A History major and an Agriculture major have teamed up, thanks to KSU, CHS, the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center and the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, to travel the state of Kansas to research farmer Cooperatives. We'll see YOU Summer 2013!
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Gorham, Delphos and...Rock City!
"Just off of the black top..."
Oh hi! So glad you could join us again after an absolutely EXCITING week of traveling! Not only we were able to take in the history of two co-ops, we were also able to visit one of the 8 wonders of Kansas, Rock City. But I should probably tell this story in chronological order! :)
First stop: Gorham, Kansas. Rebecca and I met in this small town and met up with Mr. John Lapka, the general manager of United Ag Service. We did get a wonderful interview with Mr. Lapka, but other than that we were slightly unsuccessful in our search. They will be celebrating their 100th year this October and are in the process of doing exactly what Rebecca and I are doing. They are shuffling through past minutes and photographs in order to create a picture of their co-op from the past. So, plans have been made to return at a later date to retrieve a centennial booklet and some photos! Mr. Lapka was a very good sport, helping us understand things about a co-op that we're struggling to wrap our minds around. So, Thank you, John! We really appreciate your help and we will see you later this year! Happy 100th!
After staying the night at the Chesney farm (my house) we woke up early, looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (not so much on this end) to drive to Delphos, Kansas for a visit at the historical society. Once there, we were greeted by Billye Yowell, Roger Yeager, and C.J. Ballou. Roger and C.J. took Becky and I out to the Lord/Cain Elevator that was donated the the historical society. They explained to us how it was used as a grain company. As we continued to chit-chat, C.J. informed us that his father was on the board of directors for many years, and that he remembered when the concrete elevator was built. This lead to a vault of information that you can only find if you chose to listen to the stories of those who came before us. It was an absolute pleasure to listen to C.J. and Roger tell stories from their pasts. After looking around and catching some video footage, we returned to the historical society where we scanned some photographs and spoke more about the history of Delphos in relation to the co-op. Delphos Co-op is over 100 years old, having been chartered in 1901. This is the oldest co-op we have been to, and frankly, it was pretty cool. After we were through getting what information we could, we took a mini tour through the museum. We peeked at ration books from the 1940s, a respirator from 1912 (scary business!!) and a dentist chair, probably from the 1950s. We knew it was from before our time because it really gave Becky that "horror show" feeling! Billye was just as tickled to have us so interested in the museum as we were to be in it! One cool little piece I'd like to share, is that Delphos was home to Grace Billings (Bedell). She was 11 when she wrote a letter to President Lincoln telling him why he should grow a beard. Would ya know it, I think he actually took her advice!
After leaving Delphos, Becky and I decided we wanted to visit one of the 8 wonders of Kansas-Rock City. It has some seriously unusual-looking rocks that geologists have to theorize about how they were created. We were allowed to climb on, jump on, and have a mini photo shoot with the rocks. Becky and I really needed that brain break!
Not only is is fun to do our required research, it's also fun to learn more about our great state and the people who live here. It's an absolute blessing. We hope you're enjoying our trips thus far, and will continue to follow us as we head east for the next week and a half. I will be leaving for the Manhattan area in a few short days, and am excited to get out of MY comfort zone. The west is my home, where I know the people and the way they conduct their day to day lives. The bigger cities are new territory for me, so this will be an adventure!
Thank you to John, Billye, C.J., and Roger for all of your help this past week. It was a pleasure to learn SO MUCH and have fun doing it! God Bless!