flashoverlay

Email / Username:
Password
 

Kansas Explorers Club

Map Header

Group Adventures

Upcoming Adventures

There are currently No Upcoming Events
Footer
View Calendar
Kansas Sampler Email Signup
Kansas Sampler Web Log

 

  • Print Pageclick here to email this pageFacebookTwitter

Enjoy these whole newsletters or excerpts.  If you like what you read there's lots more from where these came from. All you have to do is sign up to be part of the club and you'll receive these print newsletters chock full of quirky and fun things to see and do in the Sunflower State.

September, Explorer newletter #100
 
July 2013, Explorer newsletter #99
 
April 2013, Explorer newsletter #98
 
February 2013, Explorer newsletter #97
 


NEWSLETTER #96, December 2012

Featuring the rural culture element of architecture...

STEP RIGHT ON UP

MOUNTING STEPS: Garfield and Yates Center

In the gazebo area in Garfield (4) and by the log cabin at the Woodson County Museum in Yates Center you’ll find stepping stones used as an aid by ladies to get on a horse.

STREET STEPS: Kansas City, 13th and Ruby

The 169 concrete steps are a street (nearly a block long and comprising three or four tiers).When these Argentine steps were built it was the only access to many of the homes along either side.It’s the only street in Kansas made of steps!

STAND-ALONE STEPS: Goessel, 408 E. Main

Stand on the steps that once led into the first Mennonite hospital in North America, Bethesda Hospital. Built in 1899, original foundation stones surround the steps and markers tell the story.

JUST STEPS: Leavenworth, 1128 5th Ave.

Abraham Lincoln delivered a campaign speech in 1859 on these steps.Once in front of the Planter’s Hotel, the steps-that-go-nowhere now rest on the grounds of the Carroll Mansion.

WALL STEPS, Marysville, 9th and Carolina

The retaining wall at this location was a 1934 WPA project. If you’re in a hurry to get to the upper part of town take the terrace and concrete stairway!

CLIFF STEPS, Larned, Second and State

Government surveyor George Sibley called this area the "Cliffs of Soft Rocks" when he surveyed in 1825.The stone and iron staircases in the cliff add to the fascination.

HILL STEPS of Coronado Heights, near Lindsborg

3 miles north of Lindsborg on blacktop west side of town, then west on Coronado Heights Road past the cemetery, then north. WPA steps are part of the "playground” here at this area summit.

BIG WELL STEPS of Greensburg

A new sturdy spiral staircase has replaced the old one but you’ll still might get a little squeamish as you descend deep into the original Big Well.



NEWSLETTER #95, September 2012

Featuring the rural culture elements of history and people…

POLITICS AND PRESIDENTS

Not getting enough politics these days? Here are some points of interest to help you get your fill.

FIRST DEMOCRATIC HEADQUARTERS, Lecompton
From Constitution Hall at 319 Elmore, continue north on Elmore, then curve east on 2nd to the dead end.

A small renovated stone building stands where the first Democratic Headquarters operated from 1854 to 1861. At this time, Lecompton was known as the birthplace of the Kansas Democratic Party.

A REPUBLICAN MESSAGE, Attica
Cemetery is from U.S. 160 to NW 60 Road, about 1/4 mile west of town.

Nathaniel Grigsby, a Union veteran, died in 1890 and left a unique epitaph on the headstone at the Attica Cemetery. "Through this inscription, I wish to enter my dying protest against what is called the Democratic party.” To read the rest, go straight ahead at thecemetery’s main entrance and turn left at the first sand crossroads. His grave is on the right.
ALSO RAN MUSEUM, 105 W. Main, Norton
Inside the First State Bank, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

An 8 Wonders of Kansas Customs finalist, this gallery exhibits portraits of unsuccessful contenders of the office of President of the United States.

U.S. PRESIDENTS and KANSAS

ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1861-1865): Markers tell that Lincoln campaigned in various towns in Kansas. In Troy (5) at 138 E. Walnut; in Atchison at 5th and Parallel; and steps where he delivered a speech are now located in front of the Carroll Mansion in Leavenworth (7) at 1128 5th Avenue.

TEDDY ROOSEVELT (1901-1909): In 1910 former president Roosevelt came to Osawatomie to dedicate the park where the Battle of Osawatomie had been fought in 1856. Later the park was designated a national historic site.

RUTHERFORD HAYES (1877-1881). Hayes stopped in Neosho Fallsin 1879 for the Neosho Valley Picnic. With a thick stand of towering trees, old Riverside Park is still in use but with an old-time feel. There is no marker here

JAMES GARFIELD (1881): In 1873, Ohio Congressman James A. Garfield, later the 20th president of the United States, was honored that citizens who had formerly lived in his Ohio district and moved to this part of Kansas, named their town for him. In appreciation he gave a bell to the first church erected in Garfield. A wayside chapel now stands just off U.S. 56 as a memorial to that church and bell.

WARREN G. HARDING (1921-1923): Take W. 4th from Hutchinson. Then one mile west of Whiteside, just west of the cemetery, find a 10-foot-tall granite memorial to President Warren Harding, who, during a brief stop in 1923, helped harvest wheat on this site. Another marker stands in Hutchinson’s Sylvan Park (B and Walnut), where Harding delivered a speech during that visit.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (1953-1961):The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Museum in Abilene, 200 SE 4th, one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas, tells Eisenhower’s story from his boyhood days in Abilene to being a five-star general during WW II to becoming the 34th President of the United States. Open daily 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

BARACK OBAMA (2009-present): When Senator Obama campaigned in Kansas he ate at Susie’s Chili Parlor in El Dorado (12), 124 S. Main.


Featuring the rural culture element of customs...

A TOPIC OF NECESSITY

It’s always a little sensitive to talk about some topics. No, this isn’t about politics or religion but one which we can all relate. Without a long introduction, I’ll just get to it.

Can there be a more beautiful one anywhere?

We’re talking about the new public restroom in Lucas!

THE BOWL PLAZA, Lucas

It’s the design, it’s the materials. It’s one restroom where you will linger. The front is designed as a big toilet bowl lid and the area in front is the rim, which you can sit on. Artsy and beautiful mosaic designs enhance the lid, the rim, the inside walls. The huge ceramic "drain” in the front has captured all the things normally dropped into the porcelain from cell phones to car keys. A giant concrete sculpture of unraveled toilet paper sits beside the restrooms.

ECO-TOILET, Greensburg, 402 S. Sycamore

They love to give tours of this Green Town silo eco-house. One of the most interesting features is the toilet. You’ll find a sink in place of the lid on top of the water tank! How brilliant! The water used in the sink flows into the water tank and is used for flushing. They’re usually open and glad to give a tour, or call 620.723.2790.

ELK FALLS OUTHOUSE FESTIVAL

November 16-17,9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Giggles and laughs and "omigosh’s” abound on this walking tour of cleverly decorated outhouses. Last year the winner was the "Party Pooper” as decorated by the post office in recognition that the post office likely will be closed. Two other entries were titled Starbutz and King Too. You get a judging sheet and walk around town to see them all. There is also an open house at Elk Falls Pottery, a craft fair and a quilt display. See more of last year’s entries at: elkfallsouthousetour.com/?cat=4.

OUTHOUSE DISPLAY, Elk Falls

The lifetime collection of Maryland's outhouse expert, Homer Allison, was donated to the Friends of Elk Falls in 2009 and is currently housed in the restored one-room schoolhouse. It’s open at the Outhouse Festival or contact the Elk Falls Pottery Shop.

CANTON LIBRARY, 203 N. Main, Canton

The Carnegie Library erected in Canton in 1921 was the last one built in Kansas. The basement bathrooms seemed to be positioned as if on a throne. You must take three steps up to uh, sit down. Open Tuesday and Thursday 1-5 p.m. and Wednesday 4-6 p.m.

ELEANOR, Iola Cemetery

When her husband Franklin Roosevelt was president, Eleanor wanted to help the sanitation issues in rural areas. She came up with a design for a better outhouse using cement for the inside bench. A WPA project, these outhouses were referred to as "Eleanors!” One place to see an "Eleanor” is in the Iola Cemetery west of town on U.S. 54.

FLUSH (Pottawatomie County) PICNIC

Every year since the 1930s there has been an annual picnic in late July in Flush. Flush is a dot on the map in Pottawatomie County recognizable because of the church. Hundreds attend this famous fried chicken picnic.



NEWSLETTER #94, June 2012

WANT TO LEARN TO CUSP?

There are many opportunities to do so in Kansas!

In Kansas Explorer Club vernacular, "cusping” means being able to detect the change from one physio-graphic region to another.It’s most typically the lay of the land, the type or color of soil, the vegetation, and grasses or number of trees that clue you in to the change.


If you put your Cusping Antennae on high alert you’ll start to notice that differences have occurred as you’re traveling down the road.


Below you’ll find a description of each of the 11 physio-graphic regions, a place to notice the cusp, and an attraction that is a good example of the region.


P.S.If you have a 2003-2004 Kansas Department Transportation map (or older) all the regions will be color coded and it’s easy to match your cusping skills with actual changes.(We’d send this older map if you’d help with mailing expenses).


HIGH PLAINS REGION

Located in the northwest and southwest part of the state, farmland slopes run gently downward from the west.Common vegetation in this short-grass region is yucca, sagebrush and Prickly pear cactus.


CUSP LOCATION: On K-96 between Ness City and Dighton going west, you’ll notice the change from the Smoky Hills to the High Plains.It’s the roll of the land that changes.


ATTRACTION: An historic point of interest that clearly shows the characteristics of the High Plains is Wagon Bed Spring, once an oasis on the Santa Fe Trail.From Ulysses, go 8 miles south on K-25.Where the road curves, continue straight 3 1/2 miles on Wagon Bed Spring Road, follow signs to the west, and cross a cattle guard.


GLACIATED REGION

Bordered by the Kansas and Blue rivers, you’ll find rounded hills and broad valleys with glacial deposits of quartzite.


CUSP LOCATION:Take I-70 exit 328 to Wamego and before you get to town, you’ll feel like you’ve left the Flint Hills and come into the Glaciated Region.Due to the Kansas River, Wamego feels different than a Flint Hills town.



ATTRACTION:The new best place in the region to learn about the glaciers that brought the soil and shape to this region can be found at the Ice Age Monument located at the round square in Blue Rapids.


Nine more physiographic regions are described in the print newsletter!

EXPLORER TRACKINGS!
In each print newsletter we share recommendations from Explorers who have been out and around the state. These are just a few.

KE’s #3783 James and Joyce Jordan enjoyed anIris Tour at Toad Hollow Gardens at Emporia.They reported that the iris were absolutely gorgeous, as were the Peonies and Hosta.


KE #2703 Cheryl Unruh and husband Dave visited the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in

Atchison and got a better idea of who Amelia was and where she came from. (Cheryl followed

up by reading Amelia Lost: the Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, by Candace

Fleming.) Cheryl also enjoyed a Paolucci's Guiseppe burger (meatball patty on French bread

with marinara sauce) from Paolocci’s, one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine finalists.


KE #2119 Nolan Sump and wife Monica stopped at the Main Street Market in Bucklin and found it "lovingly decorated” with antique kitchen décor to go along with the hardwood floor.They also bought cobalt blue glass bakeware at Charlie’s Hardware.


KE #5691 Steve Woolf has this to say about El Ranchito in Ulysses:It is a family-owned multi-generational restaurant with made-from-scratch food. Just the refried beans and chips would be a great meal. Throw in their green chili and... life is good.


KE’s #1033 Bill and Susan Bunyan made it to Mo’s Place in Beaver. They call it a true Mom and Pop place that is neat, clean with super micro-brewed wheat beer.They even brought home a growler!


KE #8 Von Rothenberger would like another dip of the Maple Nut Ice cream from the Creamery in Harper.



NEWSLETTER #93, April 2012

Featuring the rural culture elements of history, people...

VISIT HALLS OF FAME!

For those who are looking for a quest, here’s a ready made one for you, the Halls of Fame in the state where there is something to see! Usually, these displays are part of a bigger display or museum about the subject. Not only would one learn a lot about people, but it’s so interesting to see how each Hall of Fame is displayed. There are many college athletic halls of fame not listed here.

BARBED WIRE HALL OF FAME
120 W. 1st, LaCrosse.
Starting May 1, open Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sun. 1-4:30 p.m.785.222.2808.
Learn about the people associated with barbed wire!

INTERNATIONAL OFFICE HALL OF FAME
Eisenhower Hall, Fort Leavenworth785.684.1724. Open Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
You may need your driver’s license and proof of insurance at the fort entrance and they may check your vehicle.You’ll be surprised how many names you know in this hall of fame.

KANSAS AVIATION HALL OF FAME within Kansas Aviation Museum,
3350 S. George Washington Blvd., Wichita
Open Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 12-5 p.m.316.683.9242.Admission.
Kansans who have made contributions to aviation of statewide or national significance are honored.

KANSAS COWBOY HALL OF FAME
within Boot Hill Museum, 5th and Front, Dodge City
Open Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 1-5 p.m.Admission.Boothill.org/cowboy-hof
Since 2002, inductees are recognized in five categories: Rancher/Cattleman, Cowboy Entertainer, Cowboy Historian, Working cowboy, and Rodeo Cowboy.

KANSAS NATIONAL GUARD HALL OF FAME
located within the Museum of the Kansas National Guard, 6700 S.W. Topeka Blvd. (main entrance to Forbes Field), Topeka.Open Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.785.8862.1020.Kansasguardmuseum.org
Those who have made a significant contribution to the National Guard achievements, tradition, or history are honored.

KANSAS OIL HALL OF FAME
within the Butler County Historical Society Museum and Kansas Oil Museum, 383 East Central Ave., El Dorado. Open Tues.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. 12-5 p.m. Admission.Kansasoilmuseum.org.
Meet titans of the oil industry.Many names will sound familiar.

KANSAS SPORTS HALL OF FAME
within the Wichita Boathouse, 515 S. Wichita, Wichita.
Open Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.316.262.2038.Kshof.org
Plaques are located in the boathouse and displays for the Kansas Sports Museum are in the Chisholm Trail Center, 601 SE 36th, Newton.

KANSAS TEACHERS HALL OF FAME
603 Fifth Ave., Dodge City.Open after Memorial Day.620.225.7311.visitdodgecity.org/index.asp?NID=86
The Kansas Teachers' Hall of Fame is the first one of its kind in the United States.

NATIONAL AGRICULTURE HALL OF FAME
630 Hall of Fame Drive, Bonner Springs.Starting mid-April, open Wed.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun. 1-4 p.m. Admission.913.721.1075.Aghalloffame.com.
The Hall of Fame is a "who’s who in farming” and features photographs and biographies of agricultural greats.

NATIONAL TEACHERS HALL OF FAME
1320 C of E Dr., Emporia State campus in Visser Hall, room 115. 620.341.5660.nthf.org.
The mission of The National Teachers Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor exceptional career teachers.

WICHITA SPORTS HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM
4700 E. Central, Wichita.Open Wed.-Fri. 1-5 p.m.; Sat. 12-5 p.m.316.264.5222.wichitahof.com.
Within this space find:
¨Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame
¨Biddy Basketball Hall of Fame
¨NBC Baseball Hall of Fame
¨Wichita Bowling Hall of Fame


Featuring the rural culture elements of art, architecture,geography, history, people

PLACES EVERY KANSAN SHOULD VISIT

If you had to make a list of eight places for every Kansan to visit in order to feel truly Kansan, where would you send people? Here is my current list:

CONSTITUTION HALL, 319 Elmore, Lecompton
Wednesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m.
This is the place to start your review of Territorial Kansas. The displays and storyboards interpret that time period in spell-binding fashion. You’ll be in the building where that first constitution was written that, if accepted by Congress, would have made Kansas a slave state. It’s now a state historic site.

HOME ON THE RANGE CABIN, Smith County, 7032 90 Road is 8 miles north of Athol on K-8, then 1 mile west on private drive. Daylight hours.
Visit the cabin where Brewster Higley wrote the words to the song in 1873 that became our state song. The cabin is being restored. It rests on private property but you can visit any time. The words to the song are on the side of the cabin. You’ve got to stand there and sing it! You’ll know why he wrote the words he did when you see the area.

KANSAS STATE CAPITOL, 300 SW 10th, Topeka
Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Guided tours are available through the visitor center or you can walk around in the public areas.

Impressive features abound in the state capitol including John Steuart Curry and Lumen Winter murals, the ceiling of European renaissance design in the senate chamber and historical references found throughout this building that took 37 years to build.

BUFFALO: Maxwell Game Preserve, Canton
2577 Pueblo Rd. 6 miles north of Canton on K-86 (27th Avenue), then 1 1/4 miles west on Pueblo. Call 620.628.4455 to set up a tour.
This setting in the mid-grass prairie is an awe-inspiring place to get a tram ride that takes you close to our state animal.

THE COTTONWOOD TREE
The eastern Cottonwood became our state tree in 1937. In the winter, you get to see the bare bones of the strong and sheltering tree. One of the best places to get a fill of the trees, in any season, is the Kingman County State Lake. Go 8 miles west of Kingman (4)on U.S. 54 and take a north turn into the lake. A sandy road leads to a lane of towering cottonwoods.

OVERLAND TRAILS
Even before we became an agricultural state, our prairie was the background for overland trails that took man and beast through and around our state. One place to learn about just one of those trails is the Santa Fe Trail Center 2 miles west of Larned (5)on K-156. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

BOOT HILL MUSEUM, 500 Front St., Dodge City
Open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m.
Nothing in Kansas represents the Old West like Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City (6). The place dates back to the 1920s as a tourist attraction, so that’s pretty neat too.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, 200 SE 4th, Abilene
Daily 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Eisenhower.archives.gov
If you have a president from your state, visiting his boyhood home is a proper thing to do. Dwight Eisenhower was the only president to have also been a 5-star general. A museum about his rewarding life and boyhood home are open for tours.
That’s the list. Just use it as ideas and put your own list together and then go out this year and find your inner Kansan!

MAKE THESE SISTERS YOUR QUEST!
KE #5643 Sarah Willard has a quest to visit all 25 miniature Statue of Liberty replicas in Kansas!
A Kansas City man and Boy Scout leader, Jack P. Whitaker, came up with the idea to create "Little Sisters of Liberty.” Scout troops raised $300 to have a Statue of Liberty replica in their area. A foundry in Chicago made each one. The first one went up in 1949. By 1951, 200 had been produced.

COFFEYVILLE: At the high school.
COLBY: Franklin & E. 8th at Fike Park.
EL DORADO: 205 W. Central at the courthouse.
GARDEN CITY: 311 N. 9th at the courthouse.
GLEN ELDER: Center of downtown square.
HARLAN: From K-9 and U.S. 281 junction, continue 1 mile south on U.S. 281 to a
roadside park.
HAYS: 1205 Main, public library.
HILLSBORO: Memorial Park on Birch Street.
INDEPENDENCE: Penn & Locust in front of Memorial Hall.
KINGMAN: Main & U.S. 54 at the Veteran’s Memorial.
LaCROSSE: South Main at city park.
LARNED: 815 Broadway, Boy Scout Museum.
LEAVENWORTH: City Hall grounds, northeast corner of 5th and Shawnee.
LIBERAL: 519 N. Kansas.
MEDICINE LODGE: 320 N. Walnut, grade school.
OVERLAND PARK: 7401 Johnson Dr., Shawnee Mission North High School.
PARSONS: 28th & Main, Parsons Middle School.
PRATT: E. First & Stout at Avenue of Flags park.
RUSSELL: 4th & Lincoln in Lincoln Park.
SALINA: 320 E. Ash in Oakdale Park.
ST. JOHN: 4th & Broadway in City Park Square.
TOPEKA: 10th & Jackson on State Capitol grounds.
TROY: Main Street at the courthouse.
WASHINGTON: C and 3rd at the courthouse.
WICHITA: 2100 E. Douglas, Roosevelt Middle School.


NEWSLETTER #91, September 2011

Featuring the rural culture element of commerce…

PUT YOUR COOLER IN THE CAR AND GO!

Meat lockers are, indeed, an explorer attraction. Because of regulations it’s harder to find meat lockers with a retail sale area, places that used to be found in almost every town. Here is a sampling of excellent meat lockers in the state that have a retail area:

BURDICK MEAT LOCKER, Downtown Burdick, Morris County
Look for the big Pepsi sign above the Rainbow Bread door. Find everything from steaks to summer sausage. Open Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-12 & 1-5 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

DIECK’S CLAY CENTER LOCKER, 212 6th, Clay Center
Find a great variety: ground ham, brats, country-style ribs, pork tenderloin, filet, beef oxtail, buffalo, and pork jerky. Open Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-12 p.m. 785.632.5550.

GLASCO LOCKER, 106 N. Railroad Ave., Glasco
Kansas Explorer #76 Mike Charles uses the Glasco Locker for his catering business so you know its good! Owner Kelly Cool says they do everything but one specialty is their bacon pork burger patties. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-12 p.m. 785.568.2364.

YODER MEATS, 509 E. Switzer Road, Yoder
800.952.6328 yodermeatks.com
Find custom cut meats, smoked meats and sausages, and exotic meats. The bacon bits are highly recommended. Open Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

KREHBIEL’S MEAT MARKET, 2212 E. Kansas Ave., McPherson
620.241.6565 healthymeats.net
This is high end natural sausage, bacon, beef, pork chops, ham, elk, buffalo, ostrich, and marinated chicken. Open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

DUIS MEATS, 1991 E. 6th, Concordia
Get award-winning ham and Swedish potato sausagehere. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 785.243.7850.

STEVE’S MEAT MARKET, 23685 Lexington, DeSoto
Beef, bison, lamb, goat, pork, duck, turkey, chicken�" get it at Steve’s! Stevesfreshmeats.com. 913.583.1390.

SANTA FE TRAIL MEATS, 206 W. 1st, Overbrook
Find great cuts of beef and pork at this family-owned facility. sftmeats.com; 785.665.7713.

SOUTH FORK MEATS, S. Hwy. 283, Ness City
KE #4055 Yvette Schlegel says the jerky and pepper sticks are great! Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 785.798.3464.

TIMBER CREEK MEATS, 925 Main, Parsons
A variety of sausages and smoked meats are made in-house, plus find a variety ofbeef, pork, and chicken products. Timbercreekmeats.com; 620.421.2332.

Some other towns with recommended meat locker retail areas are Edna, Leoti, Grinnell, Kensington, Preston, Ellinwood, Yates Center, Iola, Moran, Goddard, Kinsley, Oakley, Ellsworth, Herington, Spring Hill, and Alta Vista.


Featuring the rural culture elements of architecture, art...

A SPLASH OF COLOR: Find color at unexpected places!

NESS COUNTY COURTHOUSE, 202 W. Sycamore (K-96), Ness City. The color is found in the state seal on the roundel at the top of the front side.

TELEPHONE BUILDING, 10th and Main, Goodland. The front of this two-story, buff-brick structure is lavishly decorated with red, yellow, and blue terra cotta tiles in Indian motifs.

LANDMARK CENTER, 303 N. Kansas, Liberal. The terra cotta detail is beautiful on this art deco structure built as the Warren Hotel in 1930.

SALINA is the Terra Cotta capital of Kansas so you’ll see lots of color on many downtown buildings.




NEWSLETTER #90, July 2011

This newsletter featured rural culture elements in western Kansas. Here are just samples from each category.

ARCHITECTURE


Walk across an abandoned 1920 auto and pedestrian bridge at W. 11th and Dorrance in Ellis.Then, visit the Walter Chrysler Home to see one of Chrysler’s 1924 cars.

Three miles west of Stocktonon U.S. 24, you can see remains of a limestone dugout on the north side of the road.Keep on alert and you’ll also see occasionalevidence of Old Highway 24 and its bridges.


ART


The family of Civil War commander General George Meade (for whom the county and town were named) donated the stained-glass window at the back of the 1914 St. Augustine Episcopal Church, 201 W. Kansas, in Meade.A plaque next to the window documents the story.Call 620.873.8795 to have someone open the church.

Beautiful green, blue and brown floral wall-tile designs in the 1918 Sheridan County Courthouse on 9th Street in Hoxie and the 1920 Smith County Courthouse at Grant and Court in Smith Center are similar. Thomas Williamson was the architect for both structures. Side note: Sheridan County has the only courthouse without the county name engraved on the courthouse exterior.

COMMERCE

Brewster has a population of 250 and a thriving grocery store at 325 Kansas. A small town thriving grocery is an indicator of a cohesive community. Way to go, Brewster! You can shop, too, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m.-noon.

Using various spices and smoky flavors, Pat’s Beef Jerky strives to be the best. Buy some where it’s made on U.S. 183 in Liebenthal. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Patsbeefjerky.com.

CUISINE

Trish’s Bar & Grill, 744 Main, in Hoxie is famous for its steaks. The Prime Rib special is on Friday and Saturday evenings. Open Tuesday-Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday-Monday 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Southwind Bar & Grill is in a plain metal building but inside you’ll find tin wainscoting and burlap-sack decor. Great ambience for eating steaks! Located at 108 Railroad in Selden, it’s open Tuesday-Saturday 5-9 p.m.

CUSTOMS

These unusual rock benches built in the 1930s doubled as advertisements. Find them at Mill and Section Line in Plainville.

A triple-decker Victorian fountain is the focal point of the park square in St. John.

GEOGRAPHY

Go 1¼ miles west of Penokee on U.S. 24, then 2¼ miles north to see a green rock quarry on the east side of the road. It’s wild to see this green rock!

Antelope Lake (2 miles west on U.S. 24 from the Morland intersection, then ¼ mile north), was built as a WPA project in the 1930s. All stone outhouses and shelters were built as part of the National Youth Administration programs and constructed from the green rock unique to the county.

HISTORY

Three miles north of Ashland on N. Dodge off U.S. 160 find a large sandstone marker on the east side of the road that designates the site of the Monte Casino monastery established by three Benedictine Brothers who came to Clark County in 1876.

Wagon Bed Spring in Grant Countywas an oasis on the Santa Fe Trail route but also one of the most dangerous stops. No water can be seen now. Inside the turnstile, a historical marker and the remains of a wagon bed tell the interesting story of this vital watering spot. From Ulysses, go 8 miles south on K-25. Where the road curves, continue straight 3½ miles on Wagon Bed Spring Road.

PEOPLE

Harold Krier was one of America’s premier precision aerobatic fliers during the 1950s and 1960s. See a colorful display at the Pioneer-Krier Museum, 430 W. 4th, in Ashland including one of his stunt planes. Krier died in a parachute accident in 1971 and is buried nearby. The museum is open Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The story goes that a hobo asked Luticia Fulton the name of the area, and when he saw her garden he said, "You ought to call it Garden City.” See a plaque to Luticia west of the train depot at Main and Depot.


NEWSLETTER #89, April 2011

Featuring the rural culture element of geography...
THE FOUR CORNERS OF KANSAS
NORTHEAST CORNER
At the top of a bluff is a cast iron obelisk that bears the names of Nebraska and Kansas. A little footbridge leads to a path that takes you 150 feet upward to the obelisk.

From White Cloud (8), travel north on K-7. Just before the "Welcome to Nebraska” sign you’ll see a historical marker that denotes the Sixth Principal Meridian survey point. There is a place to park. Fifty yards past the sign is the footbridge foot bridge.

NORTHWEST CORNER, Three Corners
The junction of Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado is in a cattle pasture and is marked by cattle panels surrounding a simple bronze benchmark and plaque. About 620 feet to the south is a limestone marker placed there in 1869 by surveyor Oliver Caffee. You are on private property, so please be respectful; this gracious landowner has allowed public access to this historic landmark.

Just west of St. Francis (9) on K-27, go about 13 miles north of U.S. 36 to the Devil’s Gap marker, then 4 miles west, and 7 miles northwest. Cross a cattle guard and continue almost 3 miles west. Or, come south out of

Nebraska to K-27 and look for the Devil’s Gap marker (dry weather road only).

SOUTHEAST CORNER, Tri-state marker
A stone monument was built in 1938 by the Youth Work Administration. Vandals have stripped the tri-state sign recognizing Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma but the marker remains.

The tri-state marker is 6 miles east of Baxter Springs (10) on U.S. 166/400, then 1¼ miles south on 118th. Take the Downstream Casino entrance and take the first left.

SOUTHWEST CORNER, Eight Mile Corner
You’ll see an old 1903 windmill whose weather vane bears the names Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. It’s around here that the three states meet, but the exact location has changed over the years. In 1990 a brass marker was placed in the middle of the road 50 feet southwest of the old windmill monument. In the late spring yucca plants bordering the roadway are in bloom.

From U.S. 56 near Elkhart (2), turn north on K-27, cross the railroad tracks, and take Road A (unpaved; the first road west) for 7½ miles.

WE'VE GOT THE CORNER ON THINGS TO SEE AND DO

PRESIDENT CORNERSTONE, A and Walnut, Hutchinson
The cornerstone on the northeast corner of Memorial Hall states that it was laid by President William Howard Taft on September 26, 1911.

POST OFFICE MURAL, 121 W. Steadman, Anthony
Turning a Corner is the title of this 1939 Section artwork by Joe Jones.

CORNER PHARMACY, 5th and Delaware, Leavenworth
Monday-Saturday 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; 913.682.1602

No other soda fountain in the state can match this one for size. The long row of swivel, bentwood stools guard the mahogany bar with faux marble countertop. Take a seat, order a malt, shake, Green River, or a grill or lunch counter favorite, and enjoy the store’s Victorian restoration�"complete from head to toe.

BROWN’S CORNER CAFE AND DAIRY BAR,U.S. 283 and K-156, Jetmore
Daily 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (closed Wednesday). 620.357.8539.

The Brown Derby is the popular ice cream treat at Brown’s Corner. See what Brown can do for you!

COUNTRY CORNER, 110 S. Main, Lenora
Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 785.567.4482.

You’ll find a tidy grocery and deli inside this old gas station.

COUNTRY CORNER BED AND BREAKFAST, S. K-25, Atwood
785.626.9516

Gracious hosts Charles and Connie Peckham offer two rooms with a shared bath in theirspacious brick home.

4 CORNER RESTAURANT, K-4 and U.S. 183, LaCrosse (15)
Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30-8 p.m. (closed Tuesday). 785.222.3516.

It serves up great food all day long, but the chicken-fried steak made the Explorer way is the most popular item! It’s all fresh meat, hand-breaded, and grill fried.

BONNIE’S CORNER CAFE, U.S. 54, Gas
Daily 6 a.m.-2 p m. 620.365.6717

Since 1981 Bonnie has been putting out hot daily specials, homemade bread, and cinnamon rolls, and keeping her customers happy.


Featuring the rural culture element of geography...
CENTER YOURSELF WITH NATURE!
It certainly adds to the explorer experience to be more knowledgeable about the wildlife, birds, and grasses of Kansas. One way to learn is to visit one of the nature centers around the state. Find nature trails at each. Eight nature centers are featured in the sampling.

Featuring the rural culture element of geography...

SPOTLIGHT ON THE BUR OAK

Six special bur oaks in the state are featured in this article.


RURAL KANSAS: Come & Get It!
www.getruralkansas.org

This project of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, in conjunction with tourism regions and the state tourism office, revolves around a web site, getruralkansas.org.Community representatives take a class and learn how to assess their town and populate their page on this site.

Every thing in a town is assigned to one of the eight rural culture element categories.You can find some really interesting things to see and do!Here are examples.Go to the web site to find more to see in that town. Here are two samples.


NESS CITY: Graffiti Shed
It has been a tradition for over 55 years to paint on the Goodman Shed in Ness County 3½ miles east of Ness City on U.S. 96. Occasions to paint include high school sporting events/teams and graduation,Old Settlers Reunion, a homecoming of a returning solider,the birth of a child, a marriage, or to remember a death of a loved one.

All of the layers of paint that have been applied over the years are probably the only thing keeping the shed upright.

HOISINGTON: Sun dial
The Hoisington City Building at 109 E. 1st was originally built in 1900 but in 1939 an addition was added as part of the Worker Projects Administration (WPA). The WPAwas the largest New Deal agency created under President Roosevelt in 1935 employing millions to carry out public works projects including the construction of public buildings.

At the top of theHoisington City Buildingcolumnis a sun dial that keeps perfect time! The sun dial and city building were commemorated in 1939 as a WPA project.


NEWSLETTER #88, January 2011 issue

How will you celebrate the sesquicentennial?

EIGHT PLACES TO GO THAT WILL MAKE YOU KANSAS PROUD

The more people get out and see the state and interact with the people, the more pride they’ll have and the more they’ll love the state. Some places in particular exude a deep connection.

Consider this as a list to give you some ideas �" and then choose your own places to visit.

HOME ON THE RANGE CABIN

7032 90 Road.8 miles north of Athol(Smith County) on K-8,

then 1 mile west on a private drive.

In 1873, Brewster Higley wrote the words to what would be adopted in 1947 as our state song. The words are etched in stone on one side of the cabin.

What could be more perfect than standing here and singing our state song? With the view of the Beaver Creek, it will be perfectly clear why Dr. Higley wrote the words he did.


KANSAS STATE CAPITOL

300 SW 10th, Topeka. Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Every Kansan should tour our state capitol to admire the beauty of the European design, the quality of the materials used in those early days, and the beauty of the artwork. Construction began in 1866 and concluded 39 years later.Even when the state only had 27,000 residents, and many lived in sod houses, our leaders chose to make this a magnificent structure. Make sure to look into the House and Senate chambers when you visit and don’t miss the John Steuart Curry and Lumen Winters murals. For a guided tour, stop at the visitor center or call 785.296.3966

KANSAS MUSEUM of HISTORY

6425 SW 6th, Topeka

Tues.-Sat.9 a.m.-5 p.m.;Sunday 1-5 p.m.

This is the best place to get an overview of our state’s colorful story, including its early people, trails, settlements, Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War, trains and towns, the early 20th century, and the recent past.Plus, in 2011 they have a special exhibit called, "150 Things I Love About Kansas.”


MOUNT SUNFLOWER, Wallace County
3 miles west of Weskan in Wallace Co. on U.S. 40, then 11 miles north, and 1 west. Cross a cattle guard and continue north on a pasture driveway.

Doesn’t every Kansan need to climb to the highest point in the state? It’s like a rite of passage. Right there in Ed Harold’s pasture is where the U.S. Geological Survey, in 1961, found Kansas’s summit, 4,039 feet above sea level.

What makes the place so special is how the Harold family has commemorated the site. In the wide open expanse of a High Plains cattle pasture you’ll find a sunflower sculpture made from railroad spikes welded together. When you make it to the top kiss the ground and make sure to sign the guest book.


THE SANTA FE TRAIL

In 1821, the Santa Fe Trail became America’s first great international commercial highway, and for nearly sixty years thereafter was one of the nation’s great routes of adventure and western expansion.

Climb on top of the observation tower and it’ll be easy to imagine spotting a train of covered wagons traveling the Santa Fe Trail (now U.S. 56) some 160 years ago. A century ago this Dakota Sandstone landmark, now a state historic site, stood much taller but in the 1870s settlers quarried much of the rock for buildings.

Look on the face of the rock to find the memorial plaque to William Becknell, "father” of the Santa Fe Trail. It’s not easy to find but that’s part of the adventure.

Pawnee Rock State Historic Site is located ½ mile north of U.S. 56 on Centre at Pawnee Rock.


YOU’VE GOT TO SEE SOME BUFFALO

Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, near Canton

Call 620.628.4455 to arrange tram tours

Call anytime of year for a ride into the mid-grass prairie and to see the buffalo. Owen and Della will take you right into the heard and answer any questions you might have about out state animal.

Sandsage Bison Range, Garden City

Call 620.276.9400 for a tour into the oldest publicly owned bison herd in Kansas and to learn about a sandsage prairie eco-system.


WIDE OPEN SPACES!
Big Basin Prairie Preserve

11 miles west of Ashland, then 2¾ miles north on U.S. 283

from the U.S. 160 and U.S. 283 junction

This is just a big ol’ sinkhole �" and one of the very best places in Kansas to just sit and be and enjoy space. There are a variety of different places to view this prairie expanse. Just follow the driveways and be mindful of where the bison herd grazing. The preserve is also home to the legendary St. Jacob’s Well, a deep-funnel-shaped spring said never to have gone dry. Park and take some rickety steps down to the well.

Big Basin is on the cusp of the Red Hills and the High Plains. You’ll find lots of peace here.

VISIT A RURAL TOWN:Caldwell!

On anyone’s list there should be a plan to visit at least one quintessential rural community. Caldwell is a good one to visit. It’s most pleasant to stroll downtown and read the 19 historical markers that tell about this historic cowtown. Two miles south of town on U.S. 81 iron figures act as a tribute to the cattle drive days. Visit the city cemetery and look for Caldwell’s version of Boot Hill Cemetery (from K-49 at KanOkla, go 1 mile west on G Street. Stay on the blacktop and look for cemetery directional sign). Call ahead so you can see cowtown exhibits in the local opera house (620.845.6666).


NEWSLETTER #87, October 2010 issue

THE FAMOUS 50 CENT BET

Frank Carlson, Concordia (31), served as state representative, the 30th Kansas governor, and U.S. Senator.

He also gets credit for talking Dwight D. Eisenhower into running for President. Carlson traveled to Europe to urge Eisenhower into the presidential race. It was there he entered into the famous 50 cent wager with Eisenhower. Eisenhower won the nomination, losing his bet with Carlson.

Eisenhower’s 50 cent check paying off his loss can be seen at the Frank Carlson Library in Concordia. It’s also fun to see Carlson’s elephant collection here �" a reminder of his Republican Party affiliation.

The library, 7th and Broadway, is open Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 9 a.m-5 p.m.


CATCHING DETAILS

The fun of exploring is in noticing the details. Curiosity leads to questions which can lead to great interactions with the locals. Find a question and ask someone in places like the post office, library, cafe, or the street.

Here are just two of the many examples you'd find in the newsletter.

ROW OF BROTHERS: At the St. Boniface Cemetery near Scipio(2) in Anderson County, you’ll find a row of low white gravestones with names of many of the Carmelite Brothers that served there. The church is located 6 miles north of Garnett on U.S. 59, then 1.5 miles east. Head for the steeple, then follow the drive behind the church to the cemetery.

YMCA: See the sign that says Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) over the entrance of the red brick building at 210 N. Commercial in Mankato(3). Now a thrift store, original YMCA buildings are hard to find.


WORDS OF WIT & WISDOM

Here are two examples of many more you'd see in the newsletter!

QUILT TALK: A sign in the window at Chris’s Corner and Brenda’s Machine Quilting, 3593 N. U.S. 59, Ottawa(9), and on a wall inside reads, "quilting spoken here.” If you’d like, add your two-cents worth to the graffiti wall. Open Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. 785.242.1922.

FINE FOR SPITTING: Inside the 1934 Washington County Courthouse in Washington (25), look for the sign that reads "Notice: $5 fine for spitting on, or for throwing cigarette and cigar stubs or matches on the floor.”



NEWSLETTER #86, June 2010 issue

AROUND THE STATE WITH THE ELEMENTS!

If you don’t have a brochure for a particular town or area, just look for the 8 rural culture elements in the town. Following is a sampling of each element from around the state.

~ ARCHITECTURE ~

Randolph Bridge, K-16, Riley County

The Randolph bridge, between Randolph and Olsburg, was completed in 1960 and stretches one mile, making it the longest bridge in the state!

~ ART ~

Vi Fick’s Fossil Art,

Fick Fossil & History Museum, Oakley

During the 1960s-1970s Earnest and Vi Fick found thousands of fossils and shark teeth in Logan County. Vi began using fossils, fossil pieces, oyster shells, fish vertebrae, and snails to create her own art form, an art so unique it was written up in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Fabulous fossil art! Open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m. 785.672.4839.

~ COMMERCE ~

Denton Post Office (Denton, population 185)

Buy stamps at a great old-fashioned post office, located in Doniphan County. Make your purchase over the brass plate covering the counter. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m.

~ CUISINE ~

Boondocks Bar & Grill, 306 Main, McCracken

Classic comfort food and upscale bar food. Eric Davis served as a chef in Omaha and North Carolina for 13 years before moving home to McCracken to open a restaurant with his wife Melisa. Grill is open Wednesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 785.394.2264.

~ CUSTOMS ~

Screen doors, Main and Hersey, Beloit

It’s a classic Explorer experience to walk into the Mitchell County Courthouse through the screen door entrances. The 1902 John Holland-designed courthouse is known as the Queen Mary of Kansas courthouses because of its Romanesque Revival design.

~ GEOGRAPHY ~

Camp Horizon, near Arkansas City

Follow Madison (County Road 12) east of Arkansas City 3 1/2 miles. At the fork, turn right onto 296th (County Road 6) for 2 1/2 miles. Turn right at the Horizon United Methodist Center sign, then one mile south.

To reach Inspiration Point, walk south between the cabins about 100 yards. You’ll come to a cross at the overlook. From the deck you have a fabulous view of the valley and the Arkansas River as it snakes from Arkansas City. Hike the one-mile trail to the river.


~ HISTORY ~

Duncan’s Crossing, Hodgeman/Ness county line

Duncan’s Crossing was a significant point on the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Road. John O’Loughlin established a toll bridge here in 1867, and in 1872 George Duncan bought the land and built a trading post on the site. Eventually the bridge washed out, and Duncan let people ford the Pawnee River at no charge, thus the name. You’ll find a substantial marker seven miles north and three miles east of Hanston near the Hodgeman/Ness county line. It’s an adventure to find the sign�"and a thrill to feel the history here.

~ PEOPLE ~

Frank Bellamy, Pledge of Allegiance, Cherryvale

There is some confusion about whether Cherryvale’s Frank E. Bellamy wrote the "Pledge of Allegiance,” but it’s certain he was involved in bringing it to national attention in 1892. One theory holds that at the age of 10, Frank entered the "Pledge of Allegiance” in a contest sponsored by Youth’s Companion. He won, but Francis Bellamy, an adult staff member at the Companion, claimed credit. Cherryvale’s Bellamy, a Spanish-American War veteran, died in 1915 and is buried in Cherryvale’s Fairview Cemetery. A plaque about Bellamy is near the veterans memorial in Logan Park.


Featuring the rural culture element of history...

WHAT ABOUT THOSE STREET SIGNS?

AZTEC INFLUENCE

Explorers notice all sorts of clues that tell the story of a town. In Montezuma, (29) a town in Gray County, the street signs are directly related to the city history.

The town founder called the site Montezuma after the emperor of the Aztecs, and he named the streets for historical figures associated with the conquest. Some street names are Cortez, Mesita, Maldoanodo, Mexitli, and Escalanta.

ARGENTINE STEPS ARE A STREET!

At 13th and Ruby in Kansas City, Kansas, a street sign is found at the base of 169 concrete steps. The steps actually are a street (nearly a block long and comprising three or four tiers). When it was built it was the only access to many of the homes along either side, and it is the only street in Kansas made from a series of concrete steps! A sign wisely discourages climbing.


NEWSLETTER #85, April 2010 issue
Featuring the rural culture elements of geography, customs...

PARK YOURSELF AWHILE

Scenic, historic, and recreational value can be found in many of our parks!

PETER PAN PARK, W. Randolph and Neosho, Emopria

William Allen White and his wife, Sallie, donated this land to the city in memory of their daughter, Mary, who died at the age of 16 in a riding accident. They named it Peter Pan Park because Mary, like Peter Pan, never wanted to grow up. At the south edge of the lake is a bust of White along with his moving editorial to his daughter. A statue of Peter Pan can be found at S. State and Kansas near the wading pool.

RIVERSIDE PARK, Oswego. East on Union street from U.S. 160

In the park you’ll find an overlook atop a bluff and next to a historical marker. A great view of the expansive Neosho River Valley can be seen from here. Narrow roads lead vehicles through the wooded park. Look for the embankment steps and an old-time "tourist park” sign etched on the stone entrance.

JOHN BROWN PARK, 10th & Main, Osawatomie

The Battle of Osawatomie was fought on this site on August 30, 1856, when abolitionist John Brown and his men tried to defend Osawatomie against proslavery Border Ruffians. The antislavery forces were unsuccessful and the town was burned. A life-sized statue of John Brown, sculpted by George FiteWaters, stands near the entrance of the park, which was dedicated in 1910 by former president Theodore Roosevelt and later designated a national historic site. The Pledge of Allegiance is etched in stone below the flagpole, and the Gettysburg Address appears on a plaque on the pergola outside wall. A limestone pergola was built over the Adair Cabin.

CENTRAL PARK, 6th and Main, Marion

The centerpiece of this charming, shaded, and historic park is the 1884 fountain and a wooded walking path along Luta Creek. In the park’s southeast corner you’ll find an 1860 historic spring, still running. Now beautifully landscaped, the spring once was a watering site for passing pioneers. Today the park’s old-fashioned and well-maintained playground equipment provides good fun for children.


Featuring the rural culture elements of people, history...

AN UNDER APPRECIATED PLACE

First Power Pole, 600 block of E. 15th, Horton

The first electric power pole in Kansas was erected in Horton (20) on November 10, 1937, for the Brown-Atchison Electric Cooperative. It was the first rural electric project to energize Kansas and was financed by a loan form the Rural Electrification Administration (REA).

A NOT-SO-BIG BIG THING

CORONADO’S BRIDLE BIT

Coronado Museum, 567 E. Cedar, Liberal

Coronado and 36 soldiers came through the Liberal area during their search for Quivira, the legendary kingdom of gold. A bit used on one of the expedition’s horses was found near Liberal and is on display at the museum. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m.Sewardcountymuseum.com.


Featuring the rural culture element of customs...

EXPLORER QUEST UPDATES

An explorer quest is choosing to visit a certain type of place in every county, or every city in a region. One of our first questers, Larry Woydziak, bowled in every county that had a bowling alley! Having a quest takes you to locations in Kansas you wouldn’t likely visit otherwise. And, it’s fun! If you’re a Quester, come to the Kansas Explorer Club tent at the Kansas Sampler Festival to get your button!

Here are some recent Quest examples:

KE’s #1918 Diane and Larry Rapp have a quest to photograph the courthouse in every county, and old movie marquees and barns along the way. They have been to 49 counties now.

KE #552 Sharla Krenzel has geocached in every county so her next quest is to visit EVERY quilt shop and winery in the state! What a combination!

KE #1033 Bill Bunyan has completed a second quest �" to photograph every county courthouse. He’s also working on his third which is to eat a steak inevery county. The first quest he completed was to eat a hamburger in every county! Most recently, he has eaten steaks at the Caney Kitchen, the Broiler Barn in Scott City, Poplar Pizza in Howard, and Mr. D’s Bar and Grill in Garnett.

KE #5383 Julie Roller and #5450 Heather Robinson were inspired by something in their own backyard in Pottawatomie County �" the state’s second largest hand-dug well. Their quest? To make a wish in a hand-dug well or fountain in every county! You can follow their quest at www.kswellwishes.com.

Featuring the rural culture elements of customs, architecture, art...

WHILE YOU'RE OUT AND AROUND

Here are some ideas of things to see and do when you're out and around Kansas!

KIRWIN's ALMOST-ROUND TOWN SQUARE: Kirwin, the Goose Capital of Kansas with a population of 218 in Phillips County, was first settled in 1870 and platted to include a square. The lone brick building on the almost-round square was erected in 1916 as a city office and fire department (you can still see the FD above the door). Today it houses the city office and library. The big grassy area in the almost-round square with the picturesque brick building is the centerpiece of the town. Nearby is the 10,000-acre Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge.

WELL-ROUNDED ART in Dodge City:The Carnegie Center for the Arts in Dodge City (701 2nd) is located in a 1907 Carnegie Library that has rounded architectural features and stained-glass windows. See local, regional, and special art exhibits and a display on the history of the building. Open Tues.-Friday noon-5 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 620.225.6388; dodgecityarts.org.

A MURAL THAT GOES AROUND: Find a seven-foot-tall panorama of 1907 Colby that wraps around the interior of the unique Colby Visitor Center (I-70 Colby exit 53). It’s shaped like a corn bin! Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 12-5 p.m. 785.460.0076.

PLAY A ROUND OF GOLF...at Cow Paddy Golf Course in Grinnell5. It's a par-three grass-green course operated as a self-pay operation.

Featuring the rural culture elements of history, people, art...

CEMETERIES ARE ALIVE WITH EXPLORING VALUE!

A whole guidebook could be written featuring cemeteries. Sometime they are interesting because of the notable people buried there, sometime it's the design of the gravestone or the history told.

OUTDOOR PULPIT, Salemsborg. 3 miles south of Smolan on Burma Road. Head for the twin steeples of the 1926 Salemsborg church. Near the cemetery find a sandstone pulpit made by Swedish artist Anton Pearson. It stands at the exact spot of the pulpit for the first sod church.

PRAIRIE LAWN CEMETERY, Peabody. Take East 9th to Prairie Lawn. It's unusual to see a red-brick street out in the country, but you’ll find it on your way to this cemetery. The street was once part of Old Old U.S. 50. This beautiful rural setting is the final resting place for more than 140 Civil war Union veterans.


Featuring the rural culture elements of history, people, art...

ALL IS WALL IN KANSAS

Visit the walls of Kansas! Here is a sampling.

THE WALL, N. 9th and Carolina, Marysville.
The 1934 WPA stone retaining wall is locally known as "the wall." It is several stories high, and stairs lead to a school. You just want to gawk at it!

RETAINING WALL, Elm and West, Hill City.
Plaques indicate that the retaining wall, rock gazebo, fireplace, tables, and benches at the city park are part of a 1937 WPA project and a 1939 National Youth Administration project.

STADIUM WALL, Emporia State Campus, Emporia.
One point of interest on campus is the 1938 football stadium limestone wall built by the WPA.



NEWSLETTER #83, November 2009 issue


SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

MIGHTY LIBERAL OF YOU
In the 1880s accessibility to water for travelers was rare. So when S.S. Rogers homesteaded in the Liberal area and dug a well, he always let visitors use it. After they had watered their livestock and restocked their water supply they would ask Rogers how much they owed. When he told them it was free, they would respond, "That's mighty liberal of you." The area,located a few miles off the southern Santa Fe Trail route, became known as the "Liberal Well." Rogers soon added a dry goods store and in 1886 a post office, and the small community became known as Liberal.

See a historical marker about Rogers and his liberal well at the west end of North Blue Bonnet Park, just east of the middle school at 7th and Western.

FIRST DEMOCRATIC HEADQUARTERS
Continue north from Constitution Hall on Elmore in Lecompton, then curve east on 2nd to the dead end.

A small renovated stone building stands where the first Democratic Headquarters operated from 1854 to 1861. During this time Lecompton was known as the birthplace of the Kansas Democratic Party.

A REPUBLICAN MESSAGE
Attica Cemetery (Harper Co.), U.S. 160 to NW 60 Road, about 1/4 mile west of town.

When Nathaniel Grigsby, a Union veteran, died in 1890 he left a unique epitaph on his headstone for all to read: "Through this inscription," he began, "I wish to enter my dying protest against what is called the Democratic party." To read what else Nathaniel had to say, see his grave. Go straight ahead at the cemetery's main entrance and turn left at the first sand crossroads. His grave is on the right.


EXPLORER TRACKINGS
(a regular feature)

(KE = Kansas Explorer) Explorers love reading about where other explorers have ventured. Please send specific recommendations to marci@explorekansas.org.

 

KE's #2904 Robbie and Chuck Thomas found the Cafe on the Route in Baxter Springs and said it was a delightful place for lunch! They said the turkey sweet potato soup and chicken salad were outstanding and that everyone was so friendly and nice. They also enjoyed a stop at Eisler Bros. Old Riverton Store on historic Route 66.

KE #2553 Beverly Aiken made a stop this summer in Ellis to travel on K-247, the shortest state highway (649 feet) and see the amazing big sunflowers in the middle of the downtown intersections! They also drove by the Kingman County Museum to see the 80-foot high cotton hose drying tower.

Robert & Rosetta Bartels, KE's #220, enjoyed many group tours this summer. Some highlights were a tour of the Fuller Brush Factory in Great Bend, the Enersys plant in Hays, and the wheelchair factory in Ellis. Another highlight was a trip to Concordia. Rosetta gave high marks to tour guides Susie and Tammy, the food at the Huckleberry Tea Room and the Whole Wall Mural.

KE #838 Jill Gustin, Martha, and McKynley had homemade beef and noodles at the Whiting Cafe recently. "Delicious," they said. Dessert included coconut cream, chocolate cream and apple pie. McKynley weeded the flower garden on the side of the building that she had helped plant.

KE #3128 Frank Thompson bought some of Joyce Blaske's Harmony Hills Wild Plum Jelly at the Blue Rapids Mercantile. Frank is nuts for wild plum jelly and says Joyce's is right up there at the top with this mother-in-law's jelly!

KE's #2696 Elaine and Greg Miller are back on the road again. After buying Jim Gray's book, Desperate Seed, in Ellsworth they moved on to Mo's Place in Beaver for a steak sandwich and fish sandwich.

KE's #4415 Milton & Velda Riddiough stopped at Effie's Cafe in Rush Center for a cheeseburger and French Fries. The reported that the servings were generous and that Effie does the cooking. She's 83!

KE #1592 Randy Harmison recommends the house salad with grilled chicken at the Main Street Family Restaurant, 8 E. Main, in the historic Tioga Hotel in Chanute.

KE #705's John and Debbie Divine went to Grimms Garden east of Morrill in July where you can pick your own berries. They gave it high marks! Cut flowers, fruit, herbs and honey are also sold. The #705's and grandkids had a great day eating at the Whiting Cafe as well as Heavy's in Concordia. They also stopped to admire the "moving" tile art at the Pony Express Plaza in Marysville.

KE #1809 Del Ruff enjoyed a trip to northeast Kansas including a stop in Troy at the Home Place Restaurant Bakery, home of very good square pie. During the Kansas Missouri border wars a reference was sited, "No free-stater would eat round pie."

KE #1973 Sue Bitel enjoyed an 11-hour ghost-towning trip. Stops with live bodies included Annie's Variety Store in Mount Hope (can buy fresh farm eggs here) and the soda fountain in Graves Drug in Arkansas City. She had a delicious sandwich at the Latham Bar and Grill.


 

NEWSLETTER #82, August 2009 issue

 

Featuring the rural culture elements of geography, customs...

FLORAL DELIGHTS IN KANSAS

DALE SHIRLEY'S GARDEN, near Vermillion
 
1650 30th Road, Vermillion (Marshall Co.)
With crop land all around, the sea of flowers is an extraordinary site! For example, right now Dale has 7,000 gladiolas planted, 500 snap dragons, dahlias, and cactus. The flowers are on the Shirley's "yard." Call first, 785.382.6357.

 

GRASSLAND GARDENS, near Miltonvale
 
1739 Camp road is 3 miles east of U.S. 81 and U.S. 24 junction, then 1 mile south on 170th, then 3/10 east on Camp Road. 785.427.2438
 
Annual field day, Sept. 19-20. You're welcome anytime.
 
Grasslandgardens.com
Another unexpected country surprise, the public will find labeled butterfly & hummingbird, herb, and mixed border gardens. Tricia Remley features ornamental grasses and dried flowers.

 

DYCK ARBORETUM, Hesston
 
177 W. Hickory, south side of town
 
A sidewalk leads visitors from one attractive setting to another of labeled native and adaptable wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees.

 

THE HOLLOW PARK, Sedan
 
One block north of the main street on Sherman
Once a dumping ground, the quiet river is now part of a maturing showcase that features a boardwalk, a beautifully landscaped slope, and a one-room schoolhouse.

 

KURTIS ART STUDIO
 
202 S. Douglas, Sedan
A large flower garden behind the stone art studio includes shrubs and trees, a large stone pioneer woman and an Art Noveau picture on the side of the studio. Fruit and flowering trees, shrubs, cannas and sunflowers grace the backyard and a Remington western scene appears on the east side of the building.

 

KOESTER HOUSE MUSEUM GARDENS
 
919 Broadway, Marysville
The historical gardens of Charles Koester are being preserved and restored. Also on the grounds are twelve rare zinc statues, a brick wall, granite stiles and a fountain. Visitors are welcome to stroll the yard.

 

K-STATE RESEARCH CENTER, Colby
 
Located off U.S. 24 at the west end of Colby
One garden features roses and another is a test garden used to see how various flowers fare in western Kansas.

 

K-STATE GARDENS, 1500 Denison, Manhattan
The 1933 limestone Old Dairy Barn provides a classic backdrop for these botanical gardens and 1907 conservatory. A fountain highlights this ever-growing and maturing spot on campus. Conservatory open M-F 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

 

DONNA HARRIS MEMORIAL PARK
 
Garnett, 4th Avenue and Oak
 
Where a historic hotel once stood, now is a beautiful garden with a water feature and a clock.

 

AUGUSTA HISTORICAL MUSEUM
 
303 State St., Augusta
A new native flower garden features Kansas wildflowers.

 

SUMMIT HILL GARDENS, rural Chanute
 
2605 160th. Call 620.212.3878 for a tour. Fee.
Iris and lily beds, seasonal flowers, and an extensive herb bed provide great color against a few restored historic buildings. Handmade soaps are sold here. You can even watch a demonstration! Pay the fee and take this tour. It’s a wonderful experience!

BEHIND THE JIFFY BURGER, E.U.S. 36, Smith Center
Walk behind the Jiffy Burger and across a bridge to find a flower garden and goldfish pond!


NEWSLETTER #81b from June 2009

Featuring the rural culture elements of geography, history...

THINGS TO SEE & DO IN WALLACE -- and in the area

FORT WALLACE MUSEUM

U.S. 40, just east of Wallace. Open Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (MT); Sun. 1-5 p.m. (MT) 785.891.3564

Established in 1865, Fort Wallace was first called Camp Pond Creek and was founded to protect travelers on the Smoky Hill route and workers on the Union Pacific Railway. The name was changed in 1866 to honor W.H.I. Wallace, a Union general. When guarding the High Plains was no longer needed, the fort was abandoned in 1888, and settlers carried away its remains to use as building materials. Because no physical evidence of the fort remains, the artifacts and photographs in the museum are a must-see. An interesting timeline intertwines the lives of Wild Bill Hickok, George Custer, and Buffalo Bill Cody.

Outbuildings include the 1865 Pond Creek Stagecoach Station, the Weskan depot, and a pioneer and agricultural equipment shed.

FORT WALLACE CEMETERY

From the museum, go 1/4 mile east (to first road south), then 1 mile southeast.

A marker beside the first flagpole provides the Fort Wallace timeline and layout. The Post cemetery, surrounded by a stone wall, is to the back of the larger city cemetery. Although the soldiers' remains were removed to the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery after this fort was abandoned, graves of civilians and scouts remain. You'll see headstones for two 1868 scouts of Major George Forsyth, a gravestone for the German family massacred in 1874, and a tall stone cenotaph (now under a metal shelter) erected by the men of Custer's 7th Cavalry in memory of comrades lost during the Indian battles of 1867.

CLARK-ROBIDOUX HOUSE

Northwest corner of town

This 1880 wooden house was built in the Gothic Revival style by Peter Robidoux, an early and influential Wallace businessman.

SECTION HOUSE

Southwest side of town, north of the grain elevators

Described as the finest superintendent’s residence on the railroad, this stone 1879 building is one of only two remaining original Kansas Pacific Railroad structures.

RIVER VALLEY SCENERY

The unpaved road from Wallace to Russell Springs in Logan County parallels the Smoky Hill River Valley in the High Plains.

CLIMB THE HIGHEST POINT IN THE STATE

Take U.S. 40 twelve miles west of Sharon Springs to Weskan. From Weskan, go 3 miles west on U.S. 40, then 11 miles north, and 1 mile west. Cross a cattle guard and continue north on a pasture driveway and head toward the tall dead branch. When you arrive at the sunflower sculpture you’ll have made it to the summit of Mount Sunflower! Remember to sign the notebook.


Featuring the rural culture elements of geography, history...

FIND LOST SPRINGS

SANTA FE TRAIL MARKER: Two-and-a-half miles west of Lost Springs you'll come across plaques and monuments on both sides of the road. One tells about Lost Springs Station (1822-1872) and the other points you to wagon ruts in the pasture. It's a great find along the road. From Lost Springs continue east (becomes BB Ave. in Morris Co.). Take a detour into Burdick and shop at the Burdick Meat Locker. About 8 miles east of Burdick on BB you'll come to Diamond Springs, another great stop on the Santa Fe Trail.

AL'S CAFE: Now located in a metal building, the food is good at this popular out-of-the-way spot in Lost Springs. Al's special is a tostado on a soft flour shell. Open Wed.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 785.983.4824.

POST OFFICE: The post office is located in a former one-room schoolhouse. Open Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-12 and Saturday 8:30-9:30 a.m., this throwback post office could use our business. Stop and purchase or send check for stamps to 125 Berry, Lost Springs, KS 66859.

 



A Sampling of what is in the April 2009 81a newsletter.

THE ROAD LEADS TO CONCORDIA

There are dozens and dozens of small cities to explore on your way to the Kansas Sampler Festival, no matter which direction you're coming from.

Explorers learn to not judge a town but just soak it up as it is and realize it's been through an ongoing and longtime drama. With that approach, there is always something to appreciate.

Here are just a few highlights in some small cities in counties that border Cloud County.

1) MAHASKA, pop. 101, Washington Co. The 1856 Surveyor's Monument can be seen 1/2 mile west of town on 29th, then 1 mile north on Meridian. Originally marked in 1856, this site was the beginning point for all land surveys in Kansas, Nebraska, much of Colorado and Wyoming, and a small part of South Dakota. The marker came about in 1854. More than 200 million miles of land have been surveyed from this point.

2) HADDAM, pop. 165, Washington Co. See the historic limestone jail on south main. A 1901 election produced an all-woman city council along with a female mayor, city clerk and police judge, even though women were not given the right to vote until 1912. One of the council's first acts was to build a limestone jail "for containment of Haddam's unruly men."

3) STRAWBERRY, ghost town, Washington Co. A gray stone marks the site of Strawberry (10 miles north of Clifton on Eagle Road, then one mile east on K-148 to Fox. This settlement, named for the wild strawberries that grew here, existed from 1868 to 1951.

4) GREENLEAF, pop. 337, Washington Co. Find the words "Community Clubhouse" on one of the limestone buildings on 4th Street. This building and the jail next door are 1939 WPA projects.

5) MORGANVILLE, pop. 194, Clay Co. The sunken amphitheater on main street is a 1939 WPA project. Many of its concrete walls, stage, and eight levels of seats and steps are intact.

6) GREEN, pop. 141, Clay Co. North of Green at Utah and 22nd Streets, look for limestone entrances to the remains of a city park built with 1938 WPA labor. You'll see stone structures in this wooded area including a stone walking bridge across a little creek. It's like exploring a secret garden.

 

9) SCANDIA, pop. 387, Republic Co. Meet Harley the Dog at the hardware store and ask the owner to have him pick up certain supplies. Check out the Riverview Cemetery north of Kaffe House, across U.S. 36 on the hill overlooking the Republic River. Many concrete tree fences surround family plots in this cemetery, which holds many Scandinavian names.

10) JEWELL, pop. 447, Jewell Co. The downtown Scoop is in a red-brick corner bank building with a limestone arch. Get your ice cream scoop here! Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. 785.428.3411.

13) TESCOTT, pop. 343, Ottawa Co.: The town is named for T.E. Scott. A mural on South Main features Scott. The sandstone band shell is a 1936 WPA project.

Don't you wonder what #7, 8, 11, and 12 were? Join the Kansas Explorers Club today!

 


 

NEWSLETTER #80 from January 2009

A DOZEN KANSAS DANDIES

After you visit each of these you might say, "That sure was a dandy!

DALE SHIRLEY's GARDENS & ORCHARDS: 1650 30th Road, Vermillion (Marshall Co.) With crop land all around, the sea of flowers is a delightful surprise! For example, imagine seeing 4,000 petunias in the summer! Call to make arrangements. 785.382.6357.

There are 11 more "dandies" in the newsletter.

ROARIN' 20's IN KANSAS: Then and Now

A sampling of what is in the newsletter

World War I had ended in November of 1919. Charles Lindberg and Amelia Earhart were making aviation history while Al Capone was causing trouble in Chicago. The NFL, Winter Olympics, Miss America, Grand Ole Opry, NBC, and Readers Digest were all getting started. Then, in 1929, the stock market crashed.designation, and Victory Highway and parts of other roads became U.S. 40. In 1927 U.S. 40 was completed (but not all paved) from Kansas City to the Colorado border. A Victory Highway marker and bronze sculpture stand at 4th and Ash in Wamego.

While all those things were going on around the country, what was going on in Kansas? Here are a few highlights from each element.

ARCHITECTURE

Publisher Frank MacLennan was building Cedar Crest mansion in Topeka at 2nd and Fairlawn in 1928 as a private residence. In 1961 it became the official residence for the current Kansas governor. Public tours Monday afternoons, call ahead.

ART

After 22 years, S.P. Dinsmoor finally completed the Garden of Eden and his limestone and concrete log-cabin home in 1929. Folks in Lucas were trying to run him out of town. Now it is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Art and a main attraction in Lucas!

GEOGRAPHY

Another road! Great news! Route 66 from Chicago to California opened in 1926. The southeast corner of Kansas caught 13.2 miles of the highway that would become famous.

COMMERCE

Leo Williams Grocery opened in the 1920s in Riverton (Cherokee Co.) to provide Route 66 travelers with a place to get a sandwich and groceries. Now named Eisler Bros. Old Riverton Store, it continues to refresh modern travelers. 620.848.3330.

CUISINE

In 1922 the public was ordering "sliders" by the sack at the newly-opened Cozy Inn, 108 N. 7th in Salina. Today -- same burger, same location. 785.825.2699.

CUSTOMS

Jim Brown, a Native American, was laying 150 bricks per minute or "as fast as five men could bring him the brick" for the streets in Goodland in 1921. Five years later he was in Baldwin City laying the bricks for High Street and around the Baker campus.

HISTORY

In 1924, workers disassembled the 40-foot high 1879 Schonhoff Mill and moved the stones 12 miles to Wamego's city park and put it back together. It is famous now as the Dutch Mill.

PEOPLE

Orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children from the New York City area were riding the Orphan Trains to the West to be taken to new families. Between 1854 and 1929 an estimated 200,000 children rode the Orphan Trains. Today you can learn more about this dramatic story at the Orphan Train Heritage Society of America at Concordia's 1917 Union Pacific depot, 3rd and Washington. 785.243.4471. www.orphantrainriders.com.


NEWSLETTER #79 from October 2008

Featuring the rural culture element of geography...

CUSPING KANSAS!

Cusping? What is that? Well, in Explorer terms let's say it is a discovery of where the physiographic regions transition from one to another. For example, when you're driving U.S. 50 between Garden City and Dodge City, the north of the highway are the High Plains and south, along the river, is the Arkansas River Lowlands. You can definitely notice cusping here. Cusping is when you figure out that you're at an edge of a region and that the vegetation, soil, and landscape is changing. It takes keen observation to cusp but once you figure it out it starts to come naturally.

If you have a 2003-2004 Kansas map you'll see the regions color-coded on the map. On current Kansas maps they have a small inset in the top right corner that color-codes the regions. Maybe we should all clamor at Kansas Department of Transportation and ask them to go back to color-coding the regions.

The eleven regions are:

Arkansas River Lowlands

Chautauqua Hills

Cherokee Lowlands

Flint Hills

Glaciated Region

High Plains

Osage Questas

Ozark Plateau

Smoky Hills

Red Hills

Wellington & McPherson Lowlands

An online site that explains the regions is www.kgs.ku.edu/Physio/physio.html

Cusping is part of the explorer mindset. It involves observation powers, curiosity, and a trait of gaining pleasure out of the little things.


Featuring the rural culture elements of customs, people, history,architecture, art, geography...

FOUND IN THE NOOKS & CRANNIES

ARGENTINE STEPS, Kansas City: Argentine Steps at 13th and Ruby. Why is a street sign at the base of these 169 concrete steps? The steps actually are a street (nearly a block long and comprising three or four tiers). When it was built it was the only access to many of the homes along either side, and it is the only street in Kansas made from a series of concrete steps.

NEODESHA CEMETERY: North end of town on 8th, then turn northwest over the railroad viaduct at Cobalt Boats. One of the interesting gravestones, shaped like a drum, is that of Frank "Cutty" Cartwright, an orphan who became known as the Little Drummer Boy during the Civil War. He later was killed in a freak train accident and ironically is buried next to the engineer who ran over him. To find Cutty's grave, enter through the formal brick pillars at the northeast end of the old section and head straight back. Look for the short round drum on the left just past the drive to the GAR memorial.

IRELAND HALL, 2nd and Central, Arkansas City: Identified by its arches, gargoyles, lion heads, dragons, rock-faced masonry, and colorful facade, this former high school is now home to a cosmetology school. Constructed of local Silverdale limestone, the building's contractor used a vermillion mortar that was not waterproof, and it eventually resulted in the exterior's rosy hue.

INTERESTING SWING, Herington: In Father Padilla Park on N. Broadway you'll find a fascinating tree swing; it looks as if the tree grew support cuffs for the bar that joins them. In the southwest corner stands a memorial to Father Padilla, a martyr killed in Kansas in 1542. The swing is not far from this memorial.

MORE TREE SWINGS, Hays: Climb aboard the two tree swings in the city cemetery at 26th and Vine. The seats are made for two!

VI FICK'S ART, Oakley: During the 1960s-1970s Earnest and Vi Fick found thousands of fossils and shark teeth in Logan County. Vi began using fossils, fossil pieces, oyster shells, fish vertebrae, and snails to create her own art form, an art so unique it was written up in Ripley's Believe It or Not! See her art at the Fick Fossil and History Museum, 700 W. 3rd. Open Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 785.672.4839.

CARVER HOMESTEAD, Beeler: One mile south of K-96 at Beeler in Ness County will take you to a memorial rock on the west side of the road erected in 1953 to honor George Washington Carver. No buildings stand today at his homestead site but the view is magnificent. It's a nice pull-off area.

ROCK IN THE ROAD, McLouth: If you drive on Granite Street between Cynthia and Lucy Streets in McLouth, watch out! There's no warning sign, no caution light, just a big glacial boulder parked in the middle of the road. You're welcome to stand on it, kiss it, take pictures of it! It's one of the darndest sights you'll ever see! Apparently the rock was there long before the town, and when time came to build the street, the stubborn boulder simply couldn't be moved. The asphalt around it has built up over the years making the rock look much smaller than it really is.

UTILITY PARK & ZOO, 4th & Pomeroy, Clay Center: During the Great Depression customers of the city-owned power plant who couldn't pay their utility bills were given the opportunity to work off their debt. Their work resulted in Utility Park. In 1934 Better Homes and Gardens awarded the park its highest community honor with a More Beautiful America Achievement Award. A bronze plaque commemorating the award is found on a large red glacial rock. The zoo was added in the early 1950s.

Every town has these little known places.

Stay observant you'll find them. Make it a game!


NEWSLETTER #78 July 2008

In order for you to find where all the fun places are we've visited in the stories below here's a map to help. Just use number next to the name of the location and find it on the map.

 


SEEING KANSAS THE EXPLORER WAY!
 
Marci, KE #2, (that's me!) had a hankering to do some research in southeast Kansas so WenDee, KE #36 (assistant KSF director), and I grabbed the camera, Kansas Guidebook for Explorers, a wildflower book, and we headed out!
 
RANCH RESTAURANT, FALL RIVER (1), pop. 145

Open Tuesday-Saturday 7 a.m.-2 p.m.; Wednesday until 8 p.m. Downtown. 620.658.4474
New name, new ownership but the restaurant is still open. It was the School House Cafe-now the Ranch Restaurant. When asked if they served made-from-scratch food, the waitress said, "The locals wouldn't eat here if it wasn't homemade. "Plus, they do chicken-fried steak the Explorer Way!
 
FREDONIA (2), pop. 2,424
SOUTH MOUND, go south on 7th from Washington
It's fun to wind your way up the hill anticipating the great view. There are lots of big rocks lining the drive, some playground equipment, and the probably the biggest flag you'll see in Kansas.
 
ALTOONA (3), pop. 469
Prairie Nut Hut, Bus. U.S. 75 & K-47
Tues-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m., 620-568-2900
This wooden 1940 restaurant isn't very big but your appetite better be! WenDee had one of the best cheeseburgers she's ever had.
I had the chicken-fried steak and it was a monster.



ERIE (4), pop. 1,150
The limeades at Richey's Rexall Drug (117 S. Main) soda fountain are outstanding! Owner BarbaraAnn explained the history of some of the pharmacy artifacts on display.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SCOTTY'S CLASSIC CAR MUSEUM 302 N. 9th, ARMA (7), pop. 1,521
Open Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 620.347.8387
Our jaws dropped when we walked into this place. There were about seven spit-polished antique cars and pick-ups on display. You could have eaten a meal off the fender of the 1957 Ford Fairlane Skyliner Retractable. 1950s artifacts were neatly placed around the shop.
 
 

PITTSBURG
(9), pop. 19,536
The Miner's Memorial at 2nd and Walnut is something to behold. There are two parts to it. One is an open shelter with plaques and across the street is a beautifully landscaped area with a life-sized sculpture of a miner headed home from work. Black granite markers list the names of miners. A mural on the side of a building depicts the coal mining history of the area.
 
POST OFFICE, CRESTLINE (10), unincorporated
We were making our way south on U.S. 400 when we came across a group of houses and saw people visiting in front of one house that had a flag pole. It turned out to be the post office! We stopped and had a wonderful chat with the women standing outside. One was Carol, the postmaster and the other was a woman who had lived in the building when it was her residence! We bought some stamps before we left.
 
EISLER BROS., U.S. 400 at Riverton (11), unincorp.
It's impossible to come this direction and not stop at this long-standing grocery and Route 66 souvenir shop. It's one of those great stores from another era.

 

 
 

BAXTER SPRINGS (12), pop. 4202
You can feel some new energy in Baxter Springs! A 1930s filling station at 10th and Military has been newly-restored and now pumps information into visitors. Old gas station artifacts are displayed but you'll mostly find information about things to see and do in the area. KE #4049 Carolyn Pendleton was working and doing a great job greeting visitors.

CHETOPA (13), pop. 1,224 WenDee was fascinated with the pecan groves as we neared Chetopa, the Pecan Capital of Kansas. The soda fountain is still operating at Rigg's Drug, 426 Maple. A number of soda fountains have closed along with local pharmacies so it's always a relief to find ones that are still open. (Buy your prescriptions at your local pharmacy!)
 
 
 
 

COFFEYVILLE
(14), pop. 10,349
We entered Coffeyville from the east on U.S. 166. Last summer's flood damage was still evident but you could also see signs of recovery.

We hoped that the downtown Tavern on the Plaza, 902 Walnut, was still open and it was Historic murals and photographs, wood floors, pressed-tin ceilings, arches, and a stairway leading to upstairs balcony seating are some of the restored features in this 1872 building. It's open Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Tuesday-Saturday 5-10 p.m.

Just outside of the restaurant is the view of the historic Condon Bank building. The bank was one of two banks robbed during the 1892 Dalton Gang raid. On one side of the bank is a DonSprague sidewalk mural that depicts the members of the Dalton Gang lying dead. We took turns lying down beside these guys for a picture.

A tour of the Brown Mansion, at Eldridge and S. Walnut on U.S. 169 was next. This finalist for the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture was the magnificent 1904 home of W.P.Brown, the area's natural gas magnate.

 
 
 
CANEY (15), pop. 1,985
One of my favorite quirky things to see in Caney is the plaque in the middle of the street at 4th and State. Yep, right in the mid dle of the street-laid into the asphalt. It shows the exact survey point for the original town. We went to three places to see Caney's signature wedding ring quilt design - the park gazebo, a house on 3rd Street, and a mural on W. 4th.
 
 
LUCIANO's, 216 W. Main, MULVANE (16), pop. 5,800
Open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 316.777.0045. Call for reservations.

Luciano came to America for love and now anyone that goes to his restaurant falls in love with his Italian food. I had the Pasta con Salsiccia which is pieces of Italian Sausage simmered with carrots, spring onion, tomato, cream and parmesan cheese sauteed with Fettuccine pasta. It's such a delightful place!

That was our two day road trip. There were so many other stops we could have made but we ran out of time. If you have an explorer's mind set, Kansas is a never-ending source for adventure.


The following stories are from Explorer issue #77a, from April 2008.

Featuring the rural culture element of customs...
PLAY BALL!

One of the best sights of spring is players on a ball diamond, whether in a small town or major league ballpark. These exhibits will help put you in a spring mood.

TOPEKA: The Buck O'Neil exhibit can be seen in the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, 1515 SE Monroe, until April 30. Buck O'Neil was one of the outstanding players in the Negro Leagues. Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. 785.235.3939.

WICHITA: The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, 238 N. Mead, has a baseball display featuring Kansas Hall of Famers Walter Johnson, Joe Tinker, and Fred Clarke - as well as many others. Open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m. Admission charge. 316.262.2539; kshof.org. While in Wichita, drive by Wichita State University's Eck Stadium to see bronze statues and murals portraying WSU greats.

MUSCOTAH, Atchison Co. Signs at the town entrance announce that this is the home of Joe Tinker, part of the famous Chicago Cubs triple-play of "Tinker to Evers to Chance". He played from 1902 to 1916. A large stone at the city park entrance, 6th and Kansas, pays tribute to this Hall of Famer

HUMBOLDT & COFFEYVILLE: Baseball fanatics will want to stop at Walter Johnson's birthplace, 2 1/2 miles north of Humboldt on the county road, then 2 miles west on Iowa. Look for an inscribed stone monument in the corner of a field and a home plate in cement on the site of his birth site. In Coffeyville, see a plaque to him at Walter Johnson Park (from U.S. 169 turn east on 8th); see a Don Sprague mural at 223 W. 9th honoring Johnson; and enjoy exhibits in the Dalton Defender's Museum, 113 E. 8th.

BAXTER SPRINGS: Is this ever a baseball town! See exhibits at the historical museum 740 East Ave. (620.856.2385), that tell about Mickey Mantle playing there. Call 620.856.3903 to see the Little League Baseball Museum or go to W. 14th & Grant just to see one of the best Little League stadiums anywhere!

Featuring the rural culture elements of geography, customs...

NURTURE THESE TREES!


Below are three invitations for Explorers to help "grow" these one-of-a-kind trees!

 

THE SHOE TREE, Wetmore (Nemaha Co.)

Explorers are invited to add shoes to the official shoe tree of Kansas located near Wetmore! The KE #4729 Kissel family started the Shoe Tree in 1985 and by now there are more than 300 shoes on the cottonwood tree. Have an extra shoe lying around? Add it to the shoe tree! Bring a nail and hammer. From Wetmore, go 1 mile west on K-9, then 5 miles north on W Road (blacktop) to the old Davis Ranch sign, then 1 mile west on 80th to V Road.


THE CHAIRY TREE, Lucas
KE #4214 Erika Nelson would love to have a chair from every county in her "chair-y’ tree!!!Explorers are invited to bring a small chair, decorate it if they wish, sign it with name and county, and deposit it by the chair-y tree (yep, a tree with chairs in it) behind Erika’s house at 226 Kansas in Lucas.

THE CAR TAG TREE, near Partridge (Reno Co.)
Inspired by the Shoe Tree and Chair-y Tree, KE #108 Jay Yoder decided to have a Car Tag tree! It now has over a dozen car tags on it. All Explorers are welcome to come add their old tag to Jay's cottonwood tree. Located at the end of his driveway, he has a mailbox at the tree complete with nails, hammer, notebook and Explorer information! From K-61 at Partridge go 4 miles south on Partridge Road (a blacktop just east of town), then west (right) on Lake Cable Road for seven-tenths of a mile to 11613 West Lake Cable Road.


MORE TREES TO VISIT!

WAKEFIELD: Kansas Landscape Arboretum, 2 miles south on Utah in Wakefield. More than 1,000 species of native and exotic woody plants are represented here. Visit the memorial tree section and walk the primitive nature trails through prairie and woodland habitats. Daily 8 a.m.-dusk.

ATCHISON: International Forest of Friendship.From K-7 south, turn right on Patriot, then immediately left on Price, Price veers west and becomes 278th Road. Go south on 278th Road for 1/4 mile, then west for 1/2 mile on 274th to Warnock Lake entrance. Amelia Earhart, in the form of a life-sized bronze statue, welcomes you to the Forest of Friendship, filled with trees from all 50 states and more than 35 countries. In this beautiful park founded by the Ninety Nines, an international organization of women pilots, plaques are embedded in the sidewalks each year to honor those involved in aviation and space exploration.


TORONTO: Cross Timbers State Park at Toronto Lake. Southwest corner of Woodson County, south east of Toronto. The cross timbers of the Chautauqua Hills are an old (ancient) forest of post and blackjack oaks, the oldest post oak dating to the 1720s. You will become familiar with the vegetation of this rare forest by hiking one of its trails. The Ancient Trees of the Cross Timbers Trail (trailhead adjacent to the gate house at Toronto Point off K-105) is an easy one-mile trail through the forest. State park entrance charge. 620.637.2213.