Mike Hayden, Jayhawk Theatre, Fort Wallace

Today Around Kansas starts with stories about Mike Hayden, our 41st Governor, and the early years of the Jayhawk Theatre. Then learn how Fort Wallace played an important part in the Indian Wars. Next see why the Bel-Villa Restaurant should be on your list of places to eat in Kansas; and how Zebulon Pike became a part of Kansas history when he explored the Louisiana Purchase. We’ll end with a poem from Geff Dawson.

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

(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas from the lovely restored Kansas Statehouse. The house that belongs to the people and there’s no doubt when you come and see it how incredible this renovation is. So, be sure and come. We came over here today so that we could talk about Governor Mike Hayden. Mike was the 41st Governor of the state and of course, he was a farm boy from Atwood, Kansas, way out in the west. And one of my favorite stories about Mike is… came from one of his cabinet members, Shelby Smith. And Shelby happened to be skiing in Colorado during that administration and a guy standing in line next to him said, “Oh, I knew your governor back in Vietnam.” And of course it was widely known that Mike is a veteran of the Vietnam conflict. So, they started chatting and the man told Shelby, he said, “You know when we were in Vietnam, there was a lot of pressure to lie about the numbers of kills that they had.” And that ‘s one thing that Mike Hayden would never do. He was a commander in Vietnam and he would never lie. And when Mike was asked about his legacy as governor, one of the things that he said he wanted to be remembered for was being an honest man. And he said himself that he brought a very strong personality to the Office of Governor, that he had been in leadership roles before including his military service and in the Legislature before that and he brought a very strong, very business like personality to the Governorship. And it was like you know, this is our job, let’s get it done. That was not always received the best and Mike was defeated for re-election, but he remained in public service. He was actually in public service for 18 years and Bill Graves, of course, during his administration appointed Mike to head Wildlife and Parks and Kathleen Sebelius as Governor, reappointed him to that position. So he was there until 2011. And then he went to work for the Feds in the Department of Fish and Game. So Mike’s whole life starting out there in the countryside of Atwood has been about being outdoors and serving the people of Kansas. Now, if you know Mike or if you met Mike you realized that Mike has a very distinctive and pretty loud voice. And one of his own favorite quotes about that voice, he said “That people used to tell him that he should probably take voice lessons. And he should try to do something about his voice. But he was always about being yourself. And he said, if anybody says anything about me, it’s got to be that I’m genuine. So his voice was never one thing that he tried to change. And he recalled that one of his former colleagues, it was a Democrat from Osage County, Irving Niles commented that, “Speaker Hayden’s voice has been known to sterilize cockle burr seeds to a depth of three inches in dry soil.” Really distinctive part of a very distinctive man. We’re proud to call him one of our governors. We’ll be right back.

(Frank) Good morning, I’m Frank Chaffin and this is Around Kansas. It echoes a little bit today because we’re in the historic Jayhawk Theatre in Topeka, Kansas. This theatre was built in 1926 by E.H. Crosby who had a department store. In fact, behind that wall right there was the Crosby Brothers Department Store. This was a magnificent theatre then in 1926. It survived for several decades before of course, it unfortunately closed several years ago. It is in the process of restoration as you can probably see because there are no seats in here. But anyway, the theatre- I’m gonna read from their brochure here- E.H. Crosby of Crosby Brothers Company opened the Jayhawk Theatre, the construction costs (now remember this was 1926) $750,000 to $1 million dollars. Gonna let that sink in. I mean, this is a magnificent place. And you’re gonna get to see some of it. And it really needs to be restored. Historically, yes it was part of the of the time when there were traveling companies that traveled all over Kansas. That was the form of entertainment at the time. And let me tell you some of the people that trogged the boards here at this wonderful Jayhawk Theatre. Rose Havoc who became Gypsy Rose Lee. If you are familiar with the Broadway show and the movie, you know Rose left the family. She left the family at this theatre. This was where she left and became Gypsy Rose Lee. George Burns played here. He had a story that there was not room to cross backstage so they had to go out the back door over here and around the alley and then back through the Jayhawk walkway. And of course people would recognize him and want to talk to him. And he’d say, “Excuse me. But I have to be on stage.” Also, Marilyn May played here. Lon Chaney. Bob Hope sang, “Thanks for the Memory” on this stage. The Three Stooges. Abbot and Costello. Lucille Ball. Jack Benny. Judy Garland. And those are only a few of the people that actually played in this wonderful, wonderful theatre during the days of Vaudeville. So anyway, you can come and see this theatre if you want. There are many activities that are planned to help renovate this wonderful theatre called the Jayhawk Theatre. It’s in Topeka, Kansas, just off of 8th and Jackson. They also have an art gallery and of course, if you really talk to ’em nice they might come show you this theatre. For now, I’m Frank Chaffin and I’ll see you somewhere Around Kansas.

(Deb) My friend and colleague, Michelle 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 a lot 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.

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(Deb) You know when you look around Kansas you don’t see many mountains these days but one upon a time we had mountains and plenty of ’em. You know when the United States bought the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 the area that would become Kansas was carved out of the Louisiana Purchase. Now everybody’s heard about Lewis and Clark, you know the celebration a couple of years ago marking the bicentennial of their trip was huge news around the world. Lesser known was the expedition of Zebulon Pike and he was send to explore the southern part of the that Louisiana Purchase land. So, just cut a swatch right through what would become Kansas. And he is the man for whom Pike’s Peak is named. Now, Zebulon Pike never climbed that mountain that was named for him. He wanted to. But the snows were setting in and he decided that it was just not safe enough to do that. And if you’ve ever visited the Rockies, you know that Pike’s Peak is not the highest. There are a whole lot of things that it’s not. But because it’s on the southern edge and it’s one of those big monuments that announces that you’re here, that you’ve arrived in Colorado and you’ve arrived at the Rockies it’s become such a piece of American history and such a landmark and once a big piece of the Kansas territory. Now there are trails all along… throughout Kansas that have markers you know, that Zebulon Pike was here. Really nice one that my friend Rob Beamer took me out to one day in Cloud County, I believe we were, is a gorgeous marker that the local historical society put up to Zebulon Pike’s trek. Now the thing about his trek that made it a little lesser known, there weren’t as many surprises. There is actually a lot that was known about that piece of the Louisiana Purchase. And the trade with Santa Fe for example… trade with Santa Fe had been going on with the Indians and that part of what would become Kansas for decades. And there was just a lot that was known. He was sent to scout the “Arkansas” River or the Arkansas River as it became, when it came into the state line here. So, he scouted those things. He eventually wound up as a prisoner of war. The Spanish arrest him because they think he’s a spy. And remember down around Santa Fe, that’s all still Spanish. We didn’t get that in the Louisiana Purchase. So when he crosses over into what is a territory of Spain, he get arrested. He’s actually held in prison for a while. He gets out though, he makes it. He leaves an incredible journal. If you ever get a chance to read the journal of Zebulon Pike, it’s a really wonderful piece of work. He’s a beautiful young man originally from New Jersey, career military family. He winds up dying during the War of 1812. He’s actually killed in action the War of 1812. So, he’s just one of those lesser known figures, that left a tremendous impact. Who doesn’t know Pike’s Peak? And he’s one that you should find out about. We’ll be right back.

Hi folks, I’m Geff Dawson, ranch cowboy and cowboy entertainer. One thing I learned for sure, growing up on the plain, is what my Daddy told me son, don’t ever cuss the rain. For the rain cleans the air and fills the ponds to drink and the trees grass that grow so fast, you’ll miss it if you blink. One thing I learned for sure growing up here on the plain, is what my Daddy told me son, don’t ever cuss the rain. Oh, I know that you’ll be calving and working in the muck, and you’ll lose a calf and cuss yourself and say, that’s just my luck. One thing I learned for sure, growing up here on the plain, is what my Daddy told me, son don’t ever cuss the rain. Oh, I know 1951 or even ’93 will make you fear the water and the lowlands destiny. But if you lived through the ’30s and the dust sifted through your windowpane, it will bring you back to what my Daddy said, son don’t ever cuss the rain. Thank you folks.

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

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