The travelling exhibit The Way We Worked by the Smithsonian is about showcasing how Americans have worked through the years. The exhibit shows what changes have occurred in the workforce in America from the mid-19th century and the late 20th century. Just like America, Goodland’s workforce and community have changed as well. The county was founded in 1886 and prospered because of individuals who believed in the town. One individual was Beulah Grant who served the community in many various roles.
Lottie Beulah Grant was born south of Atlantic Iowa on January 23, 1885 to Alfred and Harriet Farmer Roth. When Beulah was three her family moved to a homestead near Ruleton Kansas where she lived the life of a pioneer. She helped with harvest, cooked, took care of the farm animals and learned to play the piano. In 1903 Grant and her sister Grace moved to Goodland to attend normal School. After finishing her education she taught school for one year at the Ruleton School before she married Jasper Craton Grant, a railroad fireman, in 1905 and made Goodland their home. The Grant’s had two children: Twila Ruth and Jasper Clarence Grant. Both children were born on April 12th one year apart. Unfortunately in February of 1907 her husband Jasper became ill and died. Grant and her children then moved into her parents’ house and she started to work.
In 1910 Jeff Kent asked Grant to come work as an operator at the local telephone company. She had this job for eleven years and was on duty during the fire of 1916
when Goodland was prepared to evacuate people by train to safety. Grant also served as the librarian of the Carnegie Library starting in 1921 and for a time held both the operator and librarian jobs. She worked at the library during the day and as the phone operator during the night. In 1926 Grant was elected to serve on the school board and during this time a new grade school was built and named after her; Grant Grade School.
Beulah held the position of head librarian for forty-five years and was very proud that she could serve the community in this way. In 1930 she received her library science degree from Colorado State at Fort Collins and put this degree to good use. She loved welcoming people to the library and explaining the ins and outs of the library. When former residents would write for help she would always try and help. She was extremely active in the Methodist Church and was the Superintendent of Sunday Schools and financial secretary. She was a member of BPW, PNG, and Zonta and was a member of the Royal Neighbors, Eastern Star, Rebekah Lodge, Athena and Beta Sigma Phi. She loved Goodland and was one who showcased the best of what Goodland had to offer.
Look for more articles in this series of Community Builders and tell us about an individual you knew that helped build our community on our Facebook page.
Look for more articles in their series about the way Goodland folks work. Tell us your own work story and mark December 15th on your calendar to see how Americans have worked over the decades at “The Way We Worked” Smithsonian exhibit. “The Way We Worked” Kansas tour is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program. Support for “The Way We Worked” Kansas tour has been provided by the Ross and Marianna Beach Foundation, the Western Kansas Community Foundation, and Jostens. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. To find out more information visit the High Plains Museum and find us online (highplainsmuseum.org).