Dust Bowl

High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

The Root Cause of Stingy

Velma Whipple Wancura around 1930

Go back to May, 1935.  Velma and Ted Wancura have a young son.  They haven't had a wheat crop in years, or rain for that matter.  Most of their cattle herd has been lost in the dust storms.  A tornado took their house.  The Wancuras moved a vacant house in to replace it.

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Dark Cloud on the Horizon

The mid 1930's were the dry years on the high plains.  The drought has taken so much, a tornado took their home, but one young couple continue to persevere.  Velma and Ted Wancura were creative problem solvers.  They had 150 head of cattle, but no grass in the pasture. so   Ted and his brother harvested the cactus that remained for feed.  After burning the spines off with a blow torch, the cactus were placed in a cattle tank where the were well received.  When they were gone, Ted fabricated a truck bed to haul beet tops from the Garden City sugar factory, approximately 50 miles away, where the farm land was irrigated.  That solution worked until weather conditions worsened. 

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

The Dry Years

The hard times began long before the dust storms that inspired movies, documentaries, and books.  There was no rain, no crops, wheat was .25 cents a bushel, which would have been something if there was any wheat to harvest.  For Velma Wancura, the dry years meant going back to work as a teacher.    That wage supported her family.   

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Where I Come From

Virginia Kerns Frantz was born near Granada, Colorado on February 28, 1924.  She remembers her childhood as a hand to mouth existence.

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High Plains History
12:27 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

Explore the archives of the Dust Bowl

Dust bowl farmer raising fence to keep it from being buried under drifting sand. Cimarron County, Oklahoma
Arthur Rothstein Farm Security Administration

Books and films about the Dust Bowl era, including Ken Burn’s new documentary The Dust Bowl, draw heavily from the deep archive of photographs and films created by the Resettlement Administration and Farm Security Administration from 1935-1942.  You can peruse this collection yourself at the Library of Congress’ online catalogue of the collection.  The catalogue is indexed and easily searchable by place names and subject area

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