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Drive-by Tour of Historic Girard

Girard, KS 66743

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Unique tease

1. Girard History Museum – 300 S. Summit. Located inside the old Episcopal Church, built in 1886-1888. National Registry of Historic Places (NRHP) 4/22/2009.

2. Raymond Community Home – 301. South Osage. Given to the city by Mrs. J.E. Raymond. Built in 1893 by Mr. Raymond for his bride. All woodwork in the house was in natural and different woods, a beautiful old home. John E. Raymond was one of Girard’s Founding Fathers, a merchant and a banker. NRHP 4/3/2007.

3. Carnegie Library – 128 W. Prairie. Built in 1906. Girard was the smallest city in the world to have a Carnegie Library thanks to Miss Jane Addams, founder of Chicago’s Hull House and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. NRHP 6/25/1987.

4. Historic Square – Courthouse was dedicated 6/1/1922 and is beautifully finished with Italian Marble and a skylight. NRHP 4/22/2009.

5. The Deer Statue – Located on the southwest corner of the square marks the spot where founder Dr. Charles Strong shot a deer and proclaimed that he would build a town on this spot 2/28/1868.

6. First State Bank – 105 E. Prairie. First brick building built in Girard. Built by Franklin Playter in 1873. In 1874 Playter financed the construction of a railroad from Girard to Joplin. He also found the city of Pittsburg. NRHP 8/7/2009.

7. Helicopter and Vietnam Memorial – Located on the southeast corner of the square. Was dedicated March 3, 1995, Army 64-13623 and was retired from service by the Department of the Army and assigned to the Stephen H. Bennefeld V.F.W. Post 7479, Girard, KS with a total of 5,524.7 aircraft hours.

8. S & W Supply Co. (Slawson & Wilson) – 215 E. Prairie. Built Factory in 1925 and manufactured metal grave markers for shipment all over the world. Also metal plant and nursery stakes. NRHP 5/21/2009.

9. Appeal to Reason & Little Blue Book Site / now Veterans Memorial Park – At the corner of E. Forest and N. Cherokee. A large brick building was on this site and used by the Appeal to Reason Newspaper in 1896. It’s Publisher, J.A. Wayland was a Socialist. About 750,000 copies were mailed out weekly in 1913 all across the world and was the largest circulated newspaper at that time. It was later home of the Little Blue Books with the first printing in January 1919 published by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius. It had the largest printing presses west of the Mississippi River. The plant burnt on July 4, 1978. 100 million copies of the Little Book Books were sold in 1926.

10. Post Office – 115 N. Summit, built in 1918. The smallest first class post office built in the United States due to the huge volume of mail shipped by the Appeal to Reason Newspaper.

11. Presbyterian Church – 200 N. Summit. Built in 1887 after the previous church had been destroyed by a tornado. NRHP 7/8/2009.

12. Leonard Home – 205 N. Summit. Built by J.T. and Anna in 1907-08, one of Girard’s leading families. It is significant for its architecture. The home was designed in a late version of the Free Classic Queen Anne style, a building type not widely used in Girard. The largest house ever built at that time. It has served as a home, boarding house, funeral home, bed and breakfast, and again a single family home. NRHP 1/11/2017.

13. Henry Laurens Call Home – 608 N. Summit. Home of Socialist lawyer, author and lecturer who arrived in Girard from New York in February 1908 with blueprints for a flying machine. The first plane west of the Mississippi was built and on July 9, 1908 was christened the “Great Dream”. It was dubbed the “Mayfly,” because, after all, as they said “it may fly!” But it didn’t. Call built 14 planes in all and many engines. Because of his efforts, Charles Lindbergh flew over Girard in 1927 dropping a greetings scroll of congratulations on the south side of the square.

14. Higgie Family – A founding family with 10 children (5 of which settled in Girard). Captain John and three sons were ship captains on the Great Lakes. In 1883 they purchased 80 acres in northwest Girard and named it “Higgie Addition”. All of the family built large homes on the west side of Summit. Son John M.’s home was the Northern most Victorian home built in 1887. The next home was built by J.F. Moore in 1887. The next two homes are gone and the fifth was built in 1886 and was for Captain William Higgie and his wife. The family owned a 15 acre lake and grounds surrounding N. Leonard St.

15. J.A. Wayland Home – 721 N. Summit. Built in 1887 by the Higgie family who used only the finest lumber for the home. In 1896, a Socialist, J.A. Wayland, and the founder and editor of the Appeal to Reason, purchased the home and he and his family lived there for 20 years. NRHP 11/21/1976.

16. Ice Barn & McFarland Lake – 515 N. Leonard. Built in 1896. Ice was harvested from the lake and stored in the lovely old stone barn. The last week of January 1897, the ice froze about 6 inches thick, and with the help of 47 men, 600 tons of ice, “clear as crystal,” were put up in two days. It was built for James McFarland, who was in the ice business.

17. Emanuel Haldeman-Julius Home – 310 N. Sinnet. He was the editor of the Appeal to Reason and The Little Blue Books. The Socialist family entertained such people as Upton Sinclair, Clarence Darrow and Will Durant. Anna Marcet, his wife, was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. H.W. Halderman. She was an actress and author. They lived at the farm (1893) with their family beginning 1918, the farm house received a North and a South addition. The pool where Emanuel drowned is still on the north side of the house. Emanuel was called the “Henry Ford” of the publishing industry. KSHR 4/3/2007.

18. Big Flag and Veteran’s Monument – East of Girard on Highway 47. One of the nation’s largest American flags (30’ x 60’ & 130’ high) is flown. Dedicated May 4, 1991, at the George C. Brown American Legion Post #26.

19. Golf Course and Fair Grounds – 1 mile east on Highway 47. 160 acres was deeded to the City of Girard in 1931 by Mrs. Mary Raymond. Crawford Hills Golf Course is a fine 9 hole grass green course maintained for public use. The fair grounds are used for various functions and an annual Crawford County Fair.

20. Girard Cemetery – Located in the southwest part of the city at Southern and Western was platted by founder Charles Strong who is buried there. The oldest grave is that of Mary Frances Crawford. The Friends of Historic Girard has placed a new monument at this sight. Many founding family names around in this cemetery is worth a walk around to see how many you can find.

21. Winston Park – at W. Magnolia and S. Carbon. The park was deeded to the City of Girard April 31, 1931 by Mary E. Raymond and given her maiden name Winston. The municipal swimming pool is located in this park, as are picnic tables, shelters and amusements for children.

22. Girard Sports Complex – W. Forest & S. Carbon. It houses tennis courts, basketball goals, a skate park and a shelter house with picnic tables.

23. Two buildings on the East side of the square are marked with bronze plaques. They are: 116 S. Ozark the grocery store of the parents of Jane Grant, the co-founder of the New Yorker Magazine, and 118 S. Ozark the first home of J.A. Wayland’s Appeal to Reason.

Compiled by Girard History Museum
P.O. Box 132 – 300 S. Summit
Girard, KS 66743
(620) 238-1706
girardkshistory@gmail.com
girardkshistory.com
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