Eudora Area Historical Society

Eudora Area Historical Society The EAHS maintains the history of the city and township of Eudora. The EAHS is a nonprofit 501c3 organization with the IRS. The EAHS operates the Eudora Community Museum at 720 Main Street. Admission is free. Stop by for a visit!

The Eudora Community Museum is typically open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11am to 5pm. It is also open by appointment. Call 785-690-7900 or email at [email protected] to schedule an appointment. The Museum is home to a large archives, which is open to the pubic. The museum is also home to a "Museum Store" which sells books and other items relating to the Eudora community.

Eudora residents reacted to the current COVID-19 Pandemic and the Influenza (Spanish Flu) Pandemic of 1918 in very simil...
05/26/2020

Eudora residents reacted to the current COVID-19 Pandemic and the Influenza (Spanish Flu) Pandemic of 1918 in very similar ways in most instances. But in other instances, the community reacted much differently when comparing the two outbreaks! The first two photos are of downtown Eudora circa 1918-1920.

We have been able to compare and contrast the two outbreaks because we have in our collections all of the Eudora Newspapers that were published in the Fall of 1918, during the worst outbreak of the Spanish Flu Pandemic. The Eudora Community Museum has in its collections the vast majority of all Eudora newspapers that were published between 1886-2009 (the years Eudora had published Newspapers, minus a few years here and there).

The first obvious similarity between the 1918 and 2020 pandemics were that both pandemics were downplayed before they attacked the population. In February and March of 2020, many US federal officials, politicians and leaders downplayed the pandemic; some even claimed the COVID-19 would soon disappear entirely. Similarly, there’s a Eudora newspaper article from early October 1918 that claimed "No Epidemic Feared." The article said that "only 4 people were sick." Well, that was wishful thinking in 1918! Way more than 4 people in Eudora became sick with influenza. At least ten Eudora residents died from Influenza in the Fall of 1918 based on the obituaries found in the Eudora newspapers. It’s quite likely that many dozens were sick with the disease in 1918. Most of the Eudora victims of Spanish Flu were US soldiers stationed elsewhere at Camps, mostly Camp Funston. But there were a lot of other deaths reported in general in the fall of 1918, perhaps exacerbated by the Influenza outbreak.

We could not find any listings of any businesses in Eudora that closed because of Influenza in 1918. It’s of course entirely possible that some businesses did close, while others remained open. But we have no evidence one way or the other. The Eudora Schools did close briefly in 1918 because of Influenza, but, they did not remain closed for nearly as long as they have been closed in 2020. Church services were also suspended from some Eudora congregations in 1918, just as many church services were suspended in 2020. Kansas Governor Arthur Capper suspended Church services temporarily in 1918.

Social-distancing was certainly not a thing in 1918! It seems like parties, fairs, and travel went on like usual in the Fall of 1918. The evidence suggests people are more cautious today. One major difference between 1918 and 2020, is that in 2020, the City of Eudora government has been very active and effective in its response to the outbreak. There is no mention of how the City of Eudora government responded to the 1918 pandemic in the 1918 Eudora newspapers. Of course, Eudora was much smaller in 1918, it only had a population of around 600 people, so the City government was also much smaller.

We understand that COVID-19 is heavily politicized, but please understand that any/all political comments on this post will be deleted. The EAHS is a non-political non-profit organization; our posts are not the place for political debates! Thank you!

City of Eudora, Eudora Community Library, Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, Inc., Watkins Museum of History

This #MemorialDay Weekend we honor and thank those Eudora Area residents who have served in the US military for their se...
05/22/2020

This #MemorialDay Weekend we honor and thank those Eudora Area residents who have served in the US military for their service and for their sacrifice. As you can tell, the flags are out in downtown Eudora and in the City of Eudora Cemetery.

Eudora Area residents have fought in every major US War dating back to the US Civil War (1861-1865). A large number of Eudora Area residents have always enlisted to fight in every major US War. Nearly 25% of Eudora Area residents were enlisted during the US Civil War (1861-1865). Eudora was of course a strongly Pro-Union or Northern community. And during WWI, Eudora had 130 people serve in the US military, which was about 22% of the entire Eudora community. Even though Eudora was a German community, Eudora residents rallied to the American cause of both World Wars.

Unfortunately, several Eudora Area residents have passed away while serving in the US military. Below is a list primarily compiled by local historian and EAHS Board Member John More, with some help from Ben Terwilliger, of Eudora Area residents that passed away while in the military service:

1. Private Julius W. Clark, 12th Kansas Infantry, Died in Civil War, 26 Jan., 1865.
2. Private Mearil Smith, US Army, Died in World War I, 14 July, 1918.
3. Bugler George Eder, US Army, Died in World War I, 3 Oct., 1918.
4. Fred Deck, Ambulance Driver, Died in World War I, 8 Oct., 1918.
5. Private Clarence E. Lefmann, US Army, Died in World War I, 11 Oct., 1918.
6. Bunce Ewing, 76th Company 164th Depot Brigade, Died in World War I, 15 Oct., 1918.
7. Private Paul S. Lawson, US Army, Died in World War I, 22 Oct., 1918.
8. TEC4 Howard W. Trefz, US Army, Died in World War II, 13 Sep., 1943.
9. Aviation Metal-smith First Class, Gerald G. Wetzel, US Navy Reserve, Died in World War II, 21 Feb., 1945.
10. Sergeant Lavern “Bud” Meuffels, US Army, Died in Korean War, 21 Oct., 1951.
11. Sergeant First Class Thomas Kincaid, US Army, Served in Iraq, Died 24 April, 2011 (Prairie Center grave).

The above list is probably not complete. There are probably more Eudora Area residents to add to the list, that were casualties of various Wars. For instance, according to Cindy Higgins and her website (https://www.eudorakshistory.com/by-decade/…/1910-to-1919.htm), these Eudora Area residents were also casualties of World War I: Will Brazil, Frank Hicks, Charles Everley, John Speicher, Richard Trout, Presto Roe. If you know of any other Eudora Area veterans who died while in service, please share in the comments below! History is always ongoing! We are always adding to what we know, based on what we find out, and what people share with us.

More Eudora area residents died in WWI than in any other War, by far. And the overwhelming cause of death for the Eudora Area WWI veterans was Influenza. In 1918, the world experienced an Influenza Pandemic (Spanish Flu), which was in many ways very similar to the current COVID-19 Pandemic. Researchers have suggested that the 1918 Influenza Pandemic may have originated right here in Kansas. The disease passed to US soldiers stationed at Army Camps in Kansas, and from there, it spread around the world, killing millions of people. All of the Eudora Area WWI casualties that died from Influenza caught it while they were stationed at camps, primarily in Kansas.

EudoraEvents, Eudora Chamber of Commerce, The Eudora Times, Watkins Museum of History, Humanities Kansas, Kansas Historical Society

We have three announcements:#1:We would like to heartily thank the Eudora Police Departmentand our neighbors that live b...
05/19/2020

We have three announcements:

#1:
We would like to heartily thank the Eudora Police Department
and our neighbors that live behind the museum for helping us catch the two people that vandalized our museum! The vandals also vandalized a neighboring property. Sadly, vandalism is a constant problem in downtown Eudora. This is the third time that our museum property has been vandalized with spray-paint since 2013. It could be much worse though, if we had neighbors that didn’t care or didn’t keep an eye out on our museum. But thankfully, we are very lucky to have wonderful neighbors that care a great deal about our museum and our community! EAHS Director Ben Terwilliger painted over the vandalism today.

#2:
Our May program (scheduled for 05/21) on the "History of the Sunflower Plant and Eudora" has of course been cancelled because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Unfortunately we do not plan to reschedule this program in the future because the program presenters were KU students who have moved on from Kansas. We have hope that we will be able to hold our July program on the "History of the Hadl Family of Eudora" on July 16. If we can't host the program in-person, we should be able to live-stream it. Stay tuned for further details.

#3:
Our museum remains closed to the public. We will not reopen until the other museums of Douglas County reopen. When we do reopen, there will be significant new safety rules put in place to protect the visitors and museum staff. We will keep bringing local history to you digitally as long as we need to!

The importance of the US Postal Service is immeasurable! Communities like Eudora would have been lost without it. The Po...
05/15/2020

The importance of the US Postal Service is immeasurable! Communities like Eudora would have been lost without it. The Post Office has always been the center of the community. This was especially true in the early 20th century. Our museum property at 720 Main Street served as the Eudora Post Office from 1897 until approximately 1925 and was therefore the center of Eudora! The first photo is a postcard from the early 20th century, it shows our museum property and is marked as "Post Office."

In the early 1900s, the Post Office in Eudora wasn’t large enough to receive its own building, so, the Post Office operated from existing buildings, or shared buildings with other businesses. Several businesses operated from 720 Main Street while it was the Post Office. The part of our building that was used as the Post Office was the back part of the northern half of our first story, the location of our Museum’s Archives. In 2013 when we were given 720 Main Street, all of the windows in the back part of the first story had bars over them. Perhaps these bars were added in the 1890s when the building was the Post Office, to protect the mail? No other windows at the property had bars over them.

Did you know that the Post Office and the Postmaster position were heavily politicized in the 1800s and early to mid-1900s? It’s hard for us to imagine today, but, the political party of the US President determined who the Postmaster of Eudora would be at that time. For instance, in the US Presidential election of 1896, Republican William McKinley defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan. That meant that after McKinley became President in 1897, local Kansas Republicans got to appoint the Postmasters of Kansas communities, including Eudora. The Republicans appointed Republican Henry Abels as the Postmaster for Eudora in 1897. The Postmaster position was one of the most valued and important jobs in just about every community. 720 Main Street was owned by Henry Abels mother-in-law (Bertha Seybold) in 1897 when he became Postmaster. Abels relocated the Eudora Post Office to the building owned by his family in 1897.

In 1912, Democrat Woodrow Wilson defeated Republican William Howard Taft in the US Presidential election. That meant that when Wilson became President in 1913, that Henry Abels had to relinquish his Eudora Postmaster position. Kansas Democrats had the opportunity to appoint all of the Postmaster positions in Kansas. In Eudora, Kansas Democrats appointed the Democrat Gus Ziesenis to the position of Eudora Postmaster. Wilson was President from 1913 to 1921. What’s interesting about Gus is that he was able to hold on to his valuable Postmaster position even after Republicans took over the US Presidency in 1921. This was rare and somewhat unheard of. Perhaps one reason that a Democrat like Gus got to retain his position in 1921, is that he was liked and respected throughout the community. Perhaps another reason he got to keep his job, is that he was described in the Eudora Newspaper as a “dyed in the wool conservative Democrat.” Perhaps his conservatism allowed him to keep his job under the more conservative Republican Party. Gus owned 720 Main Street for the majority of the time that he was the Eudora Postmaster.

At some point between 1923 and 1927, the Post Office in Eudora moved from our museum property to 700 Main Street, which was also the Kaw Valley Bank. The Post Office remained at 700 Main Street until the current Eudora Post Office building was opened at 709 Main Street in 1963. When the Post Office moved into 709 Main Street, that marked the first time that the Eudora Post Office had a building to itself, and didn’t share its space with another business.

We have a very important Eudora Post Office artifact on display in our museum; it’s the wooden Post Office boxes from the Eudora Post Office from the early 20th century! The artifact is shown in the second photo. This wooden Post Office box was used as Eudora’s Post Office boxes when the Post Office was housed in our museum building between 1897 and circa 1925.

City of Eudora, The Eudora Times, Eudora Community Library, Watkins Museum of History, Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, Inc., US Postal Service, Post Office-Eudora

05/12/2020
Tour of Historic Church Street in Eudora, KS

Eudora Area Historical Society Executive Director Ben Terwilliger gives a virtual tour of historic Church Street in Eudora, Kansas on 05/12/20. Church Street, originally named "C Street" was home to most of the community's churches. The street was also home to businesses and some of Eudora's grandest and oldest houses. You can learn a lot about a community when you understand the history of its historic buildings. Please visit Eudora! Patron our local businesses, and admire our historical buildings!

City of Eudora, EudoraEvents, Eudora Chamber of Commerce, Eudora Community Library, The Eudora Times, Watkins Museum of History, Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, Inc.

One of the most historic districts in Eudora (and indeed in all of Kansas) is our historic Church Street district! A liv...
05/08/2020

One of the most historic districts in Eudora (and indeed in all of Kansas) is our historic Church Street district! A live-streamed and narrated walking-tour of historic sites on Eudora's Church Street will occur (weather permitting) on Tuesday May 12th at 4:00pm! Please join us here on our page for the live-tour! EAHS Executive Director Ben Terwilliger will lead the tour.

The Eudora Community Museum is of course still closed because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. But, we are committed to bringing the history of the Eudora Area to you virtually since we can't do it in person at the moment. No audience will be allowed for the walking-tour, because of COVID-19, but, you can join us virtually. In the future, we hope to give in-person walking tours of historic sites in Eudora.

If you can't view the tour live, you can still view it after the tour on our page and our Youtube page: www.youtube.com/channel/UCV7cspTqmxlcqGyiot8xArw.

City of Eudora, EudoraEvents, Eudora Chamber of Commerce, Eudora Community Library, Watkins Museum of History, Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, Inc.

You have 9 days left to enter our story contest! The top story selected will get a prize valued at $100! We will also gi...
05/06/2020

You have 9 days left to enter our story contest! The top story selected will get a prize valued at $100! We will also give prizes to 2nd and 3rd place finishes. Please submit your stories to us on this post, or the original post and read the guelines below. Thanks!!

Original Post:

Are you stuck at home, looking for something to do? Many of us are! We have something fun and important for you to do. Why not compete in the Eudora Area Historical Society’s Story Contest?!

We are asking people to share stories with us, which will help us document the history of the Eudora Area. The stories can be about anything as long as it relates to the Eudora Area! We want you to share stories that can illustrate normal, every-day life for Eudora residents. You can share stories about going to school in Eudora, working in Eudora, your friends in Eudora, interesting/colorful characters you knew in Eudora, playing sports in Eudora, etc. You can also share stories from your ancestors, which were passed on from generation to generation, provided they relate to the history of the Eudora Area.

Story Contest Rules:
1. You have to post your story as its own separate comment on this post.
2. Please make sure the story is appropriate for all ages.
3. The Eudora Area Historical Society will select the top three stories, and prizes will be awarded to the top three! First place will receive a prize valued at $100! Second and third places will receive gift cards.
4. Individuals can share as many stories as they wish, but, separate people will win first, second and third place prizes. (One person can’t win two, or all three prizes.)
5. The deadline to submit a story as a comment on this post and be eligible to win first, second or third place is May 15, 2020. You can still share stories after May 15th, but, they will not be eligible for first, second or third place.
6. The Eudora Area Historical Society will select the winners and issue prizes after May 15th.

Please think about some of the great stories you can share! You don’t have to share it right away, you have until May 15th. We can’t wait to see what stories you all have to share!!

Are you stuck at home, looking for something to do? Many of us are! We have something fun and important for you to do. Why not compete in the Eudora Area Historical Society’s Story Contest?!

We are asking people to share stories with us, which will help us document the history of the Eudora Area. The stories can be about anything as long as it relates to the Eudora Area! We want you to share stories that can illustrate normal, every-day life for Eudora residents. You can share stories about going to school in Eudora, working in Eudora, your friends in Eudora, interesting/colorful characters you knew in Eudora, playing sports in Eudora, etc. You can also share stories from your ancestors, which were passed on from generation to generation, provided they relate to the history of the Eudora Area.

Story Contest Rules:
1. You have to post your story as its own separate comment on this post.
2. Please make sure the story is appropriate for all ages.
3. The Eudora Area Historical Society will select the top three stories, and prizes will be awarded to the top three! First place will receive a prize valued at $100! Second and third places will receive gift cards.
4. Individuals can share as many stories as they wish, but, separate people will win first, second and third place prizes. (One person can’t win two, or all three prizes.)
5. The deadline to submit a story as a comment on this post and be eligible to win first, second or third place is May 15, 2020. You can still share stories after May 15th, but, they will not be eligible for first, second or third place.
6. The Eudora Area Historical Society will select the winners and issue prizes after May 15th.

Please think about some of the great stories you can share! You don’t have to share it right away, you have until May 15th. We can’t wait to see what stories you all have to share!! 🥰

City of Eudora, Eudora Community Library, Eudora Schools, Eudora Schools Foundation, Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, Inc., Watkins Museum of History, The Eudora Times, Eudora Chamber of Commerce, EudoraEvents

Address

720 Main Street
Eudora, KS
66025

General information

The Eudora Area Historical Society hosts popular educational and entertaining programs six times per year. The programs are held on the third Thursday of the odd months starting in January. The programs start at 7:00pm and are held at the Eudora Community Center (1630 Elm Street). Programs presented by the Society include presentations centered on various aspects of Eudora and Kansas History. Follow us on Twitter! https://twitter.com/EudoraHistory Instagram: http://instagram.com/eudorahistory

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Comments

Celebrating my great, great, great grandfather, Frederick Breithaupt, this Memorial Day. He served the Union in Company D2 Battalion of Missouri. His Certificate of Service is dated May 18, 1892.
Breithaupt, the name before Schmidli. I was given a family ancestry book and I found my great, great, great, great grandfather’s “Shawnee Indian Lands Certificate No. 2978” dated April 15, 1871 and signed by President Grant. The legal description is the East 1/2 of the NE 1/4 and the SW1/4 of the NE 1/4 Section 22-14-21, Douglas County, Kansas. 120 acres. Guess I found my next destination. Kansas, here I come! My great, great, great grandma is Sarah Breithaupt who married Dr. and Rev. Charles Schmidli, who was a reverend at Evangelical Association Church in Clearfield, KA. He attended night school to earn his MD and practiced medicine in Chicago and Bonefield, IL. Grandma Sarah died from heart problems when she was 28. Interesting fact: my 3x great grandparents met a church where my 4x great grandfather Schmidli was the pastor. 3 Schmidli children (pastor’s kids) married 3 Breithaupt children. Their son, Carl Schmidli, is my great, great grandfather born January 1, 1896 in Vassar, KA. He married my great, great grandma, Berniece Martin and one of their 14 children is my grandfather, Gerald Schmidli. I’m going to look up the actual property location of my ancestors and plan a trip.
Can someone tell me where Cemetery Beni Israel Cemetery is? I got a message from Find A Grave who wants a photo of a grave. This could be fun to help. I may ask for your guidance/assistance, Ben T.
From the Lawrence Weekly World Page 9, December 10, 1903 5 year old Agnes Joy's letter to Santa Clause
Does any one out there know what Year Eudora got electricity?
Will the brick house next to Nottingham be staying or going? It always seemed out of place. Were there other house's on that side of the street before Nottingham was built?
Does the Eudora historical society have any info or pics on this old bridge off of 10th street by dirty dogs bar? Its on our property and always have been curious on seein what it looked like when it was used. We actually have a separate deed to this chunk of property when the city or county built the newer 10th/old k10 road. Heres a few pics from today.
I remember seeing a movie in the seventies that was the same genre as Kentucky fried movie or the groove tube. It may have actually been one of those movies, but I don't remember because, well it was the 70's. Anyway the running theme was these people trying to get to an outdoor concert in Eudora Kansas. Does anyone else remember that or was I just really really high 😉😎 and imagined it?
Old Kansas River Bridge Hit by Ice Jam
Come join us for a special evening of stories that will focus on how Eudora and Douglas County were populated. We invite you to bring an object that reflects your family's migration story to Douglas County. The program is on Thursday, November 15th at 7 p.m. at the Eudora Parks & Recreation Department located at 1630 Elm Street in Eudora. This program is sponsored in part by Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area, the Kansas Humanities Council and the Douglas County Heritage Office. We hope to meet you there!
To all current & former Eudora Boy Scouts! https://www.facebook.com/events/184541745756739/
Thought you might enjoy this :)