A Letter From Our President
Prior to September 24 I was planning on writing about Carry Nation’s impact on the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibiting “intoxicating liquors” in the United States. Although Carry died 8 years before ratification of the amendment, her work through the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union led to the banning of all alcoholic beverages in 1919.
As of September 24th, there is something much more concerning to our country, an impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s actions. At least 3 other presidents, Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton have been investigated by the House of Representatives, and 2 of these inquiries led to impeachments by the House. President Nixon resigned prior to an impeachment vote.
President Andrew Johnson was President Lincoln’s vice-president. Although he supported emancipation and Lincoln’s plan for leniency toward most of the confederate soldiers, once Johnson became president he supported increased leniency for confederate officers and restrictions on the rights of emancipated slaves, e.g., he opposed the 14th amendment giving Afro-Americans citizenship. However, he was not impeached officially for these acts, but for trying to violate the Tenure of Office Act by firing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. By one vote the Senate acquitted Johnson and he continued his term as president until 1869.
Many of you remember the Richard Nixon impeachment inquiry that was prompted by the Watergate break-in and the subsequent cover-up. President Nixon resigned, the only president to do so, on August 8, 1974, before the House of Representatives voted on his impeachment.
President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998 for lying under oath and obstruction of justice, two of the 4 articles of impeachment brought against Clinton. The impeachment inquiry touched on charges by Paula Jones of sexual harassment and lying by Clinton regarding his sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky. On February 12, 1999, the Senate voted against removing Clinton from office, i.e., voted for acquittal.
Several other presidents in history have been threatened with impeachment. Ironically, Warren Harding (1921-23) presided over one of the biggest US scandals in US history, the Teapot Dome Scandal. Several officials in his administration were forced to resign and/or jailed, but President Harding was not implicated. Like Clinton, Harding’s extramarital affair was widely known. He died in office and was succeeded by Calvin Coolidge.
Congress has impeached 15 US officials and convicted 7, all federal judges.
This brings us to our current president, Donald Trump. Although he has admittedly lied, had extramarital affairs, and refused to cooperate with the Congressional subpoena process, none of these are, or have been (see above), reasons for removal from office via impeachment. Even deliberately disobeying the Constitution is not necessarily a reason for impeachment of a US official. However, violating constitutional articles, e.g., the emoluments clause (Article 1) can lead to charges after the official’s exit from office.
The Constitution calls for impeachment for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors". In the case of President Trump, he allegedly asked a foreign leader to help him uncover information that would help President Trump to be re-elected in 2020, and then allegedly tried to cover this act up by refusing to allow a “whistleblower’s” complaint to be sent to Congress as required by law.
Do these actions and those uncovered in the Mueller report justify impeachment? Only the Congress can (and is charged to) decide. However, this is the first impeachment inquiry of a president that involves alleged interaction with a foreign government in abuse of governmental power for personal gain. It’s not officially about sex, arguments with Congress, or even burglaries.
Most scholars say that impeachment is political. So even though it is possible that the House will impeach President Trump, will the Senate convict him? I hope you will READ the background for impeachment in books available at the library and keep in touch with your representatives and senators as to their understanding of the matters. That’s what History is all about!
General Meeting—Sunday October 27th —2:30 PM
In the Main Street Theater side of the Building
510 Main Street, Belton
The October Meeting of the Belton Historical Society will be held in the room behind the museum, Main Street Theater.
We will hold our annual elections for our Board of Directors during the business meeting. The list of nominees is elsewhere in this newsletter.
Our program will be local World War I historian and re-enactor Kavan Stull as he portrays President Truman in his old WWI uniform after retirement from public life. Stull will share Truman’s wartime memories. Many of these stories are told through letters between Harry and Bess.
Refreshments will be served following the program. Please call Pam Powell at 816-331-6710 if you would like to help with refreshments.
Nominating Committee—Slate of Board of Directors and Officers
Per our bylaws, President Rob Powell appointed the Nominating Committee for the Board of Directors and Officers for the 2020 calendar year. Members of the committee were current Board members Evelyn Tabor and Janna Dillon and from the general membership, Martha Frasher and Marge Jones.
Following the guidelines for membership on “the Board” every attempt was made to ensure the leadership of our society would continue to move in a forward way. We have accomplished much over the past 5 years and leadership is the key to continuing our growth.
Four excellent people were nominated to serve as President of our Society and each one declined due to personal reasons preventing them from being able to do the job. Rob Powell left us big shoes to fill.
Following our bylaws, “An officer may not serve more than two (2) consecutive terms in the same office unless, by consideration and recommendation by the Board of Directors, circumstances indicate an exception is appropriate”. It is the firm belief that the best thing for our Historical Society is to extend Rob Powell’s term for one more year to better prepare a replacement for him in 2021. Rob has accepted a one year extension.
The following is the list of nominees for the Board of Directors and Officers for 2020, submitted to you for your approval at our October 27th election at the General Meeting.
President: Rob Powell
1st VP. : Ed Maurer
2nd VP: Karen Calvert
Recording Secretary: Sally Smith
Treasurer: Janna Dillon
Corresponding Secretary: Elaine Wilson
Membership Secretary: Evelyn Tabor
Of the above officers, only Rob Powell and Karen Calvert are being voted upon. The others are fulfilling a two year term.
Class of 2020
Class of 2021
Class of 2022
For the board members, only the class of 2022 are being voted upon.
Respectfully submitted, Pam Powell, Chair
Join the Fun at a Fund Raiser for Old City Hall
Olde Tyme Radio Show and Silent Auction, sponsored by Main Street Theater, will be a fund raiser for BCPI. After the Old City Hall was closed in March, although the building was deemed structurally sound, there is much work to be done to prevent further water damage inside our museum and to prevent future problems. Every penny raised for BCPI means that the Belton Historical Society has to contribute less to the future building woes.
The production includes the original radio shows Sorry, Wrong Number which first aired on Suspense Radio show in 1943, voiced by Agnes Moorehead and The Hitchhiker, which originally aired on The Orson Welles Show on CBS Radio in 1941. Both radio plays were written by Lucille Fletcher. Many of us remember the movie version of Sorry, Wrong Number starring Barbara Stanwyck in 1948.
The Silent Auction includes many lovely gift items generously donated by local businesses and families. If you would like to donate a silent auction item, please call Pam Powell at 816-331-6710.
Please plan to attend either performance, the weekend before Halloween, Friday night the 25th and Saturday night the 26th. Doors open at 6 pm, the performance begins at 7 pm. Free refreshments will be available. Ticket price is $20.00, payable by cash, check or charge at the door. Main Street Theater is absorbing the entire production costs so that every penny you spend will go directly into our treasured Old City Hall, the home of our Museum.
Fall Festival 2019
Once again, the Belton Historical Society welcomed hundreds of visitors to the museum! Rob Powell, Bill Brady and Chris Beal were up early to move the Carry A. Nation hearse to the curb in front of the museum. What a wonderful attraction!
Jackie Kreisel and Elaine Wilson were the organizers of activities for children visiting the museum. Designing quilt blocks, kites and yarn dolls were the attractions this year! So many children left the museum with big smiles on their faces!
By providing opportunities for children, parents and grandparents spend more time in the museum and learn not only Belton history but about the Belton Historical Society! It is a WIN-WIN situation!
Many of our docents signed up for a shift to great visitors in both the Carriage House and in the Museum. Having both buildings and the hearse open for visitors is a big job and we thank everyone who had a hand in helping us!
Trick or Treat on Main Street
Every year, Downtown Belton Main Street sponsors a Trick or Treat on Main for children. This year the event is on Saturday October 26th. (time to be announced)
For the past few years, we have taken the Carry A. Nation hearse out onto the street and “scared” passers-by with a coffin with a mannequin inside. As part of the fun, we have passed out candy to the trick or treaters.
We need quite a bit of candy for this event as we welcome hundreds of children to the museum.
Please bring new, unopened bags of Halloween candy to the museum during the weeks of October 14th and 21st. Be sure to have your name recorded for a drawing for two ( 2 ) free tickets to the Main Street Theater production of “Sorry, Wrong Chimney”! The drawing for the ticket will be held at our quarterly meeting on Sunday October 27th.
Jackie Kreisel and Karen Calvert spend hours working on exhibits in our museum, making them timelier and more relevant to today’s visitors. If you would like to help them create new exhibits for 2021, let them know. Extra hands make the work go quickly.
Currently on display in our museum is a bicentennial quilt created by the staff of Gladden Elementary School. Also, the Jackson family display will be up until the winter closing this year. Next year, the family of Rob Powell will be featured. Both the Powell family and the Alderson family have deep roots in the Belton community. The Alderson family lived in the area before the Civil War. We are grateful to Joe and Betty Robertson for the Local Artists Display.
Whenever possible, Rob and Pam Powell open the Main Street Theater side of the building. This in and of itself is a museum display! The history of the Old City Hall building, the original 1906 stage, including the Fire Department and Police Department’s residency in the building make most visitors stop to ponder this historic building’s life.
Opportunity for Docents
Docents in our museum are invited to see any Main Street Theater production if they are willing to open the museum before the show and during intermission. The theater is supporting the Historical Society in trying to “get the word out” about all the wonderful things our society does! It is as easy as calling Main Street Theater at 816-406-9422 and offering to volunteer during a performance! We will close the museum during the Act 1 and Act 2 but provide access to theater patrons during intermission! It’s a great way to see a play for free and to help the Historical Society!
Please Welcome New Docents!
We are pleased to welcome two new faces to our museum! Jacquie Jackson and David Stevenson responded to our requests for volunteers for this monthly job. Welcoming guests to our museum and sharing news about the Belton Historical Society is integral to our visibility in the community! This opportunity is offered to all our members! This job takes only 4 hours per month! How can anyone refuse? If you are interested in helping our Historical Society, please call Jackie Kreisel at 816-686-2991 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Museum Schedule for November and December
The museum will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. The last day the museum will be open this year is December 21st. Our museum is traditionally closed during the winter months. The museum will re-open on March 3, 2020. If you wish to use the museum for research or to arrange a tour, please call Rob Powell at the museum phone: 816-322-3977.
Tara’s Café and Malt Shoppe
Do you know who sells the most The First Hundred Years books AND the most Belton Historical Society Cookbooks? If you guessed Tara’s Café, you are right. Sheila Sullivan owner of Tara’s calls us often to report that she has sold out of both books! So many people enjoy casual dining at Tara’s and enjoy learning of the local history. In fact, are YOU an “old timer” or a regular at Tara’s? Locals enjoy time there every day and newcomers to the community are quick to purchase the History of Belton book.
Next time you are at Tara’s at the corner of Main and Walnut, be sure to thank Sheila for providing us the opportunity to share our story!
In the July newsletter I reported that we (Belton Historical Society, Belton Community Projects, Inc., and Main Street Theater) had replaced missing mortar in the exterior brick wall at the Old City Hall, but that subsequently we continued to have moisture stains on the inside walls of both the museum and the theater (located directly behind the museum). We recently noticed that the contractor charged with replacing mortar had missed a few spots, and currently the contractor is working to correct these issues. In the meantime, this summer during a dry spell we employed another contractor to seal the complete exterior of the building to hopefully mitigate water intrusion through the bricks and mortar. As of this writing, we have not had further interior wall moisture staining since this chemical treatment. A final structural job that will be completed this fall is replacing mortar and decayed bricks INSIDE the attic that could be allowing moisture through to the attic and windows immediately below (the building has 3 layers of brick, and it is just the inside layer of brick that is partially damaged). Once this is complete, we (maybe on our own!) will repaint the moisture spots in the building.
We have 2 MAJOR (read costly) projects still on the back burner. First, our structural engineer, Norton & Schmidt of Kansas City, has strongly recommended we add up to 36 steel tie rods in the attic. These rods basically hold the exterior walls to the attic beams. We currently have 5 tie rods, primarily on the back corners of the building, and adding 3 dozen would certainly strengthen the structure. It would also certainly cost a lot of money – we are procuring bids right now and expect the ultimate cost could be greater than $20,000.
Second, we are continuing to investigate a path to adding a ramp to the front of the building to allow our handicapped visitors easier access to the museum. We have bids between $10-15,000 for the ramp, but we have not yet found a contractor who can put in the automatic doors that are also required (and will likely change the appearance of the building front).
So, that’s why you see fund-raising for BCPI discussed in other articles in this newsletter. PLEASE DONATE!
In the last 2 newsletters I have announced a contest to find a mistake I consistently made prior to the April 2019 edition.
Mona Snoderly won the contest in July. She pointed out that I had mislabeled the last 3 issues of the 2018 newsletter as Volume XXXIX instead of the correct Volume XXXVIII, and this continued to the January 2019 issue mislabeled as Volume XXXX. Mona also pointed out a similar mistake a few years ago. For identifying these mistakes, Mona won 2 free years of membership to the Society.
As of April 2019, the correct volume number, XXXIX, has been on the front of the newsletter.