Several years prior to the organization of the Concordia Electric Light Company an effort was made to light the city and a plant was established with an arc system for lighting the streets, which was fairly successful, but owing to crude workmanship and cheap labor it proved a failure, the plant was closed down and kerosene again resorted to, but the prosperous city of Concordia was not accustomed to being outdone in the race for improvements and it made a new and permanent start on a firm basis, with ample means and men of ability to forge the project to the front, who spared no expense in the outlay for competent labor, machinery and fixtures.
The Concordia electric light and power plant stands pre-eminently to the front of Concordia's enterprises and compares favorably with the lighting systems of many larger cities in this and older states. The plant was established by the firm of H.M. Spalding & Company in 1886, and incorporated two years later. The business was inaugurated by placing one thirty-light Western electric low-tension dynamo, which was speedily followed by two more dynamoes of the same capacity and style.
The machinery was first run by water power alone, but in 1888 a Corliss engine was added. In 1898 a large general electric incandescent dynamo, or generator, was installed, with the alternating system. It has been a source of much satisfaction to the company to say it has never solicited a customer since they placed this last machine. They have wired and in operation over thirty-five hundred lights, all of which have been installed by the unsolicited request of their patrons. The lighting of the streets, business blocks, residences and public buildings are a source of pride to the residents of the city and the public at large.
E.A. Wentworth, one of the best electricians in the country and a man of long and varied experience throughout the state, wired the city of Concordia, where he spent four years, and much credit is due to his skill and artistic taste. H.M. Spalding, the prime mover in this enterprise, is president of the company, and T.J. McCue, one of Concordia's prominent business men, is treasurer.
The weather bureau office, which was established in Concordia May 1, 1885, is and has been since it was first located, on the second floor of the B.S. Williams building, No. 204 West Sixth street.
The office was opened by P.H. Cahill, who remained in charge until June, 1886, when he was succeeded by E.A. Ravenscroft, of St. Louis; Mr. Ravenscroft was relieved by L.M. Tarr in January, 1887, and Tarr by J.W. Byram in September, 1896. Mr. Byram, who is a gentlemanly and obliging official, is still on duty as official in charge.
Warnings of storms, frosts and cold waves for the northern half of Kansas are sent out from this office. A dally bulletin, showing the weather conditions over the section of country between the Mississippi river and the Rocky mountains, is issued each morning, and mailed to one hundred and sixty-five persons and places. Records of all weather conditions are kept and from them is found the annual rainfall of Cloud county to be seven and ninety-eight one hundredths inches and the mean temperature fifty-three degrees.
One of the most complete organizations in all its details in Cloud county is the Concordia Telephone Company. From a very diminutive affair it has assumed extended proportions until a complete system has been consummated, far reaching in its service. The company was instituted in the autumn of 1897, with eighty-three subscribers on the list. The Honorable G.W. Marshall was its first president; F.J. Atwood, treasurer, and F.W. Daugherty, secretary. A few months thereafter Mr. Marshall and Mr. Atwood sold their interests in the enterprise and J.W. Cline was elected president. Mr. Cline disposing of his portion, E.H. Fullerton was chosen to succeed him as president.
In July, 1901, G.G. Hill and William Lutt purchased Mr. Fullerton's interest in the stock, at which time the following officers were chosen: F.W. Daugherty, president; William Lutt, vice-president, and G.G. Hill, secretary and treasurer. These last named officers are the exclusive owners and remain the officials of the company.
Mr. Daugherty has been with the organization from its beginning and has witnessed the growth of the enterprise from its eighty-three original subscribers to over five hundred patrons, including seventy-five of the lead ing farmers of Cloud and Republic counties. Through its own and surrounding connections every town of any importance in the state of Kansas and many in Nebraska are reached. They are also connected with Kansas City and all eastern points through. the Union Telephone and Telegraph Company, in which Messrs. Daugherty, Lutt and Hill are largely interested.
William Lutt, vice-president of the company, is a veteran ex-traveling man, whose territory called him to Concordia regularly for many years. Mr. Lutt's energy and enterprising nature make him well qualified for the relative place he occupies. He is permanently established in Concordia and possesses qualities that render him a useful citizen. George G. Hill, secretary and treasurer of the company, has been reared in Kansas, having come to the state in his boyhood days. In 1874, while en route to Jewell City to join his brother, the late Robert W. Hill, he passed through Clyde and Concordia and remembers them as villages composed of a few "shacks." This was before the advent of railroads and Mr. Hill walked from Clyde to Jewell City and, as if to add spice and something novel to his experience, he unwillingly parted from the trail and wandered promiscuously over the wild region of the salt marsh for several hours ere the bewildered lad found his way. He, like Mr. Lutt, is an old-time commercial traveler, having followed that life for fifteen years, beginning with D.M. Steele & Company, of St. Joseph, Missouri. Mr. Hill is a native of Carrollton, Illinois. He is of southern origin, his father and mother having been natives of Kentucky and Virginia, respectively.
Collectively speaking the officers and owners of the Concordia Telephone Company combine the features essential to success, and as a combination have attained a place among the solid financial institutions of the country.
The Cloud County Bank, of Concordia, opened for business December 17, 1878, with ail organized capital of $50,000. The directors were F.B. Smith, of Brandon, Vermont; H.C. Harrison, of the same place; R.J. Harper, of Manhattan, Kansas; E. Linney and W.C. McDonald, of Concordia. F.B. Smith was the principal founder and organizer. They occupied a small frame building on the same lot where the present structure stands until 1887, when they erected a substantial, two-story bank building.
The bank's first president was H.C. Harrison; R.J. Harper, vice-president; C.W. McDonald, cashier, and Fred J. Atwood, assistant cashier.
September 15, 1880, C.W. McDonald resigned his position as cashier and was succeeded by F.J. Atwood, and J.F. Rogers was elected assistant cashier. October 15, 1893, F.J. Atwood resigned the position of cashier and V.H. Branch was elected to fill the vacancy. January 5, 1881, F.B. Smith was elected president, and E.L. Warren, vice-president. October 25, 1883, Dr. W.H. Wright was elected vice-president to fill a vacancy caused by the death of E.L. Warren. October 15, 1883, W.T. Branch was elected assistant cashier, and October 13, 1884, was succeeded by Walter E. Moore. January 5, 1886, William M. Peck was elected assistant cashier, and August 1 of the same year assumed the duties of cashier in place of V.H. Branch, resigned, and D.B. Harrison was elected assistant cashier. October 1, 1891, E.B. Warren was elected assistant cashier to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of D.B. Harrison. Mr. Warren resigned October 8, 1894, and H.W. Barber, the present incumbent, was elected.
There were no further changes of office until the death of the bank's lamented president, F.B. Smith, which occurred at his home in Brandon, Vermont, January 13, 1900.
April 4, 1900, Dr. W.H. Wright was elected president, and George H. Young, vice-president, both of Brandon, Vermont, and sons-in-law of the late F.B. Smith.
October 10, 1882, the bank increased its capital stock to $100,000. Since the election of William M. Peck to the office of cashier, in 1886, he has had practically the entire charge of the bank. Under his personal supervision they have constantly increased their volume of business. It has been said the stability and character of a community and its industries may be best judged by the standing of its banks. If this be true the people of Concordia have every cause for congratulation, for there is no bank in northwest Kansas that is held in more universal confidence by its patrons than the Cloud County Bank, of Concordia.
For twenty-four years it has been recognized as one of the financial Powers of Cloud county. There has never been a time during that period when its policy has not been in accord with the upbuilding of the country and the fostering of its industries and enterprises.
The history of the First National Bank demonstrates what an enterprise that has at its head men of business sagacity and enterprise can attain. Under these wise and conservative managers this bank is transacting an extensive and safe business and has gained a place among the most solid financial institutions of the state.
It was established October 26, 1883, under the national banking system, with a capital stock of $50,000. The officials were: H.M. Spalding, president; George W. Marshall, vice-president; F.J. Atwood, cashier; W.W. Bowman, assistant cashier. The directors were: H.M. Spalding, George W. Marshall, J.C. Gafford, James I. Wyer, D.L. Brown, John Tate. Theodore Laing, C.A. Betournay and William Conner.
These officers were elected to fill the fraction of the year, but were elected for the ensuing year, with the exception of F.E. Cobb to succeed D.L. Brown. The corporation purchased the commodious quarters of the N.P. Brown banking house, but not the business of that firm. Mr. Spalding resigned the presidency of the bank May 7, 1884, and by virtue of office was succeeded by George W. Marshall. On September 10, 1884, Glenn E. Lathrop was elected bookkeeper and general assistant. December 10 of the same year resolutions were passed reducing the number of directors front nine to seven.
January 14, 1885, George W. Marshall was re-elected president, succeeding himself; Charles E. Sweet was elected vice-president, and F.J. Atwood was made director. August 24, 1885, Glenn E. Lathrop resigned and C.R. Piper, of Ludlow, Vermnot, assumed the duties of bookkeeper. Mr. Piper withdrew in June, 1886, and was succeeded by Don H. Atwood, now of the Elk State Bank of Clyde. Thomas Wrong was made director by the death of John Tate. In September, 1886, a meeting was called to consider the feasibility of increasing the capital stock to $100,000; there was not a dissenting vote, hence the proposition carried and was put into effect.
On March 3, 1887, Glenn E. Lathrop, who had formerly been bookkeeper, was tendered and accepted the position of cashier, succeeding F.J. Atwood who became second vice-president and manager, each assuming the duties of their respective offices beginning with June, 1887. January 11, 1888, F.J. Atwood was elected president of this prosperous enterprise and during the sixteen years that have elapsed he has been the presiding genius and in reality the chief manager since its organization. At this meeting the office of second vice-president was abolished. D.H. Atwood resigned his position as bookkeeper in July, 1888, to assume the duties of cashier in the bank he promoted in Aurora.
After Mr. Atwood's resignation Mrs. Jessie H. Atwood filled that position very efficiently. May 6, 1889, W.W. Bowman succeeded Glenn F. Lathrop, resigned, and has served in the position of cashier continuously ever since. At the same time James I. Wyer, Jr., was elected assistant cashier. In August, 1895, James I. Wyer withdrew for the purpose of entering upon a librarian course at the State University of Minnesota. He subsequently completed his studies in Albany, New York, and received the appointment of librarian in the State University of Nebraska. Mrs. Wyer is a sister of Mrs. Atwood.
In March, 1896, the number of directors were reduced from seven to five, the minimum number. January 5, 1898, the Citizens National Bank went into liquidation and George H. Palmer, who had been the cashier of that firm, was elected assistant cashier of the First National Batik. Mr. Palmer was deceased about one year later. H.C. Wones became teller in July, 1898, and on February 6 of the following year he was elected assistant cashier, still acting in that capacity and is a valued and efficient employe. On or about the same time Carl W. Allendoerfer became bookkeeper and general assistant. In September, 1901, Mr. Allendoerfer resigned and accepted a trustworthy position with the American National Bank, of Kansas City, Missouri, where he still holds forth. Walter B. Hedlund, the present competent bookkeeper assumed the responsibilities of that position in June, 1902. In May, 1902, W.E. Carnahan, the talented son of the late A.A. Carnahan, was elected teller. Since May, 1889, there has been no changes in the offices of president, vice-president and cashier front the time of their promotion to the present date (November, 1902.)
The bank building was enlarged in 1900 and is one of the handsomest and most substantial structures in the city of Concordia, and a lasting monument to the prosperity and popularity of this institution. The building is of stone, two stories in height, extends back to the alley and represents some of the best architecture and masonry in this part of the state. Before a stone had been placed the prospective extension was leased by the government for postoffice quarters. The building is well furnished and admirably equipped for postal facilities. The second floor is arranged in office suites.
The deposits of the First National Bank runs from $225,000 to $300,000; more than half this amount is from the farmer and stockman and this average has been maintained from the beginning. The total dividends paid to the stockholders have been $168,000. The total surplus is $75,000. The building contains improved fire-proof and burglar-proof vaults, which afford perfect security to the contents.
This firm has never been in a more sound or safer condition since entering upon their prosperous career than they are today. Every bill is worth one hundred cents on the dollar, They have never experienced the anxiety of a "run" or the resemblance of one; even during the panic when many banks were falling all around them. The deposits were decreased owing to the stringency of the money markets, but were at all times abundantly able to pay any demands made upon them.
The Concordia Library is another institution that Concordia is justly proud of. To Mrs. Caroline J. Dudley, Mrs. Josephine Truesdell Marshall, Mrs. Augusta Harrison Wilfong and the late Mrs. Ruth Pulsifer (mother of Park B. Pulsifer) the city owes the founding of this enterprise; they were, not only the promoters of this worthy project but the prime movers in pushing it to success.
The first library quarters were in a room in the Young Men's Christian Association building, tendered gratuitously by that organization. The first financial fluid was earned in a very unique manner, by Mrs. Dudley and Mrs. Wilfong as "Scissor Grinders." These ladies plied their vocation in a way that would have done credit to the "professionals" in our great cities. Trade was brisk and not only scissors were ground, but carving knives, jack knives, etc., until they had netted a considerable fund. They carried a grindstone - their stock in trade; and while Mrs. Dudley turned the crank, Mrs. Wilfong held the instrument to be sharpened.
This was during the Columbian Club movement, and after giving the required sum of one dollar each to that society the surplus was utilized in purchasing paint and a padlock for the library room and a felt for the table - the first money expended in the cause. The library was opened on November 18, 1892, with the following officers installed. Mrs. Josephine T. Marshall, president; Mrs. Caroline J. Dudley, librarian; Mrs. Augusta Harrison Wilfong, ways and means committee; Mrs. Emma D. Cobb, secretary.
After the plans were instituted, other ladies were active in their assistance and very materially aided in the building up of the library to its present standard. The original members, aside from those already mentioned, were: Mesdames A.P. Foster, Mattie M. Spalding, N.B. Brown, G.A. Beauchamp, Grace Ellis, Jenette Achilles, W.L. Day, W.L. McCarty, A.F. Colson, Dr. Anna Grigsby, Mattie M. Allendorfer, C.A. Betournay and Miss Hattie L. Smith. The above mentioned members have all been active workers in the interests of the library. Other later members and also zealous workers are: Mesdames Rose Darlington, Jennette Miller, R.V. Hill, C.L. Browning, Estelle Neilson, Katherine McCue, Mabel Eastman, Katherine Craig and Miss Celia Stetson. Mrs. Marshall, Mrs. Wilfong and Mrs. Dudley each served as president of the association two years: Mrs. Darlington was elected in 1902.
Mrs. Dudley served as librarian four years and when she was honored by the presidency was succeeded by Mrs. Wilfong, who acted in that capacity six years. Mrs. Allendorfer was then elected librarian, Mrs. Wilfong having resigned, and entered upon the duties of that office November 4, 1902. Mrs. Emma D. Cobb, the first treasurer, was succeeded one year later by Mrs. Spalding, who has served the association faithfully and still continues in that office.
The following members have in turn acted as secretary for a period of one year each: Miss Anna Schaffer, Mrs. M.P. Foster, Miss Hattie Smith and Mrs. Grace Hills. Mrs. Katherine Craig served four years and Mrs. Maggie Allendorfer two years. The present secretary, Mrs. Rose Hill, assumed the duties of that office November 4, 1902.
The first library room was carpeted by Mrs. Cobb and a settee contributed by the late Mrs. Homer Kennett. Through a subscription circulated fifty-six books were obtained as a starter and other volumes have been donated from time to time, and in a few instances money has been given. Park B. Pulsifer has contributed annually a Christmas present of ten dollars in memory of his late mother's appreciative interest in the library. George Alexander also gives ten dollars as a memorial to Mrs. Pulsifer. Mrs. Rose Darlington donated five dollars and Colonel N.B. Brown tenders one dollar at each annual reception.
In 1894 the present rooms occupied by the Concordia Library were handsomely fitted up and on June 5 of the same year the association held its first meeting in their new rooms. Through the magnanimity of Colonel N.B. Brown these rooms have been given rent free. This generosity and public spirit upon the part of Colonel Brown is commendable and deserving of recognition. Mrs. Brown has also wielded her influence in a manner that calls forth praise and commendation.
The inscription, "The Concordia Library," is affixed to all books and documents pertaining to the association.
A charter was granted and the following rule instituted: All persons paying their dues of one dollar annually and signing the constitution shall be entitled to the privileges of the association.
The promoters and active members of the library have labored hard for its success. To speak of them individually would require far too much space, but to the promoters who have worked with much zeal in the worthy cause that has given infinite delight to an extensive coterie of readers and regular patrons must especially be mentioned the names of Mrs. Dudley, Mrs. Marshall, Mrs. Wilfong and Mrs. Ruth Pulsifer. Mrs. Marshall contributed much by throwing open to the association her pleasant home as a meeting place for the various entertainments held as beneficiaries to the library. The editors of the city papers have been generous in printing lists of books contained on the shelves of the library and in advertising the entertainments given each season, and the public expressed an interest by giving their patronage to the bazaars held from time to time.
The association has in its treasury a fund of six hundred and twenty-five dollars and they expect to erect a suitable building in the near future. Many of the library's active workers have removed from Concordia, but the aid they lent towards an ideal mission is chronicled in the fruits of their efforts.
There are now nineteen hundred volumes in the collection of books and the lover of literature needs no greater incentive than contact with attractive works of history or fiction such as surround him on all sides of this well equipped library, as it contains the best books and current literature.
The founding of the Concordia Library has been a power for good and will be a lasting monument for all time to come. The association was organized with the idea of awakening the city to the strenuous, needs of a public library, and as soon as the citizens of Concordia can be brought to realize its value it will be instituted a public library.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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