Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy New Year! Snippets and stories from past years…


As we ring in the New Year I thought it might be interesting to look back at the old newspapers and see how much things have changed over the years.

In the January 2, 1914 Daily Union there were many social events to ring in the New Year. There must have been something to do every night in December in Junction City.

The highlight of the season was the annual Gamma Tau Beta event.  The Ball was held at Woodman Hall on Tuesday evening. “The occasion was a full dress affair, with the ladies becomingly attired in gowns of the new shades, while the young men in dress suits added dignity to the ball.” The hall was decorated with hundreds of pennants representing schools and colleges across the nation. Streamers of green and white, the fraternity colors, formed a canopy above the crowd and framed the GTB symbol. The Sixth field artillery orchestra from Fort Riley serenaded the party.

The paper continues on with more mundane matters. There were forty six fires in 1913. It seems that July and August were the most active months with eight fires each month.

Cattle were selling for above average prices. Col. L. R. Brady sold two Holsteins. One for $165 and one for $150, three heifer calves went to the same man for $25 each. The livestock reports from Kansas City price prime fed steers at $8.50-$9, dressed beef steers $7.25-$8.40, cows and heifers $4.50-$9.00.   

The B. Rockwell Company paid the highest tax for a privately owned business, $2,895.96, according to the County Treasurer.

Dickinson County was having quite a problem with gophers. Crop losses were estimated to be $50,000 according to farmers. The county commissioners raised the bounty on gopher scalps to ten cents each.

The parcel post celebrated its first birthday at the first of the year. The allowable weight was also raised from twenty to fifty pounds.

There was an organized gang of box car robbers operating out of this area but their headquarters was believed to be Salina. The police are still investigating these crimes.

Over fifty men participated in the wolf drive that was held in the west part of the county. After the hunt the total count was an astounding one coyote and a sighting of two others that escaped.       

The Cozy Theater will be showing vaudeville acts on the Sullivan & Considine circuit this coming season. Ticket prices will stay the same, 5 and 10 cent admissions, except when a tabloid musical comedy is shown in conjunction with the regular act.

Fifty years later the Junction City Republican from January 2, 1964 starts the year on a more sober note. The front page features a large photo of the elevator at Alida with the caption, “Silent Sentinel in the Republican Valley… All activity has ceased in this once bustling community. Houses are all torn down. No school stands…only the elevator is standing… a silent reminder of things past… a silent reminder of Milford reservoir of the future.”

Inside the newspaper is more optimistic with the first major headline stating “Prizes Offered To First Baby Born in 1964”, there are twelve sponsors participating by offering a plethora of prizes ranging from cash and baby supplies to a box of cigars for the new father.

The YMCA sponsored a ski trip to Hidden Valley, Colorado for a large group of Junction City youth. Youth paid $25 each to participate in the trip and will be returning by the end of the month.

Highway construction contracts in Kansas reached a record breaking total of $84,480,000 for 1963 due to the increased volume of work on the interstate system. Interstate contracts in 1963 totaled $36,112,000 for work on I-70, I-35, I-35W and I-435. 90 percent of the project was funded by federal taxes and the state funded 10 percent from the collected highway user taxes.

Agriculture fills a good portion of the paper; “The first consolidation of regional grain co-operative in the United States was announced in Kansas City, Friday by P.J. Nash, secretary and general manager of the Farmer’s Union Co-operative Marketing Association.” They will now be able to better serve co-operative grain elevators in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming because of combined assets valued at $35,000,000. They will be processing and storing grain for over 100,000 farmers. The storage capacity will be in excess of 50 million bushels. This allows for an increase in exports, grains will be loaded on barges at St. Joseph and Kansas City.    

On the next page there is a large article about the Kansas Agricultural Convention. Topics to include Wheat Marketing in South America and What’s Ahead for Beef Producers.

The Agriculture outlook for 1964 is “much of the world is short of food… heavy purchases of grains will do more to bolster U.S. farm income than will government-supported prices in 1964.”

As I turn to the next page full of advertisements a used car ad catches my eye; 1963 Buick Skylark $2,895, 1960 Chevy El Camino V-8 $1,499, 1959 Chevy Bel Air $1,099.

On the last page of the paper is the newspaper’s prediction for what will be major stories in the coming year. The Milford Dam project will feature heavily as it nears completion. At this time the contractor is 105 days ahead of schedule and may have the project completed by mid-summer if the weather cooperates.

            Fort Riley is discussing the feasibility of acquiring approximately 50,000 acres. If acquired it will double the size of the fort. “The additional land would provide for adequate firing range and maneuvering of vehicles and personnel.”

            The article concludes with the prediction that “continued growth and development of Junction City and Geary County appears to be the pattern for the New Year. “
            I guess some things don’t change as much over the years as you would expect. From all of us at the Geary County Historical Society we wish you a safe and happy New Years!