Home History Mysteries History Mystery: State Progress Commission

History Mystery: State Progress Commission

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Cusick Studio Collection, Graphic2_FreezerBag32_8473. Click to enlarge.

On Wednesday, February 4th, our library staff will be heading up the hill (literally) to the State Capitol for another Piecing Together History event: Representing Kentucky. Around our neck of the woods, we refer to this as the “New” Capitol Building (1910) since the previous, or “Old” State Capitol is a only a block away, and a part of the KHS campus. Our trip Wednesday coincides with the Legislative Regular Session for 2015, as we celebrate Kentucky’s “New” Capitol Building, and the Legislatures who represented Kentucky during the first 30 years of the 20th century. This month’s History Mystery comes from the Piecing Together History event on Wednesday. 

The photo is roughly from 1930 and includes a group of eight men, one holding the Kentucky Progress Magazine standing beside the State Capitol. The General Assembly passed an act, approved March 16, 1928, that created the Kentucky Progress Commission to “promote the development of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, making a general study of its resources, facilities, and advantages for agricultural, commercial, and industrial development and for the attraction of tourists to the Commonwealth.” The act appropriated $50,000 for the biennium. One of the ways the commission promoted Kentucky was through its publication, Kentucky Progress Magazine.

While we know quite a bit about the Magazine and the program behind it, we don’t know any of the names of the men standing on the steps with the beautiful flag of Kentucky. We could use your help in identifying these men – especially the fashion guru in the striped suit holding the end of the flag – and the event they are commemorating. Don’t get hung up on the year – that is an approximation. Also, the hats on two of the men clearly belong to an organization of some kind. Got any clue as to their membership? There is a round symbol just above the word “Kentucky.”

All of the images used in this event have been digitized and cataloged and are available for researchers during and after the event. To view any part of the collection, visit kyhistory.com and click on the Featured Collection. For those who cannot attend, please submit image specific information via the comments section at the bottom of each image. Specific questions about the photographs or the event can be directed to the KHS Reference Desk at 502-564-1792, ext. 4460 or KHSrefdesk@ky.gov.

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  1. wrote on January 31st, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Fred Kelso

    The gentleman holding the magazine appears to be C. Frank Dunn, Executive Secretary of the Kentucky Progress Commission, whose photo appears on page 16 of “Kentucky Progress,” Volume 1, Number 1, September, 1928.

    • wrote on February 16th, 2019 at 8:18 am

      Fred Kelso

      I have finally found the “Kentucky Progress” article which used this photo – it was in Volume 3, Number 1, September, 1930, on page 30. The event being commemorated was the 100th anniversary of Greek Independence.

      “Kentucky Sends Official Flag to Greece: The State Emblem Will Repose in Collection of State Flags in the American Legion Building At Athens.

      A delegation representing all the Hellenic Posts of the American Legion sailed from New York on August 15, to present to the President of Greece flags from several states and cities together with letters from governors and mayors, felicitating the sister Republic upon the centenary of her independence.

      Such a notable event would not be complete without representation by Kentucky, whose statesman, Henry Clay, is to be memorialized by the unveiling of a bust in connection with the ceremonies commemorating the centenary of Greek independence.

      A guard of honor and other officials appointed by the Kentucky Hellenic Post to deliver the state flag and a letter from the governor to the president of Greece is shown in the accompanying picture, receiving the official flag, which was presented by the Kentucky State Progress Commission, through its executive secretary, C. Frank Dunn. Governor Sampson’s letter, which accompanied the flag, reads as follows:

      ‘Premier Eleutherios Venizelos,
      Athens, Greece,
      Your Excellency –

      With all free peoples of the Earth I extend felicitations to you and your government upon the one hundredth anniversary of the independence of Greece.

      Kentucky is proud of its citizens of Greek birth and descent, and shall see that each one of them is afforded fair opportunity in the Land of the Stars and Stripes.


      Flem D. Sampson, Governor.’

      The Kentucky delegation carried letters from the mayors of Lexington, Frankfort, Owensboro, Paducah, Bowling Green, Ashland and Covington.

      Louis P. Maniatis is the Kentucky State representative of Greek war veterans and also deputy supreme governor of the national order of Ahepa, and order composed of American citizens of Greek birth and descent. Two members of Jefferson Post, No. 15, Louisville, James C. Gianacakes and Nicholas P. Gianacakes, will act as guard of honor for the Kentucky state flag. Others in the delegation appointed to receive the flag are George Georgantas, George Callis, Louisville; Louis Constant, representative of the Henry Clay Chapter of the order of Ahepa, and Basil Skendiris, Lexington.”

      The caption of the photo reads:

      “DELEGATION RECEIVING FLAG AT STATE CAPITAL – Left to right: Louis Constant, Lexington; George Georgantas, Nicholas Gianacakes, Louis P. Maniatis, Louisville; C. Frank Dunn, B. S. Skenderis, Lexington; James Gianacakes, George C. Callis, Louisville.”

      So the hats are American Legion hats, and the “fashion guru” holding the flag on the right is James P. Gianacakes, one of the two honor guards from Jefferson Post Number 15.

      The issue of “Kentucky Progress” which Frank Dunn is holding is Volume 2, Number 11, July, 1930, and it features the Kentucky state flag on the front cover as shown.

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