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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Photo collection documents life in Dodge City

  •      It's the e-mails out of the blue that make the job interesting.

         At least that's the case for Jan Stevens, director of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau.


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  •      It's the e-mails out of the blue that make the job interesting.
         At least that's the case for Jan Stevens, director of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau.
         Early in May, Stevens received an e-mail from a lady who was writing on behalf of a friend.
         The friend was Jean Ann (Hetzel) Blasi.
         Blasi's father was Claude Hetzel who had a photography business in Dodge City. Blasi came into posession of a large collection of her father's photos upon his death and was interested in finding a home for the collection.
         Stevens contacted Barb Vincent, director of the Kansas Heritage Center, and plans were made to archive the collection of nearly 1,000 photos.
         The collection covers many aspects of life in Dodge City and southwest Kansas.
         Noel Ary, former director of the Heritage Center and now a volunteer helping to sort through the collection, said "There are photos of weddings, interiors and exteriors of churches, rodeo, parades, downtown buildings, aerial shots, motorcycles — and that's just what we've seen so far in an initial look. There's even a photo of the KCKT-TV test pattern shown on an old Zenith television."
         The photographs will be carefully sorted and categorized, then an attempt will be made to identify as many locations and people as possible, then numbers will be assigned to each photo to facilitate future research.
         Stevens has contacted Carnegie Center for the Arts and a potentail exhibit is in the works.
         In addition, the Daily Globe has offered to publish selected photos to help in the identification effort.
    Documenting Dodge
         Claude Hetzel was the owner of Hetzel Printing in Dodge City and also owned a company that produced post cards.
         He had connections with the movie theaters and took pictures when they brought movie stars to town.  He also he worked closely with the police department, taking crime scene photos.
         Hetzel's daughter, Jean, graduated from Dodge City High School and worked as a teller at Fidelity State Bank. She now lives in Arlington, Texas.
         "We're just so grateful to Jean for her generosity and so glad that this important collection has returned to the Dodge City community," Stevens said.  "It will be available for historians in the professional care of the staff of the Kansas Heritage Center."
     
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