JUNCTION CITY, Kan.-- On Saturday, April 28, 2012, Junction City visitors and residents will have an opportunity to step back in time and enjoy for a day our town’s “Golden Era” as preserved through renowned photographs of Joseph Judd Pennell. This second annual Pennell Day celebration will be hosted from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Geary County Historical Society Museum located at 530 North Adams Street in Junction City.
The “good old days” that surrounded the turn of the 20th Century marked a period of transition throughout America, but in Junction City, Kansas, they were graphically documented and preserved through the remarkable and artistic photography of J.J. Pennell. From 1890 to 1922 this creative local entrepreneur recorded life and progress in this cosmopolitan Kansas town via 30,000 wonderful images produced on old-fashioned glass negatives.
Now in the archives of the University of Kansas this magnificent collection has become a well-used resource for historians, researchers, artists, and film-makers from around the world. Thus, it could be said that J.J. Pennell succeeded in putting his hometown on the map--both back then and today.
In an effort to acquaint a new generation of Kansans with not only Pennell’s artistic legacy but also the society, times, and community in which he lived, the Geary County Historical Society last year spearheaded the first “Pennell Day” on the last Saturday in April.
This year’s event will showcase some of the restorations and renovations that now mark Junction City’s historic business district via hourly horse-drawn trolley tours featuring a fun and interesting narrative about the sites and structures seen, as well as tales about those people who lived and worked here during this Pennell’s era. Also offered will be rotating programs at the Museum and the Starcke House on Pennell and his work and life in Junction City during that time.
Darren Gunderson, local photography buff and Pennell scholar, will share his knowledge and expertise, using slides of the photographer’s images and examples of the vintage cameras and equipment he used to produce them. This program will be presented at 10:30 a.m. and again at 12:45 p.m. in the museum’s auditorium. In addition, a new exhibit on the history of photography and related equipment is now being mounted in the Auditorium Gallery to support this year’s Pennell Day.
“A Day in the Life of a Victorian Lady,” a narrated glimpse at the clothing, activities, and social customs, that Junction City’s fashionable matrons of the 1890s pursued, will be presented twice during the day—at 11:45 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.—in the vintage Starcke House located on the southwest corner of the museum block. A maximum of 25 seats are available for each of these Starcke House performances, so it would be advisable to come early to assure seeing this program.
Munson Farm’s “Black Horse Hitch” will be providing the “Historic Junction City” trolley rides with local historians as guides. They will depart and return hourly from the west lawn of the museum.
Other Pennell-Day-related activities include a Kansas Humanities Council presentation, “Kansas Opera Houses,” sponsored by the Dorothy Bramlage Public Library, which will take place in the Montgomery Rehearsal Hall at the C.L. Hoover Opera House at 2:00 p.m. that afternoon. Also, the Pennell Building (now the Geary County Court Services office building) at 80l North Washington will be open for viewing from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. as part of the “Take It Back” collection of expired medications sponsored by the Adolescent Resource Center.
All of these Pennell Day activities are free of charge; however, monetary donations will be welcome at each venue. From 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. portable lunches, beverages, and popcorn will be available to purchase in the lower level of the museum building for a modest cost.
For more information about Pennell Day or the activities planned for April 28th, please contact the GCHS Museum at (785) 238-1666, Tuesdays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.