The Chronicles of Allen County

The Chronicles of Allen County: 1949-1999, is a recap of primarily local events that touched our lives from World War II to the present day.

The Chronicles is a continuation of a two-volume set, The Annals of Allen County: 1868-1945, compiled by Emerson and Mickey Lynn and published in 2000.

Chronicles Book Cover
Register file photo

Emerson Lynn was editor and publisher of the Iola Register from 1966 to 2001.

The material for The Chronicles comes from culling through 44 years of the Iola Register, a daily newspaper since 1882. The book is replete with photos depicting events, styles and people.

Of significance is the Flood of 1951 that inundated much of south Iola, causing extensive damage. Photos tells the story best, showing water up to rooftops and streets turned into waterways with transportation limited to watercraft.

When it comes to notable people, Iola lost a leader and generous benefactor when banker Thomas Bowlus died in 1960. It was his death, however, that Bowlus made what was perhaps his greatest contribution to Iola when he dedicated the vast majority of his estate to the creation of the Bowlus Fine Arts Center. The center has stood as the cultural centerpiece of Allen County since it opened in the fall of 1964.

A resurgence of industries in the 1970s made Allen Countians feel they had turned the tide on a declining population. Inter-Collegiate Press, Klein Tools and Gates Manufacturing all came our way, employing hundreds. Other significant employers were Iola Molded Plastics, Midland Brake, and the H.L. Miller & Son dress factory.

In 1987, the launch of B&W Trailer Hitches meant a second anchor to Humboldt along with Monarch Cement.

A massive fire on Aug. 10, 1990 forever changed the landscape of the Iola square, destroying three buildings on its west side. The boyhood home of Frederick Funston was moved from north Iola in 1994 to fill the gaping hole created by the fire.

A look back in time helps show us how history, indeed, repeats itself.

Weather events continue to remind us of our frailty as well as our perseverance.

As much as ever, we need leaders to help take us to a better tomorrow, and friends with big shoulders.

And we realize that our biggest asset is our social capital. Our ability to work together on common causes is what continues to make Allen County a good place to live.

Here at The Register, we’re very proud of the role we play in writing the rough draft of history. Our commitment to Allen County remains as strong as ever, and we believe The Chronicles is a wonderful testament to the vital work we do in documenting life in our corner of the world.