Grandpa: To Bee…

Grandpa-To Bee Or Not To Bee

I think it was 1925 when they had a flood there in Augusta, Kansas that had the south end of town running-board deep. I remember my folks had pictures of Walnut Street in front of Grandpa’s house showing the old cars plowing through the water. Grandpa’s house, itself, was safe for it had been built with tall footings and the flood water only made it part way up the front steps.

Augusta was in a sensitive location. It had the Walnut River on the east and the Whitewater River on the west. After the flood the townspeople began talking about building a levee or dike that would protect the town on the east, south, and west sides. The higher ground on the north side was no problem. Grandpa, A.A. Thomas, was highly in favor of the protection offered by a dike and attended the City Council meetings where it was discussed. Of course, a project of this size and cost would require interaction with many county, state, and federal departments and agencies. Grandpa attended many meetings and as a homeowner and business owner (an addition to his home had been constructed to house a grocery store) he always put in his two cents worth.

If you were paying attention to him, you would have noticed that during any conversation regarding the levees or dikes, Grandpa would suggest that these ramparts should be protected from erosion and that the very best ground cover for this purpose was clover. Not many people realized that Grandpa was an entrepreneur with a new idea every minute. In this case, he hoped to set himself up as a beekeeper! He planned to place the hives at strategic places along the dikes and the bees could concentrate on the dikes and not waste time flying all over the county to collect the pollen. Thus, the bees could make more honey and Grandpa could prosper.

The dikes were eventually built but were sewn with prairie grass. Well, so much for that dream.

Dave Thomas
April 27, 2013


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