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A Special Section to the Ellinwood Leader & Hoisington Dispatch


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Friday, July 20, 2012

After Harvest Festival

City of Ellinwood Welcome to the 39th annual Ellinwood After Harvest Festival. The Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce does a great job of putting on a party for central Kansas the third weekend in July. I want to welcome all of the former residents and the people from the surrounding area to Ellinwood for this great event. The theme “Celebrate Ellinwood 140 Years” has been selected by the Rotary Club for this year’s impressive parade. The parade always offers new ideas and some of the history of Ellinwood all the way back to 1872. There were After Harvest festivals in the 1940’s and 1950’s; however the current 39 consecutive years is the longest string of festivals. The Chamber of Commerce board of directors along with many volunteers does an awesome job of coordinating all of the events to bring the festival together. The City employees are also relied on to do a tremendous amount of preparation every year. Thanks for coming this year and have lots of fun with family and friends. You will be glad you participated. Frank Koelsch Mayor of Ellinwood

After Harvest Festival celebrates another birthday By Mike Courson This weekend marks the 39th annual After Harvest Festival, meaning the celebration turns the big 4-0 next year.

As you will see in another article, Ellinwood was just coming off another celebration in 1972 -its 100th birthday -- at the time of the first After Harvest Festival. In the 1970s, with the help of Kansas State University’s Pride Program, which gave leadership to small towns on how to become and remain more vibrant, a group of Ellinwood leaders began talking about the need for an annual event. In 1974, the Ellinwood Area Enterprises (EAE) was created to work alongside the Pride Program. A survey conducted under the Program showed that Ellinwood needed to re-establish a Chamber of Commerce. Due to the costs associated of joining the state and national chambers of commerce, the EAE remained its own entity but basically acted as a Chamber of Commerce. “That board basically estab-

lished their own bylaws and went with their own localized chamber format because it was cost-prohibitive at that time to join the state and national chamber of commerce,” said original board member Richard Kimple. “Basically, we formed the EAE instead.” The EAE helped the city recruit community leaders for other organizations, eventually phasing out the Pride Program as it became strong enough to exist on its own. With other town celebrations dating further back, including the 1953 Diamond Celebration when Ellinwood turned 75, G.I.. Robinson proposed an annual summer event in the early 1970s. As an active Rotarian, he recruited that organization to help with the After Harvest Festival Parade. Rotary still puts on the Parade to this day. Robinson was the Chairman of the first Parade, and he and secretary Bernice Petz put it together for years. After they stepped down, LeRoy Zahn and

To Ellinwood historians: thank you for the records By Mike Courson

This will not be my first After Harvest Festival. Having lived in Great Bend for most of my life, I’ve enjoyed many AHF events over the years. This is, however, my first year heading up the AHF insert for the Leader. I picked an interesting year. Whereas most of the stories I write pertain to events that happened last week or are going to happen next week, many of the articles in this section are about Ellinwood’s history.

Let me begin by thanking the writers and contributors to the 1991 Ellinwood Echoes book. Though I may never meet most of these people, their hard work and research proved to be invaluable. Though the names are too numerable to list, I give special thanks to Evelyn Miller for her contributions, and to John Mohn, who helped put the book together. Then there is Robert Yarmer. Not only are his contributions all over the book, but everyone in town

referred me to this very highly-regarded historian. Mr. Yarmer also compiled a history on Ellinwood fires that proved to be very useful. That book and comments from Fire Chief Chris Komarek obviously helped in the fire articles later in this section. Finally, let me say thanks to Jacque Isern in the office for always pointing me in the right direction, and to Sharon and Josh Sturgis, who created this year’s AHF T-Shirt design, and to Joshwa McMullen, who has

Ellinwood Chamber welcomes AHF goers As president of the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce, I would like to welcome you to the 2012 After Harvest Festival. The Board of Directors and I hope you enjoy your time in our community as we celebrate Ellinwood’s 140th Anniversary. The Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for businesses while providing valuable benefits and services to our members. We strive to be a leader for economic development efforts in the Ellinwood Community. There is a wealth of information available on our website at www. ellinwoodchamber.comto help you learn more about our chamber and all the benefits of joining our organization. The chamber takes pride in its growing list of members. Be sure to like us on Facebook for updates about our community events in Ellinwood. Go to GetEllinwood for up-to-the-minute community announcements.

The Ellinwood Leader & Hoisington Dispatch

Ellinwood is a wonderful place to live in, raise a family, and make lasting friends and memories. We feel the After Harvest Festival is a great way to promote our community and residents. We would also like to extend an invitation for you to visit Ellinwood again to celebrate the K-96 June Jaunt and other events we have throughout the year. Also mark your calendars for the 40th anniversary celebration of the After Harvest Festival in July 2013! Becca Maxwell, President Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce 2011-2012 Ellinwood Chamber Board of Directors Becca Maxwell, President Jacque Isern, Vice-President Casey Roberts, Secretary Kathy Hertel, Treasurer Penny Stephenson Casey Roberts Sharon Schartz

The City of ELLINWOOD welcomes you and your family and friends to the 38 39th Annual

hopefully safely made his bike trek with fellow Ellinwood-native Ben Reser. Speaking with the Joshes, neither of whom I have met in person, in their new homes far away, they still conveyed a great sense of excitement and pride relating to the AHF and Ellinwood. Any history can be a tough task to handle. I’m a sports guy, used to reporting things I see with my very own eyes. I thank the historians for giving me similar insight into Ellinwood’s past.

Cover art featuring the original 1908 Ellinwood water tower and fireworks from the July 4 celebration by Mike Courson. Though 104 years old, the water tower is still fully functional and has only needed minor repairs and a few coats of paint.

After Harvest Festival Parade Themes 1992 - Echoes of Yesteryear 1993 - Planning on Progress 1994 - Trails West Brought the Best 1995 - From the Deutschland to the Heartland 1996 - Celebrate! The Santa Fe Trail 175 Years 1997 - Portrait of a Town: Ellinwood Celebrating 175 Years 1998 - Family Fun on the Plains 1999 - A Century in Review 2000 - Merging Tradition with Technology 2001 - Celebrate 2001 with Family, Friends and Fun 2002 - Celebrate the Sights and Sounds of Freedom 2003 - Sewing in Seeds of Freedom and Friendship 2004 - Ellinwood: the City of Golden Wheat 2005 - Celebrating Family and Friends 2006 - Moments to Remember 2007 - Ellinwood: Gateway to Scenic Byways 2008 - Heroes in our Midst 2009 - It’s Showtime! 2010 - Going Green...Hear the Echo 2011 - Kansas 150... Beyond the Yellow Brick Road 2012 - Celebrate Ellinwood! 140 Years 1872-2012

Another year older, Ellinwood. Happy 140th Birthday! Welcome to the 39th Annual After Harvest Festival!

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his secretary, Eloise Winkleman, took over Parade duties. When they stepped down, Terry Brown and his secretary, Joan Drees, stepped into the role. Those three secretaries - Petz, Winkleman, and Drees - were Tri-Grand Marshals of the Parade in 2006. This year, Brown was selected as Grand Marshal. The AHF continued to grow into what it is today. In 1975, the Festival introduced the wristwrestling State Championships, which were a mainstay for several years. Though that is no longer part of the Festival, many of the original features are still here. The Parade, a dance, and a beer garden were all part of the original AHF. This Festival will again feature many of those mainstays, and will include new activities. The corn eating contest was a hit last year and returns for a second year. The Inflate-o-Fun carnival offers a new spin to the festival. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the AHF. We hope you enjoy, stay safe, and come back next year!

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After Harvest Festival

The Ellinwood Leader & Hoisington Dispatch

Friday, July 20, 2012

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1872: The City of Ellinwood is born on the Kansas prairie

By Mike Courson If life 20 years ago is hard to fathom -- a world where computers and cell phones among many other modern inventions we’ve come to use on a minute-by-minute basis were not yet popular – then life 140 years ago would have been like living in another world. For the people of that time, however, it was simply life as they knew it. It could not have been easy, but they plowed through, often literally, to make ends meet and get to the next day. The story of Ellinwood is included in that history. Tales about brave and intelligent men discovering new lands in the

1500s, then newly American exploratory parties expanding the territories west in the 1800s. As most things were in 1871, Ellinwood’s beginnings were modest: one trio of men – Milton Halsey, Aaron Burlinson, and William Grant – staking claim on property just east of the then un-established Ellinwood. A small store was created on the property. Halsey petitioned for a post office, wanting it to be named for his friend, Captain John Ellinwood, an engineer for the A.S.T.F. railway who was camped out on the Arkansas River southwest of their loca-

tion. Burlinson did not like Ellinwood, but he wanted the post office located at his store, and he wanted to be the post master. He acquiesced, letting Halsey send off the application. Washington sent its approval later in 1872, and Ellinwood was on the map. Though Burlinson stuck around for only a short time, Ellinwood was beginning to grow behind the new railroads sweeping across the west. In June 1872, Geo Jackson, an agent for the Arkansas Valley Town Company, laid out plans for the one square mile town. The Santa Fe Railroad came to Ellinwood in July of that

year, and a small depot was established before construction moved west. By the end of that first year, there were seven structures in the new town: a post office, general store, school house, hotel, the depot, and three homes. Though C.B. Schmidt, a well-known German immigrant tried building a German-based Ellinwood via advertisements and brochures, it was Englishspeaking settlers who began moving into the town. By 1873, businesses were starting and dying daily. Carrie Beacon taught at the first school in Ellinwood, earning $125 for the four month term in a building that sat near the

Who was Ellinwood?

By Mike Courson The small town of Tescott, located just northwest of Salina, was unconventionally named after sheep herder Thomas Edward Scott --T.E. Scott. Ellinwood was named in a more straight-forward manner after Santa Fe Railroad Captain John R. Ellinwood, who came to the area in 1872. An effort to remember the largely forgotten namesake of the town started in 1944, when H. Martin Glenn, the owner of The Leader, began to seek information about Ellinwood. Gathering small bits of information here and there, a portrait was eventually painted. Born in Vermont in 1838, the Ellinwood family was in Topeka by the late 1870s. There, Captain Ellinwood’s father had established a nursery that Ellinwood would eventually take over, probably eventually resulting in Ellinwood’s wealth. Prior to that, Ellinwood was blazing new trails for Santa Fe as an Assistant Chief Engineer. In 1868-69, he built the line from north Topeka to Carbondale. In charge of the steel gang on the tracks, and also dabbling

John R. Ellinwood in some of the contracting side of the business, Ellinwood and the railroad eventually pushed west. By 1871, train service was already available in Newton. Ellinwood’s name was officially used when Milton Halsey and Aaron Burlinson, the first men to

build a house in the eastern third of Barton County, named the new post office after the Captain, who was stationed on a large island on the south shore of the Arkansas River in the area. “It was pretty good sized, probably two or three acres,” Ellinwood historian Robert Yarmer said of the island, which is almost unimaginable given the size of the river today. “The Santa Fe Trail campers got their firewood off that same island after leaving the campsite at Lyons.” Ellinwood continued the tracks west to Larned where he stopped active construction, but likely remained involved with some of the contracting, contributing to his wealth. In 1883, Ellinwood married Effie Ashburn, and the couple had four kids. Effie died around 1897, and it is believed that Ellinwood, now with substantially less wealth, moved to a farm in Oklahoma to raise three of his children. Ellinwood, perhaps unaware that a small Kansas town would forever bear his name, died on his farm on April 29, 1910.

1908: Another busy year

The Wolf Mill, seen here under construction, was built in 1908, a important year in Ellinwood’s history. The Ellinwood Bank also went bankrupt that year, and Ellinwood went dry, leading to the Kansas Attorney General issuing a recall city council election when it was discovered that council members had sold licenses to sell alcohol. Not all was bad in 1908, however. That same year, electricity was introduced downtown when the city lit its 22 street lights for the very first time. (courtesy photo)

location of the current high school. Progress continued. Thirty new buildings were erected in 1877. People continued to pour into the community, reaching a population of more than 400 and officially becoming a city on April 22, 1878. 1879 saw the arrival of John Wolf, an established brewer from Sterling. By the next year, his company was churning out as much beer as any brewery in the state. Though the 1870s were a time of discovery and growth in Ellinwood, its residents would soon find out that life on the plains was not always going to be so easy.

Ups and downs mark end of 19th century in newly minted town By Mike Courson By the end of the 1870s, more than 400 people occupied the newly incorporated Ellinwood city limits. New businesses were booming. The new decade would test those residents, but the city would ultimately survive. Out of the gate, the 1880s did not look so bad. Early in the decade, the city set up its ability to fight fires. Two wells were dug to provide water, and a force pump with a cart and hose, the pinnacle of firefighting at the time, was purchased for $634. The next year was not so good. A poor wheat crop had discouraged many farmers and businessmen. By the middle of 1881, the population had dropped to 375. Later that year, however, a new railroad extension to Florence, connecting the town with Lyons and McPherson, breathed life back into the community. By the end of 1881, the population had climbed back to 639. In 1882, a small pox outbreak in Great Bend threatened the area, and a guard was posted on the west edge of town to prevent Great Benders from coming into Ellinwood. That same year, due to liquor laws outlawing the manufacture of beer, the Wolf Brewery shut down, becoming a distribution facility that reached several states. In perhaps an ominous bit of fortune, the city

decided to sell the fire engine, hose, and cart in 1884. Three years later, fire destroyed a prominent business block downtown. Meyer & Sons, a new hardware store, was just about to open its doors and was completely lost, without insurance. Several other buildings were damaged or destroyed, bringing damages to around $50,000. Only $10,000 of that amount was insured. Fires continued to devastate the town into the 1890s. In October 1891, fire destroyed several more buildings downtown, including a tailor shop, the Commercial Hotel, and a restaurant. Just a month later, another fire consumed two hotels and surrounding structures. Eventually, brick would replace wood and cut down on the destructive powers of fire. The Wolf Hotel, now Starr Antiques, was completed in 1894. The Wolfs also had a big year in 1895, seeing the marriage of their daughter, Catherine. Some 4,000 people were included on the guest list, making it still one of Ellinwood’s largest social events. Businesses continued to arrive and grow into the 20th century. Bricks, those red staples of Ellinwood streets still today, began to replace planks in the city’s walkways. Those were just one of many changes that opened the door to the 1900s.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

After Harvest Festival

The Ellinwood Leader & Hoisington Dispatch

Long ride home

Ellinwood natives Ben Reser (center) and Joshwa McMullen (right) arrived back home on Wednesday, accompanied by Mel Waite and Jim McMullen. The duo, who both live in Colorado, trekked just over 350 miles to reach Ellinwood in time for the After Harvest Festival. They also raised more than $5,000 for Multiple Sclerosis. (photo by Mike Courson)

The 2012 Fishing Derby kicks-off Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. Another large turnout is expected at Wolf Pond so get there early to find a spot! (photos by Jacque Isern)

The boys of summer...long before the After Harvest Festival By Mike Courson

The After Harvest Festival has been a tradition in Ellinwood for 40 years now. Long before that, dating back at least 105 years, Ellinwood had another summer tradition: baseball. The origins of the sport of baseball could date back to the 1400s, but right around the turn of the 20th century, Albert Spalding, a former pitcher and future sporting goods entrepreneur and publisher, formed the Mills Commission to decide just who invented the game. A group of established baseballers and two

The 1907 Ellinwood Greens United States senators were included in the commission, eventually deciding in 1908 that baseball as we know it was invented

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by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, NY., in 1839. Future facts may not corroborate those findings, nor were they probably relevant to the players in Ellinwood as early as 1907, when the Greens baseball team opened the season against Great Bend. As part of the Kansas Wheat Belt League, that September, the Greens became the first Ellinwood athletic team to travel by automobile to another town for games. Baseball was alive and well in the area at the time, with teams in Claflin, Bushton, Pawnee Rock, Kinsley, Garfield, Great Bend,

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and Larned. Though the KWBL consisted of only four of those teams, and Great Bend and Larned apparently disbanded before the 1907 season was over, Ellinwood still beat

out Larned by two games for the title. Eventually, the leagues would get bigger. By 1919, Ellinwood was playing against teams from McPherson and Wichita. In 1928, the town was part of the Southwest Kansas Baseball League, playing against teams from Dodge City and Pratt among others. That same year, Ellinwood lost 15-5 to the Kansas City Monarchs, one of the most famous Negro League teams that 20 years later would feature Hall of Famer Satchel Paige. In 1947, the Ellinwood Merchants made their debut. John Wor-

man took over managerial responsibilities for the club in 1949, holding that position for seven years before stepping down after the 1956 season. In 1980, the After Harvest Festival concluded with the Ellinwood Old-Timers beating Odin 10-9. After the game, the field was named after Worman, who died two years earlier. Today, baseball is not quite like it used to be. The Babe Ruth Eagles 15 & Under team travels, and a variety of softball players also play on traveling teams. The Chamber of Commerce also sponsors a T-Ball and Robo-Pitch League.


The Ellinwood Leader & Hoisington Dispatch

After Harvest Festival

Friday, July 20, 2012

5

After Harvest Festival part of Eat and be entertained Ellinwood’s celebratory history By Mike Courson

Ellinwood has long been a town of celebration. Dating back to its German origins, the city has always found something to celebrate. The stretch from the early 1950s to the early 1970s was particularly buoyant. In 1953, Ellinwood celebrated its Diamond Anniversy -- not the 75th anniversary of its founding, but the anniversary of its incorporation in 1878. Nineteen years later, Ellinwood was one of many towns along the Santa Fe Railroad to celebrate their centennial. For Ellinwood residents, this meant a 75th and 100th anniversary celebration just 19 years apart. The Centennial, it had to be explained, was a celebration of the town’s founding in 1872, not its incorporation after growing to a population of 400. In that 1972 celebration, the city

Some of the leftover goodies from the Ellinwood Centennial Celebration in 1972. That celebration came just 19 years after the city celebrated its 75 years of existence. (photo by Jacque Isern)

featured booster trips, can-can girls, a parade, and a beer garden. If many of those events seem familiar, it is because the Ellinwood Area Enterprise was established in 1974.

The EAF was the drive behind the first After Harvest Festival in 1975, and subsequent Festivals have also featured parades, live music, and the ever-popular beer garden.

Top: The Ellinwood High School Spirit Squad performed at the AHF BBQ last summer and performed again this year. Bottom: Members of the Immanuel United Church of Christ Praise Band, seen here while performing at the K-96 June Jaunt in Ellinwood, also performed during the AHF BBQ Thusrday evening. (photos by Jacque Isern)

Telling it like it was - a brief glimpse of daily news of the past The Ellinwood Express 130 Years Ago -July 20, 1882 And now ‘tis the sound of the thresher that greets the ear of the Kansan. If we are to believe the stories told us by the traveling men (and there is no reason to dispute them) the City Hotel is one of the best hostleries on the line of the railroad, and the Mr. Sederlof, its gentlemanly proprietor, is the right man in the right place. All who stop at the “City” give it a good name, and are certain to call again whenever they visit Ellinwood. Messrs. William-

son and Ashton are putting up an elevator opposite the City Hotel. The Ellinwood Leader 125 Years Ago July 14, 1887 A few weeks since we called attention to the fact that some one of our enterprising citizens should erect a both house, some older ones showing a willingness to do same, a certain young man of our town, on the Fourth of July, took a number of his best girls, and started for country to attend a dance. Finding the dance rather dull he concluded that he should take a drive

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Saturday, July 21

at the American Legion 117 East Santa Fe, Ellinwood

with his girls. As he was near the river, (and we presume, thinking or our request in a former issue for a bath house), he upset the vehicle, dumping girls and all into the river. They all managed to get out, and after a few baptismal ceremonies were said, “their gallant,” drove for home. July 22, 1887 Mr. Taylor, heretofore known as the world’s champion, and Mr. Austenat, the famous light-weight, both of this place, had an exciting contest on Tuesday last. After fighting three rounds Mr. Austenat was declared “clock-ofthe-rock.” As fighting is against the laws of the city, they were marched to the Police Court, where most of the gate money was spent to pay the fine, which cost Mr. Taylor three dollars and trimmings. The Ellinwood Leader 100 Years Ago July 11, 1912 Mr. Will Brewer, who recently purchased the Hotel Wolf from the Beckets, is conducting a first class hostelry. Mr. Brewer has added a bath and other improvements, and the Wolf Hotel is

now one of the most popular hostelries in this part of the state. Frank Baer had his annual runaway Saturday evening. His delivery team became frightened on Main Street and got beyond his control. One of the horses fell and Frank was jerked from the wagon onto the animal’s back. He shaken up some, but no serious injury resulted to man, beast, or wagon. July 18, 1912 Three men secured a room at the Hotel Wolf Tuesday evening of the week, with the aid of some diluted alcohol and a crap game started a real life sized rough house. The police were called to quell the disturbance and a couple of the fellows were taken to jail, the third man making his getaway before the arrival of the officers. After being taken to the jail one of the men became very sick and a physician was called and the was taken to the hospital where with the aid of a stomach pump he was straightened out all right. It is quite probable that the man who had made is escape, and who had won all their money, had doped the booze. Neither of the men had any money to pay

their fines so Marshal Sprinker showed them the way out of town. The Ellinwood Leader 75 Years Ago July 15, 1937 Curious onlookers sought in vain for the cornerstone when Frank Anderson’s Bell Plains creamery building was moved from its old location north of Christoph and Wagner’s to the lots east of The Leader office. George Walters skidded the creamery building to its new location and moved the ice house on his truck. The building had stood on Main Street for 30 years or more, and there have been very few changes of agents. The portion of Ellinwood’s population capable of pronouncing and fond of pronouncing umlauts is going to have its way. Council is reasonable and probably will restore the north and south streets to Schiller, Goethe, Wieland, Arndt, Fritz and their original Germanic Godfathers. July 22, 1937 GRAND OPENING. . .JULY 24. . .FISHERS CABIN CAMP East edge of Ellinwood, Highway 50 and 96. We are opening a new

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lunch room. Come in and try our old southern style hickory barbecue, fried chicken and short orders. Don’t forget to come out and see us, we want to have the pleasure of pleasing you. Plenty of parking space for trucks. T.H. Fisher. The Ellinwood Leader 50 Years Ago July 12, 1962 City Council has employed Wayne Truesdell of Lyons, as a member of the Ellinwood police force. Mr. Truesdell, formerly employed at the missile base near Lyons, is scheduled to go to work tomorrow. Mr. Truesdell is well known her. Mrs. Truesdell is the former Jolene Yarmer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Yarmer. Major Edward Berscheidt, Commander of the Ellinwood squadron, Civil Air Patrol, will leave the Kansas City airport Sunday, bound for Italy, and a month of duty as the escort for five Civil Air Patrol cadets, on a tour of that country. The cadets are going to Italy on the Cadet Exchange Participants program and will study many angles of aviation in Italy. July 19, 1962 - Miss Sally Meadows, of Ellinwood, is one of 19 present, or former Fort Hays State College students whose art work will be shown in the gallery of the Hallmark Card Co. in Kansas City this weekend. Miss Meadows will have a red chalk drawing in the display. She is a junior at Fort Hays.


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Friday, July 20, 2012

After Harvest Festival

The Ellinwood Leader & Hoisington Dispatch

AHF Parade Grand Marshal Brown takes different role into 2012 AHF By Mike Courson

For more than two decades, Terry Brown has been one of the main driving forces behind the After Harvest Festival Parade. This year, he will have a new role in the festivities. Last month, the Ellinwood Rotary Club named Brown as the parade’s Grand Marshal. “Terry’s community service, including serving the Ellinwood schools, Library and Health Care Foundations, along with his more than 20 years volunteering to chair the parade committee made the Rotarians unanimous in selecting him as Grand Marshal,” said Rotary President Kent Roth. “I had no idea,” Brown said of the nomination. “One of the people from the committee asked if I would be the Grand Marshal. After a couple of days, I agreed to it. I was very honored to be asked.” Brown has made a life in Ellinwood, living all of his life here with the exception of a few years of college at Kansas State University. He returned and recently celebrated a couple of major milestones. In June, he celebrated his 45th anniversary to wife, Ann. Two years ago marked his 40th anniversary with Adams, Brown, Beran, and Ball. Brown began taking on the parade with Joan Drees when LeRoy Zahn relinquished the job years ago. The event continues to be

Linda and Leon Sobba receive the 2012 Distinguished Citizen of Ellinwood Award from Ellinwood Rotary Club President Justin Lear (far right). (photo by Jacque Isern)

Sobbas earn Distinguished Citizen honors

After years of volunteer work with the Ellinwood Rotary Club, including the After Harvest Festival Parade, Terry Brown was selected to be the Grand Marshal for the 2012 Parade. (photo by Mike Courson)

one of the major events in Ellinwood each year. “It’s very big,” Brown said. “It draws in lots of people. It’s a very popular time for our class reunions to take place. It’s a big event. We’re real proud of the parade. It generally has between 90 and 115 entries. This year, with it being a political year, there will be a few more entries.” Brown joined the Rotary for the organization’s ability to distribute aid worldwide. One of the biggest projects of the Rotarians has been to help eradicate polio. “We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting very close,” said Brown. “It’s to the point now where there are just some countries it’s very difficult to get into because of wars going on and hostile

environments.” The Rotary also participates in exchange programs with other countries with the larger theme of promoting peace and understanding between countries, and also works with disadvantaged countries, providing supplies and infrastructure help. “One of the projects we’re involved with now is called the Shelterbox Project,” Brown said. “A shelterbox gives housing, like a tent, and supplies for families that are in a disaster area. A number of these boxes went to Haiti when they had all the flooding from the hurricanes.” The Browns have two children, son Chandler, and daughter Stacy Standlee. Both live in Ellinwood.

By Mike Courson Last February, the Ellinwood Rotary Club honored several local residents for their community service. Leon and Linda Sobba were named 2012 Distinguished Citizens of Ellinwood. Three other citizens received the Paul Harris Fellowship Award. According to Ellinwood Rotary Club President Justin Lear, the Sobbas were chosen because of their community involvement, especially in the schools. In 2008, both retired as teachers. Leon had taught for 42 years, and Linda for 35 years. “They’ve been very active in the community and have been strong proponents of the school, involved as teachers and with theatrics there and at Barton Community College,” Lear said. “They are very well known in the community.” While teaching, Leon was also a stage manager for high school plays. He continues to remain active in theater as a volunteer, handling the lights and stage as a theater manager for Barton Community College. He also remains active with productions at Ellinwood High School. Outside theater work, Leon serves as the regular organist for his church, and is in charge of the Christmas decorations each year. As a teacher, Linda taught home economics and sponsored many student clubs. She remains active in the Saint Joseph Parish, the hospital auxiliary, and is an officer in the Ellinwood Quilt Club. The couple was unaware of the award that night after receiving an invitation to represent the Quilt Club at the Rotary banquet. “It’s very special and maybe even very surprising to me that I was nominated for that role,” Linda said. “I think

when we came to Ellinwood, we didn’t plan to stay here that long. We’ve been here and enjoy giving back to the community very much.” Leon was also surprised, and said looking around the room, he realized that all the active citizens play an important role in the community. “I just think to make a community like Ellinwood, or any other community work, takes so many people doing things that maybe no one notices,” Sobba said. “That’s what makes a community happen.” Leon also unwittingly provided an example of why he and Linda were selected for the award as he spoke afterwards. “Leon took the moment after that to give an advertisement for the college theater,” said Lear. “That is a testimony as to why he’s so deserving of the award. He took the moment when he was being honored to advertise a community service at the same time. I thought that was unique.” Lear said the Rotary Club typically evaluates between three and eight nominees for the award each year. Past nominees may be reexamined, and new nominations are welcomed from other clubs and the public. “That’s where we receive most of our nominations is from other service clubs,” Lear said. “We also publish it in the paper, and it’s open for anyone who wants to nominate. We try to make it as open as possible so we can find out about as many of those people we maybe don’t see as club members.” Leon and Linda are the parents of one daughter, Leah Sobba, and three sons, Lyle, Leo, and Luke. Luke traveled from Rossville to be present at the awards ceremony.

Ellinwood Country Living 302 N. Main, Ellinwood, KS 620-564-2100 A cozy, safe, and caring environment when you or your loved one can no longer stay at home.

Lifeguards push the ducks toward the finish line at last years Duck Run. This year’s Run takes place at the city pool on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (photo by Jacque Isern)

Duck Run always a hit at AHF

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By Irlan Fullbright Ducks will be racing to the finish line at the Ellinwood Fire Department annual Santa Fe Duck Run for the 39th Annual After Harvest Festival. The event will be held Saturday, July 21, at 2:30 p.m. at the Ellinwood City Swimming Pool Prizes include: $150.00 cash from Hi La Engine and Pump, Inc.; $100.00 cash from L D and Marilyn Davis, K & N Petroleum, Inc., S & K Dirt Service; Flat Screen TV from Trinity Oilfield Services; $50.00 cash from Dick’s Engine Service, Steve Reser Memorial Donation, Sentinel Machine and Supply, Triple T Electric & Irrigation,

Isern Electric Heat & Air, Alan Moeder Plumbing, Exterior Design, Outlaw Tank Service, Kizzar Well Service, KW Auto; 16 oz Prime Rib Loin (3 prizes), Barton County Feeders; Reciprocating Saw, Home Lumber, Ellinwood; $50 Gift Certificate, Lone Wolf Restaurant & Catering; Power Wash, Knop Auto Parts and Repair; Cooler, Mobile Radio Service, Inc.; $25 Roll of Gold Dollars (2 prizes), Sunflower Bank, Ellinwood; $25.00 cash from Birzer & Stickney, Jeff’s Body Shop, Blaine Ammeter State Farm Agent; $25 Gift Certificate, John Henry’s; $20 Lone Wolf Gift Certificates (3 prizes), Ellin-

wood Chamber; $25 Gift Certificate, Ellinwood Packing; $25 Gift Certificate, Rejuvenations, Inc.; $25 Rejuvenations, Inc. Gift Certificate, Schartz Construction; Coleman Camp Stove (2 prizes), Chlumsky Liquormart; Big Cooler, Southwind Drilling; Bucket of Mothers Car Care Products, RMAC Repair; Rod and Reel Combo, Pop N’ Shop; 1 Gallon Hand Cleaner, Lang Diesel; 2-18 Hole Green Fees (1 prize), Grove Park Golf Club; Season Pool Pass (2 prizes), City of Elliwnood; TBA, Stanion Wholesale Electric, NCRA, Sunflower Electric, Bank of the West, Parts Inc.


The Ellinwood Leader & Hoisington Dispatch

After Harvest Festival

Friday, July 20, 2012

7

Follow the red brick road all the way back to 1921 By Mike Courson

One of the trademarks of Ellinwood in 2012 is the brick streets. While many communities that once had brick streets have moved to the more popular concrete, the City of Ellinwood has held on to its past. For nearly 50 years after its inception, the streets in the fledgling town went unpaved. They were rarely ideal for transportation, turning to dust in dry weather and impassable mud in wet seasons. There were options before bricks. Four years before the bricks were laid, one man bought a train car full of oil, which was spread

across some of the streets. While somewhat successful, according to Ellinwood historian Robert Yarmer, it was not the only way to solve dust problems. “Every summer, they hired a man with a water wagon and a team of horses to drive up and down Main Street to water the streets and keep the dust down,” he said. With automobiles also becoming more popular, a more permanent street solution was necessary. “In about 1920, the merchants on Main Street approached the city council with petitions to have them bricked,” said Yarmer.

Before the bricks, Ellinwood’s dirt streets caused a variety of problems in the new era of vehicles. In the summer, the streets were dusty. Rain also caused its own obvious problems. (courtesy photo)

“If over 50 percent of the landowners on a block signed this petition, the city would allow contracts for

bricks on the streets. In the next six or seven years, they bricked what streets that are bricked today.”

In 1921, the city council decided to go the way of bricks. Despite a few complaints over the years, and a thin layer of blacktop that was used to cover the bricks downtown at one point, the bricks have mostly done their job, keeping down maintenance costs along the way. “The bricks today are the same bricks they put down in 1922,” Yarmer said. “There is no maintenance to them. The only thing, some of those streets show where the concrete base below them has cracked and given away. But the bricks themselves are just as they were laid.”

Blake Wornkey, Spencer Proffitt and Kevin Clair, City of Ellinwood, work on small repairs in the brick streets to fix bumps caused by tree roots. The first bricks were laid in 1921 to solve some of the problems associated with dirt streets. Since then, the brick streets have required relatively little maintenance. (photos by Jacque Isern)

Fire fighters have benefitted greatly from advances in technology, like this 3,000 gallon tanker that was purchased by the city in 2008. (photo by Mike Courson)

Firefighting has come a long way

A history of fire

By Mike Courson

For many obvious reasons, life today is not as it was in 1872. It is easy to see the things we have today that did not exist 140 years ago. A little more difficult is recognizing the things we do not have. One of them: the fear of fire. Though Ellinwood saw its first homes in 1872, it was not until 1879 that members of the community got together to discuss a fire department. The fire department then was nothing like it is today. Though the original list consisted of 26 able-bodied men, coincidentally the same number of volunteers today, the equipment would be scoffed at in 2012. The first equipment bought by the city that year included 36 wooden buckets, an axe, and a pick axe. In 1880, the city began looking for a fire engine. Again,

“engines” 140 years resembled little of what we see today. One of the more popular, though largely ineffective devices of the day was the chemical engine. “It’s a tank on wheels, and it was pulled by the firemen themselves,” said Ellinwood historian Robert Yarmer. “This tank was always full of soda water—water and baking soda. “When you got to the fire, if it was real high, you put a small nozzle on so it could squirt quite a ways. If it was ground level, you put a larger nozzle on it. Then you put a jar of sulfuric acid in this tank and closed the lid.” By turning a wheel on the bank of the tank, the sulfuric acid mixed with the soda water, creating up to 300 pounds of pressure per square inch inside the tank which forced the foam out. When the

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tank emptied, buckets were used to fill it back up. On of these chemical engines, purchased from Indianapolis in 1880, was capable of shooting two streams in the neighborhood of 60 feet. The engines were not very successful, and in 1884, the City of Ellinwood sold its engine. Over the next 10 years, the city would be marred by countless large fires. In 1887, nine downtown buildings were destroyed in a single fire. Many of the buildings and goods within were uninsured. A large fire in 1889 killed two horses and destroyed an expensive buggy. With angst building over the lack of a fire department in 1891, fire continued its destructive reign, destroying another city block in October. A month later, several more buildings were damaged or destroyed. Fire fighting abilities would eventually improve, as would building codes, starting in 1896, that helped prevent large fires. Today, those codes and new technoloy continue to keep Ellinwood and most communities virtually fire free.

By Mike Courson Technology has obviously benefited society in countless ways. One of the benefits that may be overlooked is fire safety. Not only do we benefit from reliable motorized fire engines now, but the ways in which water is utilized has vastly improved, and even building codes make a world of difference in fire safety today. Ellinwood saw a rash of serious fires in the late 1800s. Back then, destructive fires were almost destined as wooden buildings were combined with flammable goods, and firefighters lacked equipment of all varieties to battle the blazes. Today is a different story, starting with how water is used. Before, firefighters may have been lucky to get 100 gallons of water on a fire each minute. Fire departments now have established water systems, bigger hoses, bigger trucks, and the capability of pumping more than 1,000 gallons of water per minute. “Our capabilities today of being able to deliver larger amounts of water is probably one of the biggest things,” said Ellinwood Fire Chief Chris Komarek, who has been the Chief for 16 years, and has 31 years total on the job. “It takes a certain amount of water to fight a certain size of fire. If you don’t have it, you just don’t win that battle.” Unlike Ellinwood Fire Departments of the past, today’s department is well-equipped. The department has two pumpers, capable of pumping 1,250 gallons a minute, three brush trucks, and a tanker that holds 3,000 gallons of water. “I feel like we have very up-to-date mod-

ern equipment and are equipped as well as any department could be,” Komarek said. Building codes have also affected firefighting. Codes as early as 1886 required new structures to have fireproof exteriors. “A lot of people may not like it, but building codes and fire codes are all designed to prevent a fire,” said Komarek. “That’s the main goal with any fire department. Our number one priority is to prevent fire rather than having to fight it. I think in today’s world, things are built of a little higher quality. There is a higher fire rating. The materials used today are a little more fire-resistant.” There is also no shortage of man-power. The EFD has a 26-man volunteer squad. Though being a volunteer-only department means a slower response time to fire calls, Komarek says the response time is still usually less than five minutes, and having volunteers does have its benefits. “I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll go out the door with 10-12 guys responding, which is more than what a lot of full-time departments have,” he said. “Our response time may be a little slower, but we go out with more men.” Not only are more firefighters responding to any given call, but the professional backgrounds of the men also vary, bring various levels of expertise to any situation. The EFD currently has carpenters, mechanics, and electricians on its volunteer list. When an Ellinwood fire call is taken by Barton County Communications (911) in Great Bend, all 26 volunteers receive a message on their pagers. Some also receive text messages on their phones. The fire whistle also sounds in Ellinwood, filling the air with its shriek for one minute. The volunteers respond to the station to load up their gear and get a truck. “We don’t go out the door unless we have our full fire-fighting

gear on,” said Komarek. “Everybody responds to the station, and as they get here, the first two or three guys take the first truck and the next three or four guys take the next truck. No one has an assigned job, more or less. We try to cross train everyone on everything. We want the guys, over a period of time, to be able to drive and pump all of the trucks. They also have to be knowledgeable about how to work the air packs, and know how to fight fires.” Community involvement is a given in a volunteer fire department. Komarek says it goes even further as the department has never had to fight for funds for equipment. “Ellinwood has a remarkable fire department,” he said. “We have excellent equipment. None of that comes unless we have community support. The community has always supported us tremendously, as have the governing bodies. “We cover the city of Ellinwood, and two townships (Lakin and Commanche). We meet annually with the city councils and the township boards for our budgeting. They, as well, have supported us 100 percent in funding. We all work together well. We don’t ask for things beyond our abilities, and they’ve always been cooperative in supplying us with the funds we need to maintain the department we have.” The department has also benefitted from national grants, receiving approximately $300,000 via six Assistance to Firefighters grants that started in 2001 after the terrorist attacks in New York City. The biggest purchase with those funds was the new tanker truck, purchased for $180,000 in 2008. As the recent fires in Colorado and elsewhere have shown, even new technologies are sometimes not enough to extinguish the force of fire. But fire has to work a lot harder in 2012 than it did 100 years ago to devastate entire communities.


8

After Harvest Festival

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Ellinwood Leader & Hoisington Dispatch

Officials of Ellinwood After Harvest Festivals AFH Parade Grand Marshals 1980 - Wally Lattimer-Lyons 1981 - LeRoy Zahn 1982 - Don Grant 1983 - Dr. Findley Law 1984 - World War I Veterans H. Martin Glenn Dr. C. R. Herald Karl Kienzle Ferd Johanning 1985 - Homer Eberhart 1986 - G. I. Robinson 1987 - Adrianna Dierolf 1988 - Dr. Harold Stone 1989 - Norbert Staab 1990 - Sam Stitt 1991 - Karl Kienzle 1992 - W.W. Rinker 1993 - Charles Sessler 1994 - Jack DeWerff 1995 - Mat and Mary Robl 1996 - Evelyn Miller and Robert Yarmer 1997 - Joe Hickel 1998 - LeRoy Thill 1999 - Jean Robinson 2000 - Iris and Alfred Pohlman 2001 - Roy Barber 2002 - Nick Loburgio 2003 - Helen Dickson 2004 - George and Phyllis Miller 2005 - Howard Wallace 2006 - Bernice Petz, Eloise Winkleman, and Joan Drees 2007 - Maxine Peter Gilmore 2008 - Warren O. Johnson 2009 - Leon and Linda Sobba 2010 - Mike Strobl 2011 - Marion and Vernon DeWerff 2012 - Terry Brown

Mayors 1878-1879 - F. A. Steckel 1880-1880 - O. M. Dotson 1882-1882 - R. W. Barr 1883-1884 - F. A. Steckel 1884-1885 - R. W. Barr 1885-1886 - V.S. Musil 1887-1888 - H.W. Bockermohl 1888-1889 - Gus Toepke 1889-1891 - Mat Dick 1892-1893 - E. L. Smith 1893-1895 - Mat Dick 1896-1897 - Ed Bochemohl 1898-1899 - Joseph Sprinkler 1900-1901 - Fred Steckel 1902-1904 - H.D. Back 1905-1906 - R. W. Barr 1907-1910 - Joseph Sprinkler 1911-1915 - G.O. Spears 1916-1917 - Ed Isern 1917-1918 - Joseph Sprinkler 1919-1920 - J.R. Zecha 1921-1928 - Joseph Sprinkler 1929-1934 - C.A. Kruger 1935-1938 - M.A. Isern 1939-1942 - Fred Wolf 1943-1944 - M.A. Isern 1945-1948 - E.H. Isern 1949-1950 - Homer Eberhart 1951-1954 - John Manning 1955-1956 - LeRoy Zahn 1957-1958 - John Manning 1959-1962 - I.J Rader 1963-1968 - Kenneth Hetrick 1969-1974 - Carroll Manning 1975-1976 - Alfred Pohlman 1977-1978 - Alan Isern 1979-1981 - Joe Hickel 1981-1982 - Jerome Huslig 1983-1984 - Ron McCrary 1985-1993 - Jerome Huslig 1993-2003 - Joe Hickel 2003-present - Frank Koelsch

Rotary Club Distinguished Citizen Servant Award 1976 - Lillian Dick 1977 - H. Martin Glenn 1978 - Leslie J. Lloyd 1979 - Evelyn Miller 1980 - G.I. Robinson 1981 - Nick LoBurgio 1982 - Alfred Pohlman 1983 - LeRoy Zahn 1984 - Stanley Ringering 1985 - Homer Eberhart 1986 - Joe Hickel 1987 - Marian Isern 1988 - Dr. Harold Stone 1989 - Don Jensen 1990 - Art Huslig 1991 - Carl Adler 1992 - Larry Panning 1993 - Norbert Staab 1994 - none 1995 - Charles and Marilyn Frydendall 1996 - Robert Yarmer 1997 - Howard Wallace 1998 - LeRoy Thill 1999 - Jean Robinson 2000 - Cap Proffitt 2001 - George and Phyllis Miller 2002 - Glen Breford 2003 - Walter Roth 2004 - Irlan Fullbright 2005 - Howard Wallace 2006 - Howard Herter 2007 - Charlie Carmin 2008 - Jerome Birzer 2009 - Andy Detmer 2010 - George A. Meyer 2011 - Gerald F. Menges 2012 - Leon and Linda Sobba

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The Ellinwood Leader & Hoisington Dispatch

After Harvest Festival

Friday, July 20, 2012

9

Ellinwood Fire Department circa 1922

Bustling Ellinwood Main Street, 1884

The original 1908 watertower before it had neighbors

Licensed to design: the making of the AHF T-Shirt logo By Mike Courson

The man who took Ellinwood to New York City, via the Leader, is giving a little back. Josh Sturgis and mother Sharon, were the winners of the first After Harvest Festival t-shirt design contest sponsored by the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce. The design, an old-fashioned vanity license plate that focuses on this year’s 140th anniversary theme, beat out eight other designs. “The comments I heard from the selection committee were that it caught your eye and made you stop to think what it said, so they thought it was attention grabbing,” said Nancy Baird, Ellinwood Chamber Administrator. “It was a close race between the winning design

and two other entries. The committee wants to thank everyone who sent in an entry, and we really did love them all. It was hard for the selection committee to make a final decision. Sharon put in much of the ground work, coming up with the idea of the vanity plate and actually bringing the design to fruition. “My mom called me and told me there was a contest,” said Josh, who now lives in the Topeka area. “Not only are we somewhat competitive in our family, but we tend to be pretty creative, especially my mother. We emailed back and forth about it and talked about some ideas, and she put the ink to the screen.” Sharon did it the hard way, using the

word processing software Word to design a modern looking plate, and a more vintagestyle plate. “I told Josh if we ever designed something together again, I wanted different software,” she said. “Word is not designed for graphic design.” Though mothers are known for knowing best, it was Josh who eventually came up with the winning idea of using a vintage plate over a modern style. “We kind of decided that since we’re celebrating the heritage and history, we don’t need a modern license plate,” said Josh. “Why not go with something with a little more of a retrofeel?” “The design that won, I need to give him credit,” Sharon

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Sharon and Josh Sturgis were the winners of the first Chamber of Commerce sponsored AHF T-Shirt design contest. Their winning design was one of nine entries in the contest. (courtesy photo)

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office. Sizes youthadult extra-large are $10, and adult 2X and above will be $13. The shirts will be white with the design on the front and sponsors listed on the back. For Josh, who has missed only one After Harvest Festival 14 years ago, the t-shirt design is just another reason to come back to town. “He is a creative guy, and he’s like ‘Mr. After Harvest Festival.,’” Sharon said. “He’s just a big believer in Ellinwood, and small-town experience, and growing up here.” Even after travelling the world, living on both coasts, and interning for Conan O’Brien, Ellinwood still very much matters to the 30-year-old. “It’s always fun to come back,” he said. “No matter where I travel in the world, people always love hearing stories about small town shenanigans in Ellinwood. I’ve brought friends back from all over to the After Harvest Festival, and every single one of them leaves with a big smile on his face. It’s always great to be home and see everybody. No matter where you are in the world, you can only call one place home.”


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Leader section - After Harvet Festival