by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
As I continue to read the Sociology Report of Miss Marjorie Tate, I am more and more convinced that it was written 100 years ago, in 1922. This week I want to share with you, in Marjorie’s own words, a bit about the recreation in Grain Valley.
Question 1 started with a list of the recreational activities of the community. Marjorie listed 9 sources of recreation.
If one substituted eating at restaurants for picnics, and fall festivals for fairs, not much has changed in 100 years!
Next, she was asked to make a list of recreational facilities in Grain Valley; parks, public playgrounds, etc. She was required to report how many were private, tax supported or free.
To quote Miss Tate, “Recreational facilities are: baseball diamond, The Royal Playhouse (basketball court, roller skating, dance hall, picture show, and plays) None of these are supported by public taxes. Most are community affairs backed by subscriptions and admission fees to cover expenses.”
Question 3 asked to what extent is wholesome and adequate recreation provided by home? By school?
“Grain Valley is a small town and has a tendency to make all of its social affairs include the town. The homes do not provide much in the way of recreation. The school is very efficient in providing recreation. The students are interested in athletics, and the community backs the school. The school being consolidated has much territory to draw from and creates large interest. Amusements, other than athletics, are pie suppers, bazaars, programs, parties, wienie roast and hikes.”
Question 4 asked what festivals, pageants or celebrations of special days are held?
"The chief pageant was the celebration of Missouri’s Centennial Day. The community celebrated all special days, but proximity to K.C. led many to go there instead of having special features in the community.”
Question 5 asked do towns of your county hold street fairs.
And again, Miss Tate’s answer, “Grain Valley has a moonlight carnival. Independence has a County Fair for four days in August” (In the 1950s and 60s the Jackson County Fair was held in Lee’s Summit) “Grain Valley has the Sni-A-Bar Stock Fair two days in September.”
Question 6 asked about the value of spelling bees, pie suppers, and literary societies .
Miss Tate’s reply. Spelling bees are of value to to review social instinct, to entertain and to bring back interest in spelling. Pie Suppers are chiefly of value because they are given to obtain money for some purpose and people will spend money who would not make a contribution. Literary societies are valuable for the training they give. They also encourage young people to develop their talents. They bring together people and develop social skills.”
And finally, Question 7 was to state the benefit of community singing.
Miss Tate listed five benefits:
1. People secure training who would not have other opportunities.
2. (Singing) Promotes social feelings.
3. Provides harmless recreation.
4 Disseminates musical productions
5. Promotes taste.
Some of the questions were as interesting as their answers, especially number 7! I also found it interesting that Miss Tate did not have an answer for the last question…What is total amount of money spent by your county for public recreation as compared with its expenditures for courts, fire protection, jails, etc.
Next week, learn about cooperatives and social clubs.
Script from the Community Christmas Play at the Royal Playhouse, Circa, 1912
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society