SEK ghost town comes to life in a big way during annual Fall Tour
It’s been more than 60 years since the one-room Cato School conducted official classroom business. But come one weekend each fall, when more than 600 students descend upon the ghost town of Cato, that tiny historic school and its community come back to life in a big way.
Teachers gather students for turn-of-the-century math and reading lessons. A horse-drawn stagecoach wanders near. Kids play traditional pioneer games outside the schoolhouse windows.
It all happens at Cato’s annual Fall Tour, this year set for the first weekend in November. The event highlights the history of Cato and offers several historical reenactments, music, refreshments, informational booths, tours and more…
Want to keep reading about Cato and its annual Fall Tour? Check out the fall issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It … Read More »
Rural By Choice
Schenker Family Farms and McCune Farm to Market invest in SEK – while serving customers around the world
It was 2008. Cherie Schenker logged on to Craigslist, a relatively new website at the time, to advertise a quarter of Schenker Family Farms’ grass-fed beef to local consumers.
It didn’t work.
“Somehow, it ended up going on the Craigslist in Orange County, California,” she says with a laugh. “But then – someone called.”
And someone else called. Then someone else. Quickly, Cherie and her husband, Kevin, realized: There’s a huge market for this.
“We needed a website and we needed to figure out how to ship this stuff,” Cherie says. “Necessity is the mother of invention … and we just kind of got propelled into it from there.”
Where they’ve landed 10 years later is one of the largest direct-marketing livestock operations in the state … Read More »
Welcome to The Lavender Patch
Fort Scott family farm features 1,000+ lavender plants
When you enter Davin and Betsy Reichard’s home, you can’t miss it: that familiar, unmistakable scent of lavender.
It’s inevitable. The Reichards are surrounded by lavender, from the hundreds of lavender plants that are blooming just outside their front door to the dozens of homemade lavender products they make in their home each week.
That’s just everyday life (“I don’t even smell it anymore,” Betsy says) as the Reichards run The Lavender Patch Farm in Fort Scott. Their small family operation centers on just over 1,000 lavender plants, plus a gift shop filled with Betsy’s lavender creations…
Want to keep reading about The Lavender Patch Farm? Check out the summer issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand … Read More »
Fall in Love at Summit Hill Gardens
There’s just something about Summit Hill. It captivated Patsy Smeed from the very beginning.
She moved there – one acre of land south of Chanute, the site of an old one-room schoolhouse – more than 40 years ago with her late husband Larry, an artist and professor. All these years later, she still hasn’t left.
“I just fell in love with Summit Hill,” she says. “It’s been a lot of great therapy for me.”
Since her arrival, Patsy has slowly expanded her land from one acre to 65 acres. The sprawling property is much more than her home or the location of a historic schoolhouse: It’s also the site of her business, Summit Hill Gardens, which offers a soap shop (all products Patsy makes herself) and wedding venue/event center in partnership with her sister-in-law Gretchen Brant.
No matter … Read More »
Every other year, we publish this special tourism issue to give Southeast Kansas readers ideas for places to go and things to do right in their own backyard — and this one is our best yet, packed with more than 150 ideas!
Southeast Kansas Living subscribers received the 68-page Adventures & Day Trips issue for free as part of their subscription. Looking for your own copy? Contact us to purchase a copy and have it shipped directly to you.
Southeast Kansas provides endless opportunities for discovery and fun. We hope you’ll use the Adventures & Day Trips issue as a guide to get out and explore this beautiful, historic corner of Kansas!
Galesburg innovator’s legacy lives on in Southeast Kansas – and across the country
Everyone who knew him says Stanley Wilbur Shaw was an inventor by nature.
At age 8, in the late 1880s, he assembled his first bicycle, using the wheels from his dad’s cultivator (come corn plowing time, he later wrote, he had to return those wheels). By 10, he had made a crude clock and was repairing farm equipment and guns. A few years later, as a young teenager, he built his first engine.
It’s no surprise, then, that Stanley would go on to make inventing his life’s work, finding success making small engines that converted bicycles to motorbikes in the early 1900s. He would later make automobiles and vastly popular small tractors and garden equipment, like the Shaw Du-All and Peppy Pal tractors. Stanley’s company, Shaw Manufacturing, was located … Read More »
History on Route 66
Old Riverton Store a fixture of SEK – and Route 66 – since 1925
On the small, 13.2-mile stretch of Route 66 that calls Kansas home, there’s a business that’s been operating since 1925 – one year before the Mother Road was even established.
Old Riverton Store might very well be the oldest continuously operating business on Route 66. To the hundreds of overseas tourists – from China, Australia, Italy, you name it – who visit it each year, the store is a must-stop for Route 66 history and nostalgia. For Riverton folks, it’s simply a staple of everyday life.
“I can’t imagine there’s another business like this on Route 66 that was around in 1925,” says Scott Nelson, who took over Old Riverton Store in 2010. “It’s just always been here…”
Want to keep reading about Old Riverton Store? Check … Read More »
1892 Neodesha oil discovery changes Southeast Kansas forever
The Mid-Continent Oil Field has historically been one of the largest producers of oil in the United States. It consists of hundreds of oil fields, spans six states and at one time was responsible for generating more than half of the nation’s oil supply.
Its birthplace? Right here in Southeast Kansas – Neodesha, to be exact. The discovery of Neodesha’s Norman No. 1, what many believe to be the first commercial oil well west of the Mississippi River, not only forever changed the town, but also kicked off an oil boom that put the entire region and state on the map…
Want to keep reading about Norman No. 1? Check out the winter issue of Southeast Kansas Living, out now! It includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a … Read More »
Art is Ageless
Art competition for seniors emphasizes creativity and encouragement
Aggie Keesling, 89, has taken up painting just in the last several years. She’s teaching herself, experimenting with colors, learning from trial and error. She even paints over old canvases multiple times so she doesn’t have to drive to town to buy more.
“I paint quite a bit, especially in the wintertime because it’s so quiet out here,” says Aggie, who lives in Farlington. “When I have nothing to do, I’ll sit and paint. It gives me so much enjoyment, I wonder where the hours have gone.”
This year, for the first time, Aggie submitted her artwork to a contest: Art is Ageless, hosted by Fort Scott Presbyterian Village. She selected two of her paintings to enter into one category – and, much to her shock, she took home first and second place.
“A … Read More »
Mined Land Wildlife Area boasts premier hunting and fishing – and unique history
You’ve never experienced a Kansas wildlife area quite like this one.
Spread over 47 different tracts of land, the Mined Land Wildlife Area encompasses nearly 15,000 acres throughout Cherokee, Crawford and Labette counties. But it’s the area’s history that makes it extraordinary: Once wrecked by coal mining, the land is now home to perhaps the most unique wildlife area in the state, having been transformed to offer some of the state’s finest hunting and fishing.
“What was at one time environmental devastation has, with some reclamation, turned into a dense growth of vegetation, along with these strip mine lakes that cover up to 1,500 acres in the area,” says David Jenkins, wildlife manager for the Mined Land Wildlife Area. “There’s nothing else quite like it in the state of … Read More »