Sep 19, 2021 11:25 AM

The Decades: 1910s

Posted Sep 19, 2021 11:25 AM

As we celebrate the 150th birthday of Hutchinson and Reno County, we want to go through the years, decade by decade, to see how things have changed and — remarkably — how they have stayed the same. This would not be possible without the efforts of Steve Harmon, the Reno County Museum, and the Hutchinson Public Library, who have made a great effort to supply us with the information and photos that you’ll see in this 15-part series. We hope you enjoy it.

As we turned to the next decade, some very familiar names and buildings began to pop up in Hutchinson. We’ve already heard of names like Carey, Wiley and Morton. They helped the city and county expand into the next decade.

St. Teresa's Cathedral - at construction - 201 E. 5th  - 1911. Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.
St. Teresa's Cathedral - at construction - 201 E. 5th - 1911. Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.

1910: Board of Trade organized in Hutchinson. When it closed it was in a familiar place, the Wiley Building. Reformatory charges $0.10 for visitors. Winter weather stalls mail delivery. The county commission petitioned to build a road between Hutchinson and Buhler. Fire destroys five stores in the town of Sylvia. There is a record apple crop in the county when two million bushels are shipped. Thousands more bushels rot on the ground. The first automobile race in Kansas is held in Hutchinson. Hutchinson becomes a first-class city.

Salt City Business College - Ave A & Walnut  - built 1916. Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.
Salt City Business College - Ave A & Walnut - built 1916. Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.

1911: Twelve airplanes land in Hutchinson and draw large crowds to watch pilots show their talents. It's the first aviation meet in the state of Kansas. Fish farm near Arlington ships 12,000 bass to the state of Pennsylvania. U.S. President William Howard Taft visits the state fair and lays the cornerstone for the new convention hall. Thirteen special trains bring visitors to Hutch for the event. B and B telephone is taken over by the Bell Telephone Co. A movement gets underway to establish Symphony Orchestra for the city. Santa Fe and Rock Island trains are stranded after a Rock Island train becomes stuck in a major snow drift. Hutchinson and many cities to the west run out of coal due to winter weather.

Penny Postcards - Y.M.C.A. - 100 N. Walnut - 1914. Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.
Penny Postcards - Y.M.C.A. - 100 N. Walnut - 1914. Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.

1912: Drilling of the Carey Salt Mine begins. Reno County High School in Nickerson wins the 1912 State High School Basketball Championship. They would win it again in 1913. Hutchinson's population tops the 20,000 mark. The Hutchison Convention Hall opens. Robenia Davis becomes Partridge Post Office Postmaster and does not miss a day for 30 years. The Taxpayers Protective League was formed. The organization advocated for the reduction of taxes and the cutting of salaries of county officials. They also want to abolish the county engineer and county assessor positions. The Hutchinson Northern Railroad is established and mapped out in Hutchinson.

Carey Ice Co. - 216 S. Main  c. 1912 - By Wade (converting from horse to motor power). Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.
Carey Ice Co. - 216 S. Main c. 1912 - By Wade (converting from horse to motor power). Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.

1913: Emerson Carey introduces a bill in the State Senate making Hutchinson the official site of the Kansas State Fair. Over the next few years, newspapers in Topeka would write stories about the fair being canceled due to weather or that there weren't enough hotel rooms available. Hutchinson works to refute those claims. Two bridges are built over Cow Creek on West 1st Avenue and East Avenue B. In 1913, there are 13 schools in Hutchinson with 3,282 students, 25 churches, three miles of paved streets and 26 miles of sanitary sewer lines. A petition is circulated all over Reno County to put to a vote that the county buy the fairgrounds and deed it to the state. The idea of establishing the position of city manager is proposed by the Commercial Club. The Hutchinson mayor denies a request to allow women on the police force. 

Cow Creek Channel - Looking Northwest at Convention Hall - right after construction - (Built 1911) (By Wade). Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.
Cow Creek Channel - Looking Northwest at Convention Hall - right after construction - (Built 1911) (By Wade). Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.

1914: The Rorabaugh Wiley Building is built, 10,000 people visit on opening day. Reno County raises $1,000 (more than $26,000 today) to give to the Red Cross for the war effort. Barney Oldfield races a car in Hutchinson. A sinkhole forms near Morton Salt, equipment is swallowed up in the hole. A day nursery is opened up for working mothers. A bond proposal to buy Carey and Riverside Park is voted down by a wide margin. All public works is shut down because workers are enticed by a better paycheck by working the harvest. A $100,000 bond issue to build a new high school is defeated by voters.

Wiley Bldg. Const. - May 31, 1913 (by Bailey). Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.
Wiley Bldg. Const. - May 31, 1913 (by Bailey). Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.

1915: Hutchinson is the fifth-most profitable city for the Santa Fe Railroad. The First National Bank brings in adding machines and typewriters. National Packing Company is divided up and the packing portion of the plant is taken up by Swift and Company. High schools are established in Abbyville, Arlington, Langdon, Partridge, Plevna and Pretty Prairie. There are 1,300 automobiles registered in Reno County. The Ark Valley Interurban Trolley extends service to Newton, Wichita, Burrton and Halstead. A ride to Newton costs $0.70 and takes two hours. “Ye Old Mill” opens on the Kansas State Fairgrounds. Sherman Jr. High opens.

Ye Old Mill. Photo courtesy of the Kansas State Fair.
Ye Old Mill. Photo courtesy of the Kansas State Fair.

1916: Units of the Hutchinson National Guard are dispatched to the Mexican border in July. They return in November. First troops of the Boy Scouts is organized. Rorabaugh and Wiley celebrate their first year in business. They claim more than 1.5 million people visit the building. The building hosted 21 state conventions and 150 public meetings. More than 500 people attended the party for the store's employees. As WWI is underway, area women begin knitting various garments for those serving in the Navy.

Hutchinson Cycle Co. &  Oxford Cafe - 3 & 5  So. Main - 1912 -  (Sepia). Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.
Hutchinson Cycle Co. & Oxford Cafe - 3 & 5 So. Main - 1912 - (Sepia). Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.

1817: Area businessmen offer up $40,000 to help fund the first Catholic hospital in Hutchinson. On April 24, the Navy opened a recruiting center in Hutchinson, 21 signed up the first day. Twenty-five days after the U.S. declares war on Germany, more than 500 Hutchinson men sign up for service. Liberty Jr. High is opened. The first Girl Scout troop west of the Mississippi is established in Hutchinson. Two civil war cannon are donated to Hutchinson and put on display. The Military Sisterhood was formed, made up of mothers, wives and sisters of servicemen. The first 10 men drafted in the area were:

Carlos Bonnila, who worked for the Santa Fe

Edwin Roach of Plevna

Phillip Commer of Hutchinson

Irvan Hill of Abbyville

Ocee Spicer, who drove for American Express

Jesse Eickleberry of Arlington

Floyd Moore of Darlow

Sam Miller of Hutchinson

Jos Wilkerson of Hutchinson 

Thos Gianakon of Hutchinson

1918: Hutchinson Soda Ash produces valuable product to make high explosives during the war effort. A voluntary drive begins for war bonds, food and clothing for soldiers. Forty-one Reno County women join the Army Nurse Corps, the Navy Corps and the Red Cross. Many serve overseas. Lysle Rishel is the first Reno County soldier killed in WWI. The American Legion is named in his honor.

Lysle Rishel
Lysle Rishel

Flu epidemic hits Reno County. More than 300 people died. The Elks Lodge is turned into an emergency hospital. WWI ends — 2,240 men from Reno County serve, 102 die and another 131 are injured.

Elks Club Home - 117 N. Walnut - 1912. Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.
Elks Club Home - 117 N. Walnut - 1912. Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.

1919: A welcome home party is held for returning soldiers. The American Legion is established — it is one of the first in the state of Kansas. A.E. Noonan is elected chairman, Guy Rexroad is the first commander. The legion also sets up an employment bureau to help soldiers find jobs. State Bank of Buhler is robbed of $50,000 in Liberty Bonds. The Soldiers and Sailors memorial is dedicated in Hutchinson. The governor sends Hutchinson National Guard to southeast Kansas to keep the peace during a major coal strike. The Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce was organized.

First National Bank Const. - 1 N. Main - Feb. 1912. Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.
First National Bank Const. - 1 N. Main - Feb. 1912. Photo courtesy of Steve Harmon.

The Decades are brought to you by:
Hutchinson Funeral Chapel
Rothe Family Flooring
Hutchinson Public Library

Check back next Sunday for the next part in this series.

CLICK HERE FOR THE 1870s
CLICK HERE FOR THE 1880s
CLICK HERE FOR THE 1890s
CLICK HERE FOR THE 1900s

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