October 29, 2022 | Last updated Jul 5, 2023

Through the Lens of Wallace Rhodes

Family portrait of John Wallace Rhodes (commonly called Wallace), his wife Rubina “Ruby” Rhodes, and their daughter Phyllis J. Rhodes [RG1900.PH3-7]

Phyllis Rhodes (1908-2003) was the only child of John Wallace Rhodes (1878-1947) and Rubina “Ruby” J. (Hutton) Rhodes (1878-1971). As far as is known, she never married and had no children. But a family need not produce a legion of descendents to leave a legacy. Wallace, who went by his middle name, was an amateur photographer, leaving more than one hundred plate glass negatives from circa 1907 through circa 1915. These negatives came to the Nebraska State Historical Society by way of Phyllis Rhodes around 1980.

As might be expected of any proud new father, many of the photos Wallace took were of Phyllis.

Phyllis Rhodes in her playhouse [RG1900.PH1-20}

However, Wallace also took many interesting photos in and around Stuart, Nebraska. He captured the town’s water tower under construction. A daring construction worker can be seen climbing on a thin support with neither net nor scaffolding to help him.

Stuart, NE water tower construction [RG1900.PH9-7]

Wallace also took a series of photos of a Fourth of July parade. People using umbrellas stand along the roadside as a marching band performs, proving that even if Mother Nature rained on their parade, they could not be deterred from enjoying the festivities.

Parade in Stuart, NE. Marching band with umbrellas. [RG1900.PH11-7]

Another image in the collection shows a group of men standing amid snow-covered debris, possibly the aftermath of a fire. Alas, the specific details who, when, and precisely where were lost.

Aftermath of fire in Stuart, NE [RG1900.PH13-2]




However, this collection of photographs provides an interesting glimpse of life in Stuart, Nebraska, a century ago. Visit our online Photograph and Artifact database to view other images in the Phyllis Rhodes Collection (RG1900).

– Angela Kroeger
NSHS Practicum Student

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