"I was the Lillian Russell of Cherryvale, Kansas, but they never gave me a chance."
Sound track from the 1945 musical "Harvey Girls" featuring Judy Garland. Copyrighted by MGM























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Louise Brooks 1906-1985
Legendary International Silent Film Actress

Her innocent eroticism, along with her pale, beautiful features and bobbed brunette hair skyrocketed Loiuse Brooks to silent film stardom and enshrined as a 20th century icon and a symbol of the disdainful flapper of the 1920s. "Her's was a face that the camera loved."

Leonard Malatin says of Brooks, "Smart, sassy and sensual. She ranks today as one of the silent screen's greatest stars."

Noted film critic Ado Kyrou states, "Not one woman exerted more magic, not one had her genius of interpretation."

"She's a combination of vixen and innocent, and her life force comes through on the screen," said Anita Monga, Director of Programming for Castro Theatre. "She's also really intelligent, and it's obvious. Sexy and intelligent. You can't beat that."

Brooks herself noted, "I learned to act by watching Martha Graham dance and I learned to dance by watching Charlie Chaplin act."  © 2000-2005 Wayne Hallowell

Learn more about Louise Brooks; brief bio including childhood in Cherryvale, photos, favorite web links, and local resources.
 

Vivian Vance   1909-1979
"Ethel Mertz" on the  I Love Lucy Television Series

In her own time, Vivian Vance was considered one of the most adept of comic actresses. But while she brought happiness each week to millions of people as the feisty sidekick, Ethel Mertz, on the I Love Lucy television series, Vivian fought a frightening and a very personal battle with depression. She was a woman who overcame in  her life, early childhood family problems, marital conflicts, and a host of professional challenges to create a television classic. Passionate, funny and talented, this vibrant woman was adept at hiding the unhappy aspects of her life as well as personal facts that did not fit the professional image she painstakingly constructed and maintained for herself.

Her early beginning in the theater brought her together with many stage legends prior to Desi Arnez's decision for her to play "second banana" as Lucy's frumpy TV neighbor, against Lucy's wishes.

Lucy Arnaz later stated, "I felt I could tell her anything. One thing I learned from Viv was an essence...being extremely professional and disciplined. I behave a certain way because of that angel...she was more apt to laugh at something than to denigrate it...she was a broad in the best sense of the word."  © 2000-2005 Wayne Hallowell

More on Vivian Vance; brief biography, photos, favorite web links, and local resources.
 

Frank E. Bellamy 1876-1915
Author of The Pledge of Allegiance and Spanish-American War Hero

While attending Central High School in Cherryvale in 1890, Frank E. Bellamy wrote an essay which included a short patriotic poem, The Pledge of Allegiance. It was published in 1892 in the popular youth magazine called The Youth's Companion located in Boston in a national contest to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' landing in America. His poem was chosen out of thousands entered as the one expressing in fewest words and strongest phrases the loyalty of an American to his flag and to the land of his birth or adoption.  It was promoted in the magazine as "The Youth's Companion Flag Pledge" and grew in popularity as part of movement to instill the love of country and flag into the hearts and minds of the nation's youth. When the essay was published, the magazine signed it "Anonymous." His teacher inquired the magazine and  received a statement "all essays, statements, or writing material belong to the publisher." Two staff members of the Youth's Companion, Francis Bellamy, native of Rome, New York  and  James Upham of Malden, Massachusetts, later claimed authorship of our Pledge of Allegiance. Thus began the on-going debate over the authentic authorship of the Pledge. Over the years, many reputable historians and researches in Cherryvale have studied this controversy and firmly believe Frank E. Bellamy is the true author. In 1898, the Grand Army of the Republic stated that "America owes its flag Pledge to Kansas. It was written by a Kansas boy and inspired by a Kansas woman."

The original 23-word Pledge to the American flag was not popular until the "The Great World War of 1917" when school children began daily reciting this patriotic poem in their classrooms. © 2000-2005 Wayne Hallowell

More on Frank E. Bellamy
; brief bio, photos, favorite web links, local resources and the controversy on authorship of the Pledge.
 

Bloody Bender Family 1871-1873
Ruthless Keepers of the Devil's Inn

"Near here are the Bender Mounds, named for the infamous Bender family, John, his wife, son, and daughter Kate, who settled here in 1871. Kate soon gained notoriety as a self proclaimed healer and spiritualist. Secretly, the four made a living through murder and robbery. Located on a main road, the Benders sold meals and supplies to travelers. Their murders were carried out by use of a canvas curtain that divided the house into two rooms. The victim was then dispatched from behind with a hammer, and the body was dropped into a basement pit through a trap door, later to be buried in an orchard. As more and more travelers disappeared, suspicion began to center on the Benders. They disappeared in the spring of 1873, shortly before inquisitive neighbors discovered the victims' bodies. The Benders are believed to have killed about a dozen people, including one child. Although stories abound, the ultimate fate of the murderous Bender family is uncertain. Some say they escaped, others that they were executed by a vengeful posse. Their story is unresolved and remains one of the greats unresolved mysteries of the old West.
--Marker erected by the Kansas State Historical Society and the Kansas Department of Transportation in the Rest Area on highways US 400 and US 169 in 2000. This replaced the previous state marker located on US 169 between the southeast Kansas cities of Cherryvale and Parsons.

Three of these hammers, gifted to the museum by the Dick family of Parsons, KS, are the only remaining artifacts from the Bender homestead and are displayed in the Cherryvale Museum along with other portraits, drawings, newspaper clippings, and photos.

More on the Bloody Benders; brief biography, photos, favorite web links, and local resources.
 

You know you are in a small town when the local Pizza Hut starts making your favorite pizza as you walk in the door...

© 1999-2008 Leatherock Hotel.  Web Site created, compiled and maintained by
Wayne Hallowell, Director of the Leatherock Hotel

The above information is part of the heritage of Cherryvale, Kansas and the legacy of the
Leatherock Hotel 
A Historic Railroad Hotel/Suites and Museum
420 North Depot Street         Cherryvale, KS 67335
Information and Reservations   620 336-3350
e-mail: wehallowell@terraworld.net

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