Thursday, May 25, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017
            Today is the last half day of school for students in USD 475.  Although graduation or commencement was held last Saturday, May 20th, today’s story is about the Eleventh Annual Commencement of Junction City High School seniors on the evenings of June 10 and 11 in 1886. 
The Opera House was packed with attentive listeners for both evenings, but the crowd on Friday was the largest ever assembled indoors in Junction City.  The stage was appropriately decorated with evergreen and blooming plants.  The class marched in to music provided by George Killian’s Band.  The class motto, “The World Is Wide” posted in the foreground.  The warm weather caused members of the audience to use hand held paper fans that made it difficult for some of the ladies to be heard as they spoke from the stage.  
            After the formal address to the graduates by Professor Henry B. Pierce, Superintendent Winans briefly summarized the work done by himself and his associates in bringing the class to  this point in the lives of the students. At the end of the speeches, the diplomas were distributed.
            Graduations are a special time for all of us.  The school term for 2016-17 has ended and in a couple of months a new year will begin and this year’s seniors will begin their final year of high school.  Best wishes to them, their teachers, administrators and family members, who will all support students to reach the milestone of graduating from high school this year.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 24, 2017

May 24, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about a group of older businessmen who frequently gathered to discuss the affairs of Junction City.  Lynn Sargent shared his memories of the old west over a soda fountain, which was purchased at the Columbian Exposition in 1892. The soda fountain was located in a Junction City drugstore founded by his father.  Mr. L.W. Sargent first saw this fountain at the Chicago World’s Fair.  It was covered with blue ribbons and he ordered one for his store.  This fountain was still at the family drugstore until it sold out in the early 1940’s.  A Fort Riley carpenter had installed it along with a wood canopy with antiquated frescoes over the top.  At the time, that type of soda fountain was the finest in existence.

            Coca-Cola was first served west of the Mississippi from this fountain and for over 50 years each afternoon at four o’clock the older businessmen of Washington Street could be found at Sargent’s drinking a coke and discussing the affairs of the town.  This gathering came to be known as the “Coca-Cola Senate”.  The fame of this group would long outlast the ornate World’s Fair Fountain, however.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about a robbery that occurred east of Junction City.
            On a Saturday evening in May of 1890, farmer Andrew Nelson was robbed by three masked men who entered his house located about 14 miles east of Junction City.  Each of the robbers had two pistols.  When they discovered Mr. Nelson at home, the robbers ordered him to raise his hands.  While two robbers kept him covered with their pistols, the other one bound and gagged Mr. Nelson.  The robbers then began a search of the house, but they didn’t find anything they wanted.  They told Mr. Nelson to tell them where his money was, but if he didn’t they would kill him.  The robbers were given $25.33, which was all the money Mr. Nelson had in the house.  The robbers were in no hurry to leave the house and hung around for about an hour.  One of them said they had some mortgages to pay off and it was very difficult to do so on what they were earning from 14 cent corn.  When they left  Mr.  Nelson’s place, they took his horses with them. 

            Andrew Nelson’s life had been spared.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is a fish story – but it is not your usual story about the big one that got away.  This fish story made headlines in the “Junction City Union” newspaper in May of 1870.  The article told readers that during excavations in the northern part of Geary County a portion of the remains of a gigantic fossil fish were found.  It had been deeply embedded in the ground and was surrounded by a mass of boulders and other debris.  This indicated that there had been water on that spot.  Although only a portion of the remains were petrified, it was estimated that the monster fish was at least 30 feet in length with a head about a sixth of the fish’s entire length.  It had a large eye and the body was covered with a thick skin similar to that of the catfish.  The dorsal fin extended across the fish’s length.  The article concluded that there were other fossilized fish in the area, which were yet to be examined by experts.

            We have some fossils found in Geary County at our Museum.  Stop by and take a look and imagine what they might have looked like when the animals or birds roved or flew in our part of Kansas.  Our Museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 1 until 4:00 PM and admission is free.  We hope to see you soon!!!  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 19, 2017

May 19, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about the Grand Opening of the Uptown Theater in downtown Junction City in May of 1928. The theater was located on the east side of Washington Street across from the Bartell.  The address was 611 North Washington Street. 
            Seats were filled to capacity as early as 7:00 PM.  Three performances were given and the theater was kept filled until the end of the last show.  Each lady in attendance was presented with a rosebud until the supply ran out at about 9:00 PM.  The roses had come from West Side Floral, who had also sent a beautiful basket of flowers to the management, which was placed at the center of the stage.  Jerry Baler of Lawrence was the guest organist for the opening and his performance on the Reuter organ pleased the audiences as well as the performance onstage by the Bratton Brothers.  A feature picture followed the live entertainment.  The picture was titled “Four Walls” and starred John Gilbert.  Several out of town guests who attended this opening of the Uptown Theater included a number of representatives of California film companies. 

            This format of a live performance followed by a movie was common not only at the Uptown Theater, but also at earlier theaters in Junction City.  Live accompaniment during the movie was also common.  Background music was played by an organist and sometimes by an orchestra, which went along with the action on the screen.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            In late 1949 a displaced family from Poland arrived here to live and work on the McVay farm south of Junction City on Highway 77.  Those were the first DP’s or Displaced Persons to arrive in Junction City.  The family consisted of Gregory Targonski, experienced as an agriculture worker, his wife Helena, their 16 year old son, Zigmund and an eight year old daughter by the name of Sophie.  Another daughter, Maria, who was eighteen was in Colby, Kansas, but was to join the family later.  A married daughter was in Austria, but her husband had immigrated to Canada and she was going to join him there.
            The family was brought to this country under the Displaced Persons program with the arrangements being handled by the Catholic Church.  Working locally with the church was Harold A. Roher.  It was the Rohers who met the family when they arrived by train.  The family’s interpreter was the 16 year old son, who spoke German as well as some English.  The Rohers also spoke German and with the son assisting, the conversation between the McVays and their new tenant family went well.  On their way to Kansas the Targonski family stopped in Chicago and was greeted by a friend of Mrs. Targonski’s who had come to this country several years earlier.  The family was greatly impressed with the vast open spaces in Kansas.  In fact the 16 year old son exclaimed, “We like Mr. McVay’s air much better than the air in Chicago.”

Many of us would say the same, except when there is the burning of the fields in our area.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 16, 2017

May 16, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Today’s story comes from the Police Blotter in May of 1891.  It was reported in the local newspaper in May of 1891 that “crooks” had been at large that week in Junction City.  A successful robbery had been made on Captain Henderson’s residence and an attempted robbery was made upon the Presbyterian parsonage, but was discovered in time to get it stopped.  
            In another story, a watch and chain, together with his pants containing a few dollars were taken at the residence of Mr. T.S. George.
            And in yet another story in the local newspaper in May of 1891 was that of a shop-lifter from Hutchinson who was discovered by Marshal Cullinan as he was leaving the B. Rockwell Store.   It seems the manner in which the thief was trying to conceal two pair of shoes and two muffs under his coat aroused the suspicion of the Marshall.  The thief was fined $100.00 and he was assigned to an apartment in the city jail for ninety days.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017

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

            The Ward Chapel AME or African Methodist Episcopal Church was pastored by Reverend Alvin Haskin in May of 1879.  The first chapel was a wood framed building on the corner of 9th and Jefferson Streets.  There was a coal stove in the center of the church to provide heat.  At first the worshippers had a small pump organ, but as the congregation grew, they acquired a piano.  The parsonage was a small five room house located at 208 West 9th Street.  The women of the church were active in supporting the church.  They sold dinners for 35 cents and soda pop for 5 cents a bottle at EVERY gathering or celebration.  The “Windows Mite Missionary Ladies” whose name was later changed to the Arry Williams Missionary Society met on Wednesday afternoons. During the winter months they quilted and in the Spring they would have a dinner and bazaar and sell their quilts.  In the late 1920’s, the church was remodeled to include a balcony and improvements were made again in the 1930’s.  In 1966, the property at 908 North Jefferson was purchased and this became the church parsonage in 1971.  The old parsonage was razed in 1978 and the site became a church parking lot. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 12, 2017

May 12, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            During today’s program we will be sharing information about three more of the historic buildings in downtown Junction City.  Again, this information may be found in a free pamphlet at our Museum titled “A Walking Tour” and can also be found on our blog, which is
            The building at 120 to 122 West 7th Street was constructed in 1929 for Robert Behrend.  It was used as a tire shop.  Before him his grandfather, J.W. Behrend, had a harness shop, which was later run by his sons Henry and William.  Today the building houses the Coryell Insurance Agency.  
            124 West Seventh Street, which currently houses the architectural firm of Deam and Deam, was originally built in 1889 for a dentist by the name of Charles K. Raber.  The Parish brothers had a grocery store there in 1910 and some city offices were housed there in the 1910s and 20s. 
            The final building in today’s program is located at 126 West Seventh Street.  This building and the building to the west were under construction when the 1887 Sanborn Fire Map was being printed.  As of 1905 it housed a music store and grocery.  In 1925, the Odd Fellows occupied the second floor.  Later tenants were Farmers’ Union Exchange, An A&P grocery, Tony’s Restaurant and now houses the Knights of Columbus Hall.

            Take a walk through downtown Junction City and reflect on the history of these buildings and see why we say:  “Our Past IS Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 11, 2017

May 11, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            In the next two programs we will be sharing information about some more historic buildings in downtown Junction City.  The information is from a free pamphlet which you can get at our Museum titled “A Walking Tour”.  41 buildings are highlighted in this pamphlet for you and others to read and reflect on as while visiting our downtown businesses. 
            Today we will look at two more historic buildings. The first is the Rialto Building which is at 607 North Washington St.  If you look at the top of the building you can still see the word “Rialto”.  This building was constructed in 1897 to house the Rialto Restaurant.  By 1908, Mike Frey had a restaurant in this location.  In 1919 eight brothers named Maduros came to Junction City and opened the well-known Good Eats Café, which lasted until 1977.  The façade was restored during the Washington Street restoration of 1999.  The space is where Bella’s Italian Restaurant is currently located.

            The next building is across the street from the Rialto and is the Bartell House, which is located on the northwest corner of Washington and Sixth Streets.  It was opened in 1880, by A.H. Bartell and John K. Wright.  The Bartell House Hotel replaced the Hale House, which had burned in 1875.  There were 66 rooms, parlors, offices, street level shops, a kitchen and a dining room with murals painted by Junction City artist Bertrand Harman.  The Junction City Post Office was located in the southwest corner of the building between 1888 and 1917.  Among the famous guests of the hotel were General Funston, General Wainwright, Sally Rand, Ann Sheridan, Gene Tierney, Al Jolson, John Phillip Sousa, W.C. Fields and Gloria Vanderbilt. When it closed as the Lamer Hotel in 1979, it was the last operating hotel in the city.  It has been restored and remodeled into a senior apartments, retail office space and at one time housed Kite’s Bar and Grille.    

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 10, 2017

May 10, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            In 1986 a J.J. Pennell photograph of six prominent Junction City matrons wearing turn of the century dress, was donated to the Museum by Sally Powers Dietrich of Topeka.  Several of the ladies were identified on the back of the photo including the donor’s great grandmother, Anna E. Manley Pierce.  Mrs. Dietrich said she thought the group was called “The Budget” but didn’t know the meaning of the name.  However, a faded newspaper clipping discovered amongst some memorabilia donated to the Museum, revealed the mystery.  According to the 1913 issue of the “Kansas City Star”, “The Budget” was a letter writing club.  It further explained that “Twenty years ago, Mrs. Winans, Mrs. Barnes, Mrs. Pierce, Mrs. Carr, Mrs. Brown and her daughter were all neighbors and members of the Universalist Church in Junction City.  They later scattered. Mrs. Pierce and Mrs. Barnes went to Kansas City to live, Mrs. Winans to Hutchinson and Mrs. Carr to Toledo, Ohio, where her husband became the President of a bank.  Mrs. Pierce later moved back to Junction City where she and the Browns continued to live.  In 1894, one year after they had been so widely separated, they met in a reunion in Junction City.  It was suggested that the ladies regularly write to each other.  A plan was evolved so that one of the six women would write a letter once a month to the others. She in turn would read it and write a letter of her own to one of the six and send it with the letter she had received.  This would continue until the first letter writer got in one envelope five letters from each of the other ladies.  The club was called “The Budget” in reference to the combined letters which each received each month and to the wise budgeting of time which the round robin of letters signified.   Today, we can e-mail multiple people to receive the same message and they receive the information almost immediately on their computer or on their phone.  How times have changed.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 9, 2017

May 9, 2017
You are listening to “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.  Today’s story is about a teacher, Miss Anna Dixon, who in May of 1945 retired after completing 39 years in the Junction City School system. She closed out her year and went to the Dixon farm to spend the summer with her three sisters as she had done for the previous 41 years, but that year was different, because she was ending her teaching career.  Miss Dixon was born in a small log cabin on the Military View Farm northwest of Junction City on old Highway 77.  Locally known as the Dixon Place, Anna’s parents raised 11 children on that farm. The Dixon home had always been a meeting place for young people from Junction City as well as those in the rural community.  In the early days there were no fences and the wagon trail ran directly across the military reservation to the Dixon home.  Miss Dixon completed two years at Junction City High School before accepting a position as a rural teacher beginning at Seven Mile School before going to Ogden and then Leonardville.  In January 1905, she entered the Junction City school system and taught there for 39 years.  It was said that she “Built the characters, the ideals, the hopes and aspirations of a small army of Junction City people.” 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 8, 2017

May 8, 2017

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

            This story is titled “Save the Fat – Help Win The War”.  “One tablespoon of fat saved each day for a month will furnish one pound of used fat to speed victory”.  This was a statement found in the “Junction City Daily Union” on May 28th 1945.  The statement came from the Kansas State College Extension Management Specialist.  She was reminding Kansas housewives of this vital volunteer duty to assist with the war effort.  “Fat collection is lagging in small rural areas” she continued, “yet the need for fats is as urgent as ever.  Meat shortage may make fat savings harder these days, but you may be missing ways to save fat.”  She went on to explain that “when one opened a can of sardines, salmon or tuna, there was at least a tablespoon of oil that could be poured into the fat salvage can.  Also, if one parboiled the sausages that county folk were so fond of, then the water should be saved so the fat could be skimmed off; and of course, fried sausage yielded a lot of fat in the frying pan.  It was suggested that all scraps be kept for one week in the ice box then melted down to pour into the salvage can.”  The extension agent then reviewed what one pound of fat saved each month would do for the fighting men of America.  “It would help make 150 machine gun bullets, make 6 bars of military soap, make 19 pounds of synthetic rubber for ambulance tires and help supply the medicines to maintain one military hospital bed for 12 days.” 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 5, 2017

May 5, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Do you know it is against the law to turn your chickens loose to rampage in your neighbor’s garden?  If you didn’t know this, you’d better brush up a bit as the local police force is into the law and intends to enforce it!  So read the headline in the Junction City’s “Daily Union” newspaper in May of 1912.  Two or three parties were said to have already told their tales of woe to his honor, the city court judge, and as many more had been warned.  Residents were advised to get out a hammer and nails and look for “leaks in the coop”. If they couldn’t stop the chickens from getting out on account of a poor pen, the law would not be too sympathetic.  Anyone without chickens was naturally proud of their garden and the law would be on their side if they took out their shotgun to protect their plants.

When riders of horses came to town, they were also reminded that they should use the iron hitching posts put up for the express purpose of tying their horses. The city authorities insisted on keeping its shade trees out of the grasp of underfed livestock and had ordered the police force to keep a sharp lookout for the careless horse owner.  The city was said to be a “tolerable jealous guardian” of its property and it hated, above all things, to have young trees that had just been set out devoured by either horse or cattle. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 4, 2017

May 4, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            As each school year comes to an end, teachers and students have a variety of field trips and field days they experience.  That was also true at Franklin School in 1928.  It was a cloudy day and there may have been a threat of some rain on the morning of May 24, 1928, but in the afternoon there was enough sun and many smiles on the children of Franklin School, who marched through Junction City streets in a parade preceding their annual track meet.  Children were dressed in flower-like frocks in many colors.  The little paraders were led by a small boy who carried a large flag. Near him another boy was clad as Uncle Sam.  The little kindergartners carried streamers. Some rode tricycles, scooters or stick horses while some of the girls pushed doll buggies.  Even the dolls were fancifully dressed.  There were many clowns, Indians, cowboys on ponies, prairie schooners drawn by old Towser and Fido who seemed to enjoy the attention.  Children carried flags and balloons and there were banners that announced that “Vacation is Here”.  Sounds of horns, whistles and shouts of laughter were heard by those who watched the parade of youngsters.  Following all this excitement and grandeur, the parade of youngsters went to Fegan Field for their end of the year track meet, which is still the field across from the Freshman Success Academy at the corner of 10th and Madison Streets. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 3, 2017

May 3, 2017
            You are listening to “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            An elopement took place in the city on a Saturday night in May of 1908.  The parties concerned were an itinerant actor and one of the young ladies of the city.  The man was the young chap who took tickets at the theater entrance and then acted on stage as a subject for “Norwood the Hypnotist”.  He was one of four men who traveled with the show. The man and woman in this story had met each other early in the week and it was a case of love at first sight.  They were together as much as the young man’s duties would allow and when separated, both parties were said to have been longing for each other.
            It was suggested that the “Great Norwood” had failed to bring his subject, the young man,  out of his hypnotic state at the previous Friday show and on Saturday afternoon the man and young woman went down to the Union Pacific Depot and boarded the train going east.  The young lady’s parents did not hear of the matter until that evening.  The young woman’s father wired the authorities in the different towns east of Junction City to try to stop them.  The man and woman were located and apprehended on the veranda of a hotel in Manhattan. The next day the woman’s father went over and escorted his daughter back to Junction City, while the man went on to join his boss, the “Great Norwood”, at the next venue. 

            Perhaps the point of this story could be to make sure there has been no hypnotism of either the man or woman before eloping no matter how much love there is between them.  And… It is always good to get the blessing of the parents before planning for marriage.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            Rain did not deter Junction City shoppers or even people from the surrounding trade territory from attending the opening of the new J.C. Penney Company store in town on May 21, 1928 at 9:00 that morning.  The beautiful new business was as resplendent as carpenters, painters and electricians could make it.  The store was thronged with shoppers all day and the large force of salespeople was busy selling new goods which had only just been unpacked and displayed. Junction City businessmen welcomed the new store through the medium of advertising and by sending congratulatory messages and flowers. The store was under the management of Dan Taylor, who for years was associated with his father’s dry good store, which was once in the location of the new J.C. Penny’s Store.  The J. C. Penny store in Junction City was number 901 for the company.  The arrangement of the various departments apparently made a strong appeal to those who attended the opening.  Each department was easily accessible from all others on the main floor.  Many of us remember the store as having  a devise in which the purchaser’s money was placed into a tube and sent by a system to an upstairs teller, who then sent the same tube back down to the sales person to give change and/or receipt to the customer.  The address of the J.C. Penny’s store in this story was located at 619-621 North Washington Street in Junction City.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Our Past Is Present May 1, 2017

May 1, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            On April 23, 1949, the curtain went up on the Junction City High School Senior Class Play titled “A Date With Judy."  The play was a comedy directed by Miss Whilhimina Engler and starred Lorraine Hildebrand as Judy Foster, the vivacious teenage miss, who kept her family and friends in a constant state of amusement and amazement.  Johnny Englemohr was cast in the role of Judy’s precocious brother and Fred Brown and Marilyn Swartz were Judy’s loving parents.  Others in the play were Duane Newsome as Oogie Pringle, Jeannie Parkerson as Mitzie and Joann Kaster played Barbara, Judy’s fair weather friend.
            The play’s story line was about a Mr. Martindale, who was a New York play producer.  Mr. Martindale, played by Harold Johnson, came to the small town where Judy and others lived to get away from the confusion of the big city to rest and relax, while visiting his friend Melvin Foster. However, one thing led to another when jealousy and misunderstandings abound.

            The “Junction City Union” newspaper reported that the production was enthusiastically received during their Friday evening performance with approximately 500 persons who attended the play.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 28, 2017

April 28, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society
            Today’s program is another look at an historic building in downtown Junction City.  The information also comes from the free pamphlet titled “A Walking Tour”, which is available at our Museum at the corner of Sixth and Adams Street.
            The building we will share about this morning is the Geary County Courthouse located at 138 East Eighth Street.  The Roman Revival building was commissioned May 20, 1899 and completed in May of 1900 at a cost of $35,000.  It was built by the firm of Ziegler and Dalton of magnesium limestone quarried in nearby bluffs.  The stone was so soft it could be hand sawed by the German and Swedish masons of the area.  The architect, J. C. Holland, had designed similar courthouses elsewhere in Kansas, including Manhattan and Clay Center.  Extensive remodeling of the interior was completed in 1999.  We have a picture on the first floor of our Museum as the Courthouse was being built. In the foreground you will see the loose stone and at the very top of the building a man working without safety protection from falling and no scaffolding. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s information comes from a pamphlet we have at the Museum titled “A Walking Tour."  This pamphlet has information about historic buildings in downtown Junction City.  Stop by and pick up a free copy and take the tour using this helpful piece of information to make your walk more meaningful. Our Museum is located at the corner of Sixth and Adams Streets in Junction City and we are open every day except Mondays from 1 until 4:00 PM. 
Now for a look at the Baskin/Clewell Drug Store. 
            The Baskin/Clewell Drug Store was located at 816 North Washington Street.  This was the last of the “old-fashioned drug stores” in Junction City, which closed when Roy Clewell died in 1978.  It was built in 1904 by pharmacies C.H. Baskin, who lived upstairs with his wife, Laura.  Charles Clewell, a brother of Laura Baskin, acquired the business in 1917 and eventually his oldest son Roy Clewell, became the proprietor.  The soda fountain had a 12 foot counter with onyx pillars and three oak-framed mirrors behind it.  The contents were auctioned on February 11, 1970.  Central National Bank remodeled the building which now houses an accounting firm.
Thanks for listening and remember to take a “Walking Tour” of downtown Junction City with a free pamphlet available at our Museum, which describes the buildings and some history about them. 


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 26, 2017

April 26, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            Tuesday, June 4th of 1913 at about 1 A.M., the residents of Junction City were awakened by what sounded like the artillery at Fort Riley bombarding the city with shot and shell.  It was, however, one of the heavies hailstorms ever witnessed by the residents.  Not much hail fell, but the size was enormous and the damage had not yet been estimated by the time the “Junction City Sentinel” newspaper went to press on the following Thursday.  It was thought that 50 percent of the peaches were on the ground. Gardens were also badly damaged and the strawberries were ruined.  The skylights in downtown businesses were all broken and the tin roofs had holes punched in them that made them impossible to repair. Many stories were circulated about the size of the hailstones, but it was a fact that many of them measured from 6 to 8 inches in circumference.  At Mike Frey’s restaurant some of the boys picked out six of the largest ones, which tipped the scales at three quarters of a pound. The hail seemed to be at the heaviest within Junction City.  No damage was reported at Fort Riley. A heavy rain accompanied the hail, but it was not general over the county and very little benefit was provided to the growing crops. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 25, 2017

April 25, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            It seemed almost incredible to a Middleton, Pennsylvania firm that a car load of flour and a railroad car could disappear from the face of the earth leaving absolutely no trace behind.  However, it appeared that was what happened.  S.W. Maples & Company had ordered the carload of flour several months earlier from the Hogan Milling Co. of Junction City.  In due time the shipping bills came through and the firm anxiously awaited the flour.  Days passed and all inquiries at the freight house brought forth the reply that the load had not arrived.  Communications passed back and forth between the two companies, and a small fortune was said to have been spent on postage stamps for written correspondence. Tracers were sent out for the car.  It was known to have gotten half way from Kansas to New York, then it completely disappeared. Beyond a certain point, railroad men completely denied having seen the car.  Switches and sidetracks were diligently searched and records of wrecks that occurred along the route were looked up, but to no avail.  The railroad, which owned the car ordered a search made on every railroad in the country. Dozens of men were sent out and still could not solve the mystery.  Then by chance, one of the tracers happened to pick up an old newspaper and read that some months prior a fire in a railroad yard had completely destroyed all of the cars.  These cars had all been accounted for in the records, but after the fire a mass of what appeared to be flour had been found in the debris and its presence was not accounted for.  Thus, the mystery of carload of flour that had disappeared after having left Junction City was found.  
That’s todays story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 24, 2017

April 24, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
  On the evening he started across the North Washington Street Bridge in his car, a Geary County resident approached the middle of the bridge and was about to pass an oncoming truck.  The bridge suddenly gave way and he found himself and his car falling downward.  The man in the car was Melvin Britt and at that time he lived west of Junction City on Rural Route 3.  He was employed by the Harvey brothers’  on their farm, which was north of Fort Riley.  The “Daily Union ”newspaper printed a long article on the incident.  It was reported that “The bridge span, about 75 feet long, broke entirely free from the two supporting piers and pan-caked into the river about 30 feet below.  The accident attracted people to the scene by the hundreds.  Within a few minutes the riverbank was lined by scores of watchers as state highway police, sheriff’s officers and others worked to free the body of the truck driver.  He was killed instantly when an overhead beam of the falling bridge crushed the truck’s cab.  The accident happened so quickly that Melvin Britt only vaguely remembered what happened.  He said his car had only a few dents in it, but he was fearful that approaching motorists might not notice the missing span of bridge and would plunge into the river.  He made his way across the stream on the fallen span and was able to climb it and onto the end of the bridge.  Several cars came up to the bridge to cross it and Mr. Britt and an unidentified man stopped one of them with only a short distance to spare.” It was the second time the North Washington Street Bridge had been disabled in recent years. Fortunately our bridges get inspected and repairs made when possible.  

Friday, April 21, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 21, 2017

April 21, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s program is about two more historic sites in Junction City that we know you will want to take a closer look at the next time you are downtown.  One of those is the Memorial Arch in Heritage Park at the corner of Sixth and Washington Street and the other is the 1931 Post Office Building, which was originally 138 West Sixth Street.
            The Memorial Arch was conceived by Civil War veterans known as the Grand Army of the Republic or the GAR.  It was dedicated in 1897 after a full year of planning in memory of soldiers and sailors who served their country from 1861 to 1865.  Stonework for the arch was done by Junction City masons and cost $1800 to build.  The architect was F.A. Gardner, who also did many of the original buildings on Fort Riley.  The Junction City Rotary Club is currently working on a project to update the Arch and is in a fundraising campaign to do so. If you are interested in contributing, please contact Mary Hogan at Screen Machine Sports at 117 E. Seventh Street in Junction City.

            The next building included in today’s program is the 1931 Post Office Building located at 138 West Sixth Street.  This building was begun in 1928 and was the first government-owned Post Office in Junction City.  At one time space was rented in the southwest corner of the Bartell Hotel.  This building served as the Post Office from 1931 to 1962, when the United Telephone Company took over the building.  In 1989 the exterior façade panels were removed and the windows and brick front were restored to the original design. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 20, 2017

April 20, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
This is the first of two programs about historic buildings in downtown Junction City.  Today’s program is about the original First Baptist Church, which is located at 618 North Jefferson Street.  The First Baptist Church was organized in Junction City on November 5, 1865.  This building was dedicated January 27, 1867 and served as the Baptist Church until 1917 when the adjacent building was occupied.  Since 1917 the building has served as the Durland-Sawtell Funeral Home, the Sawtell and the Mass-Hinitt Alexander Funeral Home.  In 1998 the building became the home of the Iglesia Hispana Maranata Church. The stucco exterior conceals the original limestone blocks.  The building is currently used by the Junction City Little Theater.
The current First Baptist Church at 624 North Jefferson Street was originally built in 1909 as a hall for the Modern Woodmen of America.  This building was purchased, remodeled and dedicated on December 16, 1917 by the Baptist Church.  Additions have been made to the south side of the building in 1949 and 1983.  The interior and exterior have been remodeled numerous times. Services are still held every Sunday morning.
Take a drive past these buildings on North Jefferson, which are just south of the Opera House at the corners of Seventh and Jefferson Streets in Junction City.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 19, 2017

April 19, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
It appeared that there was another slow news day in the spring of 1943. The local newspapers revealed that the war news was not the only source of interest for Geary County residents, however.  The Washington Street bridge, which connected Fort Riley and Junction City was closed in May of 1943 following an accident.  It seemed that a heavily laden vehicle crashed through one span.  Repairs were made by the State Highway Department, but a few months later military authorities again ordered the road closed to vehicular traffic.  The bridge was not opened until June 19th.  An official ceremony was held and the bridge was then opened to all types of vehicles except tanks and vehicles weighing more than ten tons. 

Here is another slow news story found that year.  There was a report being circulated that checker and domino players, who were commonly found in the City Park during the summer, were being run out of the park.  One of the domino players stated to a reporter that they had been ordered to stop their domino games by authorities, because they were tramping out the grass and killing the it by spitting tobacco juices on it! However the removal of the players from the park was denied by Mayor, Roy More. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 18, 2017

April 18, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            If you haven’t visited our new display “A Call To Arms” as a part of our theme “The Year of the Soldier" at our Museum, please take a few minutes or few hours between the hours of 1 and 4 PM Tuesday through Sunday to see the gallery.  It's full of letters, uniforms, weapons, pictures and medals from the Civil War up to today.  Come by and see this main display on the second floor in our Auditorium.  And… bring a friend.  Admission is free. Now for today’s story…
            In April of 1958, the “Topeka Capital Journal” newspaper reported that people who install television and other new-fangled gadgets in their cars have nothing on the inventors of earlier years.  However, some of these inventions, might have us asking: Why would someone want to use these inventions?  For example: The article revealed that during the 1890’s a Chicago man devised a mechanized horse that would run along on wheels in front of a car. It seems horses pulling other vehicles would often bolt when they saw a horseless carriage and the inventor was out to fool them.
 Another inventor designed an automobile washing machine, which was simply a tank with a lid.  The tank was filled with warm water, soap and dirty laundry and while riding over bumpy roads the family’s clothes got washed.
            And finally… there was a Texan who eliminated the need for eyeglasses by having his whole windshield ground to match his specific prescription.

            These items may have made good sense to their inventors, but again... why and who besides the inventors ever used them?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 17, 2017

April 17, 2017

            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Have you ever wondered why rural mail boxes are all about the same height and placed on level ground near the road? Well… there was an order from the Postmaster General in Washington, D.C., which was received on April 21, 1909.  It announced that all mailboxes on rural routes must be placed on the sides of the roads and at a convenient place, so the carrier could reach them without getting out of his vehicle. The placement of the mailboxes was to be on flat land and away from deep ditches.  The order, which required the change was for the purpose of expediting the work of the carrier, and reducing the time required to make a circuit of the route.  The Postmaster was required to furnish a list of all names of patrons whose boxes were NOT easily accessible to the carrier.  Furthermore, all boxes were to be placed on short strong posts, not on telegraph poles, at a height which would allow the carrier to deliver the mail without rising from his seat.

            Now you know how the uniformity of rural mail boxes got started.  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 14, 2017

April 14, 2017

Today’s “Our Past Is Present” is a continuation of information about our historic buildings in downtown Junction City.  The information being shared today is about the Sargent Building at 710 N. Washington Street.  W.W. Sargent the Sargent Drug Store in a single-story wood frame building on this site in 1865.  This building, which was constructed in 1907, bears the Sargent name and both dates.  W.W. Sargent was succeeded by his son, Linden S. Sargent, who became the first to sell Coca Cola in Kansas.  Linden’s son, Leslie W. Sargent, ran the business until 1941, when it became the Mensen Zuck Pharmacy and later Al’s Drug Store until 1967.  Stop by and take a look at this building and the others talked about in this week’s “Our Past Is Present”. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 12, 2017

April 12, 2017
       J.J. Pennell was a well-known Junction City photographer between 1886 and 1922.  In 1908, he built the building at 801 North Washington Street, which housed the Miller Pharmacy at the street level and his photography studio upstairs.  After Pennell’s death, his widow and son moved from their home on Fourth Street to the second floor of this building.  Here Joseph Stanley Pennell wrote his novel The History of Rome Hanks, which was a best seller in 1944.  In 1960 he sold the building to the College of Emporia and moved to Oregon after his complaints about a noisy calliope fell on deaf ears.  The main floor was then occupied by “Gamble’s” as a department store.  The second floor was used by the Red Cross and the basement by the “Republic Printing”.  In the 1960’s the upstairs was again rented as living quarters.  In 1998, the building was restored and occupied by the Geary County Court Services

Monday, April 10, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 10, 2017

April 10, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society
          Sometimes even locally elected officials are TOLD by state officials that they WILL do something rather than being ASKED if they will do something.  That was the case in 1917.  Dr. Crumbine from Topeka, who was the head of the State Board of Health, was in Junction City to meet with city commissioners and health officers.  The purpose of the meeting was  to discuss health conditions that the War Department said had to be maintained within a many mile radius of their camp at Fort Riley.   The heads of the State Health Department had been called to Washington before the Secretary of War Daniels some days previous and the state authorities were now taking the message back to the city and county officials telling them what they MUST do.  This affected all of Junction City.  Every place in town, which was within the sewer district, had to immediately be connected to the sewer.  Every place not in a sewer district was to immediately have fly proof urinals and cesspools. Well, the city did NOT act immediately on this news, but called a meeting for four days later, when Dr. Crumbine could be present to talk about the requirements and necessities, which forced this drastic and urgent step.  The general proposition was that the federal government must have the most perfect sanitation and healthful surroundings for the hundreds of thousands of men who were to be mobilized in the following two years.  Coupled with this need was the requirement for extra and immediate precautions to prevent typhoid fever among all men called to the camp.  Thus, the heading for the proposition to be put before the city and county commissioners could be accurately termed:  “You WILL, not WILL you?”  That’s today’s story.  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Our Past Is Present April 4, 2017

April 4, 2017
            This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            It’s baseball season – and with it comes all the anticipation and excitement of players hitting, running, sliding, catching and using their best strategies to score more runs than the other team.  There was more than just the excitement about a new season in 1909.  There was the anticipation from seeing the beginning construction of a local baseball field in Junction City.  The new park was to be situated half way between Junction City and Fort Riley and was directly east of the streetcar line spur.  A grader was put to work to cut off a layer of ground in order to get rid of the weeds and alfalfa.  Then – a second layer was removed and the ground scraped.  The excess dirt was moved to the center of the field, which would be higher than the rest of the grounds.  A ditch was dug around the field for drainage purposes.  The grandstand was built immediately back of home plate with enough seats for 600 people.  Two bleachers on either side of the grandstand would hold another 500 people and a place for parking rigs and automobiles would be on each side of the bleachers.  It was decided to charge a parking fee of 10 cents for automobiles and buggies.  The field was expected to be ready for play by May 15.  Players could then tryout with the first game to be played on that new field on June 1st of 1909.  

Friday, March 31, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 31, 2017

This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            In March of 1936, Junction City and Milford school children were given some good ideas about how accidents could and should be prevented.  The four schools in town and the two Milford schools each were visited by the American Legion Safety Caravan as a part of a statewide educational drive to lessen the hazards to pedestrians, motor car drivers and their passengers.  Young school children were impressed with the fact they should always stop, look and listen before they cross the street to get a ball.  They were advised that when they were riding in the family car, they should advise their speed-loving father that they and their mother would like to live a while longer, so he should slow down the car.  Cards that had some rules for driving on State highways were also shared and included: stay on your own side of the road and signal your intention to turn or stop.  The Safety Caravan included three white American Legion safety cars and a truck.  The Junction City Police Car and a Sheriff’s car also were included in the caravan as well as a wrecked automobile towed by Dennis Steele’s wrecker.
            There was no mention about seat belts. Infant seats, air bags or other protections in 1936 that are now required for travel in today’s modern vehicles. 

            Visit us at our Museum for more interesting information about Geary County history and learn why we say “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.   

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 30, 2017

This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            During the winter months our Museum is closed on Sundays. Beginning next Tuesday it will be open Tuesdays through Sunday from 1 until 4 in the afternoon.  This will give more of you an opportunity to visit and learn more about the history in our County.  So stop by and spend a few minutes or a few hours any day except Monday.  Now for today’s story…..

            W.J. Lott returned to Junction City in early March of 1936 after spending four months in Corpus Christi, Texas, which he had done for the previous four winters.  Mr. Lott reported that the city was experiencing a real boom.  In addition to a thriving tourist trade, the countryside was becoming dotted with oil wells.  He stated that traveling men found it quite difficult to get accommodations there with the winter tourist trade being popular by people from Kansas and Nebraska. Mr. Lott’s companion for the trip was his brother-in-law, F.D. Miller, who was a former Junction City resident.  Mr. Miller first came to town in 1881 and worked several years for Sebulon Miller, a clothier on Seventh Street.  While he was in Junction City, F. D. Miller was a city fireman and served as captain of the hose company.  He had been a part of winning many trophies that were kept in the fire department clubroom.  Both Mr. Lott and Mr. Miller had married daughters of Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Heaton. Mr. Heaton was a widely known contractor, who had erected several hundred thousand dollars worth of buildings in the Junction City and Fort Riley area.  F. D. Miller left Junction City in 1890 to obtain work with the New York Central Railroad and retired after 40 years of service.  He still had many friends when he renewed acquaintances during his March visit in 1936.  

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 29, 2017

This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Next month our Museum will be open Tuesdays through Sunday from 1 until 4 in the afternoon.  This will give more of you an opportunity to visit and learn more about the history in our County.  So stop by and spend a few minutes or a few hours any day except Monday.
            Now for today’s story…..

            Will Carlson made up his mind to come to America and decided on Junction City, Kansas where he had a friend.  Will boarded the boat from his hometown in Sweden with just 5 cents in his pocket.  During the ocean voyage, the food on board was provided for him, but when he got to Quebec, he had to use his nickel to buy food.  During the four days it took him to get to Junction City, he had no more food.  When he stepped off the train in town, he met a woman who tried to get him to go over to what was referred to as “the old German’s house”.  He could not understand her and did not go.  The woman then went herself to the house and explained to some of the men there, who spoke Swedish, that a man of their nationality had arrived in town.  They went to Henry’s aid and got him plenty of food. That afternoon Will Carlson took his two bags and walked to eastern Geary County where he worked as a hired hand for the next few years.  At first he received only $5.00 per month, but after several years he got up to $15.00.  He then went into contracting and made enough money to buy a farm in the eastern part of the county and with credit established Will got all he needed to stock the place with cattle.  He moved into his new farm home in March of 1913.  That is today’s story on “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 28, 2017

This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Early March of 1923 was designated as a “Building Year” in Junction City.  The local newspaper carried double page ads under the heading “Let’s Build! The boom has started!”  The main article stated that with winter not quite over, work has been started on a number of new homes in Junction City and remodeling of many others is also in progress. The one great need for Junction City is modern homes and present construction activity is a step in the right direction.  The article went on to ask, “Just what does this building boom mean?”  The people who are building at the present time are, in most cases, people who have wanted to build for several years.  This means the costs of construction have come down.  Raw materials have been  reduced so people can afford to build or remodel.

            On the same page there was an ad from “The Citizens Building and Loan Association” urging people to save for their own home.  The Franklin Paint and Wallpaper Store advertised that they had a comprehensive stock that made selection a pleasure.  Harley E. Pritchett, contractor and designer of a new house at 518 West 3rd Street had plans for more new houses and remodeling jobs and would gladly furnish estimates.  M.L. Coryell sold insurance against fire, windstorms and tornadoes.  It was a busy time in 1923 for the building industry in Junction City. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 27, 2017

This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about a missing boy who ended up being in trouble with officials of the M.K. &T Railroad Company.  His name was Henry Rand and he was about 13 years of age.  He was a frequent visitor to Junction City during the early months of 1873.   At one time, Henry was a news boy on the M.K. & T. Railroad and was in the habit of hanging around the depot.  He was supposed to be an honest boy, but subsequent events proved that this was not the case.  One Sunday evening and soon after the express had passed going west all employees were absent from the depot, when Henry broke into the Katy Post Office.  He had pried open the money drawer with a pair of scissors and took a few dollars from the drawer.  The loss was discovered when a Mr. Kugler, who was an agent for the Railroad Company, returned to the depot office. 

            Mr. Kugler and a Mr. Munro had no clue as to who to suspect if it were not Henry.  So they instituted a search for him. After looking for some time they decided to look in the M.K. & T. passenger car, which was to go south in a few hours.  That is where they found Henry.  After questioning Henry they concluded that he was NOT the guilty party.  However, for some reason they later went back to Henry to search his pockets.  Henry told them “Don’t you put your hands in my pocket or there will be trouble!”  And so there was trouble.  But it was not the kind Henry had thought.  Mr. Kugler and Mr. Munro did search Henry’s pockets and found M.K. & T. tickets as well as the missing money.  However, with the stolen items found, Henry was allowed to leave without further confrontation.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 24, 2017

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

            Robert Chew was a native of Junction City and in the spring of 1872 he related to his friends at the “Union” newspaper the story of his miraculous escape from an explosion at sea.  He was sleeping in his bunk aboard a steamship, which he boarded at Shreveport, Louisiana.  At about twenty minutes to five in the morning the explosion threw him from his bunk and he landed on the floor amidst boiling water and glass. Within twenty minutes the flames increased and had driven everyone from the vessel overboard.  Robert spent about two hours in the water before help arrived.  Also on board had been the circus troupe of which Robert was one of the proprietors.  Unfortunately, none of the animals could be saved.  They were all in cages and could not be reached through the flames.  Once in the water, Robert and another man were able to cling to a float and drifted for about five miles before they were able to get to a shoreline where they stayed until the “Belle of St. Louis” arrived to pick them up.  Robert suffered scalds to his feet and his hands were cut with glass, but he told his friends in Junction City that he was thankful to be alive. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 23, 2017

This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about a surprise for Mr. Abe Jones.  A few days after local resident, Mr. Abe Jones, went away on business in March of 1887, his wife, thought of something that would agreeably surprise her husband and make him have a smile when he came back.  She apparently bought a calf.  The reporter of the “Junction City Union” newspaper asked “Did you ever see or know a woman who, when allowing her fancies to roam over things of comfort, didn’t dream of a cow and plenty of milk, butter and cream?  Mrs. Jones thought of the satisfaction that her husband would have when once it came time to pay the milkman.  She was as pleased as could be when she saw the calf safely tied up in its new stall.
            When Mr. Jones returned home that evening, he was not told of the calf until the next morning.  When Mr. Jones went into the barn, he saw the calf tail whisking in the frosty air.  He also saw the remains of a $40 harness, a colt, which had been shorn to include its tail and a barrel of oats. Mr. Jones was angry.  Then he saw the calf.  He began to hit the calf with a club until Mrs. Jones came out and interceded to save the calf’s life.  Mr. Jones promptly put a sign on his fence that read “calf for sale”. 

            Some men don’t appreciate being surprised.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 22, 2017

This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today’s story is about a place where many early settlers in our area shopped – even some that became famous in American history.

            Mrs. Nancy Taylor wrote in her “Remembrances of Early Days” that her father, John F. Wiley, was one of the earliest settlers when he arrived in 1858.  He took up a claim across the Kansas River, south of Ogden, which later was known as the Old Eskers Place.  However, he was not a successful farmer and sold out, then moved to Junction City in 1860.  It was here that he bought a grocery store.  At that time there were only a dozen families in town, but as the town grew in population and businesses grew, Nancy’s father built an addition to this building and sold both groceries and dry goods.  He also bought buffalo hides and all kinds of fur from the Native Americans and shipped them to Leavenworth, Kansas by ox teams.  Mrs. Taylor mentioned that Bill Hickock and Bill Cody, better known as Wild Bill and Buffalo Bill, used to patronize her father’s store.  After running the store for several years her father sold out, bought a farm again and at one time owned Logan Grove.  Nancy Taylor died in 1929 at the age of 79 years.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 21, 2017

This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Quick responses to a fire call by the Fire Department were not as efficient in 1929 as it is today.  When we hear the city warning sirens sound today, we do not give much thought to what methods were used in early years. 
            In March of 1929, there were times when people complained because they were unable to get a telephone operator.  At the time of the Trosper fire at 5 A.M. there was only one operator on duty.  She had to call the Fire Department members and inform them of the location of the fire.  The operator then had to call a water works employee to go down and start the pumps in order that pressure might be maintained.  Then she had to call electricians to go down and shut off the power in the vicinity so the firemen might work among the wires in safety AND she had to call the parties whose property was on fire and the businessmen in the vicinity whose property might be threatened. 
            All of this was because the blowing of the light plant whistle for alarms had been discontinued.  It was written that the cost of using the steam for the sole purpose of blowing that whistle meant maintaining enough steam to operate a 250 horsepower engine.  When use of the steam whistle was discontinued, it was necessary to notify volunteer firemen by telephone and often they could not be reached. 
            Two years later in 1931 the City Commission was still struggling to install an efficient and less costly fire alarm.  We can be thankful for our current communication systems and the work our Fire Fighters do to not only fight fires, but provide us with emergency medical assistance.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 20, 2017

You are listening to “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.

            Today’s story is about Annie Rohrer’s teaching contract for the 1881 school year.
Her contract was between School District Number 16 in Davis County, in the State of Kansas and herself.  Annie was a qualified teacher and the contract stated that she was to teach, govern and conduct the public schools to the best of her ability.  She was to keep a register of the daily attendance and studies of each pupil and other records as the District’s School Board may require.  She was to endeavor to preserve the good condition and order of the school house, grounds, furniture and such other district property as shall come under the immediate supervision of said teacher. 
            This contract was for a term of school months beginning on the 14th day of March 1881.  She was to receive the sum of ………..$30.00 per school month.
            The District agreed to keep the school house in good repair, to provide the necessary fuel and a school register for her to keep track of the required records the School Board requested. 

            The final paragraph of the contract was rather ominous.  It stated: “Provided that in case said teacher shall be legally dismissed from school or shall have her certificate legally annulled, expiration or otherwise, then said teacher shall not be entitled to compensation from and after such dismissal or annulment.”

Friday, March 17, 2017

Our Past Is Present March 17, 2017

March 17, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
            Today is “St. Patrick’s Day”, which reminds us that the Irish were the most prominent ethnic group represented among the early settlers of Junction City and Geary County.  Perhaps the most legendary Irishman in our local history was Tom Cullinan.  He was among Junction City’s most famous early law men.  Citizens referred to him as Tom Allen. Tom made his reputation and kept the peace with his fists rather than with a gun.
            The “Junction City Union” editor, George W. Martin, wrote an article about Tom Allen Cullinan upon Tom’s death.  The article included some of the following information:  “Tom Allen Cullinan was only eleven years of age when he left the home of his well-to-do parents in Ireland and went to sea.  This was the beginning of a life of adventure, which took him from the seaports of England and Ireland to the Crimean in 1854, the mining camps of gold-rush Colorado, the cattle ranching operation of Kit Carson and Lucas Maxwell on the Cimmaron and finally served as a scout for Union forces in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri during the Civil War. 
            It was after the war in 1866, that the Cullinan’s first arrived in Geary County.  Tom had a contract to supply beef to the Army at Fort Riley.  He worked in that capacity between here and Fort Laramie for several years, but in 1871 he became the Marshall of Junction City.”
            Again, according to the newspaper editor, Tom Cullinan “had a fist with which he could split an inch board and he always gave a lick under the left jaw, which never failed to lay a man out.  While he always carried a gun, her preferred to use his fists, because he never wanted to kill.
            Tom Allen was about five feet nine inches tall and weighed about 175 pounds.  Although his physical size was not great, he met all comers for years and never knew defeat.  Along with being the City Marshall, Cullinan was a Sheriff’s Officer and also the Fire Chief.  At the time of his death in 1904, Tom Allen had been city Marshall since 1872 and served under 18 mayors.”