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RILEY COUNTY RAMBLINGS – 100 YEARS AGO

 
From the Manhattan Republic
May 8, 1908:

 

Bala.

     During the storm Sunday night at about 10 o’clock, the dwelling house of J.E. Cravens was struck by lightning and totally destroyed, although it rained copiously at the time.  Not one of the Cravens family was injured, fortunately.  Some of the clothing and furniture was saved and is being housed in the hall at Bala City this (Monday) morning, while the family are made comfortable in Charles Wellin’s house.  There is insurance on the building.  The whole neighborhood sympathizes deeply with Mr. Cravens in this unfortunate occurrence.  It is strange and a subject of frequent comment that the dwelling house on this same site, when in the hands of A.D. Phelps, was struck twice, and lightning felled trees six or seven times during his ownership, and Mr. Cravens had his horse killed and hogs injured previous to this present occurrence.  Besides, the cyclone destroyed the building when owned by James Ashman.  Some say they know of similar spots in the old country and here, where mines have afterwards been discovered, and that an electric attraction exists.  We cannot decide why one spot should be struck so often.

 
From the Manhattan Republic
May 15, 1908:

 
To Build a $15,000 Church
Christians Let Contract to Mr. Correll For a New Structure.

    The directors of the Christian church have let the contract for a new building to Mr. Correll at something less than $15,000 complete.  There was discussion whether or not it would not be better at this time to build the basement with a temporary superstructure, but Mr. Correll’s bid was so fair that the members of the church felt that they ought not neglect this opportunity to get a completed church, and though the task is a great one and the burden will be heavy, they decided to go ahead and make the effort.  They have sixty days under the contract in which to see if it will be possible for them to carry through the work. In the meantime, work has already commenced on the basement.  The church will find it necessary to get some outside aid and to have the very heartiest and most liberal support from within in order to put up the fine building they have in view, but there seems to be a winning determination behind the plan. 

     If completed the building will have a basement with kitchen and dining hall, an auditorium, Sunday school rooms, gallery, pastor’s study, dressing rooms, baptistery, etc.

 

    (Note: The building that the First Christian Church built in 1908 is still visible behind the modern front on the northwest corner of Fifth and Poyntz.  The basement of the structure was completed by the fall of 1908 and was roofed over for winter revival meetings.  After the winter, construction was begun again and the completed church was dedicated November 14, 1909.  The original church building, the one that the new church replaced, was moved to 710 Moro in March 2008,  In 2008 it is used as a Union Hall by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local # 918 and Construction and General Laborers Local #1290.)

 
From the Manhattan Republic
May 22, 1908

     Miss Bess Vincent of Clay Center passed through Manhattan yesterday on her way to Kansas City.  She met her uncle, Governor Meade (sic) of Washington there and went on to Olympia with him to take a position as his private secretary. Miss Vincent is well known in Manhattan having visited here often with Judge and Mrs. Sam Kimble.

 

    (Note: Albert E. Mead was Governor of Washington State 1905-1909. He was born in Riley County (reputedly on the Dewey Ranch, now the Konza Prairie) on December 14, 1861.  Governor Mead died in 1913.)

From the Manhattan Republic
May 29, 1908:

Kansas Southern & Gulf
The New Railroad Is Coming This Way – Is Offering Bonds for Sale.
   
The Kansas, Southern & Gulf railway is headed this way.  In Westmoreland and vicinity about $80,000 of bonds have been sold.  The road is to cost about $300,000 from Westmoreland here and then it is designed to run a spur to the college to take care of the freight traffic, and as it is proposed to operate motor cars over the road the street railway problem from Manhattan to the college will be solved at the same time.
   
Mr. Collman and Mr. Tompkins represented the matter to the directors of the Commercial Club Wednesday evening and said that they wanted to sell bonds in this vicinity and wished for an expression of the Commercial Club.  After giving the matter due consideration, the following resolution was adopted:

“Whereas, Messrs. Collman and Smith, owners and Le Bar Tompkins, general counsel of the Westmoreland railroad property, known as the Kansas, Southern & Gulf Railroad, are in our city in the interests of the extension of said railroad to Manhattan.  They appeared before a meeting of the directors and other members of this Commercial Club and thoroughly explained their proposition.  It is the unanimous judgment of all present that the proposition is an excellent one, and if carried out would be of great value to Manhattan and surrounding country.  We have confidence in the honesty and integrity of these gentlemen and believe that they mean just what they say, and therefore earnestly recommend their proposal to the citizens of Manhattan and vicinity.
Emil Thoes, President
J.Q.A. Shelden, Secretary"

     Messrs. Collman and Tompkins expect to remain here for some time explaining the proposition and interesting investors.  They hope to commence work yet this summer.

 

    (Note: The Kansas Southern & Gulf railroad was begun in 1899.  Eight miles of the line were laid from Blaine to Westmoreland.  In 1912 automobiles equipped with railroad wheels were run on the line and it operated as the Westmoreland Interurban until 1918.  The railroad was never completed to Manhattan.)