This Day in History
The Overshot Stacker

On a day like today in 1915...

In the 1840s the western frontier, which had advanced progressively for two centuries, reached the edge of the Great Plains. Then instead of continuing its progressive advance, it leaped fifteen hundred miles to Oregon and California. For almost forty years the intervening land - some of the richest in the world - was almost uninhabited except by Indians, by Mormons driven from Illinois and Missouri, and by miners and cattlemen. Not until the late 1870s did farmers resume their traditional migration westward.

The explanation of this phenomenon is simple enough. Almost from the beginning of American map-making, the vast region from Arizona to the Dakotas had been dubbed the “Great American Desert.” To eastern eyes it looked treeless; it was almost without navigable rivers; its annual rainfall was below twenty inches a year. It was a land where the American farmer could no longer rely on those tools and methods of farming he had brought with him from Europe, tools and methods to which he had been accustomed for two hundred years. The attempts of settlers to farm this arid land resulted at first in economic and social ruin; this continued until new methods such as dry farming and windmills were developed for getting water, and new techniques of fencing and plowing and reaping and threshing were introduced - until, in short, “a plainscraft took the place of woodcraft.”

Here Mr. Künstler portrays a scene from Kansas in 1915 that illustrated the methods for putting up hay.

September's Archived Features:

Wednesday September 1, 2021
Thursday September 2, 2021
Friday September 3, 2021
Saturday September 4, 2021
Sunday September 5, 2021
Monday September 6, 2021
Tuesday September 7, 2021
Wednesday September 8, 2021
Thursday September 9, 2021
Friday September 10, 2021
Saturday September 11, 2021
Sunday September 12, 2021
Monday September 13, 2021
Tuesday September 14, 2021
Wednesday September 15, 2021
Thursday September 16, 2021
Friday September 17, 2021



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.