Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Builded by the People (1906)

In 1906, Graham County, Kansas reported on its progress. The Reveille Souvenir (Hill City) promoted the western county's alfalfa and hay production, and its 2200 quarter sections of land available for $10-25 per acre. Referring to its governmental seat, the Reveille boasted:

"Hill City, like Kansas, was builded by great effort and hard struggles and the future for her is full of promise. Her history reads like fiction--it is a living poem, the best illustration of the motto of our great state that can be found within her borders.A great heroic stormy epic of more than Homeric grandeur is the story of her growth. She has come up through many difficulties,--drouths [sic], hot winds, cyclones, county seat fights, prairie fires, but she has ever kept her face towards the Sun of Progress, and these difficulties are as 'a tale that is told.' Today the air is full of prosperity. The rumble of the locomotives, the shrieks of the whistles, the whirl of the wheels of industry are born to the ear of the prosperous happy citizen. The strike of the carpenter's hammers is incessant and homes, for which there is a constant demand, are growing rapidly under the hands of the mechanics.

"Hill City is not a one-man's-town--it was builded by the people. She has the confidence of the entire county as is demonstrated by the hundreds of her farmer friends who crowd her streets on Saturday. To these friends she is indebted by her marvelous growth and phenomenal business prosperity. Hill City, unlike most western towns, has grown rich with the producers and not off of them. Competition is close, --merchants buy and sell to one advantage, but prices are reasonable and the country folk do not feel that out of the exorbitant prices paid to them the town is afforded luxuries and advantages of which they are deprived. We have borne the trials of adversity, and shared the joys of prosperity together. Hill City, the peerless gem of the prairies, lies in the central part of the county, on the Solomon River. It was surveyed in 1880 and incorporated in 1882. The surveying for the railroad precipitated one of the fiercest county seat contests that was ever waged with five towns contesting. In 1888, the year that the railroad was completed, Hill City was made the county seat. It bears the name of it's [sic] founder and first mayor, W.R. Hill.


"Hill City boasts of a strong and active W.C.T.U. Literary and social clubs are found throughout the city. In short Hill City furnishes ideal opportuunities [sic] for activity in business and social life. It is a good place to live; a good place to own a home; a good place in which to become prosperous; a good place to rear a family. We think we have a future of unlimited opportunities. We aspire to be the grain and stock market of the west. The Chicago of the prairies."

Image above: Frank Lee, photographer. "A.W. McVey Residence." Graham County, Kansas. 1906. This and excerpts above from Miss Chance.  Writer and Engraver's Picture of Graham County's Progress Since Its Organization. Hill City, Kansas: The Reveille Publishing Company, 1906. Richard L. D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

There are a lot of these flat-topped hipped roofs around Kansas. I guess it's a lopped off pyramidal folk house type.

Image above: A.W. McVey Properties. Township 12 S Range 23 W. Sections 1 & 12. Graham County, Kansas. Detail from Standard Atlas of Graham County, Kansas: Including a Plat Book of Villages, Cities and Townships of the County. Chicago: George A. Ogle & Co., 1906. Available via Kansas Memory. The atlas includes a portrait of Mr. McVey.

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