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McPherson's color

McPherson, Kansas
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Central College instructor Naomi Ullom and students plus cartoonist Mike Hall were the main people behind this colorful mural that showcases the McPherson College famed auto restoration program.  This is just a small piece of the 8'x40' mural located at Euclid and Main.  Thanks to the Convention & Visitors Bureau for initiating these murals!

One of the first things you notice when you walk into the art gallery of VAAM (Visual Arts Alliance of McPherson) are the paintings of McPherson native, R. Bolton Smith.  Located within the McPherson Opera House, the gallery which features local art is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  The Smith exhibit will be on display through September 1.

Clayworks, 107 N. Main, is one amazing place.  In the mornings you can watch clients at work in this first class and well-decorated space.  The art work is on sale Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The colorful Spanish clay roof tile that is positioned above a grouping of four windows over the Integrity Salon at 108 N. Main is really more of an accent than anything.  Check out the color tiles above and to either side of this roof.

The art gallery in the opera house sports this beautiful transom.

Another transom!   This one is on the Sears building at 311 N. Main.

At the McPherson Water Park, these really fun buckets dump water in an intoxicating rhythm.

Oh Yarn it!  Buy all sorts of yarn and accessories here, in the opera house building, at 221 S. Main.  Open Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

These are not just decorative pasta pieces!  They are the real thing and you can buy them at the Cook's Nook, 219 N. Main.  Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Old Muffin Factory mixes are still sold at The Cake Lady store, 217 S. Main, right beside the opera house.  Open Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Hope you enjoyed this small sampling of the color of McPherson! 




Things you see in a park

McPherson, Kansas
You know how you get used to seeing something so much that you don't really see it anymore? When we stopped at Lakeside Park in McPherson to research I didn't think it would take very long. It's a park, right? Every town has one. This one was a little bit different though and it took us a lot longer than expected. Why? Check out the photos below and you'll discover why. And maybe the next time you visit your neighborhood park or a park in any community you'll see it with new eyes.

Lakeside Park was created in 1934 and is the site of the famous McPherson Scottish Festival held each year in September. For information about this event go to

Like many parks it boasts beautiful old trees, lamp posts and park benches.

But one of the fun finds of the day were several picnic grills made out of Dakota Sandstone. Stamped on the metal door of each was "The Homer Garden Grill." One we inspected had unusual pieces used in it's construction including what we think is petrified wood and some sort of concretion with thousands of seashells. Take a look a close look. We haven't found out anymore about these but research will be ongoing!  Were some of these built by the WPA?

The park bandshell was built in 1939. The red and white flowers planted in front really popped on a hot summer day. The yellow hibiscus in the middle was like the cherry on top of a purple petunia sundae!

The well designed water park was getting lots of use judging by the amount of bicycles parked out front.

You don't see this kind of thing everyday. We weren't able to find out a story on this tree sculpture but I'm sure we'll find out and let you know. The back side reminded me of a wooden Gumby!

Vintage playground equipment is always fun to find.

You just have to get your feet wet on a hot summer day.

This park has lots of water features found throughout the grounds.

But the best part we found as we were leaving the park. How many other parks plant corn in the middle of a flower garden?

The things you see in a park!

Written by WenDee LaPlant.  We're going to every town in the state to research for a guidebook.  We want to share some information with you now!  This is a project of the Kansas Sampler Foundation.



McPherson's neighborhood

McPherson, Kansas

Travelers and Friends, McPherson is for you, just like it says on the 1915 pillars leading into the courthouse driveway.

McPherson, the Light Capital of Kansas, is known for plastics, pharmaceutical, and insulation products, a major oil refinery, a thriving downtown, and being a neighborly place to live.

One of main landmarks in McPherson, population 13,155, is the 1894 limestone county courthouse located in the 100 block of N. Maple.  John Haskell was the architect.

The first clock weighing 2 1/2 tons was installed in 1908. Seventeen years later, one of the 800-pound weights of that clock came crashing down.  Eventually, the clock ran again when converted to electricity in 1948.


A 1917 statue of the city and county's namesake stands to the west of the courthouse. 

Major General James B. McPherson was mortally wounded during the Union advance on Atlanta in 1864.  The 35-year-old was the highest-ranking Union Army commander to die in the Civil War.

After a lengthy restoration process, the 1889 McPherson Opera House opened its doors again in 2010.

Live performances and movies are a treat here for the performer and the audience due to the intimate space.  Offering three viewing levels, there is not a bad seat in the house.

A mural touting the fact that the first Olympic gold  medal basketball team came from McPherson is found at Kansas and Ash.  The 1936 Olympics took place in Berlin.

They were called the "tallest team in the world" with two players at 6'8" and 6'9".

Contact the Convention & Visitors Bureau and they'll take you to see displays and the home gym of these 1936 champions.  620.241.3340.

And though there are a number of really good locally-owned restaurants in town, the one that epitomizes McPherson most is Neighbor's Cafe.  A narrow pathway is the only break between the eleven counter stools and the booths against the wall.  Those at the counter can watch the cook at work on the grill.

There is a room in the back but it's the front room where the action happens.  Owner Shelly Wiggins is definitely in control of this place as she pals around with customers.  She'll even get on her bullhorn to wish someone a happy birthday or make an announcement.  By the time you leave with a full and happy stomach, you'll feel a part of this cafe neighborhood.

And sometime, she just might give you the last cinnamon roll...