Hays was founded in 1867 as the Union Pacific Railroad moved west. Its early history includes Wild West antics with famous people like Wild Bill Hickok, but soon Hays became a center for agriculture, commerce, and education. By 1930, the population of Hays was 5,000, and it grew to 7,000 by the end of the decade. Although the 1930s were a time of economic depression, of agricultural drought and dust storms, these photographs of Hays show a much different story. They are positive, even energetic, showing the upside to a depressed decade. Photographer R. E. Ekey began his studio in 1928 and retired in 1955. His photographs of Hays portray the special events as well as the routine of everyday life. They show a variety and richness that exemplify the character of Hays, both then and now.