The Old Fort Genealogical Society, along with help from the Historic Preservation Association of Bourbon County and the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce are presenting a social distancing history event for Bourbon County residents, on August 1.
It is a guided carpool tour around the county with local history lovers leading and speaking at designated spots. It is the first of many by the group of local history enthusiasts.
The title of the inaugural car tour is Ghost Towns and Early Legends of Northern Bourbon County.
Stops will be the Barnesville Cemetery, Fort Lincoln and Freedom Colony, Wagon Road Bridge, Guthrie’s Mound, U.S. National Cemetery No. 1, and Eugene Ware Elementary School.
The tour will begin at 8:50 a.m. at Old Fort Genealogical Society located in Memorial Hall, Third Street and National Avenue, and end at approximately 11:50 a.m. at the National Cemetery.
Park vehicles on National Avenue in front of the Bourbon County Courthouse or across the street in front of Memorial Hall. The Old Fort Genealogical Library is located in the basement of Memorial Hall on East National Avenue.
The event costs $5 and registration is at fortscott.com. There is a limit of 45 participants.
For more information: 620-223-3300 or OFGSKS@gmail.com.
It was happenstance that the tours are beginning.
“Pete Allen comes to visit the Old Fort Genealogical Library and we talked,” Ann Rawlings, the librarian said. “He said I should contact Fred Campbell…..The next thing I know we had a meeting to set up a tour again.”
Historial Preservation of Bourbon County did bus tours years ago, she said.
“Bourbon County is fortunate to have local men and women presenters whose love of history and the preservation of that history for future generations drives them to work endless hours to fulfill their mission of historic preservation,” Pete Allen said. “Fred Campbell and Don Miller started the tour years ago. They are being joined now by Reed Hartford, Brian Allen and Ralph Carlson. Ann Rawlins, whose enthusiasm sparked the revival and Lindsay Madison has offered invaluable help in getting the tour organized.”
The following is from an email interview with Ann Rawlings:
What is the plan for future tours?
“The tours will change each month covering the whole of Bourbon County,” Rawlings said. “There are many places to show and tell the stories all over the county and this is the way to get first-hand information from well-seasoned historians.”
“Some of the areas we plan on visiting are Bronson and the aluminum statue; Hell’s Bend Railroad, engine and cemetery; Garland and the coal mines on the Old Hwy; Cato, the town that moved; the west side of Bourbon County where ‘Africa Colony’ once thrived; cemeteries – those that are active and those forgotten; travel the path of the Military Highway, and more to be defined,” she said.
Who is invited to attend?
“Anyone who has an interest in history. Most sites will be handicapped accessible as long as they can get in and out of vehicles,” Rawlings said.
Why a car tour offering?
“The plans in the future will be bus tours, but due to the six-foot distancing of the COVID guidelines, we felt the attendees would be willing to go via carpool,” she said. ” Families can still attend and not be concerned about contamination.”
“We will require all to have a mask when out of their vehicles, observe the six-foot distancing protocol and make sure all are healthy before coming on the tour.”
What is the history of the genealogical society?
“Old Fort Genealogical Society (OFGS) started in 1984 and has expanded over the years until it is a large Library packed with original documents, newspaper microfilm, hundreds of researched history notebooks and self-published works, old and new printed works, several filing cabinets full of family histories and topic histories as well as computer access to newspapers.com and ancestry.com and many other sites,” she said.
“We have researchers working on several projects at this time. Some are working on genealogy, others on local history. We have so many projects we need help. Anyone who would be willing to research at the Library or at home is welcome to contact us”
“The purpose of the Historic Preservation Association of Bourbon County, Inc. is to preserve historic sites.
“We promote public interest in matters of historical importance to Bourbon County and each year, we match several $500 City of fort Scott grants to downtown Fort Scott business owners for the purpose of restoring their historic building facades. In addition, we sponsor and sometimes co-sponsor history-related events and invite an entertaining and information speaker to each of our annual meetings.”
“We can be found on facebook by typing in HPABC or online at hpaofbourboncounty.weebly.com.”
Give a brief history of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce
“The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization serving Fort Scott and Bourbon County with a focus on being a support to our members including businesses, agri-businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals who belong to and support the work of the Chamber and are engaged in the community.”
“The Chamber strives to be a valuable resource in many ways including referrals of members, supplying relocation packets, housing options, event information and promotion of job opportunities.”
“We can be contacted via our website fortscott.com, call 620-223-3566 or come by and visit at 231 E Wall St just west of the Hwy 69/Hwy 54 interchange.”
Summer reading is in full-swing, but if you have not signed up for it yet, there’s still time! Just register here and call 620-223-2882 or email Miss Val to arrange pick up of your welcome packet. Specify how many children or teens and what grades you need packets for, when you call or email.
The library hands out packets filled with prizes (earned by reading or completing challenges), along with crafts and activities (for all participants), weekly. Participants should call or email the library every week to schedule a Friday pickup. This week, due to the Independence Day holiday weekend, the library will begin Friday pickups early, starting Thursday, July 2, at 9 am. Call 620-223-2882 or email Miss Val to schedule your pickups. If you need to catch up from past weeks, be sure to let the library staff know.
Letters to the Elderly
The library is partnering with Medicalodges, Fort Scott, in a project designed to connect summer reading families with elderly residents in care at Medicalodge. The library will send out letter stationery, envelopes, and instructions in this week’s craft and activity packets, and will collect the letters throughout the month of July. After quarantining the letters, Miss Val will deliver them to Medicalodges, Fort Scott, for distribution to their residents. Letters should be returned to the library by August 1, and Miss Val hopes to deliver them by August 3. It is the wish of library staff that the project provides comfort, entertainment, and a measure of joy to the residents, and that some of them will write back to the families, perhaps even establishing a connection that will outlast the project.
Free Books & Prizes
The library allows patrons to browse its tubs full of free books, placed on the library lawn outside the north entrance, during curbside pickup hours on days with a clear weather forecast. Youth summer reading participants may also earn books, both pre-owned and new, as prizes for completing weekly reading goals. Other prizes include toys, coupons or gift cards for free food or drinks, craft kits, snacks, dress up accessories, and summer items. The library has already distributed gift cards (as prizes for meeting weekly reading goals) purchased by the library, as well as gift cards and/or coupons donated by the following local business sponsors: Casey’s General Stores, Daylight Donuts, Domino’s Pizza, G & W Cash Saver, Marsha’s Great Plains Deli, Sonic Drive-In, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s. Pete’s Convenience Stores has also pledged a donation, which is expected to arrive soon.
Storyteller Will Stuck
From 8 am, July 18 through late night, July 23, Fort Scott Public Library will offer two video performances by Storyteller Will Stuck, provided as a part of the library’s summer reading program. Will Stuck has created one performance for preschoolers and another for elementary-aged children, inspired by this year’s summer reading theme. You may access the videos through the library’s Facebook page, showing on this playlist from July 18 – 23.
Community Members Read & Craft for Summer Reading
On this playlist, you will find local retired and current teachers, parents, librarians, and other professionals, who have already read stories or demonstrated crafts for this year’s summer reading program. The videos will remain online through the last day of summer reading, August 5.
July 7 – 10 am: Mixed-Up Tales Preschool Stories with educator Alexandra VanSickle (Zoom)
11 am: Mythological Villains Elementary Stories with educator Alexandra VanSickle (Zoom)
3 pm – Pre-recorded craft demonstrations with Ciera Smith on Facebook & YouTube
August 5 – 4 pm: Virtual Teen Summer Reading (Zoom)
In addition to regular programs, the library also offers curated grab bags filled with children’s books as part of its curbside pickup service.In order to get one, patrons must have an active library card with a non-restricted account in the Southeast Kansas Library system, or with Fort Scott. Miss Val is also creating book bags that go with the summer reading weekly themes. Each book bag features 10 books chosen by Miss Val, along with a few special goodies such as stickers or bookmarks. Bags are arranged both by topic and age group, from Birth – 1st Grade or 2nd – 5th Grades. Current topics are: Boys’ or Girls’ General Interest, Classics, Community Helpers, Dinosaurs, Disney Stories, Fairy Tale Villains, Fantasy, Fantasy Creatures, Farm, Giants & Tiny People, Independence Day, LEGO, Silly Stories, Sports, Star Wars, Summer, Superheroes, Swimming, Unicorns, Vehicles, and Zoo Animals.To order a book bag, call 223-2882 or message the library or email Miss Val. There is no limit on how many bags you may order at one time.
A recent spike in COVID 19 cases in Bourbon County and across the nation is causing the Independence Day Bash in Uniontown City Park to be canceled for safety purposes.
“I spoke with the county health officer and she said that it would be limited to 45 people (according to the Governor’s recommendations), which is impossible, so we thought it best to postpone it to a later date,” Bryan Holt, president of Union State Bank. The bank sponsors the annual event.
“Due to Bourbon County limiting public gatherings to 45 or fewer people, we are going to postpone the Independence Day Bash,” Holt said.
“While we are disappointed that we are unable to host when we normally do,” he said. “We are willing to make this sacrifice in the spirit of prudence. We are tentatively planning to reschedule it to the weekend of Labor Day. Until then, our best wishes to all for a safe and happy Independence Day celebration!”
“For anyone who ordered a shirt to support the Uniontown City Park improvements, they will be available for pickup at the selected location, the bank in Uniontown or Fort Scott, on or after July 1st at the selected time of order,” Holt said.
The community is invited to a neighborhood parade to celebrate America’s Independence Day.
At 10 a.m. on July 4, 2020, Burke Street residents will begin to line up at 10th and Burke Street.
“It’s for everyone,” Barbara Albright, who is charge of information distribution, said.
Severe storms or lightning cancels the parade…but we have conquered the rain,” Albright said.
“This year patriotic masks can be worn, (optional),” she said. “Depending on COVID 19 (the disease of the pandemic), it might be a small parade or biggest ever.”
“Please no big vehicles and watch for the children, who are all over the place,” Albright said.
Parade entrants are asked to dress in patriotic attire.
Bring lawn chairs to sit along the street and cheer the parade, she said.
Patriotic songs will be lead by Phil Hammon, with help from others.
The parade starts at the corner of 10th and Burke Street, goes south to Marblecrest and back north to the starting point, Albright said.
“The parade goes south on Burke Street to the Marblecrest Triangl,” she said.
Traffic control will be organized by Burke Street resident Frank Halsey.
For more information contact Margaret Humphrey at 223-0388, Theresa Bahr at 223-1582 or Albright at 224-7762.
The Burke Street Parade is provided by Albright.
“About 40 years ago Susan Stapleton Foster was visiting her brother Dr. Burder Stapleton’s family in Memphis, TN over the Fourth of July,” she said. “She was fascinated with several neighborhood Independence Day parades on her visit, particularly the veterans who proudly marched in the parades. Upon return to Fort Scott, she shared the idea with neighbors Margaret Humphrey and Jill Gorman. The rest is history. ”
Division of Tourism Launches New Tagline Celebrating Spirit of Kansas
TOPEKA – The Tourism Division of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism introduced its new tourism marketing tagline and campaign last week, which honors and celebrates the perseverance that defines what it means to be a Kansan.
The new tagline – To The Stars – builds upon the state’s motto, Ad Astra Per Aspera, meaning “to the stars through difficulty.”
“‘To The Stars’ reminds us who we are and shows us where to go,” said Kansas Tourism director Bridgette Jobe. “It’s a salute to the free-spirited. To the rowdy. To the wide-eyed wanderers. To the dreamers. To the stars.”
The coming year will continue with stories and features on the Kansas Tourism website, TravelKS.com, that build on and further develop To The Stars.
Travelers are encouraged to learn about the perseverance that embodies To The Stars displayed by Free Staters in the war against slavery, dust bowl farmers, Santa Fe Trail pioneers, Amelia Earhart, Nicodemus settlers, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, plaintiffs in the Brown v Board of Education landmark case, Greensburg residents, and many other notable Kansans who charged ahead despite adversity. More information about these historical figures, including places to visit to learn about them, can be found on the Kansas Tourism Blog and at TravelKS.com.
“Like many of us, the travel industry in our state and nation is experiencing unprecedented challenges amidst the global pandemic,” Jobe said. “‘To The Stars’ is as relevant as ever for Kansas, and now we have a chance to learn more about, and take hold of, the fortitude that has forged our state by visiting sites that commemorate them.”
The Division of Tourism is encouraging #SafeTravels which includes physical distancing while exploring Kansas’ wide spaces and unspoiled beauty.
“Everyone is looking for what they can do with their family this summer, and fantastic experiences are waiting just down the road in Kansas,” Jobe said. “Take a road trip to find a new adventure – whether that’s a visit to the Fort Scott National Historic Site to learn more about Bleeding Kansas, a hike at our newest state park Little Jerusalem Badlands, or traveling to buy local beef from a producer and seeing Kansas along the way.”
T-shirts and other merchandise featuring new To The Stars and Kansas designs are available at the Kansas Gear Store on TravelKS.com.
This Saturday, June 20 beginning at 9 a.m. Main Street Gallery and Flea Market is hosting what they are calling the 1st Annual Junk and Disorderly event.
“We are starting a tradition of having an open house for the flea market every year because we want the vendors to know that they are a big part of the store,” Rechelle McClellan, one of the owners, said. ” We want them to know we appreciate them for trusting us to sell their wares. It is a celebration for them.”
In addition, Rechelle with her husband, Josh, and mother-in-law Julie, want to showcase what the shop has to offer.
“We also want the public to know that we are a one-stop-shop,” Rechelle said. “If there is something you are looking for, chances are we have it at Main Street Gallery & Flea Market between new and vintage items.”
Vendors, family and friends will be helping with the event, Rechelle said.
There will be complimentary coffee, juice and a Mimosa-an adult beverage made of orange juice and champagne.
There will also be door prizes.
The business is located at 23 South Main in downtown historic Fort Scott.
Contact Rechelle McClellan at the store’s number (620)223-2210 for more information.