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.