Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Wednesday Post

Return to South Central 
Still amazing travelers even today

After last week's Wednesday Post, longtime IAT reader Libby said:
  • Feature I would like to see on IAT: modern day updates on the attractions featured on the postcards. The Glass House Restaurant, for example: is it still amazing travelers even today?
Mrs.5000 echoed:
  • I think the updates on postcard attractions is a great idea.
gl. chimed in:
  • yes, postcard updates would be awesome.
Hey.  Hasn't IAT always taken care of you, its reading community?  Of course it has.  And it can not refuse grass-roots enthusiasm of this magnitude!  Libby, Mrs., gl.: Here's what's happening today at the sites featured on last week's boring postcards!


The Osawatomie State Hospital is still there.  It was a common subject for early 20th century postcards, back when people were happy to tout any local institution of note.  At some point, though, pictures of mental health institutions seem to have become less popular.  Also, since Osawatomie works with people who are considered dangerous to themselves or others, it is a security facility, impenetrable even to the Streetview truck, let alone the casual tourist.  So, the best I can do for you is this aerial view:

I have reason to think that the buildings shown in the postcard still exist in full or in part.  They may be the large building on the east end of the grounds, but if so either there has either been a new water tower put in or, more likely, the image on the postcard was reversed.



The Mountain Tower -- the third tower built on Hot Springs Mountain, the first having been destroyed by a lightning fire and the second having been torn down after becoming dangerously rickety -- is still there.  A young man from the area says that "although not necessarily an action-packed attraction, the Mountain Tower is eye-popping and is a good way to relax a bit while taking in all of downtown Hot Springs in one glance."



Oral Roberts University is still there, although it nearly went under in the late 'aughts following decades of mismanagement and almost cartoonishly scandalous misbehavior by President Richards Roberts (Oral's son) and his family.  It was bailed out in 'aught eight by a massive infusion of cash from the Hobby Lobby fortune.  Really.

I visited the ORU campus several years ago and was impressed by the mid-century modernist enthusiasm of a university built from the ground up with plenty of money and ego in 1963.  Along with the prayer tower, landmarks like the enormous praying hands, the gold lame' office towers, and many of the campus buildings themselves remain singularly eye-catching.


Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach is still there, in more or less the same configuration.


Will Rogers Turnpike

It is still there.  And it is now, as Mrs.5000 said last week, a McDonalds.


Libby said...

YES!! Thank you! Everything I dreamed it would be, and many could stand to learn from your responsiveness to your reading public. Well done.

Dug said...

Nice responsiveness but you couldn't manage a trip to Kansas for an actual picture of the hospital?

gl. said...

truly, mr. 5000, you do us a service and are a credit to the blogging community. many thanks for this salubrious postcard update.

(and: i still can't believe it's a mcdonald's. geesh.)

jmaltsbarger said...

The grounds of the hospital are not inaccesible. I have taken the 40 minute drive there myself from Olathe just to photograph the garden and asylum bridge. It is true that you cannot see the grounds from the highway as it is set back a little distance from it south/south west I believe. Nevertheless one can usually drive onto the campus and park near the historical plaque where Old Main stood, walk to the garden, and survey the sloping green hill, all for aesthetic and historical purposes, and not be accosted by anyone. I have even parked near the old Rush building, which is a later but smaller scale type of "Kirkbride", and walked around it taking photographs.

jmaltsbarger said...

Also the image on the postcard is accurate. However the aerial photo is missing a significant part of the southern campus where the Rush building still stands; the campus actually wraps around like a lowercase "r" and you enter at the east side from the highway, driving past the sad little cemetary with no names on the stones, just numbers. The hanging gardens/reflecting pool sat immediately south of Old Main; one would walk straight out of the front door of the central administrative part, cross the street, and be standing in the garden. Keep walking south towards the town and you start to descend the beautiful green lawn with old stone steps (here the landscape is quite sad and beautiful--especially when you imagine the patients tending the grounds over all those years). As far as I can determine, there are only two of the buildings in the postcard still standing today (actually as of 2010 when I last made the drive): the two rectangular buildings almost dead center in the aerial photo are the two buildings behind the Kirkbride and left of the tower(s) in the postcard. These, I believe, are buildings once used for the adolescent patients education (OSH used to treat Kansas residents of all ages). The building on the left was the schoolhouse proper, two stories tall, and the building on the right was equipped to teach industrial arts.

Michael5000 said...

jmaltsbarger, thanks for the field report!