History Questionnaire Results – Fred Shaneyfelt

This is the first of four results to the history questionaire that we’ve received. Thanks to Fred Shaneyfelt, our first respondee.

1. What is your first memory of St. George?

We moved to St. George in the spring of 1950. I was four years
old. My first memory is of the house we lived in, and probably
the first thing I noticed about the town itself was the spring
tank and Dalton’s store.

2. What did First Street (Main Street) look like when you
arrived?

I don’t really remember too much about the conditions of the
buildings, as I was very young. What distinguished Main street
for me was that it was really a highway, ie, paved. All the other
streets were gravel. So I figured this must be a pretty important
street.

3. What businesses do you remember being in town and where
were they located?

I remember Dalton’s Store, physically, although shortly after
we moved there I believe, Ed Dalton passed away and it was closed
for a while. A man named Cook had it for a few years after that,
and then Marvin Taylor ran it for many years. I also remember the
Post office, which was the old bank building; The telephone
office which was just North of the store on the same side of the
street; the Legion Hall, across the street from the Post Office,
Lee Smith’s tavern, next to the Legion, the Gas station, still
operated by Wynn Dalton at the time, right across the street from
the store, the elevator, the train station, and the blacksmith
shop. The hotel was still there, but wasn’t operated as a hotel,
I think it was apartments.

4. What businesses do you miss the most? Which would you like
to see come back?

Nostalgia-wise I would have to say the store, because in those
days it sold a variety of goods other than groceries. I remember
going with my dad to the store to buy kerosene for Mom’s
cookstove. We could buy rope, nails and screws, a few tools,
chicken feed, probably a lot of farm and rural stuff I never even
knew about. Cookies were still sold by the pound in little
glass-doored bins, the pop machine just had a lid you raised
where it was all stored in cold water; you just picked up a
bottle of what you wanted and took it up and paid for it. And the
neatest thing was the penny candy. All kinds, two, three, four
for a penny. I think my favorite was root beer barrels. A couple
of us kids could walk along the highway for a half-hour or so
picking up pop bottles. You could turn in the pop bottles for a
penny each and buy enough penny candy to make yourself sick.

5. Did you attend school here? What years? Any special
memories (such as your first day, etc?)

Yes, I attended all of my grade school and high school at St.
George. 12 years, because back then there was no kindergarten. I
started in September 1952 and graduated high school in May 1964.
We had twelve kids in our original first grade class, and five us
completed the 12 years together, myself, Merla Area, Patty Quinn,
Jean Hyde, and Judy Manire. I really have nothing but good
memories of school……most of my grade school years I went home
for lunch, as did quite a few of the town kids back then. In high
school we had no closed lunch hour, so we could walk down to the
store and get pop and candy bars, etc. It was during these times
we all traditionally carved our names into the soft brick on the
side of the store, which still remains. I can probably find every
kid that I ever went to high school with somewhere on that wall
if I looked long enough. I enjoyed all of the sports and
extra-curricular activities. My favorite teacher was Miss Silva,
our music teacher, and favorite character was Homer Norris, our
janitor.

6. Where was your favorite place to spend spare/free time?
How much did it cost?

My favorite place was St. George……..all of it………my
Mother can attest to this, and it didn’t cost a dime. My brothers
and I would get together with other kids and ride bikes all over
town. We would play in the creeks, Blackjack creek on the west
side, and what we called Blood creek on the east. (I don’t know
if that was the real name of it). We would dam up the creek with
sand, and of course since you didn’t have a spillway, it was a
never-ending battle to try to pile on sand faster than the water
was rising. The creek always eventually won. We played at the
river, although most of us were firmly banned by our parents for
even going there. We played at Duncan’s Pond, a little pond back
behind Floyd Duncan’s plumbing shop, and still there. We would
play on the water tower; we rode our bikes to Wamego on the old
highway; we would walk up Dalton’s Hill with a tractor tire, curl
up inside of it and roll down the hill. You never knew who, when,
or what you were going to hit. We played at the railroad tracks,
and around the old depot. We hung around at the store, and in the
summer time, we liked to go down to the tracks and watch the mail
train come through. There were seven or eight trains a day coming
through town back then, and several of them stopped. You could
still flag stop the Portland Rose at that time. But the mail
train was awsome. It was just an engine, a freight car and a mail
car, and it barreled through town at 70 mph. As it approached,
the freight door would open just a little, and they would throw
out the mail bag, almost at the same time snagging the outgoing
mailbag with a long hook and pulling it in. Time after time we
watched, thinking someday they were going to miss that mail bag
and have to stop and come back and get it, but they never did.
Then an old fellow named Hi Warren would take the mailbag up to
the Post Office on his little cart. Sometimes we’d tag along with
him.

8. What recreational activities did you partake in? (i.e.,
sports, skating rink, band, etc)

Summer league baseball, sponsored by the Legion; Football and
Basketball in High School, Softball in Grade School.

10. Did you have a phone? Was it on a party-line? What’s your
favorite party-line memory? Do you remember any phone
numbers?

When we moved to St. George, our phone was one of those
wall-mounted wood box ones you crank, that has an earphone and a
mouthpiece. We were on a party line. I guess most of memories
concerning party lines were along the lines of my interest in
several girls in the area while growing up, and the problems
involved with your whole neighborhood knowing everything you
talked about.

12. When did you get indoor plumbing? What’s your favorite
outhouse story?

When we move to St. George in 1950, the house had electricity
and water from a well in the house, but no bathroom, so we still
used the outhouse the first winter we were there. I recall the
Christmas of 1950, I was four and my older brother Joe was 6, and
we went out to the outhouse, took the paper roll and decorated it
all up, and then sang, It’s Christmas Time in the Privy.

14. How many floods have you experienced here in St. George?
What do you remember most from each one?

I was four when the 1950 flood hit, and we had to move
temporarily. The water was 12 deep in the house, and it cracked
and warped the lower drawer of our dresser, which was where all
my clothes were. I felt completely dis-placed not having my
drawer to go back to. I also lived in Manhattan during the 1993
flood, which my parents of course went through again in St.
George. Water did not get into the house this time, and other
than a 35 mile trip back and forth, it was pretty uneventful.

15. What are the biggest local news stories you
remember?

The biggest was probably when a local fellow apparently
murdered a woman outside of town, and the KBI was all over the
place looking for him, including in our Garage and Chicken house.
They eventually caught him.

17. What is the best story you’ve heard about St. George,
fact, fiction, or otherwise? Who was the best storyteller?

The best storyteller I remember was Shorty Moreland. He had a
team of Horses and a sickle and would cut all the weeds and
ditches and what have you around town. He was a WWII veteran, and
had lost a leg in the war, and other than the weed-cutting and a
little local farming, he spent a good deal of time in the Tavern.
I can’t even remember the stories, we were just kids, but you
could just listen to him all day. A lot of them I think were
about the war. (My Mother is going to wonder what I was doing in
the tavern when I was a kid.)

18. What are your memories of the Spring Tank?

The spring tank was a wonderful place. We played there often
when we were kids, and as we grew up, it became a place to wash
your car, a place to initiate high school freshmen, or just have
a good old water fight. When I was in High School there was a bit
of controversy over the fact that two older gentlemen in town
took it upon themselves to construct and install a steel lid on
the spring tank. This didn’t allow most of the dogs in
town…….they all ran free back then…….to cool off on a hot
day, nor to wash your car without raising this heavy lid, nor to
throw any of the freshman class in the springtank, etc. To tell
you the truth, most of the younger generation didn’t care much
for it.

Matters came to a head in the fall of 1963 when, while
lounging around school before a football game that night, our
team just decided we’d about had enough. One of our members (no
names here) had a pickup truck, and at 4:15 pm, in broad
daylight, the cover was immediately off the tank, into the
pickup, and heading out of town. It had been removed before, and
always retrieved and re-installed. This time, it stuck.` As the
statute of limitations obviously has ran out, I can tell you
exactly what happened to it and what part of the river it’s in.
But I won’t.

19. What do you think of the new mural on the side of the
store? Do you remember the first painting? Did you help?

I think it’s great, and I remember the first one. I wasn’t
involved in painting either of them.

20. What single thing (event, invention, etc) made the
biggest impact on St. George, in your opinion?

Hard to decide between the Highway moving north in the early
fifties, or the High School closing.