Category Archives: Places

Hidden History: Homesteaders lay foundation for Osage County’s future

A cornerstone carved by William S. White reminds of the connection of the home’s past owners to its current inhabitants.

By Wendi Bevitt

Every home has a story. It is a standing memorial of the people that have lived and loved within its walls – each family tailoring it to meet their tastes and needs.

One Osage County family is seeing to preserve the original details that were lovingly added to their century-year-old home.

Michael and Sara Floyd bought their rural Osage County, Kan., home and 4.5 acres in 2014, and the home and barn were in much need of some love and attention. It is the Floyds’ goal to restore both structures back to their former glory.

Summer on the Marais des Cygnes

Lazing on the banks of the Marais des Cygnes River is a perfect way to spend the dog days of summer.

By Paul Schmidt

Viewed here from Melvern’s Riverfront Trail, the Marais des Cygnes River has a rich history dating back to the French trappers who named it (Marais des Cygnes translated to English is “marsh of the swan”). Melvern’s Riverfront Park and Trail includes a scenic five-mile expanse of diverse terrain that winds along river bottom and wetlands. In addition to its scenic river access, the park is an Osage County treasure of native Kansas grassland animal and plant life.

4-H club leads community in “Tiger spirit” with downtown wall project

Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club members and Prayer and Action team members work together to create a small “Tiger spirit” pocket park in downtown Lyndon. Courtesy photo.

By Leanne Shoup
Club Reporter

Despite a busy fair season, the Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club paired up with the Prayer and Action team that was visiting Osage County this summer. It has been a club goal to help beautify and give back to the community, and with the help of the Prayer and Action volunteers, the club was able to get its wall project well underway. For three days they spent preparing the ground, laying pavers and painting a wall on Topeka Avenue in Lyndon.

The best part about the project was being able to meet and interact with the volunteers. These volunteers were high school-aged Catholics, who devoted a week to help serve others and grow in their faith. The students were from various parishes, ranging from the Kansas City area and even Chicago.

After hearing of their mission, the Lyndon Leader 4-H Club reached out to them. Due to the club having so many young members, they needed the extra muscle to help with their ambitious project. Generously, the Prayer and Action team agreed to team up with the club, and now citizens of the Lyndon community can enjoy the fruits of their labor for many years to come.

There are still a few things left to do before the wall project is complete. Final plans are to put in landscaping to show Lyndon Tiger spirit.

Forgotten bridge spans the flow of time

By Paul Schmidt

The remains of an abandoned Pratt through-truss, five-panel, pin-connected bridge still spans the Dragoon Creek near Burlingame, Kan. Built in 1899 by the Kansas City Bridge Company, only its strong frame survives. It is one of many old surviving bridges that add character and intrigue to Osage County. Details of this bridge were provided by – a site devoted to documenting historic and notable bridges of the U.S. 

Dragoon forever marches across the Osage County prairie

By Paul Schmidt

The 205,359-acre Dragoon Creek watershed is part of the Pomona Lake watershed in east-central Kansas. Dragoon Creek originates in the southeast portion of Wabaunsee County, and it flows southeast until it merges with 110-Mile, Plummer and Valley Brook creeks to form Lake Pomona. Dragoon Creek is named after Pvt. Samuel Hunt, who was part of a Dragoon military expedition to Colorado and died Sept. 11, 1835. The 23-year-old soldier is buried west of Burlingame near the creek that now bears his name. This photo is of the final stretch of the Dragoon very close to Lake Pomona, taken through a concrete rail arch of the abandoned U.S. Highway 75 bridge (No. 75-70 16.8, constructed 1954).

Lyndon Leaders now on display at city park

Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club members proudly show off their new sign at Lyndon City Park, front from left, Ryan Bones, Allie Kneisler, James Marcotte, Garrett Shoup, Morgan Young; back, Ethan Kneisler, Cade Shoup, Leanne Shoup, Kaelin Bones, Reanna Marcotte, James Marcotte, and Kendall Young.

By Leanne Shoup, Club Reporter

The Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club had its monthly meeting on June 11, 2017, at the Lyndon City Park. Announcements included the upcoming fair dates and the club’s decision to help clean up Memorial Day flowers at the city cemetery on June 18.

The program included every member showing one project they plan to take for the fair. Some of the projects shown included woodworking and visual arts.

Following the meeting the club had a potluck meal. They ended their time together by taking a photo in front of the new sign the club donated to the “Welcome to Lyndon” sign at Lyndon City Park.

Lyndon Methodists ‘rev up’ for sixth annual engine-powered show

Old met older as vintage vehicles parked all around the historic Bailey House at Lyndon City Park last Saturday.

By Rebecca Thill

Despite the extreme weather and power outages early Saturday morning, the sixth annual “Get Rev’d Up” Car Show at Lyndon went on without a hitch.

There were close to 100 entries, including cars, motorcycles, steam engines, and 18-wheelers. Twenty awards were given out along with several specialty awards and several memorial awards.

Live music was provided by Mike Cline and the Constance Praise Band, and a DJ. There were also activities, with goody bags provided for all the children that attended. Face painting, tattoos, and Hot Wheels racing were a hit with all the kids.

The church’s preschool served biscuits with sausage gravy and breakfast burritos, the Mothers of Preschoolers had homemade cinnamon rolls for sale, and lunch was served by the United Methodist Church finance team. The United Methodist Women had a variety of 13 flavors of homemade ice cream.

Proceeds from the event support Youth Ministries, MOPS, Lyndon United Methodist Preschool, and the Lyndon United Methodist Women.

Here’s some views of the park jammed with motorized vehicles.

Rapp School, a legacy of Osage County learning

Photo by Paul Schmidt

Rapp School is an Osage County treasure. This brick school house built in 1929 includes original furnishings, curriculum materials, and playground equipment. The solid, brick structure not only served the community well until 1959, but also lives today as an active historical resource and repository of our local educational and social history. Rapp School is located at 10324 U.S. Highway 56, about four miles west of Osage City, Kan.

Osage County Places Quenemo railroad bridge stands test of time

Strength and longevity are exemplified by this BNSF truss bridge. Beautifully tucked away just east of Quenemo, this one erected in 1905 (updated in 1945) still serves its purpose: getting trains across the Marias des Cygnes River.

Photo by Paul Schmidt.

Historical society and Osage County News publish online cemetery list

No Name No. 8 Cemetery, near Lamont Hill. Photo by Jan Williams.

In cooperation with the Osage County Historical Society, Osage County News has published online a list of Osage County cemeteries and their locations. The historical society had previously published similar information in a brochure. Volunteers of the society recently updated and corrected the list.

Osage County News has also created a map that shows the general locations of the cemeteries, which are listed with directions on the reverse side of the map. A printable version of the two-page map and cemetery list is available here.

When visiting the cemeteries listed, visitors are advised that some are on private property and property owners’ privacy should be respected. Not all cemeteries are located on all-weather roads, and some are in remote locations in Osage County; visitors should watch weather conditions and be aware of possible road hazards. Use of a highway map or GPS device to assist with navigation when trying to locate cemeteries is also advised.

Hidden History: ‘Marble man’ chiseled his legacy in Osage County cemeteries

Matthew Waddle special-ordered stone from Vermont in 1902 for John and Margaret Sowell’s monument, now located at Vassar Cemetery.

By Wendi Bevitt

Matthew Waddle’s name has been relegated to Osage County’s history, but as you venture to most cemeteries within the county this Memorial Day, you’ll see evidences of his work everywhere.

Matthew Waddle owned and operated a successful monument business in Lyndon, Kan., from the 1880s until his death in 1907. The Ohio native first lived in Ottawa, Kan., where he got his start as a salesman for Hanway Brothers Monuments in 1876.  Hanway Brothers, owned by John Hanway, executed fine monuments and employed highly skilled workmen with the most up to date tools. They were the oldest marble company in the state and highly regarded for their monuments and fair dealings.  John Hanway’s father, James, was a stone cutter and had been an associate of John Brown. The Hanway Brothers firm created the John Brown statue that now stands in Osawatomie.

Matthew Waddle made Hiram Ward's stone that is in the Burlingame Cemetery. Osage County history tidbit: Ward was a staunch opponent of the gambling and horse races at the Burlingame Fair. Apparently he got that nixed, but when he died in 1895, it didn't take long for them to get reinstated.

Matthew Waddle made Hiram Ward’s stone that is in the Burlingame Cemetery. Osage County history tidbit: Ward was a staunch opponent of the gambling and horse races at the Burlingame Fair. Apparently he got that nixed, but when he died in 1895, it didn’t take long for them to get reinstated.

Before 1883, Waddle had left Hanway and was working for Fernald Brothers, of Topeka, Kan. Fernald Brothers also created grand monuments and holds the distinction of creating the Kansas memorial tablet in 1882 for the interior of the Washington Monument in the nation’s capitol.

By 1885, Waddle settled in Lyndon and struck out on his own utilizing the knowledge gleaned with Hanway and Fernald. His business grew rapidly and he was creating monuments across Osage County of “the highest class of work”. Because of his excellent craftsmanship, he also sold monuments throughout the state and held the distinction of creating “the finest monument in Franklin County”, although that monument has not been identified at the time of this article. Business was going so well, that in June of 1895, he delivered 25 monuments to Burlingame Cemetery alone.

Waddle’s marble came not only from local suppliers, but he could special order quality stone from elsewhere. One such stone was that of John and Margaret Sowell’s monument located at Vassar. The marble was ordered after Mr. Sowell’s death in 1902 from Rutland, Vermont, at a cost of $200. Transit for the stone proved disastrous however, and flooding that year led to its disappearance en route.

Timeless literacy – Lyndon Carnegie Library

The Lyndon Carnegie Library is a beautiful little library that clearly shows the importance placed upon literacy at the time it was founded, 1910. Believed to be the smallest of Carnegie libraries in the country, it stands classically solid and enduring with its rock walls and red tile roof.

For more information about the library, call 785-828-4520, or stop by 127 E. Sixth St., Lyndon.

Photo thanks to Paul Schmidt, [email protected].

Carbondale citizens begin to ‘raise the roof’ for new city library

Steering committee members of the “Let’s Raise the Roof” capital campaign for a new city library in Carbondale have launched an initiative to raise a total of $250,000 in private funds to match funds for a community block grant. The group announced that as of April 11, $109,475 has been raised through donations, pledges, fundraising events, and other initiatives. Courtesy photo.

By Sue Anderson

CARBONDALE, Kan. – After years of hoping and planning, friends of the library in Carbondale are ready to launch a full scale campaign to literally “Raise the Roof” for a new, spacious library facility. An enthusiastic crowd of community citizens, including city government officials, library patrons and the campaign steering committee members and their families gathered April 11, 2017, to officially begin an extensive fund raising campaign to reach not only residents in the community, but also those that ever worked, lived or attended schools in Carbondale.

Kandy Hinck, chair of the “Let’s Raise the Roof” capital campaign, announced to those in attendance that a total of $109,474 has been raised toward the building project. The new 6,000 square foot library facility will be built on the northeast corner of the intersection at Third and Main streets, in downtown Carbondale.

The Carbondale City Council recently purchased land for the new library and the lot has been cleared, making it possible to begin building as soon as the remaining funds are raised.

“We are past the talking stage,” said Hinck. “Now we are taking action to make this a reality.”

A total of $250,000 in private contributions is needed in order to apply for a community development block grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce. Additional funds will come from other government grants, donations from private foundations, and low interest bonds.

In addition to asking for pledges, the steering committee will initiate a variety of fundraising activities and events in the coming months, and visit with individuals about how to become involved, both by making a financial pledge and also as a volunteer. Information packets with full details about the campaign are available at the current library.

Ridgeway Lodge’s generous donation to help build Overbrook’s lake trails


Jon Brady, center, Overbrook PRIDE board president, accepts $1,000 from members of Ridgeway Lodge, from left, Don Wolford and Jon Wilhite, and Dale Fox and John Shepard.

Four members of Overbrook Ridgeway Masonic Lodge No. 62 AF&AM were guests at the regular monthly meeting of Overbrook PRIDE on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. They presented PRIDE with a check for $1,000 as a donation to an improvement project at Overbrook City Park.

The project includes pouring a new trailway (sidewalk) at the Youth Fishing Pond. Currently, there is a trailway around the entirety of the larger City Lake. The new walk will extend that trailway to and from a bridge that crosses the Youth Fishing Pond which is located just south of the larger lake.

Local donations, along with this check from the Ridgeway Lodge, provide enough funding to complete the first phase of the new trailway. A second phase will be done when additional funds are received. 

Hidden History: For Opothle Yahola’s people, ‘Trail of Blood on Ice’ led to Osage County

By Wendi Bevitt

Just south of Lyndon, Kan., a sign stands commemorating the Opothle Yahola trail. Most driving past are probably unaware of the man or what led to his presence in Osage County more than a hundred years ago.

Opothle Yahola was a chief within the band of the Muscogee Creek tribe. He was born around 1798, when the Creek were still in their original territory within the woodlands of the Southeast. Opothle Yahola’s name means “good speaker”, which reflects one of his greatest traits as a diplomat and advocate for his people.

When the Indian Removal Act was signed in 1830, he started to look for a place to relocate his people other than those lands set aside for the displaced tribes in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). He ventured to Texas to acquire lands where they could live communally and in peace. His plan faced resistance from both the Mexican and U.S. governments, though, and it was abandoned. The Creeks were eventually moved along with many others along the infamous “Trail of Tears” to Indian Territory in 1837.

The Creek resided in Indian Territory until the increasing conflicts with the Civil War. Opothle Yahola’s band tried to remain neutral, but it was difficult living in their southern setting, and they tended toward siding with the federal government, which had basically abandoned that territory at the onset of the conflict.

The Muscogee Creek did own slaves, however those individuals were allowed more rights within the tribe than slaves owned among the white population. Also, the Muscogee Creek blamed their removal from their native homeland on the southern states and held no allegiance there as a result. Opothle Yahola appealed to the federal government for protection against the increasing antagonism. Abraham Lincoln responded with an offer of protection and asylum in the newly formed state of Kansas.

The tribe accepted this invitation and started their exodus to Kansas in November of 1861. This was not an easy trip, however. The Confederates were not to let these perceived traitors go so easily, and Opothle Yahola and his people engaged in three battles before they made it to freedom in Kansas.

Osage County farmers load local elevator with beans

With soybean harvest underway, Osage County farmers were busy over the weekend hauling soybeans to the elevator at Osage City. As farm trucks lined up at Ag Choice on Sunday, local drone photographer Rick Potter used the opportunity to get some aerial shots of this year’s harvest in progress. The USDA has forecast record soybean and corn production and yields across the U.S. in 2016.

Sunflower photo contest spotlights Osage County talent

Chelsi Simpson’s portrait of two children sitting on a hay bale in the sunflower field was the second place winner in the Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club’s recent sunflower photo contest.

Lyndon Leaders’ sunflowers spread sunshine across the county

Chenoa Casebier’s photo of a girl holding a flag in front of sunflowers was the first place winner in the Lyndon Leader 4-H Club’s recent sunflower photo contest.

The Lyndon Leader 4-H Club’s recent community sunflower project proved to be popular, attracting many people from Osage County and beyond to a sunflower field north of Lyndon. Showing their rural hospitality, the 4-H club had invited everyone to view the field along U.S. Highway 75, stop to take photos for a photo contest, walk among the sunflowers and pick some if they wished.

Winners of the photo contest have been announced: First-place winner was Chenoa Casebier, of Osage City, with a photo of a girl holding a flag in front of  sunflowers at sunset; second-place winner was Chelsi Simpson, Chelsi Simpson Photography, Osage City, with a portrait of two children sitting on a hay bale in the sunflower field.

Hidden History: The poor, the undesirable and the forgotten

Now a private residence, the Osage County Poor Farm once housed the county’s less fortunate.

By Wendi Bevitt

In 1973, Osage County closed an era on how it cared for those unable to provide for themselves, whether they be poor, orphaned, or lacking the physical or mental capabilities to live independently. This institution was known as the Osage County Poor Farm.

Prior to its establishment, there was no set system or institution for this kind of service and so it was left to the communities to care for those facing difficulty.

For its part, the city of Burlingame handled this by reimbursing its citizens who lent out goods and services or provided board in their homes to those in need. This sufficed for a time, but as population grew, there arose a cry for the county to take a more active part in caring for the needy.

In January 1876, more than 150 acres of land was purchased central to the population center of the time. The land chosen was Rice’s Grove near Burlingame, adjacent to the Dragoon Creek, where the first 4th of July celebration was held in 1855. By March, the property was ready to take in homeless residents and by April the separate quarters for those declared insane was prepared.

Hidden History: Stilled by strychnine, stone girl watches over Overbrook Cemetery

By Wendi Bevitt

Standing silent watch, a young girl fixes her gaze over the Overbrook Cemetery. The girl of stone is Vivian Butel, the daughter of Arthur “A.J.” and Maud (Phillips) Butel. Vivian was born in 1914 near Overbrook. Arthur and Maude had two other children: Gerald, born 1909, and Arden, born 1920. People come and leave their tokens in memoriam to this young girl, some not knowing the tragic story of her death.

Vivian’s father, Arthur, was a dentist. At the time of her birth only around 60 percent of dentists were dental school graduates of the country’s approximately 57 dental schools. Many who chose this profession were apprenticed because of the cost of going away to a trade school. Arthur practiced dentistry in Eudora, Topeka, and Kansas City.

Dentistry at this time was rough to say the least. The first dental drills had been invented in the 1870s, but high speed drills were not available until the 1950s. The first X-ray machine used on a living person within the United States was in 1896, performed by Dr. Edmund Kells. The danger of using X-rays at this early time is seen with Dr. Kells himself; he developed lesions and cancer from exposure to the radiation.

When World War I affected the homefront, many dentists were called on to assist the effort. A.J. Butel joined the Preparedness League of American Dentists, which attended to those enlisted as soldiers prior to the soldiers’ deployment overseas. These dentists filled cavities and extracted diseased teeth so that the limited dentists available on the war front would be able to focus on emergency medicine. This was an important cause since many who could afford dental care were only those among the upper classes.

By 1915, Arthur moved his family back to the Overbrook area, where he continued his dental practice. In November 1918, while Arthur was away in Colorado, 4-year-old Vivian came upon a box of pills and ate some. The pills contained strychnine. Strychnine, while a poison and generally discouraged in the medical community, was at one time prescribed in low doses as a remedy for heart and respiratory ailments or as a stimulant. Within four hours the child had died.

Primary election Aug. 2: Where do you vote?

Polling places are located across the county for the Tuesday, Aug. 2, primary election. Voters should vote at the polling place established for their precinct. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The following are polling places in Osage County:

  • Agency Precinct……………………. Quenemo Community Building, 122 Fourth St., Quenemo
  • Arvonia Precinct……………………. Osage City Community Building, 517 S. First St., Osage City
  • Barclay Precinct…………………….. Osage City Community Building, 517 S. First St., Osage City
  • North Burlingame Precinct……… Schuyler Museum, 117 S. Dacotah St., Burlingame
  • South Burlingame Precinct……… Schuyler Museum, 117 S. Dacotah St., Burlingame
  • Dragoon Precinct…………………… Schuyler Museum, 117 S. Dacotah St., Burlingame
  • Elk Precinct………………………….. Grace Community Church, 310 E. Eighth St., Overbrook
  • Fairfax Precinct…………………….. Grace Community Church, 310 E. Eighth St., Overbrook
  • Grant Precinct……………………….. Osage City Community Building, 517 S. First St., Osage City
  • Michigan Valley Precinct……….. Grace Community Church, 310 E. Eighth St., Overbrook
  • Vassar Precinct……………………… Lyndon Community Center, 204 Topeka Ave., Lyndon
  • Lincoln Precinct…………………….. Melvern Community Building, 141 SW Main St., Melvern
  • Melvern Precinct……………………. Melvern Community Building, 141 SW Main St., Melvern
  • Olivet Precinct………………………. Melvern Community Building, 141 SW Main St., Melvern
  • North Ridgeway Precinct……….. ELMS Community Center, 228 Main St., Carbondale
  • South Ridgeway Precinct……….. ELMS Community Center, 228 Main St., Carbondale
  • Scranton Precinct…………………… Scranton Community Center, 104 Burlingame Ave., Scranton
  • Superior Precinct…………………… Osage City Community Building, 517 S. First St., Osage City
  • North Valley Brook Precinct…… Lyndon Community Center, 204 Topeka Ave., Lyndon
  • South Valley Brook Precinct…… Lyndon Community Center, 204 Topeka Ave., Lyndon
  • Osage City First Ward……………. Osage City Community Building, 517 S. First St., Osage City
  • Osage City Second Ward……….. Osage City Community Building, 517 S. First St., Osage City
  • Osage City Third Ward………….. Osage City Community Building, 517 S. First St., Osage City
  • Osage City Fourth Ward………… Osage City Community Building, 517 S. First St., Osage City

If unsure of which precinct they reside in or where they should vote, voters should contact the county election clerk at 785-828-4182.

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