Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas at Simmons Studios

We have several negatives showing the same family celebrating Christmas.  We think that the Simmons family may have had a home upstairs at 209 North Holden along with their studio.  Does anyone know the people shown in this charming family scene?

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Here's another view of Simmon's Studio with a better view of the equipment he kept just off the stage.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

209 N. Holden

Here's an interesting picture from the Ben Pierce collection.  Instead of a close-up, the photographer moved back a little to show what a client would see when he came to Simmon's Studio in the 1940s to have his picture taken.  Since this negative wasn't labeled, I don't know if this is a self portrait or a picture of a client.
                                                     Ben was kind enough to provide me with a picture of the same space upstairs at 209 N. Holden as it looks today.  Quite a difference!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Simmons Studio was located on the top floor at 209 N. Holden during the 1940s.  For many years, citizens of Warrensburg hired the photographer to record the images or events that were important to them. When the business closed, he left negatives behind that documented life in Warrensburg during that era.  


Seventy years after they were abandoned, the building’s current owner, Ben Pierce, found the negatives and donated them to the Historical Society.  We have begun the process of turning these negatives into positives and publishing them online. New pictures will be added frequently.


Hopefully, people visiting this blog will find pictures of family members (or maybe themselves.)  Please leave comments if you know anything about the pictures you see.  Most of them are unlabeled so we could use any help we can get in identifying people or scenes.


This is the only color picture in the collection.  It shows just the corner of the building where Simmons Studio was located.  You can see the sign hanging above the car.  The next door business, Shively’s, is more prominently featured.  This building recently housed ‘The Flower Pedlar’ and is currently ‘The Game Place.”


Does anyone know who the boy is?  What about the make, model, and year of the car?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Captain Readic Comer

Hello Friends,
It has been a while... but we are still here and finding more out about our beautiful county all the time.  If you have ever been in our Heritage Library, you may have seen a painting on the wall of Captain Readic Comer, a Warrensburg resident who was once a Buffalo Soldier.  

We have also mentioned that Ben Pierce donated a huge collection of large format negatives from the Simmons Studio (also Burr and other photographers in the space).  Some are glass, some film.  We sorted them and recently found out from our friend Peggy Nuckles that we can simply photograph the negative with our phone, turn it into a positive and there you have it.  
Well, here is Captain Comer, in the time between his service in the WWI era and the distinguished portrait that hangs in the library.
 A very exciting find.  Thanks for your service, sir!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our upcoming program at our annual meeting on September 29, 2013 features some of the strangest history in Johnson County, to some people.  It has been written about since the happening in state reports and in our Bulletin.  But as yet, as far as we know, no one has tried to replicate the event. 
Paul Landkamer, entomophagist, will guide us through the program. We still need cooks who want to show off their wild edibles and participants. This feast is inspired by the 1875 grasshopper feast which actually happened here in Warrensburg. It's also the plague featured in Laura Ingalls-Wilder's "On the Banks of Plum Creek". Since we couldn't schedule another plague, we opened the feast up to any wild edibles --of course, concentrating on the insects.  Please contact us if you are interested. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Great Memory

It has been five years since Carol Berkland, who was looking through old  newspapers online, showed me a pile of printed out references to Johnson County that she had found.  Many interesting tales, lots of railroad news, and this one.    From the Kansas City Star 1919, it just happened to be a drawing of W.A. Tompkins, my great grandfather which we printed in the Bulletin at the time..  I had hoped that there would be room in the newsletter for the rest of the story, but alas there wasn't. 

So, now, the end of the tale.   I took the newspaper clipping to my brother Mark who lives on the Tompkins place.  It was a cold January day, much like today, but he said, "Do you want to see where that is?" and we took off across the field.  I have had bad luck with cameras and memory cards over the past few years, but  found that I hadn't lost all this morning when I stumbled across the file. 
Please consider this a tribute to the generations of farmers of Johnson County, MO, you know who you are, the unsung heroes, the careful stewards of our  precious resource, the fertile earth.