Thursday, July 20, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 20, 2017

July 20, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Getting outside and enjoying the weather, taking a ride in the country, visiting small towns or just admiring the Flint Hills is something many of us like to do.  In July of 1925, the automobile gave many just that opportunity. A number of conveniences for the tourist had been invented for preparing and keeping food hot or cold while on an excursion.  There were elegant and perfectly equipped luncheon boxes and baskets, but until that year no one had invented a table on which a luncheon could be served to travelers when they wanted to stop along the roadside for a meal either inside or outside of the car.   
            The folding table filled that gap.  It was advertised as being perfect in any car and gave tourists assurance that luncheon may be served at any place or at any time – rain or shine. And…. it was not necessary to leave the car. After lunch, the table could be used for playing cards or writing a letter that needed to be posted at the next stop. When not in use, the table folded and hung out of the way from the robe rail or it could be folded flat to lie on the floor of the car.  This traveling table was invented by Mrs. George A. Rockwell, a prominent citizen of Junction City.  She applied for a patent on it in 1915 and had the tables manufactured by a furniture factory in St. Louis.  Mrs. Rockwell was expecting to establish agencies in most of the large cities to promote and sell her table, which seemed to have been a forerunner to today’s…..folding t.v. trays.  
            And… that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 19, 2017

July 19, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            One of the earliest Junction City settlers passed away in July of 1915.  That was Mrs. Ruth Keys.  She was born in Lima, New York in 1829, but when she married John Keys in 1854, they decided to move out west.  They first lived in Iowa before coming to Kansas in the spring of 1860.  They stopped in Junction City where they purchased a land warrant for $200, which entitled them to 160 acres of unclaimed land.  They settled in the Chapman Creek area.  All that summer there wasn’t a drop of rain.  John and Ruth slept in their covered wagon with their nearest neighbor being three miles away.  Indians roamed about the area. 
            One day John Keys went to Junction City to get supplies and did not return until the following day.  Just before dark, a band of Indians came by and asked if the big chief, meaning Ruth’s husband, was in the wagon.  She led the Indians to believe that he was and they didn’t bother her.  However, they set up camp so close that she could hear them snoring as they slept.
            As a result of the drought and the ill health of her husband, the family gave up the farm that fall and moved into Junction City where Ruth lived on the same block for nearly fifty years.  She raised two sons, but both died within a month of each other in 1906. This left her with just one grandson.  Her husband, John, had passed on many years before she died in 1915.  Ruth was buried in Highland Cemetery in 1915.  Her picture may be seen in display on the first floor of our Museum. It is among the many pictures we have displayed of early settlers in Geary County.  Stop by and see them any Tuesday through Sunday between the hours of 1 and 4:00 PM.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 18, 2017

July 18, 2017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            “Shaken, not stirred” is a command often given by James Bond in the Ian Fleming novels, which became movies.  This is in reference to James’ preference for the making of his martini.  However, today’s story is about what to do with hay after it is mowed.  Should it be “shaken or stirred?”
            This story comes from a July 1866 article in the “Junction City Union” newspaper.  The writer stated that “his father says it don’t do nay good to keep stirring hay all the time after it is mowed, till it is cured.”  Uncle John, who is a good farmer, says we “ought to keep stirring the grass all the time.”  Mother says “Uncle John cannot bear to see anyone rest for one minute, so all the while he keeps his people working whether or not it does any good.”  I should like to know who is right on this subject stated the author. 
            Well, the reply came back stating that “it seems Uncle John was right.  The more one stirred newly mown grass, the more it cured evenly and the sooner it was fit to go into the barn. Some of the best farmers used a horse hay-tender for keeping the grass in constant motion.  As soon as an acre or two was mowed, they started up the tender, shook up and turned over the hay until it was fit to rake.  When it lay thick on the ground and was not turned, that was when the sun did the most damage by burning and scorching the grass.  The respondent also stated that “it would be best to shake all the bunches into pieces and throw it around lightly so the air may circulate through it and raise the moisture.  This would hurry along the curing process.”
Now we all know that shaken not stirred is preferred by James Bond in the making of his martini and the same can be said for those who work with cutting and putting up hay. 
            That’s today’s story from the Geary County Historical Society.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 17, 2017

July 17, 2017
You are listening to “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Besides visits to our Museum and attending our fundraisers, a way to support the Geary County Historical Society is through a membership.  We have a wide range of annual memberships that range from $10.00 a year for Senior Citizens to Individual Memberships for $15.00 and family memberships for $25.00 per year.  The membership of your choice will get you special notices of upcoming events, our newsletter and you will be showing your support of our mission to preserver and educate about the history of Geary County.  Contact one of the staff at 238-1666 or just stop by the Museum at the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets between the hours of 1 and 4:00 PM Tuesdays through Sundays.
Now for today’s story…
In September of 1854, the Pawnee Town Association was formed to establish a town near the new Army post at Fort Riley.  The Association was composed totally of military officers and territorial officials, including Major W.R. Montgomery, the commander of the Post and the first Territorial Governor, Andrew H. Reeder of Pennsylvania.  Governor Reeder assured the Association of his intent to convene the first Territorial Legislature at Pawnee if proper buildings could be constructed and Major Montgomery agreed to exclude the town site from the first survey of the fort reserve.
Pawnee was soon a booming town of a dozen or so dwellings with a two-story capitol and a large hotel under construction.  By May, the hotel could boast of about 500 residents.  Two sawmills were operating there and three saloons catered to the workmen and soldiers, who were building the nearby fort.  In April of 1855, Governor Reeder called the first legislature to convene at Pawnee on July 2nd.  However, the legislators were mostly pro-slavery Missourians, while Reeder and the Pawnee citizens were predominately Free-stators.  This “Bogus” Legislature met at Pawnee July 2nd through 6th in 1855 in the unfinished Capitol Building.  The main acts of the session were to expel the two free-state members and to vote to remove the seat of the governor to Shawnee Mission, a few miles from the Missouri line.  Though Governor Reeder vetoed this bill, he had no choice but to join the body when they reconvened in Shawnee Mission on July 16th.
            Later that summer, Jefferson Davis, the Secretary of War, in Frank Pierce’s cabinet, expanded the boundaries of the fort to include the Pawnee town-site.  The citizens were ordered out and in October of 1855, soldiers used grappling hooks and rode in and pulled the houses and buildings down.  This left only the old stone Capitol Building as a mute testimonial of the little settlement that was to have been the Capitol City of Kansas.
            The building can still be seen on Fort Riley and is open by appointment.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 14, 2017

  July 14, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Sometimes it is a challenge to deal with certain customers, who DEMAND service or deals beyond what the business owner may be able or willing to provide. Well… there was an example of a challenge a local grocer had, which was published in the “Junction City Union” newspaper in July of 1910.
            The grocer said he admired women greatly and indeed thought most of them to be quite sensible.  However, occasionally he met a woman who tried his patience.  He said she was the kind of lady who would order groceries at 11:30 in the morning and become highly indignant if the groceries could not be delivered to her house in time for lunch.  That kind of woman usually forgets that the grocer had more than one customer. He said that one woman telephoned her order in at 11:45 AM and said if the goods were not at her house by noon she would cancel the order.  He told his delivery wagon driver to pretend he was beating the horses as he approached the woman’s house.  A little later the woman telephoned to say that the driver was beating the horses unmercifully and she wanted him fired right away.  After the grocer explained that it was difficult to get her items delivered to her on such short notice, she agreed to phone her order in earlier in the future.    
Dealing with some of those DEMANDING customers can be a challenge for those who work in the retail business. “The customer is always right” is a good philosophy, but sometimes the customer needs to consider the business owner’s perspective too.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 13, 2017

July 13, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about the man who took care of the Opera House clock.
We have shared stories about Walter Starcke on past broadcasts. According to a newspaper account in July of 1927, Walter Starcke was the official custodian of the Junction City town clock, located in the Opera House Tower.  He had held the position for 44 years – ever since Junction City had a town clock.  This first clock was installed in the tower of the city hall and Opera House building in 1883.  But the clock tower fell during construction and had to be rebuilt.  The clock was not installed again until about three years later. Mr. Starcke, then a youngster was employed by his uncle, Andrew Vogler, who had a jewelry store on East 7th Street.  Young Walter was given the job of winding, regulating, oiling and taking regular care of the clock.  He did this until it was destroyed when the building was burned in 1898.  When the Opera House was rebuilt, another clock, a Seth Thomas was installed.  Mr. Starcke estimated that he averaged 150 trips a year into the clock tower for the purpose of winding the clock and doing maintenance on it.  For many years Walter Starcke received only $15 a year for acting as guardian of the clock.  But in 1927 his wage was raised to …..$52.00 a year. 

Many of you have visited the Starcke House on the corner of Fifth and Adams, which is an historic site owned by the Historical Society. Free tours are available upon request.  Just contact one of the staff members on your next visit to the Museum at the corner of Sixth and Adams or call for an appointment at 238-1666. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 12, 2017

July 12, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
In July of 1882, the Board of County Commissioners went to the eastern area of the county to inspect a new iron bridge at McDowell Creek.  A newspaper reporter was invited to go with them on the journey and his article published in the “Daily Union” newspaper gave a graphic description of the countryside east of Junction City.  He wrote that while the commissioners looked at the bridge he wanted to see the farms, crops and the prairie with its millions of flowers.  After leaving the city, the first thing to catch his eye was Fogarty’s 225 acres of corn.  It was as level as a floor and well cultivated.  Then he saw Captain Wright of the Cedar Springs Farm.  There was an undulating field of rye, wheat, oats and corn.  Frank’s farm, which was further along the way was the farm that Anson W. Callen, who was known as “Old Grizzly” first claimed when he came to Kansas.  On the ascent to Government Hill, there was a magnificent view of the Clark’s Creek valley.   Then it was on to the Humboldt Creek valley.  As they reached Commissioner Hobb’s place, the reporter found him and two boys wrestling with sheaves of wheat and setting them up in huge shocks.  The Commissioner showed the party the way to McDowell Creek by way of the prairie.  For five miles they followed a blind trail through acres of grass that would have fattened thousands of cattle. Lunch was taken at the sheep ranch close to the new iron bridge and after another inspection of the structure, the party headed for home.  There was more written about the landscape and the beauty of what was then Davis County than there was about the inspection of the new iron bridge, which was the intent of the trip.
            Our area IS beautiful this time of year with all the rain we’ve had.  The grasses and tree leaves are green, the creeks and rivers full and the puffy white clouds during the day and the beautiful sunsets in the evening are some of the reasons this a great place in which to live, work, play and retire.
            Thanks for reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.   

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 11, 2017

July 11, 2017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about a jail break.  Sheriff Peeso had one of the most thrilling events of his career in July of 1904.  It seems that Gilbert Mullins, a local thug, had been the leader in a mutiny at the federal prison and killed one of the guards.  Mullins had been brought to the Junction City County Jail for safekeeping while awaiting trial.  He had made a number of attempts to escape and on one morning in July, Mullins along with several other prisoners concealed a club and attacked the Sheriff, when he stepped into the jail.  The Sheriff was up against four or five big men, who were using clubs and chairs to fight him.  During the fight the prisoners slipped out of the jail and left one by one.  At last, Peeso got the door shut and locked. With blood streaming down his face from a dozen wounds he started for his rig, which was kept in the old stable at the corner of Ninth and Washington Street.  The alarm was given and everyone in town was on the manhunt.  The prisoners had gone south down the railroad track.  William Bicknell, who was then a policeman, was close behind them and they just got across the river as he arrived at the banks.  One reporter ran down to the Davidson Hardware Store and got a double-barreled shotgun and was close behind two of the men when they surrendered to Clarence Bell at the Grandview Schoolhouse.
            All that night and the next day, officers and every able-bodied man in town were on the hunt for Mullins.  Two days later he was found west of town after a couple of shots brought him down.  Mullins was sent to jail for life for killing the guard at the federal prison. After serving ten years, he was given parole by President Wilson.  He left prison and went to Yale, Oklahoma where he stayed for one year before coming back to Kansas.  At Pittsburg he robbed and assaulted a man and was back in prison again.  On his release, another battle ensued and he was shot in the neck which left him unable to talk.  Mullins then moved in with his sister, who did her best to keep him out of more trouble while he lived his last days in Junction City. 
            Well, that’s today’s story from the Geary County Historical Society.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 10, 2017

July 10, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Last week we had a story about a best seller book written in Junction City.  The author was J.J. Pennell’s son, Joseph Stanley Pennell, who wrote The History of Rome Hanks written in 1944.  In July of that year, the “Kansas City Times” newspaper ran an article entitled “An Unconventional Kansan.”  It told of Joseph being a man who “disdains hard and fast rules” and who had turned out a “breath-taking first book.”  When Joseph Stanley was a student at the University of Kansas, he papered the walls of his room with rejection slips from editors.  These slips came from a variety of publications.  One of those was the Atlantic Monthly.  However, in 1944 Pennell finally had his first novel published. The History of Rome Hanks was acclaimed by critics as among the most remarkable books to appear in many years. 
            It was in Junction City that he began to settle down and for more than two years immersed himself in studying about the American Civil War. Lee Harrington is the central figure in the novel.  He is a young man, who is trying to sort out memories of the Civil War as told him by his grandfather.  He tries to imagine what life would have been like then and what impact the Civil war might have had on the people. The tales range from past to present, from Gettysburg to Shiloh. 
            We have a copy of this book at our Museum.  Stop by and ask to see it any Tuesday through Sunday between 1 and 4:00 PM.  Admission is free and we keep the Museum cool for our artifacts and your comfort. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 7, 2017

July 7, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Yesterday we began a story about John Rogers and his management style at the early public swimming pool in Junction City. 
John’s word was law at the pool as Lois York remembered.  In the early 30’s she came back to Junction City from a vacation in Minnesota with a stylish new red one piece bathing suit.  When she wore it to the city pool for the first time, John gave his disapproval and told her one piece suits were not allowed in the pool.  Lois climbed right out of the pool and spread a beach towel to sunbathe – after all there was no rule that one piece suits could not be worn around the pool if you didn’t go in the water.
John’s other rules during in 1913 were that swimmers must shower with soap before swimming; boys and men’s suits must be a one piece suit.  Girl’s and women’s suits must have a blouse, bloomers, skirt and hose.  During swim times males and girls had their own swim time separate from each other.  Black females and black males had their own swim time.  Occasionally boys and girls could swim together.  In 1938 a second pool was built in the same place as the first one, which was more modern.  The new rules were: no dunking, running acrobatic rough housing, water fights, pushing or diving. 
In 1988, a third pool was built in the same place and became an Olympic size pool.  These pools were located next to the Fifth Street Park and is currently open to everyone.
That’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 6, 2017

July 6, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 
            In an article written for the August 17, 1978 “Daily Union”, Chloris Killian wrote about “Junction City’s Earliest Pools”.  She wrote that “Junction City was unusual in that a pool was built in the city park near the turn of the 20th century.  Sumner Pierce, one of the early settlers in this area, gave the park land to the city and was responsible for building a swimming pool there.  As a young boy in New York, he developed a crippling ailment at the age of 12 and lived the rest of his life with some disability.  He was convinced that better swimming facilities might have prevented his illness. The first pool in Junction City was built in 1913. 
            The swimming pool in the park had a native stone bath house.  The pool was south of the stone house and had the most modern facilities of the time with a sanitary method of changing water by means of a drainage ditch that ran north across several lots to the edge of town. The pool was managed by John Rogers, who also served as the lifeguard.  However, John couldn’t swim, but used a life preserver with a rope tied to it in the case that anyone needed help.  Just this system caused swimmers to be cautious about going beyond a depth of water that was comfortable to them. 
            Be listening tomorrow when we continue this story about John Rogers’ rules and how Lois York remembered wearing a stylish new bathing suit to swim in and how he disapproved of it.
This has been today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 5, 2017

July 5, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Heather, our Curator has created a display about the impact of the military on local commerce in the early development of Junction City. The 1918 year book from the Medical Officers Training Camp at Fort Riley displays the advertisements for many local businesses that helped support the troops during the First World War.  They include tailors who customized dress uniforms, shoe stores that sold boots, leg wraps and puttees; hotels and restaurants that offered discounts to soldiers and photographers, like J.J. Pennell, who took photographs of soldiers.    An advertisement published by the B. Rockwell Merchandise and Grain Company in Junction City stated that the B. Rockwell Company “has been the headquarters for soldiers and officers for over 50 years.  It’s the oldest store in Central Kansas, located in the same place as 50years ago.  Also a remarkable thing is that it’s under the same management. The name “Rockwell’s is a household name in every Geary County home.  Our aim is “the fulfillment of your desires.  We carry nearly everything an officer of soldier wants.  The quality is right and our prices are always the lowest. Our grocery department is one of the largest in the state.” 
The economic impact of Fort Riley and veterans in the Flint Hills region can easily be seen.  As the numbers of soldiers and their families increase and decrease at Fort Riley, so does the economic impact. 


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 4, 2017

July 4, 2017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
             Today’s story is about a unique sports event that took place in Junction City on July 4, 1921 and at the same time in Jersey City, New Jersey. There was a big fight between two boxers.  Their names were Dempsey and Carpenter. A large scale fight party was arranged by the “Daily Union” newspaper.  An 18 foot arena, which was the same size as the actual ring the fighters would use in New Jersey, was erected in the front of the newspaper office at 108 W. Eighth Street.  A direct telegraph line was installed to Kansas City. Two boxers representing Dempsey and Carpenter were to reenact the blow by blow account of the actual fight in New Jersey, but do it in Junction City as the information was received by way of the telegraph line and relayed to the boxers by Doc Reid, a local boxing enthusiast and trainer.  The blows would be as fast as Doc Reid could read and pass on the information.  In the case of a knockout, the blow by blow report and demonstration was to be stopped long enough to tell the crowd that the fight had been won.  Then the blows leading up to the victory would be shown by the actors in a kind of instant replay.  A special bulletin board was erected in front of the Central National Bank on which the returns from the big fight would be posted. 
            Long before television a large crowd in Junction City was able to celebrate the 4th of July by seeing how Jack Dempsey won the big fight….. well sort of. 


Monday, July 3, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 3, 2017

July 3, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about the misuse of fireworks and what that will get you.
The Junction City Police Department has told us that fireworks can be set off in the city limits during the dates of June 27-July 5th according to City Ordinance 210.230.  Sunday through Thursdays fireworks may be set off between 8 and 10:00 PM and Friday, Saturday and on the 4th of July from 8-midnight. Persons who violate the ordinance could be charged with a misdemeanor.  The consequences could be that the person could be fined up to $500 and put in jail for up to 30 days or both.
            The Pre-Fourth of July booming of fireworks in Junction City in 1949 and in particular in the downtown area, resulted in three arrests by police.  All were charged with disturbing the peace and were released on just $5.00 bond each.  Police said the activities included throwing of firecrackers under the parked cars of persons listening to the band concert in the City Park and fireworks being thrown from a moving car. 
            In 1949, Burke’s Rexall Store advertised a large selection of fireworks including a $1.50 Peace Maker and a cap gun for $.98.  Fireworks cost more today and the consequences for illegally shooting them off within the city limits could involve jail time and a sizeable fine. 
            We encourage everyone to use good judgement, comply with the restrictions and stay safe using and being around fireworks this year. 
            This has been “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society