HUTCHINSON, Kan. — A Hutchinson man is bringing a book of local history to Thursday's block party event. Bob Summers wrote Mills and Elevators 1871-2021 when he couldn't find that information elsewhere.
"I really didn't set out to write a book," Summers said. "A few years ago after I retired, I went down to the historical society, stopped in, asked them what they had on the grain industry. They sent me up to a reading room or a library upstairs and told me to look around and I found one file on one prominent grain man and kind of went away wondering, you know, maybe they ought to get some more."
Summers realized that he was one of the last people who would remember working at the Hutchinson Board of Trade.
"The Wiley Building, the Wiley stores and their tea room occupied the bottom four floors and their offices and so on," Summers said. "The top four floors, plus the penthouse on top, was over half grain firms. The Board of Trade itself was on the eighth floor. The ninth floor penthouse, which was a walk-up, is where the Kansas state grain inspection was. But, in those days, until the late fifties or early sixties, all the grain firms were local."
It's the facilities local to Hutchinson and Reno County that are part of the book, even though the currently operating ones are run by non-local firms.
"I wrote a series of essays that we posted on the internet, one a week, on different facilities, in chronological order, starting back in the 1870s here in Hutchinson, up to current," Summers said. "There's a narrative on each facility and then there's photos, vintage photos where they were available, and current photos for current facilities that I took. There's about 44 facilities indicated."
The book will be on sale in the 500 block of North Main for $30 including tax during the 150th celebration block party Thursday night.