Friday, March 16, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 16, 2018

March 16, 2018
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            The readers of the “Union” newspaper in March of 1877, found an article titled “Make Homes of Your Farms”.  The author wrote: “Farmers and homesteaders were told that the farm should be made an enjoyable “home” and not just a place of confinement, deprivation, hard labor or discontent.  It advised farmers to make a delightful home; to lay out plans with their children to constantly increase its attraction; to enlarge orchards; build a drying room and pressing room and teach boys and girls to dry and preserve food; to can fruit and let the children share in the money which they earn from the processing.            
            When parents pay their children for work done, do not advise them to buy a pig or sheep, because many thoughtless farmers did. They should tell their offspring to subscribe to some good publications and then establish a reading circle in the family where each could read aloud in the evening. 
If they bought good furniture for their houses instead of fancy guns and hunting dogs, their homes would be comfortable and attractive.  They could rest assured their children would regard it as the dearest spot on earth and they would never wish to leave it.”
Some of these may still be good ideas today.  I am not sure that all of today’s children would never want to leave their parents, no matter how much they appreciated their parent’s house.  Well, anyway … that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Historical Society.  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 15, 2018

March 15, 2018
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about an update on the street repairs on Grant Avenue in 1910.
            The “paving work” along Grant Avenue to Fort Riley is being finished as rapidly as possible and when completed this will be one of the best roads in the state.  That was the statement made in the “Fort Riley Guidon” newspaper in March of 1910.  Mr. Woodward, who was the contractor for hauling the crushed rock for the project had several teams at work and a number of men busy spreading the macadam.  The stone was being furnished by W.J. Lott and came from the crusher east of the city. 
This stone was crushed very fine and almost made gravel which when rolled would make a pavement.  One of the Junction City businessmen who was out inspecting the work, suggested that a street made of macadam alone and oiled once or twice a year would make good cheap paving even if the asphalt was left off.  The road was almost complete and as soon as it rained a ten-ton roller would compact the surface.   The, if the expense was not too much, a coat of oil twice a year would put the finishing touches to the road of which the the citizens of Junction City and Fort Riley would be proud.  The officials at the Fort and Mr. Haas Ziegler of Junction City were overseeing the building of this important road to insure that it would be done right.
Remember our Museum is open from 1 until 4 each day Tuesday through Saturday and admission is free. The display titled “Submerged” about the Geary County floods that led to the construction of Milford Dam is still in place.  Stop by at the corner of Sixth and Adams and see “Submerged” and the other galleries in our Museum.  And… Thanks for reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 14, 2018

March 14, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about an important meeting, which was held on Saturday, March 1911.  Professor Crabtree of the Agricultural College was in Junction City to conduct a street meeting of the Farmers Institute outside the courthouse in Junction City.  Beforehand, however, he determined to hold the street meeting and started to give a lecture on horses in front of the First National Bank on Washington Street.  The rain of the past week had made the streets so muddy that it was impossible to take the crowd off the main thoroughfare.  It was thought that the gathering would not interfere with any traffic. 
            In the midst of the lecture, City Marshall Pritchett arrived on the scene and without consulting anyone ordered the Professor off the street.  The Professor did not appreciate the manner in which he was told nor did the farmers or citizens who had passed by during the lecture.  The Marshall, in defense of his actions, reminded the citizens that he was only enforcing the laws as he had been sworn to do. 
            The comments after the event were critical of the manner in which the Marshall conducted himself.  It was thought things might have gone better if the Marshall had used more discretion about enforcing more important laws and not those that seemed too extreme.
            Our JCPD have laws they may not agree with, but they have been hired to enforce them.  Fortunately, our police officers are courteous and patient and that is reason to support them in their important work. At least that is the opinion of your host on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 13, 2018

March 13, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            It is Tuesday and that means we will be continuing the historical journey about the C.L. Hoover Opera House.  Again, this information was taken from a document prepared by the Late Rob Stevens.  We pick up the story on “August 5, 1986, when the voters approved a new swimming pool, but turned down the Opera House.  The vote was 1,741 to 1, 256.  The Opera House still sat empty.  After $100,000 of repairs and redecoration, the Junction City Little Theater was still at the 18th Street Building. 
            Jerry Brecheisen wrote a letter dated April 17, 1987 in which he stated “I believe the entire community suffered with the defeat of the Opera House project.  It would have meant another quality project anchoring another busy area downtown.  Quality theater downtown meant a lot and I believe the construction and remodeling obstacles could have all been overcome.”
            Richard Pinaire stated that “Society suffered because we don’t have a quality cultural center.  Instead we have a cinderblock building with a tin roof.  It is shameful we don’t have a better place.  The Opera House was one more critical link in the chain of recruitment for this city. The election put the city commission in a difficult position.  In four to six weeks the Citizens for the Opera House and Swimming Pool got a reasonably good number of votes with a lot of misinformation.  Government now has to make a decision and lack of JCLT support has put the city commission in a difficult position”, Pinaire said.
            The last of Rob Stevens work will be shared next Tuesday, so please stay tuned….to “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 12, 2018

March 12, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            We all have our cell phones that receive signals from towers that bounce off of satellites in the sky and think nothing of it.  Well in 1911, there were some improvements made on serving telephone customers that were more … shall we say .. down to earth.
            Big improvements in the telephone service were being contemplated by the Wareham-Dewey Telephone Company in March of 1911.  The Wareham-Dewey Telephone Company was Junction City’s first telephone service. 
            Appropriations amounting to nearly $60,000 had been set aside to make the system lines modern throughout the city.  The first thing to be attended to was the replacement of the lines on poles with underground conduit throughout the business section.  The poles south and along Jefferson Street were all taken down and the wires run onto the alley poles.  Manager Ben Fegan was said to be doing good work and it was his desire that the company give the very best service possible.  Indeed, it was noticed that there was considerable improvement.  The “Daily Union” newspaper stated that “the inadequate service in the past few months justified subscribers for their complaints.  However, they were satisfied with the efforts of the telephone company in putting up the new system and were ready to give honor where honor was due.”
            Our frustrations with phone service today may be caused by a dropped call, inadequate or no wi-fi, low battery power when needed and others.  Times change, products improve and  services change, but we always seem to want more. 
Well, that’s an historical perspective isn’t it!  This has been “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 9, 2018

March 9, 2018
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 
Try to imagine this is March of 1878.  There are no cars, streets are not paved and horses were the primary means of transportation.  Now imagine you are standing near the corner of Fifth and Adams Streets in Junction City and this happens….
            There was a fatal stampede of a two horse team belonging to E.W. Biggs of Junction City in March of 1878.  The team was tied to a post at the back of the residence of J.C. Smith near Centennial Hall, which was located on the corner of Fifth and Adams Streets.  It was said the horses were frightened at the bolting of another horse that had broken loose and was dragging the post to which it had been tied.  The team snapped their halters and ran through the alley to Fifth Street and took the road toward the ferry on the Smokey Hill River.  When they arrived at the river, the animals stopped, but the slippery bank and the speed of the wagon caused them to be forced  into the water.  The water was probably 15 to 20 feet deep.  The horses were immediately drowned.  The wagon bed floated and was soon recovered by men working at the bridge near the mill.  Later in the day the bodies of the horses were seen as they rose to the surface of the water and were recovered.  The horses were probably worth $200.00 and were a great loss to Mr. Biggs, their owner. 
            A comparison today which might be similar would be if a person’s car is left unattended and for some reason rolls into the river or lake.  It may be the owner’s only form of transportation, which would also be a great loss.
            Well … that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 8, 2018

March 8, 2018
                        This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Oscar Sylvester and three soldiers narrowly escaped death on March 8, 1911, when their car skidded from a culvert and backed off into a gully.  The fall was about seven feet. It was a miracle the whole party wasn’t killed.  Sylvester and the soldiers had left Junction City for Topeka early in the afternoon in an E.M. F. belonging to Herman Wetzig. The roads were slippery from the rain.  At about three miles past Ogden, they were crossing the culvert and the car skidded and fell to the bottom of the gully.  Sylvester was pinned down by the steering wheel and the soldiers were trapped inside of the car.  One of them eventually freed himself and succeeded in rescuing the other men.  All were considerably bruised, but not seriously hurt.  The body of the car was a total wreck and the engine badly damaged.  However, if it hadn’t been for Sylvester’s quick thinking, the accident might have been more serious.  As they were going over the culvert he shut off the engine otherwise the car would have undoubtedly been destroyed by fire and the injuries to the men would have been a great deal more serious. 
            Remember they were driving an E.M. F. vehicle in this story?  This name was gleaned from the three men who were the founders of the company and a picture of an E.M. F. can be seen on line.  E stood for Everitt.  Barney Everitt was a car body builder from Detroit.  M stood for Metzger. William Metzger formerly worked for Cadillac and F stood for Walter Flanders who served as Henry Ford’s production manager. The E.M. F. cars were built between 1909 and 1912.
            And… that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 7, 2018

March 7, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about Mr. and Mrs. Thomas G. McKinley’s celebration of their fiftieth anniversary.  Thomas McKinley and Virginia G. Ross were married on March 3, 1929 with relatives and friends as witnesses for the joyous event.  Virginia was dressed in black satin and wore the brooch an earrings that were a gift of her bridegroom on that wedding day.  The McKinley’s were both pioneer Kansans.  Mr. McKinley had come with his parents from Illinois in 1858.  The trip was made with a train of wagons with one drawn by horses, one by a yoke of oxen and one by a yoke of cows.  The cows also furnished milk for the family while on the journey.  The cows also became the means of starting a herd of cattle on the farm, which they homesteaded.
            Thomas McKinley’s parents and family arrived at Fort Riley when it consisted of only a few barracks and temporary officers’ quarters.  Soon after, they selected a section of farmland near the mouth of the Humbolt Creek.  Thomas, who was the oldest son, endured the hardships and difficulties of pioneer life.  The opportunities for an education on the frontier were meager and he always felt his lack of schooling was a handicap. However, he exhibited natural ability and strong determination.  The people of the area had confidence in him to serve the community and county in public office.  For 34 years he served on a rural school board and in the state legislature.  He was also a justice of the peace and constable.  Mrs. McKinley was the youngest daughter of the Ross family who came to Kansas from the state of Virginia in 1873.  Mr. and Mrs. McKinley spent most of their married life on the farm, but enjoyed their retirement years in the home in Alta Vista, where they were celebrated on their Golden Wedding Day.
            We have pictures of early pioneers on display in the lobby of our Museum.  Stop by and take a look at them any day Tuesday through Saturday from 1 until 4 in the afternoon.  
            And… that is today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 6, 2018

March 6, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Last week we shared that in 1985, there were divisions of thought in the city about continuing with the restoration project of the Opera House. Here is more from Rob Stevens’ writing: “Mayor T. Michael Fegan appointed a task force to quickly recommend a future for the building.  Vice Mayor, Dr. Alex Scott, was elected chairman by its members including Scott Stuckey, Eldon Hoyle, Barbara Wright, Richard Pinaire, Mona Kessinger and Rob Stevens.  It first asked any organization which might have a use or interest in the project or the building as well as interested individuals to come before it.  Numerous individuals did that in strong support of the project including Steve Roesler, KJCK owner; Norm Childs, Director of the Convention and Tourism Bureau and Gaylynn Childs, Director of the Geary County Historical Society.  It also heard from several civic groups, but none of those groups would go on record at that time for the project.  Mason Ashby, representing the County Economic Development Commission presented a proposal, which would have converted the front portion of the building into offices and meeting rooms for the Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Tourism and Economic Development Staff.
            After six meetings over two months, the task force felt the best avenue of approach, before further public funds were spent, would be to place the bond issue on a ballot.  Dr. Alex Scott stated that “It became apparent to me as I chaired that committee that the project of restoration and renovation of the theater was an economic impossibility.  Every time someone testified, some new problem seemed to emerge and it became apparent that when the building was stripped of the trappings that made it an opera house, it lost much of its possibility for restoration as an historically meaningful building and that what remained was really the shell. I think it is a sad thing that the hearings on the acceptance of the Opera House could not have been made before the building was accepted.”
            Join us next Tuesday for more on the struggles and progress of restoring the C.L. Hoover Opera House on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.   

Monday, March 5, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 5, 2018

March 5, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story comes from an article written by Sherry Blair, “Daily Union” newspaper features editor, which was published in 1984. The title of the article was “Perry Cheers Friends With Music”.
            The author wrote that Fred Perry was born on a farm in Warsaw, Missouri in 1905.  As an adult, he worked in a bank for 12 years and in the automobile business for the rest of the 32 years he lived in Kansas City, Missouri before moving to Junction.  He purchased the local Oldsmobile/Cadillac dealership, which he operated from 1950 until 1982. 
            Fred stated that “Junction City’s been very good to me.  It’s been wonderful, in fact.” He was especially fond of his neighbors at the Valley View Professional Care Center.  His wife, Lois, lived there from September 1973 until her death from multiple sclerosis in 1976.  She loved to hear him play the organ, so he moved it to the care center and came five days a week to play for her and the other residents. 
            Fred played the organ for Valley View residents at least twice a month after his wife’s death. He stated that “Music is my entire life.  I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have it.  It’s the best thing in the world to calm down.  You can’t think bad thoughts when you’re playing beautiful music.”
            In the summer of 1983, Fred Perry became a resident at Valley View and his ties to the friends who cared for his wife grew even stronger. 
            “Music is the agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.” A quote from J.S. Bach.  And…. that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.  

Friday, March 2, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 2, 2018

March 2, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            The “Junction City Union” newspaper in February of 1949 reported that the Municipal Building had seen heavy use during the previous year.  According to the front page article, an estimated 53,840 persons utilized the city auditorium and other meeting room facilities during 1948.  This information was contained in an annual report on the use of the building tabulated by the City Manager Elder Gunter.  Over half of that number of persons attended the 172 meetings and events slated in the auditorium and receipts from use of that portion of the building came to $3,490.37.  The area most often in use in 1948 was the lower lounge, which had an average of nearly two meetings a day for a total of 525 for the year.  May lodges, civic groups, cubs and organizations used the Municipal Building as a regular meeting place for weekly or monthly meetings, the report stated.
            It also noted that the city auditorium, during the prior year, had been used for five conventions, two circuses, the harvest festival, 40 shows, concerts and the community Christmas Festival.  It was the site of business shows, graduation exercises and teen-age dances.  During the basketball season the auditorium was used almost daily, both after school and at night for both ball games and practice sessions. 
            In addition to these, the building accommodated the USO in the basement and offices for Veterans Affairs and Soil Conservation Agency, the Kansas Employment Service and recreation space for the elderly. 
            The report concluded with the observation that the building was then nearly ten years old and this heavy use had certainly justified its construction.
            And… that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.  

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Our Past Is Present March 1, 2018

March 1, 2018

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about an interesting day at telephone central.  In 1914 and for some time later, “Central” was the term for the operator (who was almost always a lady).  She answered to serve telephone customers, who wanted to place a call.  There was no instant dialing and there was no “face-time” as we have on our phones today.  Calls had to go through a central location.  I also remember that there were “party lines” in which people shared a phone line and could easily, but also inappropriately,  listen in on the conversations of their neighbors until one or both parties realized there were others listening to a conversation that were not invited.  Anyway, here is the rest of today’s story from February of 1914. 
            The “Daily Union” newspaper reported that the young ladies at the telephone central station had one of the most interesting times of the year, the day before.  It seems that a number of people came into the office to talk long distance on the new line.  When they found out the cost to use the new line, they took up to an hour of “Centrals” time trying to beat down the price.  This happened several times during the day and the young ladies were exasperated over it.  One of them suggested that they might in the future have a telephone sale and knock one cent off the price in order to satisfy those who want to telephone for less.  The date of the sale could be announced after the dry goods sales in town had finished.  When the sale was scheduled to occur, a carload of operators could be brought in to wait on the bargain hunters.  The cut rate would be five cents to Kansas City and nine cents to Abilene.”
            Well… this makes me wonder why it would cost less to call Kansas City than Abilene when Kansas City is further away?  I also wonder if such a sale ever occurred?
            Well, that’s our story today on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Our Past Is Present February 28, 2018

February 28, 2018
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 
            Today’s story is about a cold and snowy month of February in 1894. 
            The heavy snowfall, which blanketed Kansas in February of 1894 caused concern in many parts of the state. However, in Junction City the outlook was more on the positive side.  At least that was the general opinion expressed by the editor of the “Republican” newspaper who wrote:
            “This section of the state, in common with a large scope of the country, has been visited with a heavy snow and incidental cold weather.  There is, however, a mixture of benefit and comfort in it all – in that the snowfall has largely protected the growing wheat crop and the cold weather has assured us a good ice crop sufficient to supply all demand for the coming season.  Sleighing was never better anywhere in the state than it is here and all of our citizens are enjoying the occasion to the full extent.  Horse drawn Cutters are continually on the go from early morn to a late hour in the  night.  We had no idea there were so many of these elegant one horse sleighs in our city until we saw them on our streets.  These together with the little folks on their small sleds, make the streets of our city one vast scene of merriment and enjoyable sport.” 
            It seems that this winter has drug on long enough. Let’s hope that spring will come early rather than later this year.
            Thanks for reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Our Past Is Present February 27, 2018

February 27, 2018
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            It’s Tuesday and that means more about the history of the C.L. Hoover Opera House.  I have been hearing that there is interest in this continued series and we are glad to bring it to you each Tuesday as a way to celebrate this beautiful “Gem on the Prairie” as it has been called.
            Last week we left off at a point when much frustration had been experienced with road block after road block to try to restore the Opera House.  The late Rob Stevens wrote that “Very little was done on the project until a November 11, 1985 fire destroyed the front third of the 18th Street City Building, which housed the Junction City Little Theater.  (Note that this building is now across from the Buffalo Soldier Monument and is used by a church.) There was an idea presented to sell that building, use the insurance money and sell other excess city property to begin work on the Opera House. 
The “Daily Union” newspaper did not waiver from its initial stand that public money should not be used for the project.  KJCK still firmly back the project.  On December 17, 1984, the radio station aired an editorial which in part said: “Today we give our strongest endorsement to a quality renovation and restoration project for the Opera House or former Colonial Theater at Seventh and Jefferson Streets downtown… Perhaps the best course of action is a private and public funding to assure a top quality project the entire community can be proud of.  We join many others in supporting the move to put the Opera House renovation project at the top of the priority list…”.
            The momentum began to pick up and next Tuesday we will share the advances being made to move forward with the renovation project. 
            Thanks for reading today and every Monday through Friday, to “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.