Jenny Sands Revitz Soper always wanted to live in a big house.
That was pretty much the entire premise for the adventure she has undertaken in the last year.
It began in July 2018, during a visit to Independence to clear out the home of her late parents, Bud and Millie Sands. The home had recently sold and there was “stuff” to be dealt with. Maybe it was the nostalgia of that task or perhaps the recollection of fond memories of the community where she lived as a child that caused her to begin percolating a plan. She needed a way to bridge her lifelong house dream with her current reality as a practicing attorney in West Los Angeles.
“I decided I wanted to retire, but I wasn’t retirement age,” Jenny said. “So, I thought, ‘Let’s start a B&B. That way, we can have an excuse for buying a big house.’”
Space Monkey Independence celebrates its own Miss Able, who blazed the trail for human space travel when she was launched to space 60 years ago
Photo courtesy of Miss Able Facebook page
Mickey Mantle made history in 1949 when he hit his first professional home run at Independence’s Shulthis Stadium. His ball soared over the stadium wall, ultimately landing on nearby Monkey Island at Ralph Mitchell Zoo – or, at least, local legend tells the story that way.
Whether Mickey’s ball really did reach the zoo’s monkeys or not, Monkey Island would produce some big history of its own just a handful of years later with the birth of rhesus monkey Miss Able. The 7-pound primate would go on to become the first successful American astronaut, flying to space and returning home with squirrel monkey Miss Baker in May of 1959. Together, these two tiny pioneers blazed the trail for manned spaceflight, demonstrating with their successful trip that humans could reach outer space…
Want to keep reading about Miss Able? 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 near you.
Fried Chicken Paradise Fried chicken has been famous in Crawford County for decades. Here’s why.
In the wee hours of a cold January morning, Donna Lipoglav stood over a fryer at Chicken Annie’s, cooking up some – you guessed it – chicken. A KOAM/Fox14 anchor was on his way to visit Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, and he wanted to bring the governor something that epitomized Southeast Kansas.
Fried chicken it was.
“He called, and I got here at 7 in the morning and fried him some chicken,” Donna says. “It was pretty cool.”
After all, there’s not much that’s more legendary in Southeast Kansas than its tender, juicy, crispy-coated fried chicken. The delicious tradition began 85 years ago with Annie Pichler, Donna’s grandmother and Chicken Annie’s namesake, who began serving food out of her home north of Pittsburg after her coal-miner husband was injured at work. It didn’t take long for word to spread about her fried-chicken joint – and for it to be accompanied by several others in the county.
Together, the six famous chicken houses of Crawford County have been called one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine. Some have been written up in national publications and featured on cable TV. And to this day, they’re all serving fried chicken in their own way – each with an equally zealous following…
Want to keep reading about Crawford County’s fried-chicken tradition? Check out the spring 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 near you.
Discover Cato SEK ghost town comes to life in a big way during annual Fall Tour
Photo courtesy of Cato Historical Preservation Association
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 includes this story in its entirety, plus so much more. Subscribe now, or contact us to find a newsstand near you.
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.
Photo courtesy of The Lavender Patch Farm
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 near you.
There’s just something about Summit Hill. It captivated Patsy Smeed from the very beginning.
Photo courtesy of Hope’s Perspective Photography
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 what brings people to Summit Hill Gardens, they often leave captivated by the place – just like Patsy.
“We want people to feel that this is a very peaceful part of the world,” Patsy says. “Just a little bit of Eden.”
Want to keep reading about Summit Hill Gardens? 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 near you.
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!
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 out the spring 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 near you.
Black Gold 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 newsstand near you.
House on a Hill Peek inside the historic Brown Mansion in Coffeyville
A four-story, 111-year-old mansion is bound to have its haunted tales. The Brown Mansion in Coffeyville boasts plenty of them.
“It’s a big old giant house,” says Kris Crane, president of the Coffeyville Historical Society. “And there are personal items here: All of this furniture belonged to the Browns; these are their clothes; they ate off these plates. People are always thinking it’s haunted.”
For Kris, the ghostly stories and random eerie incidents – a wandering voice, a creaky step – don’t bother her much. After all, she’s at the mansion every week to host events and guided tours (including occasional visits from paranormal investigation groups) and has come to know the mansion inside and out.
But legends of the supernatural come with the territory, particularly when a home’s history is as storied as the Brown Mansion’s…
Want to keep reading about the Brown Mansion? Check out the fall 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 near you