Thursday, July 30, 2015

1915 Sutton Chautauqua

The Chautauqua was a big deal 'back in the day' as the cultural and entertainment center of life in small town America.

One hundred years ago Sutton hosted a week-long Chautauqua with this line-up - sorry we missed it.

The Register published this trio of performers inbound for the Sutton Chautauqua.

And acts were the topics of specific ads publicizing the Chautauqua. I doubt the Swiss Yodlers took out this ad, it was more likely paid for by the promoters, but it might have been a promotion by the Swiss Yodlers' agent...who knows.

The Death of Marion Littlefield

This reprint of the story of the killing of local Sutton fellow, Marion Littlefield appeared in The Sutton News issue of July 30, 1915.

Marion Littlefield was a nephew of Polly (Littlefield) French, Luther French's wife.

Sutton Carnival Ad - 1915

This ad appeared in the Sutton Register in July, 1915 announcing the carnival that was in town the same week as a large Chautauqua.

Carnival ad the same week as the local Chautauqua

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sutton TV Center

Once upon a time repairing televisions was a viable small town business model. The Sutton TV Center operated on the west side of the south end of downtown Sutton for several years.

This set of photos are on a plaque (at the bottom of this page) that Donna Waddle has.

Elmer Plettner II ran this business at 103 S. Saunders Ave. for years followed by a fellow, name escapes, who had the store for one year. Claude and Donna Waddle owned and operated this business from 1973 until 1992.

The store front now occupied by Overturf and Associates as it
appeared in 1973.
There were steps down to the basement from the sidewalk in front of the store. Those were filled in when the street and sidewalks were repaved. The immediate impetus for shutting this down was the occasional use of this hidden alternative toilet especially during carnival days, etc.

The basement was used as a storage space during much of this time, however, I do have a question that has been gnawing at me for years.

I seem to remember from my kid-days (1950's) that there was a basement apartment here. I seem to remember that a black family lived there for a short time, likely to only black family in Sutton at the time, or for some period in either direction.

Does anyone else remember this or did I dream it?

Claude and Donna Waddle - their store opening?

TV's for sale, new and used plus parts and supplies.

This is the layout of the Waddle plaque. Zenith televisions were something of a Standard.

Sutton Business License Fees - 1915

So what kinds of businesses would have been in Sutton 100 years ago?

One list would be the exhaustive list of business license fees that were levied by the city on business operating in the city.

This Sutton Ordnance was published in The Sutton Register on Thursday, July 15, 1915.

CTRL + will enlarge the page - bit more readable.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Aprylle Gilbert in Sutton

Cross country runner Aprylle Gilbert made it from Long Beach to Sutton, May 11 to July 15 and stopped for a carb loading with us. She is about 1/2 way to the end of Cape Cod and the east end of Route 6.

l-r, Jerry Johnson, Jan Rath, Dorothy Rabbe, Aprylle Gilbert, Liz Hofmann, Donna Hill and Jose

Jose is Aprylle's Support Team or as she described him, the Loneliest Person on the Road as he finds places to go and things to do between two-hour interval progress checks.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Change in plans

We will meet at the Filling Station Restoration 
Aprylle will be arriving early evening, perhaps as early as 6:30

Image result for aprylle gilbert
She Sings and she runs

We have a coast-to-coast, Long Beach to Cape Cod, Route 6 Runner due in Sutton on Wednesday evening, July 15th. Aprylle Gilbert left Long Beach May 11th and has been targeting 30 miles a day. She will be in Hastings tonight, Tuesday and you can see her on Highway 6 heading east tomorrow. We plan on having a gathering at the Allegro Wolf  The Filling Station Restoration downtown Wednesday evening to meet her.

Check out her facebook page, twitter feed, website etc. The "Aprylle" spelling helps the search engines. 

This is a fund raiser for a children's organization in San Jose. She is a professional singer with a few albums and a youtube presence. I'm listening to her now. 

Watch this space for more info and plan on coming out to meet a real cross-country runner.

There's more about Aprylle at     ....

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Orion P. Howe - Sutton Dentist - Medal of Honor

Pvt. Orion Perseus Howe of the 55th Illinois Infantry was awarded the Medal of Honor for action at Vicksburg. He is still the youngest awardee of the medal at age 14 at the time.

The Medal of Honor was created early in the Civil War. Additional nominees were authorized in the 1890's for Civil War action when the 55th Illinois nominated Pvt. Howe who was a practicing dentist in Sutton at the time.

Col Malmborg and Pvt. Orion P. Howe

he September, 1864 issue of Atlantic Monthly magazine carried a poem by George Boker recognizing the heroism of Pvt. Orion P. Howe at the Battle of Vicksburg.


May 19, 1863

While Sherman stood beneath the hottest fire
That from the lines of Vicksburg gleam’d
And bomb-shells tumbled in their smoky gyre,
And grape shot hiss’d, and case shot scream’d
Back from the front there came,
Weeping and sorely lame,
The merest child, the youngest face,
Man ever saw in such a fearful place.

Stifling his tears, he limp’d his chief to meet;
But, when he paused and tottering stood,
Around the circle of his little feet
There spread a pool of bright, young blood.
Shocked at his doleful case,
Sherman cried, “Halt! Front face!
Who are you? Speak, my gallant boy!”
“A drummer, sir, - Fifty-fifth Illinois.”

“Are you hit?” “That’s nothing. Only send
Some cartridges. Our men are out,
And the foe press us.” “But, my little friend-“
“Don’t mind me! Did you hear that shout?
What if our men be driven?
Oh, for the love of Heaven,
Send to my colonel, general dear-“
“But you?”-“Oh, I shall easily find the rear.”

“I’ll see to that,” cried Sherman; and a drop,
Angels might envy, dimm’d his eye,
As the boy, toiling towards the hill’s hard top,
Turn’d around, and, with his shrill child’s cry
Shouted, “Oh, don’t forget!
We’ll win the battle yet!
But let our soldiers have some more,

More cartridges, sir, caliber fifty-four!”

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sutton Museum 2015 Dugout Days Float

The Sutton Historical Society has entered a float in nearly all (or all?) of the Dugout Day parades since 2006.

Here comes the float.

I think I've seen those long johns before.


The Whole Show.

There they go.

Newspaper Clips - 1915

Advertisements provide a good insight into life in the past...

This ad is for a nine reel movie - NINE, count 'em, NINE REELS playing at the Lyric Theater in Sutton
on July 8th, 1915. Notice the billing of " excellent cast of capable players."  So glad to hear that they
capable players. Do you suppose "capable" once meant more that today?

The "Opera Bar" suggests that it was near, probably underneath The Opera House. Adolph Storz
of Omaha was one of the pioneer brewers in the area. He and Adolph Coors divided up states
in the Colorado, and Nebraska surrounding area which would not past legal muster today.

Did you ever use one of these? Ours was a hand crank powered
unit until the electricity system reached the farm in 1949 and
we installed an electric motor - progress and labor saving.

Pioneer Rachel Littlefield died 100 years ago.

Rachel Rosina Corey Littlefield died 100 years ago. She is buried in Farmers Valley Cemetery in Hamilton County, north of Sutton. Her family is part of the robust story of early settlers along the Big Blue River. One of her sons was killed by Indians and is a big part of the area folklore/history.

Rachel's brother was Alonzo Adelbert Corey, an early Sutton homesteader and town merchant.

Harvard's Incorporation and early newspaper

The Harvard Courier newspaper ran a couple of historic pieces in July, 1940. This is a reprint of the front page of their very first issue on January 20, 1885. They chose to print this 1940 issue on "goldenrod" paper stock, or yellow as I'd call it. I kept the color for this posting, because... just because.

The front page of the very first issue of the Harvard Courier newspaper in 1885. Cool.

Printed in the Harvard Courier in July, 1940 - the story of the incorporation of Harvard 67 years earlier.

Part 1 of the story of the incorporation of our
neighboring town of Harvard in July, 1873.

Part 2 of the story of Harvard's Incorporation

Posted as promised in a recent Sutton Historical Society column in The Clay County News.

2015 Sutton Kuchen Baking Contest

Dugout Days is Sutton's two-day festival held the last Friday and Saturday in June (a couple events occur on Thursday night and on Sunday). The Sutton Historical Society holds its Kuchen Baking Contest on Friday evening at 6 pm each year.

Dugout Days has nothing to do with baseball. Dugout Days recognizes the founder of our community, Luther French who, in 1870 dug into the banks of School Creek to construct his home where his children later joined him. Dugouts were common for new arrivals on the unsettled plains. We have an idea of where eleven of them were in the Sutton area.

The Kuchen Contest happens in the Sutton Park Pavilion as the Sutton Firemen's Chicken Barbecue is underway nearby.

The "Kuchen" is a dessert brought to the plains by German immigrants from Russia in the 1870's and later. Though "kuchen" is a German word generally translated as "cake" our Kuchen is not a cake but custard dessert with any of a wide variety of fillings generally presented in the shape of a pie but with a specific kind of crust.

Liz Hoffman displays one of the Kuchens as Auctioneer Dean Dirks begins to work his magic. 

Our contest format calls for our contestant bakers to bake two kuchens. One is used for judging, the second is auctioned off at the conclusion of the competition generating revenue for the Sutton Historical Society. And, since we carefully ration the judges' portions, we have about 1/2 of each Kuchen to keep the auction going a bit longer.

No Contest works without judges.

And no contest works without contestants. Pictured here are Linda Lautenschlager, Melissa Reichert, Nancy Domeier and William Boehler. Our First Place Winner Pam Woodard was not available for the photo ... shucks. 

The Kuchen receives substantial mention across the internet. Germans from Russia wound up in Canada, Argentina, Chile and elsewhere and mention of this tasty dessert can found on many websites from those areas. Settlements in the United States are found in the Dakotas, Colorado and Kansas as well as Nebraska and other sites. The State of South Dakota honors the Kuchen as the "State Dessert."

The Sutton Historical Society thanks the bakers, judges, auctioneer and all those who engaged in spirited bidding for the honor of taking a Kuchen home and experiencing the thrill of tasting a "Premium" desert. The Society realized more than $2000 this year ensuring that some critical repair projects can happen. Thanks again to all.

- the Management.

Pancake Saturday's by the Sutton Historical Society

Pancake Saturday's

The First Saturday, each month, 7:30 - 10:30 at the Sutton Legion

Thanks for the Free Will donation

It's the First Saturday of the Month, so it's Pancake time.

The Sutton Historical Society is a "Very Not-for-Profit" state-chartered corporation under the provisions of IRS section 503(c)(3) and as such is usually strapped for operating revenue.

Our primary sources for funds to sustain the organization are:

(1). The Annual Kuchen Baking Contest held during Dugout Days each June - an especially successful event in 2015

(2). This monthly Pancake Breakfast at the Legion, and

(3). Commemorative decorative bricks recognizing and honoring Sutton founders, our ancestors and the generous families and individuals of our community.

We have been fortunate to have received ad hoc gifts from individuals, estates, business and friends all of which keep our bank account in the black and enable us to continue to serve the community.

Thanks for all your help.

Lincoln Car Club Visit - June 19, 2015

A Lincoln Car Club stopped at the Sutton Museum on June 19th at the beginning of their all-day Mystery Tour.

This Shriner group is mainly a "Muscle Car" club. They filled the street in front of the museum and, since I had my camera handy, I thought I'd admire their rides while they admired our museum.


One does not see this kind of view on North Way Avenue very often.

An Olds convertible from about...1968ish. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Not really from the classic muscle car era, but we'll give it a pass. Yes.

I like the juxtaposition of these two in front of the 1899 school house.

'64 Chevy Impala, isn't it?

All started, running and pulling out on the way to the Filling Station Restoration downtown.

All right, Chris Lieb's place was likely the main attraction for the car club to begin their day in Sutton, but we enjoyed hosting them for a bit. This was the Star of the Show.

A Spiffy Pickup. Chris was working on the headlights a day or two earlier when I stopped to coordinate the visit. He also needed to get the doors and seats installed by Friday. He got the doors on.

A Work in Progress.
Thanks for visiting...

1915 Downtown Sutton Parking Instructions

Everything has to start somewhere, sometime. As autos became numerous, if not common on the streets someone had to decide how motorists were to behave.

One thing to remember about laws and regulations is that whatever peculiar behavior is being addressed, it is only because that behavior was going on.

And, after getting everyone on the same page, at least on the same side of the road, the city found it necessary to issue, within days, an alteration to accommodate the Independence Day festivities.

Schmidt Brothers 1947 Calendar

This 1947 calendar was from the Sutton store, Schmidt Brothers. Any comments, memories, etc.?