Saturday, July 18, 2009

Photographing Tombstones, Entry 3

After the trip back from Glen Elder through Cawker City and Downs I stopped to photograph the Oak Dale Cemetery, located just a few miles to the northeast of Downs. This relatively well-kept cemetery probably has few visitors at any time, but in any rural cemetery there are some rather interesting stones - and so stories - to discover here.

This 1953 marker is to the memory of all the early settlers in the "Oak Dale District," which consisted mainly of those settlers from along both Elm and Oak Creeks.

At its beginning Osborne County, Kansas could count those of the Democratic Party persuasion on one hand. A. B. Collins was one of the of these before his death on December 6, 1872. A tree he was cutting fell on him at the age of 42 years, 9 months.

Forgive the poor quality of the photo, but Joseph Delbert “Del” Cox deserves a small moment of reflection. An early settler and historian, for 40 years he wrote the column "Across the Raging Solomon" for the local newspaper. Now THAT would be a blog!

In our rural cemeteries even the most important memories are slowly fading away. Here the best that can be done is a homemade stone saying Civil War Veteran Unknown.

When the local GAR ("Grand Army of the Republic" - the Union soldier post-Civil War fraternal organization) post was formed in the nearby town of Downs, the name of the war veteran they chose to honor was that of Benjamin Greenman. This being an honor usually preserved for the most distinguished and well known of the veterans, it is odd that very little is known of Benjamin Greenman, as this simple homemade stone shows. One of the many unfinished stories that abound in Osborne County, Kansas.

The Evening After Fun Day

Upon leaving Glen Elder's Fun Day at around 6:45PM I headed back west on US-Hwy 24. As I drove through the town of Cawker City I spied new initiates at the World's Largest Ball of Sisal Twine and had to stop and say hi. They were from out of state and were thrilled with the opportunity to add some twine to the Ball.

Another interesting Cawker City monument that many people miss is located at the east edge of the Ball of Twine. It is a marker that once denoted the site of the Gledhill Homestead & the Twelve Mile Creek Post Office along the 1870s Cawker City-Smith Center Trail. The marker originally stood approximately ten miles to the northwest of Cawker in Smith County, Kansas. Sometime in the mid-20th Century road work the "temporary removal" of the marker from that original site. For some reason after the work was finished the marker was not put back in place but rather re-erected here in Cawker City.

Driving by the historic Hesperian Library in Cawker City I see that the local goal of $20,000 has been raised toward the renovation of the building, and the final work goes on. Way to go, Cawker!

The old adage To know where you're going, You've got to know where you've been is often more true than most people realize. It's nice to see by this plant stand that the citizens of Cawker City respect their past and their town namesale, Colonel E. Harrison Cawker. Though more respectable plants in the stand might go further to emphasize that point.

Driving on west in the city of Downs stands the Sod & Stubble Monument in their city park. Newly restored, the marker commemorates the local area upon which the classic 1936 novel Sod & Stubble written about.
Then it became time to take off on some good Kansas backroads to my next destination. There's always something to see in rural Kansas!

A Taste of the Glen Elder Fun Day Parade

at 4:15 PM today my choice was either start mowing the lawn or drive the 24 miles east to Glen Elder, Kansas to take in their annual Fun Day Parade.

Some choice.

It was a beautiful day, high in the mid-80s, and with a cheeseburger in hand from the local church stand I sat down to do some people watching and await the start of the parade.

Across the street from where I was sitting is Glen Elder's pride and joy, the 1926 Norris Service Station. The National Register-native limestone structure was purposely built to resemble a castle. It is up for sale if anyone is interested.

Ah! The parade starts!

Send in the clowns . . . .

John McClure of Osborne, Kansas advertising his Blue Hills Bikes business

An interesting car, and from Beloit, Kansas, as I overheard one nearby conversation stating.

Pride on Parade

After the parade the entire community partook in a barbecue blowout in the street. All the positive qualities characteristic to small town Kansas were strong this day.

After arriving back home I discovered that my camera was accidently set on the lowest DPI setting, so many more great photographs will live on only in my memory - along with the two excellent cheeseburgers!