ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOEL KLAASSEN
Our project to produce a pictorial book for Hillsboro’s 120th birthday has been extremely interesting. I have always wanted to know more about our town’s early days. In fact, I have always fantasized about being able to do a time warp and actually walk the streets in the old days and experience what it must have been like then.
In addition to receiving many interesting photographs, which are what we looking for in this the book, we have also received a wealth of interesting information about the past.
I am not able to use names, but one story involves a letter that was sent by a prominent Hillsboro professional to a gentleman in a neighboring town trying to recruit him to come to Hillsboro and set up shop as a barber. The recruiter went on to say that someone with a German background could do a lot better than one who does not understand “our people.”
According to the letter writer, the barbers we had at the time did not meet the needs of the community. He stated that the best one had a heart condition and was away, another had a second job and was a poor workman, the third you either had to like the haircut or let it grow back.
The recruit didn’t come, by the way.
My wife recently bought some anti-aging cream to put on my face. It’s really for women, but they sell it for men, too. My thought was to use it on half of my face and see what happens.
We also received a scrapbook from Karleen Vogt that was found as they were cleaning out the old Vogt’s IGA store. Jerold’s uncle, Albert Vogt, who was a city councilman in the 1940s, kept a scrapbook that detailed the big controversy over building a power generating plant in Hillsboro that was going to cost $162,000.
Many prominent business leaders were against the idea, the mayor and the council were for it. Numerous ads, pro and con, were run in the Hillsboro Star. A taxpayers league was formed. Even Kansas Power and Light got involved with the public fight. The bond issue passed and we got the power plant. Many years later we got rid of the power plant. Today, we produce water there instead of power.
Also from the Vogt’s store material were newspapers detailing Marion County Fair activities. Among the attractions in 1941 were a singing coyote from Wyoming (captured from the wild!), a rollerskating male/female duo pictured with their clamp-on skates no less, and a home Friday afternoon football game with Florence High School.
In those days, the fair was held in late September to early October.