News for Prairie Star, October 14
Old Codgers Birthday Party
Six members of theGrenola High School class of 1958 along with their spouses gathered on the eve of Octoberfest, to celebrate their collective birthdays . Each brought good food, funny stories and happy memories to share.
Three of those present had started first grade together on September 3, in 1946. There first teacher was Miss Laura Acker. There was no kindergarten in those days. All six classes of the elementary school were in the four rooms on the bottom floor of the old brick school building built in 1912. The class was so large beginning with 24 students that it never shared a room and teacher with another grade, except for one year when the class was divided to be with other classes.
There were many changes in the world, community, and school in their twelve years in the Grenola Schools.
The big white cement shop building had been built that summer before school started. The outdoor restrooms were beyond the shop building. In 1947 an old army barracks was moved in for a lunch room ending lunch boxes. Opal Jones and Wilma McClure were the cooks in the cafeteria. An L shape on the building served as the music room. Homer Hudson was the music instructor. And two cloak rooms were converted into modern bathrooms.
The upstairs portion of the hold brick building was used by the Junior High and High School. The Superintendent’s office was on the front of the building next to the side stairs. Next to it were two small classrooms, one containing typewriters, the other for English, Math and Science classes. On the north east corner was a room for the seventh and eighth grade classes. Next to it was a small classroom that had been used as a band room before the music room was built. On the entire south side of the school was the study hall/library. There was a stage across the west end that also had the book shelves. The desks were the kind that could be used to dip girls pig tails in the inkwell. Some of the elementary music programs were held on the stage there, but most of the time they were held downtown in the Community Hall.
Basketball games were held in the community hall as well as the elementary school operettas and high school plays. Two to three weeks before each production, the teachers lined the students up with their spelling and other workbooks for a trek to the community hall to practice. The operettas were well rehearsed grand productions with the mothers making elaborate costumes. Our Eighth grade graduation was held in the community hall.
When we were freshman, in 1954-55 sometime near the second semester, we picked up our books and moved into the new school. We had a wonderful large state of the art gymnasium, often used for tournaments and other events. I remember a donkey ballgame there once and we even hosted the Harlem Globetrotters!
The high school occupied the north wing of the present building.(Now Kellly Manufacturing). There was a large study hall and library, and a classroom on the east side. On the west side of the hallway was the well equipped home economics room, the science/biology lab and the spacious commerce room for typing, book keeping, etc. Grades one through eight occupied the old school until the elementary wing and basement lunch room was added to the new school in 1957.
Grenola in the 40’s and 50’s had everything needed for a good life. We could attend movies at the Ace theatre, there were two or three grocery stores, a drug store and two or three restaurants. There was a locker plant, at least four gas stations, a hardware and lumber yard, a dry goods store, post office, library, and a produce station. Also an Insurance agency, a barbershop, a recreation or pool hall, and a busy train depot. The Grenola Mill and Elevator was the center of commerce in Grenola. And there was a passenger train traveling back and forth from Independence to Winfield each day. In 1958 there were four churches in Grenola. When the television store was added in the late 50’s, the town was on the wane. People started staying home to watch t.v., they no longer came to town on Saturday nights to buy groceries, and the movie theatre had closed before we graduated from High school. Families moved to other places for employment.
Our class size had decreased so that only twelve of us graduated. As we reminisced we named thosed who have passed on, Charles Richards passed away in seventh grade, James Ollenborger, Louise Foster, were two who graduated with us. Others who were once in our class, but are now deceased were Gail Schul, Geletta Hardy, Merwyn Wilson and most recently Carl Mack Arndt.
Those present on Friday night were Eleanor Elsheimer Mercer and her husband Bill of Amarillo, Texas. Betty Lucille Foster Oliver of Cedar Vale, Delbert Lampson and his wife Janet, Howard Voightlander and his wife Rose Ann, Pansy Dorsey Franks and husband, Larry and Shirley Fisher Sweet. There will be another birthday party next year in October and if you were ever a member of this class, you are invited to come. You may contact the museum for the exact date and place.
. Grenola Now and Then
October 10 is the date set this year for the Octoberfest in Grenola. The Grenola Community Club has many events scheduled for that day.
For the Grenola Historical Society this year marks many important dates in the history of Grenola and the museum. Grenola itself has existed for 130 years. It was in October in 1879 that the first train came through and made Grenola one of its stops. Soon cowboys were bringing cattle from Texas and Oklahoma to send to market in Kansas City. Grenola prospered as a cattle shipping center for the first five years or so. The first weekly newspaper was published in July of that year.
In 1909, the community was prospering with many businesses in wood frame buildings. Fires destroyed the old mill late in 1908 and a group of businessmen met and decided to construct a mill and elevator along the railroad track. Three of them were E.L. Downs, Thomas P.Hawkins, and a young man named Ralph Demmit. The building was constructed by a company that built grain elevators throughout the region and was successfully operated by Mr. Demmit for a number of years.
For many years the elevator was the center of industry in Grenola, but things changed. Farms were turned into ranches and the Railroad raised their rates so that the elevator could no longer be operated at a profit. In 1989 the Grenola Historical Society purchased the building at a Sheriff’s tax sale in Howard. Just in time, as it was learned that the Burlinton Norther and Santa Fe Railroad Company had planned to demolish the building.
The building was soon full of interesting artifacts from many of the long time families of the area. In 1999 the Grenola Elevator was placed on the National Register of Historic places.
This year some repairs were made on the 100 year old building. The large front doors of the elevator were replaced with a recycled material that should last another one hundred years, as was the sliding door of the middle storage area, making the doors easier to open and close, but not damaging the historical authenticity. The work was contracted by Helten Contstruction Company of Wichita and Grenola. The contractors marveled at the old timbers used in the building, still as sturdy as ever.
The Grenola Elevator Musuem is open to visitors each week from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. It will be open all day on October 10. All are welcome to visit and learn about the heritage of our area.
This year’s Octoberfest will be on October 10. The theme is “The Wizard of Oz.” At 8:00, breakfast will be served by the 4-H club in the Community Hall. The kiddie parade will be at 10:45 with the main parade at 11. From 11:30 to 12:30, the Central High School Music Depar
The Grenola Community Club has been hard at work the past few months planning Octoberfest to be held on Saturday, October 10. The officers of the Club are: Cristan Bahr, president; Amy Bliss, vice president; Crystal Smith, secretary; and Carol Tillapaugh, treasurer. They are asking for many other volunteers in the community to help. Many activities are planned to make a fun and interesting day, but many former residents appreciate having a day when they can return to their hometown, visit the museum where they can relive some memories and visit with old friends.
The Celebration continues a long standing tradition in the Grenola Community. Some time back in the 1930’s a group was formed called the Community Club and held an Armistice celebration each year. At first the event was held on November 11, continuing on into the 40’s. Sometime in the fifties or sixties the day was moved to the Saturday closest to November 11, and the name of the National Holiday was changed to Veteran’s Day.
Many remember the forties and fifties when it was the custom for a “booster trip,” a caravan of cars, filled with business people and high school students to take the day making the rounds through the towns of Elk and Chautauqua, and eastern Cowley Counties, stopping in each town to promote the events of the day with a “loud speaker” fastened to the top of a car. The Grenola High School band performed a patriotic number in each town and people were encouraged to come on this special day to honor Veterans.
The day always started with a parade led by the Grenola Veterans of Foreign Wars followed by the Grenola High School Marching Band. Elaborate floats were constructed by local businesses, clubs, and schools, using crepe paper and chicken wire. The parade always ended with a proud display of horses and riders. My father-in-law, Floyd Sweet was the announcer for the parade for many years. After his death, his son, Floyd Sweet Jr. of Hutchinson took over; followed by his son, John Sweet,of Lyons, who presently owns a week end home in Grenola.
After the parade, people lined up in the Community Hall for a dinner served by the Women of the Methodist Church to raise money for missions. Tables were set with real silverware, glass, and china on paper table cloths. The meal was turkey and dressing with mashed potatoes, green beans, jello salad, homemade rolls and pie for dessert. The dishes were barely done in the basement kitchen when it was time for the talent show upstairs.
In the evening a free meal of ham and beans and cornbread were served in the park. The beans were and are still cleaned and sorted, put to soak the night before and cooked all day in three large old cast iron pots over a fire in a pit. The pots add to the flavor of the beans as does the wooden paddle used to stir them.
For several years in the 40’s and early 50’s the community Hall would be filled with people for miles around to enjoy entertainers from the Grand Old Opry in Nashville. such well known Opry stars as String Bean, Minnie Pearl, Ernest Tubb and Little Jimmie Dickens filled the old stage. The day ended with a dance in the Community Hall lasting until the wee hours of the night.
Things have changed through the years, population and businesses have dwindled. Sometime in the 80’s the celebration was moved to the first or second week-end in October to take advantage of the pleasant weather.
This year’s festivities will begin with breakfast served by the Greenfield Wildcat 4-H Club in the Community Hall. The parade will begin at 11:00 a.m. as always, preceded by a Kiddie Parade at 10:45. After the parade , people may enjoy a delicious chicken and noodle dinner served by the Central School High School Music Department in the Community Hall as a fund raiser for the band activities.
Other activities planned for the day include a cake walk, a farm scramble, Bingo, carnival games in the park, scavenger hunt, and medallion hunt, and the traditional horse shoe tournament. The Old Car show will be held again this year, displaying cars that were driven in the old Armistice Day celebrations. The museum will be open to visitors all day. Local members who haven’t visited for a while might enjoy seeing some new exhibits. The free bean feed will begin at 5:00 p.m. in the park and the raffle prizes will be drawn at that time. The day will end with a dance, due to the age and condition of the Community Hall, the dance will be in the street.
Even though we did not make the Booster trip this year, all are welcome to join the festivities in Grenola on October 10.
June 1, 2011
Little Carl Metcalf had a special birthday celebration for his second birthday with many family members present. Besides his parents, Kandace and Darrel Metcalf, his older brother, Eddie, both sets of grandparents were present, Phyliss and Delbert Metcalf and Eddie and Robin from Gate, Oklahoma. Also, uncles and cousins:Gregg and Bev Metcalf; Keith and Dede Metcalf and sons, Andrew, Mason and Jared all of Independence; and Aaron and Michelle Metcalf from Elk City. In addition to that there was great Aunts and Uncles, Phyliss’s sister, Barbara Bond of Inola, Oklahoma and her brother and wife, Jack and Kay Marion of McFallon, Wyoming. Chester and Beth Metcalf were a little late, coming on Memorial week-end also to celebrate the Dexter High School reunion.
The Class of 1961 had such a good time at the Alumni Banquet that they decided to have a cook out at the home of Phyliss and Delbert Metcalf. Those present on Tuesday evening were Richard Hopper, Kathryn Laurie Richards, and Jim Eastman.
Chase Boyd and Trista Ebersole were married in a double ring ceremony conducted by his uncle Pastor Dee Wolfe in the Presbyterian Church in Conway Springs, Kansas on Friday, May 20. Chase is the son of Vince and Shana Boyd of Grenola. His grandparents are David and the late Judy Wolfe, great grandmother, Meda Wolfe, and Dennis and Joan Boyd of Yorba Linda, California. Joan is a sister to Bill Gifford and Janet Kessinger. Trista is the daughter of Brent and Daria Ebersole, and grandson of Truman and Carol Shinn and Richard and the late Jean Ebersole all of Conway Springs. Chase and Trista are both graduates of Wichita State University; Chase with a Bachelor of Sciene degree in Sports Management and Trista with a degree in Accounting, she will complete her Masters Degree next Spring. Chase is employed by the Renwick School District, coaching Jr. High School Basketball at St. Mark’s school and High School Boys Baseball in Andale. Trista is employed at Bank of America and Aircraft Commerical Enterprises in Derby. The couple is making their home in Derby.
Meda Wolfe has another grandson to be especially proud of. Mick Holt is the aasistant coach of the Sedan High School Baseball team that won first in the State this past week end. Mick’s son, Casey was a pitcher on the team. Mick is the son of Meda’s daughter, Freda Dahnke.
Many people attended school reunions this week-end. On Saturday evening, Dorothy Keplinger and Virginia Trogdon attended their school reunion at Cambridge.
Thanks to Donnie and Juanita Miller, the Greeenlawn Cemetery was neatly trimmed for Memorial Day. Last Tuesday evening, the wind destroyed the large Maple tree on the north east corner of the cemetery. Russell Brown and Wes Ollenborger worked diligently to clean up the damage and volunteers had the flags up on the Avenue of flags. A good crowd of people gathered for the Military tribute on Monday morning.
The Grenola Historical Society will be taking bids on the scraping and painting of the Independent School building on the museum grounds. The historical society will provide the paint and will consider estimates on the labor.
Please send bids to the Grenola Historical Society, Box 111, Grenola, Kansas 67346. For further information you may call Dorothy at 620-358-2570.
June 15, 2011 Grenola Now and Then
Helen Sprague was so happy to be helping her son, Rockne and his wife Joan in Wichita, but fell on a step at their home on Wednesday and broke her ankle in three places. She was taken to Galacia Heart Hospital for surgery and then dismissed to Twilight Manor in Howard for rehabilitation. Rockne and Joan are debilitated with severe spine and neurological problems. This week Joan is scheduled to visit Mayo Clinic, hoping for further diagnosis and treatment. Joan is the daughter of June Gillespie, who is presently residing in Twilight Manor. Helen celebrated her ninetieth birthday a few months back, but is known for her vim and vigor and you can’t keep a good woman down.
Just two weeks ago, Helen told me that she was surprised and pleased by an unexpected guest. On Sunday afternoon, Marsha West, daughter of Helen’s classmate dropped by her house for a visit. They visited Greenlawn cemetery where Marsha’s great grandparents are buried, then visited the Methodist Church where her parent’s and grandparents attended. Marshall and his sister, Marjorie, were both in the Grenola High School Class of 1938. Richard and Mary Roe were early settlers here and helped with the founding of Grenola in 1879. They lived in the southwest section of town and had a large orchard and strawberry field there. Their son Carl and Grace Roe lived in a house on South Main and he worked in the oil fields as the beginning of oil exploration here. Marsha’s father, Marshall and his wife Esther live in Salinas, California and he has sent photos of sites in Grenola for Helen to place in the museum.
Joyce Hull had a short stay in the hospital. She is home and taking her dialysis three days each week and getting out and doing some things that she enjoys.
Saturday was a busy and full day in Grenola. Several families had yard sales, the library held an Open House on Saturday afternoon and the day was topped off with grilled hamburgers and watermelon in the park. Kathryn Richard from Winfield added to the festivities with a watermelon shaped cake that was auctioned off. Richard Wells had the winning bid and he cut the cake and shared it with everyone there. It was delicious. An award of appreciation was presented to Walter Dean for his work in the community; his faithful service as a volunteer fireman and long term as mayor of Grenola. In addition to some good entertainment by Mark and Robin Anderson from Branson, some of our good local talent performed: the talented guys from the Volunteer Fire Department, Allen Moore, Elmer Wolfe, Adam Arbuckle and Joe Fulhart. It was a good time to celebrate the inch of rain and cooler temperatures and generous donations received will help fund Community Club activities including, Octoberfest.
Darrel Moore and his sister, Judy Perrigo, have received word that their cousin, Jane McGlasson, who lives in Oklahoma is seriously ill in the Jane Phillips Hospital in Bartlesville. Jane is the daughter of Ollie and Grace Stiles Moore. She was not able to attend the Alumni Banquet with her sisters, Jean and Carol this year.
The Christian Church held Vacation Bible School last week with a large enthusiastic group of youngsters. Thanks to the VBS teachers: Joanna Kessinger, Carla Fulsom, Kay Kelly, Cristin Bahr, and Tresse Keplinger; Pansy Ollenborger was in charge of crafts with her assistants, Brittany Ollenborger, Kylee Bannister, Tavin Tilapaugh; and Pam Fulsom and Kandace Metcalf and Bertha Reeves served cookies each day baked by the ladies of the Church. A large crowd attended the Closing program on Friday evening. These ladies deserve recognition and thanks for helping the kids have a good time learning about their Faith.
Meals for children in the Community are being served Monday through Thursday at the Christian Church for the entire summer. The meals are the result of a federal grant to the Central School district. They are prepared in the school kitchen and delivered to Atlanta, Cambridge, and Grenola, as well as Burden. On Thursday, the children receive a back pack of food to take home for the weekend
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Lavina Hopper celebrating her 101 birthday. Lavina passed away on June 9, and her funeral was held in Haysville and Graveside Service in Greeenlawn Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon. A lunch was served to the family by the Royal Neighbors at the Grenola United Methodist Church. Lavina Smith was born in Piedmont, Kansas on April 24, 1910, she was married to Oscar Hopper of Grenola. She is survived by her four daughters, Wanda (Charles) Cornwell of Rock Springs, Missouri, Barbara (Robert) Hall, Haysville, Kansas, Jo Ann (Bill) Connell, Irving, Texas; and Carol Smith Woodland Hills, California. There are ten grandchildren, eighteen great grandchildren and seven great great grandchildren. oThe Grenola Historical Society is accepting bids on the scraping and painting the Independent School building on the Museum Grounds. Please send bids to Grenola Historical Society, Box 111, Grenola, Kansas 67346.
June 22, 2011 Grenola Now and Then
Last week, I reported that Helen Sprague had suffered a fracture to her ankle. She was dismissed from the hospital to the Wesley Rehab Center on 13th Street in Wichita. She is taking physical therapy for three hours each day and says that she is working hard to be able to come home ASAP.
On May 26, Priscilla Rivers was awarded a plaque in recognition of her service to the National Weather Service. During the past 30 years, she has provided precipitation readings for the Grenola area. Part of a National Network of Observers, consisting of more than 11,000 observers, she measures and records the precipitation in snow, rain, and sleet. This data is sent to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and to the Weather Data Library at Kansas State University. These records are published monthly by both NCDC and KSU and are available to the public. The data is used for climatological studies. You may type in KSU weather data library on your browser and find some interesting statistics about Kansas weather and the organizations that use this data. Priscilla’s daughter, Robin Rivers, is a member of the staff at the Prairie Star.
A wedding tradition was extended to the fourth generation Saturday evening when Dana Burdette became the bride of Gary Hadley at the United Methodist Church in Grenola. The wedding ceremony was conducted by Rocky Bumgarner, the bride’s uncle. The bride was escorted down the isle and given away by her parents, Nelson and Jackie Burdette. She carried an exquisite Brooch Bouquet made of antique brooches collected from members of both families and fashioned by Gary’s Aunt, Kathy Banbery. Dana’s sister, Hannah who was maid of honor, other bridesmaids were: Ashley Shaff, of Cedar Vale, who also played the wedding march on the piano; Sarah Littrell of Winfield, who also made the wedding cake; Morgan Burdette, of Grenola, cousin of the bride; Maggie Bumgarner, aunt of the bride; and Allie Zimmerman Blakemore of Sedan. Boog Roberts of Sedan served as Best Man. Other groomsmen were Braden Burdette, of Cambridge, a cousin of the bride; Broady Kennedy, the groom’s brother; Jimmie Hadley, Gary’s cousin; and his friends, Tanner Roberts and T.J. Sanders both of Sedan. Nelson Bumgartner, son of Dana’s uncle Hal, was ring bearer and Gary’s niece, Kylee Angel was flower girl. Following the ceremony, a reception was held in the Community Hall. The church and reception area were decorated with lovely multicolored wild flower arrangements.
Many friends and relatives filled the church including Gary’s parents, Mike Hadley of Dewey, Oklahoma, and Bob and Sally Kennedy of Sedan, his two sisters, his grandparent’s Marilyn Hadley and Lou and Jean Kennedy and great grandmother, Irene Kennedy all of Sedan.
It was Dana’s great grandparents, Clarence and Mabel French Burdette who were married in the Methodist Parsonage in Grenola in 1923. In 1949, grandparents, Darrel and Louise Campbell Burdette, were married in the Grenola Methodist Church, and in 1984 her parents, Nelson and Jackie Bumgarner were married in the Grenola United Methodist Church.
Other guests present at the wedding from the Burdette family included, Nelson’s brothers, Dwight, Debbie and family and David, Lynetta and sons.
The Bumgarner family has a long history in Grenola too. Jackie’s great grandparents, Earl and Margaret Hopper owned the Grenola Drug Store. Earl was the last pharmacist here. Their daughter, Glenda, raised her two sons, Billy Guy and Johnny in Grenola, and most of the next generation grew up in Grenola as well. Family members present at the wedding were: Grandfather Billy Guy Bumgarner and wife Becky from Hewins; grandmother, Faith and husband, J.D. Sanders of Topeka. Jackie’s brothers, Hal, wife, Karen and family of Chanute, Hal is head of the E.M.T there. Tim and Tina of Whitewater-Potwin, Tim is Principal of Remington School; and Rocky who is a Lieutenant in the Wichita Fire Department and officiated the wedding. Their sister, Maggie, of Iola, was a bridesmaid.
Dana graduated from Cedar Vale High School in 2008 and is currently a senior at Southwestern College majoring in school psychology. Gary is a graduate of Sedan High School, 2006. He is a certified Emergency Medical Technician and is seeking paramedic certification through Cowley Community College. The couple will make their home in rural Dexter.
We are all proud of Brittany Ollenborger as she earned the title of Kansas State National Junior High Barrel Racer in Concordia. Her grandmother, Pansy Ollenborger, reports that the family will be traveling to Gallop, New Mexico to spend the week of June 26 to July 2, as Brittany competes in the National Junior High Finals Rodeo. Since 2004, the NJFR is the world’s largest junior high rodeo and features more than 1,000 contestants from 47 states, Canadian provinces and Australia. More than $75,000 in prizes and $100,000 in college scholarships are at stake. Final Championship performance will be televised nationally as part of the “Cinch Town Tour” telecast series and is scheduled to air on RFD –TV. You may check online at http://nhsra.com for the broadcast schedule or www.nhsra.org for daily results. We are all cheering for you Brittany!
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