Thursday, December 14, 2017

Our Past Is Present December 14, 2017

December 14, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            My brother and sister-in-law recently visited us from Fairfax, Virginia.  He grew up in Junction City and remembered Cohen’s Chicken On A Tray Restaurant when it was on Grant Avenue.  He knew it had moved to Grandview Plaza at some point and then burned.  The restaurant was well known to residents in this area.  Thanks to Charles Kuralt, who did a television travel show, the restaurant received national attention.
 I found an article written by Don Muret, who was a staff writer for the “Daily Union” newspaper.  He wrote: “Chicken-on-a tray and fingerbowls have been in existence at Cohen’s Chicken and Steak House since Sam and Mildred Cohen opened the restaurant on Grant Avenue in 1930.”  The author went on to state that “Charles Kuralt should have known he had put his foot in his mouth when he mentioned during his “On The Road” tv show that there were no decent restaurants along Interstate 70 in Kansas.  Cohen said Kuralt was inundated with a “gang of mail” from Kansans and other Americans extolling the delicious virtues of Cohen’s Restaurant in the Junction City area.
Those letters provided enough impetus for Kuralt and his tv crew to come back to Kansas and sample Cohen’s chicken delights.  A 20 minute segment was produced and aired later. 
Years before, when Sam and Mildred first opened the chicken house, the “New Yorker” magazine featured Cohen’s.  The “Mobil Travel Guide” also contained several pieces on the restaurant.  Cohen’s was also recommended by Duncan Hines and endorsed by Betty Crocker and the American Automobile Association.
Cohen’s moved to a higher elevation in Grandview Plaza following the 1951 flood that practically sank the building on Grant Avenue in Junction City. David Cohen and his father, Gene became partners when they took over the business when Sam and Mildred died in 1978. 
In January of 2002, the restaurant caught fire and was later closed.
Many of us remember the Chicken-on a Tray in the cozy restaurant.  It was a special place to celebrate special occasions or just enjoy the tasty food. 

And… that is today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Our Past Is Present December 13, 2017

December 13, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is titled “That’s A Lot Of Not-So Angry Birds” and as you listen, you will learn why this title was chosen.  This is a story about the 1939 Golden Jubilee Show of the Kansas Poultry Breeders Association. It was being held in the Junction City Municipal Auditorium on Jefferson Street.  Several of the associations arrived in town early in the morning to supervise the arrangements for the show.  Erection of steel coops to accommodate approximately 2,000 birds were started immediately with all entries to arrive by noon the next day.  Judging would take over two days with the Saturday morning judging devoted to the 4-H Club members and high school vocational agriculture students. 
            Mr. J.R. Cowdrey from Topeka, who was the club secretary and treasurer, commented that there were no finer birds in the country than those that were being shown at this show.  An influx of hundreds of out of town visitors were expected to take advantage of the first Sunday show ever held by the poultry association.  After the first day of the show, local persons who attended came away expressing their opinions of the exhibits in terms little short of amazement at the amount of high quality poultry.  They encouraged others to see the show – especially since admission was free.”
            Now you know why we titled this program “That’s A Lot Of “Not-So-Angry Birds”.
And that IS today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Our Past Is Present December 12, 2017

December 12, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about the County Commissioner of the Poor, Nellie I. Baker, and how she solved a problem in December of 1930.  The city woodpile was created at her suggestion.  The purpose of the woodpile was so that any able bodied man, was sent to the municipal woodpile located on different city lots, when he applied for groceries for himself and/or his family, because of lack of financial resources.  The man would receive a dollar’s worth of groceries for every rick of wood he cut and in the process he kept his self-respect and dignity.  County Commissioner, James Doyle, provided the free wood for chopping.  The trees were cut by prisoners of the County Jail and hauled to town in County trucks.  The wood, which was then cut and stacked in neat ricks, was given to the sick and needy or older people who were not financially or physically able to secure their own fuel.  C.W. Rouse got compensation for the groceries he needed by being the supervisor of the wood yard. 
            Everyone benefitted from this suggestion in 1930 from Nellie I. Baker, Commissioner of the Poor.
            There are only a few days left until Christmas and if you haven’t stopped by our Gift Shop to consider some special gifts for that special person, you will want to do so right away.  There is pottery with the words “Junction City” on them; Christmas tree ornaments of the Buffalo Soldier Monument, the 1904 High School, the 1882 Opera House; souvenir salt and pepper shakers, toys, puzzles and books about Geary County history.  Our Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturday from 1 until 4. 
            And…. thanks for reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Our Past Is Present December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            These “Rules For Driving” came from an article in a 1909 “Daily Union” publication found by Leona Garrison in our Research Center. The subtitle was “Every Person Running A Vehicle Should Use Them.”
            Here are those rules:  “When meeting another vehicle, turn to the right.  In passing a vehicle going in the same direction, drive to the left.  When turning a corner in any direction, keep to the right.  Stop at the curb only with the right side of the vehicle to the curb, even if it is necessary to turn around in the street to do so. Vehicles going no faster than five miles an hour must keep at least ten feet away from the car tracks, allowing faster vehicles to use this ten-foot space.  The speed limit is ten miles an hour anywhere in the city.  When turning corners, it is five miles. These are rules for driving put in as concise language as possible.
            Reckless drivers of automobiles may do a great deal of harm by neglecting these simple rules and by careful observance of them they will not only avoid trouble with the police, but contribute to the pleasure of every visitor, whether a pedestrian or occupant of a vehicle.  Frequently the drivers of teams (of horses) seem to feel that driving rules are for motor car drivers alone and not for them, but if team drivers will be equally careful to turn corners properly and pass other vehicles properly, much trouble and possible injury may be avoided.” 
            Today, we rarely have a mix of horses and cars on the streets, there is still some good advice here about being aware of our surroundings.  This is especially true during arrival and dismissal times of school children, pedestrians in cross walks, animals that suddenly dart into the street and monitoring our speed at all times.  These are some good reminders for us.
That’s today’s story.  Thanks for reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Our Past Is Present December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            We have 23 decorated Christmas trees in our house.  Many of them are themed, but five of them have only clear white lights and stand in front of our Nativity scene. Some people think 23 is a lot of trees. Well, today’s story is about someone’s idea about having a Christmas tree for every member of the family.
            In December of 1900, an enthusiastic mother wrote to the Junction City newspaper the following:  “I don’t believe there is anything on the face of the Earth that gives more pleasure to the average child than a Christmas tree.  It does make a good deal of trouble for the elders, but surely it is worthwhile.  One is only a child for a short while and one is grown up for so long.  Our big trees were glorious, but after all, the Christmas we always looked back on as the very best was the one where we each had a little tree of our own.  They were from about 6 inches high for the baby, up to 3 feet high for father.  They were planted in lovely pots and were decorated with little candles and cornucopias.  The decorations on each tree were different colors.  There was even a tree for the pets and no one was forgotten.  Every dog, cat, rabbit, Guinea pig or doll had a gift with its own name marked on the side.  Truly that was a Christmas!!!  I only wish I had nine little rascals to make all that happiness for and the means to do it.  Children are endless trouble, but how forlorn it is not to have them to trouble over at Christmas time.”

            Christmas is a special time for us to show our joy for those in our lives.  This COULD be done with a tree, but some just appreciate spending time either doing something together or just being together and enjoying the quiet.  The good thing is – we get to choose. And… that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Our Past Is Present December 6, 2017

December 6, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Christmas will soon be with us!!!  At the beginning of December in 1921, the Junction City newspapers were already beginning to advertise ideas for Christmas gift shoppers urging patrons to not put off shopping until the last minute.  Cole Brothers had dolls with beautiful hair and sleeping eyes, attractive dresses and quality straw bonnets on their heads.  These were priced at $1.25 each.
 A line of exceedingly nifty coats were being sold at greatly reduced prices at the Phillips Dry Goods Store.  They came in a variety of plush fur and Boline cloth.  Marvelous lines of toilet goods were shown at the Miller Drug Company.  A subtle, delicate perfume in the “Three Flower” line was proving very popular and most attractive gift sets could be purchased in the form of toilet powder, perfume and face powder.
The Muenzenmayer Hardware Store advertised the Fairy Pressure Cooker, which was a heavy cast aluminum utensil that could cook the toughest chicken to a point where the meat fell from the bone in less than an hour.  It guaranteed to save the housewife two thirds of her cooking time and two thirds of the fuel costs as compared to the open kettle. Perhaps with this time saved, the lady of the house could be working on the latest innovation in needlework being sold at the Art Needlework and Gift Shop.  This was a patchwork luncheon set in unbleached muslin with color and the edge finished in rickrack to give it a pleasing effect. 
            We hope each of our listeners are narrowing down their Christmas shopping list as we get closer to that big day.  We have many gift ideas at the Museum that would interest our listeners.  Stop by our Museum at the corner of Sixth and Adams Street and visit our Gift Shop for some special items for that special person. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Our Past Is Present December 5, 2017

December 5, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about women in the 20th century workplace.  The 1906 Junction City Directory listed 318 women with occupational designations other than housewife.  These outside of the home job titles ranged from chambermaid, service girl or domestic to physician and music teacher.  At the beginning of the 20th century, it seemed that few women could enjoy the luxury of not preparing for some type of useful occupation and in some cases they continued in this work even after marriage.
            Many ladies were stenographers and clerks.  Early photographs show a lady teller in the age at the Jellison Loan Company office at Seventh and Washington and an early professional woman driving to work in a buggy.
            The nursing profession has been traditionally filled by women and there were half a dozen nurses and one female physician listed in 1905.  There were also many women who worked in less than glamorous jobs.  Those jobs were laundresses, housekeepers, domestics or servants, printers, waitresses, cooks, nursemaids and cleaning girls.  These occupations were all respectable and were often the means of supporting a widow’s family or providing the way for a farmer’s daughter to live in town and attend high school. 
            One of the most desirable occupations in Junction City in the early century was that of being a telephone operator.  The Junction City Telephone Company, founded by R.B. Fegan, was growing by leaps and bounds.  In 1900, there were almost 90 telephones in Junction City and 13 at Fort Riley.  One girl handled the switchboard in the first telephone office located in a little room above a barbershop on Washington Street.
            Perhaps the most common profession for a woman at the turn of the century in Geary County was that of a teacher.  These “normal training” graduates went out into the 36 rural schools in the county or taught in one of the four city grade schools or high school.  
            Women continue to play an important part in the Junction City workplace.  We now have more women in positions of leadership than might have ever been imagined at the turn of the 20th century.  The sad part is that it has taken over 100 years for women as a group to get where they are today.
            Tomorrow’s story will be about 1921 Christmas gift ideas. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Our Past Is Present December 4, 2017

December 4, 2017
            In December of 1900, the B. Rockwell Merchandise and Grain Company celebrated its 35th anniversary in business. Mr. Bertrand Rockwell, the head of the establishment had only recently mustered out of the Union Army, when he rode into Junction City on December 1, 1865.  His ability combined with his strength was the only capital he had.  However, he applied it vigorously and by 1900 had gone through sunshine and storm, grasshoppers, drought and fires.  He had triumphed over all of these and made a business of which few Kansans could be so proud.
            According to the local newspaper, the Rockwell Mercantile establishment of Junction City, was known near and far as one of the largest and most solid in the west.  The splendid success of that firm may be attributed to its excellent management and the accommodating courteous treatment given to customers.
            While Mr. Rockwell was conservative with his ordering and selling of materials, he was liberal and chartable. In celebration of the 35 years in business, Mr. Rockwell gave a check of $5.00 per year worked to his 35 clerks for a total of over $1,600 dollars.  F.B. Gaylord and E.J. Blades had worked the longest time with the business and their checks amounted to $125 and $120 respectively. 
            The Rockwell Merchandise and Grain Company closed its doors in 1926 after 61 years serving the shopper’s needs of Junction City. 
            Visit our “Main Street Gallery” at our Museum on the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets and reflect on some of the businesses of the past and learn more about why we say, “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Our Past Is Present December 1, 2017

December 1, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about a store in Junction City that closed after being in business for 60  years.  December 1978 marked the end of an era in Junction City.  For 60 years, Roy Clewell had been the owner and operator of a drugstore on North Washington Street.  The store was first opened by Mr. Clewell’s uncle, C.H. Baskin in the building next door.  Baskin bought the business in 1890 and the store flourished.  So, he expanded and built the new building.  Roy Clewell’s father operated the Baskin Drug Store from 1904 to 1917, when Roy took possession of it.  In the early days the business served as a gathering place of the community and the soda fountain jerks and comic books kept the school lunch hour crowds entertained for many years.   The soda fountain, with its mirror encased in a heavy oak frame was a focal point for people to gather and exchange their tales about daily activities.  The store was said to be the first drugstore in town to get a refrigerated fountain, where it offered a wide selection of flavors in its ice cream gallery.
            When it closed in 1978, the Clewell Drug Store could boast of having hosted some well-known people such as Harry Truman, Mickey Rooney and Hollywood star Gene Tierney along with lots of satisfied Junction City customers.

            Tomorrow’s story will be about another long time business in Junction City that closed its doors after many years of doing business.  

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Our Past Is Present November 30, 2017

November 30, 2017
Today’s story is titled “Central National Bank’s Unique Way of Deterring Robbers.”
The word was out to all bank robbers who might have been planning a visit to Junction City after November 24, 1932: “Arm yourselves with Kleenex, handkerchiefs or towels in addition to your usual assortment of machine guns, revolvers and pistols.”  It was on that date the Central National Bank installed an alarm system of tear gas bombs as a further preventative against robberies.  According to the planners, the tear gas would fill the lobby and vaults with a smarting eye irritant that would send bank Presidents, cashiers, bandits, bookkeepers and customers alike stampeding outside for fresh air.  The tear gas was contained in shells or tear gas guns positioned in different parts of the Central National Bank.  The same system of push buttons that controlled the burglar alarms controlled the gas guns and the whole system could be set off simultaneously by any bank employee.
            Release buttons were located at every cage window, at the different desks and at other strategic points throughout the entire bank building.  The directors hoped the new tear gas guns would be an added safeguard for the bank depositors and apparently – it worked.  Junction City was fortunate that during the Depression period, bandits by-passed our town. 
            That’s today’s story.  We want to remind you that if you want a unique gift for that special person on your list, we have books, decorative items, games and other items of interest in our Gift Shop.  Stop by Tuesday through Saturday between the hours of 1 and 4.  Our Museum is located at the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets.   If you have a person on your list who is interested in something related to Geary County history, we most likely have that special gift. 
And… thanks for reading  “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Our Past Is Present November 29, 2017

November 29, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            It seems that scams have always been around.  At the end of November in 1914, local stockmen were warned to go easy when a stranger came along with his checkbook in hand and wanting to buy thoroughbred hogs for breeding purposes.  After purchasing the hogs, the stranger would take the animals to a packinghouse and a few days later the check would be returned as being bogus.  It was learned later that this particular con man had been working all over the United States.
He was described as six feet tall and weighed 200 pounds.  He looked and acted like a stockman, but clearly was not an honest man.  When he arrived in a city, he managed to visit a few of the well-known stockmen and since he was knowledgeable about the business, he was readily accepted. 
When investigating the case, the Sheriff found that the hogs purchased for the $62.00 had been shipped to Topeka and then sold to a packing house.  In less than a week, the Sheriff received word that the con man had been working his way through the country and it was suspected that he was on his way to find another gullible Kansas stockman of whom he would take advantage. 
We all need to be cautious of scams and pay close attention to salespersons who offer us something that sounds too good to be true, because it probably is.
Thanks for reading  “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Our Past Is Present November 28, 2017

November 28, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is titled “The Moose Is Loose.” It is the title of a song written in 1914 by Will A. Brown of Junction City.  Mr. Brown wrote the song as a campaign song about Teddy Roosevelt.  According to the Dictionary of American History, the term “Bull Moose” became a popular name for the Progressive Party that was formed in 1912.  When asked about his health, Teddy Roosevelt replied that he felt “fit as a bull-moose” and the name Bull Moose Party stuck.
            When Will Brown died in 1915 an article appeared on the front page of the Junction City Republic newspaper.  The author of the article stated that Mr. Brown, who was born in Ohio, was a long time resident of Junction City and had been employed by the Ziegler Lumber Company. He had pursued writing music set with words.  A Copy of “The Moose Is Loose”, “The Kansas State Song” and “Whisper of God” were for many years in the musical library of the late Alverta Trebilcock, organist at the Methodist Church.  After her passing in the 1980s, the choir director of the Methodist Church donated copies of these local compositions to our Museum. 

            Stop by the Museum at the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets to see our Galleries of Geary County artifacts.  Our doors are open for visitors between 1 and 4 Tuesdays through Saturdays and admission is free.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Our Past Is Present November 27, 2017

This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            In November of 1886, a local boy was running for election as the Congressional Representative from the Fifth District.  John A. Anderson had made his initial Kansas home in Junction City in 1868.  For five years he was the Pastor of the Presbyterian Church and an influential community leader.  According to accounts, he was an energetic, magnetic orator and charismatic man who enjoyed people.  When he left Junction City in 1873 to become the first President of the Kansas State Agriculture College, which is now Kansas State University, he left behind a new church building, a flourishing congregation, a newly established city cemetery and many devoted friends.  One of those friends was George Martin, the staunch Republican editor and founder of the Junction City Union newspaper.
            After five years in his academic role, Anderson entered the political arena and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.  In 1885, Anderson was the incumbent and the unanimous choice of the constituents in the district.  However, when the delegates met in Concordia in July to nominate the Republican candidate, some wheeling and dealing took place.
In fact, the nomination went to Judge A.S. Wilson instead.  Anderson’s supporters were outraged and on July 29th they convened another convention in Clay Center, where Anderson’s name was placed on the ballot as an independent candidate.  On November 6, 1886, theUnion newspaper reported that Anderson had won by a landslide over his two opponents.  Anderson went on to serve several terms in the U.S. Congress and then was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, where he later died.
 John Anderson was laid to rest in Junction City’s Highland Cemetery, which he helped to create.  
            And… that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Our Past Is Present November 24, 2017

November 24, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is another from a published in the “Junction City Daily Union” and written by Gaylynn Childs, our retired Executive Director.
            “As the Kansas frontier pushed westward, one of the first agencies established in a new settlement was the post office.  In the territory that now constitutes Geary County, the first post office was at Pawnee, the village started near the First Territorial Capitol in 1855.  Robert Wilson, who ran the settler’s store at Fort Riley was appointed the postmaster in March of that year, but the community was so short-lived that by December the Pawnee post office had been moved to Fort Riley. 
            The first post office in Junction City was established in June of 1858, but there are conflicting accounts as to the first postmaster.  The Kansas State Historical Society records list Nathan S. Ranschoff, but in the Andreas “History of Kansas”, L.J. Harris is named as the first Junction City postmaster.
            Ranschoff was a merchant and the post office was located in his store until 1861.  This store was located on West Sixth Street between Washington and Jefferson Streets. 
            In 1864, George W. Martin, editor of the “Union” newspaper was appointed the sixth postmaster of Junction City and the location of the post office was moved to the building in which Martin lived.  This was midway between 8th and 9th Streets on the east side of Washington Street.  The mail was delivered by stagecoach during this period an often arrived in the middle of the night. 
            When William S. Blakely was appointed the postmaster position in 1873, the post office was located on Washington Street somewhere between 7th and 8th Streets.  Ella Lawrenson, the only woman postmaster to ever serve Junction City was appointed in 1894 and served until she was replaced by her husband a year later. 
            There will be more about how mail was delivered by carriers – even to the point of having to swim across the Solomon River to do so.