Having a High Ol' Time in Salina


     I'll let John introduce his pictures:  "During the 2007 reunion, I was curious to use Donna's* flip [video] camera from the roof of the United Life Building.  When I was a boy in Salina, the roof was readily accessible but no longer.  A maintenance person allowed me on the roof for a few minutes."

           *Inside joke; I don't think Donna has ever used the camera, although it is hers nominally.


     The result is a couple of high definition videos of the panorama from the roof.  I (Phil) captured some still photos off my TV to show on this page rather than try to make the complete videos available -- it's much easier for all of us.  First, here's a bit on the interesting United Life Building itself.


Salina's tallest building is on Iron Ave. & 7th, just south across Iron Ave. from Cozy Inn.  This is the view from 7th St.  It was designed by Salina's architect Charles Shaver in 1929 in the Art Deco, Spanish Revival style using polychromatic terra cotta as the exterior building material.  There are ten stories.  One source gives the height at 155 ft. -- does this count the antennas now on the roof? Wikipedia says "Art Deco is a design style which first appeared in France after WWI, flourishing internationally in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s before its popularity waned after WWII. It is an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. The style is often characterized by rich colors, bold geometric shapes, and lavish ornamentation."  Such elements are visible on the building's trim.  (There will be no test on this definition.)  Was it good for Salina to extensively use a design that inevitably proved to be a fad?  Think also of the Chrysler building in New York City.


     Here are a couple of pictures from John's videos to get you in the mood:

We look northeast across Iron Ave. toward grain elevators on the Smoky Hill River.  I see the original School Specialty building on the far right edge, distinguished by its own art deco store front.

Swing a bit to the right and look down Iron Ave. with Marymount on the horizon.  Just beyond the "big" downtown buildings is the most recent Iron Ave. bridge.  It's identifiable by the cluster of white spherical street lights on the north side along a balustrade on that side of the bridge.  Did you know Kansas had so many trees -- and this is just one city?


     Here's an satellite photo with some highlights in John's photos marked in red.  It will help locate buildings in the following photos.


  The cluster of grain elevators and mills at the railroad tracks is inside the red triangle.  This photo was taken before any elevators were demolished earlier this year.  The large blue plus sign is on the Santa Fe & Iron Ave. intersection.  






Inside the "Downtown" rectangle are the "new" municipal building and library.  To its west is Memorial Hall.

To the south, the Catholic and First Methodist churches are in boxes across from each other.

Just west of the United Life bldg. is the "old" Post Office bldg, now the fine Smoky Hill Museum.

To the southwest are the Assembly Of God and Episcopalian churches in small boxes.









Inside the small box near this edge of the photo are more grain elevators, those in the first of John's photos shown above.

The dash of red among the trees is the dam on the Smoky Hill for the long-gone water-powered mills.

The Iron Ave. bridge is inside the nearest red box amid the river bed lined by the arc of trees.

  The United Life bldg. is the small solid red rectangle with a blue dot in it just left of the Santa Fe & Iron intersection at the blue plus sign.  The diagonal dash of red just below the blue plus sign is the walkway over Santa Fe Ave.  The bottom box is the Fox-Watson, oops, the Stiefel Theatre.

Cozy Inn is the tiny red dash north of United Life.  It was blocked from John's view from the roof.


    On to more of John's views.


Swinging southwest gives a view with Santa Fe Ave. prominent.  Note the solar collectors on the roof of the crosswalk.  The store fronts have a 1900 flavor that I've seen driving through many Kansas towns.  Two-story buildings with high fronts.  The tall, blank structure on the right must be above the stage of the Fox-Watson/Steifel where curtains and scenery can be raised.

Looking a further to the south and now you can see the Fox-Watson/Steifel tower, or what's left of it after the tallest part was removed in the '30s because of lightning strikes.  There are all those trees again in residential areas!

Now the view is almost straight south.  The Masonic Lodge is the large white structure in the background.  Shaver designed it and the Fox-Watson theater too.  Of those, only the lodge is not art deco.  The many black cables in the foreground are for the many antennas on the roof of the United Life bldg.

The back side of the art deco design at the top of the building didn't get the attention to detail the front side did, and why would it?  No one expect John to show it 85 years later.

The Episcopalian church has spires while the Assembly of God church is of contemporary design.  The lower-right corner has part of the roof of the old Post Office.

That's the Post Office/Museum roof in the lower-left.  The Rush-Smith funeral home above it on the left edge is now an adult day care.  The Catholic church (with its columns intended to reflect Salina's grain elevators) and school take up most of the photo.

Across from the Catholic church is the First United Methodist church.  Memorial Hall is in the background close to the right border.  I never knew till now that it has an arched roof.

John tried to see the Cozy Inn it's too tiny to be seen over the taller building at the bottom left edge.  It was almost demolished to become part of that parking lot, but of course that outrage was prevented.  The north end of 7th St. runs into grain elevators,, those now in the process of being demolished.


     Thanks for the photos, John!  I enjoyed the views from on high.


     I hope my identifications are correct.  If not, I trust that someone will let me know so I can learn about the city I grew up in.




        Just for Fun


     I like to find a high point and take in as much of scenery at once as I can.  It gives me an overall perspective that I find difficult to build up piece by piece from ground level.

     With mostly flat Salina you can go find the highest natural points at Marymount hill on East Iron, Indian Rock Park (Gypsum & Indiana), and, if you have the owner's permission, Iron Mound for much of Saline County.

     Right in the heart of town there's another place I never thought of.  Fortunately, John Lamone knew of it, talked his way onto it recently, and sent in pictures taken from it.

     If you don't have a fear of heights, continue down this page!