As made apparent in my latest posts, the theme so far for the month of June has been “chasing clouds”. The last stop on our recent mini-adventure in Kansas was found at the intersection of an oncoming storm cluster and Dodge City Kansas. As it goes in cloud chasing, we simply went where the fair wind blew. The towering cloud formations were impressive all day and as we raced toward the setting sun they transformed into pillowy curtains of warm pastels. We arrived in Dodge City as darkness fell and we hunkered down in a hotel for a long night of rain and lightning.
After breakfast the following foggy and blustery morning, we set off into town, not to trace the footsteps of gunslingers on Boot Hill, but those of my own Kin. On June 2, 1931 my Grandfather (Hollis) was likely granted a day off from setting copy for the Dodge City Daily Globe where he operated the Tele-Type machine. On that day, he and my Grandmother (Dorothy) would proudly welcome their first child into this world and give him the name of Stanley Richard, a son who would grow up to become my own Father. Where did Hollis work? Where did they live and where did my Dad spend his first three or four years? I wanted to see for myself and the wind had laid the opportunity right at my feet. Time to pound the pavement.
Our first stop was the Dodge City Daily Globe building near the corner of Second and Spruce. A helpful staff confirmed that indeed the paper had used this same location since the late 1800’s and they even pointed out where the old Tele-Type had been located until the 1970’s. For archives of old editions, they directed me to the Dodge City Heritage Center which was located a few blocks away on the second floor of the old high school. In no time at all, two helpful researchers had us scouring the microfiche of the Daily Globe. We printed the entire June 2nd edition as well as Dad’s birth announcement which was published the following Saturday. Hollis’ home address of 310 W. Spruce was located in the town directory. Now we were getting somewhere.
310 W. Spruce is now a vacant lot located two doors away from the Globe Building and directly adjacent to the old library building that was built by the publisher of the newspaper, J.C. Denious. Denious had ambitions that would lead him into the state Senate and on to become the 29th Lt. Governor of Kansas but in 1931, he was simply my Grandfather’s employer. 310 W. Spruce was located only a couple of blocks behind the fabled Front Street of the old west and the railroad tracks just beyond. The picture was becoming quite clear now that this was the spot where my Dad would watch the trains go by while having his haircut, some of his earliest memories.
The June 2nd edition of the Dodge City Daily Globe was not only created by the hands of my very own Grandfather, it brings so many trivial facts of my Father’s Birthday to light. Temperatures were in the high 80’s and the skies were partly cloudy. A front page feature story informed readers that railroads of the future would have 100 mile per hour trains that would rival airplanes. Lucky Strike Cigarettes, Conoco Motor Oil and JC Penney’s bought up ad space and local gossip and trivia was plentiful.
You’ve heard the saying that “It’s time to get out of Dodge”. I suppose I owe my very existence to the fact that Hollis and Dorothy did just that and took their family west to Denver where my Dad’s stars would eventually align with my Mother’s. For me on that blustery morning last week it was mission accomplished. It was my time to get out of Dodge and follow the fair wind home.