Saturday, May 10, 2014

Baldwin Ironworks building revisited


"Like a proud woman, this old building retains a certain sense of romance even as she ages.  She was built in the late 1920's by T. L. Holding and in the 1940's Curtis Baldwin successfully manufactured grain augers here.  Over the years the rambling structure found her purpose in Whitney as a lumberyard and as a supply center for grain, feed, salt and coal." 
Artist Kit Watson of Chadron sketched this excellent likeness of the old Baldwin Ironworks building in Whitney.  It's one of the 300 or so images of area historical sites that she created over the years for calendars distributed to customers  of the First National Bank.  This sketch is among the more than 150 images in her latest book, Pine Ridge Sketches.  Our thanks to Kit Watson for her generosity in allowing us to use some of her great work on this site. 

The story of Curtis Baldwin and his brothers is a fascinating one, which we hope to tell in the future.  Their impact on agricultural harvesting equipment was significant, and Curtis Baldwin held several patents on a range of devices.  The Baldwin "Gleaner" survives even today, although it has been much revised since he introduced his version in 1923.  He also dabbled in aviation and other pursuits.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A sharper image of the Whitney Depot


Thanks to Mike Cartwright for sharing this sharper image of the photo that was posted earlier (see below).  Notes on the photograph indicate that folks were waiting for a special Chicago & Northwestern train to take them to the Dawes County Fair in Chadron.  Believed to have been taken in 1912.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A bit of frivolity in the country...

This is another photo that Jeannie Pope has shared with us.  It reflects a bit of tomfoolery enjoyed by a group of folks "in front of Huntley's log house" in 1909.  Notice the cellar at the far left.  Persons marked with an "X" left-to-right include:  
Elmer Huntley, Thora Mayfield Huntley, and Lura Mayfield (Caswell).  What a fun photo!  See more in our Whitney Gallery.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More of old Whitney revealed


We've been so deeply immersed in another project that we've not had to time to adequately review and share some great new photos of old Whitney shared by Beverly Jean (Hansen) Pope of Ontario, California.

Jeannie is the granddaughter of Lura Mayfield -- a family name well-known around Dawes County in days gone by.

This undated photo shows the Whitney school in the left background, and a part of the Woodmen Hall building at the far left.  This is one of the few images we've seen of Woodmen Hall, which was an all-purpose gathering place and also -- we've been told -- the location of the movie theatre.

We believe the house shown here is the same structure in which Scottie and Naomi Rankin lived for many years.  On a personal note, just beyond the barn behind the house -- and barely visible -- is the roof of another house.  We recognize that as the house occupied for many years by Bill and Marie (Miller) Derrick. 

To get a closer look at this photo, we invite you to go to our Whitney Reflections Gallery, where we'll be sharing additional photographs in the coming weeks.  A tip of the hat and a big "Thank You" to Jeannie Pope for sharing these photos.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Arkansas artist had early ties to Whitney


A few weeks ago, we received an e-mail from Donald Roller Wilson, providing us with a correction to a caption in one of our Whitney School photo galleries -- and providing us with a few new photographs.

Wilson and parents at Whitney Lake - ca 1946
Wilson and his parents lived in Whitney in the 1940’s, and his father was associated with Baldwin Ironworks.  This undated photo shows young Donald Wilson with his mother and father on an outing at Whitney Lake.

He inquired about his second grade classmates from 1946, and we exchanged several missives as I directed him to a few folks still residing in the Whitney area.

Wilson’s e-mail signature also contained other contact information, including a web site.  Curiosity got the better of me, and I went exploring.

It seems that Wilson (one of his classmates that I contacted called him “Donny” -- but he now signs as "Roller") is quite an established artist and his paintings hang among the collections of celebrities such as Steve Martin, Meryl Streep, Elizabeth Taylor and Jack Nicholson.  We’ll not recite the very long list of museums where his work is exhibited!

We found a 10-year-old web site promoting the 25th Annual Old Dominion University Literary Festival in 2002.  It noted that Wilson’s paintings “tell stories with pictures and he tells the stories through the innocence of images created from a seemingly pointless combination of various dressed up animals, objects – even vegetables – assembled for just one last family portrait.  The surface effect is whimsy.

When we did a web search, we came up with a menagerie of Wilson animals and objects, decked out in a wide variety of attire and in most unusual circumstances.  Unusual for the subjects in the painting, that is.

When Wilson’s work was exhibited at the Wright Gallery in New York City back in 1999, reviewer Ken Johnson wrote this for the New York Times:

...on a mythical quest?
"Donald Roller Wilson's goofy, hallucinogenic, Old Master-style painting of monkeys, dogs and cats dressed up in antique costumes may be kitsch, but it's high-quality kitsch, like good beach reading. This longtime Arkansas resident's glossy surfaces, jewel-like colors and meticulous rendering of texture and detail -- from satin and velvet to fur and teeth -- give his bizarre visions a striking illusory presence. There is tender psychology in some of his animal portraits, like that of a cat formally posed in a red, puffy-shouldered dress, but the trend is more toward a wacky, down-home surrealism of flying pickles, mystic auras and coatings of crystalline water droplets.

As this small survey of works from the late 1960's to the present demonstrates, the interest is not only in individual pictures. Mr. Wilson's oeuvre constitutes a vast graphic novel, a continuously unfolding Southern Gothic allegory (advanced by neatly painted texts and long titles as well). In ''Jimmy in the Woods'' a chimp wearing a white ruff collar sits at a table with a big coffee cup surrounded by stamped-out cigarette butts; in the background a castle rises from the misty forest. It seems our badly behaving simian hero has lost his way in the course of some mythic quest."

It’s always a pleasant experience when we come across information and old photos that help to tell the story of Whitney………and the people who have lived there over the years.  It’s doubly delightful when someone happens across the Whitney Reflections web site – discovers a bit of their own past – and then contacts us.

Thanks to Donald Roller Wilson of Fayettville, Arkansas for sharing some of his family photos with us, which we’ve posted in our Whitney Reflections Gallery.

And we certainly encourage others with stories and/or photos to share them.  Simply send us an e-mail at Whitney Reflections.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Warring UMC celebrates 125 years


Just over 100 people filled the Warring Memorial United Methodist Church in Whitney last Sunday (3/25/2012) to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of the church.

While it fell a bit short of the crowd the 150 or so folks who showed up for the 75th anniversary back in 1962, it was a terrific gathering and featured an excellent sermon entitled “Transformed and Transforming” delivered by Bishop Ann Brookshire Sherer-Simpson.

The children did an outstanding job performing some of the  great
music on the program for the 125th Anniversary of Warring UMC.
There were only a few people on hand last weekend who were also here to help celebrate back in 1962.  Among them was Budge Cripps.  A story in the June 29, 1962 Crawford Tribune noted that “the service closed with ‘Our 75th Anniversary’ sung by Bernard Cripps.  The words were written by Mabel Kendrick.”

Youngster always seem to upstage the adults, and it was no different last weekend when the children of the church assembled at the front of the sanctuary for some stirring musical performances – including some creative music with bells!

The 10:00 a.m. worship service welcomed Methodist congregations from Harrison and Crawford, Nebraska -- along with several other out-of-town guests.  Following the service, a carry-in meal was held in the church basement, which was brimming with fellowship and celebration. 

We did manage to capture a few candid moments of fellowship in the church basement during and following the meal.  And while we weren’t able to include everyone in the photos, they do include a variety of folks you probably know.  You’ll find them in our Warring UMC Gallery.

For those of us who were guests, "Thank You" to the members of the Whitney congregation who hosted this wonderful event.  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cora's Place...more than meets the eye

Cora's Place in Whitney
We were a bit late in the season to be visiting, but we finally made it to Cora's Place in Whitney earlier this month -- just before it closed for the season.

But it was well worth the special trip.

Mike Cartwright opened the business this summer to help give Whitney folks a place to relax and visit a bit, while enjoying coffee or a soft drink.  Much to our delight he also offers some interesting antiques and wonderful art work by area artists.

When we arrived on Labor Day, there were about a dozen folks relaxing and visiting.

Of particular interest was the remarkable quilt on display in the parlor, upon which were stitched the names of the lady members of the Whitney Church from more than a half century ago.  Perhaps they were members of the Women's Society of Christian Service, and we're not sure what year the quilt was finished.  Sharon Cripps has recorded the names, and maybe one day soon we'll be able to learn more about this wonderful artifact of Whitney history.

We found of copy of George Simon's "The Big Bands" lying on the coffee table, along with a fine array of other books that are available for checkout to local citizens.  A lending library of sorts......a great idea.

Naomi Galey and Sharon Cripps (right) admire
this historic quilt displayed at
Cora's Place.
Sharon Cripps and Marta Myers were engaged in a conversation about quilting, and the table in the front room was the focal point more conversation.  We snapped a few photos during our visit; take a peek in our Whitney Reflections Gallery.

It's been a long time since Whitney has had a gathering place like this, and we hope that when it reopens in the spring that it'll again be warmly welcomed by the community.

To be sure, Whitney will never again be the vibrant community it was in the 1920's and '30's, but we believe it can be more than it is.  Mike Cartwright believes it can be, too, and he's done something about it.

For those of you who sojourn into Wyoming from time to time -- here's a challenge.  As you may find yourself driving along U.S. 26 through Guernsey -- or perhaps down Wyoming 270 -- take a few minutes to drive through Sunrise, Wyoming.  It's only about five minutes from Guernsey, but it's worth the side trip!

We don't know who the folks are who live in Sunrise or nearby Hartville (just east of WY-270) but they've done a wonderful job of sprucing up the village.  We're told it was once a mining town that fell on hard times.  That's a common story.

Less common is the work those residents obviously have done to re-invent their community, making it a quaint locale and a fun place to visit.

We think Whitney's history is every bit as interesting, and with the addition of Cora's Place along Missouri Street, we may be seeing the first step of another little town that has awakened to some great possibilities.

We plan to be knocking on the door when Cora's Place opens next spring!