The History of Eudora, Kansas
The History of Eudora, Kansas
During this time when farms ranged from $50 to $120 an acre and houses from $700 to $2,500, the German imprint on Eudora continued to fade. Justice Neale Carman, in his 1963 study of Foreign-Language Units of Kansas, said 1910 was “the year in which [the] community ceased to use [German] habitually in the majority of homes where there were growing children.” On a related note, when William Trefz went back to Germany ― his first visit to Germany since he left 37 years previously ― to see his 87-year-old mother that year, he was surprised to see how “Americanized” Germany had become.
In 1910, drilling switched from the McBride farm to the Pilla farm just west of Eudora where drillers found gas at 630 feet. By 1918, a company drilled a number of gas wells in the Eudora area, especially around Clearfield. The company later went broke and destroyed its wells. Herb Lawrenz bought one and used it until 1936 to fuel his lights and heat until water drowned the gas in the rusted well. Another heating option, anthracite coal, heated homes well into the 1930s. In 1917, after the bond vote the previous year, electricity became another fuel option.
After the three months it took to install an electrical system, the city provided homes with wiring and billed homeowners. Many continued using oil-based lights fueled by kerosene or those lit by gas or acetylene. The vote for electricity, as was the vote for the telephone system, proved suspenseful. Eva Leftwich wrote the short piece “How Eudora Won the Electric Lights” and said some in the “little German town” wanted to be progressive with conveniences, while others didn’t want the additional taxes. Wrote Leftwich, “One old German said, “We don’t want no ‘lectric lights; we got taxes enough.’”
Business news in 1910 included the opening of Betts Blue Ribbon Bakery (also known as Home Bakery), which was operated by Fred Betts and wife from 1909 until 1922. Robert Gabriel and Gus Fiehler sold Eudora Hardware to J. N. Smith from Phillipsburg, and both banks installed electric burglary alarms. A number of farmers in the community organized a Farmer’s Elevator Company and bought eight lots to put up an elevator in the northeast corner of the grounds near the Santa Fe tracks. At the Pilla store, managed by S. J. Lawson, Charles Pilla, who also sold Mitchell automobiles at his location, put new wood fronts on his building to house display windows, and, throughout the years, used the services of many clerks such as Ella Reber, Lother Hartig, Mary Diedrich, Fred Lotz, Fritz Lotz, Henrietta Gerstenberger, Paul Diedrich, Fred Papenhausen, and Caroline Neustifter. In 1915, Pilla built an archway between the buildings and remodeled the south section for a grocery, thus eliminating the use of steps. When Pilla died in 1917, Charles Sherlock, Emporia, a dry goods salesman who visited the store often, bought a partial interest in the operation.
The year of 1911 kicked off with a new amusement: Charles Tramill and J. H. Tramil built a skating rink with the assurance that the partners were married and their wives would be in attendance at every session “so any lady may be assured that she can attend with perfect propriety.” The Tramills appeared to operate their rink for several weeks at one location, then move on to a new one, judging from the recommendations cited in their advertisements from Summerfield and Pawnee City, Nebraska.
Also that year, when J. C. Walker was advertising his carpentry and contracting services, Mattie Keroher opened a millinery shop above the Eudora Department Store and bought 100 new hats for her opening. Unfortunately, coal smoke from the improperly-lit stove destroyed her inventory. And, while some businesses came and went quickly, none perhaps did so quickly as J. W. Boultinghouse’s gentleman’s clothing store that was open two months before he traded his inventory for an 80-acre farm in Erie, Kansas.
“Bootlegging” upset many in the community, and the county attorney came to Eudora in the spring of 1911 to hear the testimony of 31 irate town citizens. Boys who jumped on and off the passing trains for amusement also irked the community. Individuals who bought an automobile later that year were Henry Thoren, Fred Thoren, and Herman Schmidt. John Dolisi had two.
Above photographs: From left, William Fuller hardware exterior, interior, and home on Locust Street
When C. L. Fuller bought the Eudora Hardware Company in 1912 at Seventh Street between Main and Elm and later housed Victory Theater , he did not know until he moved to Eudora, that another “Fuller,” W. A. Fuller, operated the other hardware business in town on the southwest corner of Eighth Street and Main Street. Automobiles continued to be noteworthy. A 1913 owners’ list included: William Lothholz (Jackrabbit), Dan Reber (Hupmobile), Jesse Kraybill (Ford), Andrew Smith (Rambler), Ed Miller (Jackrabbit), Horace Woodard (Ford), Fred Thoren (E.M.F.), Emil Schmidt (Mitchell), Charles Gabriel (Mitchell), S. J. Lawson (Mitchell), Henry Westerhouse (Case 40), George Kaegi (Case), George Thoren (Mitchell), C. A. Gordon (Mitchell), Fred Gordon (Mitchell), George Lothholz (Jackrabbit), Conrad Altenbernd (Overland), Joseph West (Overland), Henry Thoren (E.M.F.), Herman Schmidt (E.M.F.), Ben Foust (Ford), Julius Lotz (Ford), Dr. Woodard (Ford), John Dolisi (Reo), Max Rosenau (Buick), Oscar Votaw (Ford), George Broer (Case), Sam Strobel (Ford), Will Hoskinson (Ford), Lan Deay (Ford), Jesse Marley (Ford), Ed Westerhouse (Ford), John Ott (Flanders 20), J. H. Bowling (Ford), Martin Rohe (Chalmers), Will Selzer (Winton 6), Will McFarland (E.M.F.), George Rohe (E.M.F.), Dr. Lee (Auto Buggy), and W. A. Fuller (Simpson Truck).
The Kaw Valley Electric Line also got Eudora residents to other places and brought visitors, too. An interurban railway established in 1916, the Kaw Valley Electric Line followed what is now Highway 32. This "trolley car" line made daily trips back and forth between 638 Massachusetts Street in Lawrence and Eighth Street and Washington Street in Kansas City for the $1.08 one-way fare. Above right illustration of trolley, courtesy of R. Donald Ross.
Passengers in Eudora could board the train at either the Delaware or Landsdown stops. A raised flag signaled the engineer that passengers or goods were to be picked up since the train stopped only at the small stations if requested such as when farmers sent milk bound for Kansas City creameries. The passenger facility of the railway ended June 1935 when the Kaw Valley Stage Line, a bus company, took over the public transportation. On December 1, 1949, the freight service of the Kaw Valley Electric Line also discontinued.
The first newspaper of 1917 trumpeted the town’s assets: “Eudora has ─ a dentist, no joints, one hotel, one tailor, a city hall, a coal yard, one jeweler, two garages, three doctors, a livery barn, two tin shops, an opera house, a variety store, seven churches, one fine bakery, two restaurants, two state banks, four rural routes, one harness shop, one butcher shop, two barber shops, one grocery, one cream station, a small brick plant, Road Tool Company, two hardware stores, two shoe repair shops, two blacksmith ships, up-to-date drug store, 80-barrel flouring mill, wall paper and paint shop, two large department stores, a large lumber yard, furniture store, ice plant with daily capacity of six tons, Mutual Telephone Company, two of the largest horse and mule markets in Eastern Kansas, a licensed embalmer, two building contractors, eight secret societies, and a chemical fire engine.”
E. Roth owned the hotel, and one of those garages belonged to Ezra Kraettli, a Clay Center native, who sold it to Carl Reber, who had been clerking in the Pilla grocery department.
And the variety store belonged to William Trefz, a native of Wittenberg, Germany, who left the milling business after 35 years to launch Trefz Variety Store at the age of 59 in 1915 at 724 Main Street. Before he could put up the store building, Trefz had to move the house on the building site to 723 Elm Street, according to Robert “Dubbie” Trefz. Son Carl, pictured in photograph to right, joined him in the venture and later ran this downtown fixture until 1976. The “novelty” store had stock consisting of items priced five cents, ten cents, 15 cents, 25 cents, and 40 cents. He also carried cigars and tobacco. “Everyday before Carl went to store around 7 a.m., he dusted his house, the one that Fred Trefz Jr. lives in now,” said Nell Trefz, wife of Carl’s nephew, Wilfred Trefz, at a 2001 Eudora Area Historical Society meeting. “Then he’d go to the store, throw sweeping compound on the floor with its wide boards and sweep that.”
Open six days a week, the store closed from noon to 1 p.m. “He went home ― which was right across the alley, ate lunch and watched ‘As the World Turns,’ everyday,” Nell Trefz said. “I remember him saying to me, ‘What is that Nancy going to do next?’ and I’m thinking he’s talking about my daughter, Nancy. Then it would dawn on me: He’s talking about that soap opera again. “Uncle Carl never married, but he was a handsome young fellow who danced at every CPA picnic. You could count on it. He kept every CPA poster, too, on one of the store’s shelves.”Trefz studied ministry at Baker University in Baldwin before leaving school to help at the store, said Patty (Trefz) Yeado, the daughter of Fred “Freddie” Trefz, a nephew of Carl Trefz. “He literally raised his younger brothers after his mother died of typhoid [in 1896].” Trefz Variety Store lived up to its name in terms of stock. “If it was made, Uncle Carl had it,” Nell Trefz said. “There must have been a million things in that store. He bought what people liked and kept a ledger about who bought what and how much it cost. On the top of each page, he wrote who had a baby that day, who got married, what the weather was like — it was his chronicle.”
Said Rex Burkhardt, “In my time there as a youngster until junior high, I’d go to Trefz’s everyday in the summer to purchase baseball trading cards. For a nickel you would get a pack of trading cards — four cards and a big wad of gum that lost its flavor in 30 seconds. I wish I had those now. Most got bent up in my bike’s spokes where I clipped them with a clothespin to make noise.
“I also bought wood balsa planes there, and in the hot summer breeze they would make lazy circles in the air. If you could keep them up 30 seconds, that was a good flight.”Yeado had other items on her shopping list. “We used to get ball and jacks there and those step ropes that you put around your ankles. Two people held the rope with their ankles while the middle person jumped.” Wire mesh baskets and oak display cases were just two ways Trefz displayed his wares. “I have one of his display cases, a cigar case,” Nell Trefz said. “It has slats for shelves. In the back is a tin-lined drawer that pulls out. He used to fill the drawer with water to keep the cigars moist.
“When you went in the front door and turned right, it was by the wall. I remember him leaning on that cigar case. He talked to lots and lots of people leaning on that cigar case.”Many associated the store with his candy selection. “Those oak display cases had all that candy in jars that sold for a penny or two cents,” Burkhardt said, remembering the licorice, hard candy, fire sticks, and waxy bottles with colored sugar water. “Carl was good to me because I was a regular customer and gave me extra pieces.”
Pam (Trefz) Staab, Yeado’s sister, said she liked to buy candy cigarettes there but her great-uncle Carl didn’t like kids to “smoke” them. “When you blew on them, powder sugar came out,” she said. “My memories are food-related — “The cracker jacks, the chocolate ice cubes — I literally had to pull my brother out of that store from the candy. Uncle Carl liked to sit in the back. I think he had a rocking chair and you could hear that chair creaking.”Eva Belle Gerstenberger and Valerie Richardson both had dishware from the Trefz store featuring a photograph of the former brick school on the sixth block of Church Street. Carrol Gerstenberger said sheets of valentines sold for a penny apiece. “Some of them were very insulting,” he said.
Trefz also sold clothing and shoes. “He took care of people so much better than they do today,” Kermit Broers said. “He made sure the shoes fit you.” Nell Trefz said that store items were bought from TM James’, a seven-story wholesale store in Kansas City. “Willie and I went with Carl once. It was the top-of-the-line for inexpensive things. The plates were even hand painted. He knew exactly what he wanted and went to each floor picking out items that were later delivered to him.”
Carl Trefz, a do-it-yourself optometrist, measured eyes for glasses with a device now owned by Yeado. Fern Long, who has a collection of decorative birds given to her over the years by her husband and a row of plates above her sink, all from the Trefz Variety Store, said the store also had a photographer came to the store to take photographs each year. “Most of my grandchildren had their pictures taken there,” Long said.
After the store closed and Carl Trefz’s death in 1977, Freddie Trefz “locked it up just like it was,” Nell Trefz said and often added items from area sales to remaining store fixtures and items. “Uncle Carl was a big saver,” Staab said. “We found pieces of aluminum foil, bread ties, and lots of stuff he saved.” Leftover store items were finally dispersed in an auction held in the early 1990s, Nell Trefz said. The building stayed within the Freddie Trefz family who added a bathroom and running water in 2000.
World War 1. If the German spoken in Eudora was becoming less heard, World War I really ended it as an everyday language because war with Germanymade those of German origin a point of scrutiny. Mail was even halted to and from Germany. Newspapers warned citizens to treat any Germans or Austrians as potential spies. Hostile acts were common.After Adolph Lotz found his Eudora office painted yellow, he told the Lawrence Daily Journal World (June 20, 1918):
“When I came to this country over 30 years ago, I came with the intention of making this country my home: I took out my first papers the first year I was here and my second papers in 1892. I have tried honestly to live up to the laws of our country all the time and when the United States became involved in the present war, I never shirked or refused a call to help whatever way I could in giving my time and money for whatever purpose it was needed.“. . .I made the statement over and over again to Germans and Americans alike that since our country is in war with Germany, anybody who has any leanings toward his former home must put them aside and take the only proper stand. The stand for America and America alone. If this action brands me disloyal, and subject to attack, I would like to know what I should do?” A presidential proclamation in 1918 decreed that all natives, citizens, or subjects of the German Empire who were males 14 and older and not naturalized as Americans had to register as “alien enemies.”
The Douglas County National Archives registration of “alien enemies” and “alien families” in 1917 and 1918 listed numerous Eudora residents and their birthplaces: Joseph Zillner (Bavaria), Barbara Zillner (Eudora), Fred Ziesenis (Hanover), Karoline Ziesenis (New York), Herman Wichman (Hanover), William (Kirchheim), Charles Schuricht (Clausnetz), Lorenz Speicher (Hartheim), Mary Speicher (Eudora), John Schuster (Bavaria), William Schnerle (Oberbobengen), Joe Schopper (Bavaria), Mary Schopper (Missouri), John Rothberger (Bavaria), Anna Rothberger (Neiderbaren), August Richtermeier (Westphalen), Herman Pooch (Pommern), Fred Pooch (Piestoff), Anna Molden Pooch (Pollenow), Karl Pfleger (Heimkirchen), Emma Pfleger (Indiana), Peter Neis (Heimkirchen), Fred Neis (Heimkirchen), Minnie Neis (Missouri), Maria Neis (Hermberclues), Elisa Meinke (Fadenrod), Julius Lotz (Zweibrucken in Bavaria), Carl Lotz (Bavaria), Louise Lotz (Uhlach), Rose Lotz (Eudora), Henry Koerner (Koenigshain), Mary Koerner (Eudora), William Koehler (Pommern), Lena Koehler (Kansas), Lena Richter Koehler (Missouri), Gustave Koehler (Pommern), Mikel Kasseberger (Weeksheit), Joseph Hadl (Krimet), Fred Gerstenberger (Hennersdorf), Ernest Gerstenberger (Hennersdorf), Emelie Gerstenberger (Eudora), Sophia Gerstenberger (Hanover), Mary Sommer (Bavaria), Mary Ann Schuster (Neiderbaren), Clara Schaefer (Heppingen), Anna Richtermeier (Pennsylvania), Mary Kasberger (Schoenberg), Frida Kanneberg (Pommeron), Nanie Kaiser (Baltmans), Christine Kaiser (Wurttemberg), Anna Hadle (Franenberg), Frances Greiner (Niederhausen), Lena Eder (Bavaria), Anna Eder (Barron), Katherine Blechel (Neiderbaren), Anna Blopp (Grainet), and Lena Beacker (Pollenauf). Additional information can be accessed at http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/kcgs/douglasalien.htm. Federal Archives, such as the one in Kansas City, have the names, birth dates, birth places, fingerprints, signatures, and photographs of the registrants.
Classification as an “alien enemy” could restrict travel. Adolf Lotz Jr. wrote the United States Marshal (October 8, 1918) in Topeka. Dear Sirs, Two of my brothers [Julius Lotz and Carl F. Lotz] who came here when they were 13 & 16 years old, were past 21 years old when my father took out his second papers. They are here over 30 years and always considered themselves Citizens, because father became a citizen in 1898. They registered here as Alien enemies according to law and they now would like to know if they had to have a pass to go to Lawrence or Kansas City. They have a son at the University Lawrence in the S.A.T.C. and would not run the risk of acting contrary to law in visiting him. Would a pass carry them anywhere? Kindly let me hear from you as they do not want to anything unlawful. Thanking you for an early reply.
The Oct. 10, 1918 reply from C.C. Jackson, Chief Deputy for O.T. Woodard read: “Replying to yours of the 8th inst., inquiring about permits for your brothers, you are advised that up to date we have not declared restricted zone at Lawrence, but if you desire to go to Kansas City it will be necessary for them to report to this office for permit.”On the war front, the first to go from Eudora were those in the National Guard: Clarence Everley, Paul Schubert, Max Rothberger, Howard Woodard, and Leland Kendall. With later additions of Henry McCabria and Vance Grimes, they shipped out in October 1917 with the 1stKansas Regiment to Fort Sill in Oklahoma. The Eudora newspaper published its “Honor Roll” every week listing Eudora citizens in the war and said the 137th Infantry sent to France was mostly Eudorans. The newspaper also printed letters written home in each issue.
Examples include: From Otto Vitt: Somewhere in France, Dear Folks, Today is Sunday and not much doing so I thought I would write because I haven’t written for some time. I am in the YMCA and a Frenchman is playing a Victrola. Sure makes a fellow homesick a little. It sounds good to hear different music than the whistles of shells. We haven’t been in action the last few days. Some people think an Ammunition Train isn’t dangerous. We have no shelter whatever. Sometimes they call us about midnight and haul ammunition. I will tell you all about our trips if it will go past the censor. One night we were called out and we had to make two trips. The first went O.K.; it was dark. The next trip it began to get daylight before we got up there. We went on a dead run nearly all the way and when we got up to the Batteries, it being daylight then, we halted and the Lieut. rode out to the Batteries and back and told us that the Batteries would take the ammunition if we would risk the trip because they needed it. My Corporal said, ‘Forward, March,’ and away we went as hard as the horses could gallop. Six horses to a Casioon, and the way we whipped those horses wasn’t slow. It was open prairie and in plain view of the Germans. We were up to our second line trenches. We galloped our horses across the prairie, ducking shell holes and hitting them. We rode up to the guns, halted white the Battery boys jerked out the ammunition and said “Get out of here,’ and believe me we went: But about halfway a swing horse stumbled in a shell hole and down he went. My horse ran over him before I could stop. We unhitched, got him up, and gone again in less time that it takes to tell it. We were the last Caisoon off the field and the Lieutenant stayed right with us. I guess the Germans were asleep because they could have bumped every one of us off. They fired a few shots but too late; we were gone. We were under fire a couple of days but no one was hurt. It isn’t anything to see horses and solder s lying along the road that got bumped off. Of course we don’t see as much as the infantry or Artillery. The Americans are doing good work, especially our division. It sure has won a name. The Germans never push them back, even they know us. I guess I must close and take care of my tent. I have two beauties. Here’s hoping this letter will go through. Don’t worry because there aren’t enough Germans to get us. With love to all, Otto Vitt, Co. F., 117 Ammunition Team.
Walter “Pat” Bernitz also wrote a letter home when he was stationed in Queenstown, Ireland: Dear Mother, I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well yet. Say, did you get my last letter? I hope so. Tell everybody hello for me. Tell me all the news that you know. Write if anyone has gone into service since I left. I sure would like to see old Eudora, Kansas, again. Sure had some trip on my last going. I guess you think it is bad of me not getting my picture taken, but I never did get time. I will get it taken later. The country is great. I will be able to tell you a lot of news when I get home. Would like to tell you what I am doing over here, but I can’t do it. Tobacco is cheap over her. Plenty to eat. I guess you are worrying about me, but I am all O.K. and having a good time, also. I guess everybody is threshing by now; I wish I was there now helping. Tell Aunt Allie I will write later to her and some others. Well, I guess I will close; so answer soon and tell me all then news you know. Is Frank still working in Lawrence? So bye-bye with love to all from, Your son, Walter Bernitz
George Eder was the first Eudoran to die in the war efforts. After training, he was sent on to Camp Dixin New Jersey. Preparing to go overseas, he contracted the flu that caused many deaths in military camps during that time and died October 3, 1918. In his honor, the Eudora Legion Post was named Eder Post No. 4. The flu that killed Ederalso spread through Eudora in the fall of 1919 and the spring of 1920. No gatherings were permitted; church services were put on hold. When Joe Brueggan, 26, died while training, it was pneumonia on Christmas Eve in 1917 that took his life at Camp Kearney in California.The day the war ended, businesses closed, and the churches held a united service. Carl Schubert drove his hearse around the city with “Kaiser Bill” in it, and Louis Eder played dirges on his brass horn. At war end, the following people from Eudora and surrounding area serving in World War 1, according to weekly reports:In France: Leland Kendall, Fred Rothberger, Joe Bryant, Lester Haverty, Robert Williams, Vance Grimes, Lawrence Hughes, Eugene Woodard, Paul Woodard, Paul Schubert, Harry McCabria, Robert Chenoweth, John Edelbrock, Albert Tornedon, Louis Kurtz, Lloyd Bryant, Herbert Reusch, Ray Paxton, Ray White, Ralph Page, Frank Hicks, Will Brazil, Charles Brazil, Norman Strachen, Henry Trout, George Abbot, Otto Vitt, Walter Haelsig, Arthur Kraus, Howard Woodard, Max Rothberger, Clarence Everley, Jesse Rogers, Worden Rogers, Archibald Roe, Vitus Hadle, Herman Trefz, Fred Ziesenis, Clarence Gottstein, Clifton Allen, Roy Daugherty, Louis Grosdidier, Roy Harris, “Babe” Gatewood, Albert Russell, Clarence Harris, James Ray, Otho Gatewood, Charles Crump, Forest Monroe, Lee Crump, and Roscoe Crump
In Navy: Homer Koerner, Homer Clark, Charles Everley, Charles Dolisi, and Eugene McCabria
In aviation: Leon Catlin, James Davis, Carl Reber, Rolland Chenowith, Walter Bernitz, and Jesse Chenowith
In Red Cross: Miss Frances Schopper (nurse)
In training camps: Hubert Woodard, Harvey Brecheisen, Claude Deay, Paul Gerstenberger, George Breithaupt, Frank Sommer, George Woodard, Charles Speicher, George Gerstenberger, John Mohler, Louis Bartz, Floyd Gottstein, Benjamin Erwin, Herbert Lawson, Charles Schaake, Archie Walters, Harry Miller, Herman Bohnsack, LeRoy Harris, Fred Deck, John Strum, George Trefz, John Ligget, Fleming Chenoweth, Paul Lawson, Herbert Lawrenz, James Kraybill, Otto Haelsig, Herbert Gerstenberger, George Eder, Edward Melville, Herbert Freeze, Ralph Terrell, Fred Reitz, Joseph Rothberger, Clorence Lefmann, John Speicher, Harry Broers, Vernon Meinke, Alva Cheoweth, Lester Reber, Clyde Nichols, Frank Hagenbuch, Fred Koch, Theodore Plfeger, George Williams, Edward Neustifter, Thomas Liggett, Frank Page, Louis Schurle, Otto Lotz, William Zimmerman, Carl Trefz, Richard Trout, Charles Hill, Fred Frye, Frank Copp, Earl Williams, Preston Roe, Ray Cox, George Fortner, Harry Ray, Bunce Ewing, Thomas Harvey, Pleasant Hackworth Jr., and Clarence Gatewood. Those who died in service included Will Brazil, Frank Hicks, Charles Everley, Paul Lawson, John Speciher, Clorence Lefmann, John Speicher, Richard Trout, Presto Roe, Bunce Ewing, and Fred Deck.
Brunee Ewing, Eudora, (who could have been Bunce) drowned October 15, 1918 while enlisted, according to Genweb Archives statewide casualties listing of World War I military personnel. John Edelbrock returned home disabled. Federal officials arrested Charles Kaiser who told the draft board that his son, Louis, was too young to register; when rumors got to the board that the Kaisers had evaded the draft illegally, Louis said his father had prevented his registration.
When confronted, Louis registered and no charges were brought on him. Charles refused to make any statements.
Eudora citizens rallied to the cause such as their Red Cross contributions. In 1917, the followed donated to the Red Cross fund: $100: Mrs. S.T. Gilmore$50: George Lothholz$40: Eudora Department Store$25: Gus Ziesenis, Kaw Valley State Bank, Eudora State Bank$20: Adolph Lotz Jr, Rev. Frederick Stoerker$16: Homer White$15: W. A. Fuller, J.M. Tarleton, Ed Diedrich$10: Dr. J.G. Lee, John Dolisi, H.O. Woodard and son, Alvena Dolisi, Carl Schubert, W.H. Starr, Mrs. E.M. Roberts, Mrs. Charles Nemic$7.75: Mr. C.T.U. $6: Will H . Ziesenis$5: John Miller, Thomas Elliot, Charles Richards, E. W. Kraus, Edelbrock Garage, S.V. Carr, Carrie Ziesenis, Will Miller, Ray Miller, S.J. Lawson, Frank Hagenbuch, E.W. Joy, Julius Lotz, G.E. Miller, Mary Myers, N.F. Stachan, Jeremiah Schlegel, Grace Nemee, May Lee, Fred and Henry Frye, Herbert Lawson, Harry Miller, Fred Walker, Everett Cory, M.H. Cox, Sam Lepper, Erna Ziesenis, Mrs. John Hammert$4: Mr. and Mrs. J. Copp, Will Stadler, William Trefz Sr., Nellie Catlin, Mrs. William Fuller, Mrs. D. R. Kohler, Olive Carr, Joseph Vitt and family$3: Jesse Kraybill$2.50: August Richtermeier$2: Willliam Trefz Jr., Fred Zeisenis Jr., W.R. Shannon, Lota Zeisenis, Hilda Ziesenis, Lulu Miller, Mrs. G.E. Miller, Anna Richtermeier, Nellie Lothholz, Minnie McCrea, Otto Haelsig, John Sommer, Charles Kelly, Frank Neustifter, W.H. Reynolds, Mrs. D.M. Bond, Barbarta Hammig, C.L. Fuller and Mrs. Fuller, Henry Meinke and mother, Jas. And Roy Kraybill, Albert Nesustifter, Henrietta Schubert, Alma Myers, Adelia Ziesenis, Emma Lotz, Eunice White, Arthur Kraus, Harry Starr, Mrs. William Trefz, Alta Roe and mother, E. Gerstenberger, Marjory White, D.R. Kohler$1.50: Mrs. John Schuster$1: Alfred Eisele, Charles Neustifter, W. H. Robinson, Fred Ziesenis Sr., Mrs. T.H. Johnson, Mrs. Alvin Bond, Mrs. Mary White, Mrs. William Schubert, Mrs. Julius Lotz, Mrs. S. Breithaupt, Mrs. Ulrich Schlegel, Will Zimmerman, C.P. Page, John White, Mrs. John Miller, Tena Neustifter, Clara Neustifter, Mrs. Jacob Dolisi, Otto Lotz, Mrs. M.M. Joy, George Rodler, Kenneth Cooper, Dan Scannell, Ernest Haelsig, A.H. Fiehler, Paul Lawson, May Lepper, Winona Neis, May Everley, Aileen Richards, Mrs. Thackston, John Everley, Laura Harris, Arno Ziesenis, A. Lotz Sr., Mrs. August Bohnsack, Mrs. A.H. Fiehler, Pauline Cory, George Merz and wife, Edna Dolisi, Emma Pipes, Agnes Carr, Mrs. Wichman, Henrietta Gerstenberger, Edith Landon, Mr. J.E. Wade, Carrie White, Donald White, Helen Groves, Tracy Harvey, Louie Eder, Allie Milburn, Mrs. Durst$.50: Frances Greiner, Ed Marshall, Mattie Lewis, Barbara Zillner, Willie Neustifter, C. Pearl Groves, Herbert Gerstenberger, William Haelsig, Henry Hadle, Fred Schellack, Amanda Jones, Frank Blechel, Frank Sommer Jr., Herbert Landon, Rev. Zeidler, Fay Lepper, Al Griffin, Clara Lotz, Mrs. George Schrenk, Tillie Papenhausen, W. A. Lefmann, William Lee, Tillie Edwards, John Rothberger, Grace Rothberger, Mrs. John Rothberger, Clara Kendall, Spencer Johnson, Clarence Todd$.35: Pauline Sommer$.25: Charles Mertz, Arthur Shrumpf, John Leonhard, Mary Everley, Al Harvey, Rose Harvey, Charles Schuricht, Ellen Clark, Mrs. Frank Roe, Sophia Richards, Emma Kunkel, Tillie Rosenau, Eliza Todd, Fred Arkle, Allan Gatewood, John Hadle, J. Weston$.15: Mary Irwin, Gladys Schubert, Gertrude Schubert$.10: Mrs. Charles Schubert, Mrs. R. Irwin, Emma Cairns, Louise Ziesenis, Anna Davis, Inez Davis, Dorothy WhiteTeam collecting showed the following: H.A. White, Gus Ziesenis, George Lothholz ($359.00); Olive Carr and Barbara Hammig ($159.55); Erna Ziesenis ($82.50); Henrietta Schubert and Lulu Miller ($66.50), Aileen Richard ($32.50); Mrs. W.A. Fuller and Marjory White ($29.00); Alta Roe ($24.75); Mrs. A. H. Fiehler ($16.35), and Minnie McCrea and Mrs. D.H. Kohler ($12.85)
38.4 EUDORA. Bank on near left; turn right; cross R.R., 38.5, left-hand road; bridge just ahead; turn left with marked poles. 38.9, right-hand road; turn right with marked poles.
Close to but not on the westward trails, the one trail on which Eudora was a landmark proved to be famous in its day but is little known today.
To back up, in the first decade or so of the twentieth century, boosters rallied to establish a coast-to-coast highway connecting existing roads with one name. One of the first was the 1912 National Old Trails Road, also known as the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway. It ran from Baltimore to California on a similar route as Interstate Highway 70 before veering southwest by the Santa Fe Trail.
That same year, Lawrence began mapping its section of the transcontinental Golden Belt Road. So named because of the “golden belts” painted on telephone poles along the unpaved road, the Golden Belt came from Lawrence’s Eleventh Street on the south side of Kansas River to Eudora. The road crossed the town’s bridges before continuing on the river’s north side further east. In Eudora, a Seventh Street garage in Eudora incorporated “Golden Belt” in its name, probably in hopes of attracting travelers.
Red night lanterns on Eudora’s section were installed to help the estimated hundred daily motorists. A Lawrence newspaper mentioned the need, “The entire route is covered with sharp sand, the result of the 1903 flood, that in the dry weather is three feet deep, making any kind of travel extremely difficult.”
Even with straw, cinders, or “gumbo” [dirt] toppings, road conditions continued to be so poor that local papers reported motorists passed through Baldwin to avoid Eudora’s Golden Belt Road. “Horrible” was used to describe the Eudora section, one of the most heavily used of the inter-state Kansas highways, in 1918: “If there is another bit of main traveled road in the state that is in as bad condition, no one seems know where it is located.”
By this time, the transcontinental road route name was changing to the Midland Trail, a 12-state, 700-city road that passed through Rosedale, Merriam, Shawnee, Zarah, Monticello, Cedar Junction, and Eudora from Kansas City westward and basically along Highway 24 in Kansas.
Local route changes ensued. “At Lawrence, instead of going out Eleventh Street, the trail will go out 13th street past Oak Hill Cemetery and connect with the old road four miles east of Lawrence, continuing to within 3 miles of Eudora, where it will turn to the south for one-half mile starting into Eudora from the west.”
Marked with a black band sandwiched between two six-inch orange bands on telephone poles, the route depended on local associations to provide hospitality stops and road signage.
Basketball players from the city of Glasco did their part by challenging 26 towns, including Eudora, along the route in a nightly hoops game to raise paint funds. During the day, the team—which claimed to be undefeated— marked telephone poles along the way.
The Midland Trail consolidated with the Roosevelt National Highway in 1921 but still retained its name for several years. The National Highway Association 1926 replacement of highway names with numbers put an end to the named transcontinental roads.
While roads composing the Midland network still exist, the U.S. Interstate System that began in 1956 has reduced their use to local travel and backroad excursions.