Washburn, George Putnam (1846-1922)

Click on the first image in the gallery to read the captions and follow the arrows.

G.P. Washburn (2nd from left) and brother C.C. Washburn (2nd from right) at the construction site for the Parsons KS State Hospital

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George P. Washburn’s Courthouses

Johnson Co. KS, Olathe  1891
Franklin Co., Ottawa 1893
Pike Co. IL, Pittsfield, 1894
Atchison Co., KS, Atchison  1896
Miami Co. KS, Paola  1898
Woodson Co. KS, Yates Center  1899
Neosho Co. KS, Erie  1904
Doniphan Co. KS, Troy  1905
Kingman Co. KS, Kingman  1907
Beaver Co. OK, Beaver  1907
Harper Co. KS, Anthony  1908
Butler Co. KS, El Dorado  1908
Pratt Co. KS, Pratt  1910
Chautauqua Co. KS, Sedan  1917

“George Washburn’s Ottawa” article in Kansas! magazine, 3rd issue, 1995. Used by permission.

George Putnam Washburn as a young man

GEORGE P. WASHBURN TO RETURN TO COURTHOUSE LAWN

By Deborah Barker

FCHS Headlight
February 2004

In the course of her early lifetime, my daughter heard a lot about George P. I spent the years she was a baby researching him, part time, in the old library. At the time they had their microfilm reader (no printing back then—you hand-copied what you found) in a little room on the south side of the main room. I would stagger out of there after reading newspaper copy for three or four hours, my hands cramped and my eyes strained, often weepy from reading the sentimental verse.

As Elizabeth got bigger, “George Washburn’s Ottawa” was a biennial event. She was in and out of every Washburn building I could gain entry to, always polite and well behaved, and no doubt bored silly.

Washburn descendants would show up occasionally and I would drive them around the buildings I knew about, often with Liz in tow.

Once when George P’s grandson called for me, and Elizabeth answered the phone, the whole experience took on a new and frightening aspect for her. She came to get me, fear in her eyes, saying “Momma, there’s an old man on the phone and he says he’s GEORGE WASHBURN!  She couldn’t have quoted me GPW’s birth and death dates, but she was pretty sure he shouldn’t be calling on the phone.

George Putnam Washburn at Shiloh Battlefield near monument for Missouri 21st Infantry

Ottawa Main Street Assn. is raising money to have a chain-saw artist carve two courthouse tree trunks into likenesses of George P. and Tauy Jones. [It’s going to be more of a trick with Jones. There’s only one extant photo of him, and it’s a bust. But that’s a problem for a later time.] We provided a number of images of Washburn, who liked having his picture taken and was quite a good photographer, himself. The photo on the left shows Washburn standing next to a historical marker on the Shiloh Civil War battlefield in Tennessee. Washburn was the national commander of the Survivors of Shiloh organization, as well as the Kansas state commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. He served in the 21st Missouri regiment and left many stories of his battlefield experiences. The late Dr. and Mrs. Frank Trump of Ottawa traveled with Washburn on a steamboat excursion to the Shiloh battlefield he arranged for several years on the anniversary of the battle. For the Trumps, it was their honeymoon trip.

The Franklin Co. courthouse is the oldest surviving Washburn courthouse, and so it will be particularly nice to have an image of him standing near it.

[The wooden statues were created by Tulsa, OK chainsaw sculptor Clayton Coss and stood on the courthouse lawn until late 2010 when they were removed because their tree stump bases were deteriorating.  The sculptures underwent preservation by Coss and were reinstalled on the courthouse lawn on new bases July 2011.]

George Putnam Washburn statue on its new base near the Franklin County District Court, July 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tauy Jones statue on its new base on the Franklin County Courthouse lawn, July 2011. Old deteriorated base is in the background.

 

 

 

“The House That George Built” article in Kansas! magazine, 3rd issue, 1995. Used by permission.

3 Responses to Washburn, George Putnam (1846-1922)

  1. Lisa says:

    Henry Elliott was the architect/designer of the Pike County Illinois Courthouse. George P Washburn’s design was runner up to Elliott’s. Half way through the building of the courthouse the Pike County Supervisors fired Henry Elliott and Washburn took over.

    • rufusg says:

      Yes, but Washburn was called in to shore up the structure since it wasn’t going to hold up. Washburn included the Pike Co. courthouse on his resume as he believed that he had saved the building.

  2. James C. Kennedy says:

    I am the great grandson of George P. Washburn. My age is 76. My mother Alice, George’s grand daughter, was the daughter of Pearl Washburn and James Coggins.

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