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.
Ninety years ago today, the Republican National Convention nominated Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover for President, and Senator Charles Curtis, Kansas, for Vice President. News from the convention was heavily reported in the Great Bend Tribune that week, with attention paid to dissenters, mostly farmers.
The controversy centered around the McNary-Haugen bills, vetoed earlier by President Calvin Coolidge. That bill, according to Wikipedia, was a controversial plan in the 1920s to subsidize American agriculture by raising the domestic prices of farm products. The plan was for the government to buy the wheat and then store it or export it at a loss.
Hoover supported Coolidge’s veto. Curtis, on the other hand, opposed it. Still, he was the second highest vote getter with 64 to Hoover’s 837.
“Kansas gave her favorite son, Senator Curtis, a howling send-off, helped along by many generous Hooverites. In fact everybody got a big hand throughout the whole of the long oratorical flourish with which the convention, according to custom, approached its final vote on the presidency” the Associated Press report stated.
Hoover and Curtis went on to win the presidency in November. He was one of the last presidents to be inaugurated in March. Less than eight months later, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 happened, and soon after the world was plunged into the Great Depression, marking Hoover’s presidency forever with that association. Mass public construction projects, like the Hoover Dam, were part of his failed attempt to bolster the economy. That, along with raising taxes and continuing stringent support of Prohibition caused him to lose popularity and paved the way for Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, to win the next presidential election.
Also this week in 1928, on June 17, Amelia Earhart, along with pilot Wilmer Stultz, left Newfoundland on her historic successful flight across the Atlantic, landing in Burry Port, Wales the following day. Four years later, on May 20, 1932, she made the solo flight, leaving from Newfoundland and landing in Ireland the next day. She went on to make other female firsts including a transcontinental flight, a flight from California to Hawaii, and finally, her ill-fated flight over the Pacific Ocean with Fred Noonan, during which they disappeared, never to be seen again.
The June 19, 1928 edition of the Tribune contains the AP report “Monoplane Friendship Carries First Woman Across Atlantic,” describing her first steps back on land.
“Although the plane settled down off a swampy region some distance from the little town of Burry Port, which never dreamed of its arrival, it was not long before hundreds of spectators were on the scene.
Crowds of people on foot and by motor rushed to the port and the nearby city of Llanelly and gave the aviators a great reception...The flyers were in the best of spirits as they landed. Stultz told the Associated press that the plane had been forced to land because of a shortage of fuel. He said that bad weather and a heavy mist accompanied the ship the greater part of the journey while rain was almost incessant.”
“I am very glad we have done it and very happy we’ve landed,” said Miss Amelia Earhart to a correspondent of the Associated Press as she stepped ashore from the monoplane Friendship. “I am too tired to say more.”
She was reluctant to discuss her experiences but was radiantly happy and indicated that it seemed good to be on land again.
June, nearly a century ago, was traditionally when school got out, just in time for harvest. The same was true for college students. Just for fun, here are a few end of school related items we found from the 1928 Tribune this week:
Mouse up his pants leg
Emporia -- All ludicrous situations are not confined to one-reeled movie comedies. R.G. Cremer, instructor in commerce at Emporia Teachers college, was standing before his class seriously discussing a problem in the business law, when a mouse ran up his trouser leg. He couldn’t get down on the floor, roll, yell and grope wildly at various parts of his anatomy in approved one-reel style. All he could do was bend over quickly, seize Mr. Mouse and crack his bones. Had the instructor performed in true movie style, he could not have created more merriment among the students than was created when the dead mouse was shaken from its fatal hiding place.
Pratt -- Sadder and wiser, but still happy, three freshmen student of Duke University at Durham, North Carolina, started back home after a fruitless trip and search of promised fabulous prices for harvest work in the wheat fields of Kansas. Three youths, Marvin Moore, Carl Mundy and David Scanion, rigged up an old Ford of the 1916 vintage and started out in search of great riches. They arrived in Pratt just three weeks before harvest time came and found that they were without means and work until the wheat ripened. After a few days of search for something to do the boys gave up
And what better pastime during summer than baseball? We also found this:
Monarchs her Friday
The Kansas City Monarchs, famed colored baseball team, will be here tomorrow, Friday, and will play an exhibition game with the Great Bend nine at 3 o’clock on the East Side ball park diamond. The management of the local team is making preparations to accommodate a huge crowd.
The Monarchs have played in Great Bend before, having made their initial debut two years ago at the fairgrounds. Last season they played at the East Side ball diamond.
The team is recognized as one of the best in the country and if it were not for the color of the players it would rank with the major leagues. Great Bend will have two pitchers, Tony Thielen will start the game and Giesbrecht will finish.