July 5, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Heather, our Curator has created a display about the impact of the military on local commerce in the early development of Junction City. The 1918 year book from the Medical Officers Training Camp at Fort Riley displays the advertisements for many local businesses that helped support the troops during the First World War. They include tailors who customized dress uniforms, shoe stores that sold boots, leg wraps and puttees; hotels and restaurants that offered discounts to soldiers and photographers, like J.J. Pennell, who took photographs of soldiers. An advertisement published by the B. Rockwell Merchandise and Grain Company in Junction City stated that the B. Rockwell Company “has been the headquarters for soldiers and officers for over 50 years. It’s the oldest store in Central Kansas, located in the same place as 50years ago. Also a remarkable thing is that it’s under the same management. The name “Rockwell’s is a household name in every Geary County home. Our aim is “the fulfillment of your desires. We carry nearly everything an officer of soldier wants. The quality is right and our prices are always the lowest. Our grocery department is one of the largest in the state.”
The economic impact of Fort Riley and veterans in the Flint Hills region can easily be seen. As the numbers of soldiers and their families increase and decrease at Fort Riley, so does the economic impact.