Monday, August 21, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 21, 2017

August 21, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            For some still living in Geary County, the beginning of the new school year brings back memories of a one-room school house educational experience.  Four generations of one family all attended the Alida School, which was located in northwestern Geary County.  Mrs. Lester Esasser wrote an interesting history of the school in 1953 and one of her recollections is our story today.  Mrs. Esasser remembered a stray burro clattering through the school’s hallway and one of the teacher’s was also a detective. One of the first teachers was Mrs. Jane Ault, whose four children also went to the school. 
            Because there were no school rules regarding age, it was common to have 18, 19 and even 20 year old boys in school, when there was no work to be done on the farm.  One year an unusually large number of boys threatened to “take over” the school.  The School Board advertised for a male teacher to manage the rowdy boys.  After being hired the male teacher managed to tame the unruly Alida lads. After the teacher left, it was discovered he was a detective who had been tracking a man in Junction City. 
            Another teacher was said to have carried an opened penknife and if a student misbehaved, the teacher threw the knife, which sailed past the student’s heads and stuck into the wallboard behind them.  There are still challenges in dealing with student behavior as there were in the early days of the one room school, the difference is that the teachers in USD 475 have training for managing  difficult to handle students and there are counselor’s and administrators to assist them when needed.

Well, that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 18, 2017

August 18, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about the first swimming pool in Junction City. We shared with you in an earlier broadcast Junction City was one of the first communities in Kansas to have a public swimming pool. As the summer’s swimming season comes to a close, we wanted to share this story with you: “The first pool was located very near the site of today’s swimming complex.  The pool came about through the generosity of pioneer resident Sumner Pierce, who was the founder of Central National Bank.  He gave the park land to the city and was responsible for building the pool. 
            There was no special ceremony that marked the opening of the first pool, but community excitement was high nevertheless.”  On August 19 of 1913, the “Junction City Union” newspaper reminded “citizens of the big day and reported that dealers in bathing suits have sold their stock.  On the day of the opening of the pool, Fred Smith, the custodian of the new pool, awoke that morning and went to the pool soon after 5:00 AM. Much to his surprise there were three boys already there with their swimming suits on and waiting for the gates to open.  At 7:00 AM there were a dozen boys at the gate and by 8:00 AM the crowd numbered over 20.  When the gates opened at 9:00, 27 boys took the first plunge into the new pool’s water and in less than an hour the number had increased to over 50. The numbers kept increasing as the day continued.”  The newspaper observed that “the circus may draw the crowd tomorrow, but the playground and its pool drew the crowds today!!!”
                       

   

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 17, 2017

August 17, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about Dr. John Brinkley, who was the famed “Goat Gland” doctor.  In the summer of 1920, Dr. Brinkley announced that he thought Milford, Kansas needed a hotel.  Apparently the hospital business of the “goat gland” surgeon had been so successful that a hotel was needed to accommodate his waiting patients.  Dr. Brinkley recognized the urgent need and ordered work be done to create a first class hotel.  With the possible exception of amenities like an elevator, electric lights and running water, it would offer guests every convenience.
  A manager for the hotel in Milford still needed to be found.  It was said that the fame of the goat gland specialist had spread to Europe and patients from London, Sweden and even South Africa were on the waiting list as guests at the hotel.  The surgeon was naturally desirous that Milford residents take care to put on their best, and every weed be cut or pulled before the arrival of his guests. Even if it meant at his expense.

We have more information about Dr. Brinkley in a book at our Museum.  Stop by any day Tuesday through Sunday between the hours of 1 and 4 in the afternoon and learn more about the “Goat Gland” doctor.  This has been “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 16, 2017

August 16, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            The price of wheat has always been important to the farmers of Kansas.  In August of 1914 an interesting comparison was given of prices paid for wheat for the previous twenty years.  The report was published by B. Rockwell Merchandise and Grain Co., which in 1914 had been in the grain business in Junction City for about 40 years. 
            The report showed the lowest prices were 44 cents per bushel in 1894 and 45 cents in 1896.  The highest prices were $1.01 in 1909 and $1.00 in 1910.  In 1912 the price for wheat was $1.04 per bushel. 
            The price farmers would get for their wheat from September to December 1914 was difficult to predict.  If the foreign countries arranged for safe transportation of the wheat across the ocean, the price might go to 85 cents or a dollar.  The impact of WWI in Europe played a role in the challenge of getting wheat to those countries. 
            Farmers who were out of debt or were able to borrow money from the banks to pay their threshing and grocery bills would be the ones who would make a good profit on their 1914 wheat, and have enough money to support themselves and their families for a while.
            We all depend on farmers to provide the grains and vegetables we want and need for our diets.  They deal with a changing market, weather, pests, a “fickle” customer base and many other issues.  Those of us who go to Dillon’s grocery store or some other store for our food products usually don’t even think twice about where the produce comes for.  We mostly just think about the price we pay for items.  Perhaps we could all do a better job of showing our appreciation to farmers.  Something to think about.  Well, thanks for listening today. We look forward to sharing another story about Geary History with you tomorrow on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 15, 2017

August 15, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Tomorrow is the first half day of school for the 2017-2018 school year.  Today’s story is a brief history of Geary County Schools. The information comes from a book written in 1893 by J.W. Rodgers, who was then the County Superintendent of Schools. “The history of Geary County schools dates back to a period before Kansas became a State – even to the days when the vital question asked was - should this be a free or slave state? The first schools were private, or “select” schools and were provided for by the interested parents, who paid tuition in proportion to the number of children in attendance.  A fund was usually raised for those who were unable to pay the tuition.
            During the winter of 1858-59 there were three schools in the county.  One was located at Milford, one at Junction City and one four miles northeast of Junction City.  The first public school was organized in 1862.  A room was rented for the school and was above a store, which was located in the Bartell block.  County Superintendent, O. Davidson was also the teacher with 72 students enrolled.  During the next school year eight additional districts were formed in the county with three male and four female teachers.  Their average salary was $30.00 per month for the male teachers and $15.00 per month for the female teachers.    
            By 1868, every district had its own school building.  Some built of logs, some were frame and a few were stone buildings.  There was no uniform curricula until 1887, until Speer’s “Graded Course of Study” was introduced.  With this course of study, teachers knew where to begin and what was to be accomplished to prepare students for graduation examinations, which were often held the last Saturday in April of each year. “
In 1893 there were a total of 44 schools in the county with 67 teachers.  The average male salary had increased to $49.44 per month and the average female teacher salary was $39.92 per month.”
            There are 19 schools currently in USD 475 with approximately 700 teachers.  The current yearly salary for beginning teachers (whether they are male or female) is
$38,500.  Eight days of professional development is provided by the district. Teachers in Geary County Schools are: “Preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world.”            
            We wish all of our educators and students a great learning experience this school year from the Geary County Historical Society.



Monday, August 14, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 14, 2017

August 14, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
 At the turn of the 20th Century, William Frey was a well-known and enterprising owner of Frey’s Restaurant located at 607 N. Washington Street.  Later it was the Good Eats CafĂ© and several other restaurants.  It is now the home of Bella’s Italian Restaurant.  This address is also identified as the Rialto Building.
A souvenir booklet published in 1910 titled “Junction City Past and Present” described Frey’s Restaurant as having seen many changes and additions over time.  Mr. Frey moved into the location of 607 N. Washington Street in 1905.  It was here that the most modern facilities and arrangement of artistic as well as expensive fixtures had created a great deal of interest.  Courteous waiters attended the customers who dined at the restaurant, the lunch counter and the soda fountain. Twelve to 18 employees were required at all times to take care of customers.  Each customer received individual attention and their wishes were catered to with courtesy whether the customers were local people or those visiting. 
            A number of rooms were also available for rent. Regular meals were served as well as short orders of anything customers requested. There was a complete line of imported and domestic cigars, smoker’s supplies and tobacco.

Stop by 607 N. Washington Street and spend some time not only dining, but imagining what that restaurant would have been like in the early 20th century.  Before you enter the restaurant look up at the top of the building and see the word “Rialto” carved into the limestone.   

Friday, August 11, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 11, 2017

August 11, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            A term used by historians is the word Chautauqua.  What is a Chautauqua anyway?
            A Chautauqua is an adult education movement that was popular in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920’s.  Entertainment and culture, speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day were included in these events.
            Traveling Chautauqua tent shows were once a highlight of small town entertainment and Junction City had enjoyed a successful one during the summer of 1911.  The last program that year had been a sacred concert by an Italian band.  The time had come to decide if the town would subscribe again the next summer.  A notice in the newspaper stated that in order to have the same excellent variety of programs the next year, at least 500 people must subscribe at once.  They also reported that the Chautauqua that year had shown the people of the city the high-class attractions that were sent out by the Redpath Chautauqua Company.  Many of the programs would cost a dollar elsewhere, instead of the low price asked by the Chautauqua management.  The newspaper concluded that Chautauqua was letting the people of this city and county hear some of the best speakers and musical talent.  It gave our citizens a week’s pleasure and education during the most disagreeable time of the year.
             


            

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 10, 2017

August 10, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            Today’s story is about a business that lasted longer than expected. 
            In August of 1891, a little stock of goods was uncrated and placed on sale in what was formerly a barber shop in the Bartell House block in Junction City.  There were prophecies by locals that the business would most likely last only a week or two – well perhaps as long as a month. But the goods were bought right and sold right.  During the first day of the opening of the store, over one-tenth of the whole stock was sold out, showing to the proprietor that the people of Junction City knew a good thing and appreciated it.  Fifteen years later, the Racket Store, as it was called was still growing.  The store was expanded several times until it had become one of the leading stores in the state with sales of up to about $150,000 a year.  The Racket Store owners claimed that their success was due to good reliable merchandise at the lowest possible prices and their policy of taking back any article that was not satisfactory with a full refund.  They claimed to make friends of their customers and did all they could to let them know their patronage was appreciated. Junction City’s Racket Store remained in business on Washington Street until well past WWI – well past the time naysayers had expected. 
           




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 9, 2017

August 9, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Zoos were not as numerous in Kansas as they are today.  So when a circus came to town, parents made every effort to take their children to see the animals. Many of those animals were unusual examples of wild life.  Before there were many zoos, the circus was a way to see and learn about animals that were not common to our area.  A good place to see these animals was at the circus.
  It was August 9 and 10 in 1866 following the Civil War that J.T. Johnson and Company exhibited the first circus in Junction City.  Watching a circus crew put up the big tent and make camp was almost as exciting as seeing the animals and the show.  The elephants usually stole the attention in the pre-event activities, because of the work they did in unloading and setting up equipment for the performances.  In 1867, the Siamese Twins, who were part of this company, visited the town again.  During the decades which followed, the summer entertainment was often furnished by traveling shows of various types.
Circuses are becoming less and less available now.  Many of us have memories of circuses that not only had entertaining animal acts, but also trapeze artists, clowns and who could forget the circus marches and music played by live musicians with tremendous skills and talent.  Good memories!!!
Well, that is today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 8, 2017

August 8, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Nels Nicholson, a well-known former Police Chief of Junction City and Geary County Commissioner, passed away in August of 1941.  He was 70 years of age.  In 1934, the “Daily Union” newspaper published a Junction City 75th Anniversary issue.  Everyone knew him as Nick.  He began his career in Junction City in 1900 under the city Marshall Tom Allen Cullinan, who we have mentioned during these previous “Our Past Is Present” programs.  Nick Nicholson served as Deputy Sheriff for 9 years.  Later, he became a U.S. Marshall in Wichita for three years before returning to Junction City as a night patrolman, a position he held for 10 years.  He was then elected Chief of Police and preserved law and order in Junction City during World War I.  Nick was the Chief of Police through the mid to late 1930s when the town was overflowing with people from Camp Funston.  He was a reasonable and somewhat forgiving man and many soldiers at Fort Riley knew it.  Nick Nicholson had given  some of them a lecture and sent them back to the Post when an arrest and sentence would have meant an end to the soldier’s military career.   
            We want to express our appreciation to our current Chief of Police, Dan Breci, Sheriff Tony Wolf and all of the law enforcement officers who serve and protect us every day in Junction City and Geary County.
           


Monday, August 7, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 7, 2017

August 7, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Many of us are aware of the Farmer’s Market which is held every Thursday in the Geary Community Hospital’s parking lot.  Local farmers sell fresh produce and other products at that weekly event.
            In the early days of Junction City and the surrounding counties there was a sort of “trading post on wheels.”  Eggs, chickens, cream, milk and butter were traded for sugar, flour, molasses and other staples.  The wagon was equipped with chicken crates which were usually on the back of the vehicle as well as containers to protect the eggs, cream and milk.  This “trading post on wheels” made it convenient for those who lived in rural areas and didn’t often travel to town. As our town grew, more people bought their supplies in town and the “trading post on wheels” began to disappear.
            Credit for establishing the first store IN Junction City was J.B. Dickerson.  He had a trading post here as early as August 1, 1855.  In 1858, John Wiley opened the first general store in the new town, and in August of 1860 Streeter and Stickler bought out the stock of William Leamer and had an imposing store for the time and place.  In addition to local trade, this firm was a heavy contracting business freighting and furnishing supplies throughout the plains area as far away as the Rocky Mountains.  It reached every government post in that region.  Hundreds of men living on the plains were employed by this first “chain department store” in our town.
             




Friday, August 4, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 4, 2017

August 4, 2017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Citizens of Junction City were told in 1907 that there will be no raising of hogs in the city limits.  On August 25, 1907, Dr. Hannah, the city health officer served notice on all people who had been keeping hogs within the city limits to have them removed  - AT ONCE!!!  There was a very strict ordinance against this and yet there were people who, either through ignorance or disregard for the law, continued to openly violate it.  From time to time warnings had been published in various papers and they had been ignored.  The city abounded with people who kept as few as one and as many as six hogs in pens in their back yards.     
            Even in the densely populated parts of the city this nuisance was being carried on.  There were even some pigpens within a few blocks of the main streets.  Hardly a day passed, but some of these animals would be seen parading up and down the streets and alleys.  This gave the city a “Cabbage Patch” aspect and was a decided detriment to civic improvement.  Then, too, the stench from the pig sties was extremely unpleasant – especially in the summer months.  Also it was conducive to ill health.  Several cases of malarial fever during previous years was said to have been traced directly to this source.
            According to the “Union” newspaper editor, the practice of keeping pigs with the city limits had long been a menace to the health of the community, and Dr. Hannah was to be commended for the stand he had taken on this matter.
            That’s today’s story.  We hope to see you soon at our Museum at the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets in Junction City. The Museum is open from 1 until 4 every day Tuesday through Sunday and admission is free. 

            

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 3, 2017

August 3, 2017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about a harsh criticism of a play that was performed at the Opera House in August of 1907.  Apparently not all summer entertainment lived up to expectations according to a review of a play present in Junction City in August of 1907.  The review stated it had been the custom of a certain class of stage people, when they wanted a vacation to band together and tour the country with a performance of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” This was done by those more desirous of salary than anything more permanent.  The consequences was that the average “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” production was not all that it should be and the performance at the Opera House the previous evening was in no way an exception to the rule. 
            According to the reviewer, the play itself was always disappointing after one had read the book by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  The development of the play, through the work of such companies during the last half of the century had been rather disastrous to the individuality of the story.  “The show last night was poor”, stated the critic.  He went on to write that “the story was supposed to be a tragedy of the most pathetic type, but it takes good acting to do tragedy  and not make it laughable.  When it was well acted, it is a fine thing, but on the other hand when it is murdered and also dissected it is a most painful production.  The audience was large, but many left before the play was over”. 
            The review concluded that “this play was out of date anyway and the sooner it is laid on the shelf for the worms to worry over, the fewer occasions there would be for harsh and adverse criticism.”
            Wow!!! That was harsh – but from the critics perspective deserved.  It has been rare that a poor performance is seen at our C.L. Hoover Opera House.  We hope you will join us this season to see a few or all of the productions.
           



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 2, 2017

August 2, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Many of us have experienced the direction to “hurry up” and then we find ourselves having to wait – for some reason, perhaps unknown to us.  Well, today’s story is about what might be considered a common “hurry up and wait” theme in August of 1920.
            A selected detachment of 500 regular soldiers from Camp Funston left for Denver on two special trains in August of 1920.  They had been ordered to duty in connection with the rioting related to the streetcar strike there.
            When the orders reached Camp Funston the previous evening, many of the officers and men of the detachment were at their homes and they were recalled at once to the camp. It took only a short time to get the unit together, assemble the equipment and get ready to entrain.
            The men were said to be a special detachment that was formed to handle similar emergencies as the one in Denver.  They were equipped with sawed-off shotguns and cartridges loaded with buckshot, Whippet tanks, hand grenades and “one-pounders” that shot shrapnel.
            Although the men and equipment were quickly assembled, their departure was delayed until the necessary rolling stock was available and they were finally underway with the first train that left in the early morning of August 7, 1920. 

            Hurry up and wait.  Still a common theme in the military.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Our Past Is Present August 1, 2017

August 1, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today our time will be spent sharing more about the early days of Junction City.  
            We hope you are enjoying these stories and if you are, stop by the Museum and let us know that or give us a call at 238-1666.
            Ben Keyser opened a printing office in Junction City to start a newspaper in 1859, the same year Junction City was incorporated.  He was a Southerner with pro-slavery sympathies and a radical Democrat, although the only surviving edition of his “Junction Sentinel” newspaper dated May 14, 1859 gives no outward indications about his political position.
            Keyser’s “Prospectus”, in addition to describing his plans for the newspaper, also gives us an indication of the prospects for the new town. Here is a quote from that work:  “This is the most western town of any importance in the Territory, being three miles west of Fort Riley and located immediately at the junction of the Republican and Smoky Hill forks of the Kaw (Kansas) River.  It naturally commands the trade of the settlers upon the rich and beautiful valleys spreading from the banks of streams. 
            The continued prosperity of the town although but six months old, its rapidly increasing importance and the many and varied interests that are centering on it, has induced the undersigned to try the rather dangerous experiment of publishing here, upon the border of civilization.  It is true that towns seldom make papers, while it is equally true that papers often erect towns.”  These were encouraging words about early Junction City.

Thanks for reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 31, 2017

July 31, 2017

You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Yesterday’s story was about the early days of Junction City. Perhaps many of our listeners do not know how and why Junction City got its name. So… in today’s story those questions will be answered.
Junction City got its name because of its position at the junction of two rivers – the Smoky Hill and Republican Rivers. In 1854, Andrew J. Mead from New York, the Cincinnati-Manhattan Company and Free Staters with a connection to the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company, planned a community at what is now Junction City. They were going to call it Manhattan. There was even some discussion about calling it New Cincinnati. However, when the steamship, Hartford, which was delivering the immigrants, could not reach the community because of low water on the Kansas River, the Free Staters settled 20 miles west in what is today Manhattan. The new community, which is now Junction City, was renamed Millard City for Captain Millard of the Hartford steamship on October 3, 1855. Then it was briefly renamed Humboldt in 1857 by local farmers and renamed yet again later that year – Junction City. Junction City was incorporated in 1859. If you haven’t had time to visit our Museum yet this summer, we hope you will do so as soon as you can. Our Museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays between the hours of 1 and 4 in the afternoon. Admission is free and the air conditioners work really well for the protection of our artifacts and your comfort. The Museum is located at the corner of Sixth and Adams. Thanks for reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.       

Friday, July 28, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 28, 2017

July 28, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s broadcast will be a chronology of events in 1858 from May through December, which was published in the “Junction City Union” in May of 1876.  This information was a way to mark some of the significant events that led up to the 100th birthday of the United States and was a chronological history of Junction City up to that point.  These are some of those events:
            The Junction City Town Company was organized in the fall of 1857 and on New Year’s Day of 1858, Daniel Mitchell began the survey of the present town site.  The survey was completed in the early summer of 1858.  The original members of the Town Company were: J.R. McClure, President; Robert Wilson, Treasurer; Daniel Mitchell, Secretary; F.N. Blake, John T. Price and P.Z. Taylor.
            In May, work had begun to erect a building near the crossing of 7th and Washington Streets.  In June, editor Benjamin Keyser and printer, George Kingsbury announced, “We have bought the type and press for a democratic newspaper and have them now in town.  We will issue the first number in June.  It will be called the Junction Sentinel newspaper.”
            In July of 1858, the first sermon was preached in Junction City by Reverend William Millice, a Southern Methodist missionary.  He preached in a frame building erected on the northwest corner of 7th and Washington Streets.  Also in July, the Union Lodge A.F. & A.M. was relocated to Junction City.  The first meetings were held in a crude log cabin on the Cuddy’s Addition. 
            On August 2nd of 1858, Kansas voted on the Lecompton Constitution and Davis County cast 123 votes to reject with only 27 votes in its favor.  On August 5th, Elizabeth and Robert Henderson gave birth to their daughter Lizzie.  She was the first child born in Junction City. 
            On October 4, Benjamin Keyser and Thomas R. Points were elected to the Territorial Legislature from Junction City and by December about a dozen structures including homes and businesses had risen in the town. 
            There was a lot going on in the early days of Junction City.  We can be sure that there was construction of business buildings, houses, unpaved streets, getting to know each other, helping each other, growing foods to sustain themselves and many other activities going on in the building of a town in the mid-1800’s. 
We have some pictures of early Junction City on the first floor of our museum in the Main Street Gallery.  Stop by and take a look to see what our City looked like then and see why we say – “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 



Thursday, July 27, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 27, 2017

July 27, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            In the summer of 1920, the “era of prohibition” was changing the routine of court life from convictions for drunkenness to insanity hearings. “Lemon extract was the explanation offered by the police officers for the recent arrests related to alleged intoxication. A number of hearings were heard concerning arrests made by those who had been drinking lemon extract, which caused the user to appear crazed in the mind.  In 1920 the accused were referred to being insane not only here, but in courts throughout the United States.”
            According to the “Junction City Union” newspaper of August 4, 1920, “within the past two weeks in probate court in Salina, two cases of insanity had been brought before the judge, which were distinctly traceable to the effects of lemon extract.  And…. just the day before, officers were questioning a Junction City man and he, at first, said he had given some money to a stranger, who bought lemon extract for him.  However, he later changed his story and stated he had purchased 17 bottles of the extract at a dozen different stores.”  The alcohol content in lemon extract is about 84%.  “It was predicted the insanity would overtake that man soon.” 
            That’s today’s story.  Thanks for reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 26, 2017

July 26, 2017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about the price of land in our area in 1914.  It was in the summer of 1914 that assessors in Junction City and Geary County had completed their work.  From a glance through the rolls, it appeared that some citizens were of the opinion that in addition to having the higher rate of taxes to pay for city expenses, those who lived in the city were also assessed a higher rate based on valuation of their property.  There were many hundreds of acres of good bottom land within three miles of Junction City.  None of which could be bought for less than $125 to $250 an acre and none of which was assessed at over $75 an acre.
 At the same time there were plenty of pieces of property in the city that could be bought for the assessed value.  Taking the imaginary line along the southwest corner of the city, in Sheridan Heights addition, the lots then in use as a pasture, were assessed at a rate of $350 an acre.  While adjoining land across the imaginary line used also for pasture for the same livestock, but just outside of the city was assessed at $70 an acre. 
            In looking over the various valuations, other odd things were noticed.  One township in the county was found to have horses of a certain age that averaged being worth 30 percent less than similar horses in any other township in the county. This was according to the Deputy Assessor. 
            Even today, we tend to be hopeful that the assessor is fair and accurate when assigning a figure related to the amount of taxes we will need to pay.

            Well, that’s today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 25, 2017

July 25, 2017
            You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            A neighborhood feud in Junction City was settled in August of 1924, much to the relief of the police and county authorities.  The neighbors in this story will be referred to as Neighbor No. 1 and Neighbor No. 2, just in case any of our readers might be able to identify the characters involved in this story.
            It seems that Neighbor No. 1 had been complaining that a cow belonging to Neighbor No. 2 had been allowed to run at large to the detriment of the first’s garden.  Shortly afterwards, No. 2 called the police and complained that No. 1 had locked up his cow and demanded $25.00 for damages to his garden before he would turn the cow back to its owner.
            The police and county authorities declined to get involved in this fuss and suddenly the matter was dropped.  Shortly after this incident, Neighbor No.2 caught a white angora cat belonging to Neighbor No. 1 on his premises and locked her up on the claim that she had been eating his chickens.  When Neighbor No. 1 called to protest, he was told that it would cost $25.00 to get the cat released.  Neighbor No. 1 replied “I’ll trade you the cow for the cat”….
And with that exchange, the feud ended. 
            Wouldn’t it be great if disagreements could be handled that easily today?”
           


Monday, July 24, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 24, 2017

July 24, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Sibling rivalry is common among families.  That was certainly true about Frank, Andy and John Flower, who were brothers.   Here is an example of a typical day in 1924, when the boys teased each other in a spirited and amusing way.
            What started out to be a beautiful day for Junction City merchants, Andy and John Flower got spoiled when their brother, Frank, walked into their store with a large bouquet. Frank stated that while they were busy raising vegetables in their backyards, he was doing something to beautify the town by raising flowers in his front yard.  With that remark he presented the bouquet to them.  With true brotherly spirit, Andy and John lit into Frank and gave him a verbal dressing down.  The boys were clear that although their last name WAS Flower, Andy and John had always raised vegetables and they didn’t think very highly of a man who spent his time puttering with flowers.  Anyway, they said, all Frank had to do was sit in his office and watch the money from rental properties roll in, running home occasionally to the 35 minute job of hoeing his flower beds.  They, however, worked all day in the store and did their gardening after super and before breakfast, raising vegetables that would be of real value instead of flowers that would only satisfy the eye. 
            Perhaps if you have siblings, you have experienced a similar rivalry.  In the end though, it is also common for siblings to be the best defenders of each other when that need arises.



Friday, July 21, 2017

Our Past Is Present July 21, 2017

July 21, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            This is a little early to be thinking about the new school year, however, it is closer than some may want to realize.  Today’s story is about the beginning of the public school system in Junction City, which was established as District No. 1 in July of 1862.  The first settlers in the area were from communities where a school was an integral part of everyday life.  As soon as they were able to take care of the necessities of life, they made provision for the education of their children.  As early as 1858, select schools were in operation in Davis County, which is now Geary County.  These schools were actually private schools wherein the parents paid the teacher directly and the teacher usually maintained the school in his or her home. No records exist today of these tuition schools and only scant mention is made of them in newspaper articles of the time.  Some of these select schools existed throughout the 1860’s becoming specialized in areas like spelling schools, singing schools and “finishing” schools for young ladies.  During the winter of 1858-1859, three select schools were maintained in the immediate area; one at Bacheller (which was the first name given to Milford, Kansas), one at Junction City and one four miles northwest of town.  To finance Davis County School District No 1, the first Board of Trustees assessed a tax of one-half of one percent for renting or building a school house, one fourth of one percent for teachers’ wages and one fourth of a percent for supplies and equipment. The school opened on November 17, 1862 with classes held in a rented room upstairs over the Ganz Building that stood on the north side of Sixth Street. Seventy-two students enrolled for this first class. The first building built specifically for education purposes was known as the “school on the hill”, but its location at the intersection of what is now Jackson Street and Walnut Street proved to be too far out from the city.  Rural schools also sprang up quickly around Junction City and by 1872; just ten years after the city district was established there were 20 rural schools in the county. 
            USD 475 School District now has schools in Junction City, Grandview Plaza, Milford and on Fort Riley.  All of the buildings are being made ready for the 2017-18 school year, which will begin August 9th for teachers and August 16 for students.
             




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.