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 school lunch program began in 1946.
“It is hereby declared to be the policy of Congress, as a measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities and other food...,” according to the USDA website.
However, it didn’t appear to be newsworthy in Great Bend. A search through the morgue turned up no mention about the national school lunch program or any local program. With few schools equipped with cafeterias or kitchens, it would take a few years for districts to make the necessary adjustments.
The GBHS yearbook, The Rhorea, honored the cafeteria workers for the first time in the 1952 edition, where it mentioned the school had a “new and modern cafeteria”, formerly where four math classrooms are located today. In 1959, several new cafeteria staff were hired, and lunch became a closed campus affair. In 2001, a new addition included a commons that also doubles as a cafeteria.
This week in 1952 was an interesting one news wise, however. Paralleling our Obama “birther” controversies this election year, Presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower was also required to present legal proof that he was born and legally eligible to hold the highest position in the nation. One question--would his proof and explanation stand up under today’s critical eyes?
The story, Ike Now Has Birth Proof, a United Press story from Sherman, Texas is worth quoting.
“The Republican nominee was born in Denison, Tex., Oct. 14, 1890, but no birth certificate was filed then, as there was no law requiring one.
The Constitution requires a president to be a natural born citizen and at least 35 years old. Eisenhower has had no legal document to prove he qualified on both counts.
A New York law firm wrote to Denison, asking for a birth certificate. The letter was referred to Sherman, the county seat.
J.C. Buchanan, Grayson county clerk, found no certificate existed, but Lonnie Roberts of Denison wrote to the Eisenhower family and got the information required for a delayed certificate, along with a notarized statement from the general’s brother, Arthur B. Eisenhower of Kansas City, Mo.
As a result, Buchanan filed the certificate, signed by County Judge J.N. Dickson.”
The Great Bend Municipal Auditorium was the site of a mass gathering sponsored by the Great Bend Ministerial Alliance and Council of Churches. The purpose, to celebrate the first official date of publication of the Revised Standard Edition of the Bible. According to the story, the date, Sept. 30, was picked because it coincided with the 500th anniversary of the first printing of the Gutenberg Bible. The New Testament was completed in 1945, and the Old Testament was completed in 1951. It was the revision of the American Standard Version of the Bible. A national rally was also held in Washington D.C., as well as many local rallies throughout the country. The very first official edition was given to then President Harry S. Truman.
In 1989, the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible was released, without the same fanfare, but with plenty of criticism. Gender neutrality in language being the main offender.
Get a job
Speaking of gender neutrality-- a look at the Help Wanted ads is eye opening. Apparently, in 1952, there was a Male and a Female section of the classifieds. Male job openings included bellboy at the Zarah hotel, welding--no experience necessary at O.K. Rubber Welders, warehouse work at Nash Finch Co., furniture store employee at Steinert’s Furniture, and the Parish hotel wanted a clean up man. Female openings included a typist for the music department of Komarek jewelry and music store, car waitresses at the Frigid Queen, waitress at the Mayflower Cafe, waitress at the Wallace cafe, lady for part time work at Eagle Freeze Drive In, waitress at the Zarah Hotel, dishwasher and waitress at the J-Hawk Cafe, waitress at Sayre’s Drive In, part-time sales ladies for Montgomery Wards, and a white maid to do housework three days a week. Under Help Wanted Male or Female, there was an opening for a dishwasher at the Mayflower Cafe, an experienced fry cook at the Trail Cafe and a fry cook at Sayre’s Drive In.
Today, the Help Wanted is just that, with descriptions like, cleaning persons, bartenders and waitstaff wanted. The openings are more varied, with some jobs requiring college degrees or several years experience. But there are still the old standbys for those trying to get their foot in the door for the first time. Despite the ongoing high unemployment rate the nation is experiencing, today’s Great Bend Tribune has a pretty healthy looking Help Wanted section - two and a half pages, compared to the two columns in the 1952 paper.
“Knothole” football for youngsters announced it would start Oct. 1, 1952. Team names were Bears, Lions, Packers, and Giants. Carl Soden, recreation director, oversaw the program. Today, the Great Bend Recreation Commission oversees the flag-football program for grades 2-6. Teams are the Panthers, Ducks, Wildcats and e-LEMON-ators for grades 2-3, and the Ducks, Cowboys, Blackshirts, Supercharged, Jayhawks and Chiefs for grades 4-6. For 4-7 grade boys who want to play full-contact football, the Western Kansas Football League offers a travelling team experience, and the Great Bend Panthers play teams from McPherson, Hays, Pratt, and other area cities.
Plans for a new one-room schoolhouse was announced for District 15 in Barton county, located east of the city limits on US-50N. According to the Kansas Highways Routelog website, “...by 1955, The US 50 N/S split was eliminated with the introduction of US 56 and 156. The Garden City-Larned stretch was re-designated as part of US 156 and the Great Bend-Baldwin Junction re-designated as part of US 56. The segment between Larned and Great Bend was re-designated as US 56-156.”
The new building would replace a school located “just off the highway west of Ft. Zarah park. It would be “constructed of brick of a buff color and will have modernistic lines with large window space for effective lighting.” The plans for the $25,000 building included space for a kitchen to serve hot lunches in. (If anyone knows the fate of this one-room school house, please drop us a line or give us a call.)