The History of Eudora, Kansas
The History of Eudora, Kansas
Photograph to right, Tom Jerome, Nottingham principal for more than 30 years, in 1980, when awarded Outstanding Elementary Principal by state of Kansas
U.S. Census Bureau figures in 1980 indicated the total labor force in Eudora consisted of 1,489 employed residents; 663 more residents were non-employed. Of employed residents, 316 worked in Eudora, and 781 worked outside the city. Of those working outside Eudora, 507 worked in Lawrence. Thirty percent were employed in the manufacturing industry; 13% in educational services; and 11% in construction and retail. More than 50% of workers were in repair, clerical, and administrative services. With household incomes ranging from below $2,500 to under $75,000, the average household income was $16,885.
Voters said “no” to the proposal of a new high school, and the city council said “yes” to putting 14 mercury vapor lights in the Hunter’s Ridge addition at the west end of Twelfth Street to light up the streets at night. John Pinnick, city superintendent since 1971, got a new 24-foot by 30-foot city shop added to the city municipal utilities compound mushrooming east of Main Street along the Wakarusa River. The compound at this time housed the water plant, chemical building, city shop, large equipment, and utility crew offices. One benefit of the new building was its ability to protect city records that had been damaged from the chlorine gas in their old location.
On March 3, 1981, a blond, white male entered the Kaw Valley Bank and ordered all employees and customers to go to the lower level. Then he told employee Geraldine Abel to take money from the four cashier drawers and put it into sacks for him. With the money, he fled Eudora across the Kansas River bridge in a car.
The Eudora Area Historical Society held its first official meeting January 22, 1981 with 22 area residents present. Several members have furthered research about communities outerlying Eudora such as Vi (Gerstenberger) Fleming, who chronicled Hesper’s past as did Lorene (Reetz) Cox for Fall Leaf and Margaret (Spitzli) Gabriel for Weaver Bottoms. Patty Johnston transcribed several years of meetings, and Rex Burkhardt videotaped meetings starting in the mid-1990s. Marlene Evinger, its long-time treasurer, housed the group’s records at the Eudora Public Library for several years before they were transferred to the Eudora museum.
A ground-breaking ceremony at Tenth Street and Pine Street for a $585,000 senior citizens housing project of 24 single-story housing units called "PineCrest" took place in 1985. Eudora
Emergency Medical Service, a first response team to accidents and other emergencies, started in September 1988 and was staffed by Bill Vigneron, Sharron Harris, Bruce Neis, Bill Shocket, Paul Coover, Kathy Woodson, Jerry Mercer, David Alternbernd, and Darren Hill.
The business community added Broers Flower Shop in 1983 at 704 Main Street, which Judy Broers started in the basement of her home in 1978. Also opening that year was Annabelle’s restaurant in the former Dairi Treat site at Tenth Street and Locust Street. Other businesses operating during this time included Bagby & Hoover Insurance (729 Main), Broers Auto Sales (1003 Main), Jayhawk Oil (2 W. Tenth), Merlin’s Ice Company (412 E. Seventh), Real Estate Mart (112 E. Tenth), Sportswear Shop (10 W. Ninth), and Casey’s convenience store (303 E. Tenth).
Seth Rislove, now Brian Winslow, a graduate of Capitol City Barber College in Topeka at age 18, opened his salon, The Main Event, in 1984. Emmett Wetta opened Gambino’s take-out pizza in 1989 (and remodeled for dine-in service in 1991), and Delicious Pizza opened in August 1989 on Tenth Street. Also opening that year was UARCO, a Chicago-based company, with 11 major pieces of equipment to produce printing materials in its 14,000-square foot plant.
As the decade closed in 1989, Bert Hull and Vickie Hull started the Eudora News newspaper, and Southwestern Bell changed from a mechanical switch to a digital switch enabling speed dialing, call forwarding, three-way calling, one plus dialing to a long distance carrier, and other options.
Also closing the decade was the photograph of Randy Leach posted throughout the area. Last seen at a graduation party in rural Linwood about 2 a.m., April 16, 1988, Leach, a Linwood High School senior and the family car, a gray 1985 Dodge 600, disappeared. For years, flyers and news articles reported on Leach's disappearance and his parents’ fight to solve the crime, but his disappearance continued to be a mystery.