General Fred Funston, Frontenac Bakery, Fort Wallace

(Frank) Today we’ll hear about upcoming Kansas events and Around Kansas episodes, and then learn about the life and times of General Fred Funston. Next Enjoy stories about the Frontenac Bakery, over 100 years old and still baking bread; this week’s From the Land of Kansas business and the important part Fort Wallace played in the Indian Wars of the 1800’s. We’ll end with a poem from Ron Wilson.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Frank) Hey good morning it’s Around Kansas. I’m Frank Chaffin and… (Deb) I’m Deb Goodrich Bisel. (Frank) And we’re broadcasting from our studio in the historic Dillon House which is right across from the State Capitol in Topeka, Kansas. (Frank) Now, I’m gonna talk some of the things that are gonna be coming up that I’m gonna be doing and then I’m gonna turn it over to Deb because she has something really unique that she wants to tell you about. And it really is cool. I mean in some of the coming weeks, I’m gonna be doing a story on a coffee shop that doesn’t have any roof, that’s kind of interesting, the Wolf Hotel which is under renovation and then what they found in the basement. No, it’s not spooky but it is really pretty neat. And then I’m gonna be talking about the oldest running movie theatre in the State of Kansas and then I’m gonna go to a candy shop. So anyway, there are a lot of other things that we’re gonna be doing, but that’s some of the stuff coming up. So, now Deb tell us about what you’re going to be doing. (Deb) Speaking of the oldest running theatre, today is my birthday. (Frank) Oh, happy birthday. (Deb) Not quite as much drama as the theatre, but pretty close. (Frank) Well happy birthday. (Deb) Thank you. I didn’t get a card from you Frank. (Frank) Eeeh, well it’s in the mail. (Deb) Of course it is. So, what Frank was referring to, I’ve got a really big shindig coming up in Oklahoma City that I’m just thrilled to be attending, the Road to Valhalla, the documentary by Ken Spurgeon and Lone Chimney Films won the best documentary award in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Western Heritage Center. Thank you Vanna for holding that up for me. Really big honor for Ken and Lone Chimney Films. These guys have worked so hard and so long with you know, not a lot… certainly not much money coming back at ’em. And there’s not a lot of glory, there’s a lot of awfully hard work and they’ve done some… put together a tremendous project on Kansas history, so I’m just thrilled to be part of it. (Frank) OK, and so it’s a big award. (Deb) It is a big deal, it is a big deal. (Frank) And there’s gonna be some kind of famous people there? (Deb) There’s gonna be a lot of famous people. I’m hoping on Sam Elliot. You know I don’t know yet. But I’m hoping for Sam Elliot. (Frank) Well, I… (Deb) But Patrick Wayne is gonna be the MC, John Wayne’s son, so, yea, I’m gonna be in little piggy heaven down there. I just can’t wait. (Frank) OK. (Deb) So, that’s the middle of April and it’s just gonna be awesome. And I wanted to share something else, since we’re in the capital city and I know that a lot of folks, especially if you don’t live in Topeka and the only relationship you have with Topeka is to send your tax money here. I actually love living in the capital city and one good reason why was yesterday was National Guard Day at the Statehouse. So, I had my grandsons and they had tanks, and Humvees and all kinds of cool stuff. The kids had a ball. And the National Guard folks were wonderful. You know there were units from all over the state and so they were just wonderful with the kids, letting them… my grandson said, can we ask permission to go inside the tank? Not to shoot it, just to go inside. Good plan, good plan. But they were wonderful, they were wonderful. (Frank) Yeah, so anyway Around Kansas. It’s people, places, and things that make this such a really great state. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up today.

(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas and we are filming today from Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Park in their 19th century school house. And what a great location this is. We want to thank them for allowing us to be here today. And everybody that knows me, knows that my passion for Kansas history is only surpassed by my passion for Kansas military history. So,
I’m just tickled to pieces to talk to you about one of my favorite Kansans today, and that’s General Fred Funston. Now Funston was not born in Kansas, he was born in Ohio. But his family moved to Allen County when he was really small. So, he grew up in Allen County. He graduated from the high school there in Iola. And then he went on to KU. He was not an outstanding student, but he was well known and well liked and some of his classmates,
William Allen White, Ed Franklin, Charles Scott and Vernon Kellogg, names that would all become famous in Kansas history. Now when he was a very young man, not long out of college, he joined a trip to Death Valley, California, and he wrote back to the paper in Iola about his experiences. He did an Alaskan expedition went to the Yukon and the stories of his
exploits were just eaten up by people. He was a really good writer. Now, after holding several newspaper jobs, he heard General Dan Sickles and anybody who’s familiar with the Civil War, Dan Sickles is a big name. He heard him speak. He was pleading the cause of Cuban independence at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Funston signed up as a Cuban revolutionary and he went to Cuba in 1896 and served 18 months there under the Cuban
General. During that time, he was wounded three times, lost 17 horses and was captured once. His nephew later said that if he had not lied about his identity and swallowed his passport he would have probably been executed for being a spy. After he got back from Cuba, the U.S. declared war on Spain. And so now the United States was in it. The Kansas Governor formed
the 20th Kansas regiment and he was picked to lead them. So they went to Manila, so he’s fighting in the Philippines. The 20th Kansas famed, famed in the Philippines war. He goes back to the Philippines after the 20th Kansas comes out. It’s Fred Funston who captures Aguinaldo, the leader of the opposition essentially. It’s just one of the most famous moments in history. Another famous moment in history, the San Francisco earthquake, 1906. And Fred Funston is front and center. He’s the commander there, the military post at San Francisco. He’s the one that bulldozes buildings in the path of the fire. He makes national news one more time. Amazing guy. He’s one you gotta find our more about. We’ll be right back.

(Frank) Good morning, I’m Frank Chaffin and this is Around Kansas. Today we’re gonna talk about fresh baked bread. Aaahh, there’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh baked bread. Let me tell you a little story. When I was a kid growing up in Topeka there was ButterKrust Bakery here and their home office and bakery was located just off of 10th and Kansas downtown. So, the smell of baking bread kind of permeated the whole downtown. Well, on Friday nights friends and I would go to the movies at the Jayhawk Theatre and then we would walk home, but we’d cut through the alley next to the building and the bakery where they were baking and there was a little screen door there that you could kind of peek in and you could see the cooling racks. Well, if you tapped on the door and were really nice they might give you a loaf of nice, warm bread and then off we went. Well, unfortunately ButterKrust Bread is no more and oh also, the building had this big sign on top that said “ButterKrust is good bread.” It was lighted up, you could see it all over Topeka at night. Anyway, the ButterKrust Bakery is gone but the bakery that we’re gonna talk about is still there after 100 years and it’s in Frontenac. Now Frontenac is down in the extreme southeast corner of Kansas where Joplin and Pittsburg and Baxter Springs and Frontenac are. OK. Well, back in 1900 an Italian immigrant named George Vaka came there to work in the coal fields, in the coal mines. And anyway a knee injury ended that so he happened to bring with him an old family recipe for hard crust Italian bread. So, he built a huge brick oven and began baking bread. And it must have been good because they still bake it today. OK, so George started baking the bread and it has like I say, survived since 1904, that’s when the oven was built. Well, the bakery has changed hands a few times, George had it til 1944 when he retired. But each time it has changed hands the contract specifically says that the same family recipe will be used. Well, of course today the menu has expanded some, they make bread sticks and dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls. And they also make bread crumbs that they sell to the six chicken dinner restaurants in the area that they can use in the batter for their fried chicken. That’s another story we’ll talk about sometime, the chicken dinner restaurants down there. So, anyway the baking there starts during the day about two o’clock in the afternoon when they mix all of the bread dough and then it rises and then the baking goes on through the night because the next day the bread is packaged, prepared, and delivered by none other than the owner. And the bread is available in Springfield, Missouri, and markets there, in Wichita and markets there. And of course, in markets all around the area. So, how much bread can they bake? Well, this oven is big enough that they can bake 256 loaves all at time, 256 loaves of bread. Can you imagine how that must smell around the Pittsburg area and Frontenac? Aaahhh it would be good. So again, after 100 years this bakery still exists. They still use the very same brick oven that George built back in 1904. So, the next time you’re down in southeast Kansas and in Frontenac why be sure to stop in the bakery. And also be sure to pick one of the chicken dinner restaurants and have their fried chicken cause it is fantastic. So, again, that’s our story about bread. And by the way, the Frontenac Bakery is one of the eight wonders of Kansas commerce. Wow. Commerce is great in Kansas and it’s wonderful to live here. And it’s also a great place to come and visit. So, for now this is Frank Chaffin and I’ll see you on the radio. I kind of stole that line we know, on, Saturday mornings from 11 to 2. Tune if for the oldies. See you Around Kansas.

From The Land of Kansas is a trademark program that helps Kansas businesses grow, produce, process or manufacture Kansas products. Let’s meet Dale Family Farms, owned and operated by the Dale family for over 100 years. Located in Comanche County, Kansas, this property started with Grandfather Karl Dale and has been successfully passed onto Bill and Helen Dale and now to Kurt and Andi Dale and their three daughters, Natalie, Anna and Allison. The Dales strive to remain sustainable by better utilizing natural resources like native grasses and alfalfa as forage for their cattle as well as implementing improved grazing practices and reducing reliance on fuel and equipment. Their cattle graze in their natural environment and even the laying hens and turkeys are allowed to free range during the day, foraging for green grass, seeds and insects. And their meat birds are housed in large pens that are moved daily onto fresh forage. For more information visit their website at

(Deb) Jill Martin and I started working on our book “Kansas Forts and Bases.” We just went through a list of all that we could think of off the top of our heads and we started checking off the ones that we wanted to write about. Well the one that we had a big fight over was Fort Wallace out in Wallace County. And if you’ve never been out to Fort Wallace they have a tremendous museum. There’s a little town of Wallace right next to it. The town of Sharon Springs is not far away and they have hotel facilities there. Lots of great places to eat close by. But of course, this is not too far from the Colorado line. So, it’s way, way out there, but it is well worth the trip if you don’t live close by to head out to Wallace. Now Wallace is one of those forts that was so heavily involved in the Indian wars. Of course, as soon as we get finished with the American Civil War, we’re fighting Native Americans here in Kansas. So that is really heating up in the 19…1860s, rather in that neck of the woods. Now, the railroad had not gone through at this point, 1865. So there is the Butterfield Overland Dispatch, which is basically the stage coach route that was headed to Denver and it went through that area. So, you’ve got just a little stage coach station there. So Fort Wallace was ordered to be built by General Sherman in 1865 and by 1866, they have a fort there. Now like alot of those western forts, it didn’t have palisades or anything around it. Honestly, it was just a collection of tents and dugouts and that’s the way it opened. They gradually had some more substantial buildings there. But in June of 1867, there’s a really important fight there. Albert Barnitz of the 7th Calvary is the commander when they meet the Cheyenne and it is a fearsome fight, three hours long. He lost about seven men in this battle out of close to 200, but those numbers do not reflect the intensity of this battle. And when you look out at the landscape- I’ve had the good fortune to walk that landscape a couple of times with Cecil Pierce out there and to visit folks out at the museum- it’s deceptively flat. You know there are rises and just places that form the high ground, you wouldn’t expect. And it’s really difficult to imagine how that a very calm, quiet – except for the wind – place could have been the sight of such an incredible battle. But it was really intense and there happened to be a photographer there that day. So he took photographs of the aftermath of the battle including the mutilation of a couple of soldiers. That made news all over the country. Most important thing though, for the first time the American Army realized what a formidable foe the Native Americans there would be. Where before they boasted that I can take one trooper and I can whip ten, or 20 or 50 Indians. That day they said, one equals one if we are even equal to their one. It was a ferocious fight and just one more nugget of history that is well preserved there at Fort Wallace. Go see them and tell them Around Kansas sent you. We’ll be right back.

(Ron) I love the Flint Hills region and the Flint Hills can be beautiful, especially at sunrise and especially on horseback. This poem is entitled, “Sunrise in the Flint Hills.” Part One. I was grumpy cause I started in the dark before dawn, griping to my wife while I put my hat and work clothes on. But there’s little time to complain, I need an early start. I saddled up the horse and was ready to depart. I rode down the gravel road. The sky lightened in the east. I needed to check cattle so I was looking for the beast. We went in the pasture gate headed up the old dirt road. As we came up the hill, the days first sun bean showed. I rode on up the hill until I made it to the top. You can see a lot from there, so I reigned up to a stop. The skies parted before me with the early light of dawn. God revealed new creation for my eyes to feast upon. A world unmolested and pristine. My heart turned happy with the new day I had seen. The sunlight totally spread across the ridges and the rills, I was witness to a miracle, sunrise in the Flint Hills. Part Two. The Flint Hills of Kansas are the world’s best for grass. When it comes to raising beef this regions world class. These hills are productive, for raising cattle they’re just right. And in the early part of day, they’re also a pretty sight. The dew on the blue stem made a shimmer and a glow as the sun cast its rays on the new world below. Sunbeams on the horizon made the glass illuminate. The vista was magnificent, the panorama great. I forgot about my cares and my problems and the bills. As I viewed the awesome beauty, sunrise in the Flint Hills. Part Three, the conclusion. This is the prettiest sight that I have ever saw. Then I saw some movement from straight across the draw. In the warm and glowing light to my eyes it was revealed, a white faced cow looking back across the grassy field. I could see that Mama cow then another, then some more. It was the herd of cows that I was looking for. I could see the big herd bull, but what was even better luck, I could see a newborn calf as it stood to stretch and suck. I love to see a baby calf, paired with a Mother cow. Could anything be prettier, than what I see right now? I’ll get a head count on these cattle, but it can wait until later. Right now I’ll just enjoy the handiwork of our creator. There’ll be no more complaining, for I have known the thrills, of seeing God’s own hand at work, at sunrise in the Flint Hills. Happy Trails.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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