Category Archives: Featured

Hidden History: Nation reaps rewards of local public service corps

At the Civilian Conservation Corps camp at Burlington, Kan., recruits end their duty day with a retreat ceremony. Photo from Bevitt collection.

By Wendi and Tod Bevitt

The outlook at the start of the 1930s was shrouded in a cloud of economic failure and dust as a result of the stock market crash of 1929, drought, and poor soil conservation practices. Unemployment had risen to 25 percent by 1933, and while that did not affect farmers, the dropping crop and stock prices did. The great clouds of dust that were forming on the horizon were a result of the wartime effort after 1914, during which the amount of acreage devoted to wheat was greatly increased, also known as “The Great Plow Up”.  The combination of drought, overgrazing of pastures and poor conservation practices overall led to a period of massive dust storms led to the region being called the Dust Bowl.

When President Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933, he immediately set in motion work relief programs to deal with the dire financial situation facing the country, one of which was the Civilian Conservation Corps or CCC. The CCC focused on conservation projects, a subject Roosevelt had previously shown favoritism towards during his tenure as governor of New York. The CCC not only put unemployed young men to work, but also increased their employability through education and experience on the many public service projects performed by the various camps.  There were generally three different types of CCC projects in Kansas: soil erosion, lake creation or maintenance, and those focusing on reforestation.

Late summer rain eased drought in parts of Kansas, but northeast counties still dry

By Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research and Extension

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A shift in weather patterns that began in early August brought welcome rain to drought-stricken Kansas, but even with the precipitation, the northeast part of the state is still parched.

“Ponds are still low. Streams are not running. There wasn’t as much benefit from the recent rains as we had hoped,” said Mary Knapp, climatologist with the Weather Data Library at Kansas State University.

Some of those counties that experienced heavy rains and flash flooding on Labor Day weekend are still in drought. The Sept. 11, 2018, U.S. Drought Monitor for Kansas shows many northeast counties still in abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions.

“This drought had its roots in a very dry winter,” said Knapp of conditions months ago that were so widespread Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer issued a drought declaration in March covering all 105 Kansas counties.

After a hot start to the summer, temperatures moderated somewhat in August and rain fell across much of the state. In June, statewide temperatures averaged 4.7 degrees warmer than normal. July statewide temperatures averaged 0.4 degrees warmer than normal. For August, the statewide temperature average was 1.5 degrees cooler than normal. State-wide precipitation was 125 percent of normal.

The current situation with drought in the eastern counties, but generally not in the west except a sliver along the border with Colorado, is just opposite the typical scenario, Knapp said. Semi-arid western Kansas usually tends to be drier than eastern Kansas. Average annual precipitation in Garden City is 19.15 inches, while in Topeka it is 36.46. As of Sept. 15, Garden City has received 19.46 inches, while Topeka has received just 18.39 inches.

Adam Burnett, active at work and on the boccia court

Adam Burnett, Osage City Chamber of Commerce member and employee of Resource Center for Independent Living, is not only busy at work, he also is active participating in the sport of boccia. He has been very successful in recent competitions at the national level.

Burnett, originally of Melvern and now Osage City, has worked at RCIL, in Osage City, since 2002. He was introduced to the Paralympic sport of boccia in 2016. Boccia is a throwing sport that tests an athlete’s coordination, accuracy, concentration, and ability to strategize. It can be played in a team or pair or individual competition.

What started out for Burnett as playing “just for fun” became more serious following a third place finish at the U.S. national tournament in 2016. He was then selected to Team USA in 2017 and represented the United States in two international tournaments that year, first in Montreal, Quebec, and then in Cali, Colombia.

Burnett won gold at the US National Tournament in 2017, but he is most proud of being a member of the first BC4 pair to ever win an international match for the United States, when he and his partner defeated Argentina last summer in Colombia.

“It’s really exciting and an honor to wear the Team USA gear and represent my local communities when we travel and compete,” Burnett said.

ICYMI: Pomona State Park celebrates great weekend of ‘going retro’

Happiest campers award went to these greeters welcoming visitors to their camper, “Roseanne”, a 1963 Mobile Scout that belongs to Eric Marx.

If time slipped by and you missed it, Pomona State Park celebrated another great weekend of “going retro” during the annual Going Retro Car, Vintage Trailer And Antique Boat Show, on Aug. 17-19, 2018. In addition to the car show, spectators had the opportunity to step back in time and view the many vintage campers, inside and out, that filled the campsites of two campgrounds in the park.

Hosts of the event, Friends of Pomona State Park, have announced the winners of the shows as follows:

The best old Melvern pickup award winner enjoys a shade tree during the Pomona State Park ‘Going Retro’ Show.

Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA officers retreat at Tuttle Creek

MdCV FFA officers visit KSU College of Veterinary Science, from left, Kathryn Vaught, Frank Warner, Bayleigh Lacey, Chloe Volkman, Grace Bradley, Koby Vanderpool, Brookelyn Janssen, Alaina Marsh, Cassandra Ebert, and adviser Danny Rice. Courtesy photo.

The 2018-19 Marais des Cygnes Valley FFA Chapter officers took advantage of the National FFA Theme “I Can. We Will” by spending three days, July 16-18, 2018, at Tuttle Creek State Park, Manhattan, Kan.

The three days were spent enhancing their leadership skills, bonding as a team, and organizing the program of activities for the year. Officers also were able to tour the Manhattan Fire Department and the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Science, as well as going swimming and canoeing.

Kansas FFA Secretary Schuyler Zenger enlightened the officers with team building and problem solving activities during the retreat. KSU ag-ed intern Cassandra Ebert, who will be student teaching at Marais des Cygnes Valley High School agriculture education department this spring semester, also joined the officers during the retreat.

Officers Chloe Volkman, Brookelyn Janssen, Kathryn Vaught, Bayleigh Lacey, Grace Bradley, Alaina Marsh, Koby Vanderpool and Frank Warner are excited about getting the year started and have some incredible development activities for the chapter members and community planned for the upcoming year. Some of those activities include the annual organizational luau, elementary agriculture presentations, walk-in movie nights, highway cleanup, Ag Awareness Day, and a hunger awareness presentation and activity.

Fair flashback: Costumes and animals create fun for exhibitors and spectators

Participants in the animal and people costume contest at the Osage County Fair, from left, Katie Lowry, Karley Lowry, Lynnea Nelson, John Sand, Gracy Smith, and Tate Smith.

Fair season is over for the summer in Osage County, but reflecting back on Osage County’s three fairs this year brings to mind all of the fun had by spectators and exhibitors, especially during the 4-H and Open Animal Costume Contest. The contest was held June 29, 2018, during the Osage County Fair, at Osage City, with Marty and Wylie Young as mother-son contest superintendents.

Six participants dressed up for the occasion, as follows: Karley Lowry, 6, Burlingame 4-H Cloverbud, bucket calf “Sweetie”; John Sand, 8, North Osage 4-H, bucket calf “Flex”; Katie Lowry, 9, Burlingame 4-H, bucket calf “Blossom”; Tate Smith, 10, Willing Workers 4-H, bucket calf “Mac”; Lynnea Nelson, 11, North Osage, cat “Clint”; and Gracy Smith, 12, Willing Workers, market goat “Fabio”.

Jonnie Voiers, Lyndon, and Danielle Garrison, Overbrook, had the task of judging the contest, and determined the winners: Open class champion, Karley Lowry; junior champion, Tate Smith; senior/intermediate champion, Lynnea Nelson; People’s Choice Award, Gracy Smith.

Young artists win ride to school in fire truck

Coloring contest winners, from left, Andrew Baughman with assistant chief Gregg Sunday, and Nathaniel Baughman with chief Russell Mitchell. Courtesy photos.

Winners of Osage County Fire District No. 4’s coloring contest were given an exciting ride to Overbrook Attendance Center on the first day of school. Nathaniel Baughman and Andrew Baughman rode to school in a fire truck with Fire Chief Russell Mitchell and Assistant Fire Chief Gregg Sunday. The boys participated in a coloring contest at the fire district’s open house during the 2018 Overbrook fair.

2018 Overbrook Osage County Fair results: County’s best on display

Spectators and exhibitors await the judge’s determinations during the rabbit show at the Overbrook Osage County Fair. Frontier Extension District photo.

The Overbrook Osage County Fair has released the results of exhibits at the fair held Aug. 8-11, 2018.

Lyndon Leaders’ sunflowers bloom for everyone’s enjoyment

The Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club is inviting everyone to enjoy an Osage County sunflower field. The field is located eight miles north of Lyndon on U.S. Highway 75, and one mile east on 189th Street. The flowers are in full bloom until the end of August, so everyone is invited to enjoy the view, take some photos, and pick some flowers.

Catch up with the past at Arvonia

By Susan Atchison

This year has been eventful and much progress has been made at Arvonia by the Arvonia Historic Preservation Society.

January and February began with reflecting on memories of the Christmas tour and Christmas Tea, and planning for 2018 events. March started off strong with the St. David’s Tea in Lebo. Arvonia hosted Eluned Jones, director of the St. David’ Society of Kansas annual concert in Emporia.

On the cold first weekend in April, AHPS hosted several events. On Friday, a PEO chapter from Emporia toured the buildings and held their meeting. Saturday, a group of eight came for a progressive dinner bought at a silent auction benefitting the AHPS last fall. The group progressed from appetizers at the school, soup at the church, followed by the main course at the Humphreys/Atchison house, and dessert at the town hall. All food courses contained food with a Welsh flair. The brave group walked the entire route despite the weather. On Sunday, we hosted a private group tour.

Travel back in time during Pomona State Park’s retro weekend

If you ever wanted to experience the great outdoors like they did back in yesteryear, this weekend is your chance. Step back in time during the Going Retro Car, Vintage Trailer And Antique Boat Show, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at Pomona State Park.

According to the Friends of Pomona State Park, hosts of the weekend event, more than 50 vintage trailers have registered for the event, the largest group since the annual show began. Visitors can tour and see inside the vintage camping trailers, talk to the owners, and remember a long-ago time. Some of the trailers have been preserved as original, others have been renovated with more creature comforts, and some are “glampers” (glamorous camping). Spectators can vote for their favorites.

The car show this year includes additional trophies: People’s Choice, Rangers’ Choice, Top 5, Best of Eras (40s and older, 50s, 60s,70s, and 80s and newer), Best Original, and Best Car Club participation. The Rangers’ Choice award is a large metal cut-out of the winner’s own vehicle provided by local artist Ted Craig, owner of Prairie Fire Metal Arts.

For car show participants, registration begins at 8 a.m.; $15 for each car. After awards are presented, all cars will caravan for a cruise across the dam. Show vehicles are not required to pay the state park’s $5 daily car permit.

The fifth annual Going Retro Car, Vintage Trailer and Antique Boat Show is coordinated by Friends of Pomona State Park and Pomona State Park. The concession stand will open at 8 a.m. with coffee and LaMont Hill Restaurant cinnamon rolls.  The lunch menu will include hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches.

Vehicle owners of all makes and models, car enthusiasts, vintage camping trailer owners, those interested in seeing the vintage camping trailers, and those just wanting to get some exercise outdoors are all invited. For more information, call Don or Zo Torrey at 785-806-2308.

Lyndon landmark, ‘The Old Ice Plant’, former commerce center and residence

By Paul Schmidt

The distinct white painted concrete and brick building located at the corner of Washington and Third streets in Lyndon, Kan., is known as “The Old Ice Plant”. It is most associated with Lyndon resident and businessman Roscoe Gray (1890-1981) who, with his wife Nell, operated not only an ice plant in this structure, but also a slaughter house, locker plant, and an ice cream shop. There was also a private living quarters in the building.

Gray, with the help of two other men, built the concrete structure. Assisting with additions to the structure were boys from the vocational agriculture class at Lyndon High School, who wanted to earn some extra money in their free time.

In a June 12, 1980, article, Gray noted that the cement was mixed by hand and hauled by wheelbarrow. He also proudly told of the popularity of their most famous ice cream flavor, “brown bread.” In this article he revealed the secret* to their recipe.

Additionally, the roof garden portion was open every Saturday for roller skating parties with a big community dance held each Fourth of July.

The facility was in operation from 1941 to 1959. Gray, after his “first retirement” at the age of 72, went on to lay the rock for his private residence on Ash Street in Lyndon, as well as build a dozen fireplaces for homes in the Pomona area.

Source: The Osage County Historical Society, Lyndon, Kan. (Editor’s note: Please remember this building is privately owned; never enter private property without permission of the owner.)

*Rosoe and Nell’s secret to making their brown bread ice cream: The recipe is the same as any brown bread ice cream with the following two tricks. First, soak the grape-nuts in your ice cream mixture long enough – the grape-nuts should be very soggy. Second, instead of vanilla, flavor your mixture with caramel.

See more photos by Paul Schmidt below.

Unofficial primary election results for Osage County, Aug. 7, 2018

Here are the unofficial election results for Osage County in the Aug. 7, 2018, primary election, as released by the Osage County Election Officer. Write-in votes not included in totals.

Osage County’s fair season winds down at Overbrook

Summer fair season comes to an end with the Overbrook Osage County Fair, Aug. 8-11, 2018, and this year’s fair promises its traditional competition, fun and entertainment. Following exhibits, a carnival, kids’ games, everyone’s favorite fair finale is Overbrook’s annual parade on Saturday night, this year celebrating the theme of “Past and Present”. All area high school bands are encouraged to enter the annual “battle of the bands”, with cash prizes for winners.

Overbrook invites everyone to come and enjoy this year’s fair. Here’s the schedule.

Hidden History: Building Burlingame bridge was just one of Switzler’s adventures

John Switzler’s namesake creek forms a natural city limits in northeast Burlingame, as shown in the foreground on a historical illustration and satellite photo.

By Wendi Bevitt

The Santa Fe Trail crosses a small drainage known as Switzler’s Creek as the trail enters Burlingame from the east. This crossing has been in existence for traffic since the trail was created, if not in the time before history was written. The small drainage known formerly by the name “Bridge Creek” gained its name from John Switzler, a trader who was present at the birthplace of the Santa Fe Trail, and made the crossing at Switzler Creek possible.

When Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, the trading center of Santa Fe could finally become a target of trade with the American frontier. That same year, William Becknell led an expedition from Franklin, Missouri, to Santa Fe to gather furs, as well as find a viable route to that center of commerce.

The route was already known to Native Americans as a series of trails across their plains from the Missouri River Valley to the southwest. Franklin would be the beginning of Santa Fe Trail traffic for several more years and home to notable traders like Kit Carson, and lesser known ones such as John Switzler.

Switzler and his brothers took part in the Santa Fe trade. His brother Michael ran a boarding house and stable, and supplied the westbound traffic.

John was not only active in the trade between Taos, New Mexico, and Franklin, but also provided mules to the traders making the journey. When traders would head out on an expedition, they would normally travel in groups, each man carrying a good rifle, dependable pistol, four pounds of gun powder, eight pounds of lead, and rations for 20 days.

By 1822, Becknell had secured a route to Santa Fe that was accessible to wagon traffic, making travel easier. Starting in 1825, Becknell mapped the route and Colonel George Sibley was put in charge of an expedition to survey the route and secure safe passage for the travelers through treaties with the Native American tribes. Part of Sibley’s responsibilities required him to make the route easier to travel, and in 1826 he paid John Switzler $200, presumably to build the bridge over Bridge Creek, later known as Switzler Creek.

Summer of 2018 marks Help House’s 15th anniversary

By Raylene Quaney

Help House celebrated turning 15 years old in July, with a huge celebration held July 15, 2018. A couple of our past directors were in attendance, as well as Rev. Robert Conway, who was pastor at Lyndon United Methodist Church at the time Help House first formed.

The day was filled with music that was performed by several local groups. Pat Murray, of Lyndon, led the group “Abound”, then the Praise and Worship team from Community Covenant Church, in Osage City, filled our hearts with some great praise music. They were followed by Wind Strings, this group is made up of members from Burlingame, Scranton and Carbondale – Heather and Ryan Kuder, Mark Hecht, Eric and Katie Pretz. Bluegrass music filled the air. The last group of the evening was Dr. Bob and Rhonda Harmon and their very talented group of musicians playing more bluegrass.

Of course, we had many other activities and attractions during the day. The Kansas Army National Guard set up their inflatable Jousting game, The Kansas Highway Patrol brought in the seat belt “Convincer”, and Mother Goose and Grandpa Pokey were there for the little ones and some of the “bigger kids” as well. The Osage County Sheriff and a couple of deputies provided DNA identification for the children in attendance. Providing information on services and their relationship to Help House were representatives of the Salvation Army, Harvesters, United Way and Drug Free Osage County.

The event kicked off a large fundraiser for Help House. Our parking lot is gravel. It is impossible to clean off in the winter when we get ice or snow, and when it rains it has areas that stand full of water. The gravel is difficult for some of our visitors to navigate with canes, walkers or wheelchairs. The board of directors and our volunteers voted to raise the funds necessary to put a black top like surface on the parking area, and while we are doing this to also install an automatic opener for handicap use. These improvements will cost approximately $15,000. The final total raised on July 15 during our 15-15- 15 Celebration was $7,614.15. This puts us just over halfway to our goal. We would like to thank all who have helped us reach this halfway mark.

If you were not able to attend but would like to contribute to the fundraiser, send your donations to Help House, PO Box 356, Lyndon, KS 66451.

The winner of the $200 meat raffle from Santa Fe Trail Meats was Jane Jackson, Osage City. Congratulations Jane! The raffle brought in over $555.

Topeka Community Foundation presents grant for Landon Trail at Overbrook

A trailhead near Overbrook serves as the gateway to a section of the Landon Nature Trail developed in that area.

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy has announced the Topeka Community Foundation has awarded a $10,000 Healthy Living grant for future development of the Landon Nature Trail, which stretches from Topeka to near Quenemo. KRTC said the grant will be used to develop another one-mile section of trail south of Overbrook.

“We appreciate the support the Topeka Community Foundation has shown for developing outdoor recreational opportunities,” said KRTC President Doug Walker. “Kanza is working to create a remarkable recreational trail which will provide a safe place for families to walk or bicycle away from traffic. People love trails. Trails are good for Kansas.”

The trail has a 38-mile right of way in various states of development. Currently, the trail is completed from the trailhead at 17th and Monroe streets, in Topeka, to the Clinton Wildlife Area for a distance of 13 miles, and a one-mile section at Overbrook.

The trail is a particularly scenic recreational trail, and when completed it will be the only recreational trail in America to link the Oregon National Historic Trail with the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.

Patriotism shines during Lyndon’s annual Fourth parade

Lyndon’s boys baseball teams celebrated America’s favorite pastime with floats and flags.

Osage County parades will wrap up for the summer with the Overbrook Osage County Fair parade on the evening of Aug. 11, but one of the area’s most patriotic parades happens on Fourth of July at Lyndon.

For the Fourth, the city of Lyndon, Lyndon Pride, Lyndon Saddle Club, Osage County Fire District No. 5, Lyndon Lions Club, Masons and others joined together to put on a daylong community celebration. In addition to the parade, the day includes a pancake feed, picnic lunch in the park, kids’ games, free watermelon, with a finale fireworks show.

While fireworks season is past, here’s a flashback to this year’s celebration – parade photos and results.

Parade honors, determined by a jury of city officials, included:

  • All American Award – “All American Pass Time” float presented by the Lyndon 7-9-year-old boys baseball team.
  • Red White and Blue Award – Lyndon High School Dance Team
  • Patriotic Pride Award – hair2dye4
  • Home of the Free Award – Salt Creek Ranch
  • Land of Liberty Award – Malachi, Ava and Katie Shepard.
  • Mayors Choice Award – Mount Pleasant Community Church’s Salt-N-Light Youth Group

See more Lyndon Fourth of July Parade photos here.

Ruins of 160-year-old stage stop stand as monument to Osage County history

By Paul Schmidt

Located west of Burlingame, Kan., just off U.S. Highway 31, Havana Stage Station was a mail stop on the Santa Fe Trail. The stage station and hotel was built in 1858 and offered meals and lodging until 1869.

About 50 German and French families established a community on the site. A large brewery and distillery were also located there. By the early 1870s, most of the German settlers moved to the town of Alma, in Wabaunsee County, and the property was sold for taxes.

The ruins lie about 150 yards from the highway on private land, and the site is accessible only with permission from the landowner. Readers should note it is trespassing to enter private property without permission.

See more of Paul Schmidt’s photos of Havana Stage Station here.

4-H exhibitor results for the Osage County Fair, June 27-30, 2018

4-H clubs’ barn quilt contest placings: North Osage, 1st; Willing Workers, 2nd; Vassar Blue Ribbon, 3rd; Lyndon Leaders, 4th; Burlingame, 5th; Clover Wranglers, 6th; Melvern Jr. Highline, 7th. Photo thanks to Osage County Fair Association.

The Osage County Fair Association has released the 4-H exhibitors’ results of the 2018 Osage County Fair, held June 27-30, 2018. Keys for placing and 4-H clubs is at the bottom.

Open class results for the Osage County Fair, June 27-30, 2018

Canned goods, jams and jellies not only earned ribbons, they also will be used to stock the shelves of home pantries.

Placings of open class exhibitors at the Osage County Fair, held June 27-30, 2018, at Osage City, were released by the Osage County Fair Association as follows.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas