KANSAS mirrors to a substantial degree the upturn which brightens the business picture of the nation. Reports from all over the state reflect improved conditions covering a wide range of business enterprise.
Significant omen is the revival in building. Practically every city in Kansas shows building permits this year far in excess, both in number and value, of those for the corresponding period a year ago. Great Bend is an example with between $50,000 and $60,000 worth of improvements in its business section since the first of the year, including a new hotel.
Numerous Kansas communities are confronted with acute housing shortages: Eudora, Eskridge, Haven and Ellis are typical. John Heard, veteran Arkansas City real estate dealer, spells better times in that of some 200 houses on his list only one is vacant and that is being remodeled. Says he: "A year ago we had about 150 on the list and there were more than 30 vacant."
Bank clearings throughout the state offer an impressive story of business health. With few exceptions they exceed 1934 figures. Typical is Dodge City, in western Kansas, with July clearings the highest for the month since 1932. In eastern Kansas Topeka is a common denominator with check payments for the four weeks ending July 3 more than $2,000,000 in excess of the same period in 1934. Anderson county has more money in five banks than ever before in history and deposits in Pittsburg banks for the first half of 1935 are greater by half a million dollars than for the same period last year.
Cigaret and gasoline tax payments in July provide another indication of the business trend. Gasoline tax collections jumped $33,321 over the same month a year ago while the cigaret tax levy produced an $8700 increase. In Lane county, a typical western Kansas agricultural community where the wheat crop has not been anything to cheer about, more than 90% of 1934 taxes are paid.
Paul B. Morrison, of the Kansas League of Building and Loan Associations, who has traveled extensively over the state, says that general business conditions are greatly improved over a year ago.
Gene Ware, Hutchinson, manager of the Western Transit Company, reports the business of his company this year more than double what it was at this time a year ago.
The Southwestern Bell Telephone Company sees reason for optimism in the fact that people are putting their phones back in service. In Wichita, as an example, more than 1900 telephones have been restored during the past 12 months or almost half the number discontinued during the entire depression.
The Wichita aircraft industry is going full tilt. WIth the Stearman factory working at capacity on military plane orders, both the Beech Aircraft Company and the Cessna plant have commercial orders which will keep them busy for many weeks to come.
Reflecting confidence in the business future is the purchase of six new coaches by the Leavenworth Transportation Company at a cost of $40,000 and the placing of an order by the Wichita Transportation Company for 10 new buses.
Contributing to the improved business outlook within the state is the demand for Kansas farm land. The Federal Land Bank at Wichita sold 45 Kansas farms during the first half of 1935 compared to 7 in the same period last year. The average price per acre has doubled.
The Pittsburg Sun says that "there has been a steady increase in Pittsburg business since the first of the year." Similarly, the Eudora News reports "business in Eudora is much better than it was a year ago and is about on a level with 1931," while the Olathe Mirror says: "A general decided upturn in business conditions has been viewed here in the past six months and, in some instances, retail sales are running about 50 to 80% above the average for the past three years."
The August Review of conditions in the Tenth Federal Reserve District, which includes Kansas, reports an expansion in coal production, an increase in zinc and lead ore shipments from the Tri-State District, summer trade at both wholesale and retail better than seasonally customary and net demand deposits at member banks increased to all-time high levels.
KANSAS is headed toward a new all-time high record for the production of oil in 1935 and as the rush to develop virgin territory persists at an accelerated pace the end of the year will find more than $10,000,000 paid to Kansas farmers and landowners during the 12-months period in the form of royalty and lease money.
All previous production records in the state were smashed in 1934 when the output totaled 46,750,000 barrels. In the first six months of 1935, however, 26,339,000 barrels were produced, at an average of 145,524 barrels per day. The daily allowable for July was 155,600 barrels, another all-time high.
The six-months figure is four million barrels greater than the output for the same period in 1934 and if this rate of production continues to the end of the year -- and there is reason to believe it may even be exceeded -- Kansas will produce more than 50,000,000 barrels of oil in 1935 for the first time in history.
Another all-time record is believed to have been established in the completion of 504 new wells during the first six months this year with an initial production of 364,034 barrels. Stakes were driven for 755 locations or nearly as many as were slated for the entire 12 months of 1934. Likewise the six-months period saw 17 gas wells competed for an initial overflow of 223 1/2 million cubic feet.
The Burrton pool in Reno county is the star performer in the Kansas field, producing more than four million barrels of oil in the first six months of this year. The Chase pool was second with two and a half million barrels.
Feverish activity continues to be centered in the western part of the state, every section of which has been hailed by geologists as having oil potentialities of unlimited scope. Leasing is proceeding at a furious rate. Derricks are constantly mushrooming into the skies in previously undeveloped areas as the Kansas oil field grows and expands.
Northwest Kansas is now the scene of considerable prospecting; a new well has been brought in near Hays somewhat removed from any producing region; attention has again focused on Scott county with the uncovering of a second well which has an output in excess of the first one found there several months ago with an electrifying effect on the state; Pratt county has just experienced the thrill of gazing on its first gusher; and, Haskell county is looking forward expectantly to results from leasing activities.
Kenneth F. Sauer, oil editor of the Wichita Eagle, predicts that within two years a dozen more counties in western Kansas will be included in the oil picture.
The outstanding development in the state in the past 30 days occurred in Sumner county where in quick succession two wells were brought in, both with a production in excess of 6000 barrels daily and both competing for the honor of being the champion gusher in Kansas. They are located in what is known as the Oxford pool and are the result of deepening two old wells which were first drilled in 1928. The twin success has brought in a new and frenzied "play" to the whole Oxford field.
As a corollary to the many new producers and the drilling operations underway on more than 300 test wells throughout the state, miles of pipe line are being laid and plans made for new refineries to take care of the increasing Kansas output. There are now 26 refineries in the state having a daily operating capacity of 191,400 barrels of crude oil. Most of these are operating close to capacity and a few are carrying an extra load. The Globe Refinery at McPherson, for example, with a normal daily capacity of 10,000 barrels has been running through 11,000 barrels every 24 hours for the past several weeks.
A new refinery is in the process of construction near Russell and plans are under consideration for a second one at that point. It is also reported that a refinery may be established in the vicinity of Garden City to take care of the production from the new Scott county field.
The activities of the oil industry are of vast economic importance to Kansas and not the least significant is the ten million dollars and more to be paid out in royalty and lease money this year -- a great part of the western half of the state.
THE income of the average American family in 1934 was $1,564, estimates the Department of Commerce. This is $152 more per family than the average for 1933 but lacks $1,024 of reaching the 1929 level.
by Walter S. Keith, Coffeyville, Kansas
HAIL, Kansas, I who am about to salute you am not to be counted among your native sons. I am come from a land by the Cherokee called "The Land of Tomorrow," by the whites, "The Dark and Bloody Ground," I am come from the mist veiled, eagle haunted hills of old Kentucky. Yet I love you, my Kansas, and I salute you. But I do not salute the glory of your mornings when the unconquerable sun rises from his tents of dawn-painted clouds and like a great caravan of light commences his stately march across the wide blue desert of the sky; nor that sweet and indescribable emotion of the heart that comes when the meadow lark's song breaks forth in soft enchantment above the splendor and glitter of your dew-gemmed and many-colored prairie grasses; not the mysterious and manifold voices of your night wind whispering in quavering benediction among the quivering leaves of the quaking aspen; not the romantic, yet fatal import of the foothills at Abilene, Caldwell, Hays, Marysville and Coffeyville; not the murmurred symphonies of your rains answering the supplications of beseeching and gratefully nodding and thirsting corn, not the gorgeousness of your sunsets that dreamily swoon in the ruby fires of ecstasy to meet and greet the mysterical patterns of multitudinous stars.
IT is not any one of these, my Kansas, that I salute, because I have had dreams and in them I saw long trains of covered wagons and I saw the wheels of them rolling -- rolling -- rolling. I am thinking, my Kansas, of the pioneer women whose lives were neither blunted nor debased by living in sod houses or dug-outs, whose hearts met bravely the necessities of the times and triumphed over them, women whose labor and faith reconciled all conflicts, rose above all opposition and firmly established their posterity in the harmonious rhythms of peace and solid virtue; I salute them who cherished the realization that faith in God, faith in self, faith in others, perseverance, courage and honest toil are gems far more precious than golden diadems, far more precious than the bejeweled crowns of those who sit in the purple draped halls of the proud and mighty. I salute the living and the dead of them. I salute, my Kansas, their children who received from these God-fearing and sun tanned men and women the torch of our enlightenment and of our progress, and who now carry it on high, a lively and inextinguishable flame. It is to them and to you, my Kansas, that I proffer my salute with a wish for the perpetuity of your existence. Hail, Kansas, Hail.
Charles F. Scott, Editor and Publisher, Iola Register, and Member
Kansas Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Tells of Two Experiences
in a Summer Tour of Twenty-Four Eastern States and Canada.
I HAVE crossed a good many international boundaries but never with so little formality as the passage from the United States into Canada. There was not even a town nor a change in the number of the highway. For more than a hundred miles we had been following US9 through the state of New York and we followed it on through to Montreal. There was a sign to indicate that we were leaving the United States and entering Canada, as there is a sign to show that we are leaving Allen and entering Anderson county. But there was no soldier or other officer and no custom house. Not until we had penetrated five miles into the country did we find a sign in the middle of the road reading "Arrete -- Stop." We stopped and an officer came out of the little office by the side of the road, bade us a smiling "Good Afternoon," came to the car window and asked us where we were born. When he found we were born in Kansas that seemed to be all he wanted to know. He did not even look at our baggage piled on the rear seat, merely asked us to step into the office and get a permit for the car (which was granted without a fee) and waved us on our way. Isn't that a good way for one neighbor to treat another? If such relations as that prevailed all over the world there would never be another war.
WHENEVER we can we avoid cities, both of us having seen a good many of them and all of them, like circuses, being much alike. But Albany, the capital of New York, was right on our road and so we concluded to go through it, particularly for the reason that we were running short of money and needed to get a check cashed. So we looked for the biggest bank in town and having found it I stayed in the car while the Professor went in to see what could be done with a homey but honest face. It worked all right. The teller took one look at it, asked him if his name was E. C. Franklin, and handed over the money. Didn't even charge a fee. When the Professor thanked him for the favor to an unidentified stranger the banker remarked that it had been his experience that elderly gentlemen who shaved every day and wore clean shirts did not make a practice of going about the country cashing phony checks.
TOOTH POWDER -- Three years ago Dr. Al Bissing, Dodge City dentist, started work on a formula for a new tooth powder. After much experimentation he clicked. The result is Campus tooth powder and a new Kansas industry. Dr. Bissing heads the company which is just getting into production at Dodge City. The product will be labeled as "The powder with a college degree" and a unique merchandising scheme involves its sale on various college campuses in cans bearing the college colors. It is to be marketed first in Kansas with Kansas City as the clearing house and two jobbing outlets at Wichita. FLY SEDUCER -- Perhaps somewhat gruesome is this story of an inventive Kansan's efforts but there is no doubting the effectiveness of the product. Bill Lakin, young Osborne resident, has devised an electric fly trap which seduces the insects to the electric chair. The trap is an oblong box frame with two rows of charged wire strung lengthwise. Ripe bananas are the bait and if Mr. Fly or what-have-you misses the first strand of wire his chances of escaping the second are so small that no book-maker in his right mind would bet on them. Result: Summary execution. SHOCK ABSORBERS -- Oil drillers since the beginning of the industry have been confronted with the bugaboo of vibration. The terrific punishment which drilling equipment takes subjects it to frequent breaks with attendant heavy losses in time and money. Now, a Kansas concern has come to rescue. The Stewart-Smith Machine Supply Company, of El Dorado, is producing a new type of rubber shock absorber designed to lessen both jar and vibration on oil field equipment wherever used. Claims: Fewer breaks and consequent greater savings. WHEAT SHOCKER -- An automatic wheat shocker is the product of the brain of Peter Ketelsen, Wichita, who has demonstrated its practicability in Kansas and during the past month in the wheat fields of the north. The Ketelsen invention collects the wheat bundles, stands them on end, grips them together in a shock and then drops them on the ground. Advantages claimed: The producer can cut his wheat in the milk thereby outsmarting noxious weeds; a minimum loss due to grain shattering; the wheat ripens better; and, the straw is not wasted.
SIXTY-NINE years ago this summer, William Thompson, Emporia truck gardener, then a lad of 21, was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean taking part in a historic drama. He was a member of the crew of the Great Eastern, ship engaged in laying the first successful Atlantic cable.
Mr. Thompson relates that it took three weeks to load the heavy cable, 4000 miles in length, about as large around as a man's wrist and wound on great spools. The ship set out from Sherness, England, near the mouth of the Thames river, on its history-making journey to Newfoundland in July, 1866. "One of the prettiest sights I ever saw," Mr. Thompson recalls, "was the slow settling of the cable one-half mile behind the ship. It looked like a fine thread as it disappeared into the water." With the success of this venture, the Great Eastern crew was put to work picking up the broken strands of the unsuccessful cable laid in 1865.
Mr. Thompson came to Kansas in 1880 and recently observed his 90th birthday, having been born at Cornhill, Scotland, July 19, 1845. He is the father of 12 grand-children. His recipe for living to be 90: Eat two large dishes of oatmeal daily and go to bed before sundown.