perry) Jett, Mary Kay Munson, Nita Miller and John Strain told stories about some of the stores in Junction City from the late 1940s through the late 1980s.
            In today’s program, we hope to encourage you to go back into your memory and revisit stores in which you shopped and share those with the staff at the Museum. Well, here are a few of memories shared by those present on June 24th.
            Roberta Kelly remembered several jewelry stores like Glick’s, Gerald’s, Flowers and Starcke’s.  The Glick’s also owned at least one grocery store over a sixty year period, which was passed on to members of the family.  Verleen Carlson suggested that a person who was interested in the grocery business and maintaining it within the family could have it passed to them.  However, sometimes there was no longer that interest the store would go to someone else or close. In some cases, larger national chains came in and bought out the smaller stores.  Josephine Rago, who was not at the meeting shared in a phone conversation that the Rago family had a grocery store at 13th and Washington Streets where the NAPA store is now and later one on 7th Street.  Kroger’s, which currently owns Dillon’s, bought out the Rago’s.  There were numerous other grocery stores remembered like the A&P; the Peter Pan Store on West 7th Street owned by John Leonard, who kept accounts for those who didn’t have the cash to pay for their groceries until pay day; West Acres Floral owned by Bruce and Carolyn Rose; White Kitchen, which was a drive through burger place; and Meseke’s News Stand at Seventh and Washington, which was under the George Smith Library.
            Another store mentioned was Winchell’s Donut Shop on West Sixth Street.  David Carlson apparently had frequented that shop so often, that when he walked in the door the clerk began packaging his favorite donuts and when he got to the counter, his order was ready.
Lynette (Perry) Jett remember Long’s Department Store, which was managed by her father.  Jewelry, cowboy boots, colognes and other items were sold there in what is now the Dillon’s Store on West Sixth Street.  Woolworth’s was a place she liked to go to with her mother to get a cheeseburger and fries and then go downstairs where the pet birds could be purchased.  “There always seemed to be a loose bird flying around down there and the kids would try to catch them”, she said.
            John Strain recalled the poultry shop, where eggs were sold in what is now the Municipal Court; and the Circle Restaurant and Poor Richards, which was in the 100 block of East Sixth Street and Cohen’s Chicken House, which was first on Grant Avenue and later moved to Grandview Plaza until the restaurant burned. 
            Mary Kay Munson recalled Wuetrich’s Book Store, the Jack and Jill Shop, and the Froelic’s shoe store.  Nita Miller remembered Johnson Brother’s Furniture Store on Grant Avenue where her father did furniture repair work until he opened his own shop also on Grant Avenue and was name Fabia’s Furniture Repair.
            There were many other memories shared than we have time for in our program today.  Again, we encourage you to stop by our Museum Tuesday through Sundays and share your memories with our staff.  They love hearing and recording these stories and …as we always say here… “Our Past Is Present” …from the Geary County Historical Society.  

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 12, 2018

July 12, 2018
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Information for today’s story came from an article originally written by the late Marilyn Heldstab and was published in the “Daily Union” newspaper in 1993. The title of Marilyn’s article was “The History of Milford Involves Names Familiar Today.” 
            This is some of what she wrote: “The first settlers began establishing homesteads in the community of Milford in 1855.  In 1858, the town was chartered in the name of Bachelor.  The name was later changed to Milford because the postmaster was unhappy with the (frequent) misspelling of the name of the town.
            In another article in the “Milford Times” dated November 10, 1892, the following information is shared about Milford: “The town is the oldest on the Republican River.  It is situated about fourteen miles from the mouth of the river on the Fort Kearney branch of the Union Pacific Railroad.  It is originally named Bachelor, after one of the original town Companies from Boston, who came here in 1857.
            Other early settlers and business persons were J.C. Kenner, who had one of the most diversified stocks of goods found in the country.  Mr. A.F. Fawley, had the largest stock of general merchandise in the town.  He also was in the grain business along with Mr. Ed Mellinger, who was in the cattle and hog business.
            Joe Williamson, who succeeded the firm of E.C. Bartell and Sons was also in the general merchandise business. Joe Roether and Son were the hardware men with a complete stock in their line and sold a large number of implements, wire, coal and shelf hardware.
            Ed Steckel was the blacksmith and a Mr. Pickering was the wagon maker.  He worked on buggies and did repair work. One of the oldest resident physicians in the county was Dr. Bard and William Bard was the restauranteur, who also sold candy, groceries, fresh oysters, repaired watches, clocks and jewelry.
            The public schools were conducted by Mr. Newby as the Principal and Miss Gertie Brown taught the primary department. There were several denominations of churches in early Milford as well as dressmakers and places to purchase choice cuts of meat.
            Perhaps some of the names bring back thoughts of the early days of Milford before the Dam and Lake were put in its place.  We have a display in Gallery 1 about the flooding that eventually led to the construction of the Milford Dam and Reservoir.  Stop by our Museum any day Tuesdays through Sundays between 1 and 4 and take a look at the display and you will see why we say “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 11, 2018

July 11, 2018
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Our Executive Director, Katie Goerl, wrote an article for the “Daily Union” newspaper in 2017 about the Pawnee Nation.  Today’s story is taken from that article.  Katie wrote:
            “The Pawnee Nation once inhabited a large area in central and northern Kansas and throughout Nebraska.  At one time, according to the Pawnee Nation, more than 60,000 members of the tribe lived along the Northern Platte River in Nebraska.  After white settlers began to encroach upon their territory, the Pawnee tribe – which consisted of four distinct bands of members, ceded their land to the United States government and was removed to Oklahoma in 1875 in what is now known as Pawnee County.  Before 1875, several members of the Pawnee Nation visited A.P. Trott’s photography gallery to have their photos taken.  He later printed carte-de-visites of these individuals, which were sold as post cards.
            In the 1920’s, local residents erected an Indian monument near “J Hill”.  The statue depicts “an Indian lookout or scout of the Black Pawnees”, according to a 2002 “Daily Union” article.  The author indicated that the statue was erected May 30, 1920 by Robert and James Henderson.  This monument was placed above the site of a shallow limestone grave containing bones, arrowheads, beads and other remains.
            The Pawnee Nation is still thriving today and the following information comes from the website, “In support of American’s freedoms, the Pawnee have served in all military conflicts to date beginning with the Pawnee Scouts that served during the Indian Wars.  A ceremony was held on October 15, 2011 to honor the decision of the Bravo/Pawnee Company 486th Civil Affairs Battalion of the United States Army to alter their name to reflect this distinguished Pawnee tradition.
            The Pawnee Nation supports many other activities including honor dances, Native American Church meetings, hand games and sporting events.  The Pawnee Indian Veterans also host a Memorial Day Dance, a Veterans Day Dance and a Christmas Day Dance.  The Pawnee Indian Veterans Homecoming and Powwow occurs the weekend that falls closest to the fourth of July. 
            And.. that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 10, 2018

July 10, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story comes from an article written by Gaylynn Childs, our former Executive Direct and was taken from the book available at the Museum titled Set In Stone.
            In October of 1904, building and development was taking place all over town and at Fort Riley.  Construction was soon to begin on a new St. Xavier’s Catholic Church, and the new high school at the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets had just opened.  However, the big news in Junction City that month in 1904 was the appearance of John Philip Sousa and his band at the Opera House.  Sousa and his band had performed in Junction City in 1902, however, the 1904 performance was to be a matinee concert only at 3:00 PM on October 7th.  The group would arrive by train at 2:00 PM, perform at the Opera House and depart immediately to go to Salina where the musicians would spend the night. 
            John Phillip Sousa’s father was a Portuguese immigrant born in Spain and had been a trombone player in the U.S. Marine Band.  His mother was born in Bavaria.  John was born in 1854 and was the 3rd of 10 children. 
            John began his career at age 17 playing in theater and dance orchestras and touring with a variety show while he (like his father) maintained his affiliation with the Marine Band and was the conducted the Band from 1880 until 1892.  Under Sousa’s baton, the band played frequently at the White House and the Capitol for state dinners, receptions and other diplomatic and public affairs. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 9, 2018

July 9, 2018

            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about Willie Tarkington, who was a Buffalo Soldier in the 9th Cavalry.  Willie was born in 1907 in Homer, Louisiana.  He left home at the age of 15 to join the United States Army.  Willie was first sent to a post in Arkansas, before he was assigned to the “F” Troop of the 9th Cavalry at Fort Riley.  He stayed at Fort Riley until he retired, except for some overseas duty during WWII.
            While stationed at Fort Riley, Willie Tarkington was a blacksmith and veterinarian for the Cavalry.  His son remembered that when Willie came back to Fort Riley from having served overseas, Willie decided the Army had changed too much when it went to a mechanized unit with tanks instead of horses and that was why Willie decided to get out of the Army. 
            Willie retired from the Army and he and his brother-in-law went into business together.  They bought a night club on the corner of 14th and Washington Streets in Junction City called the 49 Club.  In fact, Willie’s brother-in-law, Starks, became one of the first black millionaires in Junction City.
            Sgt. Willie Tarkington passed away in 1961 while still living in Junction City. His son, Rockne, remembered his father when he shared thoughts like: “I was proud of my father and the 9th Cavalry and my heritage as the son of a Cavalryman – a Buffalo Soldier, who has the blood of many different cultures mixing through my veins.  And when things got tough – during those discouraging times when it seemed that a break would never come – if I could remember my father riding that bucking cavalry horse and coming back to pick up the guidon again, I knew I could succeed if I could just hang on.  My heritage has shaped my life.”
            And…. that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 6, 2018

July 6, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 
            Today’s story comes from an article written in The Daily Union newspaper by Katie Goerl, our Executive Director at the Historical Society.  She titled her article: “Iceboxes Capture History Frozen In Time.”  With the long and extreme heat we have experience this summer, perhaps the thought of ice and how it was gotten and used in homes after 1850.
            In fact, in our exhibit on the main floor at the Museum titled “Grandma’s Kitchen”, there is a large wooden box made of oak.  It is a “New Iceberg” made in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and was donated to the museum by Dan and Polly Stevens.  This icebox was how people kept food cold before the invention of refrigerators.
            Iceboxes were invented between 1850 and 1860.  They are hardwood cupboards with inner linings of tin or zinc insulated with material like cork, sawdust, rice husks, straw or seaweed.  They are built to hold blocks of ice on the upper shelf which allows cool air to flow through the food and drink cupboards below.  Water was collected in a drip pan at the bottom and needed to be emptied daily.
            To replenish the ice, the ice family would hang an ice sign in the window above the icebox.  The sign had different amounts on it.  The amount that was placed at the top is the size of ice block that the ice-man would deliver.  During the hottest part of the year they might have to deliver several times a week. 
            Ice was harvested from ponds and lakes in a labor intensive process that was dangerous.  Workers had to be careful that the ice did not have any weak spots where the men or horses could break through. Once the ice blocks were cut, they were hauled to the ice house where they were stored in sawdust to keep them insulated so they would not melt. The ice was not clean and could not be used for drinks. However, it did help keep food from spoiling during the hot summer months.
            By the early 1900s, Junction City was beginning to see commercially manufactured ice. During the early 1900s electric refrigerators started to emerge as a new storage option.  Refrigerators didn’t gain in popularity until the 1930s when Freon was introduced as a cooling agent. By the 1940s, they were common in homes with electricity and the ice box industry became a thing of the past. 
            And… that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 5, 2018

July 5, 2018
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            The history of jazz in Junction City connected closely with the history of Kansas City Jazz, a style of music that evolved between the 1920s and 1940s and incorporated elements of ragtime, big band and bebop.  Junction City was a frequent stop for Kansas City jazz musicians, who found jazz clubs and an appreciative audience in the local African American community here.
            The local history of the Kansas City-Junction City jazz connection is murky.  Kansas City Jazz was on the rise at a time when both Kansas City and Junction City were largely segregated and as such, the movement of jazz musicians and bands between the two cities is largely undocumented. 
            Big name musicians, however, did make local headlines when they played at white venues.  Duke Ellington first played at the Municipal Auditorium in 1939 in a performance that was expected to sell out. 
            Such racial segregation drove the development of the Ninth Street business district in Junction City, particularly after the all black 9th Cavalry Regiment (nicknamed the Buffalo Soldiers) was stationed at Fort Riley in 1922. 
            As Susan Lloyd Franzen, author of Behind the Fa├žade of Fort Riley’s Hometown, found in her research, performances at Ninth Street area clubs, too, were left out of the newspaper. 
            “The irony of the segregation was that African American people who wanted to avail themselves of the opportunity could enjoy Kansas City jazz every Saturday night.  By today’s cultural standards, the music they heard was of higher quality and greater sophistication than most of the offerings white people would hear at the Opera House or Elk’s Club.  But only black people knew it was there.”  
            And… that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 4, 2018

July 4, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            In 1899 C.P. Dewey started planning a resort at Eureka Lake, the small body of water that once occupied the area where the Manhattan Airport is located today.  He had been fascinated by the beauty of the area and wanted a special summer resort as a suitable place to entertain his business friends and local members of the community.
            The Kansas City Journal of September 14, 1902 printed a story on Dewey and his resort.  This is some of what was in the article:  “There are walls surrounding flowerbeds of hydrangeas, coliantheas, and other expensive flowers.  Inside is the cool, refreshing parlor where one is greeted and made welcome.  There are Navajo blankets on the floor, ice water to drink, snowy linens, easy chairs, iron or brass beds and screens on the windows.  A whirling electric fan cools the rooms and electric lights illuminate every room.
            In the great parlor there is woodwork of yellow pine and the floor is hard pine polished like a mirror.  Easy chairs are everywhere with magazines, books and newspapers available for reading.  A piano and pianola are available, a writing desk with necessary supplies and bowls of beautiful flowers decorate the rooms.  A Chinese gong sounds and lunch is served in the dining rooms by waiters.  The tables glisten with beautiful china, cut glass and silver.
            A walk around the lake on built up terraces reveals the diving towers, water slides, boats, and swimming beaches.  There are 500 lights on the place which flood the dance hall, bowling allies, walks and terraces. 
            Charles P. Dewey’s Beach Resort at Eureka Lake should have stood for decades as a memorial to the remarkable man who had the vision to do wonderful things among the Flint Hills of Kansas.  However, in a little more than twelve years, it was gone, the victim of a devastating fire in 1916.”
            And… that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Our Past Is Present July 3, 2018

July 3, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s program is a continuation of our story shared by Keith Hemenway about his memories of the Opera House, when he was a young boy living in Junction City. He stated that:
            “The opera house had some very good and interesting shows come there.  As my father ran the newspaper, he used to get complementary tickets all the time, so as a kid I went there quite often.  Every year the Elks Club would have a Minstrel Show with local talent.  One year, John D. Montogomery, I and some other kids who were probably 9 or 10 years old, dressed in baseball uniforms and sang “Take Me Out To The Ball game.” 
One of the regular attractions at the opera house that came back every year was the Burton Holmes travelogs.  These were travel pictures that were narrated.  This was before the time of talking pictures.  They also had the opera, “Il Trovatore”, “The Red Mill”, which was a famous musical show, and “The Prince of Tonight” was another one.
They had some good shows.  There is some sordid history about the opera house in one of Stanley Pennell’s books.  Stanley and I grew up together and we shared a room at KU for a time.”
            Well, that’s today’s story about the Opera House.  Remember, if you miss any of our stories, you can read them according to the date you are interesting in at  Geary and history are all one word and blogspot is all one word.  That’s
            And… thanks for reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.