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.
This week in 1948, reports that Dwight D. Eisenhower was turning down the Republican nomination for president deflated many. He was considered the most popular general of World War II, and favorite in the polls, but it wasn’t the right time. His departure opened the path for Thomas E. Dewey of New York. It was probably a good decision on Eisenhower’s part, because incumbent President Harry S. Truman, while not the most popular candidate, was still riding the wave from the Allies win of World War II. It was a close race, with Dewey taking 45.1 percent of the vote to Truman’s 49.6 percent. Senator Strom Thurmond (S.C.) also ran on the Dixiecrat ticket, taking only 2.4 percent. Eisenhower did accept the Republican nomination in 1952, and went on to become the 34th President of the United States.
Cemetery opens plots to all soldiers
The Great Bend Cemetery board met in a special session to open the circular burial area at the entrance to the cemetery open to all ex-servicemen and members of their immediate families for burial purposes. Prior to that, the burial area had been designated the “American Legion circle.” The new name would be “Soldier’s Mound,” as Legionnaires had requested burial plots there. Today, the circle is full.
Locally, this week it was reported that over 400 people attended the housewarming of the Fort Zarah home demonstration unit and the Fort Zarah 4-H club. The new home of the two rural organizations one mile east of town on the 24th Street road had once been a barracks at the former Great Bend Army Air base. It was purchased from the base, and was almost entirely redecorated and renovated by the unit’s members and their families.
“It contains a newly-finished hardwood floor, a huge newly-constructed natural stone fireplace, plaid monk’s cloth draperies on the many windows which were made by the women, a complete modern kitchen, and comfortable lounge facilities.”
According to the story, the Fort Zarah unit was founded in 1928 and celebrated its 19th year in 1948. There were 22 charter members, of which 12 were still in the club.
Today, the Ft. Zarah club is not more. However, there are still several clubs in the county, and the Cottonwood Extension District would be pleased to connect interested families with clubs that meet in their area. Many, including the Barton County Horse Club, Busy Buzzers, The Sharpshooters, T.L.C. Twisters, Great Bend City Slickers and South Bend Jolly workers, meet in Great Bend. Ellinwood Energizers and Hoisington Jets meet in their respective towns.
At the movies
This week, the classic Humphrey Bogart movie, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” opened in theaters around the country. It would be awhile, however before viewers in Great Bend would get their chance to see it. The top billing movie playing here this week was the Walt Disney movie starring Edgar Bergen and Dinah Shore, and Charlie McCarthy “Fun and Fancy Free.” The movie included tow animated shorts,
Bongo” about a circus bear escaping to the wild, and “Mickey and the Beanstalk,” a take on the famous fairy tale.
The movie was well received, and considered timeless. In fact, by the time the next generation was cutting their teeth on Disney, the movie was standard fare for “inside days” when snow or rain kept kids in from recess, but not home from school.