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Peabody life in 1884-85

Find out Sunday afternoon

Before the technological advances of the 20th century, citizens of the world entertained themselves and their neighbors at home and at a few venues in their communities.

Locally, one of the most widely used facilities was the library, given to the city by F. H. Peabody of the Santa Fe Railroad. A manuscript discovered by former resident Steve Baker offered information about the library, which was the first free library in Kansas, and its place in the community.

The library was open every afternoon and evening except Sundays. It served as the educational and entertainment center of the fledgling community.

Mrs. Augustus Wilson of Parsons, who was seeking funding for her community’s own library, wrote the manuscript in the late 1880s. Her research covers much of the fundraising for the Peabody library, which includes many social events and forms of entertainment.

When the Peabody Historical Society presents Prairie Pastimes Sunday afternoon, several new performers will tell stories of how people entertained themselves more than 100 years ago.

The program will take place, beginning at 11:30 a.m., in various buildings of the museum complex at the corner of Walnut and Division streets.

Peabody-Burns High School senior Josh Klarmann will share unusual juggling talents in the variety show.

Methodist church pastor David Ragland and his wife will portray Civil War physician Dr. Grinnell and wife Katherine, a nurse, as library patrons at the first free library in Kansas.

Rebecca Gillet will portray the librarian.

Peabody native Phil McPheeters and wife Katie will be in town to lead the polka dancers in the barn.

Serving will begin at 11:30 a.m. for a soup and dessert meal at the Morgan House. The light meal will be available throughout the afternoon. Cost is by donation.

Skits and performances will be performed at intervals in the original library building, now the museum, upstairs in the Peabody Carnegie Library, and in the barn behind the Morgan House. The quilt show and program about dating quilts will be housed in the newly renovated Anne Potter room in the library basement. These events all begin at 12:15 p.m., with tickets available for $12.50 each in the library basement.

Attendees may visit the various programs as a self-guided tour or choose to spend their time in one location watching an event.

Funds raised will support Peabody Historical Society projects. Those with paid membership the society grants free admission to this event.

Last modified Jan. 28, 2010

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