February 20, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
The biggest sale in the history of Fort Riley and one of the largest ever ordered by the War Department, took place on February 23, 1922. The entire facilities at Camp Funston, which was the largest training center during WW I, was to be sold for salvage. There was a 64 page catalog published by Samuel L. Winternitz and Company of Chicago, which contained the items to be sold. The Winternitz Company was to be the auctioneer for the sale. The items for sale included general supplies, clothing, motors and vehicles, leather and harness, machinery and engineering supplies.
Prospective buyers were required to have a paddle number before the sale began and all bidders were to be recognized by their number during the auction. The numbers were obtained from the clerk after the prospective bidder deposited $200.00. If no purchase was made, the deposit was returned at the end of the sale.
Twenty percent of all bids were to be paid in cash or certified check at the time of the sale and the balance was required within ten days. No delivery was permitted until all goods were paid in full. Some of the articles up for bid were 11,250 shaving brushes; 14,042 toothbrushes; 80,000 undershirts and 66,000 cans of meat. The sale was expected to attract buyers from all over the country.
By 1925 even the frame buildings completed with plumbing and heating fixtures had been sold and demolished from scrap to contractors and entrepreneurs, which left nothing but a barren flat where 80,000 “doughboys” had lived and trained.