How a cookbook built a gym
for Evening Shade, Arkansas
nothing wrong with the old rock gym.
Built in 1939, by the National Youth Administration, it had served the
school well for more than 50 years. But
the young folks thought it would be nice to have a regulation size gym so they
could host basketball tournaments and invite other schools for district and
They figured it would cost
schools—especially small ones—have trouble raising funds,” said Supt. Billy
Paul Boyle, who oversees 314 students in grades K-12.
was trying to come up with ideas on how to raise money to build a new gym.
fall of 1990, Mrs. Lita King suggested that her home economic class might
compile a cookbook to sell to raise money for various projects. It would make a good chapter project for the
Future Homemakers of America. So the
class went to work, collected recipes from local residents, assembled the
cookbook and ordered 350 copies.
expected them to sell as rapidly as they did.
But a new television situation comedy—“Evening Shade”—had just premiered
on CBS, and the cookbook became a “hot” item.
An additional 200 copies were ordered quickly.
King’s husband, Kevin, who is an attorney at Hardy, suggested that the book be
tied into the television show. He
encouraged the students to incorporate recipes from the stars of the show—and
to apply the proceeds toward a new gym.
laughed! You have to sell a lot of
cookbooks to make $350,000!
not to be daunted, spoke to a friend and fellow attorney, Hilary Clinton. (They were working on the same case at the
time.) She, in turn, contacted friends
in California—the producers of the TV show.
long, recipes and photos of the stars began to arrive. Burt Reynolds, the show’s major star, wrote a
dedication for the book.
that, things began to move fast. A drama
as exciting as an episode of the show itself began to unfold.
Arnold wrote a letter to Burt Reynolds, inviting him to speak at her class’s
graduation exercises. He came. So did Hilary Clinton and Harry Thomason and
his wife, Linda Bloodworth Thomason, producers of the TV show.
summer, Reynolds invited Shalynn to visit Hollywood at his expense. While there she appeared in a scene on the TV
Lita King said that after the cookbook edition with the stars’ recipes was published, 110,000 sold in just about a year, making it the second fastest selling cookbook in the country.
Evening Shade Cookbook Foundation was formed.
The group retained an architect and discussed integrating an auditorium
into the plans for a gym.
the cookbook poured in from all over the country, and that fall Mrs. King set
up a vocational entrepreneur class through the State Department of
Education. For two years, students gained
valuable experience, as well as credit, packaging, addressing and mailing out
the cookbook. The community joined in,
and volunteers met each Thursday night, working long hours to fill the orders.
the gymnasium is important to the school, and it has brought a lot of attention
to the town, what is more important is it brought the town together. We were all working for a common cause—our
young people,” said Donna Ables who spent innumerable hours working on the
In July of
1992, Charlie Dell—Nub in the sitcom—served as grand master in the annual
Evening Shade Summerfest Parade. He
returned again the following year and was married in the Methodist Church to
actress Jennifer Williams.
Gilliam, who plays Virgil, has also played an important role, as has Jay. R.
Ferguson (Taylor), Jacob Parker (Will), and Bonnie Franklin.
nationwide publicity, tourists began to arrive from throughout the United
States, Canada and several foreign countries.
of the gym began in October, 1992. Delk
Construction Co. of Bald Knob submitted the low bid of $604,000, almost twice
the original estimate. Not to worry;
$300,000 worth of cookbooks already had been sold.
gym was completed in August of 1993—at a final cost of $750,000—the foundation
reported cookbook sales of more than $625,000.
Evening Shade T-shirt sales—totaling $25,000—purchased the sound system,
a lighted school sign, drapes for the stage and other incidentals.
building was named the “Burt Reynolds Gymnasium and the Linda Bloodworth
Thomason /Harry Thomason Auditorium” and
bears the TV show’s “Evening Shade” symbol.
A cover protects the floor when plays, band concerts and the like are
presented. An additional 600 chairs
bring the auditorium seating capacity to 1,500.
spring of 1993, the school received 70 blue and gold (school colors) warm-up
suits as a gift from Burt Reynolds. With
them was a note: “I Love You, Burt.”
teams from North Central Arkansas came for the first event—a basketball classic
held in October of 1993. School
secretary, Anna Lee Little, was pleased the day she moved her files from a
portable building that had served as an office into the new administrative
offices in the old rock gym. Physical
education classes are held there as well.
Evening Shade cookbooks were sold, bringing in a total of approximately $1
million dollars. It wasn’t all profit,
of course, and some of it went to pay off some school debts, buy an adjacent
lot, purchase mailing equipment and the like.
Sales slowed down after the
show went into syndication, but no one complained. There were enough good memories to last for
years to come and everybody was enjoying the new gymnasium.
The Jonesboro Sun—May 6, 1995
LIVING OFF THE LAND
THE DALTON GANG HIDEOUT
The Legend Lives On
Mystery surrounds the Meade, Kansas Hideout, used by the infamous Dalton Gang—notorious train and bank robbers in the late 1800’s
by mystery, romance and intrigue, visitors stop at the Dalton Gang Hideout in
the southwestern Kansas town of Meade, year after year, not only to view the
house, barn and underground tunnel, but also to try to unveil the secrets
Eva Dalton Whipple’s honeymoon cottage and the tunnel leading to the barn on the creek below is reputed to be where the notorious Dalton Gang hid between train and bank robberies more than 100 years ago.
Meade’s Dalton Gang
connection was established when Eva, sister to Bob, Grat and Emmett Dalton, and
her friend Florence Dorland moved from the Coffeyville area to Meade Center—as
the town was called then—in the 188o’s.
“No one knows why they
came—perhaps to visit relatives or just for the adventure,” said Nancy Ohnick,
who is well versed in the Dalton family history. Ohnick, who has researched the Daltons since
she worked at the hideout as a teenager, has published a book, “The Dalton Gang
and Their Family Ties.”
Eva and Florence arrived, Ohnick said, the ladies established a millinery
shop. Eva was considered a “fine lady”
and, being “young, gay and comely,” she attracted the attention of most of the
available men. She, however, was
interested only in John N. Whipple, proprietor of Whipple’s Headquarters which
is believed to have been the first mercantile store in Meade.
and apparently a dedicated booster of the growing community, Whipple’s various
activities were reported weekly in one or more of the three local newspapers,
said Ohnick. Although Whipple was
somewhat older than Eva, they appeared to be a good match. They were married October 25, 1887. The wedding and reception took place at the
home of a prominent local couple who lived south of Meade Center. Emmett, the youngest of the four Dalton
brothers, who were serving as Deputy U.S. Marshals at the time, was reported to
have attended the wedding.
couple moved into a new home Whipple had built for his bride on a hillside
southeast of the city. An older Dalton
brother, Frank, was killed a month later on November 27, near Fort Smith,
Arkansas while making an arrest.
unusual sequence of events which followed were not explained at the time and
have baffled historians ever since.
Three weeks after the wedding, Whipple gave up his business, and two
months later, transferred the deed to their home and property to Eva. Since Eva had given up her millinery business
earlier, the couple were presumed to subsist—quite well, in fact—on the
proceeds from “Whip’s” horse trading and poker playing.
There are conflicting
reports concerning Eva’s brothers’ “falling out” with the law, but their first
train robbery attempt was reported in Alila, California in February 1891. Grat was captured but escaped. In the spring, rumors of Dalton Gang
activities began circulating in the Midwest.
Meade Center sympathies
were with “poor little Eva.” After all,
everyone said, she couldn’t help what her brothers did. Some said if the Dalton boys had been treated
squarely when they were U.S. Marshals, they wouldn’t have turned bad. Also, they said, it probably hadn’t helped
that the brothers had grown up hearing about the escapades of the Younger
Brothers, cousins on their mother’s side.
The Whipples house was
often watched and, on occasion, searched by lawmen, but the infamous brothers
were never seen on the premises. When
asked about an unusually large number of horses in his corral, Whipple
plausibly explained he’d “been doing a little trading.”
In 1892, the Whipples
quietly left town. No one knew exactly
when but they were gone when Bob and Grat Dalton, Dick Broadwell and Bill
Powers were shot and killed in Coffeyville on October 5 while attempting to
hold up two banks simultaneously.
The Whipple house was
sold at a sheriff’s sale in November, 1892, Ohnick said. Sometime later, a secret passage was discovered
after a trail-weary stranger appeared in the house, seemingly out of nowhere,
startling the family who had moved into the cottage.
The 95-foot tunnel was
a crude, ditch-like affair, too shallow in which to stand erect. Covered over with dirt and boards, it opened
beneath a stairwell on the lower level of the house and ended in the feed room
in the barn. It appeared to have been
used as an escape tunnel by the visiting Dalton brothers who could hide in the
tunnel when the house was approached and, if necessary, make a getaway through
the barn, mounting their horses and galloping out of sight up the draw.
The property was
purchased by the City of Meade in 1940. Improvements
were made to the house to make it tourist accessible. The barn, which was in disrepair, was removed
and another was built in its place. The
tunnel was enlarged and reinforced for safety and convenience. The Dalton Gang Hideout was opened to
tourists June 6, 1941.
Visitors to the hideout
may browse through Evan’s cottage, the gift shop, the museum on the upper level
and walk through the tunnel leading to the barn. Eva’s house is furnished as it might have
been when she lived there—complete with a dress form and sewing machine.
In the tree-shaded park
below the barn are barbecue facilities and picnic tables, playground equipment
and a stage used for occasional concerts and other entertainment. Also on the premises are an 1800’s-era
covered wagon, mail cart, steam engine, farm wagon, school bell and a wishing
Nearly 14,000 tourists
visit the attraction annually, according to Nancy Dye, former manager and
curator of the facility.
“A surprising number of
people from other countries are very interested in the hideout, as well as
anything pertaining to the Old West,” Dye said.
Tourists routinely pose
numerous unanswerable questions. Why did
the Dalton brothers “go wrong?” Why did
John Whipple give up his business and deed the house to Eva after the couple
was married? Was there something shady
in his past? Were the Whipples innocent
bystanders, or did they play an active role in the Dalton Gang’s escapades?
including reports of a cache of “loot,” keep the Dalton legend alive. Although portions of the Dalton legend are
admittedly speculation and much of it remains a mystery, enough has been
documented in court records such as deeds and licenses and in newspaper
articles to validate most of the history, Ohnick said.
“Among other things, we
know that Eva and John’s love proved strong enough to survive,” she said. “After leaving Meade, they lived quietly in
both Oklahoma and Arkansas. Although
nothing is known about them, records show that the marriage produced two
children, a daughter, Maud, born in Meade in 1888, and a son, Glenn, born in
Arkansas in 1894.”
Whipple died in 1932,
at the age of 81, in Arkansas. Following
his death, Eva moved to Kingfisher Oklahoma, where she died in 1939 at age 72.
The Dalton brothers’
careers as outlaws are legendary but, for them, crime did not pay. Another brother, Bill, joined the forces with
outlaw Bill Doolin and was shot and killed by lawmen in 1894. Emmett Dalton, the only member of the gang to
survive the Coffeyville incident was sentenced to life imprisonment after
recovering from his wounds. He was
released in 1907, whereupon he moved to California and became a respectable
businessman. He was once quoted as
saying that he was the only Dalton ever to profit from those outlaw days. He did so by writing two books and assisting
in producing films about his early experiences.
Although both books, “Beyond the Law” and “When the Daltons Rode,” were
said to be highly fictitious, they apparently sold well and at least one was
made into a movie.
The above article was published in KANSAS! Magazine (2nd Issue, 1997)
The Dalton Gang Hideout, located 4 blocks south of Highway 54 ((502 South Pearlette) in Meade, Kansas is open from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 on Sunday.
THE WHITE HOUSE COOKBOOK
When my grandparents headed West to homestead in the Oklahoma Panhandle, my grandmother carried one of her most prized possessions, The White House Cookbook. I was lucky to inherit this family heirloom.
The 3-inch thick, 600-page, Comprehensive Cyclopedia of Information For the Home sold for $1 in 1900. It is an intriguing contrast to our cookbooks of today, in price and content as well.
As I thumb through it, I wonder at the changes technology has wrought in the past 100 years, changes in our lifestyles and interests, in our knowledge.
The White House Cookbook, dedicated to “the wives of our presidents,” features portraits of the first 25 first ladies. A portrait of Ida Saxton McKinley graces the dustcover. Pictures of the White House kitchen, the Family Dining Room, the Great State Dining Room, the East Room, the Blue Room and the Red room are also included, as are menus, table settings and recipes for “everyday” occasions as well as “state” and “special” events.
The book contains everything the homemaker of yesteryear wanted or needed, including how to carve beef, pork, mutton, venison, fish and fowl (including wild game); how to stay healthy, how to care for the sick, and how to make perfume, toiletries, cough syrup, liniment, wine, soap, glue and dyes.
As we approach the 21st century and an increasingly high-tech lifestyle, these circa 1900 remedies seem quaint, if not downright ridiculous. An item in the chapter Facts Worth Knowing tells us: “To discourage troublesome ants, a heavy chalk mark laid a finger’s distance from your sugar box and all around will surely prevent ants from troubling.”
And under Hints In Regard To Health, we learn: “the flavor of cod-liver oil may be changed to the delightful one of fresh oysters if the patient will drink a large glass of water poured from a vessel in which nails have been allowed to rust.”
To keep Well: “Don’t sleep in a ‘draught’, don’t go to bed with cold feet, don’t stand over hot air registers, don’t eat what you do not need just to save it, don’t try to get cool too quickly after exercising, don’t sleep in a room without ventilation of some kind, don’t stuff a cold lest you next be obligated to starve a fever, don’t sit in a damp or chilly room without a fire, don’t try to get along without flannel underclothing in winter.”
“Leanness,” the book tells us, is “caused generally by lack of power in the digestive organs to digest and assimilate the fat-producing elements of food. First, restore digestion, take plenty of sleep, and drink all the water the stomach will bear in the morning on rising, take moderate exercise in the open air, eat oatmeal, cracked wheat, graham mush, baked sweet apples, roasted and boiled beef, cultivate jolly people and bathe daily.”
From the Medicinal Food section we learn “spinach has a direct effect upon complaints of the kidneys, common dandelion greens are excellent for the same trouble, asparagus purifies the blood, celery acts upon the nervous system and is a cure for rheumatism and neuralgia, tomatoes act upon the liver, lettuce and cucumbers are cooling upon the system, onions, garlic, leeks, chives and shallots possess medicinal virtues stimulating the circulatory system, red onions are an excellent diuretic, white ones a remedy for insomnia – ”
I daresay Grandma would be amazed at the progress we’ve made in 100 years.
Although I have an aversion to cod-liver oil and drinking water flavored by rusty nails, many old-timers still swear by these home remedies. As the use of natural products to promote good health gains new followers, some of the suggestions in The White House Cookbook sound vaguely familiar. Advertisements touting the beneficial uses of vinegar, honey, garlic and soda have been published in recent issues of GRIT, for instance.
And who can ignore the “new research” reports appearing regularly in the media reminding us to eat certain foods to control or prevent such illnesses as cancer, heart disease or diabetes?
Published In Grit Magazine
Although the following was written a few years back,
security measures are still being taken, in ways we may not even be aware of,
not only in Southwest Kansas, but in other communities nationwide as well.
"Sixty-eight percent of the world's beef is produced in a
triangular area from Dodge City west to the Colorado border, south to Amarillo,
Texas and back to Dodge," Stice said. "This includes range
cattle, feed lots, and the three Southwest Kansas packing plants -- National Beef,
Excel and IBP -- which process process a combined total of one million head of
livestock a day."
We Kansans have always felt
relatively safe what with a wide-open prairie surrounding us and a half
continent between us and terrorists and threats of like nature. However, we may not be as safe as we’d like
“Everyone is under the
impression that if anything happens, it will happen in New York, not here,”
said Mike Cox, Meade County Sheriff. “That’s not necessarily so. We, here in western Kansas, are vulnerable in
a number of ways. It’s possible for
anything to happen at any time, and we all need to stay aware—and alert.”
This is also the message of Meade County Emergency Management
Coordinator, Marvin Stice, who heads up a recently formed committee made up
of law enforcement personnel, businesses and individuals whose goal is to
address all areas of terrorist vulnerability in the county.
“Our office receives
upgraded Emergency Sensitive Notices from the FBI Intelligence Office
periodically—especially when a terrorist alert is changed,” Cox said. “With the 2nd anniversary of the terrorist
attacks approaching, we are prepared to take any precautionary measures
necessary—whatever the threat might be.
“For example, when the two
previous red alerts occurred—in October, 2001 and February 17 to May 29 of this
year—we were notified to beef up security at various Meade County facilities,”
he continued. “We had deputies on high
alert on an hourly basis; then after the level of the alert went to amber, we
continued monitoring the facilities with periodic drive-bys.
“Immediately after the
terrorist attack, we were notified to keep our eyes on airports—especially
spray planes which might be confiscated and used to spray toxic chemicals over
towns,” he added. “Since this is still
considered a threat, we check the airport on an ongoing basis.”
“We work closely with county
law enforcement officials as well as the KBI,” said Craig Stratton, who
operates a crop dusting service out of the Meade
airport. “Agents of the KBI checked all crop dusters in the state early on
to make sure that we each have all the planes we are supposed to have—and only
the planes we’re supposed to have. They
want to know where all crop dusters are at all times.”
With the threat to food
security high on the list of possible terrorist activity, the Meade County
Emergency Management Coordinator, as well as area farmers and ranchers, are
keeping a watchful eye on cattle, crops and grain elevators.
*“Bioterrorism has been a big
issue ever since 9/11 and our beef industry is considered a very vulnerable
target,” Stice said. “Sixty-eight
percent of the world’s beef is produced in a triangular area from Dodge City
west to the Colorado border, south to Amarillo, Texas and back to Dodge. This includes range cattle, feed lots and the
three Southwest Kansas packing plants—National Beef, Excel and IBP—which
process a combined total of one million head of livestock a day.
“One of the objectives of
our team,” he continued, “is to take every precaution possible to safeguard
these facilities, including any attempt to spread foreign animal diseases such
as foot and mouth disease, anthrax, etc.”
“If we receive a warning
that dangerous chemicals or toxins might be passing through the area, we are
prepared to shut down our main highways (54, 160 and 23) immediately and begin
inspecting carriers” Cox said.
“Although we’ve had no
serious incidents of any kind in the county and, thus far, reports have proved
to be false alarms, we intend to be on the ready in case there is an actual
emergency,” Stice said.
“The entire Southwest Kansas Medical Community has
been on the alert since the initial terrorist attacks,” said Mickey Thomas,
Director of Meade District Hospital. “We
watch for any indication of unusual viruses, poisons, small pox, etc., and are
carrying a heavier inventory of antibiotics and supplies. We also have a task force of aids standing by
if an emergency should occur.”
Although the date has not
yet been confirmed, a consortium of 17 Southwest Kansas hospitals are making
plans to conduct a bioterrorism mock disaster drill in October, he said.
With new diseases cropping
up worldwide, we are always on the alert,” said Michele Correll, Director of
the Meade County Health Department. “As a bioterrorism measure, we are working
with a six-county regional group, studying ways to identify and contain these
diseases should they appear.”
offices, schools, utility companies, etc. are notified during heightened alert.
“Everything changed on
9/11,” said Mark Goldsberry, Director of Lake
Meade State Park. “Although Lake
Meade is less vulnerable than the larger state lakes, we are always on the alert for unusual or unexplained fish kills,
bird die-offs, etc., as well as persons or activity of a suspicious
Goldsberry is a member of
the Southwest Kansas Regional Foreign Animal Disease Committee (FAD) as well as
the Meade County Emergency Planning Committee.
“The success of Homeland
Security depends on the involvement of the common people,” he said. “The cowboy riding the pens, the waitress in
a restaurant, the gas station attendant—any of us—may see or hear something
important to our security. The bottom
line is that we all remain aware and alert at all times.”
In addition to supporting
local antiterrorism planning groups, Darrell Yarnall, Senior Resident Agent for
the Garden City FBI office, suggests
that citizens be aware of who their neighbors are and report any suspicious
persons and/or activity to the FBI or to their local law enforcement officials.
“We are concerned most about people, fitting the terrorist profile, who might move into the area and assume a new identity, using this as a base to carry on terrorist activity,” he said.
Dodge City Daily Globe 8/29/03
*All statistics apply to 2003
Although this article was published in 1903, Marvin Stice, former Meade County Emergency Management Coordinator, has since informed us that agencies continue to remain alert for possible terrorist’s threats. Certain information in the article might also apply to other counties, states, etc. (Marvin Stice resigned as Coordinator in 2010).
MID-AMERICA AIR MUSEUM
"We have a great museum," Bert said. "You'd be hard pressed to find an aviation museum with the diversity of airplanes we have anywhere else in the world."