100 years ago in Kansas, January 29 – February 3, 1918:

January 29, 1918 — Kansas Day

  • Uniform rules for saving coal were issued by Emerson Carey, State Fuel Administrator.  He fixed the hours during which various stores would be open; curtailed street lighting and banned dancing.  Drugs could be sold any time.
  • The Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas met at Topeka for the first joint annual meeting of the two societies.

January 30, 1918

  • Madame Schumann-Heink and the St. Louis Symphony orchestra performed at Camp Funston for the 353rd Infantry.
  • The Woman’s Kansas Day club and the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas asked the War Department to demand that Great Britain refuse to sell liquor to United States servicemen.

January 31, 1918

  • January was the coldest month in Topeka in 31 years.
  • The fuel situation was critical.   Thirty-five towns appealed for help.  The penalty for violating the fuel conservation order was $5,000.

February 2, 1918

  • Labor trouble in the Pittsburg coal mines reduced production by 1,500 tons daily.
  • “Kansas Day is the saddest of our fixed orgies,” Jay House declared in the Topeka Daily Capital.  “What should be an evening of gentle constructive criticism — a brief three hours of stock-taking — becomes a gully-washing flow of platitudinous ptyalin, a funnel-fed flow of gruesome goo.”

February 3, 1918

  • A six-day-week school plan was approved by Governor Capper.  It would shorten the school year and release 3,000 men teachers and 35,000 boys for spring work in gardens and fields.  Many schools adopted the plan.

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.