Well, it was the Depression …

Dine and Dance, North Newton 400 ClubDine and Dance, North Newton 400 ClubTrudy Flory reported taking these photos May 22, 1939, when she was a freshman at Bethel.

Almost 60 years later, in 1997, she wrote in The Newton Kansan that the Santa Fe Railroad had given the college some retired rail cars (both box and passenger) that had been placed behind the boys’ dorms, presumably with the idea of converting them to student living space.

On the night of May 21, some students painted signs with whitewash that they nailed to trees, and also painted on this rail car: “Dine & Dance; North Newton 400 Club.” Flory wrote that this car looked like one from the interurban that ran from Newton to Hutchinson by way of Halstead and included a spur that came from Newton to the edge of the Bethel campus.

There were strict rules against drinking and dancing on campus in those days. Other signs said: “Half and Half Hamburgers (half horse, half rabbit)” and “See Bethel’s Scenic Beauty Project #13.”