Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Wednesday Post

Look Back at Dighton
'Oh, that is the home of the Hineman Jack Farm.' which we find out what's happening these days at the sites of the boring postcards of two weeks past!

Back in Dighton, the Avatar holed up for the night at what I called "Jay's Inn" but is actually "Shay's Inn."  It turns out that Shay's Inn is the motel formerly known as the Chapel Lane Motel.

So, the building is still there, under new management and, I bet, with a new phone number.  There's been a little bit of an addition on the left side and at some point someone gave up on the little garden, but on the whole the continuity is pretty remarkable.

OK, first of all, "the American Royal" is an annual horse and equine convention, and it still happens.

A "jack" is a donkey that is male-identified, and Hineman's Jack Farm was apparently once a big player in the business of raising really good male donkeys.  An article in The Legend: Life in Southeast Kansas begins with the claim that
before the late 1940s, when Dighton residents went out-of-town and told others where they were from, the response would likely have been: 'Oh, that is the home of the Hineman Jack Farm.'
It goes on to reminisce about such memorable Hineman jacks as Pharoah, who won state fairs in Tennessee as well as Kansas; Kansas Chief, who was proclaimed World Champion Jack at the San Francisco World's Fair; and Joe Lewis, who was sold to an agricultural agent of the South African government, a man with a mandate to find the best jack in the world.  Joe fetched $2500 in 1937, which is about $40,000 in today's money.  Compare that with the current $350 - $1500 going rate for a donkey that I'm seeing on, and it would seem that Joe Lewis was one special beast.

But as so often happens, I digress.  In 1947, H.T. Hineman died and, with tractors having taken over the heavy pulling on even the smallest farms, his heirs decided to get out of the jack racket.  So, although the Hineman family farm is still there, Hineman's Jack Farm as such no longer exists.

The Lane County Court House is still there.  Handsome in its solidity, it seems to me.

The first house in Dighton, as far as I can tell, no longer exists.  Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but I assure you I've been pretty damned thorough.  If it was still around, I'd have found it.


Ben said...

The animals in the Jack Farm picture sure look like mules, rather than donkeys (unless they are shaved mammoth donkeys). Jack donkeys ARE bred with female horses to make mules, so maybe that was a sideline for ol' man Hineman.

Michael5000 said...

I am impressed with Ben's knowledge of the lesser equines. If I remember the article from The legend correctly, mules were indeed an important secondary product of the Hineman empire. Those mules were real workhorses! ...or were they?