Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Joseph P. Nolan

JOSEPH P. NOLAN. It is only occasionally that the majority of the people of Kansas, to say nothing of the people of other states, are made aware of the importance and diversity of the industries that flourish in the Arkansas Valley around Garden City. That Kansas is one of the sugar producing states of the Union is due largely to the enterprise concentrated in and around this flourishing little town. Garden City is the home of the Garden City Sugar and Land Company, the Garden City Irrigation Power Company, of a large alfalfa milling company, the Garden City Western Railroad Company, and of what is known as the Garden City Development Company. The active executive officer of all these concerns is Joseph P. Nolan, who is manager of the Sugar and Land Company, and has general charge and oversight of the varied industries comprised in those organizations.

The Garden City Sugar and Land Company owns fifty thousand acres in Finney, Kearney and Scott counties. When Mr. Nolan joined the corporation they were operating fifteen thousand acres, nine-tenths of which was leased land. Now the company owns outright thirty-three thousand acres, nine-tenths of which they operate, and own all the operating equipment. The company also grows ninety-five per cent of the beets which are manufactured into sugar in their Garden City plant. After the sugar is extracted the pulp is dried and converted into a high class stock food, worth $40 a ton. The company has completed forty water wells for irrigation and half as many more are in course of construction and equipment. In former years the only commercial product of the sugar beet was the sugar, but now practically no part of the beet is allowed to go to waste except the water. Even the tops and crowns are dried and evaporated into a meal for stock food.

It has been found profitable to produce and handle alfalfa along with the beets, and a special milling plant has been constructed for that purpose. The company has a system to handle the alfalfa from the time it is mowed in the fields until it is ready for shipment. They mow and rake and load on wagons with machinery, the alfalfa is then dumped into gondola cars and comes into the mill over the company's railroad. The company's alfalfa mill, sugar mill and power plant are on the same site. The alfalfa meal is shipped from Garden City, and is worth from $28 to $30 a ton at the plant. The company's railroad is a public transportation company though used almost entirely for industrial purposes. It is fifteen miles in length and ninety-five per cent of the freight carried originates with the company, and consists of alfalfa, hay, wheat, fat stock, sugar beets and farm machinery. For three years prior to 1917, 100,000 bushels of wheat were carried over this line. In 1917 the company sowed 5,000 acres to wheat, and in the same year it harvested 8,000 acres of sugar beets and 5,000 acres of alfalfa, besides various other crops of oats, barley, milo maize and kaffir corn.

All the power for these varied operations is electricity supplied by an electric power plant owned by this company. Electric current pumps water for the beet fields, furnishes power for light and other purposes to the towns of Garden City, Lakin, Deerfield and Holcomb and also to individuals along the right of way for lighting and irrigation. The machinery in the factories, the pumps in the fields, the feed grinders, cream separators, mechanical milkers and silo fillers are operated by electric motor and the company also heats drinking water for cattle and dairy cows and furnishes current to the employes on the company's farm for domestic heating and lighting.

The active men in the Garden City Sugar and Land Company are: C. O. Hamlin, of Colorado Springs, president; Spencer Penrose, of Colorado Springs; C. M. McNeil, of New York City; A. J. Hayes, of Colorado Springs; E. P. Shove, of Colorado Springs; F. A. Gillispie, of Garden City, treasurer of the company; and J. P. Nolan, manager. Some of these men are also identified with other important enterprises, Mr. McNeil being president of the Utah Copper Company, while Mr. Penrose and Mr. Shove are active mining and smelting men in the west.

Joseph P. Nolan came into this western country in 1902, and at once showed his ability as an irrigation farmer. Back in Iowa where he was born and reared he learned farming in all its practical details. On going west he took up the work individually at Rocky Ford and in 1911 went into New Mexico and developed an irrigation farm near Maxwell. His success with that was such that his services were in demand elsewhere. Thus he came to Garden City and became identified with the Garden City Sugar Company in active charge of its operations.