Paved Roads, Pumping Station, and Ku Klux Klan: 1920-1929

By Decade

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Rothberger garageAutomobiles became a desired commodity in the 1920s, and Eudorans enthusiastically embraced them. H.O. Woodward sold Fords early in the decade (and Carter-Smith Ford operated in the latter part) before “Honey” Rothberger bought him out in 1922. The Rothberger brothers sold Chevrolets (as seen in this 1937 photogaph), and Oscar Westerhouse ran the Standard Oil Company starting in December 1922. William Trefz Jr., a plumber, electrician, and tinner, was one of the town’s auto mechanics.

Julius Lotz (“Live and let live: Julius Lotz Decorator and dealer in paints and wallpaper”) sold paint and glass; Adolph Lotz Jr., sold insurance and real estate and so did C. F. Richards. Tom Elliot sold coal, and, in 1929, Frank Sommer started selling coal, too. E.W. Kraus sold livestock, and auctioneer C.B. Moore joined him.

A. H. Neustifter plastered and laid brick, and town carpenters were Ben Foust, Max Rosenau, Max Rothberger, Albert Schulz, Sim Snyder, Albert Von Gunten, and Frank Sommer Jr. Working with cement were Roy Daugherty, Albert Neustifter, Amos Westerhouse, and John White.

John Niedermaier repaired shoes. Bert Brown, J. D. Burton, and Elmer Everley cut men’s hair. Zimmerman & Rosenau and Joseph Zillner took care of blacksmithing and horseshoeing. Claiming to have “the largest and most complete line of harness in this section of the state” in his advertisements, Gus Ziesenis sold leather horse goods including collars and straps, while W. H. Rennels sold second-hand furniture, used farm machinery, and “junk.”

Eudora Township paid the following men for “dragging” in 1924: C.C. Perkins, Roger Stanley, George Ott, W. W. Brown, W.W. Gerstenberger, W.H. Gerstenberger, George Votaw, Charles Speicher, C.J. Copp, Milton Shafstall, John Schehrer, Frank Gottstein, Harvey Brecheisen, C.C. Gerstenberger, Godfrey Gerstenberger, George Schehrer, Teddy Brecheisen, George Grosdidier, Leon Durr, Charles Schehrer, Walter Wilson, E.H. Brown, Ed Hadl, Conrad Altenbernd, Joe Zillner, Frank Horrell, J.E. Haverty, and Homer Gerstenberger. Team work wages were paid to: C.W. Combest, Louis Bartz, Ray Miller, Walter Wilson, James Buchanan, P.J. Neis, Clifford Haverty, Alvin Haverty, Ernest Schmidt, F.L. Daughtery, Oscar Crane, Louis Kurtz, Ralph Votaw, Deay brothers, Harold Duncan, Ed Madl, and Bill Weaver. Fred Neis Jr. got paid for hedge post work and J.W. Combest for bridge work.

When the Betts sold Eudora Home Bakery in 1922, it went through several owners in a short time. Bill Willey, who bought the bakery, promoted his cinnamon rolls, raisin bread, doughnuts, sugar cookies, Scotch cookies, fruit bars, lemon snaps, fruit pies, and lemon and cream pies on the weekend. Other businesses of the decade were: Eudora Department Eudora MillsStore (which also sold groceries including its specialty of smoked fish); Eudora Mill and Elevator; Farmers Union Co-operative Elevator (managed by W. E. Meltzer); Co-operative Dairy Association; Edelbrock’s garage; J.W. Combest grocery; H.H. Hagenbuch and Son meat market and ice plant; Tarleton Confectionary; Daugherty Meat Market (“Weep and you weep alone, Laugh and we know you buy your meat at Daugherty’s Cash Market”); Charles Pilla Department Store and grocery; Eudora Cleaners and Dyers (above the newspaper office); Eudora Hardware; Lothholz Lumber (“Good grades, honest count, and square dealing ― Lothholz Lumber”); W.H. Ziesenis Confectionary; State Bank of Eudora (“$20,000 capitol and surplus”); Eudora Produce; Harvey Eating House; and Eisele & Gabriel who sold Rumely tractors and did plumbing, wiring, tin, and sheet metal work.

Harriet Schubert Banks, who spent her childhood in Eudora, said her family shopped at PIlla's in the 1920s rather than the "grocery across the street." Pilla's was divided with groceries on one side and dry goods on the other. The store was lit with lanterns then rather than electricity, and it was cold she said with the only heat coming from a potbelly stove. The clerk behind the counter always wore an apron and used a "reacher," she said to get items from the high shelves, weighed items on a scale, and wrapped them in butcher paper unlike Lawrence stores of the time that used paper sacks. Customers could order groceries on the phone, and the clerk wrote their orders on a notepad about 4" wide and 6" high. A truck with the sign saying "We deliver" brought the groceries and later Pilla's became a "cash and carry" store, Banks said, opening early each day and staying open late on Saturday nights.

A November 10, 1921 article said “former subjects of the Kaiser” were lining up to become U.S. citizens. Eudorans applying for naturalization were: Charles D. Kaiser, who came from Germany to New York, September 8, 1880; Joseph Zillner, who came from Germany to Baltimore, June 28, 1884; Louis Eder, who came from Germany to New York, May 12, 1861; Joe Schopper, who came from Germany to New York, April 27, 1872; Lorenz Speicher, who came from Germany to New York on February 2, 1882; Mikel Kasberger, who came from Germany to New York on May10, 1881; Fredrich W. Gerstenberger and Michael Gerstenberger, who came from Germany to New York on March 10, 1863; Peter “Nies” and Frederick “Nies,” who came from Germany to New York May 22, 1869; Karl Pfleger, who came from Germany to Baltimore, July 15, 1880; and Jeremiah Schlegel and John Ulrich Schegel, who came from Switzerland to New York, May 20, 1865.

The Home State Bank (“A home bank for home people”) took the place of the State Bank, which failed in 1923, because of bad loans. That was the same year Marion Cox robbed the Kaw Valley State Bank and forced Otto Durr, assistant cashier, to give him $549.23. Cox dressed in a blue serge suit and gray cap drove a stolen Buick car south on Main Street and had his tank filled with gasoline from the pump in front of the Eudora Department Store. He paid Fred Walker for the gasoline, then parked his car on the north side of the Kaw Valley Bank. He asked Otto Durr for change for a $10 bill, which he was given, then suddenly turned around, drew a revolver from this coat pocket, saying “hands up.” He took the cash, ignored hundreds of dollars worth of coins and coupons, and ran to his car that had the engine running. Everett Cory and Fred Rothberger followed Cox who was zigzagging toward Perry. In another car, Dr. Cox and Jesse Kraybill also pursued him to no avail. Later, Cox was shot in another robbery in Kansas City and died from the wounds.

W.C. Mercier

Kelvin HooverAs for the Home State Bank, Charles Floyd was its cashier, and Henrietta (Schubert) Fuller, assistant cashier. August Fiehler succeeded Floyd. When Fiehler died, Fred Starr took over his position before Kaw Valley State Bank with its more than $320,000 total assets bought it. W. C. Mercier, shown here in the photograph to the right, took the cashier position, previously held by Weaver-born Everett Cory, at Kaw Valley State Bank in 1932, Carl Neis, the presidency, and Kelvin Hoover, the vice-presidency. (In 1948, Hoover, seen in this photograph on the left, would divest himself of Lawrence bank interests and become the bank president, a position that would pass to his son, Jim, into the 21st century. Fuller stayed with the bank, putting in a total of 51 years in the banking industry by the end of her career.)

On July 2, 1922, the Eudora baseball team played the Fall Leaf team on the northeast edge of town in Marley Field. Harry Guenther, shortstop; Ed Grosididier, third base; and Bill Edlebrock, left field, collided while fielding a high fly ball. Guenther’s head struck Edelbrock’s thigh, and both became unconscious. Edelbrock recovered; Guenther did not. Doctors found part of his vertebrae in his spinal cord causing him to be paralyzed from the shoulders down. He regained limited use of his arms, but ultimately died February 22, 1923 leaving his wife, Gessina (Ziegler), and two small children: Janice (Guenther) Colman and Laverne Harry.

A more positive note in 1923 was the construction of the Sinclair Pumping Station. S. J. Davis, foreman, oversaw initial construction of it, then Edward Chenoweth took over in November. The station pumped 800 barrels of oil an hour. Another piece of good news was when W. R. Smith, one of many searchers, found Carrol Gerstenberger, 23 months, and his bull dog puppy a mile and a half from his home in a ravine with bushes. Asked why he left home, Carol said: “I’s going to find Tessie,” who was his sister in her first year at school.

The Ku Klux Klan was revived in the 1920s throughout the United States; in Eudora, it also had a short burst of activity apparently focused at Catholics, according to Will Stadler, the Eudora news editor and Catholic. Stadler wrote in October 11, 1923:

Occasionally a minister of the gospel utters something in defense of the Klan, assuming apparently that the Klan in some way is genuinely helping to do the work of the church. The church would indeed be in a bad way if it were in need of the kind of aid the Klan can give it. . . . .When the Protestant church of America comes to recognize the fact—and it is a fact—that Klanism is the greatest possible enemy of the church as well as of true Christianity, as it will sooner or later, the final chapter of this organization in American affairs will be in the process of writing."

On September 25, 1924, the local priest, Rev. Father Reich wrote:

“I wish to make the following statement to my fellow citizens of Eudora to in some way vindicate the rather rabid stand recently taken by me to keep from our midst an organization which I felt would but cause hatred and bad feelings. It is true that I spoke in my church, instead of in the Park and to all of you, but my desire was to include all of you in my appeal for continuing our mutual friendly feelings, as I felt that all of you so desired. I hope it is evident that, during my two and a half years here in your midst, my one desire was to foster friendships and neighborliness among all, irrespective of religion. Such was my desire. I spoke only to Catholics, but I meant and desired united action for all of you, not even dreaming that some of us desired and were quietly working for the very others desired to avoid. It was not for the abuse I knew Catholics would get, and did get last Friday night—no, it was to preserve decent feelings and friendships, that I fought, even begging, through others, our public officials to fight for the interest of our little community. I lost. So have our city officials lost. I do not know who is to blame. It matters little. The work is done. As for myself, I assure every citizen that all anyone should want is a “Square Deal,” without which there is no such thing as Americanism.”

Stadler, on October 9, 1924, wrote:

“Several fellows in Eudora, and one of them a supposed bright business man, are displaying $100 bills on which they claim a picture of the Pope appears. Imagine, if you can, men of supposed intelligence, carrying a bill around in a billfold turning it this way, then that way, trying to show people a cross, a rosary and the Pope’s picture on the bill. Officials of the U.S. Mint have denied time and again that such bills have been printed by the government, and they say if such bills are in circulation they are counterfeit. Probably it would be wise for these fellows who are displaying such bills to be more careful and be sure they have real money, lest they be arrested for carrying counterfeit money. It is a nasty kettle of fish the K.K.K. is trying to serve the voters of this vicinity. Voters—stop, look and listen.”

In one of his last commentaries (October 16, 1924), Stadler claimed: “All over the state, in Kansas towns, the Klan is producing dissentions, boycotts, closing banks, wrecking business, dividing families, disseminating hate and suspicion and fear. Give the Klan the governor and a number of sheriffs and it will dominate Kansas as it dominated in Texas and Arkansas and Oklahoma. We know of two families in this immediate vicinity that have been divided by the Klan.”

Early in 1928, the Farmers Union Cooperative Mercantile and Elevator Company dissolved. The Farmers Elevator Company, directed by Albert Grosdidier, Henry Giertz, Homer Gerstenberger, F.D. Enyart, and Fred Ott, took over the former company's assets and debts. The Douglas County Farm Directory of the decade listed the following Eudora Township farmers and where they lived (in miles) from Eudora: Giertz, Henry, Route 1, 2S-1/2W; Gilmore, Mrs. S.C., Route 3, 1N-3W; Goodger, C.W., Route 3, 3S, 1 1/4 W; Gottstein, Floyd A., Route 1, 53/4S; Gottstein, Mrs. John and J.R., Route 3, 5S-2W; Griffin, Eugene, Route 1, 3 1/2S; Grobe, E., Route 2, 3S-1E; Grosdidier, Albert, Route 1, 5 1/2S; Grosdidier, George, Route 3, 2 3/4S-2W; Haas, J.C., Vinland, 5S-4W; Hadl, A.L., Route 3, 4S-2 1/2W (Percherons); Hadl, Albert and Edward, Route 2, 3 1/4S-3W; Hadl, George, Route 3, 1/4N-1/4W; Hadl, Louis, Route 4, 2E-1N; Hagerman, Esther A., Route 1, 6 1/2S-2W; Harbour, T.M., Route 2, 3S-4W; Harrell, Frank, Vinland, 4S-4W; Harris, I.D., Route 1, 3S (Holsteins and Alconas); Harvey, Charles, Route 2; Harvey, J.W., Route 2, 4W-1N; Haverty, J.E., Route 1, 1S-1/2E; Henley, N.P., Route 1, 3S-1E; Hill, M.C., Route 1, 3S-1 1/2E; Holmes, L.M., Route 3, 3 1/2S-1 1/2S; Hubbard, Charles, Route 2, 4S-3 3/4 W; Hughes, Francis, Route 2, 1N-4W; James, A.C., Route 3, 4S-1/4W; James, C.A., Route 3, 4S-1 3/4W; Jennings, J.P., Route 3, 6S-1 1/4W; Joy, W.G., Route 3, 2W-1 1/4S; Kaiser, Charles and Charles Jr., Route 3, 4S-3/4W; Kasberger, J.W., Route 2, 2 1/2S-1E; Kasberger, V.F., Route 1, 1E-3N; Klopfenstein, L.K., Route 1, 3 1/2S-1;E Knake, William H., Route 2, 1/2E (Jerseys); Kohler, A.J., Route 1, 2 1/4S-1E; Koehler, William, Route 3, 4 1/2S-2W; Kurtz, Elmer, Route 1, 1E-5 1/4S; Kurtz, Roy, Route 1, 1E-4 1/2S; Landon, Claude, Route 3, 3S-1 1/2W (Holsteins); Laughlin, F.E., Route 1, 5 1/2S; Lothholz, Oscar, Route 4, 1E-1N; Lothholz, William, Route 4, 1/2E (Shorthorns); McCabria, Eugene, Route 3, 3S-1 1/2W; MCCabria, J.F., Route 3, 1/4W; McClure, J.W., Route 2, 3 1/2W-1/2N; McNish, John, Route 2, 3S-3 1/4W; Martin, J.D., Route 2, 1/4N-3 1/2W (Angus cattle); Mathia, Henry, Route 3, 1S-1 1/2W; Melville, E.W., Route 3, 6 1/2S-1W; Milburn, Ed, Route 2, 6S-1 3/4E; Milburn, Ernest, Route 1 6S-1E (White Rocks); Miller, Adolph, Route 3, 1N-2W; Miller, G.E., 1 3/4S; Miller, Howard, Route 2, 4 1/2S-2E; Miller, J.B., 1S-2 1/2W; Miller, J.R., Route 1, 1 3/4S (Rhode Island Reds;) Miller, W.F., Route 1, 2S (White Rocks); Millington, Carl, Route 1, 3S; Miskimen, H.W., Route 3, 5S-2 3/4W (White Leghorns); Mitchell, Bert, Route 3, 1N-2W; Moll, Fred, 1/4E; Moody, John, Route 3, 1/2W; Musick, Mrs. Grace, Route 3, 1 1/2S-1W; Neis, Benjamin, Route 4, 1 1/2E-2N; Neis, Carl, Route 4, 1E-2N; Neis, Frank, Route 2, 2E-1/2S; Neis, Fred W., Route 2, 1 3/4S-1E; Neis, Gideon, Route 4, 1E-2N; Neis, P.J., Route 2, 1E; Nichols, Mrs. P.M., Route 2, 7S-2W (Rhode Island Reds); Ogden, R.C., Route 3, 1 1/2N-1W; Ott, Arthur, Route 3, 1 1/2S-1W;Ott, Earl, Route 3, 2S-2W; Ott, Fred W. and Edward, Route 3, 1N-1W; Ott, George Jr., Route 3, 2S-2 3/4W; Ott, George Sr., 2S-2 1/2W; Ott, John Jr., Route 3, 1N-3W; Ott, John Sr., Route 3, 1W-1/4S; Ott, William, Route 3, 1N-1 1/2W; Page, C.P., Route 1, 21/2S-3/4W; Page, Frank, Route 2, 3S-1 1/4E; Perkins, Carl C., Route 3, 1 1/2N-2 1/2W; Perkins, L.W., Route 3, 1N-1 3/4W; Perkins, W.E., Route 3, 2N-2W; Pfleger, Carl, Route 1, 2S; Pierson, Roland, Route 2, 1/2N-3 1/2W; Pratt, Carrie, Route 2, 1/2N, 3 1/2W; Ramey, S., Vinland, 5S-3 1/2W; Rea, R.N., Route 3, 2 1/2S-1 1/2S; Reber, Dan, Route 4, 1/2E; Richards, C.F., 1/4E; Rothberger, George, Route 3, 1N-1W; Saunders, Will, Route 2, 1 1/2N-2 1/2W; Schaake Brothers, Route 2, 4W-2N; Schehrer, Charles, Route 3, 4S-3/4W; Schehrer, George, Route 3, 6S-3/4W; Schehrer, John, Route 1, 6 1/4S; Schehrer, Joseph, Route 1, 5S-1/2W; Schellack, Rosanna, Route 3, 2S-1 1/2W; Schmidt, Emil, Route 1, 5S-1/4W; Schneider, Mrs. George, Route 4, 1/2E; Schopper, John H., Route 3, 1W; Schumeyer, F.E., Route 3, 2W-1/2N; Schutz, Arthur, Route 3, 1 1/2W-1N; Seiwald, Alfred, Route 1, 2 1/2S-1/2W; Seiwald, H.F., Route 3, 1N-2 1/2W; Shofstall, John, Route 3, 3S-2W; Shoftstall, Milton, Route 3, 4S-3W; Skinner, R., Route 3, 3S-2W; Smith, A.J., Route 3, 1/2S-1/2W; Speicher, Lorenz, Route 3, 6 3/4S-1W; Spitzli, Otto, Route 4, 1 1/4E-1N; Spitzli, William, Route 4, 2E-1N (White Leghorns); Stanley, Raymond, Route 1, 4S-1 1/2E; Stanley, Roger, Route 1, 5S-1E; Starr, M.B., Route 1, 5S; Steele, Frank, Route 3, 2W; Steffin, John, Route 1, 7S; Strobel, Joe, Route 4, 1 1/2E-2N; Strong, J.W., Route 3, 1N-3W; Summer, J.F., Route 2, 1/2S; Terrell, Ralph, Route1, 3S-3/4E; Thoren, Ed, Route 3, 5S-2W; Thoren, Henry, Route 3, 5 1/2S-1 1/4S; Van Petten, F.T., Route 3, 3W-1/2S; Vitt, George, 6 1/4S; Vitt, John, Route 3, 1N-1W; Votaw, George, Route 2, 3S-1 1/2E; Votaw, Irwin, Route 1, 4S-1E; Votaw, O.E., Route 2, 3S-1 1/4E; Votaw, Ralph, Route 1, 3S-1/2E; Wade, Clinton, Route 1, 5 1/2S-1E; Wade, L.A., Route 1, 6S-3/4E; Walbridge, J.M., Route 4, 1 1/2E-1N; Warmker, George, Route 3, 1 1/2S-3W; Weinzeldorfer, Kate, Route 3, 1/4S-1W; Harry Wertz, Route 3, 6 1/2S-1W; Westerhouse, Amos Jr., Route 2, 5S-3/4E; Westerhouse, Ed, Route 1, 4 1/2S-3/4E; Westheffer, Don, Route 3, 1N-1W; Whaley, Fred J., Route 3, 2S-3 1/2W; White, M.J., Route 3, 1/2S-2W; Wickman, Herman, Route 3, 1N-3W; Williamson, C.M., Route 3, 3S-3/4W; Wilson, C.E., Route 2, 3S-3W; Wilson, Walter, Route 4, 1E-2N; Woodard, L.E., Route 1, 4S-1/4W; Zimmerman, W.H., Route 1, 1 1/4S; and Zollner, H., 1/4S-1/4E.

Copyright 2017. Higgins, Cindy. Where the Wakarusa Meets the Kaw: The History of Eudora, Kansas. Eudora, KS: Author.