Salina's "Western Week" of 1954
Last month I showed a photo from April, 1954 of classmates dressed up for Salina's "Western Week." It was from a Salina Journal that Ginny put in her scrapbook of our Freshman year. I remember nothing about such an event and decided to find out what I could.
Salina Journals from 1950 through 2011 are available on line through "Newspapers.com". I found articles describing the event, but was surprised at the low-key approach taken by the paper to this event, especially when compared to the massive articles about the extravagant Entrada or the 49ers celebrations. Despite a city-wide appeal to dress in western garb, a big parade with horses from all over and floats, plus two presentations of a rodeo, there were only four small articles buried inside Salina Journals, plus the front-page photo Ginny kept. Here's what I learned.
The first article was in the Sunday Journal of April 18 -- on page 28!! (That's it on the left, outlined in red.) Here are some highlights. "An All-Western Horse Show and Rodeo, sponsored by the 81-40 Riding Club, will highlight Western Week in Salina Arp. 25-May 2. The rodeo and horse show will be held May 1 and 2 at Agriculture Hall in Salina. A parade will march through downtown Salina at 2 pm May 1 [Saturday]."
"Entries from 27 towns already have been received for parade and horse show." "Salina firms are invited to participate in the parade, using a western theme."
I think newspaper people use the length of the column of text as an indicator of importance. This article measures about 7". Adjacent to this Western Week story is an article called "Just Like Old Homeweek for Salinans at KU" that is about 26" long -- with two photos! (One photo happens to include Jody Conrad, who I drew an arrow to, just for fun.)
The second article was in the Monday, April 21 Journal. It was still only an 8" article, but at least it was on page 2. The headline was "'Western Week' to Recall Salina's Early-Day History." The article only weakly backs up the headline. "Starting Monday [April 26], and for the week following [read: the rest of the week], Salinans will be asked to don some sort of western wearing apparel." Details are repeated from the April 18 note with the addition that at least 30 riding or saddle clubs are expected to take part. "Seven more float entries were received and all Salina automobile and farm machinery firms will be represented." The total number of floats wasn't given.
The third article was printed on Thursday, April 29 during the Western Week -- on page 11. But first your eye would have been caught by the front page photo Ginny kept. Here are Ginny's original and the archived version, just for fun.
The original print has shades of gray (created by the spacing and sizes of tiny black dots) whereas the photocopies found on microfilms (and now Newspapers.com) are in bold black and white. Black and white is fine for text but tough on photos.
That's Bette Smith and Janice Watts featured, with part of Dennis Saum's hand and foot in the foreground.
Now you turn to page 11 for the article, squeezed in among ads for groceries and a killer for clothes-eating moths. From its 3" column you learn that "Twenty-seven towns in Central Kansas will be represented in the parade Saturday." Furthermore, "176 persons have entered the rodeo and horse show, and more are expected."
For the first time, it is said that "The 81-40 Riding Club will turn over all proceeds of the rodeo and horse show to Community Chest organizations."
On the front page of the Sunday, May 2 Journal is a photo of horses in the parade -- down 7th Street, not Santa Fe. (Looks like the United Life building on the left.) Foul weather in Oklahoma led the Journal's news that day.
The article, on page 5, was about 9 inches long. It said there were 500 horses in the parade but the number of clubs participating was less than expected because of the threatening, cool weather. Several thousand people braved the crisp winds and sullen skies to watch the parade, so they report.
There was a heavy downpour an hour before the rodeo Saturday night but a capacity crowd of 1000 people attended anyway.
The rodeo was repeated Sunday afternoon and again that evening. Candidates for queen were be judged on attire, equipment, showmanship, and personality. (If you interpret the words properly, it's pretty much the usual criteria. However, "showmanship" might not be the correct word these days.) I didn't find any follow-up article that told who won. Oh, well.
So that's it. A clear statement of the purpose didn't show up, but I guess this is something a horse club enjoys doing and raising money for the community chest was a good thing too. I don't feel bad about not remembering Western Week while in 9th grade. It wasn't easy to know it was going on even at the time, if the Salina Journal articles are any indication.
By the way, speaking of Newspapers.com, you may be interested in another similar web resource. I recently signed up for two months with E-Yearbook.com who has lots of yearbooks from schools across the country of all grades (including college). Here's one screen (of three) showing which SHS year books they can display on your monitor, page by page.
They have 36 SHS Trails starting in 1907 with obviously a lot of gaps. But I've enjoyed going through what they have and found lots of good stuff that I'll pass along to you in the coming months.
You can explore just what they have without paying them any money; I like this courtesy. Go to E-Yearbook.com and select your State, City, School, and Year. You see all the pages but they are too small to read or study (as in this photo on the left). At least you know what they do and don't have.
To see each page enlarged, I paid the minimum: $10 for two months. As usual, they will continue to charge your credit card each month unless you cancel. What I like about this bunch is that up front they tell you how to cancel; I haven't seen any business do that before. I expect to cancel in Nov. after I've had my fun, but who knows?
Their buttons that let you move around within a yearbook are simple and direct. You can thumb page by page, two or four pages at a time, or type in a page number and jump to it. The photos and printing on a page are clear and sharp.
E-Yearbook offers to sell you a printed copy of a whole yearbook, but you can capture any page shown on the screen by pressing the "PrtScn" button (PC computer) and pasting the capture into some program (WORD, Photoshop, etc.). A photo editor (like Photoshop, even WORD) can clean up what you capture, if you wish. If you need help with this, write me (I'm in the Directory).
For Salina schools (including KWU), the Salina public library has an extensive collection of actual yearbooks you can browse. They are in the Kansa Room not far from the entrance. I think this collection is much more complete than what E-Yearbook offers. Of course, you have to actually be in Salina instead of at your home computer.
For "our" school yearbooks, here's yet another offer. I have scanned every page of SHS Trails for 1953 through 1957 and Junior High Lights for 1952 through 1954. Each page is a JPG (photo) file. I can send them all to you on a CD at NO charge. Just drop me a note.
------- And now for a long meander for the excessively curious ------
Thanks to E-Yearbook.com, I found that the Senior Class of 1907, the oldest available, had 40 members (including one black). 30 (75%) were female; did boys, like my grandfather, just not often attend high school? A few last names were familiar: there were two Campbell girls (a Campbell was one of the Salina's founders), there was an Ostenberg girl (same name as Superintendent of Salina Schools in 1957), and one Applebaugh boy (just a coincidence in name?).
The 1907 yearbook was a lot of fun to go through. They had to have been a fun bunch with the freedom to do as they pleased. Someone was a clever poet. Each photo of a senior was accompanied by a descriptive poem. Here are a few I especially enjoyed. The style of poetry was quite varied, including the ever-popular limerick.
About Vance Applebaugh
Vance, the physicist, Lofty's pard,
Works with a will, and works quite hard.
Smiles at the girls while his magnets play,
And holding their hands gives them shocks, they say.
About Urath Sutton
Urath, our treasurer, is next.
Whom I will take to myself as a text.
In order to win it does not always pay
To be laughing and smiling all the day,
For I heard it said by one in this town
That she has a most attractive frown.
About Katherine Lovitt
There was a young lady named Katy,
Who suddenly grew quite sedaty.
She much disliked school,
But was still fond of Rhul (rule),
And all of us like her first ratey.
(I didn't find anyone names in Rhul in the year book
but obviously not all Salina boys went to high school.)
About Ellen Ostenbert
The lily's hue, the rose's dye,
The kindly lustre of an eye,
The gentle look that rage disarms,
These are all immortal charms.
About Mabel Reed
And still they gazed,
And still the wonder grew,
That one small head
Could carry all she knew.
About Walter Sohlberg
Walter Sohlberg, always spandy,
Quite a dude and quite a dandy;
Cane and eyeglass, lots of dough,
He'd make quite a lady's beau.
The class motto was "We'll find a way or make it."
The class yell was "1907 is our cry. V-i-c-t-o-r-y."
Looks like another sky-high photo taken from the top of Old Central. That's the Class of '07 itself in formation.
The shadows make me think this is looking south some afternoon. If so, that must be 7th street on the left. Are those trolley tracks going down the middle of the street?
That's the 1900 "New" high school where the '07 class had classes. Old Central couldn't hold all the classes as Salina kept growing. Washington replaced this "new" high school in 1909. The location shown is where Roosevelt Jr. High was later built.
The junior class in 1907 had 44 members. Their colors were "Purple and Lavender".
Their yell was "Chif! Chif! Cherro O! Chicka Zam Zate,
Fly! Flilf! Fla O! Nineteen Eight!"
(I checked the spelling carefully and I made no mistakes here.)
The sophomore class in 1907 had all of 73 members!!
The freshman class in 1907 had 92 members!!! No wonder Old Central and even this "new" high school got out-grown.
There is a list of alumni starting with the very first class which was in 1878 (with a class of TWO). The first class larger than three was in 1893 (7!). I suspect a lack of interest as well as a low city population.
The yearbook in 1907 has a variety of writings, photos, poetry, and even this sensitive sketch. (Yearbooks got more and more boring after 1907.)
The subject of this sketch isn't identified and the artist gave only some initials resembling "CB". Given the graduation garb, I assume she was in the senior class. The senior class had a Clarence Batchelor whose descriptive poem starts with "An artist of great fame is he; He paints the earth, the sky, the sea;" and then it dribbles on.
The best visual match I could find of a girl in the senior class to this sketch was Mildred Barr ("Just as sweet as she is pretty..."). The mouths don't match well, but maybe she was more serious during the sketch, there was some artistic license, or error. Or maybe this isn't even the same girl.
We now return you to 2015.
Just for Fun
The contents of Ginny's school scrapbooks are fascinating and fun, and often they ignite a curiosity for more information. This happened a few years ago with Salina's Coronado Entrada and 49ers celebrations that I enjoyed learning about. Well, it's happened again.
We have no chance of remembering the Entrada in 1940, with few memories (if any) of the 49ers (1949). But this one, Western Week, happened when we were finishing up 9th grade (1954) and should be in the memory bank. Yet I haven't got the slightest hint of a memory about it. How about you? Send in even your faintest memory and bring a first-person feel to this story. Got any photos?