Friday, September 11, 2009

What I want the public to know...

We announced the 8 Wonders of Kansas Customs last week. It was lots of fun to have 60 representatives of the 24 finalists at the Kansas Sampler Center for the announcement.

But what I really want the public to know is the story behind the finalists. All you have to do is click on the thumbnail picture for each of the 24 and read the information page. If you do that, you'll fall more in love with Kansas. Just to see the custom action phrase and the accompanying location doesn't to justice. The story is in the next click...

That's where you'll find out that the Red Fish above the Harper 125-foot stand-pipe watertower was placed there originally on 1887. Five years later (1892) a tornado wrecked the fish and they had to take it down, smooth out all the dents and put it up there again. The ol' Red Fish has been there ever since. Even Harper citizens will find this interesting. You know how it is when something is so familiar you can no longer see it...?

The Kissel Shoe Tree. I just looks bizarre! The story isn't long but you can read it by clicking here.

Another great story is the weekly Friday night jam sessions in Cottonwood Falls. Sue and Monty Smith of the Emma Chase Cafe make it all happen. The music is out on the street when the weather cooperates or in Prairie Pastimes, a neat ol' WPA Armory building. For a decade people with varying degrees of talent have been bringing their instruments and playing together to an appreciative audience. It's one of those Americana scenes. Read more here.

Twenty-one additional stories are found by clicking the thumbnail pictures on the contest opening page. Why would a sidewalk be a finalist, or Veterans Day or coming in second? Aren't those ordinary things? Not when you're in Kansas...

Do yourself a favor, click on the thumbnail pictures and get to know Kansas.

KE #2 Marci Penner

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teter Rock

Teter Rock is in Greenwood County nestled in the heart of the Flint Hills.

Around the late 1870s James Teter piled rocks as a marker to guide pioneers searching for the Cottonwood River. Eventually the rocks were removed and used for construction materials. In 1954 a 16-foot-tall slab of rock was erected on this hilltop in honor of Mr. Teter.

Though this jagged monolith that slices the clean Flint Hills air is marked up with grafitti, it's still an excellent Kansas landmark.

Teter Rock is 11 1/2 miles east of Cassoday and then about 1 mile south into a private pasture. Or, go 8 1/2 miles west of Burkett Corner which is several miles east of Hamilton. There is a little rustic sign at the turn into the pasture where you cross a cattle guard. The driveway is pretty rutted so drive slowly but it's well worth it once you reach The Rock. At times, you'll see more than a hundred horses in the pasture below (maybe wild mustangs?). Thanks to the landowners for letting us drive up to Teter Rock.

The view is vintage remote Flint Hills.

Teter Rock also marks the approximate vicinity of Teterville, an oil boom town of the 1920s. At one point there were more than 600 people in Teterville along with two general stores, a school, a post office, and shotgun houses for oil workers and their families. By the 1960s everyone and nearly everything was gone. Today, you really have to use your imagination to envision such a town. A few foundations are the only remnants. You can learn more about the town at the Greenwood County Historical Museum in Eureka, 120 W. 4th. 620.583.8177.

To "get" Kansas you sometime have to go out of your way to be in the realm of what was. Nice to have a big stone to give us a great reason to go there.

KE #2 Marci Penner