Who’s Who?

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

In the summer of 1915, the Evening Kansan Republican ran a contest “Who’s Who and Why in Newton?”

The questions were about Newton businesses and the answer needed to include the business name and address.

For example Question # 27 asked about a pioneer grocery merchant. (answer at the end of the post)

Question #2

Question #2 asked about a blacksmith shop with a unique feature.

“In front of this blacksmith shop you will see a big pile of old horseshoes which is a small indication of what has been transpiring on the inside during the past 2 or 3 years this firm has been in the business . . . What is the name? “

We recently received a photograph of the blacksmith shop with “the big pile of old horseshoes.”

Fent & Ravenscroft Blacksmith

The name and address was Fent & Ravenscroft Blacksmith located at 216 E, 5th.  After Ravenscroft left the business, O.S. Fent continued for a number of years.

The Winners & Prizes

The Answer for #27

Who’s Who in 1915

Test your knowledge of Newton businesses in 1915.  Take the whole quiz, but don’t peek at the answers.

Sand Creek Dam Reconstrucrtion Project: 1960-1967

A Photo Album of  the Sand Creek Dam Reconstruction Project in the mid- 1960s. All photos are part of the Harvey County Historical Museum & Archives Photo Collection: Bridges & Dams. Sanned and researched by Linda Koppes, compiled by Kristine Schmucker.

Sand Creek Dam 1960-1964

Sand Creek Dam, ca. 1960.

August  1963

A view of the Sand Creek Dam from the 1st Street Bridge shortly be for demolition of the dam August 24, 1963.

October 1963

Sand Creek Dam Reconstruction Project 1965-1967

January 1965

Building the floor of the Sand Creek Dam.  Men working in an enclosed area of wood supports covered by plastic sheeting, January 13, 1965.

June 1965

Showing the area of the inflatable dam on Sand Creek just south of 1st Street.  The dam was lowered to allow the flood water to move on south.


August 1966

Sand Creek dry river bed, Athletic Park roadway on the left side of photo.

Fall 1966

Sand Creek looking west from the Main Street Bridge during dam reconstruction October 20, 1966.

Sand Creek looking east from Main Street Bridge.  View of dirt work on banks, October 1966.

Sand Creek Dry River bed viewed from Oak Street, Newton.


Spring 1967

Sand Creek & Ash Street Bridge during dam reconstruction. Photo taken from 9th Street, March 25, 1967.

Sand Creek and Ash Street Bridge during dam reconstruction project.  Photo taken from 9th Street.

Sand Creek Reconstruction workers placing rocks on banks.

Sand Creek looking north from 1st Street during the dam reconstruction project March 27, 1967.



“I Know Who Did It!” The 1902 Bank Robbery at Sedgwick

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

“One of the most daring attempts at bank robbery ever perpetrated in this part of the country occurred in this city sometime Monday night.”  (Sedgwick Pantagraph, 23 January 1902.)

Sedgwick Pantagraph, 23 January 1902.

“Daring Attempt”

According to the news reports, the burglars “forced an entrance through the west window . . . picked a hole through the thick walls of the vault” at the Citizens Bank of Sedgwick January 22, 1902. They continued and “knocked off the combination lock” and made their way through the outer door. To get past the time lock and “heavy steel doors,” they employed  nitroglycerine and blew it up.

Past that hurdle, they were unable to get to the “compact little steel compartment which was protected by a combination lock” open.  They gave up after damaging the  smaller vault with a hammer. This vault had over $6,000. For their efforts “all the booty . . .  they secured was the loose silver in the counter tray . . . and a Colts revolver from the drawer at the cashier’s window.”  The estimated value of what was taken was $100.

Prior to breaking into the bank, the “robbers broke open the Santa Fe tool house and secured a pick, hammer crowbar and other tools to crack the safe.”

The Heart of  Town

Initial reports noted that despite being “committed in the heart of the town” the burglary was not discovered until 7 o’clock Tuesday morning. The broken window was noticed by “Post Master Mueller’s boy.” Some reported hearing explosions earlier, but “they were so muffled that little attention was paid.”

Later reports, note that the night watchman discovered the break in around 4 a.m.

When Mr. Anderson arrived and  opened the bank “the wreck disclosed was something frightful. Books, papers, brick and mortar were scattered everywhere and the big heavy steel doors of the vault were torn and twisted.”

The Escape

In the rush to get away “the tools were left where they were dropped by the burglars after they decided to abandon their project. . . they stole a hand car and went south over the Santa Fe toward Wichita.”

The robbers were spotted at 4 o’clock in the morning by a man living near Wichita Heights. He was awakened as the handcar passed by and saw the robbers at a distance.  At the time he did not know of the Sedgwick robbery.

The burglars abandoned the handcar at Valley Center “evidently the work of propelling it was too hard” where it was found Wednesday morning. (Topeka Daily Herald, 22 January 1902)

Area papers reported the news across the state.

“At about two o’clock yesterday morning burglars robbed the Citizens” Savings bank here of a box of silver containing $100. The burglars dug through the brick walls of the vault and then blew off the door of the safe with dynamite. In their haste they missed the bulk of the money, but escaped with what little they secured.

Perhaps in response to the January burglary, the Sedgwick State Bank announced on February 27 that they were “fitted out with an up-to-date electric burglar alarm . . . now better protected against daylight holdups and night burglaries” (Sedgwick Pantagraph, 27 February 1902.)

Identity of the Robbers

Despite being amateurs, it is unclear if the culprits were ever found.  The Pantagraph reported that “no clew (sic) has been obtained as to the identity of the robbers.”

Although one clever boy claimed to know,  and the paper reported his theory.

“A small boy appeared on the scene and startled everybody by exclaiming, “I know who robbed that bank.”

A dozen men anxiously inquired, “Who?” 

“Robbers!” yelled the kid as he started for the school house.

Sedgwick Pantagraph, 23 January 1902

At the time of publishing this post, research has not revealed if the burglars were ever caught or sent to jail.


  • Sedgwick Pantagraph: 23 January 1902,  27 February 1902.
  • Topeka Daily Herald: 22 January 1902