Each week we’ll take a step back into the history of Great Bend through the eyes of reporters past. We’ll reacquaint you with what went into creating the Great Bend of today, and do our best to update you on what “the rest of the story” turned out to be.
The morgue. It’s not as morbid as it sounds. It’s where old newspapers are stored to access later. Sometimes, readers want a back issue of the paper that had an important photo or story in it. Sometimes, we use them to research current stories. And while The Tribune has a morgue in the basement, it’s has gaps. After all, news has been printed in Great Bend for 140 years and counting.
Years ago, we archived everything from 2005 back on microfilm. Only a few scattered decades of print still remain. A microfilm reader is one of my favorite tools now.
Technology comes and goes, and continues to improve. I recently had the opportunity to use an updated model, and it was really great. But technology isn’t always easy to figure out the first time. Documents I’d thought I’d sent to my email in preparation of this week turned out unreadable. Chalk it up to the learning curve.
As it turns out, the chance to do something more fun presented itself. Greg Keenan, owner of Perks, invited us to stop by and take a look at a photo show he has set up at the coffee shop that will be on display for the next few weeks. Dale Riggs, Great Bend photographer, lent Keenan a series of photos taken in the early 1980s.
Inspired by photographers from the past that photographed people as they were, unsmiling and authentic, Riggs stopped people along Main Street and asked them if they would step into his studio and allow him to photograph them just as they were. The result was a wonderful record of some of the common people of Great Bend in the common attire of the day.
“When I saw these, I was excited to show them,” Keenan said.
Take a look and see if you can guess who these subjects are. Riggs said all the photos were taken around 1981 and 1982. If you can name them all, be sure to stop at Perks and let Keenan know so he can award bragging rights. After May 1, names and faces in their entirety will be presented in this feature.