A Landing a Day

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Woodruff and Long Island, Kansas

Posted by graywacke on September 5, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2049; A Landing A Day blog post number 467.

Dan –  Continuing the OSer funk (1/7), thanks to this landing in . . . KS; 59/55; 4/10; 6; 151.9.  This was my first 2013 landing in KS; here’s my regional landing map (which shows I very nearly landed in NE):

 landing 1

My closer-in landing map shows my proximity to Nebraska, Woodruff and Long Island (and the fact that I’ll likely have a close-in Google Earth StreetView shot, thanks to Route 183):

 landing 2

Long Island is familiar to me from landing 1632 (my 50th ALAD post, January 2009).  I actually remembered a funny issue about Long Island (more about that later).  Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot, showing a very agricultural (pastureland?) kind of landscape:

 ge 1

You can see a little creek near my landing.   It is an unnamed tributary that heads north to Prairie Dog Creek.  Amazingly, this was my fourth landing in the Prairie Dog Creek watershed!  Anyway, the Prairie Dog discharges to the Republican R (21st hit); on to the Kansas R (58th hit); on to the Missouri (376th hit); on to the MM (806th hit).

As mentioned earlier (and thanks again to Route 183), there is excellent StreetView coverage.  And yes, my landing pin shows up!

 ge SV 225 feet

I headed south down Route 183 a couple of hundred yards for this shot of the little lake that you can on my GE shot.  Look closely, and on the far left you can see the word “landing”:

ge SV (2) see landing

So, I checked out Woodruff (pop 134) on the Blue Skyways website of the Kansas Public Library.  From old (early 1900s) newspaper articles (published in the Woodruff Budget), comes the following information about the number of various types of establishments in Woodruff. 

There was one of these:

  •  bank, hotel, doctor, railroad, elevator, notary, dray line, plumber, drug store, livery barn, lumber yard, opera house, harness shop, school, meat market, paper hanger, grocery store, confectionery, furniture store, blacksmith shop and cement manufacturing company.

 There were two of these:

  •  painters, restaurants, hardware stores, plasterers, barbershops, livestock buyers, insurance agents, churches and real estate agents.

 There were three of these:

  •  stone masons and general stores.

 And, lastly, there were five carpenters.

 According to the newspaper, the town motto was “Live and Let Live; Boost, Don’t Knock.”  

 I really like the second half of the motto.  I Googled it, and found it mentioned in an essay associated with the Unitarian Church in Rochester NY (written by Richard Gilbert, and titled “Boost, Don’t Knock – How We Treat Each Other).  I also found it in a 1923 NY Times obituary for Warren G. Harding.  Harding was a newspaper man before becoming a politician.   He wrote a creedo for reporters, a part of which said “boost, don’t knock.”

Finally, I found this from the website LoveTheGiver.com:


 Getting back to the Kansas Library website, here’s an excerpt (citing information from the Woodruff Budget newspaper):

John STEENIS was listed as the champion cornhusker in that area, having husked and cribbed 2030 bushels of corn in 18 days, for an average of 113 bushels per day.

And it was evident that boys will be boys in 1906: Alfred YOUNG and Garfield HAGERMAN were spilled out of a buggy coming from the HAGERMAN farm by attempting to turn a square corner at a 2-40 gait. “The demolished rig,” reports the BUDGET, “bears witness to the fact that they didn’t light in a very soft spot either.”

I was stopped short by “a 2-40 gait.”  It obviously has something to do with how fast a horse is running or trotting.  After more than a little research, I found an 1890 publication on Google Books:  “Illustrated American Stock Book:  A Plain, Practical and Modern Treatment of the Several Branches of Live Stock.”  Subtitle 1: “Their Care in Health & Treatment in Disease.”  Subtitle 2:  “Adapted to the Every Day Use of the American Farmer & Stock Owner, Treating in Five Distinct Departments, the Horse, Cattle, Swine, Sheep & Poultry.”  Phew.  Anyway, I found this page:

 gait speed

I think that a 2-40 gait is more generally written as a 2:40 gait, which, I think, means that a certain distance is covered in 2 minutes and 40 seconds.  I have the clue from the above table that a gait of 2:00, for example, involved a speed of 44 feet/second.  I guessed that this might have something to do with furlongs, and son of a gun, I figured it out.  A furlong is 120 yards (or 660 feet).  I set up a little Excel spreadsheet table, and discovered that a horse running 8 furlongs in 2 minutes flat would average 44 feet/second (or 30 mph)!  Bingo! 

 So, a 2:40 gait covers 8 furlongs in 2:40, at an average speed of 33 feet second, which works out to 22.5 mph – obviously way to fast to take a sharp turn in a buggy!

 It was fun working in furlongs and all, but I could have gone right to miles.  Duh – 8 furlongs is exactly one mile, so the 2:40 gait is much more easily defined as the time to run a mile . . .

 Moving right along to Long Island.  As mentioned above, Long Island made an early appearance on ALAD.  Here’s what I had to say:

 I landed not far from the town of Long Island.  I thought the name was peculiar, so I took a quick look.  Well, a Kansas State Libraries website has the following three sentences about Long Island:

 1. Long Island is located in northern Phillips, county on highway K-383.

 2.  In the 19th century, a steamboat, the Minnie B., carried passengers on excursions in the waters around Long Island.

 3.  The battle of Prairie Dog Creek between Indians and the 18th Kansas Cavalry was fought on Battle Creek three miles East of Long Island, August 1867.

 I’m particularly interested in the second sentence.  It sounds like the good ship Minnie B plied the waters around Long Island KS, right?  But, of course, that makes no sense, when you look at a map:

 old alad map of long island

As you can see, Long Island, like Almena, is on the Prairie Dog Creek.  There’s no way a steamship is doing excursions on Prairie Dog Creek!!!

 There’s another creek to the north of town, Elk Creek.  It seems to me that the name “Long Island” could have something to do with the fact that the town is nearly surrounded by water (oh, OK, by creeks).

 But what about the Minnie B.?  What does that have to do with anything?  Was the town actually named after Long Island NY?  If so, does the Minnie B. have something to do with the naming of the town?   The captain of the ship moved to Kansas?  A passenger of the ship with fond memories of excursions in Long Island Sound moved to Kansas?  The Landing Nation wants to know!  FYI, I’ve emailed the website and asked for more information on the origin of the name.  Obviously, I’ll let you know if I hear anything . . .

 For the record, the only response I received from the website was an angry demand to delete Kansas Library quotes out of my post (which I dutifully did).  Hopefully, it won’t happen for this post . . .

 Anyway, this time around, I did a little more research, and found this out that there was a steamship –  the Minnie B. – out of Stratford CT that obviously sailed the waters of Long Island Sound.  That’s good information, although it certainly doesn’t explain the confusing (and inherently unclear) reference to the Minnie B. on the Kansas Library website.  I’ll stick with the presumption that the captain of the Minnie B. founded the town, and named it “Long Island.”  Maybe, maybe not.  Anyway, the timing is right, as the company that owned the Minnie B. went out of business in 1889.  .   .

 This was a much-ado-about-not-so-much sort of post.  Oh, well, it happens now and then. 

 I’ll close with a few pictures.  First, this 1930 picture from the Witchita State University Library about the National Husking Contest:

 witchita state univ libraries 1930

I really don’t get the sign:  “Long Island Banner Corn Township of the U.S.A. For 2 Years”  ???

 I’ll close with three Panoramio shots.  First, this one by RWBlack of an old gas station in Long Island:

 rwblack gas station in long island

Here’s a Kansas roadway scene by William Lile, taken about 5 miles south of my landing:

 william lile just s oflanding

I’ll close with this shot taken about 3 miles north of my landing by J Fitzgerald:

 j fitzgerald 3 mi n in ne, hen turkey

 That’ll do it.



© 2013 A Landing A Day

One Response to “Woodruff and Long Island, Kansas”

  1. Warren Street said

    About the name of Long Island: I agree with your speculation that it’s so named because it’s on a long spit of land almost completely surrounded by water — only creeks, but water nonetheless. In support of this conclusion, let me quote from my great-grandfather’s frontier memoir as he describes a hunting trip of 1872: “About the middle of November, Uncle Ben, Charlie, and I left Jewell City for the new West. We were nicely and comfortably equipped for the trip. Arriving at Kirwin, we were joined by Henry P. Gandy. From Kirwin, our party pushed northwest up Deer Creek and down onto the Prairie Dog at the east end of Long Island in Phillips County, thence up to the head of the island and across onto the Sappa Creek in Nebraska a few miles below where the Kansas-Nebraska line crosses that stream, thence up that valley by easy drives to near the forks.”

    It’s clear from this that the name Long Island refers to a geographical feature. He writes about going from the east end of the island to its head. In addition, in 1872, there was really no town of Long Island, only a post office for the region that had been established earlier that year.

    I’ve edited my ggfather’s memoir and it was published last year by the University Press of Kansas. Its title is “Twenty-Five Years among the Indians and Buffalo: A Frontier Memoir,” by William D. Street.

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