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Out of the Morgue
1912 World's Series and BC Fair start
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This photo is one of a series of four photos of the Barton County fair taken about 1906 by Annie Taylor of Great Bend. The fairgrounds were located northeast of town at the outskirts where today an unimproved field of trees stands at about 19th and Frey St. The fair took place the second week of October in 1912. Over the years, the date moved from fall to summer, and the location changed, but people still have a hard time resisting the midway and attractions. - photo by courtesy of Karen Neuforth

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 109th Annual MLB World Series starts Wednesday, October 24 and will run through November 1.  Exactly 100 years ago on Oct. 8, 2012, the ninth annual World’s Series began.  Before there was radio or television, when there was only the telegraph, sports fans were still eager to know the latest play-by-play action.  So, who did they turn to?  Well, in Great Bend, they turned to The Great Bend Daily Tribune.   
From the Oct. 9, 1912 edition:

The World’s Series
“The results of the world’s series, inning by inning, play by play, are being megaphoned again today from the Tribune office.  If you are a fan and want to know about the game there’s your chance to hear about the game while it is being played.  The results of today’s game are being received too late for publication in this issue of the daily.”

It was the ninth modern World’s Series, between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Giants.  It was the only best-of seven series to go eight games, as one game was called a tie on account of darkness after running 11 innings. That was Game 2, played on October 9, 1912 at Boston’s Fenway Park, with a final score of 6 to 6.

Just imagine what it must have been like here--people lining the street in front of the Tribune office, listening as the action was announced on a megaphone, well into night, and finally learning the game was a tie.  

Today, we call it the World Series, and today, lighting isn’t an issue.

The same day the World’s Series began, so did the Barton County Fair, running Oct. 8,9 and 10.   Admission was 25 cents for everybody, and attractions included motorcycle time-trials and races, horse races, airship flights by A.K. Longren in addition to the midway attractions.

The fairgrounds were located on the outskirts of town, where an unimproved lot full of trees stands at 19th and Frey St. today.   In 1917, the grounds were moved to where Britt Spaugh Park is today, according to Karen Neuforth, local historian.  It remained there until 1930, when it became too expensive to continue the fair.  From then until 1990, the fair was replaced by Barton County Extension Service’s 4-H fair.  In 1991, Barton County once again resumed sponsoring the fair, and it has done so for the past 21 years, according to Dale Hogg, editor at the Great Bend Tribune.

For merchants in Great Bend in 1912, fair time provided a great opportunity to make sales, and  the prominent stores and banks in town competed for shoppers’ precious free time.  One highly advertised draw by both Citizen’s National Bank at 1401 Main St. and The Lischesky Dry Goods Co., exclusive ladies’ store, located at 1303-5 Main St., were the rest rooms.  At that time, the common spelling was two words, and for a reason.  While there were likely stools available, it wasn’t mentioned in the ad.  Instead, easy chairs on which to make yourself at home, couches, telephones, writing desks,etc. were available for the convenience of guests who needed a rest after several hours on their feet at the fair or shopping on the square.  Sales were further inducements.

The Amend Bros. Sanitary Dental Parlor was another big fair advertiser, touting private operating booths, expert operators, lady attendants and state-of-the-art electrical equipment.  “Open for inspection to visitors during fair week,” the ad read.  “Don’t leave Great Bend without visiting.”

According to the Kansas State Library website entry, “1912 Biographical History of Barton County”, Amend Bros. was everything their ad claimed and more.  The three brothers, Walter, Eldon and Leslie, all graduated from the Western Dental College of Kansas City, Mo. in 1905-7.  Walter opened the parlor, and was joined two years later by Eldon.  Leslie worked in a practice in Sterling for a few years until joining his brothers in the family firm in the spring of 1912.  They served patients at 1417 Main St., above the mens’ clothing store, Burns.  They also traveled the county serving towns along the Santa Fe Trail too, always with the best equipment money could buy with the most sanitary and professional methods of the day.

Home Economics through the decades
Kansas State Agricultural College, now known as Kansas State University, was a pioneer in teaching home economics for women.  In an October 7, 1912 story in the Tribune, the college announced the formation of Home Economics clubs to help teach cooking and sewing to girls who could not go to schools where housekeeping was taught.  

That same year Great Bend High School offered Domestic Science classes for the first time.  The story goes on to say  Miss Adah Lewis, a graduate of the college with several years’ experience would be available to help organize a club in any town.  Two courses with 20 lessons each in sewing, and three courses with 20 lessons each in cooking would be available.  Topics covered the basics of hand sewing and drafting patterns to the “general field of the five food principles”.  These were the first food guides published by the federal government over the century.  

According to the 1911 edition of the GBHS yearbook, “The Beehive”, a brand new Domestic Science classroom was ready for the next year’s students.  It was outfitted with hotplates, electric ovens, worktables and everything needed to learn economy and efficiency, both of money and time spent working in the home

By 1931, the classes were taught by the Domestic Arts Department.

It wasn’t until around 1950 that a club shows up in the yearbook, “The Rhorea”.  Future Homemakers of America, or FHA, is pictured opposite the members of Future Farmers of America, FFA.  

In the 1970s, three teachers were pictured in the Home Economics Department, teaching in three main areas, Cooking, Clothing and Family Living.  No more emphasis on pattern drafting in these classes.  Students were taught to construct garments from ready made patterns.  Instruction on Consumer Buying, Interior Design, Child Development and Marriage and Family was taught in Family Living.

In the 2011 edition of “The Rhorea”, the name has changed again to Family And Consumer Sciences, or FACS.  Areas of focus are Balancing Work and Family, Exploring Child Careers 1 and 2, Fashion/Interior Design, Textiles, Foods and Foods and Wellness.