Historical Society Gazette
Volume 8, Issue 1
Winter 1998


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Victorian Tips for care of Apple Trees

These recipes for care of apple trees were found in a 1870s ledger in the collection.

First week in spring with white wash or other brush give apple trees a painting of soft soap. Repeat the dose in the middle of June. Will effectively prevent the Borer.

Take a pail of fresh cow manure and mix with it a quarter of a pound of pulverized sulphur. Let it be mixed with a little water and then in the fall paint trees with it. It will prevent rabbits from barking or cutting them.

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Dreaming of your spring herb garden? Don’t miss the annual Herb Market.

May 1 is the date for the Fifth Annual Herb Market held on the grounds of the Carroll Mansion. Many of you may know from years past that this fund-raiser is a great place to purchase locally grown herbs and vegetables. At the Herb Market you can find all of your basic culinary herbs plus some more exotic herbs and heirloom vegetables. In addition to the herbs sold to benefit the Leavenworth County Historical Society, several vendors feature garden related crafts for sale. Don’t forget to get those tickets for the Victorian Repast. You will have an opportunity to win a dinner for 6 to 8 people served in one of Leavenworth’s finest Vintage Homes.

The Herb Committee is asking all our members who garden to save their volunteer plants for the Herb Market.

The Herb Committee meets every month and will have some wonderful additions to this year’s fun. I hope to see you all there.

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Remembering a Dear Friend of the LCHS

On October 23, 1998, Sister Thomas Aquinas O’Conner died at Ross Hall, Mother House of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. Sister Thomas Aquinas was head of the History department at Saint Mary College from 1962-1983. After her retirement from teaching she was named College Historian, a position she held from 1985-1994. A person who was deeply interested in local history, Sister Thomas Aquinas was a member of the Historical Society for many years. She was a board member and secretary to the board from 1976-78, and from 1979-81.

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Unusual Research Request

Several months ago the museum received a research request interested in knowing if closets were really taxed during the Victorian era.

Wanda Holder, took the question on, with the help of the Leavenworth Library and discovered a very interesting answer. The following answer comes from records in the Douglas County Appraiser’s Office researched by Gordon Anderson.

In some regions out east, homes were given "chattel" appraisals, that is, their contents were personally inspected, appraised, and taxed by the assessor. Doors, of much more complicated construction then, were included as chattel ( Window panes were, too) Thus, the fewer the doors (presumably those to closets included) the less to be appraised or taxed, and presumably, then, few if any closets. In Galveston, Texas, for example, finished houses were taxed at a much higher rate than unfinished homes, which received a flat tax of just a few dollars. Thus, one finds homes, which received a flat tax of just a few dollars. Thus, one finds there were very few finished older homes: door frames would be purposefully damaged and not repaired, or doors would be left off.

But there are more convincing reasons for fewer Victorian closets than tax practices. One hundred years or so ago "balloon framing" was prevalent in home construction. Here the vertical studs run from the ground floor to the roof, with horizontal joists affixed to the studs at the appropriate floor levels, all the way across the floor. Nowadays"western platform framing" is used, whereby the studs run only on floor in height and joists are fastened to the tops of them, in sections. This latter framing method allows for much better load-bearing efficiency for the second-floor joists and studs. In adding closets to the second floor of a balloon frame house, both the framing and the lath and plaster would add considerable, perhaps excessive weight to the joists and weaken their load-bearing capacity. In a western platform frame house joists can better distribute that weight of extra closets across the entire floor.

To answer your original question, the reason for few closets in Victorian homes is due much more to storage needs and building practices than to tax policies. My source said that a lot of these tax legends often get started because of a pleasure of bragging how one cheated the tax man out of his due.

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Annual meeting

The annual meeting of the Leavenworth County Historical Society will be held on Thursday at 6 p.m., March 18 at the Leavenworth Country Club. The speaker will be Kelvin Crow, tour guide for the Leavenworth County Historical Society. He will speak on the early history of Leavenworth and on sharing our history with tourists. The menu will be: salad, pork normand, carved beef, glazed carrots, green beans almondine, rice pilaff, rolls, coffee or tea, and raspberry sherbet.

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Update on the Everhard Collection

During the last four months of 1998 the Leavenworth County Historical Society received the benefit of an intern (Ken Watras). During the 120 hours he worked, Mr. Watras inventoried 1,000 of the Everhard photos. He used supplies provided by Hallmark funds to properly house each negative. He used the names and numbers written at the top of each negative to order and reference them. An alphabetized list with all 1,000 names was the end result of this internship. That leaves only 29,000 negatives to be inventoried and properly housed. It is a huge job.

The next payment on the Everhard collection is due March 1, 1999. Thanks to all of you who generously supported this collection, the museum has enough money to make this payment. This leaves only one more payment, due March, 2000. We will need all your support to make this last payment of $2,500.

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Spring Lunch and Learn

The Leavenworth County Historical Society’s Spring Lunch and Learn will be Friday, May 14 at 12 p.m. Sara Tucker will speak on women and volunteerism. The menu will be: chicken breast, rice, carrots, roll, coffee or tea, and strawberry shortcake. The cost is $6.00 for members and $7.00 for nonmembers. Please R.S.V.P. by May 10.

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LCHS wishes to Thank. . .

Marty Bauer for his much needed assistance with conversion of the old files to the museum’s new computer software. Marty works on Fort Leavenworth, as a computer specialist with the Army. He has been invaluable during the museum’s transition to the new computer system. Not only has he converted our membership files to our new software but continually answers our computer questions at no charge.

Debra Graden for helping the staff with backups of our old computer, and helping staff with the 1st Vintage home mailing using our new computer.

Summit Solutions for a year of free INTERNET service from Leavenworth on line.

Wes Ludwig for all his work in installing the new heating/cooling unit in our office, the large candlelight homes tour sign used on 4th St., and help with snow removal on drive.

All who helped with the children’s holiday party.

Louis Klemp, for free storage of some of the museum’s collection at his business, Storage Box Inc.

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Our New Computer Network

The museum has a new computer network, provided by Summit Solutions, Inc. The funds for the system came from the donation given by Hallmark Cards, Inc. last fall. The museum purchased a new computer and scanner from Summit Solutions. A computer donated by Kelvin Crow was networked to the new computer. This allows both Victoria and Christine to work on a computer at the same time. A donation from Summit Solutions of INTERNET service to the museum has brought us into the 21st century. Our new e-mail address is [email protected].

Victoria and Christine have a lot to learn about this new system. We ask that you be patient with them through this learning experience.

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Who won the Quilt?

Katie Junk, from Olathe, won the beautiful quilt made by Leavenworth/Lansing Sewing on the Line Guild. The second prize, a runner, went to Betty Strand and third prize, a lovely quilt square, went to Mary Chapman. The Leavenworth County Historical Society wishes to thank Leavenworth /Lansing Sewing on the Line Guild, and all the ladies who worked on the quilts.

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The 1998 Candlelight Homes Tour was a success!

The annual Holiday Candlelight Homes Tour was a great success this past year. This wonderful benefit sponsored by the Vintage Homes Society of Leavenworth earned more than $4,000 for the Leavenworth County Historical Society.

The Leavenworth County Historical Society would like to thank Robin Frank and all the home owners: Connie and John Anderson, Mary and Mike Stephenson, Dee and Bob Richardson, Brett Boeppler, Lisa and Terry Weakley, Carola and Derek Roundtree, and Beth and Bruce Archambault.

This is a wonderful fund-raiser for the museum, please support it next year.

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Nettie Hartnett

For fifty years Nettie Hartnett was an important, respected and loved part of the Leavenworth Public School System. She began working at the Leavenworth High School in the autumn of 1911, at the age of 21, as secretary. As secretary, she dealt with all the small problems that entered the principle’s office, everything from a sick child to questions about grades.

After a fire on January 29, 1932 destroyed the high school, classes were held in the junior high at Third and Congress. In a Leavenworth Times article from 1981, Miss Hartnett remembered that the high school students met from 12:30 - 6 p.m., making the days very long. In 1959, this Junior High was named for Miss Hartnett. Miss Hartnett died in 1982.


From For
Robert & Theresa Holt Willis Talbot
Robert Holt Amy Beursken
Robert Holt Rita Spindler
Robert Holt Helen Miller
Robert Holt Maurice Swann
M/M William Dysinger Sr. Thomas Aquinas
Bill & Sharon Mowery Gertrude Thomas
Terry & Sue Rush Gertrude Thomas
Larry Feverly & Barb Burdel and Cynthia Welsh Gertrude Thomas
Betty & Homer Cory Gertrude Thomas
M/M Robert Holland Gertrude Thomas
Warren & Betty Reed, Jr. Gertrude Thomas
William & Juanice Thomas Gertrude Thomas
James & Gloria Fendorf Gertrude Thomas
Jess & JoAnn Hendricks Violet Hatcher
Robert Holt Evelyn Delaney
Terry & JoAnn Norman Floyd Bertlett
Terry & JoAnn Norman Joe Bietka
Robert Holt & Auvil Family Michael Poduck, Rose
M/M W.D. Powell Gertrude Thomas

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Victoria Erbe, Museum Administrator
* Grey Ink, Designer
John H. Johnston III, Volunteer Editor
The Historical Society Gazette is published quarterly for members of the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum
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