May 7, 1909
EDWARD PAYSON WESTON.
Cheered by thousands of people, Edward Payson Weston, the aged pedestrian, who is enroute from New York to San Francisco, swung briskly into the downtown section of Kansas City yesterday afternoon at 4:15 o'clock and reaching the Coates house at 4:45 completed the day's walk, having made twenty-nine miles from Oak Grove, his stopping place last night, to Kansas City in eight hours and thirty minutes, with ease. He was not travel worn nor weary, and walked the last few miles of the day at a terrific pace.
"It was the greatest day of the trip to date," said Weston, as he waved adieu to the crowd that followed him through the downtown streets to the doors of his hotel. "Never have I been so royally received. And never on any of my jaunts have I traveled such roads and passed through such beautiful country as I did today. I will never forget this day and the kind people of Kansas City."
Greatly refreshed by ten hours sleep at Oak Grove, Weston set out from that place yesterday morning at 7:30 o'clock. In the cool, bracing morning air he reeled off the miles in great form, little like he entered Oak Grove the night before, when he was on the verge of collapse as the result of a most trying walk under a broiling sun. The trip to Independence was made without incident. With the exception of a stop for a glass of milk and another to eat some raw eggs, the veteran never broke his stride, and at 1:30 o'clock he entered the public square at Independence. Scores of people cheered him and sought to give him a more demonstrative welcome, but he dodged them and made his way to the Metropolitan hotel, a stopping place in the early days for ox teams en route from the Atlantic to the Pacific over the same route the "hiker" is following.
At the Metropolitan, Weston ate heartily a generous portion of oatmeal. Lying on a cot he talked between bites to newspaper men and Y. M. C. A. athletes who had journeyed to Independence to meet and accompany him to Kansas City. After fifty minutes of eating and resting, he arose, walked backwards down the stairs of the hotel to prevent any jar to his knees, and started rapidly for the city.
The route out of Independence was down West Maple street. On this thoroughfare is located the Central high school, and as Weston approached the school hundreds of school children were released from their studies to greet him. To the wild cheering of the boys and girls and the handclapping of the many people who lined the curbs of the street, the old man lifted his hat and bowed again and again. The short, stubby stride was broken for the first time, and the walker grasped the hand of George S. Bryant, principal of the school, a friend of years ago. A hurried greeting and adieu and Weston was again on his way. Twice between Independence and Kansas City, the old fellow was again greeted by throngs of school children, and each time he bowed his appreciation. "It does me more good than anything else to have these children greet me," he said. "It cheers me, and makes my journey easier."
The Y . M. C. A. hikers who were accompanying the old pedestrian on his entry into the city, were hustling to keep a pace when the city limits were reached at 3:12 o'clock. Weston was averaging, as he did early in the day, four miles an hour, and the pace was a little too fast for the unseasoned striders, but they struggled gamely on. At the city limits, the escort of mounted police joined the party, and it was well that this escort was provided, for along Fifteenth street and through the business section of the city the crowd that followed the pedestrian and rushed into the streets to greet him would have been uncontrollable.
Such an enthusiastic welcome as was given Weston has seldom been given an athlete in Kansas City. On every side there were cheers of "Hello, Weston," "You're all right, old boy," etc. To all of these Weston bowed his thanks. He stopped but twice, once to greet John DeWolfe, who lives near the Blue river. Weston and DeWolfe were friends thirty-nine years ago.
After reaching the Coates house Weston Hurried to his room where he changed his clothes and bathed his feet in the preparation he always uses, briny water.
Last night Mr. Weston spoke before a large audience in the gymnasium of the Y. M. C. A. building on Wyandotte street. His remarks were confined principally to events on his present long hike, and he predicted he would arrive in San Francisco on schedule time. By 9 o'clock he was through with his lecture, and a half hour later was snugly in bed at the Coates house. He left a call for 4 o'clock this morning, and by 5 o'clock he expects to be well on his way to the West.
Weston goes from Kansas City to Lawrence, and will cover the distance over the roadbed of the Union Pacific railroad. He is due in Lawrence tonight, where he will rest until Saturday morning, when he will start out for Topeka, again taking the railroad right-of-way, by which he saves eleven miles in distance as compared with the open highway. He is scheduled to lecture in Topeka.
Weston is a most picturesque character. Clad in a white blouse that is fringed with embroidery at the neck and wrist, plaid walking trousers suspended by a broad belt and heavy shoes with gaiters, his dress does just what he wishes it to do -- attract attention. He shows his seventy years only by his wheat head and a drooping white mustache. He is of wiry build, about 5 feet 6 inches in height and weighs 140 pounds. As he walks he allows his body to weave slightly from side to side, removing to a great extent the jar of the walking. At this stage of the journey he is in excellent physical condition. Yesterday was the hardest day he has experienced on this or any other walk, according to his own statement. Barring a succession of several such days he should be able to finish his long journey on schedule time and in good condition.