Style of dress
About the Admission of New States and the American Flag
Title:            Labor Day Celebration in Weir, Kansas
Subject:        Labor Day--Kansas--Weir
         Central business districts--Kansas--Weir
         Weir (Kan.)--History
Description:  Black and White Postcard of a Labor Day Celebration in Weir, Kansas,  
         circa 1923.
Creator:       Clemens, Ira, 1873-1943
Publisher:     Pittsburg State University, Kansas, Axe Library, Special Collections
Contributor: Ira Clemens Estate
Date:            Original 1923
Date:            Digital 2006-09-13
Type:            Still Image
Format:        image/jpeg

Source:         Pittsburg State University, Special Collections, 16, Clemens, Ira, Box
1,                       Folder 8, Page 52, 002
Language:    eng
Relation:      Digital reproduction of b/w postcard from the Ira Clemens
Photograph                         Album. Pittsburg State University Special
         Collections & Archives, Coll 16
Coverage:    Kansas--Weir (Weir City); 1923

Rights U.S. and international copyright laws protect this digital image. Commercial use
or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright
holder. Please contact Pittsburg State University Special Collection & Archives for
permission to use the digital image.
City map of Weir, KS
Direction of shadows
How Jim and Joe Solved the Puzzle
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This was much trickier than anticipated
thanks to website of the Leonard H. Axe
Library Digital Collections at Pittsburgh
State University in Pittsburgh, KS.  The
quiz photo is included in the collection.  

Unfortunately the site gives information
about the picture that cannot be true.
If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
Quiz 264 Results
Clues to date:
Clues to location:

1.  Intersection of Main and Jefferson Sts., Weir, KS
2.  About noon
3.  About 1908 (See discussion below).
E Holt
Weir City
Feed Store
Street sign for N.
Jefferson Ave.
Establishing Location as c. Main St. and Jefferson, Weir, KS
Answer to Quiz #264
July 18, 2010
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.0 square
miles (2.7 km²), all of it land. GPS coordinates:  37°18′32″N 94°46′27″W
Establishing the Time of Day
1.  What city is this?
2.  About what time of day was this picture taken?
Bonus:  About what year? (We know the answer.  Don't know if you can find it.)
A city map of Weir, KS shows that N.
Jefferson St intersects Main St.
Considering this is the main intersection in
such a small town, this is probably where
the parade is taking place. The fact that N.
Jefferson is now a street and now an
avenue should not bother you considering
there is such strong evidence that this is
Many readers made this part of the quiz harder than it was.  Referring to the Weir city
map, Jefferson St. runs north-south and Main St. runs east-west.  Since Kansas is in
the northern hemisphere, the sun will always shine from the south, and shadows will
always point towards the north.

In this excerpt from the picture, the shadow of the boy points to the right, indicating
this as north.  Since Main St. runs east-west, the camera must be pointing to the west.
indeed Weir, KS and there aren't any other throroughfares
named Jefferson in town.

Just to make sure, many of our Quizmasters used Google
Street View to compare the modern view of the street with
the one in the picture. As
Diane Burkett explains:

Check out Google maps. The south side of Main between
Jefferson and Washington still has most of the row of
buildings intact (although some have new facades) from
the Case-Lafferty Building to Hamilton Coal (the name can
still be seen on the building).  In the next block the original
building on the SW corner of Main and Washington is
gone, but the next building is still there -- now home to the
Bath-Naylor Funeral Home & Crematory.                   
Diane Burkett

Alan Lemm
also gave an excellent analysis of this. Please
see his detailed comments in the box to the right below.
This was a hard one!  Couldn't get the solar calculator listed on your blog to work so I
had to scour the 'net for sundial calculations and I am probably not accurate, but
nevertheless:  This is a Labor Day Celebration in Weir (Weir City) KS, with the photo
taken at about 1:00 p.m. (assuming that this photo was taken facing north judging -
perhaps incorrectly - from W. Jefferson Avenue running perpendicular to this street).  I
could only find reference to Hamilton Coal and Mercantile Company from the years
1911-1926, so I'll take a stab and guess the month and year of about September 1920.  
This was a great quiz but it has taken me hours of work - found the city almost right
away but the time of day and year have taken much longer; hope I am at least close to
the correct answers.                                                                           
Nicole Blank

Weir (Weir City), Kansas right around noontime. Can't find any direct info on the photo
about the year (that's legible, anyway!), but it's on Labor Day (first Monday in
September) because it's a "Labor Day celebration," according to the photo caption. I'd
guess the year to be around 1910. Definitely it's after 1894, because that's when
Congress passed into law a national Labor Day holiday. Hamilton Coal & Mercantile's
offices can be seen on the street (Main Street, if the names haven't changed over the
years). Hamilton Coal was operating in Weir from at least 1900 to at least 1927, from
what I can find via Google. Tracing the history of some of the other companies on the
street via Google might help to narrow down the time period a bit more, but I don't
have the time. The town appears prety well electrified, judging by the proliferation of
power poles. Page 898 of Volume II of "Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history,
embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons,
etc.," published in 1912, says that the town "has ... electric lights." No sign of any
automobiles, which probably would've been rare in Kansas until the late 1910s or
1920s, I'm guessing. Yeah, I'll stick with 1910.                                    
Larry Herrin

I found this site that seems to describe the picture, though it doesn't show the picture
itself.  That site sayss the date is Labor Day 1908.  Would need to verify that further.
word=umwa&searchby=title&offset=0&                                         Mike Johanson

aaaand having now researched the flag haha, I see that the design pictured was in use
between July 4 1896 and July 4 1908, so I'll amend my guess to circa 1900 :)
Charlotte Kirby
This one stretched my brain. I was thrilled to find the exact photo with info online, so I
feel like I am cheating but here goes. :-)                                           
Sharon Mufferi

N. B.  There is no such thing as cheating around here! Q. Gen.

It was a labor Day Celebration and the US flags seem to have Staggered stars which
looks differently from the equal lines of 48 so my quess is the photo was prior to 1912
when the 48 star flag flew and as early as 1908 when there were 45 stars.
Hard quiz but the clue obtained from the Hamilton Coal and Mercantile Co name lead
me to the town.                                                                                      
Jim Kiser

N. B.  It looks like there are 45 stars to me - staggered rows of eight and six.  This
would make the date before July 4, 1908.  Oklahoma joined the Union in late 1907,
but the flag officially changed the following Independence Day.  Q. Gen.

Colleen, I am quite sure that you two can explain this whole thing a whole lot better
than I can due to the fact that you both have a long history with a man sitting on top of
a dead horse in a place called Sheboygan, Wisconsin. See, you thought that most of
weren't paying attention, Hah !!!!!!! Great Puzzle !           
Robert W. Steinmann, Jr.

Yeah, well.. I'm not convinced.. I'm finding too many discrepancies between the
description and what I can make out in the picture... Let's just say I wouldn't bet my
paycheck on 1908.

I don't know how stringent people were about updating the flags at the time.. although
there would have been plenty of time to do so, who knows if it was financially
feasable? There are a lot of flags in the picture and I don't see any with the stars
aligned.. I would think that if it was Labor Day 1908 at least one of the flags would be
John Fitzpatrick

Check out Google maps. The south side of Main between Jefferson and Washington
still has most of the row of buildings intact (although some have new facades) from the
Case-Lafferty Building to Hamilton Coal (the name can still be seen on the building).  In
the next block the original building on the SW corner of Main and Washington is gone,
but the next building is still there -- now home to the Bath-Naylor Funeral Home &
Crematory.                         Diane Burkett

I was about to give up on this whole puzzle and it didn't come together for me until I
figured out the "Hamilton Coal & WHAT?"...oh, Mercantile.  That made all the
 Thanks for the diversions...I enjoy it.                                Stephen Jolley

Do you know what the Headquarters are for?                                    
Marilyn Hamill

N.B.   If the year is 1908, the Headquarters are either for William Jennings Bryan or
Howard Taft.  Q. Gen.
Weir is a city in Cherokee County,
Kansas, United States. The population was
780 at the 2000 census. The community is
named after landowner T. M. Weir, who
donated forty acres as a townsite.

The shadow of the float is almost directly
perpendicular to the curb, or pointing nearly
directly north.  The sun was pointing from
due south, implying that picture was taken at
about noon.
Hamilton Coal Co.
"Hamilton Coal" was my clue. I Googled it and found that has a biographical sketch of
James Hamilton, president of Hamilton Coal & Mercantile
Co., of Weir, KS. "Weir" matched "Weir Dye Works" in the

Jim Bullock

Colleen, I've not been submitting answers, but always follow and (usually) solve the challenge.  This one was just too
good to pass up. The city is Weir City, Kansas. The E. Holt sign at the far left center says in small print "Weir City."  A
search for "Hamilton Coal & Mer." confirmed that Weir City was correct. The photo, I'm guessing was taken about
noon as the people and animals don't cast too long a shadow.  It's a little off as there are shadows cast, but can't be too
far off.  As for the year, it's circa 1923. I found this by noting at the bottom of the picture in white it says Labor Day
so a search for "Weir city" and "Labor day" returned a site with this picture, attributing the original date to 1923.  The
website is

Great puzzle!

Joel Amos Gordon
A Picture with Many Clues!
"Labor Day Celebration" written on
bottom of picture
"Hamilton" is still faintly visible on the facade of the Hamilton Coal Co. building.
Comments from Our Readers
As many readers pointed out, there are problems with dating
the picture to 1923. The styles of clothings are definitely not
those of the 1920s - more likely turn of the 20th century.

Another obvious indication of an earlier date is the style of the
American flags that are on display.  Even if you cannot count
the number of stars, the layout can still be used as a clue to the
Bookmark and Share
Then and Now
Weir, Kansas,_Kansas
Great Analysis by Alan Lemm
Above and Beyond the Call of Quiz-Duty
against building in the same
location on Street View).   
location on Street View).  I
think it's safe to assume that the
adjoining building between these
two is also still standing, but it's
hard to tell because that building
is obscured in the photograph
by the top of the power line.  
The building across the street to
the west of Hamilton Coal is
now a parking lot, but the one
right next to it now appears to
be the Bath-Naylor Funeral
Home (apparently, with new
Alan Lemm
Many thanks to Jani Sue Rigel, a brand new Quizmaster.
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Steven Jolley                Debbie Johnson
Marilyn Hamill                Jim Kiser
Collier Smith                Michelle Decatur
Daniel E. Jolley             Margie O'Donnell
Margaret Waterman                John Fitzpatrick
Diane Burkett                Arthur Hartwell
Christina Healy                Maureen Dolan
Jessica Jolley                Alan Lemm
Tim Brixius                Molly Collins
 Peter Norton                Jim Bullock
Mary Wallace                Marjorie Wilser
Rick (Mr. Rick) Mackinney                Carl Blessing
Joel Amos Gordon                Mike Johanson
Charlotte Kirby                Janice M. Sellers
Mary Osmar                Sharon Mufferi
Margaret Paxton                Betty Chambers
Daniel E. Jolley                Jessica Jolley
John Fitzpatrick                Diane Burkett
Debbie Ciccarelli                Stephen
Robert W. Steinmann, Jr.                Jocelyn Thayer
Bob Wilson                Patty Kiker
Roxann H                Talea Jurrens                Arthus Hartwell
Regarding the American flags:  They are in the 45-star
configuration, which dates the flags between July 4, 1896
& July 4, 1908.  However, I will conjecture that, absent
other contradictory evidence, that there is a slim possibility
that this photo could have been taken in 1908.  Labor Day
is only about 2 months after Independence Day.  This is a
coal mining town with coal miners (not a well-paid or
well-travelled bunch of people) living in it.  It is not
completely impossible that they would have held on to their
old flags two months after obsolescence and used them in
this parade, simply because they might not have been able
to afford to get the new ones so quickly.  That being said,
there is an awfully large number of flags, so they may have
been distributed by the town, in which case the flags would
almost certainly be current.

The vantage point of the camera is from about the same
height as the Hamilton Coal building, so it is reasonable to
assume that the photograph was taken on top of a building
that was as tall as that one, or from a window in a taller
building.  The post office is located at that location today,
but it is only a one-story building, so there must have been
another, taller building there at the time.  You can see the
"N. JEFFRSON AVE" sign at the bottom of the photo, so it
had to have been taken from the other side of that street.

I am revising my time analysis.  Local noon for Weir on
Labor Day would be about 12:09 PM (12:00 + 19 minutes
(due to longitude) - 10 minutes (due to the equation of
time)).  I am having second thoughts about my shadow
analysis, but any deviations would have to take into account
that the sun would have been due south around 12:09 PM.

Along with the Hamilton Coal building, it looks like the
adjoining building two doors to the east is also still standing
(check the building with the awning in the photograph
Clues to time of day:
Establishing the Year
Screenshot of quiz photo in the Axe Collection
rows of six stars and four rows of five stars.  The flag
used between July 4, 1896 and July 3, 1908 had three
rows of eight stars and three rows of seven stars. The
photo is definitely not as recent as 1950 when the present
flag was adopted.  The earliest and latest dates the picture
could have been taken were the 4th of July following the
admission of Utah in 1896 and day before the 4th of July
after Oklahoma was admitted in 1907.

The website Bookworm Silverfish specializing in out of
print books and appraisals is offering the same
photograph for sale at Their description of
the photograph gives 1908 as the date.
In 1795, the number of stars and stripes was increased from 13 to 15
(to reflect the entry of Vermont and Kentucky as states of the union).
For a time the flag was not changed when subsequent states were
admitted, probably because it was thought that this would cause too
much clutter. It was the 15-star, 15-stripe flag that inspired Francis
Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner", now the national

On April 4, 1818, a plan was passed by Congress at the suggestion of
U.S. Naval Captain Samuel C. Reid in which the flag was changed to
have 20 stars, with a new star to be added when each new state was
admitted, but the number of stripes would be reduced to 13 so as to
honor the original colonies. The act specified that new flag designs
should become official on the first July 4 (Independence Day)
following admission of one or more new states. The most recent
change, from 49 stars to 50, occurred in 1960 when the present
design was chosen, after Hawaii gained statehood in August 1959.
Before that, the admission of Alaska in January 1959 prompted the
debut of a short-lived 49-star flag.
Author Name:   Labor Day Celebration

Title:                 UMWA Float.

Publisher:          Weir, KS 1908

Seller ID:           4323683346

Two photos, each 7¾ x 9½ on a 11 x 13" mats. One shows a four-horse team (three
white & a "dark") w/flag bedecked bridles, hooked abreast to a double truck (eight iron
wheels) holding the base of an oil well & a forge w/four workers & two drivers aboard.

The discovery of this information still does not put
the controversy about the date to rest. Since the
Labor Day parade would have been held in
September, the flag should have been updated with
an extra star to reflect the admission of Oklahoma to
the Union late the previous year. However, the flags
display only 45 stars.  While it is possible that the
town could not afford new flags for the celebration,
or that they had not yet been changed, there are so
many flags in the picture, you would think that there
would be some new ones in the crowd.

The best estimate for the date is between about July
4, 1896 and about July 3, 1908, depending on when
Weir updated its American flags for Utah and OK.  
My guess is that the date is closer to 1908.
Flag used July 4, 1896 -
July 3, 1908
As John Fitzpatrick (no relation) pointed out, there have been only two flags that had
alternatings rows of eight and five stars.  The current flag (used since 1960), has five
Now and Then
Kansas Historical Quarterly
May, 1939 (Vol. 8, No. 2), pages 218 to 223
Kansas is believed to have been the first state to set aside the first Monday in September
for the observance of Labor day, wrote Cecil Howes in the Kansas City (Mo.)Star,
September 4, 1938. The proclamation was issued by Gov. Lyman U. Humphrey on
August 13, 1890. Moreover, the late R. W. Price of Weir City, a coal miner, is credited
with giving the day its name. The occasion was a labor demonstration in New York.
Price, who attended, was escorted into the receiving stand to witness the parade. He is
reported to have climbed upon a chair and shouted: "This is a great. day to show the
strength and power of labor. I proclaim it Labor day."
Had to Share This with Our Readers
When Alaska and Hawaii were being considered for statehood in the
1950s, more than 1,500 designs were spontaneously submitted to
President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Although some of them were
49-star versions, the vast majority were 50-star proposals. At least
three of these designs were identical to the present design of the
50-star flag. At the time, credit was given by the executive
department to the United States Army Institute of Heraldry for the

Of these proposals, one created by 17-year old Robert G. Heft in
1958 as a school project has received the most publicity. His mother
was a seamstress, but refused to do any of the work for him. He
originally received a B- for the project. After discussing the grade
with his teacher, it was agreed (somewhat jokingly) that if the flag
was accepted by Congress, the grade would be reconsidered. Heft's
flag design was chosen and adopted by presidential proclamation after
Alaska and before Hawaii was admitted into the union in 1959. Both
the 49- and 50-star flags were each flown for the first time ever at
Fort McHenry on the Fourth of July one year apart, 1959 and 1960