Photos of Salina When a Teen-Ager


     Salina was founded in 1858 but there wasn't much to it -- just a handful of buildings.  It grew quickly after the Civil War as the railroads began going by.  Most of the earliest photos started being taken in the 1870s when Salina was a teen-ager.  The first photo shown below was taken in 1860, however, with Salina as an infant!  I've picked out some of these old photos from Vol. I of As We Were, a book of old photos discovered by Betty (Harr) Baxter.  There are similar photos on the web but most of these shown here I haven't found on the internet.

     I've retyped and edited the captions for clarity.


In March of 1860 Simeon Garlitz (Garlet), Salina's first carpenter, raised his shop on Santa Fe near the NW corner with Iron Ave.  The wood came from oak and walnut trees growing along the river.  The door and windows came from Leavenworth by an ox team.  (It was later moved to Front St. and was still standing in 1976.)

The tall Geis Bank building was built in 1871 and was Salina's first brick structure.  This later became the site of the Planters Bank.  On our left is the Antler Saloon (see the antlers?) where Low's Drug Store stood in more modern times.  On our right edge I see the store's sign appearing to say "Del[icious] Res[taurant]".  This photo is in As We Were but is a better print from the web.

This shows the west side of the 100 Block of North Santa Fe in the 1870s.  The arched roof building was the W. M. Clarkson Livery Stable (I can just see "Stable" on the front).  To our left of that was the Centennial Restaurant (I can read that name on the flat roof).  On our far left the sign has "Wines Wholesale / Liquors Retail".  The book's caption talks vaguely of a "Bowling Alley then the Senate Saloon" on the far left location; perhaps that was in 1976.

This is the A. M. Claflin store in the 1870s.  I've run across the Claflin name as an important man in early Salina.  He was one of several who got St. John's Military school started, for example.  And of course today there is a Claflin St. near Kansas Wesleyan

I gather that in the late 1870s the Garlitz carpentry shop was moved to Front St. and this store built at the former location.  The Furniture House was owned by Lotz and Eberhardt.  They advertise Furniture, Bedding, and Undertakers.  Apparently undertaking wasn't a stand-alone occupation back then because it was common for coffins to be sold in furniture stores.  Perhaps other important funeral services were offered but I'm not sure.  I don't know who ran the Fruits & Vegetables place but I read that Mrs. A. T. Grier ran the News Depot shown on the far left side of this photo.

The camera was "just south" of Iron and Santa Fe (where all the horses are?) and looking north in the early 1870's when Salina was  very young.  The SW corner (our far left) has the Wooley & Hamlin store made of "native stone" (limestone?).  I can't read everything on the far-left sign but I think I see "Faulkner & Wildman".  Across the street on the NW corner the sign says "Wholesale Liquor Store."  Note the isolated streetlight near that sign; what lit it?  That 2 story building on the NW corner was put up by Salina's founder Col. William A. Phillips in 1866 as a hotel.  It was sold and by 1871 was called the City Hotel.  It became the Kessler Saloon in 1876; it burned down in 1880.


     It seems impossible to have taken a photo back in the good-old days that didn't show a saloon or liquor store.  I'd heard long ago that around the late 1800s the USA per capita alcohol consumption was 20 times what it is today.  That would help explain Carrie Nation and her hatchet -- too many husbands and fathers falling-down drunk half the time.  I thought it was time I find out the facts. is a web site that presents what I wanted to see.  It shows the annual ethanol alcohol consumption as gallons per person (including children?) in the USA from 1850 to 2015.

    These days the graph shows 2.32 gallons per capita per year.  Around 2000 it was down to 2.20.  There was a peak of 2.75 back in 1980.  Prohibition in 1934 cut it down to 0.97.  In 1900-1905 it had been 2.39, much like today.  From 1850 to 1880 or so it was about 2.10.  In other words, the per capita consumption was actually lower than modern times.  My memory was wrong (again) or I'd read bad information.

     Now I'm curious why there was a bump upwards between 1970 and 1990 that was about 25% higher than today.  In any case, it's clear that I'm not doing my share of the drinking (unless you add in Pepsi).





        Just for Fun


     Photography got going in the 1840s but it took some skill and dedication to be an early photographer.  The Kodak box camera with film you sent in for processing didn't show up will 1888.  A real pro used glass plates, developed and printed them himself.  Thanks to the dedicated early photographers today we can see gruesome photos from the Civil War, along with scenic places like Yellowstone as it was 150 years ago.

     Some photographers took photos of cities at early times that barely resemble the same cities today.  Money was made selling them as postcards and I suppose cities like Salina bought them to show off their progress.  Whatever the reason back then, we can treasure such photos as historical records.  I'm happy to see those of Salina and sample the collection on this page.