Saturday, September 24, 2016

09 24 2016

With Jammin’ in JC about to be in full swing, we at the Geary County Historical Society would again like to highlight the great tradition of musicians from the area by sharing the story of local musician, Abbie Clarke Hogan.
Sanborn and Harriet Clarke came to Junction City from Michigan in 1872. The family moved to Wakefield in 1874 where they welcomed their second child, J. Abbie Clarke on February 1, 1875. The family returned to Michigan when Abbie was about a year old but returned to Junction City in 1878.
The Clarke family loved music and enjoyed sharing their love with the community. Every Sunday morning their church would send a wagon to pick up the family pump organ so that Harriet could play during the service.
Mrs. Clarke also gave piano lessons in the community. When Abbie was five years old her mother attempted to teach her how to play the piano. Abbie was not interested in the instrument and her mother soon gave up the lessons. 
When Abbie was eight she heard a traveling violinist. She was captivated by the music and immediately asked her parents for a violin. Her mother was shocked because the violin was a “man’s instrument” and not at all proper for a young lady. But Abbie persisted and in a fit of exasperation her mother said that if she wanted a violin she would have to buy it herself. Abbie promptly marched downtown with her savings and bought herself a violin.
The next problem was finding a violin teacher in the wilds of Kansas. In a strange twist of fate K. Dome Geza, a Hungarian violinist trained at the Vienna Conservatory had become stranded in New York at the end of a concert tour. Down on his luck he met a very persuasive army recruiter and ended up being sent to Fort Riley where he served as the chief musician of the 5th Cavalry Band.
The Clarke’s convinced Geza to teach Abbie. He taught her for three and half years until fortune favored him and he left the Army to become the head the music department at Bethany College.
Mr. Geza thought that Abbie showed a lot of promise and he advised Mrs. Clarke to take Abbie to Germany and have her audition for the violinist Joseph Joachim.
 Just before the audition Abbie injured her hand, despite the injury Abbie performed admirably.  Mr. Joachim was not impressed with her technique but he agreed that she did have talent and he would teach her.
                Abbie lived in Germany with her mother and sister, LuCelia. She attended the Royal Hochschule. She was so talented that she performed a solo with the Royal Hochschule Orchestra at the age of thirteen; making her the youngest member of the orchestra.  
Abbie came back to Junction City after spending two years in Germany.
Abbie was eighteen years old when she won a statewide music contest in Hutchinson, Kansas. The winner would represent Kansas at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. While in Chicago preparing for her fair performance, she auditioned for and won a scholarship at the Chicago Musical College.
Abbie stayed in Chicago to attend college. She graduated in 1894 with honors. After graduation she traveled around the county performing as a soloist with many well-known groups. But she never forgot her home.
In the fall of 1896, at the age of 21, Abbie worked with the local school district to organize a high school orchestra. During this time Abbie was still touring around the country so her sister LuCelia, also an accomplished musician, took responsibility of the high school orchestra.
In August of 1898 Abbie took a break from her musical career to marry, Thomas Hogan, who was in the milling business with his uncle, Mr. Fogarty. They made their home in Junction City and were blessed with two boys, Cornelius born in 1899 and Theodore born in 1903.
When Mr. Fogarty passed away in 1901 Thomas took over managing the mill. The Hogan’s bought the mill in 1907.
Marriage, children, and business responsibilities kept Abbie close to home but she still made time for her music. To keep her schedule manageable she only performed in the Midwest. Her other passion was working with community and high school orchestras. With her help curriculum was developed for music education in Kansas.
Abbie was also very active in the community. She was a member of the Ladies Reading Club and gave concerts to raise funds for the clubs many activities and good works.  She also volunteered at Fort Riley by bringing music to injured soldiers. 
It was by chance that Abbie was passing through Wakefield in September of 1950 and learned that the old hotel was going to be auctioned off.  She stayed and bought the hotel with the intention of tearing it down and selling it for salvage. But she just couldn’t tear down the beautiful old building, so she moved into it. One day some workers at Fort Riley asked if they could stay at her hotel and the next thing she knew she had a new career.
Abbie helped run the hotel among her other interests until her death in May of 1964. The Hogan Hotel, originally built in 1905, was bought by the Corps of Engineers and torn down to make way for Milford Reservoir. 
The Geary County Historical Society will have a booth at this weekend’s Jammin in JC on both Friday and Saturday.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Photo courtesy of the Geary County Historical Society

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ice Box

This week we will be running an article written by our former Executive Director Jamie Martin in May 2013 in honor of our upcoming Ice Cream Social.  It is much simpler to make and cool our delicious treats now than it was then.
On the porch of the Grandma’s Kitchen exhibit there is a large wooden box. It’s made of oak and is pretty plain to look at. If you didn’t read the sign you might think it is just a cabinet. It is a “New Iceberg” made in Sheboygan, WI and donated to the museum by Dan and Polly Stevens. This is how people kept food cold before there were refrigerators.
            Iceboxes such as this one were invented between 1850 and 1860. Iceboxes are hardwood cupboards with inner linings of tin or zinc insulated with material such as 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 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 iceman would deliver. During the hottest part of the year they might have to deliver several times a week. Those early icemen used a horse and wagon to transport ice so they had to work quickly to keep the ice from melting. They often wore a leather vest to protect them from the ice blocks and a large pair of ice tongs was used to grip the ice. It was a back breaking job but it did have its rewards. The iceman was always a favorite with local children. During the summer children would follow the ice wagons in the hopes that the iceman would have a broken block to share with them.
Originally ice was harvested from ponds and lakes. It was a labor intensive and dangerous process. Workers first scraped the snow off ice that was six to thirty inches thick. They had to be careful that the ice did not have any weak spots where the men or horses could break through. Then men then measured grids on the ice and horses pulled a tool that cut grooves on the grid, usually 22" x 32" or 44" square. The larger the block of ice the longer it would take to melt in the icehouse but the larger size also made it harder to move. The next step was to cut through the grooves, with an ice saw, until the blocks broke off. The blocks of ice were then hauled to the ice house where they were stored in sawdust to keep them insulated so they would not melt. By the early 1900’s Junction City was beginning to see commercially manufactured ice. According to an ad run in the Junction City Union April 5, 1921 by Christensen & Beeler the first ice plant in Junction City was the Ice Light & Railway Company built in 1902.
During the early 1900s electric refrigerators started to emerge as a new storage option. Some early refrigerators used ammonia as a coolant. Ammonia can be toxic so it was not a popular option in most households. Refrigerators didn’t gain in popularity until the 1930’s when Freon was introduced as a cooling agent.  By the 1940s they were common in homes and the ice box and the industry surrounding it was becoming a thing of the past.
Sunday September 18th from 3-6 PM the Geary County Historical Society invites you to join us for our Annual Ice Cream Social.  There will be live entertainment as well as a cake walk. The museum will be open at 1:00 pm and we look forward to visiting with you.

Photo courtesy of the Geary County Historical Society

Friday, September 9, 2016

9 10 2016 Museum Musing

Museum Musings September 10 2016

This Sunday is September 11th, a day that haunts the collective memories of Americans everywhere.  At Geary County Historical Society, we are honored to be the caretakers to Geary County’s past, and with that in mind, this week’s musings will look at where some of the staff and volunteers were when the events of 9/11 were unfolding.  Whether we are transplants to the area or lifelong members of the Geary County community, this attack on our nation unites us as citizens and as human beings, so we wanted to share with you our history.

Katie Goerl, Executive Director: I was in math class on 9/11. We knew something was wrong when the phone rang and our cheerful teacher suddenly became very serious. She told us what happened and we watched the news for a few minutes, before the first tower collapsed, but our teacher quickly turned it off. The day went on as usual after that, yet we all knew that our world had changed. I had so many questions that the adults in my life could not answer. The next day, when my mom dropped me off at school, I remember asking if we would go to war. She did not know.

Marion Schweitzer, Director of Programs and Education:  I was a retail employee in Dothan, Alabama at the time.  I was supposed to work the closing shift and my 2 boys were in Preschool and 1st grade respectively.  I had left the gym and turned on my car right after the 1st tower had been struck. By the time I entered my home I witnessed the second plane hitting the second tower.  I can remember watching the coverage through tears and feeling sorrow and disbelief.  The hardest part was that since my boys were so young at the time I had to find the words to explain why “Mommy and teachers were crying.”

Heather Hagedorn, Museum Curator:  I was 12 years old. I was in my 7th grade history class when the planes struck the Twin Towers. The teacher had just rolled the old TV cart into the room to show us a film about the American Revolution when the first plane struck and he had the forethought to turn the TV to the local news. So I watched the second plane hit while sitting in the second row of my history class. We spent the rest of the day in lock down since we lived in a Chicago suburb and there was talk that Chicago was a potential target.

John Sterling, Facilities Manager: I was at work at the post office on 9/11. We didn’t have a TV at work so I didn’t know exactly what was going on until I got home. Then it dawned on me that hey, this is really something serious. It really didn’t hit me until then. I thought, well, that’s the world going to pot for you.

Paula Hansen, Volunteer:  On 9/11 I was on Post teaching at Ware Kindergarten at Ware Elementary.  The news was kept from the children but the administration was monitoring the news.  Post immediately closed so there were long lines coming on Post as I was leaving that day.  The next morning there was a two hour wait to get to school and we were met by armed guards at the school checking identification.

Fort Riley is holding a 9/11 commemoration ceremony at the Global War on Terrorism monument between Cavalry Parade Field and the Cavalry Museum at 10 a.m. Sunday.

Soldiers, families, friends of Fort Riley and family members of soldiers killed in action in support of overseas contingency operations will gather for the ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday. The ceremony will honor and remember those who lost their lives on the 11th of September, 2001 and recognize the sacrifice of the men and women who defend our freedom.

Brig. General Patrick Frank, 1st Infantry Division is scheduled to be the speaker for the event, which is open to the public. Those without a Department of Defense ID card need to arrive early at the Henry Gate visitor control center to get a pass to the installation.

If you would like to share where you were when the events of September 11th unfolded, please visit our Facebook page at or visit us at the museum Tuesday through Sunday from 1-4 pm.   

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Intergenerational Connections

On September 1st 2015 Junction City Mayor Mick McCallister declared September to be Intergenerational Month because as stated in this partial quote from the official Proclamation;
“Whereas, the elderly population is the fastest growing segment in the United States, and; “Whereas, the Intergenerational Clearinghouse and Resource Educational Center (I.C.A.R.E) has their vision a community where youth and older adults thrive through connection, involvement, understanding, respect and role modeling”.
While the mission as a whole is important the word that stood out was “Connection”, as that is usually how histories are handed down.  Families remain connected as each generation shares stories with each other as well as their traditions, their memories, and instills in each the value of communication.  When the elders impart their wisdom and experience to the younger generations they are making an impact through that connection.  When children, grandchildren or students reach out to senior citizens and communicate their knowledge and how current events and technologies are impacting their lives they too are making that connection.
One such family that has made it a point of keeping their connections involved in the family history is the Boller Family who will be celebrating their 150th Family reunion this Labor Day weekend.  Approximately 150 family members from 15 states to include New York, California, Washington, and Florida will return to Geary County to celebrate what was started William P. Boller.  Mr. Boller completed two six-month tours of service during the Civil War and was issued a proclamation deeding him 160 acres of land in Kansas.  He then packed up his family and began the journey to Kansas.  To this day there are descendants living on the farm and working the land producing corn, wheat, milo, alfalfa, and raising cattle.  Peggy Boller shared small pieces of the individual family histories such as that of William Boller who had donated the big bell that adorned the belfry of the Catholic Church of Ogden.  Upon his passing as he had been a long time member of the church the big bell tolled to announce his passing.  He having been a prominent member of the community was remembered by family and friends alike. There is also Felix Augustine Boller who is noted as the First Kansas Lawman killed in the line of duty on December 21 1867 in Ogden Kansas. 
            Mrs. Boller who married into the quiet, loving, generous, friendly, and outgoing family states that the youngest member of the family is only days old while the oldest Boller is 91 years of age and is to this day living on the farm.  She stated that for the most part as they were a large farming family they originally did not stray too far from Kansas.  Peggy Boller herself attended the Departmental School in 6th grade.  The Geary County roots are deep and long in the Boller Family.
            In talking with Mrs. Boller about her family reunion and the planning of it she said that the last family get together had been in 1991.  She mentioned that as there were not many of the older Boller generations left they wanted to share the family stories and instill an appreciation of their history in the their descendants.  To that end there has been extensive research completed by a cousin living in Chicago and he will be sharing what he has discovered in a PowerPoint presentation at the gathering. This is a very small sampling of the conversation with Mrs. Boller in regards to the legacy of her family.  Just by sharing it with me and all the generations of Bollers she is demonstrating how intergenerational communication can be not only invaluable to the historic record but to keeping family and community connected. 
This is also the mission of I.C.A.R.E. to “Build Positive Relationships Between Youth and Adults”.  I.C.A.R.E. in Kansas was founded in June of 2009 and here in Junction City they work to bridge the gap between today’s youth and our elderly community.  By opening the lines of communication and with the exchange of information which takes place when the High School students interview Veterans or children visit nursing homes to play bingo with the residents this program is encouraging connections.  The students share their experiences with their elders who may sometimes be baffled by how invested the younger generation is in their electronics. At the same time the elders can impart their knowledge, their histories, and how their life experiences shaped them. Just as the Geary County Historic Societies mission is “Preserving the Past for the future”, I.C.A.R.E is working to make it possible for the past to be shared with future generations.  Please remember to share the past with your children by visiting the Geary County Historical Society Tuesday-Sunday from 1- 4 PM.

Photo Courtesy of the Geary County Historical Society with Permission from Peggy Boller