Archive for Sunday, January 13, 2013

100 years ago: Record crowd fills Topeka for governor’s inauguration

January 13, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Jan. 13, 1913:

"Amid the cheers of hundreds of enthusiastic Democrats, the waving of flags, the booming of cannon and the patriotic strains of 'The Star Spangled Banner,' George H. Hodges of Olathe was inaugurated at noon today as the nineteenth governor of Kansas. It was an impressive and dignified ceremony. Added to the importance of the occasion was the fact that Hodges is the first Democrat to take the oath as governor of Kansas since the day that John W. Leedy was inaugurated in January 1897....

"For the first time in many years -- so long ago in fact that the veteran politicians have forgotten the date -- there was an inaugural parade. Hundreds of men prominent in the political affairs and the public life of Kansas rode in the carriages behind the bands and the display of military pomp and splendor. Along either side of Kansas avenue from Fourth street to Tenth avenue, hundreds of men, women and children forgot the chilly January breeze and cheered as the members of the new state administration passed in review.... At the state house there was another big crowd. Again there was cheering as George H. Hodges, the new governor, and Walter Roscoe Stubbs, the retiring chief executive of Kansas, stepped from the same carriage and walked side by side up the west steps and through the corridors of the building to Representative hall. Near the door of the legislative chamber a little girl threw a red rose in the path of the two men and Governor Hodges smiled and gave his most courteous bow. At almost every step there was some new evidence of the pent up enthusiasm of Kansas Democracy which had returned to its own after almost two decades....

"Not in recent years, perhaps never before in the history of the state, has such a crowd come to Topeka for an inauguration. For almost a week Democratic politicians from every nook and corner of Kansas have been watching the preliminary organization of the legislature. But all were waiting for the big event of today, fearful apparently to go home lest there be no place to eat or sleep when they returned.... It was a crowd that would have brought credit to a vain New York assembly or would have been pointed to with pride in haughty Ohio. From out over the plains of Kansas had come the state's favorite sons and daughters, the sturdiest men, the handsomest women of a proud nation. It was withal an orderly, though bubbling enthusiastic meeting of a state's best people. Fifty-two years ago, a small group of men had blessed the birth of a new state as they celebrated the inauguration of Charles Robinson as the first governor of Kansas. Those ceremonies were in a little room in a frame building on lower Kansas avenue and a county clerk from Douglas county had administered the oath. And so in the hotel lobbies this morning the old timers recounted the advancement of a great state, the striking off of the shackles of slavery, the frontier days, the visitation of the grasshoppers and the drouth, the panic of '73, the soup house days of the early 90's, the succeeding days of plenty that placed Kansas among the proud states of the union. There were men in the lobbies who recalled many of these things -- men who suffered want and privation to build a state."


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