Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Statue of Justice

Lady Justice, Justicia, the Roman goddess of Justice, and the Greek goddesses Themis and Dike, is the personification of legal and ethical force in our court systems.

Statue of Justice, Ottawa, Kansas

It is November, a few days after Veterans Day. The setting sun is just right and you can see Lady Justice in all her golden glory atop the County Courthouse in Ottawa, Kansas.

Ottawa, Kansas courthouse, statue of Justice

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ferdinand G. Stoltz

The building at 229 S. Main street is now painted purple, yellow and white, and home to Primitive Treasures, an antique store.

This undated image of downtown Ottawa, Kansas shows the building in its original condition. Notice the Indian totem outside the building. I am searching for information on "F. Stoltz Mfg." Not much comes up. One item is a short article by Louis Reed of the Ottawa Herald in 2011 (copied in full below).

Ferdinand G. Stoltz, Cigar Mfg., Ottawa, Kansas
"Ferdinand G. Stoltz, who has been proprietor of the Stoltz Cigar Store for the past 17 years and who is a prominent cigar manufacturer in the city, has sold his business to the Morris Bros. Cigar Co. Stoltz will retire Feb. 15. “Ferd” Stoltz is a cigar manufacturer of the old school. He started in his trade 49 years ago, beginning at the A-B-C part of it and working right up. His first lessons began in Hamburg, Germany, where he worked as an apprentice and continued there until he came to America to make his home. When he started out, there was no machinery, all the work being by hand. And Stoltz, even to this day, makes all his cigars by hand"
Louis Reed in the Ottawa Herald in 2011.

Then I came across this image of the Stoltz Christmas tree in the Franklin County, Kansas image bank.

Stoltz Christmas tree

Finally, in 1907, the Kansas Department of Labor lists F. Stoltz, tobacco and cigars as  a manufacturer in Ottawa, Kansas:

Manufacturers in Ottawa, Kansas 1907.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Murals of Ottawa, Kansas

Downtown Ottawa Kansas mural
The Martin Tractor Company was founded in Ottawa, Kansas in 1911. Over a century, the company grew to include several locations in Kansas. I don't know much more, but I love the mural. It is located on the Adamson Bros' building at 102 S. Walnut in Downtown Ottawa. As best I can make out, the artist's name is "Morton."

The mural shows the former Martin Tractor Company building at the intersection of the Missouri Pacific route (the large engine on the right)  with the Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe route (the small engine approaching the viewer from the distance). This latter route is now the Prairie Spirit Rail-Trail path which runs from Ottawa to Welda, Kansas.

Note. If you know the artist's full name, I would love to have it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Downtown Ottawa 1912

Downtown Ottawa 1912?

By 1912 when this image of downtown Ottawa, Kansas was taken, Ottawa had electric lighting, a waterworks and telephone system, several grain elevators and flour mills, furniture factories, a large creamery, brick and tile factories, several machine shops and a soap factory. Two years earlier in 1910, it recorded a population of 7,650.

There were three city parks: Forest Park, to the north of the river; College Park, on the south bank; and the court-house park occupying the city block on Main between Third and Fourth streets.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Downtown Ottawa, Kansas parade 1938

Life in Ottawa Kansas was not always easy.

In 1929, the Great Depression stuck the stock market and the foundation of nation was shaken to its core. Unemployment skyrocketed. Two years later, storms covered the Midwest in a blanket of suffocating sand and dust. By 1932, Bing Crosby was singing Buddy Can You Spare a Dime.

In the spring of 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed a weary but hopeful country:
 I see one-third of the nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished . . . the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
Kansans did their part, planting corn and wheat, creating wind breaks to cut down on blowing dust, and singing a happy tune. Read Soul of a People. But, it wasn't easy.

Abandoned farm, Ottawa, Kansas 1938
Image, Special Collections and University Archives, Wichita State University Libraries.

In 1936, Japan invaded China. The following year German troops invaded Austria.

In 1938, Frank Capra's You Can't Take it with You, won the Oscar for Best Picture. In Kansas the Stearman Aircraft became the Stearman Division of Boeing Airplane Company. Things were looking up. Still, life was no picnic, but there was time for a parade, especially if you had a pocketful of dreams.

In 1939, the rain came back to Kansas.

*The video was filmed with a home movie camera in 1938 by Harold J. Lamb. In 1938, Bing Crosby recorded Pocketful of Dreams and the earlier 1932 version of Buddy Can You Spare a Dime. The iconic song was written in 1930 by lyricist E. Y. "Yip" Harburg and composer Jay Gorney.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

1955 Downtown Ottawa

The year is 1955, the United States is at peace.

Downtown Ottawa at 3rd and Main
The Korean War ended two years earlier. The French are mired down in a war in Indo-China, not the United States, yet. But peace at home is uneasy. In the midst of good news, the troubling fact is that the Russians have created the Warsaw Pact. The Cold War has begun and the stakes have never been higher, as the Russians detonated their first hydrogen bomb two years earlier.

Dwight David Eisenhower is president of the United States. He suffers a heart attack while vacationing in Denver, and an anxious nation follows his recovery. Fred Lee Hall, Republican, defeated George Docking the year before and is now governor of Kansas. W.W. Robe is mayor of Ottawa.  A post World War II economic boom is going on after a brief recession in 1954. Eisenhower initiates the Interstate Highway Program and the car is king.

It has been four years since the Great Flood of 1951 submerged downtown Ottawa. Hobart Parks who scoured the local Ottawa newspapers for information did not have much to say about Ottawa that year. From the Ottawa Herald, he reports that two new men's dormitories were built for Ottawa University. Parks Annals.

The summer of 1955 and Downtown Ottawa bustles with weekend shoppers.

The same year, Ray Kroc starts franchising MacDonald restaurants, Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California, Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and James Dean dies in an auto accident, after starring that year in both Rebel Without a Cause, and East of Eden. The biggest hit single on the records chart was Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley & His Comets, followed by Sixteen Tons, sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Dinah Shore was on TV and had two hit songs, including Love and Marriage, which topped out at number 20 on the charts.

And in 1955, the hottest new car on the road was the Chevy Bel Air, which offered the now legendary small block V8 engine and Ferrari-like front grill. And yes, Dinah Shore was singing See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet on her popular TV show.

1955 Chevy Bel Air

Monday, January 7, 2013

Postcard Main Street Bridge Ottawa

Main Street Bridge 1910
Hello Winnie Clemmons
Main Street Bridge 1910

Before the flood wiped it away, the Main Street Bridge was a Pratt Truss style bridge. Truss because the structure consists of connected triangular elements. It is called Pratt because the truss includes vertical members and diagonals that slope down towards the center.

This bridge (1885 -1926) is actually the second bridge to cross the Marais de Cygnes River. An earlier suspension bridge crossed the river (1868-1885). Ottawa Herald, 1961. History of Bridges of Ottawa.

The Postcard

I also thought it interesting to read the postcard. It  was written January 19, 1910, by an unidentified Ina to Miss Winnie Clemmons in Floris, Oklahoma. Ina lived on a farm, took in boarders to help support the family (two more boarders "that makes us ten"), and was going to town, probably by horse and carriage, to get something for supper.

The postcard came from the Model 10Cent Store at 117 E. 2nd.

Parks Annals

This postcard was mailed in January 1910.

Later, the summer of the same year, Teddy Roosevelt and Williams Jennings Bryan would appear in Ottawa at Forest Park, but at separate times. In September, a "talkie", a moving picture with sound came to the Crystal Theater. (As the Jazz Singer did not come out until 1926, I am not exactly sure what this means.) In October, the fighting Ottawa University football team held the University of Kansas to a low score of 10 to 0. Parks Annals.