Did Stella Go to the Dance? – Bendena, Kansas (circa 1910)

Miss Stella Corcoran lived in Bendena, a census-designated place in the northeast corner of Kansas -about 15 miles north of Atchison.

Bendena had another name at its founding, but the Post Office required a new name when the post office was established in the community.

Bendena was named for the sweetheart of the first telegraph operator of the “Chicago, Kansas, and Nebraska Railroad”.


Sometime around 1910 (the postmark is largely unreadable), Stella received a postcard from her friend, Cora.

Cora wrote from an unknown place, but she seems to be familiar with the small towns near Stella.

The face of the postcard has a photographic image that appears to be made with a flash.

Before the development of the flash bulb in 1929, photographers ignited flash powder in an open flame.

I have seen very few photographs such as this one.


In the photograph, a young couple converses in a stately parlor. The young woman is seated on a sofa, while her suitor leans toward her while standing behind the piece of furniture.

Both figures are in formal dress; it may be the aftermath of a dinner or an evening’s entertainment.

The young woman seems to have had a pleasurable time as the caption reads:

“Come to see me again”.

On the reverse, Cora alludes to a lapse in her correspondence.

She writes, “Suppose you think I have forgotten you but I haven’t.”

Cora follows with a question, “Did you go to the last Brenner dance?”

Brenner is a now-vanished community that was founded along the route of the Atchison & Nebraska Railroad – not far from Bendena.

The Post Office in Brenner was closed in 1917.


It seems that Cora was curious about the local dance.

One hopes that Stella was pleased by the romantic postcard and that she provided some news to Cora.


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