COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. - "Desperately determined to do something desperate," Arthur Inghram Baker went for a walk in Council Grove one February night 150 years ago. He climbed a steep ridge he called Fountain Hill, today's Belfry Hill, looming high over the west side of the Neosho River Valley. It was "cold as blue Blixen, -- it was cloudy, too, and dark."
Standing there alone in the night, Baker felt disconsolate. In January he had become editor and publisher of the Council Grove Press, but his start in the newspaper business had been hampered by the vicissitudes of Kansas weather. During the previous four weeks one snowstorm after another had swept through. Emporia reported two feet of snow. Travel on both the Santa Fe and Fort Scott roads, Council Grove's lifelines to the outside world, was impossible.