Joplin Glee

A hundred years and two months ago, Joplin’s gleeks were promised what was said “to be the best musical production ever given by high school students.” Fair enough, the fans of the Joplin High School Glee Club probably never fathomed of the title “gleek”, a term fans of the television show Glee, have given themselves, but there appeared to be a strong following of the high school chorus group. An article which announced the May event noted that last year’s performance, “Julius Caesar” was a “decided success” and that the “house was crowded and interest never lagged.”

While it seems that Joplin High no longer has a dedicated Glee group (please let us know if this is otherwise!), the program in 1911 was a large one with 22 members. It was also considered the oldest organization in the school, established in 1905. The annual production planned for a May Thursday evening was a one act comedy, “Hector.” Preceding the play, the audience was to be treated to an all boy performance of  “solos, duets, quartets and choruses,” the product of several months of preparation.  Mr. L.S. Dewey was credited for preparing the singing, while Miss Edna Hazeltine was credited with the instruction and coaching for the play.

Undoubtedly, for one night in May, Joplin had a glee ol’ time.

Source: Joplin News Herald

Be Like The Mick

A photo of the Miners from some time around 1910, possibly at Cox Field.

Long an institution of Joplin, the Miners baseball team entertained Joplin crowds for more than half a century. Among one of their greatest, if not greatest, players to wear the name Joplin emblazoned across the chest, was Mickey Mantle. For the low price of nearly $200 (okay, not that low), you can own a replica of the 1950 jersey that the Mick wore courtesy of Ebbets.com.  It’s a bit of flannel history.

 

Baseball, Not Just For The Adults

While we’ve discovered the baseball in Joplin played by men who were paid, and by those who weren’t, the sport wasn’t limited to adults. In the below photograph, we’ve a team of boys, perhaps a high school team, who had banded together to form a formidable looking team. Who knows, perhaps one of them eventually found himself donning a Miners’ uniform.

Perhaps a high school baseball team from Joplin's earlier days.

 

 

 

 

Source: Historic Joplin Collection

A Joplin Football Outing

By the 1890′s, both Joplin and Carthage had been bit by the football bug. Naturally, the two engaged in an intercity rivalry with teams from one traveling to play the other. In the above, the Joplin team has engaged a “four horse tallyho” to carry them to the proverbial battle ground, a field located on the east side of Main Street between Sixteenth and Seventeenth Streets. It was known as the Joplin Bicycle Track. It’s unknown if the local boys won the match, but we’ll just assume so. After all, their opponents WERE from CARTHAGE.

Source: Joplin Daily Globe.

A Joplinite Takes a Bath

Americans have always loved a good excursion and they love health fads even more. Men as varied as Robert E. Lee and Franklin Delano Roosevelt enjoyed a good soak in hot springs. E.R. Moffet, Jr., son of one of the most significant men in Joplin’s history, engaged in a soak at Hot Springs, Arkansas at the turn of the century. As his descriptive letter indicates, not everyone enjoyed their experience at the baths.

“Editor of the Joplin Daily Globe:

Hot Springs Ark. Nov. 20 –

I arrived here yesterday and thought I would give you my views of the place and express my opinion of the first bath.

I took my choice of some 15 bathhouses situated upon the U.S. reserve and, fortifying myself against surprise, I boldly opened the door and there I met a man behind a counter with a 55 cent smile and a bunch of keys with a rubber band to each key. Upon making my wants known, he returned to a row of boxes like the boxes in the safety deposit department of a bank, and drawing out a box, he pushed it toward me.

I told him I did not want it – I came for a bath. He explained that I was to put all my earthly belongings into the box, so, having had to pay for my bath in advance, I had only three coppers and a nickel left, but in they went, and he put the box back and as it locked there I thought I was fleeced. He took one of the keys corresponding to the number of the box and slipped it onto my wrist telling me to let it remain there.

Well, as I had broken the ice, I was open for everything. As each 55 cent bath is entitled to a 15 cent attention I was put in the hands of a son of Africa who knows his business. He assigned me to a certain room to disrobe and gave me a robe to don, and I shortly went forth. Going to the bath, we went through the cooling rooms where some eight or ten men were cooling off. Passing through a door, we come to the finest place I ever saw: marble floors, marble partitions between baths, tubs, all supported with brass and porcelain as clean as could be.

My attendant being a man built on the Jeffries order, I soon saw after getting into the bath I was in for it. I remonstrated, but he said I wanted my money’s worth. After rubbing about all the skin off, he took me to a wire cot, laying me out, wrapped me up, and handed me a cup of hot water saying, “Have one on me.” The water was as hot as coffee and could only be supped, the degree of heat being something near 175 degrees.

While lying there I saw a sign saying, “Ladies in the cave.” I called my attendant and said, “Let’s go to the cave,” but he made me lie still. I kept watching that sign and presently it flopped over and it was the word, “empty.” Then my attendant said, “You can now go to the cave.” I said I was not particular now, but I went.

I found a cave some five feet wide, six feet high, and about thirty feet long, and as hot as hell or hotter. This cave is used for bad cases of heart trouble – love, for instance. The heat in the cave is natural, coming from the rocks, and is a most wonderful thing. It is lighted up and one is not allowed to stay in it over eight minutes.

After returning to the bath room, I was asked if I wanted to take a sweat. As I had sweated only about 5 gallons I thought I could stand a little more so he opened an iron door and invited me to step in. I went and out I came – I thought I was done for. The water in the room was it comes from the ground and steam rises from it all the time. But I managed to get in again and stay. Talk about a Turkish bath! They are not in it. I could only stay a few minutes and then called to be released. Getting out of the sweater, as the cloister is called, I asked what next.

I was led to the shower room where I believe ten thousand small streams of water about the size of a knitting needle shot at you with about 40 pounds of pressure. They came from every conceivable direction and in striking you they sting very sharp. I concluded the thing had gone far enough and I begged for quarter, but my attendant said, “You isn’t near through yet.” I had enough, however, and after having a pound or so more skin rubbed off, I was allowed to go into the first cooling room and presently to my place of starting.

After dressing I went to the office. There the key was removed from my wrist, the box unlocked, and my money turned over to me with the remark, “Call again.” I guess not – I know when I get enough.

E.R. Moffet, Jr.”

 

Source:  Joplin Daily Globe

Reckless Wheelmen of Joplin

A bicyclist pauses outside the Keystone Hotel at 4th and Main.

In 1897, the Joplin Globe reported that a large number of cyclists were ignoring a city ordinance that required cyclists riding at night to use a headlight. The paper called upon the Joplin Police Department to enforce the ordinance after a large number of complaints had been made by “persons who have narrowly escaped being run down at dark corners by reckless riders.” While no accidents had taken place, “several new profane expletives have been added to the vocabulary by people who have been made to jump sideways or straight up in order to avoid being run over.”

The Globe wryly suggested that the irresponsible night riders “lose a few spokes out of a wheel” and fly through the air as it would do them more good than a “little fine.” The ordinance should be enforced, the Globe demanded, instead of people  carrying shepherd’s crooks at night to fend off “bicyles ‘running wild.”

Curiously during this era, Joplin, Columbia, and Carthage all passed city ordinances that would have prohibited the use of bicycles within each city. The Missouri Division of the League of American Wheelmen went to court and defeated each ordinance, leaving Joplin residents to dodge and fend off careless cyclists.

Source: Joplin Daily Globe

The O’Hickeys – Joplin Baseball in the 1890′s

Before the Miners, baseball in Joplin took the form of amateur teams that emerged from a variety of places, such as the Joplin Bankers. Another such team was “The O’Hickeys.”

The O’Hickeys, which existed for several years in the 1890s, claimed an undefeated streak. Their practice ground was none other than the Kansas City Bottoms. The team was composed of an eclectic group of men of varying backgrounds, united only by the fact that all the men lived at the O’Hickey boarding house. Among them was the owner of the boarding house, third baseman “Cap” O’Hickey (seated fourth from the left – presumably in the white shirt). The gentleman in the center foreground with the baseball bat across his lap was the manager of the Keystone Laundry, Joe. W. Walker, and behind him, the Keystone Laundry bookkeeper, Charley Ryus.

A mine operator and O’Hickey catcher, Bill Borey, is the fellow seated to the right of Ryus and in his hands is an unnamed team mascot. To the right of the team mascot and Borey, dressed in a “natty white outfit” is Ralph Moore. Reportedly, Moore began as a jeweler’s assistant but ended up a successful Vaudeville actor. Robert Norris, a coal dealer, is seated to the right of Moore. Finally, the team was rounded out in the photograph by John Mathes, a dry candy manufacturer, who is standing next to o’Hickey and Ryus. Not pictured, but a member of the team was Joe Tucker, a former Southern Association pitcher.

Historic Murphysburg Hosts Dickensfest

For those of you who have escaped notice of the festivities being held in the Murphysburg Residential Historic District, here’s one more reminder to go check out Dickensfest going on right now. The festival which creates a village right out of a novel by English author Charles Dickens, began today at 7pm and continues nightly through Sunday from 6:30 to 9 pm. In addition to walking through incredible surroundings, there are a number of events from music to characters straight out of the Christmas Carol to enjoy. Here’s a link to the official Joplin Dickenfest page, and here’s a link to the website for Historic Murphysburg, the neighborhood hosting the event.

Joplin Miners, 1902 – 1904 Team Photos

For today’s post, we thought we’d toss in something new with a couple things previously seen just for the fun of having a comparison.  That comparison is the Joplin Miners, from 1902 to 1904, in team photographs.  In chronological order, three years worth of the Joplin Miners baseball team.

A March 21, 1902 article, accompanied by a not very flattering sketch of pitcher Arthur Ragan, reported of some of the men pictured below:

“The local management received contracts yesterday from Andrew Brophy, one of last year’s most popular players and who will again be behind the bat for Joplin, from C.W. Wickizer, a heavy hitter with Nevada last year, and who is considered one of the best utility men in the southwest, from Arthur Ragan of Cherokee, Kas., a pitcher whose work will interest the fans for, while his engagement with Joplin will be his first professional ball, competent judges who have seen the young man work, declare that he is a comer. “

The Joplin Miners

The Joplin Miners of 1902

Top Row – Wright Wickizer, catcher; an unnamed pitcher; Bert Dunn, pitcher; Claud Marcum, manager; Arthur “Rip” Reagan, pitcher; Peck Harrington, catcher and outfielder; and Lefty Greer, pitcher.  Middle Row – Earl Taylor, pitcher, Don Stewart, secretary of the club; Arthur “Art” Cox, treasurer of the club; and William “Dolly” Gray, first baseman.  Bottom Row – Bert “Monk” Senter, shortstop; Jimmie Underwood, outfielder; Fred Tullar, third base; and Dick Bayless, outfielder.

1903 Joplin Miners

The 1903 Joplin Miners

The 1903 Miners: 1. Morton; 2. Lowell; 3. Adam; 4. Stoner; 5. Wickheiser; 6. Woliver; 7. McCullough; 8. Evans; 9. Allen, Captain; 10. Weldy; 11. Jones; 12. Fillman; 13. Driscoll; 14. Herrington; 15. Roedell.

1904 Joplin Miners

1904 Joplin Miners

Sources: Historic Joplin Collection, Joplin Daily Globe

The Elks’ Present Their Imperial Minstrels

A Joplin newspaper cartoon referring to the Elks' Minstrel Show.

A Joplin newspaper cartoon referring to the Elks' Minstrel Show (click to access larger version)

“Business men in blackface can be more amusing than professionals, especially when they strike a happy medium between the elite and the ridiculous.”

So began a review of the minstrel show put on by Joplin’s Elks Lodge, No. 501, in mid-January, 1909.  Since the 19th Century, the minstrel show had been a steadfast form of entertainment based upon humiliating and stereotypical depictions of African Americans, often by white men with black makeup on their face.  Generally, the performers adopted comical dialects exaggerated to effect laughter and ridicule.  Entertainment in the shows ranged from comedy skits to song and dance.

In an example of the acceptability of racism at the time in American and Joplin society, the minstrel show was produced by the Elks Lodge, a social organization of Joplin’s businessmen and reputable members of the city’s society.  One advertisement for the minstrel show specifically noted the participation of Edward Zelleken, a member of one of Joplin’s most distinguished and wealthy families.

A cartoon of Prof. Edward Zelleken's anticipated black face appearance.

A cartoon of Prof. Edward Zelleken's anticipated black face appearance.

A small article that ran before the show promised an entertaining show and an opening which “should not be missed.”  Tickets, the article claimed, were going fast, but good ones could still be reserved.  An advertisement that ran near the article promised, “Ten Dollars’ Worth of Enjoyment For the Price of One.”  The “Imperial Minstrels” as the Elks called their cast performed in the Club Theater.  A follow up article the day after headlined, “Elks’ Minstrel Creates Furor Among Society” with the subtitle, “Business Men In Blackface Score Tremendous Hit.”

An advertisement for the Elks' Minstrel Show

An advertisement for the Elks' Minstrel Show (click for larger version)

The jokes in the show ranged from the plain comedic to pokes and jabs at local businessmen, like the owner of Donehoo’s pharmacy, which was located at the busy intersection of 4th and Main.  Other jokes were political in nature such as one about William Jennings Bryan recalled by a minstrel who claimed he had just stepped into an elevator in Chicago when he saw, “Mrs. William Jennings Bryan come running down the corridor waving her hand for the elevator operator to hold the car until she arrived. ‘You need not have hurried to catch the car,’ the elevator operator is said to have informed Mrs. Bryan, ‘I’d have waited for you.’  ‘Oh,’ replied the Commoner’s wife as she breathed heavily. ‘ I just wanted to show you that there was one member of the Bryan family who could keep in the running.’”

Another sign of the acceptability of the lampoon was the audience that turned out for the event.  A reporter from the Joplin Globe described them, “Society turned out in all its finery to see something rich and rare…”  Indeed, as the reporter noted, “And to a thousand, auditors giggled, laughed and te-heed until their faces ached while Joplin Lodge, No. 501. B.P.O. Elks, presented their Imperial Minstrels at the Club Theater last night.”

Source: Joplin Globe, 1909