(Frank) Today Around Kansas has some great stories, starting with one about the Union Pacific Railroad arriving in Junction City in 1866. Next enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the movie Picnic. Then when was a Peace Treaty not peaceful – the 1867 Peace treaty signed in Medicine Lodge! We’ll finish with a poem from Ron Wilson.
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(Deb) Good morning this is Around Kansas and we’re coming to you from the lovely Dillon House once again. Looks like Frank and I are taking a prom picture here on the steps, but there’s so much going on that Frank and I had to stand up here you know, for all the events that are going on. (Frank) So, if you hear noise in the background, it’s because this place is busy. So, you ought to look into it, it’s in the shadow of our beautiful Capitol building. Like I say we’re on the stairway here today, so what’s coming up with you. (Deb) Well, I just can’t… I can’t.. I’m so distracted. You know, we’re standing here in the shadow of Lancelot and Guinevere, these gorgeous stained glass windows. So, it’s a little hard to focus on you Frank. (Frank) That’s OK. Well, we’re gonna work our way around the Dillon House anyway. The rooms in here are just absolutely fantastic. The restoration has just been superb. (Deb) Stunning, stunning. (Frank) So anyway… (Deb) Hey, I’m headed out to western Kansas in June. I am speaking in Oberlin for their box lunch series on June 11. That’s at the Last Indian Raid Museum, which is just a phenomenal museum. Lots of fans out there. I look forward to see all y’all. I think I’m going to be speaking sometime that week out at Fort Wallace too. And if you have a group you would like me to come speak to, just let me know. You can find me on Facebook or email me. Just let me know and I’d love to come out and visit. So, lots of great stuff going on. We’ve got… of course, this Sunday is Armed Forces Day. So, we’ve got so much great stuff in the archives. There’s so much going on with the 40th Anniversary of the War in Vietnam. And so we’ve got some great archival footage from last June. I think it was June, or maybe it was in the fall. I don’t know. Time gets by, where we interviewed some veterans at the National Guard Museum in Topeka and some incredible stories there, so go back in our archives and find us on Facebook and we’ll share those links for you. (Frank) Yea. And I recently discovered a baseball league in Kansas and Missouri and Nebraska. And it’s called the Western League, which actually existed… (Deb) I’ve never heard of that. (Frank)…from the 1870s through about 1958. (Deb) Really? (Frank) And it’s been revived. They play under the old time rules, in fact they wear the old time uniforms. I’m going to be doing some stories on that too. (Deb) Oh my gosh. You know they were playing baseball in the Civil War. And of course, Abner Doubleday, who was a hero of the war, is credited with founding the game of baseball. I’ve actually visited Abner Doubleday’s grave. He’s buried at Arlington Cemetery. But to have baseball leagues that early. I didn’t realize that. (Frank) I didn’t either. So, it will be fun. (Deb) That’ll be a great series. Hey, I always tell kids, you know baseball players are the best looking. They don’t get their faces messed up. And they don’t have to bulk up so much. They’re… they tend to be the best looking. So, for all you aspiring baseball players out there, that’s a little guidance. (Frank) Yea. Alright after the break we’re gonna see what’s going on this week on Around Kansas.(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. I’m Deb Goodrich. (Frank) I’m Frank Chaffin. (Deb) And he is my handsome co-host, Frank Chaffin. So, Frank a couple of weeks ago, you know I got to go down to Oklahoma City for the Wrangler Awards at the Cowboy Hall of Fame and while I was there I got to meet the riders and the star of the, I think it’s a series on AMC, Hell on Wheels. (Frank) Hell on Wheels, yea. (Deb) And… (Frank) Great series. (Deb) It’s a fantastic series and of course, the term “hell on wheels” came from where ever the end of the track was being laid while they were building the railroad. So, Hell on Wheels moved literally, as the railroad moved west. But so many of these sites were in Kansas of course, as they were building the railroad. And after, the Civil War was over and the railroad just takes over, it’s the center of the news. It’s the heart of the nation. It’s verything. (Frank) And the series is going to start up again here, I believe this summer. (Deb) Yes. (Frank) So, look for it. It is a fantastic series. Of course, there’s a lot of drama. But there is a lot of true history in the show. (Deb) Yea. And I was visiting with Julie O’Brien who is one of the writers and she was talking about that. Just taking the most dramatic events from history and how they use those in the show. Of course you take literary license with this. It’s just fantastic. So, I want to share with you our own Hell on Wheels in Kansas. So much of Kansas history, and that of the West, rides on the rails and trails. Commerce and trade between the East and Santa Fe guided the course of settlement. The railroad inched westward, supplanting the stage coaches, steam boats and mule teams that had carried passengers and supplies. As it moved, the end of the line was called, for a time at least, Hell On Wheels, wherever it was located. In June 1866 the Union Pacific Railroad, Eastern Division, arrived at Junction City just west of Fort Riley. The town became at once the first of several prairie ports which dispensed freight and mail from the various railheads to connect with the Santa Fe Trail. By the summer of 1867, the tracks reached Fort Harker which had changed its name from Fort Ellsworth, and its location a mile north. Thus, Fort Harker became the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail, taking the title from Junction City. Fort Harker’s hold on the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail was short lived. By October 1867 trains were running on a regular schedule to the newly-established town of Hays City, and immediately the little municipality near Fort Hays assumed the title of the Santa Fe Trail’s eastern terminus. In the meantime, warehouses were dissembled, loaded onto flat cars, and transported to Hays City where they were hastily reassembled to receive the incoming and outgoing freight. A freighter said, Hundreds of freighting outfits have come to Hays City with the arrival of the railroad, and soon the surrounding country looked like a large tent city, except covered wagons took the place of tents. He continued, During those busy days, firms remained open both day and night. Those busy days in Hays City came to a close in June 1868 when the railroad arrived at the little town of Phil Sheridan, twelve miles east of Fort Wallace. The end-of-the-tracks town located on the edge of a ravine became at once the home of the ever-present commission houses where their warehouses were quickly reassembled and business was continued within a matter of days. From Sheridan, as it was most often known, freight was shipped on a new 120-mile road through Fort Wallace and on to Fort Lyon located on the so-called Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail. Sheridan took on the appearance of its predecessors, Ellsworth and Hays City. Said our young freighter, In many ways, Sheridan was like Hays City. It had much the same Main Street, much of the same saloons and dance halls, and houses of prostitution. During this period, the laying of tracks ceased because of financial troubles. Consequently, the railhead remained at Sheridan until 1869. The railroad company, reorganized and renamed the Kansas Pacific Railway, pushed westward to Kit Carson in Colorado Territory in 1870. This town, said the freighter, was different from the others. It was decent.
(Frank) You know a lot of movies have been made in the state of Kansas. But one that I am particularly fond of is the movie Picnic. And it was filmed 60 years ago in May of 1955. And I had just moved to Topeka, when that movie was filmed. But I also found a whole lot of trivia about that movie. In fact, one of ’em, it was one of the first roles that Kim Novak played. And she was supposed to be a young girl in the town and she played opposite, of course a guy that was 37 years old. (Deb) William Holden, heart throb. (Frank) So, anyway we’re gonna do a whole bunch of stories on the trivia around the filming of the movie Picnic in Kansas back in 1955. (Deb) Love it, love it. (Frank) OK, I’m gonna continue my stories about the movie Picnic of course, which was filmed in Kansas 60 years ago in May of 1955. An interesting note about the movie is that William Holden, one of the stars, didn’t want to do the dance sequence with Kim Novak, fearing it would make him look foolish. He told costar Cliff Robertson, I just don’t know how to dance, hoping to persuade the studio to cut the dance scene. Holden insisted on being paid an $8,000 dollar stunt man premium. To his surprise, the studio paid up and Holden was forced to do the dance scene, although he was allowed to do it under the influence of alcohol. In that scene he was actually intoxicated and it still remains one of the only… one of the four movies that he ever danced in. So when you see the movie and you see that wonderful dance scene between William Holden and Kim Novak, now you know, as Paul Harvey used to put it, the rest of the story.
(Frank) A friend of mine is Randy Sparks, who founded the New Christy Minstrels. He is from Kansas and he’s done a whole lot of historical songs about Kansas. And he did one about Medicine Lodge. But you’ve also done something about Medicine Lodge. (Deb) Well, this is one of the anniversary years of the peace treaty. So, they are doing their pageant in September. Gosh, September is already, my calendar is getting so full. But this is an incredible happening that the town of Medicine Lodge puts on to celebrate the signing of the peace treaty, in 1867, which did not bring any peace to anybody. In fact, it heralded some of the most violent times on the Plains. But it’s a really significant event in American history and of course, in Kansas history. So, you have several of the tribes of people that come together in Medicine Lodge. Incredible staging of what it would have looked like you know, during that time period in the 19th century. And so, have you ever been out to Medicine Lodge? (Frank) I have. It’s a beautiful part of the state. (Deb) Isn’t it gorgeous? (Frank) It really is. (Deb) And of course, I don’t think the town actually existed when this was signed. I think they just went somewhere close to Great Bend where there were a couple of creeks that came together. It was just a nice, pretty spot for everybody to camp, basically, and that’s why they chose it to sign the peace treaty. But Randy’s song, of course. He’s just covered everything hasn’t he? (Frank) Yea, he has. (Deb) He does amazing work. Let’s share with you the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty. This year we are marking 150 years since the end of the Civil War. The end of that war heralded an unprecedented migration. Thousands of pioneers, many of them former soldiers, sought a new beginning in the West. The only thing standing in their way were the people who already lived there. Yes, the end of the Civil War marked the beginning of the Plains Indian Wars in many respects. While there had been skirmishes and attacks, and even one major battle, the Civil War had consumed the nation’s attention. When it was over, promises of rich farmland, and just riches, lured even the most timid Easterners. The tribes of the Central Plains reacted predictably and defended their homelands. One of the first major campaigns against the Plains tribes was the Hancock Expedition. Commanded by Winfield Scott Hancock, nicknamed the Superb, the campaign was a failure in all but increasing friction. Though the tribes agreed to meet with him, they backed out, literally, abandoning their encampment. The Civil War’s “boy general,” George Custer was among the first soldiers to creep into the camp only to find it deserted. It was decided in Washington that a peace party would be sent to negotiate a treaty. In October, 1867 the Peace Commission arrived in Kansas. Its personnel had been chosen from both military men and civilians. William T. Sherman had been assigned by the military to attend, but was called back to Washington by President Johnson. The treaty site was about 70 miles south of Fort Larned where Medicine Lodge and Elm Creeks joined. The tribes were encamped all around the area. Estimates of the number of Indians present vary from five thousand to fifteen thousand. The tribes represented were the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Comanche, Kiowa, and Kiowa-Apache. Two treaties were drawn up and signed. They agreed to withdraw all opposition to the construction of the Pacific railroads; relinquish their claims lying between the Platte and Arkansas; withdraw to reservations set apart for them. In return the Indians received the following concessions a large reservation and an enormous amount of supplies; the right to hunt south of the Arkansas river so long as the buffalo ranged there. The Medicine Lodge treaty did not bring peace to the frontier. Rather, more broken promises led to the most turbulent years on the Plains. Learn more about this pivotal moment in Kansas History by visiting Medicine Lodge for the Peace Treaty Pageant on September 25, 26 and 27.
(Ron) So many families take these big family trips where the kids all pile into the car, Mom and Dad drive and they get out of the driveway before the kids say, “Are we there yet?” Well, there’s also the issue of coming home to the ranch. This poem I wrote based on a true story. It’s titled, “My Vocation Affects my Vacation.” or, “The Trip.” We’re all driving home from a nice family trip, dog tired but happy with smiles on our lips. We’d been driving for hours on the big highway, and we thankfully turned onto the ranch driveway. We were all looking forward to the end of the ride, when suddenly signs of concern that I spied. It’s not what I wanted for my welcome back, cause alongside the road, I could see some cow tracks. And by the road was manure as I looked about and I knew what it meant the cows had got out. What a lousy welcome home to receive. While I was trying to get home, the cows were trying to leave. Instead of relaxing to unpack and unwind, we had all the cows to hurry and find. The horses were still in the corral at least, so we saddled up quickly to track down the beasts. It was easy to follow the tracks on their way to the neighbors where they got into his hay. The tromped through his garden, got into his shed and ate the alfalfa stored there to be fed. So we rounded them up and drove ’em back home and into a pen where they no longer roam. Then we rode around the perimeter fence and we found the spot where those maverick cows went. A tree had blown down on the wire while we’re gone, and let the cows loose, so that they could go on. So we gathered our tools and got the fence mended and went home thankful this long day had ended. I complained to my wife about this turn of events from vacation to having to chase cows and fix fence. I said, “It’s unfair the cows caused this extra work to do.” She just smiled and said, “I guess the cows wanted a trip too.” Happy Trails.
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