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The Redbud City: It happened in August

Clyde Wooldridge
Contributing writer

1876 – Father Robot of the Benedictine Order accompanied by a companion of the faith came up from Louisiana and settled among the Potawatomi Indians, whom four years earlier moved to the area from their reservation in Kansas.

125 Years ago – C.J. Benson, a graduate lawyer from Georgetown University, and former cashier of the Tecumseh State Bank, came to Shawnee in 1895 with the Shawnee State Bank. Earlier, he was appointed the first County School Superintendent in 1891. In 1907, a large amusement park between the two cities was named in his honor.

100 Years ago – The August of 1920 county election races produced some drama in tight races. Eventually W.W. Gilbert was elected as country treasurer; Claude Hendon was selected as county attorney; and Grover Butler was elected as sheriff over incumbent T.A. “Tully” Darden. Several others would be decided in the general election in November.

75 Years ago – The United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Empire of Japan in August, effectively ending World War II.

Adam F. Hornbeck, a pioneer in the movie industry in Shawnee and mayor of the city from 1954 to 1960 died in August of 1970.

50 Years ago – Funeral services for former Shawnee Mayor Adam F. Hornbeck, 80, were held August 7, 1970, at the First Presbyterian Church. Interment was in the Fairview Cemetery under the direction of Roesch Brothers. Rev. Wendell K. Patterson officiated. He was one of the pioneers of motion picture theaters in Shawnee in the 1920-1940s era. He was also on the City Commission from 1950 to 1962 and served as mayor from 1954 to 1960.

OBU moved into its new $1.4 million University Center on August 24, 1970, after 15 months of construction. Situated near the center of campus, west of the present student union and east of Raley Chapel. It would incorporate central dining facilities for university residents, and three large multi-purpose rooms and enabled the university to entertain outside groups of up to 450, while the students were being served.

John Clifton was re-elected district attorney and Herb Stroud survived a nerve-rattling challenge to win his sixth term as sheriff by 137 votes as over 10,000 voters went to the polls in the Tuesday, August 25, 1970 primary election. Tom Steed rolled up a huge margin of victory in the Fourth Congressional District for his 12th term. David Hall won the Democratic nomination for governor and George Nigh easily carried his race for re-election as Lt. Governor.

Approximately 350 students began classes Wednesday, August 26, 1970, at the new Gordon Cooper Vocational-Technical School that opened for its first full-year school term. Paul Milburn, assistant superintendent for the school, reported that the first day activities included an orientation assembly, tours of the building, and an explanation of the school’s adult program.

10 Years ago – A three-hour standoff ended peacefully Sunday afternoon, August 22, 2010, in Shawnee. Police Chief Russell Frantz said police were called about 3:20 p.m. to 22 east Kirk Street. A man with alleged mental health issues had reportedly pulled a knife on his sister so she fled and called police. The man, in his 20s, was still inside the home with another sister. About 6 p.m., officers rushed the residence and took him into custody. He was placed under an emergency order of detention for evaluation.

The Historical Society of Pottawatomie County raised about one-fifth of the money needed to build a new building. To date, in late August of 2010, the group had $400,000; about 20 percent of the needed $2 million. The money, when raised, would build a new building to house exhibits for the Santa Fe Deport Museum.

Five Years ago – St. Gregory’s University announced an historic agreement establishing a $5 million pre-paid tuition program between St. Gregory’s Abbey, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and the university. The Nation, under the leadership of Chairman Rocky Barrett, would provide scholarships to CPN members. Over the next six years, 60 students were designed to receive up to four years of full scholarships to attend St. Gregory’s.

After five years of obstacles, negotiations and legal battles, the track at SHS’s Jim Thorpe Stadium was ready for the new school year. Striping on the track was completed during the third week of August of 2015. “We still have a few little areas to take care of around the track like landscaping and cleaning up, but the surface is ready to use,” Shawnee Athletic Director Mark Bowlan said.

The United Presbyterian Church, located at 330 north Beard, held its final Sunday service in August of 2015. The 100-year-old-building was described as beyond repair.

Echoes of music from the historic pipe organ at United Presbyterian Church, located at 330 north Beard, sounded for the last time from that location on Sunday, August 23, 2015. The congregation held its final Sunday service in the more than 100-year-old building. In what people were calling a leap of faith, the 35-member congregation bade farewell to the building and moved to a new location. “The church is in disrepair, it’s getting to the point we don’t have the resources to repair it,” said Rev. Amy Busse, who estimated a renovation would be about $1 million.

One Year ago – The Shawnee city commissioners swore Chance Allison in as the city’s new city manager on Monday night, August 5, 2019.

North Rock Creek Public Schools opened the doors to the new high school Tuesday night, August 6, 2019, where community members and students gathered to tour the facility and meet their teachers for the upcoming school year. According to Superintendent Blake Moody, the grand opening went well, and he was happy to see the new facility finally filled with students. “I’m so excited...You can feel everybody’s energy. Everybody is excited about getting in this building. We’re excited for the kids coming on Thursday...,” Moody said.

(These stories appear throughout the six-volume history of the city of Shawnee, entitled “REDBUD CITY.” The first three volumes, through 1969, are now available for purchase. They can be purchased for $30 each. Normally, they are available at the Pottawatomie County Historical Society, but it is temporarily closed for moving to the new facility. If you wish to purchase copies, call me at (918) 470-3728, and I will arrange to get you copies. Volume four, (1970-89) is back on course and should be available late in the year.)