Friday, January 28, 2011

105 places in 105 counties. Happy Kansas Day!

Congratulations, ol' gal!

Kansas, all 150 years of her, has led a colorful life. One of the best ways to "get her" is to go out and visit every county. If, today, I could be at one place in each county, here's where I would choose:

(random order)

Greenwood County: Teter Rock at Teterville

Riley County: Bala Stone Bridge and park

Clark County: St. Jacob's Well in Big Basin Prairie Preserve

Morton County: Point of Rocks

Barton County: Pawnee Rock lookout

McPherson County: Observation tower at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge

Pottawatomie County: Overlook at the Vermillion Creek Tributary stone arch bridge

Jefferson County: On top of the rock in the middle of the road in McLouth

Wallace County: Mount Sunflower

Smith County: Statue of Liberty replica between Gaylord and Harlan

Osborne County: The B-24 Bomber Memorial many miles southwest of Osborne

Cowley County: Inspiration Point at Camp Horizon near Arkansas City

Seward County: Mighty Samson of the Cimarron between Liberal and Kismet

Leavenworth: Steps Abraham Lincoln spoke from (now in front of the Carroll Mansion,

Meade County: Widest main street in the U.S. in Plains

Hodgeman County: Markers for Duncan's Crossing at the Hodgeman-Ness County line

Wabaunsee County: Mount Mitchell

Linn County: Marais des Cygne Massacre site

Harper County: Harper County Courthouse in Anthony

Rawlins County: Beaver Creek scenic drive past the Dewey Ranch

Doniphan County: Civil War monument in Bellemont Cemetery north of Wathena

Kearny County: Santa Fe Trail displays inside the Kearny County Museum in Lakin

Nemaha County: Inside St. Mary's Church at St. Benedict

Rooks County: Rock benches at a park in Plainville at Mill and Broadway

Elk County: 1893 iron trestle bridge at Elk Falls

Dickinson County: Eisenhower statue

Russell County: Paradise watertower

Scott County: Hilltop Steele Monument across the the Steele Homestead in Lake Scott
State Park

Finney County: Anywhere inside the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City

Lincoln County: Denmark

Republic County: K-148 drive from Scandia to Norway

Ottawa County: Pike's Monument southwest of Delphos

Rice County: Ralph's Ruts near Chase

Sheridan County: Largest cottonwood in the state near Studley

Montgomery County: Frank Bellamy's gravestone at Cherryvale (he wrote the words to the Pledge of Allegiance)

Stanton County: WPA Manter Dam near Manter

Barber County: Flower Pot Mound on Gyp Hills scenic drive

Anderson County: Prairie Spirit Trail

Douglas County: Arch at Haskell Indian Nations University

Ford County: Santa Fe Trail lookout near Howell

Gray County: Wind farm kiosk near Montezuma

Wilson County: South Mound lookout

Chautauqua County: Historic Chautauqua Springs in Chautauqua

Gove County: Sitting on top of one of the Monument Rocks at sunset

Kingman County: Kingman County State Fishing Lake or the banks of the Ninnescah

Grant: Wagon Bed Springs

Hamilton County: A seat in the livestock sale barn

Labette County: Antietam Circle in the Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Parsons

Bourbon County: Fort Scott National Cemetery

Ellsworth County: On top of one of the Mushroom Rocks

Jewell County: White Rock Creek drive north from Formoso

Stevens County: Stevens County Gas and Historical Museum in Hugoton

Trego: Along the bluffs of Cedar Bluff State Park

Shawnee County: State capitol in front of a John Steuart Curry mural

Coffey County: At the top of the observational silo at Wolf Creek Environmental Education Area

Allen County: Walter Johnson's birth site marker in a field

Harvey County: Swinging bridge at Harvey County Park West

Rush County: Near the sunflower sculptures beside the museum in McCracken

Phillips County: Kirwin town square

Clay County: Stone buffalo close to Longford

Mitchell County: Tipton

Graham County: Green rock quarry

Haskell County: In the flattest county in the state, I'd search for aa backroad sandwiched
between farmland that goes on forever and ever.

Marshall County: Pony Express Rider and Horse statue in Marysville

Norton County: Gallery of Also Rans in Norton

Washington County: 1856 Surveyor's Monument near Mahaska

Miami County: Gazebo in the Paola Park Square

Lyon County: By the bust of William Allen White at the south edge of the lake in Peter Pan Park,

Cloud County: Stone bridge at Rice

Pratt County: B-29 All Veterans Memorial 3 miles north of Pratt

Ellis County: Pfeifer's Holy Cross Shrine church

Franklin County: Franklin County Courthouse in Ottawa

Lane County: Frigid Creme

Reno County: 650 feet under in the Kansas Underground Salt Museum in Hutchinson

Stafford County: Triple-decker Victorian fountain in the St. John square

Jackson County: Roller coaster hill south of Soldier

Ness County: George Washington Carver's homestead at Beeler

Osage County: Oak Hill Cemetery, just north of Quenemo

Cheyenne County: Arikaree Breaks, 12 miles north of downtown St. Francis

Kiowa County: Hayloft of the Fromme-Birney Round Barn near Mullinville

Crawford County: St. Aloysius Historic Site at Greenbush

Marion County: Santa Fe Trail marker west of Lost Springs

Johnson County: Blue Sky sculpture at Olathe city hall

Chase County: Lost on some Flint Hills backroad

Edwards County: At the Civil War statue in the Hillside Cemetery near Kinsley

Sedgwick County: Keeper of the Plains

Greeley County: G.A.R. Cemetery mostly west and north of Tribune

Wyandotte County: Rosedale Memorial Arch in Kansas City

Cherokee County: Standing in Shoal Creek at Schermerhorn Park

Pawnee County: Exploring the "cliffs" across from Sibley's Camp in Larned

Decatur County: Pete Felten sculpture of the pioneer family in Oberlin

Wichita County: Beside the hand-dug well at Selkirk

Comanche County: Scenic drive across the southern portion of the county

Saline County: Outdoor pulpit at Salemsborg church

Sumner County: Bartlett Arboretum, Belle Plaine

Thomas County: Statue in front of the Thomas County Courthouse

Atchison County: International Forest of Friendship in Atchison

Geary County: Civil War Horse statue in front of the U.S. Cavalry Museum on Fort Riley

Logan County: Chalk formations scenic drive including Little Jerusalem formations

Morris County: Allegawaho Heritage Memorial Park near Council Grove

Neosho County: Black Kettle Memorial in Erie

Sherman County: Van Gogh painting at Goodland

Woodson County: Castle at Kalida

Brown County: Robinson Cemetery

Butler County: Latham's "100 Cow" Road

There you go. 105 places in 105 counties.

May you find the place that brings out your inner Kansan!

Get Kansas!

KE #2 Marci Penner

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Go post office hopping!

During the Great Depression, Post Office Section Art was created by the government to put Americans back to work. Today, this artwork still appears in 21 active post offices. See a list of all 21 at 8 Wonders of Kansas.

Farm Life, 1940, artist Robert Larter. Oswego Post Office

Unlike WPA art, Section Art was funded by the Section of Fine Arts in the U.S. Treasury Department. The “Section” selected high quality art to decorate public buildings thereby making it accessible to all people. The subject of each usually was based on the history or economy of the local community. Originally, 29 Section Art works adorned Kansas public buildings.

Cattlemen's Picnic, 1942, artist Jessie Wilbur, Kingman Post Office

Cowboys Driving Cattle, 1941, artist Kenneth Evett, Caldwell Post Office

Cattle Round Up, 1938, artist Vance Kirkland, Eureka Post Office

Section Art remains in the following 21 Kansas post offices: Anthony, Augusta, Belleville, Burlington, Caldwell, Council Grove, Eureka, Fredonia, Goodland, Halstead, Herington, Hoisington, Horton, Hutchinson, Kingman, Lindsborg, Neodesha, Oswego, Russell, Sabetha, and Seneca.

Many of these post offices are older so it's like a trip to another era.

We hope this little tidbit about post office art helps you Get Kansas!

From the road, KE #2 Marci Penner

Friday, January 7, 2011

Exploring Tip #1. Subject: Otis

Kansas is 150 this year! One way to celebrate our state's sesquicentennial is by getting out to see and know the state. It's always good to head out with explorer tips in mind.

People ask where they should go. With 90% of the 627 cities in Kansas having less than a 5,000 population, my answer is to turn into every town you come to and at least cruise main and a couple of side streets. In some cases, that would be canvassing the whole town! But, if exploring properly, you'll see more than expected.

Last summer WenDee and I stopped in Otis, a Rush County town of 320 people.

I know at least one Kansas Explorers Club member who has a quest to visit every band shell. The Peter Brack Memorial band shell is unique to any other. A plaque on the back wall tells that Brack was a Russian immigrant. See the steps and green roof?

I wish I knew the name of that roof style. Do you?

Keep cruising. If you get to 3rd and Eagle you'll come across the 1931 school. Get your explorer eyes out and you'll see an interesting style to the school's exterior.

Make sure to take your curiosity hat with you. The point isn't always to know the answers but to ask the questions, to find those interesting details and nuances.

Have fun exploring. It will help you Get Kansas!

Happy birthday Kansas. KE #2 Marci

P.S. Find many places to explore at