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 faƧade 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.