Sam Radges was out of the ordinary, and he liked it. He came to America from England, served in the Civil War and afterwards he did a stint as the postmaster at Ft. Dodge before settling in Topeka. As postmaster he discovered that mail fraud was being committed by several of the officers stationed there and he reported it. The trial was held in Topeka, at the federal courthouse and upon the officers convictions he decided that that climate in better for his health in Topeka and he stayed.
He began publishing directories the year he began his residence, 1870 and continued until 1905 when he sold the business. Radges’ directories brought flair to the city with histories, local trivia and illustrations. Described as a character, and always a man for promotion, he maintained that people only suffered in the hot weather because they thought about it and wore a snugly buttoned fur one hot summer day to prove it; friends did not believe that he truly thought this, but he was doing it to liven up downtown.
One of the founders and the perpetual secretary of the St. Ananias Club, an organization of “prevaricators, fabricators, equivocators and falsifiers”, Radges enjoyed having a good laugh and a game of cards. And on a trip to Switzerland in the late 1870’s he had a watch specially made that chimed on the quarter hours, and that in the place of numerals had the letters of his name.
Radges was meticulous in the arrangements for his burial and funeral. He had a custom mausoleum built of marble and granite, which was set three steps into the ground, and wired with an electric light , in order to read the paper, which Radges prepaid to have delivered to his graveside 20 years after his death. Preceding him to the cemetery were his Skye terriers, Judy McC and Molly, both as the story goes were embalmed and interred here, although, it is a mystery as to where, the pet cemetery was started in 1925. When hard times came upon a bank that Radges was invested in he sold the mausoleum, (it is no longer standing, it fell apart in the 1950s, the woman who was interred there was reburied in a traditional plot). The light would not be necessary for Radges to read the paper, spirits don’t restrict their activity to the part and nearly every employee who has spent much time here has had a conversation with an older gentleman, who seems to be passing the time of day, who comes up to them when they are working and invariably when their back is turned when they turn back to the resume the conversation he is gone.
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