Eagle had a race track north of the tracks and west of 6th Street. An early race pitted a mare belonging to John Sell of Walton against E.J. Lewis’ bald face mare in a 500 yard race for $15. The Eagle horse won by twenty yards. In 1891, Charles Trumble and Charles Atkinson ran a foot race. Atkinson won. The race track was used for special days such as the Fourth of July, but most of the action seemed to be in challenges rather that a regular schedule of events. The track moved to the northeast corner of town in 1893.
Eagle’s first baseball team, the Blue Clouds, was organized in 1891 with Charles Trumble as captain and Frank Clements secretary/treasurer. Their games were played in the center of the race track against teams from town and country centers such as Avondale, Alvo, Greenwood, Rock Creek, Wabash, Elmwood and Bennett. There was also a town basketball team.
Medicine shows came to town. The Cactus Blossom Concert Company came to town in 1890 and 1891. It featured Major Pembleton, the drummer boy of Shenendoah, who played six instruments at once, and Indian dancers. These shows were held in various halls above stores in town until the Opera House or town hall was built in 1892.
Saturday night dances were held in the Opera Hall and later at the Lanning Building. The Lanning building was also used for roller skating.
Dancing was always popular although the churches didn’t always approve. Sophie Wetenkamp argued with Rev. Nussbaum of the South Lutheran Church. He asked her what would happen if she died on the dance floor, and she replied, “At least I’d die happy.”
Billiard parlors were also popular. Eagle started out with two, McCurdy’s and then Puddy’s on the west side of the street and Price’s on the east. Russ Mick had the longest lived parlor on Lot 9, Block 19 for 14 years from 1912 to 1926. The last billiard parlors on record belonged to Howard Spahnle and Carl Price.
Russ Mick’s billiard parlor was the target of at least one of Eagle’s Halloween pranks. Russ reportedly told the kids to do something with Lena Reitters’s geese because they always woke his wife up when he tried to sneak in late at night. They did something all right; they put the geese in his pool hall for the night.
Magic lantern shows were popular in the 1890’s. In 1915 Frank Gilette made arrangements to show moving pictures in the Opera House every Wednesday and Saturday at $.10 for four reels. In 1919, there were two picture shows: Hudson and Trimble at the Opera House and Howard Mick in the Lanning Building. One Eagle citizen still remembers Bill Hudson cranking the movies. The town was sponsoring free movies, usually outside on either the southeast or northwest corners of 4th & D streets in 1950.
House parties and church socials were popular. A few young couples attended a Leap Year Party in 1892 at English’s at which they played progressive Tiddly Windks. A Cobweb Social held at the Congretional Church made a $42 profit.
Every fall there was a cornhusking contest. A hundred bushels a day was the goal to beat. On November 20, 1891, Monroe Barryman husked 130 bushels from 6 a.m. – 5 p.m. for a record.
Some entertainment was more intellectual. The County Superintendent of Public instruction organized reading circles in 1890. The Eagle Literacy Society officers for 1891 were G.W. Venner, J.Q. Adams, George Keefer, D.M. Horsch and Stella McClintic. This was the only organization allowed to meet at the school.
The Debate Society topics for 1891 were for adults: “Womens Sufferage” and for children: “The Horse is of More use to Man Than Cattle”.
An American History Club was also organized that year.
The 1890’s was the decade of secret lodges and Eagle joined the trend. The newspaper social column the town’s organization into Churches and Secret Organizations.