One of the iconic businesses that existed in most Kansas towns of the 20th century was the local drug store and pharmacy. The business, itself, underwent great changes as the patent medicine […]
Photo Friday: Video, Halloween Parade, Eskridge, Kansas
This is a short 8-millimeter video of the Halloween parade in Eskridge, Kansas taken in the very early 1950s. It’s a great little video of an iconic parade in small town America. […]
Photo Friday: Artist, August Ohst
Today’s featured photo includes two views, both taken in 1888 by Louis Palenske, of his good friend, artist, August Ohst. August Ohst was born in Ratzeburg, Germany in 1851 and came to America […]
Photo Friday, Railroad Trestle Construction
Hi, Everyone, It’s Photo Friday again! I have two photos taken of the construction of a railroad trestle. The location is unidentified beyond the assumption that it is in Kansas. These are […]
Photo Friday, Wabaunsee Tavern, Lake Wabaunsee
Welcome to Photo Friday. We have two photos today from lifelong Eskridge resident, Dean Dunn, both taken at Lake Wabaunsee in the early 1940s. These views are both of the Wabaunsee Tavern, […]
Photo Friday: Kansas Territorial Bond
Hi, Here’s an interesting item for Photo Friday. It’s not actually a photo, but a scan of a Kansas Territorial Bond, dated May 1, 1859, for $100 to secure repayment of debts incurred […]
Kansas Ghost Town, Halifax
Welcome to Photo Friday. Today’s photo is a view of Halifax, Kansas, now a ghost town in Wabaunsee County. Located six miles south of Alma, Kansas, the town was first called Bismarck, […]
Alma’s Oldest Building, Palenske Hall
The oldest surviving building in Alma, Kansas is today known as Palenske Hall, named after Fred Palenske, the benefactor of the Wabaunsee County Historical Society. The building was built in 1873 for […]
Delivering Ice, Alma, Kansas
Herman Tenbrink, right, unloads blocks of ice for Alice Johnson’s drug store located at 227 Missouri Street in Alma, Kansas. Charles Johnson, center, is standing on the back of his horse, circa […]
Rural Free Delivery
In the late 1890s the U.S. Post Office began experimenting with a new service, Rural Free Delivery. At that time all mail to rural addresses was dropped at rural post offices, sometimes oftentimes at prominent rural residences or in country stores. In 1902 Rural Free Delivery, or RFD as it was commonly known, was made available to all addresses in the United States. Rural Free Delivery changed the lives of people living in remote, rural parts of the country.
In the decade following the creation of RFD service, 18,000 small post offices closed, nationwide. However, a new profession was born, the rural mail carrier. The first RFD carriers used narrow, enclosed buggies to carry the mail, replaced in the late 1920s with the automobile.
In this view, Alma, Kansas rural mail Route 1 carrier, Henry Diepenbrock stands beside his new mail buggy on his first day of work in 1904. When this photo was taken, the Alma Post Office was located at 309 Missouri Street. The building visible just behind the buggy was located at 305 Missouri Street. Diepenbrock retired as the Route 1 carrier on April 1, 1934.
The Wabaunsee County Historical Society’s mail buggy is currently on loan to the Chapman Center for Rural Studies and is on display at the Discovery Center in Manhattan, Kansas as part of the “Going Home” exhibition.