Archive for Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lenehan’s book 3rd trip back to ‘yesteryears’

February 26, 2008

Longtime Tonganoxie business owner and avid local historian John Cass Lenahan officially has a book trilogy to his credit.

Lenahan, who previously published "Yesteryears I" and Yesteryears II," recently had "Yesteryears III" published.

His two previous books dealt with Tonganoxie life primarily in the 1800s.

Though his third installment, basically runs from the 1920s through 1940s, particularly World War II.

At 85 years old, Lenahan has done something in his third book that he wasn't able to do with the first two - include some of his own accounts because he was alive during that period.

"I figured we've had a thousand wars since the humans were created," Lenahan said. "And it was all in history. I thought it would bring some of that to the younger generation, being that I was in it.

"The younger generation, they don't know much about World War II because they are sick of war."

Lenahan served in Europe during World War II. He writes about his experiences during that era, but also writes extensively about downtown Tonganoxie. It's an area he's spent much of his life in, especially Lenahan Hardware, which he owned for 35 years before retiring in 2006.

From filling stations to the Ku Klux Klan and from the Tonganoxie School System to Chief Tonganoxie Swimming Pool, Lenahan covers several areas in his 40-page book that includes a handful of photos.

Some of the research was 20 years in the making, Lenahan said. But Lenahan loves history. If he didn't, he wouldn't have three books to his credit.

"I get this stuff put together with the pictures," Lenahan said. "It really didn't take long. I had my notes."

He also has a garage that serves double-time as a museum and a work station. It's full of several newspaper clippings and photos of what his books are titled - yesteryear.

The books retails for $8. It may be purchased in downtown Tonganoxie at Evans Real Estate, Shilling Electric and The Royale, which is in the same building as his former hardware store.

Books are available at his home as well. Anyone interested in a copy of the book may call Lenahan at 845-2383.

Organizations looking also may contact Lenahan about selling the books as possible fundraisers.


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