Bates County Museum Minute: The Butler Square and a Tintype Mystery

Huckster’s Day is this Saturday, October 3rd and it will once again be held in our county seat, Butler.  The Square will come alive, just as in days of old.  It is with a bit of melancholy that those bygone days are remembered.  The Square was the center of business and merchandising; the center of visiting and connecting; the center of finding out what was happening in town and throughout the county.  Saturdays on the Square were an essential part of life just a few decades ago. 

Community festivals are important.  They are important not only for us old people to recall life’s yesterdays, but they are especially important for today’s young people to experience that slower pace of life.  There’s a special kinship when small-town crowds walk around and visit vendor booths, lingering and talking, watching children run free, everyone looking out for everyone else.  Ahhh…those days are to be treasured!

This week I have shared postcards of the Butler Square.  Two are differing views of the North Side, one is the East Side, and the final one is the West Side.  In this particular collection there wasn’t a view of the South Side so we’ll save that for another time. 

Also shown is a Tintype Mystery.  Perhaps someone out there can enlighten us about just who the photographer was.  Mr. LEM. BIGGS’ Photo, Gem & Art Gallery was located somewhere in Butler.  Now, I’ve not spent a great deal of time trying to track him down so there may well be information about Mr. Biggs that I have yet to discover; however, if anyone knows of him, please do me the courtesy of sharing your knowledge.  The two gentlemen in the tintype are also mysteries and I find it hard not to create stories about their lives and let my imagination conjure up all kinds of exciting adventures.

This particular mystery has some background information.  Apparently, this tintype was mailed in April 1997 from a woman in Frontenac, Kansas to “City Library, Butler, Mo. 64730.”   The Library donated the tintype and the envelope to the Museum in 2016.  What little I know about this tintype is already remarkable and maybe one day additional information will be revealed about its’ history to make the story even more remarkable!

Courtesy of Mid America Live