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March 20, 2016

The Hutchinson News

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The Hutchinson News

Photo page from Life magazine/Courtesy of the Conard-Harmon collection

A mile long table was set up on Main Street in Hutchinson in 1946 during the Prairie Powow.

A journey up

Main By Kathy Hanks

The Hutchinson News

Dave McKane sits outside BlueBird Books on Main Street recently. Kathy Hanks/ The Hutchinson News

Hutch’s ‘heart’ has witnessed a revival that recalls earlier days


eep in thought, Tom Heintzman sat alone, glancing out the window of Bluebird Books awaiting his breakfast burrito. Early Saturday morning is his time to come downtown and relax in the back of the store, where the bookstore’s cafe serves coffee, pastries and breakfast foods. “I love the atmosphere,” he said. “This is a store you’d find in New York City.” As he waited for his burrito, he pointed to the glass bakery case with the freshly baked pastries. Sometimes he’ll take a cupcake home to surprise his young daughter. “Exceptional” is how Heintzman described the cupcakes, Bluebird Books and his daughter. While Heintzman, who owns and lives at Prairie Hills Nursery in the northeast corner of town, was up before the sunrise on this recent Saturday, those who slept late missed seeing the splashes of orange

and pink blended into a sea of turquoise as the sun broke through on the east side of Hutchinson’s Main Street. They also missed Main Street’s awakening. Farther north on Main, a man whose face was hidden by his hoodie slowly pedaled through the parking lot between Cool Beans and Jillian’s. He maneuvered the clunky bicycle with a cigarette dangling from his lips. There was indecision in his movement as he turned the bike in several large loops, as if he was trying to make up his mind where to go. Finally he circled the empty parking lot and headed north. Across the street, the door opened and closed over and over at Daylight Donuts as a steady stream of people entered while others were leaving carrying out doughnuts and coffee. The shop, with the mouth-watering smell of hot, sugary doughnuts, soon had a growing line.

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The Hutchinson News

March 20, 2016 Page 3


Main Street 30th Ave.

25th Ave.

State Fair Rd.

Kansas State Fairgrounds

Courtesy of the Conard-Harmon collection

20th Ave.

BlueBird Books at the southeast corner of Sherman and Main streets.


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17th Ave.

Some people are quick; they have their minds made up before they walk through the door. For others, it takes time. There are major decisions to be made on this Saturday morning: Glazed or chocolate iced? Wait. What about the colorful sprinkles, or how about an iced Long John or a Bismarck? The scene was similar at Brewed Awakening, the cafe inside Fraese Drugstore. Staff rushed past with plates heaped with eggs and French toast.

11th Ave.

4th Ave. Daylight Donuts Wolcott Building

Cool Beans/Jillian’s

former site

Long’s Wiley Building Ten Thousand Villages First National Bank

Avenue A Park

Bluebird Books

Avenue A

Brewed Awakening Stevens Building

Avenue F


Carey Park

JH/The News

In the beginning Pick any Saturday morning and along Hutchinson’s 3.5-mile Main Street: People are coming to consciousness, heading to local eateries for a morning fix. Some call it the heart of Hutchinson – between the two railroad tracks beginning at the Amtrak station and Cool Beans to the railroad tracks near the old brick building where the large blue and yellow “Stevens” sign still hangs.The Stevens building is the oldest building still standing in town, according to local historians Steve Harmon and Steve Conard. Built in 1876 as a mill organized by C.C. Hutchinson as the Water Power Company, it was sold and converted to steam in 1880. Later, in 1902, it was remodeled as a grocery warehouse for Gonder-Petro. Yet, even before that particular structure rose on the town’s horizon, the beginnings of Main Street were being established two blocks north in front of the First National Bank. Today there is a sign that identifies the spot where the Reno County State Bank stood in 1872. It was back in those early first days that Reno County was incorporated as the county seat. By the 1880s it became apparent that the Missouri-Pacific and the Rock Island railroads were going to place new lines through town. That inspired C.C. Hutchinson, a Baptist minister and the town’s founder, to begin recruiting families to come share his space. He lured them into Hutchinson by banning alcohol. He would leave the raucous cowboys to find their release from the cattle trails in Dodge City, Hays, Abilene, anywhere but Hutchinson. Instead, Main Street began growing into a first-class city. At the same spot on the corner of Sherman and Main in 1911, the First National Bank building was designed and became Hutchinson’s first skyscraper, costing $125,000 at the time. It would later be renovated into its current structure in 1974. Since 1882 the Opera House stood on two lots on the corner of First Avenue and Main Street, but in 1912 Vernon Wiley bought the property and cleared it to build a classical revival-style skyscraper. At the time, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Wiley ran into trouble trying to raise the $350,000 it would take to build. However, he persevered and secured a loan from the president of Chase National Bank in New York City. It was to be a successful effort. Even today the Wiley Building has morphed into a totally remodeled apartment complex. And back in 1913 it was an exciting piece of property when the board of trade moved into the top floor, while the first four floors were dedicated to dry goods. By the 1920s, Hutchinson had a bustling Main Street, according to photographs from that time. There appears to be four lanes of traffic, with electric trolley cars coming and

going up and down the middle of the street.The streets show a bustle of people. According to the “Hutchinson Spirit,” while economic times were difficult in Hutchinson during the 1930s, Hayes Drug Store, which partnered with Harry Coberly, managed to stay open. The Wolcott Building stood at the northwest corner of Second and Main from the 1930s to the 1980s and housed Fraese Drugs and Payton Optical.

Nothing says “Buy local” like a walk down Main Street. That’s where our community originated, a town’s heart that grew into thriving arteries, such as 17th and 30th avenues in Hutchinson. Today and over the next two weeks, our Progress editions celebrate Main Street and shopping local because that is what keeps our economy thriving and our community growing. Multiple studies show each dollar spent at a locally owned independent business returns three times as much money to the town’s economy than one spent at a chain. It’s the same with the main streets of our surrounding area, from Haven to Lyons, Newton to Pratt. Our local businesses are special, unique to us. Read their stories. Pay attention to the advertisers, too: They’re investing in our local businesses. Main Street is more than a concrete path. It’s not just the heart of our community – it’s also the soul.


A street to parade along By 1946, Hutchinson was continuing to thrive on Main Street. On May 17 of that year, the street was set with a mile-long table for the Prairie Powwow celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the town. Life magazine even covered the event. Study the photograph and it’s easy to imagine that some of the grayheaded people in the crowd might be some of the earliest settlers of Hutchinson. Through the 1950s, Main Street prospered. Pegues modernized, Art Long opened several

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Main Street Hutchinson......... 2 Living in the Wiley.................. 8 Images of Main Street........... 9 Entertainment, attractions....10 Coin shop’s rarest finds.......12 Chamber looks ahead..........16 South Hutchinson update.....16 Streetscape update.............17 Business making a mark.....19 City manager weighs in........20

Cover photo: A view, looking south, of Main Street in Hutchinson. (Travis Morisse/The Hutchinson News)

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The Hutchinson News

A view of Hutchinson’s Main Street looking north from Sherman Street in 1925. Photo by Winstead.


• From Page 3 clothing shops, and the Wiley Department Store with its tea room became a community institution. Hutchinson was the shopping destination for people in western Kansas. School girls now in their 70s recall the anticipation of the August shopping trip from their small towns to gather their wardrobe for the upcoming year. Loaded down with shopping bags, they would have that special fancy lunch at the elegant Wiley Tea Room. What makes Main Street unique? In his poem “Prairie Town,” Hutchinson poet William Stafford wrote, “There was a river under First and Main.” Actually, it’s a creek and it runs through Avenue A and Main Street. During the 1990s, Cow Creek was rerouted from its previous flow under the street. A bridge was built over it along Main Street. Now people can cross

Main Street on the street or under the bridge, giving Hutchinson its own little river walk. Avenue A Park was built complete with a water park, gazebo and visitor center. On a recent Saturday afternoon it was the perfect spot for a family on an apparent shopping spree, evidenced by the large number of shopping bags. They were unwinding, taking a break sitting in the park, as the children did handsprings across the green grass. Moving away, but coming back Dave McKane of Dublin, Ireland, sits at the bistro table in front of Bluebird Books. For this constant visitor to town, the corner of Sherman and Main Street is where he feels the pulse of Hutchinson. “This is my go-to place,” McKane said as he sipped a latte, watching traffic slowly pass by. “There’s something about Bluebird Books that wouldn’t be out of place in the Light District of Kansas City, or the Mission District of San Francisco. The level


See more pictures on Page 9. of care and attention to detail here is quite astounding, really, providing a very special ambience that I’ve rarely experienced in all my travels. “I’m guessing I’m not the only one who thinks this, as the amount of people I’ve met and chatted with here is amazing: literary types, arty types, creative types, photographer types, musical types, interesting people of all types,” said McKane, an international photographer and owner of the Institute of Photography in Ireland and the United States. He expects Bluebird Books is the kind of store its owner, Melanie Green, would want to go to. “What Melanie has done here is brought heart,” McKane said. “It’s indicative of what can be done here.” McKane’s first trip down Hutchinson’s Main Street was in 1978, when he arrived in town with the American Field Service exchange program. “It was alive, it felt vibrant

Courtesy of Nation Meyer

A view of First National Bank’s expansion, circa 1973, on Main Street in Hutchinson.

Travis Morisse/The Hutchinson News

Brewed Awakening waitress Keyra McGlynn takes food orders to customers Dec. 8, 2015, at 25 N. Main St. in the former Fraese Drug Soda Fountain & Grill. and it felt like America,” McKane said. He was thrilled to be on a street in America that was

actually called Main Street, which was really something for an Irish teen. After his year he left and didn’t return

Courtesy of the Conard-Harmon collection

for 10 years. But when he came back in the summer of 1989, he noticed the changes, though perhaps subtle. The Hutchinson Mall had opened in the spring of 1985, and he noticed the influence it had on Main Street. People were not heading downtown to shop. Hutchinson also had to come back from the January 2001 gas explosions, which killed two people, destroyed two buildings and damaged 26. However, it was on McKane’s trip in 2008, his first time to return in 12 years, that he really saw a difference. During that visit, he felt Main Street was dying.

See MAIN / 7

The Hutchinson News



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The Hutchinson News

The Hutchinson News


• From Page 4 However, in more recent visits he’s excited to see a place that had seemed empty “now alive and vibrant.” People like Green are making it happen. So are events such as Third Thursday, the brainchild of Jennifer Randall. On any given Third Thursday, there are contests, street art, musicians and bands performing on the corners and in parks, and special events luring people inside the shops. At the end of the day Just down the block from Bluebird Books, Ten Thousand Villages and the Et Cetera Shop are undergoing changes. While the Et Cetera Shop is a thrift shop featuring clothing and household items, Ten Thousand Villages is a unique shop selling the products of artisans in developing countries for fair trade so they can earn an income. “We are unique,” said

Jane Emile-Wagler, manager of the shop. Ten Thousand Villages is the only store in town, she says, where people can take a trip around the world in 15 minutes. The not-for-profit business was able to purchase the adjoining building and has opened the wall and will be expanding Ten Thousand Villages next door. They will continue to sell their international gifts but will also have an organic tea room where they will serve teas, coffee, soups, sandwiches and pastries. They hope to be opened in mid-April. Plans have been in the making for this expansion for the past two years, according to Emile-Wagler. She sees competition as a good thing. “It strengthens the community,” she said, adding that she is always recommending the other cafes and coffee shops along Main Street to out-of-town visitors. From the beginning, Hutchinson’s businesses have been anchored in the life on Main Street. Changes come. But, like a tide, businesses ebb and flow.

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Even tall buildings like the Wolcott faced the wrecking ball. Now, on the very spot where Main Street’s first bank stood in 1872, the steel and concrete of First National Bank remains. As the sun moves over to the west side of the street, the shadows are causing an illusion in the bank’s mirrored glass. The American and Kansas flags flying in front of the building are reflected, making it appear that four flags are flying. There, in the front of the bank, if you look just right, the repurposed Wiley Building is reflected. A building within a building: The two tallest buildings remain standing, adapting to the future.

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The Hutchinson News


By Adam Stewart

The Hutchinson News

Photos by Travis Morisse/The Hutchinson News

Erin and Jackson Swearer live in the Wiley Building, which offers a view of downtown Hutchinson.

Convenience is one of ‘lofty’ option’s appeals


hen Jackson and Erin Swearer moved last May from Chicago, Illinois, to the Wiley Building in downtown Hutchinson, they didn’t realize just how much entertainment they would have within easy walking distance. “The Java Walk was going on right outside,” Jackson Swearer said. “There are more downtown events than I remember going on.” He said they got used to walking places while living in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, so they like how easy it is to walk places downtown. “While the whole town is not so walkable, downtown is highly walkable,” he said. “The Fox (Theatre) being around the corner is pretty nice.” Add to that Stage 9, the Flag Theatre, myriad outdoor events and several restaurants, and there are plenty of ways for the couple to stay busy downtown. The Swearers said they appreciate the shopping opportunities downtown, but their limited amount of apartment space affects how much shopping they do, other than for groceries. “Smith’s Market is nice to have in walking distance,” Erin Swearer said. Living in the Wiley Building means they don’t have a yard, but they have the next best thing with several nearby parks: Avenue A Park, George W. Pyle Park and DCI Park are all within easy walking distance. “It (downtown) is not stark and gray and full of cement the way Chicago is,” Jackson Swearer said. Still, apartment living does have a downside: No pets in the Wiley Building.

“I grew up with a golden retriever, and I cannot imagine having a dog that big in our apartment,” Jackson Swearer said. Loft living Lloyd and Anne Armstrong were early adopters of another option for downtown living, with a loft upstairs from Armstrong’s Antiques. “It’s handy,” Lloyd Armstrong said. “Weather does not make any difference. I can’t say, ‘I can’t come to work.’ “ He said they moved downtown at the start of 2015 after having a house for 45 years, but the apartment had been in the works well before that. After Hutchinson changed its zoning laws to once again allow loft apartments above businesses – they were prohibited after a fatal fire in the 1970s, Armstrong said – he restored the loft. “I just like to build and work with my hands,” he said. He said it started as a project to have a project, and when it was complete, the Armstrongs would welcome guests to the loft during Third Thursday events. He continued working on it, and, as he neared retirement, the couple was open to selling their house, since they didn’t need two places. Their loft has plenty of room for entertaining and even shows off some of the downtown area’s history, with a painted billboard on the wall of the building’s shared wall in the living room. A deck at the rear of the building also gives a place to enjoy the outdoors without the work of maintaining a yard, and the deck is a great place to listen to concerts in Avenue A Park, Armstrong said.

The Swearers watch television in their Wiley Building apartment that comes with a view of downtown Hutchinson.

File photo

Lloyd and Anne Armstrong enjoy their spacious Main Street loft with an 18-foot tall ceiling and an old-time shoe advertisement.

The Swearers walk down Main Street in Hutchinson. Living in the Wiley Building allows them to walk to entertainment and dining establishments.

While the whole town is not so walkable,

downtown is highly walkable. The Fox (Theatre) being around the corner is pretty nice.” Jackson Swearer, Wiley Building resident

The Hutchinson News

March 20, 2016 Page 9

A view of Main Street looking north from the Wiley Building at First Avenue and and Main.

Andrew Whitaker/The Hutchinson News


Courtesy of Nation Meyer

Above: A view of Main Street shows E.L. Meyer’s drug store. Meyer came to Hutchinson originally as a druggist and seed dealer but later became a banker and made that the family business. The open land beside his building is where the first bank was built.

Courtesy of the Conard-Harmon collection

Left: A mile long table was set up on Main Street in Hutchinson in 1946 during the Prairie Powow.

File photo

Below: Cool Beans restuarant is located in the train depot, near Third Avenue and Main Street in downtown Hutchinson.

A flooded Main Street seen July 13, 1929, in Hutchinson. Courtesy photo

Memorial Day parade on Main Street in 1895. Jillian’s Italian Grill, 216 N. Main St., resides in the former Pegues Department Store building. File photo

Courtesy of Nation Meyer

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The Hutchinson News


The Hutchinson News

The Cosmosphere International SciEd Center and Space Museum at 1100 N. Plum St.

Travis Morisse/The Hutchinson News

From films to fine-arts fun, Hutch sites’ offerings vary


he first of this year’s informative Talk20 functions featured a presentation titled “The Hutchinson Humanities Shuffle,” which took the audience on a visual tour of the city’s leading cultural locations. As the speaker demonstrated, Hutchinson enjoys a wealth


No longer the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, this decades-long Hutchinson institution at the corner of 11th Avenue and Plum Street rededicated itself last year to offering learning opportunities. It is now the Cosmosphere International SciEd Center and Space Museum, and much of 2015 was spent introducing new programming geared toward the concepts of science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as STEM. “While the (Hall of Space) museum is still, obviously, one of the finest in the world, and we’ll go through and upgrade it,” CEO Dick Hollowell said, referring to the facility’s extensive collection of American and Soviet space artifacts, “we’ve also put a

lot of emphasis on our educational component. Much more time is being spent on applied STEM education.” The addition of programs like MicroNauts, Innovator’s Workshop, Mars Rescue Mission, Cosmo Crisis and Apollo 13 Redux for students of varying ages fits the Cosmosphere’s mission to function, in Hollowell’s words, as an extension of the classroom. “Children get an opportunity to learn in class, and they come here and actually put it to use with a hands-on environment,” he said. But in addition to youth in general, the facility also has been busy developing activities specifically targeted at girls. “We want to get young women more involved in STEM-related programs,”

of businesses and organizations dedicated to entertainment and the arts, all within easy driving or, in many cases, walking distance of one another. From art to music, theater to interactive learning, residents have options for how to spend their free time. These are but a taste of the attractions vying for attention:

Hollowell said, indicating that two new courses could be offered by summer. “We see that as something that, I think, is important.” A new marquee and signage outside the building are a visible indication of changes at the Cosmosphere. But patrons should be patient with internal modernizations. The renovated Justice Planetarium opened last April. Upgrades to the room housing the Dr. Goddard’s Lab demonstrations could come later this year, Hollowell said, while efforts to update displays in the museum to “bring it into the 21st century,” revamp school and camp presentations, and improve the aesthetics of the Cosmosphere’s education area should all unfold within

FAMILY COMMUNITY THEATRE Progress inside the Flag Theatre, where this group calls home, isn’t measured in dollars and cents. Instead, the inhabitants of 310 N. Main St. prefer human capital. Since its inaugural show in 1989, the organization has stuck to its principle of bringing together residents of all ages and abilities. And as FCT approaches its 28th season of performances, it

Rob Rue, Jaxon Allen and the elves rehearsed a scene from the play “A Christmas Story” at the Flag Theatre. File photo

continues to strengthen its bonds with the community. Most of the group’s work is done on the stage through its eight yearly productions, helping build confidence among actors while teaching practical lessons about responsibility, accountability, perseverance and leadership.

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the next couple of years. But major overhauls associated with a $20 million revitalization project unveiled in 2014, including the installment of interactive exhibits and new artifact displays, likely won’t be

seen until late 2017 at the earliest, Hollowell said. “Basically, when you look at the Cosmosphere today, it’s evolving, and I think that is something we’ll see more in the next few years,” he said.

UPCOMING EVENTS ‌‌Cosmosphere April 16 – Space Out Saturday April 21 – Coffee at the Cosmo: “The Mountains are Calling: A Journey from John Muir to the Moon” ‌‌Family Community Theatre April 14-17 – “Church Basement Ladies” June 16-19 – “Pinkalicious” July 21-24 – “Grease” Aug. 18-21 – “Paddington” Sept. 15-18 – “Dr. Doolittle” Nov. 25-27 and Dec. 1-4 – “Scrooge: The Musical” Feb. 16-19, 2017 – “The Little Mermaid” April 27-30, 2017 – “You Can’t Take It With You” June 15-18, 2017 – “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” ‌‌Historic Fox Theatre March 26 – Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins and Anaïs Mitchell “Use Your Voice” Tour April 3 – The Temptations April 7 – The Taste of Home Cooking Show April 28 – Popovich Comedy Pet Theater May 1 – The Hutchinson Symphony Orchestra June 8 – Kansas ‌‌Stage 9 April 21-24 and April 28 to May 1 – “Little Shop of Horrors” May 14 – O’ Handsome Navigator (Stage 9 Live!) July 14-17 and 21-24 – “Time Stands Still” Aug. 4-7 – “Greater Tuna” Sept. 3 – Cowgirls Train Set (Stage 9 Live!) Sept. 22-25 and Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 – “Nunsense” Oct. 15 – “Talking Tombstones” Dec. 8-11 and 15-18 – “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” ‌‌Strataca April 23 – At Kansas Kids Museum August 27 – Murder in the Mine

The Hutchinson News

March 20, 2016 Page 11

HISTORIC FOX THEATRE The “State Movie Palace of Kansas” is poised to further cement its designated title throughout the coming year. Since a digital conversion of its projection equipment in January 2015, the Fox’s ability to obtain copies of newer films just off their theatrical release has resulted in a spike in interest from patrons. So after long offering two seasonal movie series – one in summer and one in winter – the theater has started transitioning to a more constant weekly schedule. The possibility of playing two different movies per weekend, starting this summer, is another idea being tossed about. But Josh Davies, director of theater operations at the Fox, points out that staff is still “working on figuring that out.” “From there, it’s really just a matter of what our movie audiences want,” he said. “The more we have, the more they’re able to pick and choose what they want to see.” More set in stone is the venue’s live performance subscription series, which isn’t slated for any changes in its format due to a recent string of successes at the box office. After a sold-out appearance by comedienne Vicki

File photo

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band lead man Jeff Hanna sings a bluegrass song as Jimmie Fadden plays the harmonica behind him in 2014 at the Historic Fox Theatre. Lawrence in January and a near-capacity audience for pianist Jim Brickman earlier this month, Davies is encouraged by increases in attendance. Add that to heavy traffic on tickets for a special concert by the Temptations in April and all signs indicate a positive swing of the pendulum. “To have three sellout shows within the span of a few months, I don’t know if that’s ever happened,” Davies said. “People are embracing the new programming we’re introducing.” But one challenge faced by the Fox, he added, is juggling all of the varying services it offers. In addition to its own movie and performance events, the

theater also hosts activities for outside groups like the Sweet Adelines chorus, Hutchinson Symphony Orchestra, LUNAFEST film festival and Taste of Home cooking school, coming next month. The Fox also is popular as a rental facility for weddings and private or corporate parties. That use could grow as upper floors undergo renovation and staff decides what to do with the space, such as potentially adding a banquet room. And after repairing its vertical neon marquee last summer, the next potential targets for maintenance include the theater’s stage floor and large, original rooftop light fixtures. “We have plenty of projects,” Davies said.

STAGE 9 Not just the name of the physical space at 9 S. Main St., “Stage 9” now refers to the organization as a whole after the Hutchinson Theatre Guild implemented a rebranding effort late last year. The move put a fresh face on a group that is in the midst of its 100th anniversary while emphasizing the growth it has experienced in the recent past. “You wouldn’t even recognize the organization” from what it was even four years ago, said Charles Johnston, Stage 9’s producing artistic director. Before the Main Street facility was occupied in late

See STAGE 9 / 14

Stage 9, at 9 S. Main St. is the home of the former Hutchinson Theatre Guild, a 100-year-old performance troupe.


Sandra J. Milburn/ The Hutchinson News

“We’re using the building in a little wider use than we have in the past,” said Craig Williams, president of the From Page 10 FCT board. “It exposes new people to the shows.” Increasingly, though, the And with its location on organization is finding ways Main Street, the organizato further spread its reach. tion is able to participate in The theater itself has been multiple downtown events, used for a litany of purposes such as Third Thursday, over the years, from spelling Touch a Truck, the fall bees to historical presenchili cook-off and various tations and talent shows parades. for the international Ulster Elsewhere in the city, Project outreach program. the organization will parThis year, the Flag will host ticipate in the Hutchinson the Concerts for the Cause Recreation Commission’s summer performance new Spring Break Camp series, previously held in from March 21-25. In April, Avenue A Park. FCT will offer the second


edition of its “Enchanted Forest” children’s production on the grounds of the Dillon Nature Center, followed in October by its involvement in the site’s revived SpookWalk. “We continue to work within the community, besides our own shows,” Williams said. But still, plays and musicals remain the focus at the Flag, and Williams said FCT has “kicked up expectations” for the quality of its productions. “What we want people to know is when they come, they really, truly will be entertained,” he said.

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The Hutchinson News


Everybody knows the penny, nickel, dime and quarter, but the U.S. Mint also used to produce two-cent and three-cent coins. An 1864 two-cent piece and a pair of three-cent pieces were among a selection of small coins Knighten showed from the mid-1800s. Now the two-cent piece would sell for around $15, he said. An 1857 Flying Eagle cent ($35) was the mint’s first penny-sized one-cent piece, replacing a predecessor that was almost the size of a half dollar, Knighten said. And while the mint went away from silver in dimes and quarters in the 1960s, it made the switch for the three-cent piece a century earlier. An 1852 three-cent piece was silver ($40), but by 1868 it was mostly made of nickel ($20). In 1833, five cents wouldn’t get you a nickel, because half-dimes were still made of silver ($55).

Photos by Andrew Whitaker/The Hutchinson News

From left, an 1857 Flying Eagle cent piece, an 1864 two-cent piece, an 1868 three-cent piece, an 1852 three-cent piece and a half dime from 1833 are shown Feb. 17 at Salt City Coin, 326 N. Main St.

Downtown treasures Knighten shows national bank notes from Hutchinson and Great Bend in his shop.


Knighten has a number of local bank-issued “notes,” ranging in face value from $5 to $20 ($125 to $2,500). The notes include a large $5 from Commerce National Bank, a large $10 from First National Bank, large and normal-size $10 from American National Bank and normal-size $20 from Exchange National Bank, all of Hutchinson. National banks issued currency from the 1860s through the 1930s, when the U.S. currency system was consolidated. Knighten said two other banks in Hutchinson are known to have issued currency: Hutchinson National Bank and Farmers National Bank. He said no Farmers National Bank notes are known to exist anymore. He also has a large $10 bill from Citizens National Bank in Great Bend.

A pair of silver dollars minted in the 1800s in Carson City, Nevada, are shown at Salt City Coin.


A pair of silver dollars ($85 if used, up to $2,250 uncirculated) minted in the 1800s in Carson City, Nevada, are among Knighten’s favorites. Struck in the “Morgan dollar” design – named for its artists – they are made of silver from the Old West, Knighten said. The Carson City Mint was a short-lived mint, operating for about 19 years, with its creation spurred by Nevada’s silver mining boom. The rich Comstock Lode was discovered in the state in the 1850s, and the resulting silver rush gave Nevada its nickname as the Silver State.

David Knighten, owner of Salt City Coin, shows antique and unusual currency in his shop Feb. 17 at 326 N. Main St.

Dealer’s star lineup: historic coins, currency By Adam Stewart The Hutchinson News


orget “Pawn Stars” and “Antiques Roadshow.” There are plenty of places to hunt for interesting or historical treasures in Hutchinson. One of those places is Salt City Coin, where owner David Knighten has been trading and dealing coins and currency for around 15 years. He recently shared his thoughts on some of his unusual, interesting and favorite items.

Steel pennies are shown at Salt City Coin.

With fears of a copper shortage during World War II, in 1943 pennies ($1) were made from steel coated with a thin layer of zinc, rather than the mostly solid copper pennies common at the time. “They felt it was needed for the war effort,” Knighten said. The design was the same as other pennies of that time, with a portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the obverse (front) and wheat on the reverse (back), simply with a different composition. The steel cent was only made for one year, and when the copper penny returned in 1944, the U.S. mint said it would get some of the copper from melting down ammunition, Knighten said.

A PERSONAL FAVORITE Knighten’s sentimental favorite is the “Mercury” dime, nicknamed for the winged hat worn by artist Adolph Weinman’s depiction of Liberty. It was minted from 1916 through 1945 (around $20,000 for a full, high-quality collection). Weinman also designed the Walking Liberty half-dollar, which was minted 1916 through 1947. Knighten said he liked the simplicity of the design, and he thinks the dimes are quite beautiful when they are in good shape. The Mercury dime was also one of the first coins he collected because of its availability. “When I started collecting, it was something I could afford in nice grades,” he said.

A Liberty Head quarter-eagle $2.50 coin is part of the collection at Salt City Coin.


When the U.S. broke away from the gold standard during the Great Depression, it turned gold coins into historical relics. Among those: a 1907 gold $2.50 piece (around $1,000) known as a Liberty Head quarter-eagle (gold $10 coins are called eagles). That was the last year for the Liberty Head design, which was replaced by the Indian Head. The quarter eagle is slightly wider than a modern dime, despite having 25 times the face value, because of gold’s higher value throughout the years.


“One of my personal favorites are the Mercury Dimes, they have simple designs and when I started collecting it was something I could afford,” Knighten said.

A REAL ODDITY One of Knighten’s more recent acquisitions is a 2003A-series $1 bill that is both misprinted and miscut. The bill is cut off about two-thirds up the numeral 1 in the top corners. Everything that would normally be above that – “FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE” and “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” – appears at the bottom of the bill. A pair of Federal Reserve seals bearing the letters G and L overlap on the left side of the bill, and a large “THE UNITED STATES A 2003A-series $1 bill that is both misprinted OF AMERICA” runs across the forehead of and miscut is shown. George Washington in the portrait. He said it is an unusual enough item that he wasn’t sure yet what its value was.

EVER SEE A $1,000 BILL? Salt City Coin has one. Read more about it on Page 17

The Hutchinson News

March 20, 2016 Page 13

Page 14 March 20, 2016

The Hutchinson News

Stage 9

STRATACA While most organizations have their heads focused forward, the Kansas Underground Salt Museum keeps its gaze firmly looking down. Found 650 feet below its surface-level visitor center at 3650 E. Ave. G – deeper than St. Louis’ Gateway Arch is tall – are 300,000square feet of sprawling caverns, parts of which still see operation through the Hutchinson Salt Company as an active rock salt mine. An affiliate of the Reno County Historical Society, Strataca gained a new director in December with the departure of Linda Schmitt. After three months on the job, Mary Grace Clements has demonstrated her passion for the site, which in January was added to the Kansas Department of Tourism’s Kansas Bucket List by serving as its biggest cheerleader. “When I talk to people in the community, I hear, ‘Yeah, I knew that’s out there. I just haven’t been there yet,’ ” she said. “Well, today is the day they need to get over here.” Strataca has been busy over the past year creating new attractions for its visitors to experience, like its daily, limited-capacity Safari Shuttle tours that began in June. Clements also said new exhibits will be coming to the subterranean museum this summer. Its two biggest events of the past few months were both “firsts” that staff plan to keep around as annual fundraisers: October’s Tour de Salt bicycle tour, and the 5-kilometer Mine Run introduced this past February. Also, Strataca plans to be a part of several functions around town, including the 2016 Women’s Show in April and the downtown Fourth of July parade. “We’re trying to do some more community-driven interactions, get our name out there,” Clements said.

Johnston said. For its rebranding, Stage 9 changed up its logo and updated the theater’s interior From Page 11 and exterior with new paint, graphics and signage. The 2013, the group bounced building also was given a new around frequently, putting on roof in the process, and the group currently is replacing one or two sporadic perforits costume shop. mances a year in whatever Ideas for new types of venue would host them. programming continue to be For 2016 alone, the Stage discussed by the board of 9 calendar is filled with directors, Johnston said. five main shows and three In January, Stage 9 perspecial productions, not to mention three concerts in the formed a special staged reading of a modern adapStage 9 Live! music series. tation of the classic Greek “It’s sort of a remarktragedy “The Trojan Women.” able transition, really,”


File photo

A Salt Safari tour group stops at a small test hole drilled in the ceiling of one of the salt mine tunnels during a tour on July 12, 2014, at Strataca. While already pulling in about 50,000 unique visitors every year, not counting guests at special events such as Scout sleepovers and murder-mystery dinner theater shows, the museum is aiming for a 10 percent boost in attendance. New highway signs recently placed in Reno and Harvey counties could help in that endeavor, with Strataca located just off

U.S. 50 via South Yoder Road. And from its headquarters at the far edge of town, staff hope to further show visitors what else Hutchinson has to offer and convince them to stay a little longer in order to explore the “Salt City.” “People are going to have a reason to come here,” Clements said, “and we want to shout that from the rafters.”

Johnston indicated future readings are a possibility going forward, as are acting and directing classes and workshops, introducing improvisational theater to Stage 9’s repertoire, and producing a large-scale musical off-site – perhaps as soon as 2017. “Really, the sky’s the limit. It’s just how many resources you can put behind it,” Johnston said. “The more people who show up, the more people get involved, the better and more frequent stuff you’re able to do.”

The Hutchinson News

March 20, 2016 Page 15

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The Hutchinson News

Reno marks milestones, looks ahead to additional successes Andy Weiner

In many respects, 2016 for 25 years. A commitment marks the culmination of of that length is unheard several important commuof for such sporting nity initiatives. events, and one Activity at the that should be Wiley Building is celebrated by the largely completed, whole community. The Alley is an The second is the operating and valbeginning of conued addition to the struction activity community, and in February. the construction It is the mileprojects near the stones to come Highway 61 and that have us 17th Avenue interexcited, and comJason section have been pletion of arena Ball completed. construction will Still, more rebe an important mains to be done one. Beyond that, in 2016. The Hutchinson/ the chamber expects an Reno County Chamber of upgraded arena to be of Commerce will continue interest to many events and to lead in expanding the tournaments. We began economy and supporting recruitment efforts as the growth of tourism and soon as preliminary plans events in Reno County. The were completed in August. chamber will continue However, we were surprised to encourage responsible at how quickly Hutchinson policies at a state level that came to be in serious are supportive of business, consideration as a potential yet do not undermine event host, before construcimportant investments in tion even began. economic growth, transporWe look forward to maktation and education. ing future announcements Last year the community about events that will be Kevin Vance hadMiller a big issue to address: a source of great pride Ehmke what to do with the Sports for the community, and Arena. Hutchinson rallied contribute to our economy. to arrive at a big commuRecruitment of new events nity answer: 75 percent to the community was a voted in support to invest in leading factor in the minds much-needed renovations to of voters when they supthe arena. Doing so ensured ported the project, and we the continued presence of intend to make it a success. the NJCAA Division I Men’s Expansion of local Basketball Tournament and companies will continue will lead to the development to drive the Reno County of a true community-use economy in 2016. asset that will bring new Already our program events and tournaments to is actively working with Hutchinson. local companies to invest This year we have approximately $40 million already crossed two import- and create over 150 jobs. ant milestones. In February An example: Enterprise the NJCAA executed a Products is already procontractual commitment ceeding with its plans to with the American Legion invest $34 million in its to hold the Men’s Division I facility southwest of South tournament in Hutchinson Hutchinson. Projects of

this nature form the basis for sustainable, long-term economic growth. Local business expansion continues to be one of the top focuses of the chamber’s economic development efforts. Of course, we will continue to market Hutchinson as a place for new companies to locate. Since this is a presidential election year, firms evaluating a possible expansion or relocation will be highly sensitive to the election cycle. Companies will typically begin inquiries much earlier this year or in the fall after the election. This has been consistent with our experience in 2016 so far. As the election approaches, investors and business leaders will delay projects or wait until the election is over before deciding where to locate a facility. Since 2003 the chamber has supported the capital investment of more than $450 million in Reno County, and aided in the creation or retention of over 2,400 jobs (nearly 10 percent of the total Reno County workforce). In that time, the chamber has funded its economic development program primarily through the contribution of forward-thinking business leadership. 2016 marks the fifth and final year of the funding cycle enabled by the last capital campaign. This year the chamber will update its strategic economic development plan and raise funds to continue our efforts to grow the Hutchinson economy in 2017 and beyond. Jason Ball is president and CEO of the Hutchinson/ Reno County Chamber of Commerce.

S. Hutch focusing on existing businesses South Hutchinson’s emphasis on economic development through industry and existing businesses is paying dividends, City Administrator Matt Stiles says. Machine Design Service doubled its space last fall, the third major expansion since 2000. On March 7, South Hutchinson City Council approved $1.5 million in industrial revenue bonds for Sun Valley Inc. to build a new warehouse. The financing also comes with a 10-year property tax exemption on the property. “We try to expand existing businesses we have,” Stiles said. “The best business is the one you already have.” That focus on industry and existing businesses – rather than retail – has helped attract other upcoming business development, like a Love’s Travel Stop at the interchange of K-96 and U.S. 50, Wichita Tractor Company opening in town,

By Adam Stewart The Hutchinson News and a recreational vehicle park being developed by Richard Graber. Stiles estimated Love’s and Wichita Tractor Company locations will open this spring. “It basically takes 18 months to bring any project to fruition,” he said. A longer-term project is Frontier Commerce Park, a business park being privately developed south of U.S. 50. The city is in the final stages of designing the public infrastructure – water and sewer lines and streets – with bidding likely to be done in April. The business park has been in the works since 2012, when its developers asked the city to annex it, Stiles said. It is being developed in two phases. The first phase includes 10 large commercial lots, anchored by a planned recreational

vehicle park. The second phase mostly has smaller lots, except for one that could be appropriate for a big-box store, Stiles said. He said the city doesn’t actively recruit retailers because chains generally already know where they want to open locations. Currently there is one exception to not recruiting retailers: a grocery store, which Stiles described as more of a basic need than a retailer. The city has done a feasibility study regarding a grocery store opening in the former ALCO building, vacant since early 2015, when the company went out of business. Stiles said the 22,000-square-foot building is probably too big for a grocery store in South Hutchinson, and the owner is considering subdividing the building. “I think the idea that we’re going to get one big tenant is off the table, for the most part,” Stiles said.

The Hutchinson News

March 20, 2016 Page 17

Streetscape set to head north It’s been almost nine years since the latest phase of streetscaping downtown Hutchinson, but that is about to change. Downtown Development Director Jim Seitnater said he thinks bidding for phase four of the streetscape project will be done in late June. That will run from the north end of the current streetscape, at the intersection of Third Avenue and Main Street, north to just shy of Fifth Avenue. The existing area of streetscape runs from about Avenue C to Third Avenue on Main Street, as well as one block east and west of Main Street on First Avenue. It includes decorative lampposts and brick pavers in the sidewalks, as well as bulbouts at the intersections, featuring planters. “Especially when the flowers are planted and everything is in bloom, it does enhance the look of downtown,” said Linda Fowler, owner of Allie’s Deli

By Adam Stewart The Hutchinson News & Coffee Shoppe. Fowler remembers when the streetscape work was done right outside her business, and it did cause parking issues. “It was a hassle,” she said. But that downside has been more than outweighed by the benefits, Fowler said. The improved looks bring more people downtown, which is good for business. Sarah Jenkins of Sarah’s Catholic Bookstore said the streetscape work ties in wonderfully with the art displayed through the SculptureWalk. Across Main Street from the store is one of the sculpture locations, which includes seating. “Lots of days if it’s nice, you’ll see people sit over there,” she said. Jenkins said the streetscape work is meaningful to her because her father, the late Ron Kelley, was a strong

supporter of it. She said he impressed on her that a beautiful downtown helps attract people and events. “There’s just so much going on downtown,” Jenkins said. Seitnater said when the streetscape project first started in the early 2000s, the goal was for it to stretch from Carey Park to Seventh Avenue, where it would tie in with other work. “Our Main Street is just a long, long span, and our downtown is long,” Seitnater said. Not including design, the estimated cost of phase four is about $1.1 million. The Kansas Department of Transportation will pay 70 percent of the construction cost, up to $762,040, said interim Director of Engineering Jeff Peterson. The city will also replace water lines between Third and Fifth avenues at the same time – an effort similar to previous streetscape projects.


Andrew Whitaker/The Hutchinson News

A 1934-series $1,000 bill is shown at Salt City Coin on Feb. 17 at 326 N. Main St. in downtown Hutchinson.

David Knighten doesn’t only deal in coins; he also trades rare currency. A 1934-series $1,000 bill ($2,100) would most likely have been used for transactions among banks, he said. The bill features a portrait of Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th U.S. president. Because the $1,000 bill and the $500 bill have been discontinued, the Federal Reserve requires banks to turn in any they get, and the Federal Reserve then shreds them, said Knighten. Because of that, he urges anyone fortunate enough to get their hands on one to not spend it. “It’s worth more than face value,” he said.

Page 18 March 20, 2016

The Hutchinson News

The Hutchinson News



March 20, 2016 Page 19



Courtesy photos

Now you see them ... now you don’t Business has done a year’s worth of removing tattoos By Ashley Booker The Hutchinson News


ast June, a lime green van with red and yellow lettering caught the eye of Hutchinson resident Valarie Gibson-Smith. While it’s purposely hard to miss, the van wasn’t the only thing that caught her eye; it was the name Tattoo B Gon. Like every other customer who comes through the door, Gibson-Smith had a tattoo she wanted removed. The tattoo on her inner left forearm read “Love is patient, love is kind.” “It’s in my husband’s handwriting, which I didn’t mind. It was just the placement of it. Really, once I had it I was like, ‘Oh, it really looks like somebody just wrote on me with a Sharpie,’ ” Gibson-Smith said during a session on Feb. 22. As a hairstylist and coowner of Hayden’s Salon & Day Spa, she didn’t find the placement appealing to everyone, and decided to get it removed. While the tattoo shop is



A man in his late 40s, early 50s, had devil horns removed from the top of his head. A Caucasian woman had a small white heart removed from the side of her heel. Another woman came in wanting to remove a tattoo that said “Property of” and her significant other’s name following. File and courtesy photos While she was just inAlan and Judi Webster stand next to the Tattoo B Gon sign in the lobby of the store. Right: Judi Webster removes a tattoo from quiring about prices, this person’s tattoo wasn’t a client’s arm. removed at Tattoo B Gon. One woman had a no longer there, she said comfort last year, on Quality New and Used a not-so-sober night or the Tasmanian devil on her it’s funny that she got her March 11. Furniture, 530 E. Fourth classic “I was young and hip that was holding tattoo a couple doors down. Alan saw an influx in Ave. in Hutchinson. stupid,” Judi said. several sports balls and She has thought of tattoos and figured that a Judy said that although Whatever the reason, equipment. getting it put somewhere tattoo removal shop just it will take another three Judi said she’s there to OO




else on her body, but that’s a decision for another day, Gibson-Smith said while sitting back as the laser changed her fading tattoo to white in a technique that Judi Webster said is called frosting. Webster and her husband, Alan, opened the laser tattoo removal location with air-cooled


made sense. Judi said Alan is an entrepreneur and they’ve owned a Mexican restaurant, a travel agency and food concessions at fairs, plus they’ve done concrete designs and much more. While Judi runs this business, at 1303 N. Main St., Alan runs their other local business, Rivercity


to four years for business to really pick up, business has been good. She said clients come in with varying reasons why they want the tattoos removed. It can be anything from removing an ex’s name, emotional reasons or they weren’t done by professionals, to it happened on

help by using a $170,000 Q-switched laser and a cooler on any sized tattoo. Pricing is based on size and comes as a package deal. Typically, tattoo removal takes six sessions or more. She has found that light blue and green ink is more difficult to remove. While there is a chance of


scarring – and only a low percentage of people do get scars – like everything, it just depends on the person. Gibson-Smith said the laser, which makes a clicking sound, feels like a rubber band hitting her skin and, while the next day or two it’s itchy, the procedure is worth it.

AFTER Background: Alan and Judi Webster’s business Tattoo B Gon is on Main Street, just north of 12th Avenue.

Page 20 March 20, 2016

The Hutchinson News

High-profile projects, dedicated workers are moving city forward Michael Seyb

It is appropriate that I be under construction in start this year’s Progress early summer. The City column with an overview of Council in recent years the city’s financial has placed street position. While not maintenance and the most exciting development high issue to read about, on the priority it is important. A spending list. strong financial Other street position is critical work this year for us to move will include mill our community and overlay work forward. on 17th Avenue The city ended from Severance the 2015 budget to Waldron, Plum John year in excellent Street from 23rd to Deardoff financial shape. 30th, and K-61 from General Fund Avenue G to 11th. spending was below budget, Thus, residents can expect and the ending General another year of the orange Fund balance was $7.2 milcone. lion, exceeding our policy In 2015 and into 2016, City goal of $6.2 million. Strong Hall continues its focus on fund balances provide us addressing housing issues. a safety net to cover emerThis has been on our agenda gency situations, unexpected for the past seven years, expenditure requirements, and progress is showing. and a cushion in years The City Council continues where revenues fall below to address several of our budget estimates. housing needs, including Now, on to some of our rental properties, new work highlights this past housing starts, demolition year and a look at what’sMirtaof dilapidated structures Martinand some small infill develahead: Some residents may have identified this past opment projects. Efforts to year as “the year of the address our rental housing orange cones.” Two reconstock took a big step recently struction projects began in with implementation of 2015, on North Main Street the Rental Licensing and and Waldron Street from Inspection Program. While 25th to 30th avenues. The not popular with some, North Main Street project many feel it is a necessary has three phases planned. step to begin addressing the The first, from 30th south condition of a portion of to 25th, is scheduled to be our rental property stock. completed later this spring. Legislation was recently The second phase, from introduced in Topeka that 23rd south to 17th, will would prohibit us and other

Representatives from the city of Hutchinson, Anne assler JE Dunn Construction, Hutch Wins! steering committee, Hutchinson Community College, American Legion, Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey architects and the NJCAA turn over dirt during the groundbreaking ceremony March 7 for the Sports Arena renovation. Travis Morisse/ The Hutchinson News

Richard Hollowell

While I have so far talked about some highlights of the past year and what’s ahead for next year, I want to say a few words about the quality services our employees provide the community 24 hours a day, 7 days per week and 365 days per year. It is easy to talk about the high-profile projects we are

Travis Morisse/The Hutchinson News

Orange and white cones divert traffic on North Main Street on May 8, 2015. cities and counties from implementation of a rental inspection program. The measure is another example of state government claiming to know more about how to manage local issues than local elected officials. By the time you read this, work on the renovation and expansion of Hutchinson’s iconic Sports Arena will be underway. The community spoke on April 7 with 75 percent voter approval to move forward on the development plan. In the months ahead, we will have our hands full managing this massive construction project. The estimated completion date is March 2017, which should make for an awesome opening tip-off to the 2017 NJCAA Tournament. The project not only solidified our hosting of the basketball tournament for another 25 years, it also allows for more use of the arena on a

year-round basis by local, regional and national organizations. Another popular spot to recreate in our community is Rivers Banks-Orchard Park. Phase three of this project was completed this past year, which includes the road system and parking areas leading to the existing playground area to the pond. Phase 4 was approved as part of the 2016 budget and will include several additions. The outer loop trail, which is about 1 mile long, will be constructed of a crushed limestone material that should give it a nice natural feel. Phase 4 also includes the development of a disc golf course, a large open green space and two fishing docks. I believe, in time, this park will be a tremendous asset to our community – an asset that will help set our community apart from others.

working on and lose sight of the good work of our city employees. We have just over 400 employees dedicated to working each day to serve the Hutchinson community. Our goal in 2016 will be to continue providing quality services to your doorstep. John Deardoff is Hutchinson’s city manager.

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