Hidden ‘castle’ keeps ghost town’s colorful history alive
You might expect an old 1800s community, one with a history of just five short years, to be relegated to not much more than a fable – nothing to prove its existence other than memories and a few stories passed down through the generations.
But Kalida? This short-lived yet historic Woodson County ghost town has much more to show for itself. In fact, if you travel along the small dirt roads just outside of county seat Yates Center, you might happen upon the impressive remains of Kalida yourself – including the town’s very own 120-year-old castle…
Want to keep reading about Kalida and its castle? 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 … Read More »
History on Display
How Osage Catholic Mission shaped St. Paul and Southeast Kansas
Come for the animal display, stay for the history – or vice versa.
Truth is, whatever it is that brings you in to the Osage Mission-Neosho County Museum in St. Paul, there’s plenty more where it came from.
“We’re getting to the point now that we’re pretty full,” says Ed Born, past president of the museum and husband of current president Jolene Born. “People bring items to us all the time, and until the last couple of years, we never turned anything down. But we’re getting a little fussy now.”
That’s because St. Paul has a lot of history – almost too much to fit in a standard small-town museum. As a result, the Osage Mission-Neosho County Museum grows and grows with each passing year…
Want to keep reading about St. Paul’s Osage … Read More »
Fab Lab ICC
Turning ideas into creative solutions, one project at a time
Of all things, Wes Koschke needed to make a hand. And a fully functional one, at that – for 13-year-old Kara Marr, who was born with a condition called symbrachydactyly, leaving her right palm with no fingers.
Koschke didn’t have $42,000 to purchase Marr, the daughter of a family friend, a prosthetic hand – and he also didn’t have access to a 3-D printer (going rate: $3,000) to print his own.
The solution? Enter Fab Lab ICC, a new creative space on the Independence Community College campus that provides access to cutting-edge tools for design, experimentation and problem-solving, both for students and members of the community and region.
Its mission statement: “to realize that anyone, anywhere can make (almost) anything.” No one knows that better now than Koschke…
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Men of Brutus
New film highlights men who operated, preserve Big Brutus
What makes a filmmaker from Brooklyn – who just wrapped working on a new Chris Rock movie, no less – suddenly take interest in West Mineral, Kansas?
It’s this little thing – or, rather, massive thing – called Big Brutus.
Southeast Kansans know the coal shovel-turned landmark well; the rest of the country, not so much. Nick Houy is determined to change that.
“I was always taking road trips around the country, and I happened upon a flyer for Big Brutus at a road stop in Wichita (in around 2009),” says Houy from his New York home, more than 1,200 miles away from Southeast Kansas. “It looked pretty amazing, and when I went down there I was very blown away – obviously by the shovel itself, but also by the people.”
Houy wondered what … Read More »
Erie Dinosaur Park
Dorris dinosaurs donated to Erie to create new public park
People who knew the late Robert Dorris describe him as honest and hard-working, imaginative and adventurous: a stand-up Christian husband and father.
But an artist? That’s not how Bob saw himself, anyway. His wife, Elveta, says he “didn’t want to be called an artist in any form.”
Still, some may beg to differ.
From 1989 to the early 2000s, Bob was responsible for the conception, construction and installation of 15 larger-than-life dinosaurs along Hwy. 47 near Erie. Using only metal scraps – mostly old car parts – Bob sculpted the now-famous dinosaurs “just for fun,” Elveta says. “We never dreamed it would be so (popular).”
Fondly known by many as the “Dinosaur Not-So-National Park,” the sculptures have remained on the family’s private property since Bob’s passing in 2007. Soon, though, 12 of … Read More »
Vogel Family Vineyards
Vines flourish on Galena family’s land
Ten years ago, Steve and Sheryll Vogel took a trip to Napa Valley.
Like millions of wine enthusiasts, they were impressed with the beautiful northern California landscape. Unlike many of those other visitors, however, they decided to try to replicate what they saw back at home – in Southeast Kansas.
“We went out to Napa and thought, ‘That’d be pretty on our hill,’” Steve says. “We thought we’d grow some grapes and that it wouldn’t be much trouble. It was a lot of trouble! But we decided to take a chance.”
The trouble was well worth it. Today, Steve, Sheryll and their son Phillip run Vogel Family Vineyards on 6.5 acres south of their hometown of Galena. As you turn the corner toward their home and vineyard, a sign proclaims that you’re in “Wine Country” now … Read More »
The Bowlus Fine Arts Center is celebrating 50 years in Iola
Decades ago, banker Thomas H. Bowlus left most of his estate to one bold vision: the construction of a world-class fine arts and cultural center in his small hometown of Iola.
Today, as the Bowlus Fine Arts Center celebrates its 50th anniversary season, it’s probably safe to say that Mr. Bowlus would be pleased with how his visionary gift has met – and possibly exceeded – all expectation.
“The one thing for me is just the inspiration of it all; that word to me is what it’s all about,” says Susan Raines, executive director of the Bowlus Fine Arts Center. “Mr. Bowlus was very interested in music … and he really wanted the students and the community to be proud of this.”
Opened in 1964 at 205 E. Madison – the first … Read More »
Arnold’s Greenhouse flourishes in LeRoy for more than 35 years
Know your grower, Rita Arnold likes to say.
At Arnold’s Greenhouse in LeRoy, that’s easy to do.
Despite its 70,000 square feet of greenhouses and retail space, all housing nearly 3,500 varieties of plants, Arnold’s isn’t your typical big-box operation. Rita and her husband, George, pride themselves on offering big-time quality and variety paired with small-town, independent values.
“We try to set ourselves apart as locally grown, so the consumer can have confidence,” Rita says. “And unlike other garden centers, we let the consumer go into each of our greenhouses. Because of that, we have the largest shopping area in the state.”
That scale, however, is just one element of what sets Arnold’s apart from the rest. Just ask George and Rita’s longtime customers.
“I love the selection of plants that they have. Every year … Read More »
Parsons woman transforms 100-year-old farmhouse into charming getaway
Last New Year’s Eve, Debbie Hoppes welcomed an out-of-town couple to The FarmHouse. As she closed the front door and headed to her car, she overheard: “Honey, you hit the ball out of the park choosing this place.”
Actually, Hoppes has been hearing that a lot lately.
“I put my heart and soul into this,” she says. “So when someone gets it, I love that. Why in the world would you stay in a hotel when you can have all of this – the whole house, the space, the privacy?”
It’s a question that led Hoppes to open The FarmHouse, a quaint, peaceful two-bedroom rental (dubbed a bed-and-cook-your-own-breakfast), on the outskirts of Parsons last summer. Since then, she’s welcomed honeymooners and wedding parties, family reunions, staycation-ers, businessmen, and everything in between…
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Art Gone Postal
Fall 2013 Issue
Just call them the seven wonders of Southeast Kansas.
Found in Burlington, Columbus, Eureka, Fort Scott, Fredonia, Neodesha and Oswego, seven New Deal murals and sculptures have called Southeast Kansas home for more than 70 years. Produced under the Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts in the ‘30s and early ‘40s, these seven art pieces – plus 22 elsewhere in Kansas – were placed publicly in area post offices to help bolster American pride and patriotism and boost the morale of those suffering after the Great Depression.
They’re still captivating Southeast Kansans today.
“Post offices were gathering places then, and everyone was getting to see this artwork,” says Dr. Lorraine Madway, curator of special collections and university archivist for Wichita State University Libraries. “Their purpose…”
Want to keep reading? Check out the fall issue of Southeast Kansas Living! It includes … Read More »