Saturday, September 11, 2010


We left Hastings in the rain headed for Benkelman, NE, near the border of  Colorado. Or we could consider a shorter drive to Mc Cook where the options for overnight were better? An uneventful drive in any case, with my turn at the wheel a mere 75 miles. McCook has a tourist park that was so appealing we decided we needed a rest and would stay two nights.
After a leisurely, restful morning off we went to the Highland Plains Museum. So many memories of life long past tickled my emotions.  Like the polio scare we all lived through. The iron lung above brought back the real fear of those times.

This professional movie projector and the Fox Theater Organ brought back the joy of those times. They still performed a bit of on stage vaudeville in small towns during the late 1940's.  I counted four different organs and as many pianos in this museum.
The first telephone we ever had was similar to this one. And for some reason I remember our telephone number for our families party line-2505XJ. We lived in Danforth, Michigan, then.
 This little wind generator could keep one light bulb lit and a battery operated radio alive during a windstorm. Oh the wonders of electricity. Rural farm America was isolated as anyone who lived through it can remember.

This fuel less cooker was a marvel. You had to bring your stew, or beans to a boil, then place the pot on a hot flat stone, close the cover and wait for dinner time for a tender, juicy meal
There were sewing machines, washing machines, farm implements, tools, clothing, toys, by the numbers here. It struck me that an isolated community like McCook just had no place to go with this no longer needed stuff and had the wherewithal to hold onto it for the future. And, while so many items brought back personal memories, I've neglected the town of McCook. A precocious kid from McCook by the name of Edwin Perkins became a mail order "chemist" and grew up to start a mail order business when he was 20. His best seller was a drink called Fruit Smack, but it would get damaged in shipment, or leak. He decided to dehydrate it, and the rest, as we know, is history. He named his drink Kool-Aid. And we all grew up with pitcher after pitcher of that stuff.
In this town of 8,000 people is a Carnegie Library. Frank Lloyd Wright designed a house here. There were plans for another of his in the museum, though never built. The Green Dream Home is here. (More tomorrow about that.)
 People of McCook had more than their share of disasters, from a major train wreck...
An horrific flood...
A major tornado. Add to that, buffalo roaming through town and the usual mishaps of life.  Early life in McCook wasn't easy. The stalwart backbone of America was its farmers and ranchers. Its all here.

 Then the people of McCook come alive in scrapbooks and pictures. A local treasure to be sure. Above is one such character, Blind Sam  He and his dog "owned" a street corner where he played the violin for fifty years.
 I found threads for several blogs in this museum, so you won't have heard the last of it. I could have easily spent another hour here and soaked up what I'm sure to have missed.
 We walked out and looked at the old Fox Theater across from the museum, (its now a church) and thought of the people who built this solid small town.

1 comment:

Mary Matzek said...

For the anonymous persons who wish to visit Monty Wolfe's cabin, please contact me by email.