"Sunset Engagement"-The Hill City, Kansas Duck Pond
By Mike Boss
Alkyd on Panel
14" x 18"

From the Collection of Elk's Lodge #1995, Hill City, Kansas

Hill City, Kansas' Duck Pond was a local icon. To some, maybe the Taj Mahal! It was a large, natural pond on the north side of the South Solomon River for Cosmos knows how long. At least from the earliest records of the county anyway. Even baptisms with ice broken in the winter to carry on the rite! The duck Pond was the local "ice machine" in winter as well as ice skating. Union Pacific built a low water bridge c. 1889 to help with getting the crops etc. to the railroad. Later more length was added to the bridge and an added culvert as the river was meandering northward.

In 1909 a young man tried to swim across the pond and drowned. As well, there had been a typhus outbreak and the state eventually blamed the brackish pond water. By city council order, the pond was filled in over a period of time.

Before starting the painting I needed to clear up some bridge construction details. I talked with a long retired highway engineer and we came up with the bridge type as well as posts and cables on the edge of the road.

Graham County had a fair share of independent professional women. The first car in the county was owned c.1908-9 by a female doctor, Lottie Law. The first auto dealership was the Overland Automobile Company. Barrels of water were hauled out of the pond in dray wagons etc. Something was starting to gel. The place WAS an attraction so it would have been easy for a gal to meet a guy there. I simply ran with the doctor, an Overland 46 Torpedo Roadster and the man on his wagon.