8 Wonders of Kansas customs

An 8 Wonder of Kansas Customs

Recognizing those who came in second, Norton

Address: 105 W. Main, Norton, KS 67654
Website: www.theyalsoran.com

Custom: Recognizing those who came in second

Where can you go to see this custom in practice? The "They Also Ran Gallery" in Norton recognizes those who came in second in the presidential race.

Gallery hours:  Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Saturday by appointment. Call 785.877.3341 or e-mail theyalsoran@firstatebank.com.

Photo courtesy Amber Milnes

The gallery consists of portraits of unsuccessful contenders for the office of President of the United States of America . Most are from the nation's two primary parties, Republican and Democrat. A short biography and a statement of who they ran against and the year accompanies the portraits.

It is located on the mezzanine of the First State Bank in Norton. The bank had moved to this location in 1965 and had a spacious mezzanine in which to house this special collection.

The gallery of wood-framed Library of Congress portraits starts with Jefferson who lost in 1796 to John Adams and won four years later against Aaron Burr. Many that appear had been President but lost when they ran for a second term.

The walls of the gallery display many distinguished gentlemen. Some minor party candidates are present while others are missing. You will also see winners among the losers. For instance, Grover Cleveland is portrayed when he lost even though he was elected President before and after the election he lost. John C. Fremont is a favorite in Norton along with Horace Greeley. Fremont was the first European descendant to be recorded to step foot in what is now Norton, back in May of 1843. He named our river the "Prairie Dog," on one of his famous expeditions with companion Kit Carson. In 1856, he was the first person to run on the GOP ticket, even before Lincoln was elected as the first Republican president.

William Walter Rouse, a former owner and president of the bank started the gallery in 1965. Mr. Rouse, an avid history buff, had just finished reading Irving Stone's book, They Also Ran, about presidential candidates who lost. Irving Stone's book was especially appealing to Mr. Rouse because considerable attention was paid to Horace Greeley, the publisher of the New York Tribune. Greeley reportedly stopped in Norton at Station 15 of Leavenworth Pike's Peak Express Company stagecoach line in May of 1859 on his way to Denver. Greeley lost his bid for President in 1872.

When Rouse died in 1981 his daughter, Ann Hazlett, took over as curator. Since Ann's retirement, Patsy Barnard, a former head teller at First State Bank, had the honor of greeting many visitors that stopped by the bank to see this unique exhibit. After Pat's retirement, Diana McGee took charge. She secured John Kerry's photo after he was defeated in 2004. Currently, Lee Ann Shearer is in charge of promoting the exhibit and guiding visitors.

On the same day that President Obama was sworn in as President of the United States , the "They Also Ran Gallery" had their own inauguration for John McCain.