This and That

In the race across Kiowa County two companies, later  known as Santa Fe and Rock Island, arrived in Haviland on the same day  in 1887.  Town folk celebrated by furnishing large wooden tubs of  lemonade for the work crew and onlookers.  The first train brought the  first ice cream to town.  The Santa Fe, with rails laid just in advance  of the engine, reached Haviland ahead of the Rock Island, whose track  was a few feet north.  However, some years later, the Santa Fe tore up  its track and station.
        The first Rock Island depot agent and telegrapher was Tom  Cauthers.  Ticket sales boomed for both short and long distance travel.   Harvest hands arrived at the station and were hired by local farmers.   Specially equipped "chicken cars" were set on the siding for anyone  wanting to sell poultry.  Crowds and a local band gathered to welcome  returning soldiers in 1918.  Eager sightseers assembled for a glimpse of  President Hoover as he appeared on the passenger platform of a passing  train.  Carloads of miscellaneous provisions were unloaded on the dock  and the City Dray delivered freight from the depot.
        The depot was damaged by a tornado in 1958 and replaced by a  small office building.  This was removed after the local agency was  terminated and billings were handled by the Greensburg agent.

The first fire-fighting equipment in Haviland consisted  of two, two-wheeled carts, each carrying a 150 gallon tank and a  considerable length of hose.  The tanks were filled with water mixed  with soda.  Each tank had a bottle of acid supported under the filler  cap.  When water needed to be sprayed on a fire, a lever was operated to  break the acid bottle.  Mixing the acid with the soda produced pressure  which forced the water out of the tank.  The carts had a tongue with a  cross piece at the front which two men took hold of to pull the tank to  the fire.  There was also a rope on a reel which could be unwound and as  many as eight men could help pull.  Sometimes the carts were pulled by  men standing in the back of a truck.  If a car without a top was  available, two men would get on their knees in the back seat, facing  backward and pull the cart.
        In 1925, a water system was installed with fire hydrants  strategically located around the city.  A Model T one-ton Ford truck  chassis was bought and equipped with a hose bed, which was made by a  local carpenter.  It carried 500 feet of hose.  It was also equipped  with two three-gallons soda-acid hand carried extinguishers.  The truck  had no cab or windshield but simply a wooden seat built over the gas  tank.  The truck also had an overhead ladder rack.
        In 1947, the Kansas Inspection Bureau decreed that the equipment  must be updated or the city would lose its rating for insurance  purposes.  A new 1947 one and a half ton Chevrolet truck was purchased  and factory equipped with complete fire fighting equipment.  This truck  is kept on display in its own building and is brought out for parades or  parked next to Highway 54 on special occasions.

        In the early days, water was hauled from Dowell  (Wellsford), four miles distant.  Soon a town well was dug in the center  of the crossroads on Main Street, which later had to be filled when the  Rock Island track was laid.  Another well, 36" across, was then located  a block north.  Water was drawn with ropes and buckets and emptied into  a trough.  Jugs were filled and livestock watered for  travelers.          Local well service men began drilling and erecting  windmills.  In 1898 the Bryant Brothers, having located 500 wells  between Pratt and Bucklin, continued their work locally.  When its  usefulness was completed, a circular bandstand was built around the  well.  
        For many years Haviland was known as the "City of Windmills",  because of having more windmills according to its population than any  other town in Kansas.  When the city water system was installed in 1925,  the windmills began disappearing from the town's skyline.

        Before a post office was secured, mail was picked up at  Dowel (Wellsford).   The first post office was sought by the Town  Company and by Asher Williamson whose combination dwelling and store was  a mile north of the town.  With permission granted to the Town Company  in June, 1886, the office opened and was located in the Kemp store south  of the Cannonball Trail.  Mail was received by stagecoach route running  from Wichita to Dodge City until replaced by train delivery.  Mail is  now received by U.S. Mail Truck delivery from the Wichita Regional  Center.
        Haviland had the first rural free delivery route in Kiowa  County.  The decrease from five routes to two did not indicate postal  decline . . . instead, in 1957, the office advanced from third to second  class rating due to increased gross receipts and enlarged volume.   Contributing factors were the extensive mailing area served by the  Haviland Telephone Company and Friends Bible College (Barclay  College) along with large volume mailings from other business offices.

 STORES AND SERVICES - Haviland's first  business ventures, responding to the needs of a new farming community  in the late 1880's, consisted of grocery, general merchandise and dry  goods, meat market, bakery, blacksmith shop, livery barn, feed store,  lumber yard, hotel and restaurant.  As growth accelerated so did the  variety and number of business places.  Many wooden buildings extended  north and south of the railroad and along side streets of the main  district.  Versatility was the key to on-going success.  Over a span of  years, merchants offered diverse products or services according to  demand and economy.
        The first grocer was Asher Williamson, who moved his business  from the country into town.  Butcher shops and meat markets advertised  "fresh meat and full weight".  Ice was also available and delivery  service stocked the home ice box.  In time, cold storage lockers and  butcher shops became a part of grocery stores.  
        General merchandise stores included clothing and dry goods,  footwear and miscellaneous assortment in addition to groceries.  In  1929, Bull-Dog brand overalls were $1.60 and work shirts ranged from 60¢  to $1.00.  The grocery section priced bulk coffee at 40¢ per pound,  oranges 15¢ per dozen, bananas four pounds for 25¢, four boxes of jello  for 25¢.  There were clothing stores.  Millinery stores offered a wide  choice of ladies' and children's hats and often the basic hat forms and  material for the lady who chose to fashion her own headwear.   Made-to-fit clothes could be ordered through H. F. Gifford at the City  Pantitorium, which was located over Brinkley's Jewelry.  Dry cleaning  stores were operated.
        The buy-and-sell produce stores handled farm commodities of  cream, butter, eggs, poultry and hides and often sold feed and general  merchandise.  Feed mills handled grain, hay, coal and ice.  Haviland  Mercantile Exchange dealt in grain and coal.  Crews and Tucker  advertised grain handling and threshing.  The Dunbar Grain and Farmers  Elevator were marketing companies, with Farmers Co-operative Company  later purchasing Dunbar Grain facilities.  In early years, carloads of  potatoes and fruit were shipped from this agricultural area.  Additional  storage units replaced old wooden elevators and the number of tall  concrete silos, necessary for handling  increasing varieties and volume  of grain, were referred to as "Prairie Giants".
        The blacksmith shop, a distinct necessity, required skilled  workers.  The first "smithy" was Gus King.  General repair on wagons,  buggies and implements was provided.  As years progressed, shop work  consisted mostly of welding, sharpening plow shares, making machinery  replacement parts and forming the often intricate branding irons for  cattlemen.  Horseshoeing became an infrequent skill, practiced by few.   In 1916, Dave Meisenheimer opened a blacksmith shop and conducted a  widespread successful business for 54 years.  In 1924, he was joined by  his 15-year-old son, Jim.  Together, with pride in their business, they  maintained a well-organized, clean, uncluttered shop containing much  old-time equipment and a display of relics of early day trade.  The  shop, located in the second block west of the old bank corner, displayed  the sign "Iron Butcher" and was in business until late 1977.  Both  father and son each gave over a half century of high quality service to  the farming community.
        Harness and saddlery stores, wagon, buggy and implement agencies  thrived in Haviland's beginning years.  As motor vehicles affected the  sale of horse drawn equipment, other merchandise was added to shops such  as carpets, matting, linoleum and household furnishings.  Walt  Fankhouser set up a shoe repair service in his harness shop.  Bryant  Brothers displayed new automobiles.  Hardware stores were also  multi-combination with furniture, heating and cooking stoves, tinware  and sundry supplies.  Bryant Brothers Hardware, housed first in a frame  structure but later occupied Haviland's first brick building in 1909,  was equipped with an elevator for the three floor levels.  During its 50  years of service in the community, the business reflected the  transition in tools of agriculture, implements and vehicles. 
        Doctors were so essential in a pioneer community.  Dr. Moon,  Haviland's first physician, was extremely busy during the early typhoid  epidemic.  The much-loved Dr. Mary Bennett covered a large part of south  central Kansas and was Kiowa County's "Horse and Buggy" doctor.  After  the death of her husband, she lived in Haviland with her doctor son and  family.  Nat G. Bennett doctored in the community for 42 years.
        The practical use of home remedies was a necessity among early  settlers, but the need of pharmaceutical supplies was recognized.  Drug  stores, also containing sundry items and the popular soda fountain, were  also town meeting centers.
        Mortician services were available and some type of business  usually accompanied the profession, such as furniture merchandising or  dry cleaning service.
        Livestock remedies were of special importance when farm animals  were a valuable means of income, food supply, transportation and  farming.  Much of the early soil preparation was with implements drawn  by oxen since many horses died from loco weed.  A veterinary hospital  was located two doors south of the undertaking parlor.
        The building trade gained momentum as local lumber yards began  to supply materials.  Kemp expanded his grocery business to include  lumber, posts, brick, cement, plaster materials and coal.  One of the  early carpenters, Joe Gause, was given lots for a homesite as incentive  for location in Haviland.  Masonry supplies and services were available  for foundations and sidewalks.  Skills of interior and exterior  decorating were much in demand.
        The need for adequate lodging and eating places prompted  building of hotels on both sides of the Cannonball Trail and "uptown".   The first hotel proprietors were John and Margaret Compton followed by  L. Y. Bryant, the William Garner Hotel, Charley Taylor Hotel, Cora Byrd  Hotel, George and Fannie Cooke Hotel and The Country Club by Newt  Elledge.  The weary traveler must have welcomed the sign of the "One  Dollar Per Day Hotel" by W. K. Maret which advertised "Meals All Hours,  Nice Clean Beds".  There have been many cafes through the years.  Ice  cream parlors, bakery and confectionery were advertised.


Ex-Mayor Robert Ellis

​     This year Robert Ellis, resident and elder statesman of the Haviland, Kansas community, earned the status of U.F.O.  Not the extraterrestrial kind tracked by the United States Airforce since 1953, instead as an esteemed member of the United Flying Octogenarians.  The United Flying Octogenarians [hereafter U.F.O.] began as a non-profit organization in 1982 for senior pilots, eighty years of age and older, who mutually share a love for aviation (Staff).  

​The mission of U.F.O. is to promote longevity and safety in aviation, represent senior pilots' interests, inspire youth to take up aviation, and provide venues for fellowship and story-telling (Ibid). Jim Cavender, the President of U.F.O., reports that at the end of 2021, the organization has sixteen hundred and seventy-one members, with five who have topped the century mark in age. Most of the U.F.O. members comprise military veterans (J. Cavender, personal communication, 12, 8, 2021).​

     ​U.F.O. maintains that just because a person is eighty does not mean they cannot continue doing what they enjoy and using those things to positively impact culture.  Their local and regional meetings focus on their mission, relationship building, and visionary planning. A lot of time and planning goes into attending and hosting numerous events throughout the year (Staff). For those who know Robert, it only seems fitting for himto be a member of this elite group of senior aviators who share a common interest in flying and love for community and Country. 

​Robert joined the United States Army in July 1957.  He served active duty, active reserve, and inactive reserve and was honorably discharged in 1964.  After graduating from Haviland High School, he earned degrees from Pratt Community College and the Southern Technical Institute near Atlanta; In Georgia, he received his wings with single-engine airplanes and helicopter ratings.  Over time, Robert has owned five planes and two helicopters. 

​     In 1960, Robert earned his private pilot's license.  In 1970 he received his commercial license and instrument flight instructor rating.  Since then, Robert has logged over 2500 hours of dual instruction, more than 7000 total flight hours, and over20,000 take-offs and landings.  For more than twenty years, Robert served as the aviation ground instructor at Barclay College and is a charter member and pilot of E.A.A.'s Young Eagles (R. Ellis, personal communications, 12, 2021); a program designed to give youth between the ages of 7 and 17 exposure to aviation (E.A.A.).  Robert estimates he has piloted over 800 youth since 1995 (R. Ellis).  

​     As an elder statesman, Robert has served his community as a city council member, mayor, and local public schools and college boards.  He drives a bus throughout the school year and substitutes as a teacher for the Kansas U.S.D. 474.  The Ellis family is credited for installing modern communication in more than twelve communities in southern Kansas, water and sewer system improvements, and street paving in Haviland.  Robert helped spearhead the building of the Gail Ballard Airport in Haviland, which was dedicated in 1971, named after a local resident and war hero who, as a pilot, gave his life for his Country during the Second World War (Ibid).   Robert and his wife Anita are known for their philanthropic work and volunteer service in the community.  Their fondest volunteer memories were as troop leaders with the Boys and Girls Scouts of Americaand junior-age Sunday school teachers at Haviland Friends Church.  

​     Southern Kansas remains a great place to live and raise families because of the sincere love that so many of our residents have for God, Country, and community.  May we all endeavor to continue the values and sacrificial service that has contributed to who and what we are today in the New Year.  Future generations are counting on us; this must be our legacy.May all who come behind us find us faithful in this good work and someday desire to live their life accordingly.

Respectfully submitted,

Adrian Halverstadt, Director of Criminal Justice – Barclay College​



E.A.A. staff, Free Young Eagle Flights. E.A.A. Retrieved on 12-9-2021 from ​https://www.eaa.org/eaa/youth/free-ye-flights

Staff, About: History & Mission. UFOPilots.  Retrieved on 12-8-21 from ​https://www.ufopilots.org/i