Author Archive for Sandy Schmidt – Page 2

Jeffcoat Museum to feature Viola exhibit

Ralph Harold Viola and Mattie Mae Whelan Viola 1943Ralph Viola was on his way to Denver to find work and a home in order to relocate his family there from Kansas City in August 1903. And it was on this trip that he met Cecil Brooks, a traveling salesman from Abilene who persuaded Viola to open up shop in Abilene.

In February of 1904, Ralph H. Viola opened his own shoe repair shop and, in due course, went on to open other businesses, such as a grocery store, a cabin-camp motel, and of course RHV Hardware, amongst other businesses. Ralph and his wife Mattie were very family oriented and all of the children worked for their parents at one time or another. Some of the grandchildren even worked in the family businesses.

Ralph and Mattie Viola, along with their nine children, are all deceased. Their grandchildren and their families continue to carry on that wonderful Viola tradition. Take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the days when you would stop at Viola Corner for a tank full of gas and a cold Pepsi or maybe a new pair of shoes at the Viola Shoe Store.

The Viola family has provided delightful memories for Abilene in the last 110 years and an exhibit will run from January 21 to May 31, 2014 at the Jeffcoat Museum. The museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday and Tuesday or by appointment. The museum will be open the evening of Friday, April 11 and during the day of Saturday, April 12, which is the weekend of the Eisenhower Marathon, which the Viola family is involved in.

Step back into time and learn about Ralph, Mattie and their nine children” Mary, Ralph, Vernon “Short”, Loretta, Violet, Theodore “Ted”, William “Gig”, Victor “Vic” and Albert “Tootie” and their families.

New Exhibit to feature children

Taylor childrenChildren of Dickinson County

The Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum in Abilene, Kansas is proud to announce a new exhibition, beginning September 3, 2013, featuring photographs of children taken by Bill Jeffcoat.

If you or a family member happened to live in or near Abilene during Bill’s career, chances are there is a picture of you at Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum.

This exhibit will display at least forty-five pictures of children, some who are still local and others who have moved out of Dickinson County.

Please make sure to stop by the museum to check out the new exhibit and to see if your picture is displayed. The museum hours, beginning September 3, will be Monday and Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., or by appointment. And please make sure to check out our facebook page to help identify pictures on there. We also have familiar faces books at the museum for those who would want to stop in and look through them.

You can learn more about the history of the Jeffcoat Studio and the history of Abilene by visiting the Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum at 321 N. Broadway Street in Abilene. Contact the museum at (785) 263-9882 or  Be sure to visit the museum’s website at and their Facebook page at

The exhibit will run through the end of November 2013.