Augusta Historical Society and Museum

Augusta Historical Society and Museum We cannot improve our tomorrows without first understanding our yesterdays.
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One of our followers asked for more information on Miss Ellen Malcom, who christened the Augusta Seahorse in 1943.  So, ...
08/31/2021

One of our followers asked for more information on Miss Ellen Malcom, who christened the Augusta Seahorse in 1943. So, as an addendum to this week's story, we've attached to following:

Addendum to the Augusta Seahorse story:

Miss Ellen Jane Malcom was born October 16, 1921 to Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Malcom at Reece, Kansas. They moved to the Andover community when Ellen was 18 months old. She attended Andover schools and graduated in 1940.

Ellen was quite active in music and social work. Her main interests were the violin and school plays. On many occasions, she was the leader at school affairs. She was a member of the student council in her senior year and a member of the Girl Reserve Cabinet for 2 years as Program Chairman and Secretary. Ellen along with 3 other girls were given the name of ‘Big Four’ as they edited a school paper, which was posted daily.

Miss Malcom was a member of the Andover Methodist Church where she was known as one of the most outstanding workers. She attended the Winfield Institute for Epworth Leaguers during the summer of 1939 as a school delegate. She held the office of President and Program Chairman. She was active in Sunday school work as a teacher and sang in the choir.

Ellen attended the Kansas School of Business in Wichita and later made her home in Augusta, living with her sister, Mrs. Clare Patterson and family.

Ellen was employed at Beechcraft Company as one of their first lady employees, leaving there to work at Douglas Aircraft Corporation in Long Beach, California where she was employed at the time she was given the honor of christening the aircraft rescue boat on July 6, 1943. She was also made honorary member of the Kansas State Society of California and made ‘Queen of the Day’ at their annual picnic.

Photo: Miss Ellen Malcom

One of our followers asked for more information on Miss Ellen Malcom, who christened the Augusta Seahorse in 1943. So, as an addendum to this week's story, we've attached to following:

Addendum to the Augusta Seahorse story:

Miss Ellen Jane Malcom was born October 16, 1921 to Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Malcom at Reece, Kansas. They moved to the Andover community when Ellen was 18 months old. She attended Andover schools and graduated in 1940.

Ellen was quite active in music and social work. Her main interests were the violin and school plays. On many occasions, she was the leader at school affairs. She was a member of the student council in her senior year and a member of the Girl Reserve Cabinet for 2 years as Program Chairman and Secretary. Ellen along with 3 other girls were given the name of ‘Big Four’ as they edited a school paper, which was posted daily.

Miss Malcom was a member of the Andover Methodist Church where she was known as one of the most outstanding workers. She attended the Winfield Institute for Epworth Leaguers during the summer of 1939 as a school delegate. She held the office of President and Program Chairman. She was active in Sunday school work as a teacher and sang in the choir.

Ellen attended the Kansas School of Business in Wichita and later made her home in Augusta, living with her sister, Mrs. Clare Patterson and family.

Ellen was employed at Beechcraft Company as one of their first lady employees, leaving there to work at Douglas Aircraft Corporation in Long Beach, California where she was employed at the time she was given the honor of christening the aircraft rescue boat on July 6, 1943. She was also made honorary member of the Kansas State Society of California and made ‘Queen of the Day’ at their annual picnic.

Photo: Miss Ellen Malcom

World War II began on September 1, 1939 and lasted through September 2, 1945.  In January 1943 U.S. War Bond Chairman Jo...
08/30/2021

World War II began on September 1, 1939 and lasted through September 2, 1945. In January 1943 U.S. War Bond Chairman John Fenton published a notification that cities, counties and states could sponsor war vessels by purchasing various amounts of Series E Bonds during a special drive that lasted only 6 weeks.

Vessels ranged from $90 million for a battleship to $10 thousand for a landing craft. Augustans heard the cry and began a drive to raise funds to buy a ship, in those short 6 weeks! Local children collected metal and old jewelry. Clubs and individuals worked tirelessly to sell the bonds; even the Augusta Theater sold Bonds in the concession area!

In just one month Augusta accomplished the goal: They purchased $77,500 of Series E bonds! And thus, Augusta became the first community in the country to purchase an air-sea rescue boat. (Money continued to come in from Augustans working at the airplane factories who were having money deducted from their pay. There are accounts that over $80,000 was eventually collected!)

The ‘Augusta’ was built in Wilmington, California and was launched on July 9, 1943. Miss Ellen Malcom of Augusta christened the boat. The champagne bottle from the christening is displayed in the Museum.

The 63-foot fighting ship was christened the “Augusta”. It had a cruising distance of 600 miles and a crew of seven. Until the Augusta and her sister ships joined the army air force, pilots shot down near enemy bases had only a slim chance of escaping death. The boats were often called ‘sea horses’ and could go where sea rescue planes could not. They had their own gun batteries and could ‘shoot their way out of trouble’ according to navy publicity. They were designed for speed, maneuverability and outfitted with medical facilities for treating rescued pilots and flight crews.

Our rescue boat was credited with over 40 aviator rescues. Two crew members received Silver Stars for gallantry in action. The rest of the crew received Bronze Stars for meritorious achievements.

The skipper, Lt. Earl McCandlish, wrote and published a book “Crash Boat: Wartime Missions of the P-399 Guadalcanal to the Philippines” in 2000.

Our Museum features a display of our very own Sea Horse and a copy of Lt. McCandlish’s book. Drop by anytime to view it!

Photos: Sea Horse; Miss Ellen Malcolm at christening ceremony;

A Big THANK YOU to Augustans who turned out for our Loaded Potato Bar on Friday evening!  It was a huge success because ...
08/26/2021

A Big THANK YOU to Augustans who turned out for our Loaded Potato Bar on Friday evening! It was a huge success because of friends like you! Our Cabin Restoration Campaign fund has hit the $18,000 mark and we're on our way to that magic $40,000 goal! So, enjoy a few pictures we took of donors, Kristey Williams and Paul Oliver, and folks enjoying their dinner!

Join us on Saturday, October 23rd at Michael Murphy & Sons for our 2nd Annual Sporting Clay Fun Shoot.  Registration is ...
08/26/2021

Join us on Saturday, October 23rd at Michael Murphy & Sons for our 2nd Annual Sporting Clay Fun Shoot. Registration is at 9am. $50 per player/4-person Team. Fee includes round of 50 shot (bring your own gun and ammo or may rent gun for $10 and/or buy ammo for $17. Lunch will be provided. Prizes for Top Shooter and Top Team!

Join us on Saturday, October 23rd at Michael Murphy & Sons for our 2nd Annual Sporting Clay Fun Shoot. Registration is at 9am. $50 per player/4-person Team. Fee includes round of 50 shot (bring your own gun and ammo or may rent gun for $10 and/or buy ammo for $17. Lunch will be provided. Prizes for Top Shooter and Top Team!

A three-story white structure in the 600 block of Santa Fe was built in the early part of this century by J. W. Jennings...
08/23/2021

A three-story white structure in the 600 block of Santa Fe was built in the early part of this century by J. W. Jennings, a well-known contractor and builder in Butler County, as a home for the family of Warren E. Brown. Brown was the son of George Brown, the prominent early day banker of Augusta. Warren followed his father into the banking business. The home was purchased by the Empire Oil Company when Warren and his family moved to Wichita.

By 1920, 619 Santa Fe was purchased by Dr. Joseph Bunten who soon turned it into Augusta’s first hospital. It had a capacity for 24 beds with a spacious lobby for guests. Dr. Bunten was the chief surgeon, assisted by Dr. G. Kassebaum, an internal medicine specialist. Room, board and general nursing services ranged from $3 to $6 with the delivery charge for a baby of $5. The hospital functioned for 20 years before closing its doors in the spring of 1938.

Originally there was a wraparound porch, an in-ground sprinkler system, a carriage house, a circular staircase and a tunnel extending into the spacious yard. The daughter of Dr. Samuel Mallison, Dr. Bunten’s second partner, indicated the tunnel was actually more of a storm cellar and was eventually filled in with dirt for safety reasons. Dr. Bunten built the brick house just south of the hospital for himself and his wife. He later built a glass aviary between his home and the hospital and filled it with exotic birds. There are reports he also housed a small pet bear in the aviary to the delight of the younger patients. Dr. Mallison lived across the street from the hospital but because of the freight trains throughout the night, Mrs. Mallison convinced her husband to build a home further away. The family moved to upper State street to the home located on the southwest corner of State and Harrington.

The hospital closed for a period of time later in the 1920s when a rear addition was built onto the structure to increase the patient bed capacity to 32, provide quarters for the nurses above the carriage house and private consultation areas. When the hospital began to lose business to Wichita hospitals, Dr. Bunten tried to sell the hospital but was unsuccessful, so according to his partner, he left town in 1930 leaving many bad debts, and moved to Wyoming. Dr. Mallison was forced to close down the hospital and open an office in downtown Augusta for a couple of years. When he had enough capital, he was able to reopen the hospital. During the Depression years, Dr. Mallison took in eggs, chickens, and vegetables to wipe away old debts. When Dr. Mallison’s health began to fail, he was forced to close the hospital in 1939. Many of the hospital items were donated to Wichita and ElDorado hospitals.

G. B. West of Wichita purchased the building in 1942 and converted the hospital into apartments. Cecil Jacobs and his wife, Sadie, later purchased the building and operated the Jacobs Apartments for 30+ years. Currently, the hospital is sitting idle. The aviary and carriage house are long gone. Dr. Bunten’s home is being refurbished after a recent structure fire.
Photos: Dr. Bunten; several photos of inside and outside of hospital building.

Don't forget...you don't have to cook tomorrow night!  Potato Bar from 4:30-6:30!
08/19/2021

Don't forget...you don't have to cook tomorrow night! Potato Bar from 4:30-6:30!

Don't forget...you don't have to cook tomorrow night! Potato Bar from 4:30-6:30!

James Grant was born in Illinois in either 1873 or 1874 (records vary on the date).  James came to Kansas as a young man...
08/16/2021

James Grant was born in Illinois in either 1873 or 1874 (records vary on the date). James came to Kansas as a young man and lived in Wichita before coming to Augusta in 1902. That same year on October 29th, he married Coral Zelma Keifer, a music teacher in Howard, Kansas.

James opened a drug store with Dr. Harvey Hill in the 400 block of State and later moved to the building at 503 State, just north of the George Brown Bank. One of his passions was music and he helped raise money to build the first bandstand in Augusta and played brass in the community band. In 1915 he approached the City Council asking for $25 a month to help support the Augusta Band; and, even though that was quite a bit of money in 1915, the Council granted his request. In fact, in Augusta, Kansas 1868-1990, Burl Allison recounted that the Council even emphasized ‘the high regard in which most communities held their local bands’.

(This was a busy time for Augusta, as a new sewer system, a new water system and an extension of the electric light plant were approved by the City Council. In addition, approval was given for building to commence on the new City Hall on 6th Street and paving of State Street would soon begin.)

James served on the school board and was a member of the Methodist Church, The Masonic Lodge, the Wichita Consistory, the Midian Shrine, the Rotary and the Elks Club. He also served as Butler County Red Cross Chairman.

James, Coral and their daughter, Zelma, lived in their home at 916 State Street, at the southeast corner of Broadway and State Streets. Zelma graduated with the AHS class of 1921. James died at the age of 69 following a heart attack on November 7, 1943. He and his wife are buried in the Elmwood Mausoleum.

Note: In the History of Augusta book written by Burl Allison, Burl recounted that Don Ridgway bought his drug store at 503 State from the E. O. Drain estate in 1974. Mr. Drain purchased it in 1941 from the J. A. Grant estate. Mr. Grant had been in business in Augusta since 1907.

Photos: James Grant; turn of the century photo of Grant Drug Store; and, the Grant home at 916 State Street.

A BIG special thank you to Sugar Shane's Cafe and our own Wendy's for food donations to help make our Loaded Potato Bar ...
08/10/2021

A BIG special thank you to Sugar Shane's Cafe and our own Wendy's for food donations to help make our Loaded Potato Bar a big success...and as always thanks to you for helping preserve Augusta's history!

We look forward to seeing you there!!

A BIG special thank you to Sugar Shane's Cafe and our own Wendy's for food donations to help make our Loaded Potato Bar a big success...and as always thanks to you for helping preserve Augusta's history!

We look forward to seeing you there!!

The WFO Car Show was spectacular!  THANKS to all who made our ice cream fund raiser be a success on Saturday afternoon! ...
08/09/2021

The WFO Car Show was spectacular! THANKS to all who made our ice cream fund raiser be a success on Saturday afternoon! We were happy to see old friends and make new ones! Our Cabin Restoration Campaign is off to a wonderful start!

Don't forget to mark your calendar for Friday, August 20th - at the Augusta Senior Center from 4:30-6:30. We'll be serving BAKED POTATO BAR with all the fixings!

See you there!

The WFO Car Show was spectacular! THANKS to all who made our ice cream fund raiser be a success on Saturday afternoon! We were happy to see old friends and make new ones! Our Cabin Restoration Campaign is off to a wonderful start!

Don't forget to mark your calendar for Friday, August 20th - at the Augusta Senior Center from 4:30-6:30. We'll be serving BAKED POTATO BAR with all the fixings!

See you there!

In 1975 and 1976, two of Miss McDaniel’s Methods of Research students wrote research papers on the history of the August...
08/09/2021

In 1975 and 1976, two of Miss McDaniel’s Methods of Research students wrote research papers on the history of the Augusta Public Library. The students were Noreen Egger and Donna Leis. Following are excerpts from those papers.

Note: A good deal of the information that was used to write the papers came from an October 26, 1946 edition of the Augusta Daily Gazette written by George Harrington, whose mother, Mary Harrington, was instrumental in the founding of the early Library. In addition, she was Augusta’s first postmistress.

It seems that the library began in 1885 (only 17 years after Augusta was established) in a small store on the east side of the 500 block of State Street owned by Mrs. Harrington. The library consisted of about 150 books which were contained in a walnut and glass cabinet, three feet wide by six feet high. Augustans checked out books from Mrs. Harrington for about a year at which time the Library was moved to the offices of Doctor John W. Brown for a short time when Mrs. Harrington sold her building. Doctor Brown’s offices were located at the corner of 5th and State Street on the second floor of the Masonic building.

Thereafter, the books were moved to Mrs. George Brown’s home where they were stored for the next 15 years. The books then were moved to the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) Reading Room with Mrs. Blanche Wilbur acting as librarian. When she retired, Mrs. Skiles and her daughter, Fannie, took over the librarian duties. Even though it was not supported by the city, townspeople thought of it as their public library and a sign of progress.

From the WCTU Reading Room, the library and books were moved to a building owned by Dave Liens at the corner of 6th and State. For the next 4 years, Adda Ruland acted as librarian. Shortly afterwards, the books were moved and stored in the basement of the residence of Mr. McNeal. The books were not used during this period of time until the Outlook Club and the PEO decided to rescue the books from storage. At that time, the city clerk’s office was located in the George W. Brown building (the Opera House) located where our current Post Office now stands. Ed Weidlein, Mayor, did all he could to help preserve the library. The books were moved into the city clerk’s office. Pansy Wiley, who was the clerk at that time, was in charge of the books.

Each member of the two clubs (Outlook and PEO) donated a book and asked for book showers and did various things to raise money for the library. In 1919 the City of Augusta took over the library completely. By that time the new City Building was complete and while George Smith was the mayor, the library was moved into the new building. The library continued to grow and by that time it had a circulation of more than 20,000 books. The first official librarian was Mrs. Dixie Fenton. She served from 1919 through 1954. In March of 1958 the library board began a survey of the library and its future needs. The following year they selected a firm to draw up plans. The voting public approved a $100,000 general obligation to build the new library and in November of 1961 the new location was chosen at 1609 State Street. The new building was completed in December of 1962. There have been several remodels done in the years since.

Photo: Library in 1962

In 1975 and 1976, two of Miss McDaniel’s Methods of Research students wrote research papers on the history of the Augusta Public Library. The students were Noreen Egger and Donna Leis. Following are excerpts from those papers.

Note: A good deal of the information that was used to write the papers came from an October 26, 1946 edition of the Augusta Daily Gazette written by George Harrington, whose mother, Mary Harrington, was instrumental in the founding of the early Library. In addition, she was Augusta’s first postmistress.

It seems that the library began in 1885 (only 17 years after Augusta was established) in a small store on the east side of the 500 block of State Street owned by Mrs. Harrington. The library consisted of about 150 books which were contained in a walnut and glass cabinet, three feet wide by six feet high. Augustans checked out books from Mrs. Harrington for about a year at which time the Library was moved to the offices of Doctor John W. Brown for a short time when Mrs. Harrington sold her building. Doctor Brown’s offices were located at the corner of 5th and State Street on the second floor of the Masonic building.

Thereafter, the books were moved to Mrs. George Brown’s home where they were stored for the next 15 years. The books then were moved to the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) Reading Room with Mrs. Blanche Wilbur acting as librarian. When she retired, Mrs. Skiles and her daughter, Fannie, took over the librarian duties. Even though it was not supported by the city, townspeople thought of it as their public library and a sign of progress.

From the WCTU Reading Room, the library and books were moved to a building owned by Dave Liens at the corner of 6th and State. For the next 4 years, Adda Ruland acted as librarian. Shortly afterwards, the books were moved and stored in the basement of the residence of Mr. McNeal. The books were not used during this period of time until the Outlook Club and the PEO decided to rescue the books from storage. At that time, the city clerk’s office was located in the George W. Brown building (the Opera House) located where our current Post Office now stands. Ed Weidlein, Mayor, did all he could to help preserve the library. The books were moved into the city clerk’s office. Pansy Wiley, who was the clerk at that time, was in charge of the books.

Each member of the two clubs (Outlook and PEO) donated a book and asked for book showers and did various things to raise money for the library. In 1919 the City of Augusta took over the library completely. By that time the new City Building was complete and while George Smith was the mayor, the library was moved into the new building. The library continued to grow and by that time it had a circulation of more than 20,000 books. The first official librarian was Mrs. Dixie Fenton. She served from 1919 through 1954. In March of 1958 the library board began a survey of the library and its future needs. The following year they selected a firm to draw up plans. The voting public approved a $100,000 general obligation to build the new library and in November of 1961 the new location was chosen at 1609 State Street. The new building was completed in December of 1962. There have been several remodels done in the years since.

Photo: Library in 1962

Address

303 State St
Augusta, KS
67010

General information

We always offer FREE admission to those visiting our museum. Come learn about the history of Augusta, while standing in the very first building built in Augusta, Kansas. We are open Monday - Friday from 11a - 3pm. We are open Saturdays from 1p - 4p from April - October. If you are unable to visit during our regular hours, please contact us to schedule a time to visit!

Opening Hours

Monday 11am - 3pm
Tuesday 11am - 3pm
Wednesday 11am - 3pm
Thursday 11am - 3pm
Friday 11am - 3pm

Telephone

(316) 775-5655

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Comments

Crossroads Kansas is focusing on Augusta tonight at 8:00 pm in )PBS/channel 8. It was supposed to air last week, but guess it got bumped because the one last week was about Cassidy.
Hello, I have come across some 1913 photos of the R. J. Freeman Feed Mill & Store that existed in Augusta, Kansas in the early 1900's. I also have a photo of the General Store that existed during that time. Does anyone have any info on the Feed Mill or the General Store. Thank you.
And another Augusta blog post:
I'm so pleased to have found this page. I write a family history blog, and have several posts relating to Augusta that might be of interest to your followers. Here's the most recent:
My great grandfather, Richard W. Stephenson (1874-1960), started the Stephenson's Men's Store on State Street in about 1909. The store continued under the ownership of my great uncle and aunt, Paul (1902-1972) and Do Stephenson, probably until about the late 1960s. Does the Historical Society have any photographs of the business or information on my family? Thanks!
Keep the interesting stories coming.
BOSTON LINCOLNSHIRE "GRANDFATHER OF BOSTON MASS USA ", ENGLAND UK MUSEUM WALKING TOUR
Hi every one , my name is Ray Freeman ,I live in England ,and together with my cousin Geoff ,we are looking into our family history ,We know that our great uncle had a business in town ,his name was Joshua Duncan Robson , we know that he has a grand daughter still living in the area ,and we are in contact with her , but what I was wondering is ,are there any old photographs of him or his store ,which was we think ,a Racket store situated at 432 State street , any help would be appreciated Thanks Ray