Monday, May 22, 2017

Chisholm Trail

Kansas State University is celebrating the legendary cattle trail’s sesquicentennial with a notable exhibit featuring historic books, music, photographs, maps, cowboy attire and artifacts. “Chisholm Trail: History & Legacy” is a collaboration between the Libraries’ Morse Department of Special Collections, the K-State College of Human Ecology’s Historic Costume & Textile Museum, and the Kansas City Museum.

The exhibit focuses on Kansas cattle towns, trailblazers, ranchers, farmers, drovers, lawmen and outlaws. It includes historic railroad and Indian Bureau maps, wood engravings, stereocards, advertisements and first-hand accounts of the trail that brought Texas cattle to Kansas markets.

The free exhibit runs through October 13, 2017 in Hale Library's Fifth Floor Gallery.

Kansas State University Libraries is home to William J. Keeler's incredibly scarce 1876 National Map of the Territory of the United States from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean (detail above). Printed under the authority of then-Secretary of the Interior Orville Hickman Browning (1806-1881), the map documents the locations of tribal and ceded territories, leases and trusts. It reveals the westward expansion of the nation's Public Land Survey System, its overland mail route and its railways.

Map, detailed above:

William J. Keeler. National Map of the Territory of the United States from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean Made by the authority of the Hon. O.H. Browning Secretary of the Interior. In the Office of the Indian Bureau Chiefly for Government Purposes under the direction of the Hon. N.G. Taylor Commise. of Indian affairs & Hon. Chas. E. Mix Chief Clerk of the Indian Bureau. 1876. Detail. Richard L. D. & Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Iron Jail (1859)

I've been conducting a lot of research on American prison architecture lately, and came across this story in the Patriot (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) newspaper:

Famous Iron Prison Soon to be Replaced by a Modern Building

Lawrence, Kan., is building a new county jail, and the Gazette gives an interesting account of the old prison which will soon be abandoned. It was famous as the first iron jail west of the Missouri river. It was contracted for in 1859 and built in Pennsylvania under the supervision of Capt. John G. Haskell, the well-known Kansas architect. It came by steamboat down the Ohio, up the Missouri, and then up the Kaw.

Patriot (31 August 1904).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Field Trip: St. Petersburg, FL

In October, a wrecking crew demolished the former Pheil Hotel (410-424 Central Avenue, 1916-23). Built by an early St. Petersburg mayor and his heirs,  the eleven-story building became a bank when First National acquired it circa 1959. During the 1960s, architects attached an aluminum brise soleil to unify it with an adjacent property, the former Central National Bank (400-406 Central Avenue, 1911-12).

Attempts to save the two structures failed in early 2016.  Read St. Petersburg Preservation, Inc.'s synopsis here.

Image above: 410-424 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida, as photographed 10.26.2016 by K. Rylance.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Goblet Tanks (1917)

100 years ago, the Roger W. Hunt & Company Employees' Bulletin reported on the use of reinforced concrete in the design of water tanks along the Gulf Coast. Featuring an image of the tallest tank, located at Bay Minette, Alabama, the Bulletin drew its report from Modern Building. Measuring 80 feet from ground to tank bottom, the supporting form emulated the stem of a drinking goblet. Tested by a June 29 hurricane, the Bay Minette goblet tower quickly became an engineering marvel. Wealthy coastal property owners sought information from Leonard Henderson White (1882-1962), an engineer who developed the method for his Concrete Steel Construction Company of Birmingham, Alabama.

Some Miami patrons despaired at the goblet tank's austerity, and hired prominent architects to modify White's method with neoclassical ornamentation. August Geiger (1887-1968) developed a 100,000 gallon tank at Alton Beach and Harold Hastings Mundy (1878-1932) utilized reinforced concrete on a combined tank and observatory for the John H. Eastwood Estate.

Dothan, Alabama's Dixie Standpipe (1897) was added to the National Register this month.

Image above:  "Interesting Things in Print." Employees' Bulletin [Roger W. Hunt & Company]. 4:3 (January 1917): p. 12.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Segregation Forms: Redlining

The University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab has developed a fantastic resource that provides access to hundreds of so-called "security maps" created between 1935 and 1940. The product of the Home Owners' Loan Corporation [HOLC], the maps and area descriptions represent the neighborhood risk assessments generated by mortgage lenders, developers and real estate appraisers. HOLC's analyses were the basis for what came to be referred to as redlining, segregationist housing and real estate practices.

Image above: Wichita Mapping & Engineering Company. Wichita, Kansas. 29 May 1937. Robert K. Nelson, LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, Nathan Connolly, et al. "Mapping Inequality," American Panorama, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers, accessed 20 October 2016,

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


The S.P. Dinsmoor Residence located in Lucas, Kansas contains some fine examples of early twentieth-century sheet linoleum. The parlor features a printed woven pattern (above) and the upstairs area has a floral-foliate motif (below). Varnished by successive property owners, the linoleum has darkened and is highly reflective.
By about 1910, American linoleum was frequently being made with linseed oil (derived from flax) and "lumber flour" (pulverized sawdust).(1) The product was considered sanitary, and thus was also used to line pantry shelves and protect kitchen tables.(2)  Blabon's and Cork's were two period manufacturers. Their products were priced by grade and sold in different patterns. To preserve one's flooring, home economists recommended polishing the surface with skim milk and a flannel cloth, then allowing it to dry completely.(3)

(1)Cork flour was a more expensive (and traditional) element. Lumber flour was also utilized in making a less expensive dynamite. See:  "Make Flour From Lumber." Hutchinson Daily News 7 December 1909.

(2)"Of Feminine Interest." Lawrence Journal World 25 December 1907.

(3)"Clever Ways of Doing Things." Belleville Telescope 17 May 1907.

Images above: Flooring, S.P. Dinsmoor Residence, Lucas, Kansas, as photographed 1.10.2016 by K. Rylance.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Experimental Silos

In 1909, University of Nebraska graduate Claude Harrison Hinman (1879-1967) began teaching classes for Kansas Agricultural College Farmers' Institute. Traveling along the Santa Fe Railroad and communicating from a boxcar, Hinman lectured to regional farmers as part of the institution's "dairy train."(1) He assisted Professor J. Kendall with an experimental silo comprised of staves and a thin cement wall.(2)

E.H. Webster, then director of the Kansas Experiment Station, heralded cylindrical silos over their rectangular predecessors, claiming that the latter resulted in spoilage.(3) The college promoted silo construction in various extension services.  Hinman wrote a substantial bulletin devoted to the topic and the Extension Department mailed it without charge to anyone who was a member of a farmers' institute. In addition, the college offered Hinman's expertise to any farmer willing to cover his railroad ticket and lodging. Thus, Hinman helped to erect silos in Augusta, Herington, Hiattville, Linwood, Mulvane, Tonganoxie and Wellington. These were chiefly comprised of plastered cement or concrete on metal lath, a type that had first been developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (below).(4)

During the 19-teens, Hinman moved to Colorado and established a commercial silo operation. The Hinman Silo Company had its earliest offices on Champa Street in downtown Denver. Catering to wealthier farmers, Hinman sold vitrified hollow tile and salt-glazed tile silos. He also offered barn plans. The business seems to have flourished until the Great Depression, when the Hinmans relocated to Mesa.

One of my favorite experimental silos is the Peavey-Haglin, located in metropolitan Minneapolis, Minnesota and listed on the National Register.

(1)"Now a Dairy Train." Emporia Gazette (15 October 1909).

(2)"Local Notes." The Kansas Industrialist 36:24  (23 April 1910).

(3)"Rectangular Silos Fail." The Kansas Industrialist 37:14 (7 January 1911).

(4)Prof. G.C. Wheeler. "The Concrete-Metal Silo Is Satisfactory to Kansas Farmers." Emporia Gazette (17 March 1911).

Images:  "The Perfect Silo." Western Farm Life XIX:3 (1 February 1917) and C.H. Hinman, photographer. "Plastered Cement on Metal Lath Silo in Process of construction" as it appears in H.E. Dvorachek. "Silos and Silage in Colorado." Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 200 (August 1914).