Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Behind the Times

Although I'm terribly behind the times, one thing I've accomplished a little of in the last few weeks is illustrating the website Men Who Made Kansas City, and for the sake of political escapism, I'd like share some of those illustrations.

This is Judge Kyle, the police court judge.

Vintage Kansas City Judge Henry G. Kyle

Judge Kyle tries the cases of the men and women who have spent the night in the "holdover", and he metes out justice with a good deal of humor and compassion, though if you can't pay your fine you get sent to the workhouse

The Kansas City Workhouse (Jail)

Judge Kyle will often stay hefty fines, though, if a person agrees to get out of town.

This is Judge William Wallace

Former Kansas City Judge William H. Wallace

He's the crusader against working on Sundays, and by mid-1908 he'd locked up hundreds of actors, theatrical managers, cigar salesmen, grocers, etc., for working on the Lord's Day. Fels Whiskey reported in 1912 that before he was done, Judge Wallace had indicted 41,144 citizens and visitors for breaking the "Blue Law". He just lost the Democratic primary race for Governor.

In November (1908) Missouri will elect this man to be their governor:

Attorney General turned Governor Herbert Hadley

Attorney General Herbert Hadley ("Handsome Hadley", I call him). Republicans tried to draft him to run for governor since last year, on account of his immense popularity in taking on Standard Oil. For a while his health was bad and it looked like he wasn't going to make the race, but a few months in New Mexico put him right and now he's hot on the campaign trail.

And last, but not least, poor Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr.

Former Kansas City Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr.

He's always pretty funny, but my favorite Crittenden story is the one where a young KU graduate from Howard, Kansas made a pilgrimage to see the Kansas City mayor. The man was suffering from the delusion that he was under the spell of an evil hypnotist, and that only the Mayor of Kansas City could break the spell. After a frightened Mayor Crittenden had the fellow locked up for safekeeping, the police board convinced him to have a go at breaking the spell. It didn't work.

If I slip in and out of the past and present tense when talking about these men, it's because I'm used to spending a great deal of time focusing on their era, and enjoy thinking about them a lot more than I do today's political characters. After everything that's gone on in the last two weeks, and the Bruce Ivins fiasco in the weeks before that, I'm really looking forward to getting back to 1908 and possibly staying there. I'm sure there are a lot of people who wish I would.

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