Marcia McCoy, photographer and longtime friend of Gordon Parks, hasdonated an iconic portrait of the celebrated Fort Scott native taken by his son, David, to the museum that bears his name.
Now on display in the museum, located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College, is the photo of Parks shown in 1973. The photo,titled “Trailblazer,” captures the image of Parks riding horseback and smoking a pipe while directing a film on location in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
“Gordon Parks was a trailblazer from Fort Scott, a true ‘Renaissance’ man, and my father,” said David Parks.
McCoy, who also worked with Gordon Parks as curator of his signature collection, “Images from the Soul,” teamed with Parks and Robert Erlichman of Art Guild Press to create an edition suite of “Trailblazer.”
“(Gordon) loved this image his son capturedof him, out in the Flint Hills of Kansas–his homeland,” McCoy said. “Mr.Parks is a national treasure and has inspired creators globally to have the courage to create and express their voices and visions. We are delighted to share this powerful and inspiring portrait with you and the world.”
For more information or to schedule museum visits and tours call (620) 223–2700, ext. 5850, or email [email protected]. ###
The Fort Scott National Historic Site 41st Annual Candlelight Tour is completely sold out.
The tour is Dec. 2nd and 3rd.
“This year… we are commemorating several important milestones of our nation’s history,” Carl Brenner, FSNHS Program Manager for Interpretation and Resource Management, said. “Each milestone highlights a different portion of the Fort’s history as well.”
Tickets went on sale on November 1 and sold out on November 27.
Fort Scott High School drama students and other volunteers will portray different scenes, vignettes, during the evening in which ticket purchasers will stroll the promenade on the grounds of the fort.
The vignettes, in order, are:
The Bicentennial of the Santa Fe Trail which is set in 1843. The army is preparing to go out on campaign along the trail. In this vignette: Luke Leighsing (Santa Fe Trader), Josh Sherwood (Lieutenant), Tracy Dancer (Sergeant), Frankie Ruggerro (Corporal), Jericho Jones (Private).
175th Anniversary of the Mexican American War, which is set in 1847, celebrates the safe return of soldiers from the war. In this vignette: Kiara Thompson (Mrs. Curtis), Sylvia Stapleton (Miss Jones), Emma Guns (Mrs. Simpson), Cooper George (Corporal Clark), Austin Stapleton (Private Smith), Matt Wells (Musician).
165th year of Bleeding Kansas, which is set in 1857, actors prepare for the Grand Ball celebrating the opening of the Fort Scott Hotel. In this vignette: Diane Bernheimer (Elizabeth Wilson), Jan Elder (Eliza Campbell), Wayne Young (Mr. Wilson).
160th year of Civil War Ladies Union Aid Society-Emancipation Proclamation, which is set in 1862, where the women are comforting the solders. In this vignette: Dee Young (Mrs. Weatherwax), Cassie Edson (Mrs. Mary Martin), Emily Endicott (Mrs. Laura Phillips – head of the Christmas committee), Regen Wells (Miss Sarah– Christmas committee member), Karen Primeaux (Mrs. Smith), Ronda Hassig (Mrs. Redfield)
150th year of Post of Southeast Kansas,1872, the scene is a railroad agent in a squabble with landowners: Casey Gomez (Walter ), Katie Wells (Elizabeth), Ivy Bailey (Charlie), Steve Powell (John)
Additional High School drama students helping in other areas are: Ayla Roberts, Tobi Larrabee, Mykeel Lewis, Tuesday Glessner, Alexis Tourtillot, Lily Brown, and Chris Newman.
Fort Scott National Historic Site is located at 1 Old Fort Blvd. Fort Scott, Kansas 66701. To find out more, or become involved, please call 620-223-0310 or email [email protected]. Other activities, events, and a more in-depth history may be found at www.nps.gov/fosc.
GORDON PARKS MUSEUM RECEIVES FORT SCOTT AREA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION GRANT FOR INTERACTIVE TECHNOLOGY EXPANSION
Fort Scott, Kan. Nov. 17, 2022 – A grant through the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation has enabled the Gordon Parks Museum to further expand interactive technology in the museum. This includes two tablet kiosks with stands and software. The tablets can be used by visitors of any age.
“We are extremely thankful to receive this grant award from the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation. The interactive technology expansion gives us the ability to not only continue to modernize the museum, but to expand digitally,” said Kirk Sharp, executive director of the Gordon Parks Museum.
Funds from the Dr. Pratt and Pauline Irby Endowment Fund Award – courtesy of the adult children of the benefactors (Janet Braun, Bob Irby and Mary Rio) – were also used to help in the purchase of the tablet kiosks with stands and software.
The Fort Scott Area Community Foundation hosts individual charitable funds created by donors who have a passion for giving back to their community. Grants from these funds assist people throughout Fort Scott and Bourbon County. Call the Foundation at (620) 224-6500 with questions about the Community Foundation or go to https://fsacf.com/.
A recent honor was awarded those who worked on a local trail project that tells of Gordon Park’s life in Kansas.
In late October, 2022, Gordon Parks Museum Executive Director Kirk Sharp, was notified that a recent project,“The Learning Tree” Film Scene Sign Trail had garnered the Award of Excellence from the Kansas Museum Association.
The award is presented annually by the Kansas Museum Association during the organization’s yearly conference, this year on November 7-9, to an institution whose project or achievements are worthy of special recognition.
“This is an amazing honor for us to receive such a prestigious award from the KMA,” said Sharp said. “This award is something that not only both of the communities of Fort Scott and Mound City can be proud of, but also the entire state of Kansas.”
The film trail is a series of signs situated at the different filming locations for “The Learning Tree,” written and directed by Parks. The signs also include QR codes along with a virtual tour of the identified scene locations for the film.
“In 1989 The Learning Tree (A Warner Bros. – Seven Arts Inc. Production) was one of the first 25 films selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant,” Sharp said.
The recent project received funding from Humanities Kansas and the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation.
NEH for All spotlights more than 260 projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities through its website NEHforAll.org.
Established in 1965, the NEH recognizes the unique role the humanities play in fostering the wisdom, vision and knowledge required to participate in a thriving democracy.
To this day, the NEH supports excellence in humanities research, teaching and lifelong-learning opportunities that provide millions of Americans the knowledge of their history and culture. NEHforAll.org highlights that excellence. Visit the website at http://nehforall.org/.
About the Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott
Parks spent some of his childhood in Fort Scott and later went on to be an internationally-known photographer, filmmaker, writer, and musician.
A museum to honor Gordon Parks is located on the campus of Fort Scott Community College.
The mission of the Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott is to use his remarkable life story to teach about artistic creativity, cultural awareness, and the role of diversity in our lives, according to the museum’s website.
Guest Speaker: Bill Martin Wednesday, November 30, 2022, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Gordon Parks Museum FREE Attendance Please feel free to bring your lunch and drinks. Birthday Cake will be available. Come and celebrate Gordon Parks 110th birthday as Bill Martin, Diversity Archivists for the Langston Hughes Cultural Society in Joplin, Missouri, will share the story board collections of Langston Hughes & Gordon Parks along with his research with the help from the Library of Congress and Ancestry.com and historic African American Newspapers.
For more information contact the Gordon Parks Museum at 620 -223-2700 ext 5850 or email: [email protected]
The Gordon Parks MuseumPresents “Langston Hughes & Gordon Parks Story Board Collection” Presentation Explores The Story Board Collection of Langston Hughes and Gordon Parks Celebrating Gordon Parks110th Birthday Lunch & Learn Event
The Gordon ParksMuseumat Fort Scott Community College will celebrate the anniversary of Gordon Parks’birthday onWednesday, November 30thwithpresentations, workshop and the showing offilmsthroughout the day.Theeventsarefree of charge and thepublic is invited toattend.
The schedulethroughout the day will include: 8:00 a.m.–6:30p.m.—Gordon Parks Museumwillbeopenforextended hours. 10:00a.m.–11:30 a.m.—Showing of the filmCriterion CollectionThe Learning Tree. 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.—“Langston Hughes & Gordon Parks Story Board”(Lunch and Learn Event)Bill Martin,Diversity Archivists for theLangston Hughes Cultural Society in Joplin, Missouri, will share the story board collections of Langston Hughes & Gordon Parks alongwithhisresearchwith thehelp from the Library of Congress and Ancestry.com and historic African American Newspapers.Feel free tobring your lunchand join us. Birthday cake.
1:30p.m.–3:15p.m.–Showing of the filmLeadbelly. 5:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.—“Digital PhotographyWorkshop”Veretta Cobler,Professional Photographer will provide freeinstruction on working with digital photography. This in–depth workshop is designed to help the beginner and the novicelearn how to get the most out of their digital camera. Moreexperienced photographers can learn some techniques to improve and enhance their shots. Parks,born in Fort Scott on November30, 1912,would have been110this year. He died in March 7,2006 at the age of 93.
Theevents andfilmswill beshownin theDanny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center. For more informationcontactthe GordonParks Museumat620–223–2700, ext. 5850or by email at email@example.com ###
A telescope will be an added attraction at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes at the corner of First and Wall Street in downtown Fort Scott.
“The telescope will be used to educate the community on… amazing unsung heroes of the stars,” Ronda Hassig, funding developer for the center, said.
Hassig wrote the $2,500 grant proposal for the telescope and carrying case and the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation awarded the grant last month.
“The telescope is remote and GPS controlled,” Hassig said. ” We had an astronomer from Nebraska stop by the center and we found out he is the director of the Stargazing Project in Nebraska! He is so excited for us, that he has agreed to come back down as soon as the telescope arrives and help us get used to using it. There’s a definite learning curve but he thinks we can handle it!”
“The telescope will be used in the Lowell Milken Park (adjacent to the center) for viewing of the moon and planets,” she said. “For deeper space, we are hoping to be able to use it at the Fort (Fort Scott National Historic Site) along with their telescope!”
“We hope to get both young and old excited about seeing the stars and the heavens so we will be having star parties here at the center in the Lowell Milken Park,” she said. “The parties will contain stargazing along with guest speakers and expert astronomers from all over the country. Everyone will be invited!”
“I think no matter how old you are, if you have ever looked through a telescope and seen the moon up close, or the actual rings of Saturn, you are hooked forever,” she said.
The telescope has been ordered and the center staff hope to have it sometime this week.
“Then I’ll get to start planning our first star party,” she said. ” I’ll be paying special attention to moonless nights and hopefully cloudless nights and we may get lucky and get to have a party in the next several months. It will be cold but if you’re bundled up you won’t care! There will be warm drinks and treats for everyone!”
“Stay tuned for dates and please plan to come enjoy our newest device at the Lowell Milken Center provided with the gracious funds of the Fort Scott Community Foundation,” she said.
“We are really trying to educate the community on all of the different unsung heroes here at the Lowell Milken Center, by having fun and having educational activities around those heroes,” she said.
Two of the astronomy heroes that are featured at the center are:
“Henrietta Swan Leavitt was born right after the Civil War and was educated at Oberlin and Radcliffe,” Hassig said. “She got excited about astronomy after taking a course on it. When she graduated she began volunteering at the Harvard College Observatory and after 14 years she was paid for her work at $.30 an hour. She was essentially 1 of 20 women computers. Through her work, Leavitt earned graduate credit towards her degree but never completed it. She did however make an amazing discovery – she figured out how to measure objects in space. This discovery led to the launching of the Hubble Telescope and more recently the Webb Telescope! As she aged, her health got worse and a bout with cancer caused her to lose her hearing. She died at age 53, but her dedication to astronomy has given us some of our most advanced knowledge about space!”
“Gene Shoemaker was the founder of astrogeology,” Hassig said. “The first person to determine the origin of the famous Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona, the first director and creator of the Astrogeology Research Program of the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona, and along with David Levy discovered the Shoemaker-Levy Comet.
“Shoemaker worked for NASA preparing himself and the other astronauts to walk on the moon. Gene was to be the first geologist on the moon. But after all his hard work he was unable to go to the moon because he had Addison’s Disease. He commentated the moonwalk with CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite during the live flights. Although he was horribly disappointed not to go, he kept looking for impact craters and space rocks. He searched for craters and rocks all over the world. He was looking for craters in Australia when he was tragically killed in a car accident. NASA wanted to honor this amazing scientist so they called his family and asked for some of his ashes. They put the ashes in a space probe and crashed it on the moon. Gene Shoemaker is the only human buried on the moon and just one of two buried in space.”
A seven-year-old boy and his family were traveling through Fort Scott in 1952, when a fire in the motel they were staying in killed his parents and baby brother.
His whole life people have been telling Leon Perry, 78, he should write a book about his life.
In March 2021 he published it.
His story is one of a terrible tragedy that turned into a life full of random acts of kindness given to him that he feels are miracles from God.
And the first part of his story includes many familiar places in Bourbon County.
In 1952 Leon was moving with his family from Parsons, Kansas because their farm had experienced a severe flood and the family had lost all their belongings.
The family of five, the two parents and three brothers, stopped in Fort Scott.
“The Salvation Army got us a motel in Belltown,” he said. “That night… a propane gas explosion blew the roof off of the cabin. The (Fort Scott) police department came to rescue us. We lost my step-father, mother and baby brother. I have no recollection of the event, but the chief of police said ‘you wouldn’t have been burned so bad if you hadn’t gone back in to get your brother’. My half-brother Ernie and I were taken to Mercy Hospital.”
“I had severe burns on my face, shoulder, arms and hands,” Perry said. “My brother wasn’t burned as bad. The Mercy people told me I about died a couple of times.”
He had numerous surgeries from that time until he was 15 years old.
They were placed Goodlander Home, an orphanage on the old Fort Scott site, and remained there until he was 10 years old.
The orphanage was a good experience.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “Even though they were difficult times. I was in the hospital a lot and also to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City several times for skin grafts.”
Over and over, Perry has experienced miracles he said.
Leon was blind and heard a doctor tell a nurse that he wouldn’t see again, and even though he had skin grafts around his eyes, he could see perfectly in a few months.
Eventually he and his brother were adopted by a local farm couple, Ancel and Marguerite Perry, in Bourbon County, near Devon.
This was another miracle.
The couple, who weren’t young, had a large ranch and had no other children, he said. They were instrumental in his physical and emotional recovery from the trauma of the fire.
After moving to the farm he began to regain strength and overcome some of his handicaps.
“She was a wonderful cook… I was undernourished even though under a doctors care,” he said.
As he strengthened, he began to help on the farm with chores: milking cows, driving a tractor, herding cattle.
“I showed cattle at the county fair,” he said. “I loved it all.”
He had been in the hospital so much he was behind in schooling, which was in Berlin Elementary School, and then the Mapleton Elementary School.
Marguerite helped Leon with his assignments.
“Everytime I said ‘I can’t’, she said ‘You will,'” he said. “It made the difference.” It was a turning point in his life, he said. Her determination showed Leon he COULD learn and helped him believe in himself.
His adoptive parents were supportive of him being involved in extra activities outside of farm and school, which included 4-H projects and showing cattle.
“I had to come out of my shell and become more active,” he said.
He attended Uniontown High School and went on to become an FFA state officer, graduating with the class of 1963. He then went on to Fort Scott Junior College and was StuCo President, and on the honor roll. He was also on the honor roll at Pittsburg State University that he later attended.
Perry went on to get four college degrees and was a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal and principal.
Perry became a believer in God, and said his faith has allowed him to see the miracles in his life.
“There is always people willing to help…and you can look forward to the future…with faith,” he said. “Always look for the miracles of God in your life.”
Perry and his wife, Carol have two grown children, LeAnn Perry and Ty Perry and one grandson.
Funds from the book entitled God Led Through the Fire and Filled My Life With Miracles, will go to their church youth organization. They attend the First United Methodist Church, Monett.
To purchase a book, email: [email protected] or mail $10 per book to Leon Perry, 8 Appleblossom Lane, Monett, MO 65708.
The Thomas and Anna Herbert House, now owned by Rob and Ronda Hassig, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The house is located at 512 South Judson St.
The heavy plaque noting the registration sits inside the Hassig home, waiting for a pole to be built to attach it to, since it is very heavy.
“Having the house on the National Register of Historic places means the Herbert House gets the recognition it so richly deserves,” Ronda Hassig said. “Rob and I both feel strongly that this designation will also keep our beautiful home safe even after we are gone. We love the Herbert House and are hoping that the Heritage Trust Fund Grant from the state of Kansas will come through and we can do some much-needed repairs on the exterior of the house!”
“The reason the Herbert House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places is because of the Queen Anne architecture and style,” Ronda said. “When the historical architect first visited us to help with the National Register application, she literally walked through the front door and said ‘This is a slam dunk!’ The Queen Anne style was based on the premise of ‘decorative excess” and that is exactly what the Herberts did!”
About Thomas Herbert
“Thomas Herbert worked for the government and happened through Fort Scott on one of his business trips after the Civil War and fell in love with the town,” she said. “He bought the lots on Judson in the early 1870s but didn’t build until 1887/88. He married his wife Anna in 1873 at the Episcopalian church.”
“Mr. Herbert owned a store at Second and Wall Street that had paint, wallpaper, and home decor items from all over the world, kind of a mini-Home Depot,” she said. “He was from Canada and learned painting as an apprentice in Buffalo, NY.”
“He…decorated some of the most beautiful houses in Fort Scott so he was quite the artist,” Ronda said. “When the town renovated the Opera House, Mr. Herbert painted all of the Egyptian figures on the walls and ceiling of the theatre! He would definitely be considered one of the founding fathers of Fort Scott.”
Herbert was a Mason of the 33rd Degree, so he spent time at the Scottish Rites Temple, she said.
Description of the Herbert House
“We have lived in the house for almost four years and we still find little decorations inside and out that we haven’t noticed before,” she said. “The hand carved woodwork would have been done back East, and then would have been shipped by train. A builder would have built the house to suit the Herberts. We don’t know who the builder was but whoever it was they did a really nice job!”
The house is 6000 square feet including a full attic, dry basement and coal shoot, and 4000 square feet of living space with 5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, music room, living room, dining room, modern kitchen and library/den.
“My favorite room is probably the dining room because of the Czechoslovakian chandelier and the Mark Twain fireplace,” Ronda said. “Mark Twain liked to watch the snow fall and the fire blaze at the same time so there are two flues and a window above the fire box!”
“The library/den, half bath, and 5th bedroom were added to the house in 1930 by Dr. Wilkening who lived in the house longer than anyone else,” she said. “The music room was actually his office.”
Renown photographer Gordon Parks was friends with one of the more recent owners of the house, Ken and Charlotte Lunt.
“Gordon Parks was very good friends with the Lunts and he visited the house often in his later years,” she said. “He held court in the front burgundy velvet antique chairs by the round window whenever he visited. We’ve hosted the Gordon Parks Celebration VIPS that last two years so that David Parks (Gordon’s son) can see the house again every year.”
“The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.”
Fort Scott Kan. – The public is invited to the Exploring the African American Experience Project videography discussion on Friday, October 7, at the Ellis Fine Arts Center theater on the Fort Scott Community College campus at 9 a.m.
There will be discussions about video and movie making, how to find inspiration, and some insight of technical aspects. Featured panelists include David Parks, photographer, filmmaker, author, and son of Gordon Parks; Robin Hickman-Winfield, Executive Producer of SoulTouch Productions and great-niece of Gordon Parks; and Eli Reed, award-winning photographer, photojournalist, and author.
The stories of Gordon Parks and George Washington Carver highlight the struggles and ability to overcome adversity. The Exploring the African American Experience Project engages local high school and Fort Scott Community College students to research the little known and under told stories of other progressive African Americans and leaders from the Fort Scott area. Students will create audio recordings or videos to share these stories in their ‘voices’ through social media and short films hosted by the National Park Service, Gordon Parks Museum, and their schools. Exhibits will be developed from their work. This ongoing project is designed to expand beyond Fort Scott students.
From April 1-October 31, Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, will be open for its summer hours of operation. The site exhibit areas and visitor center are open daily from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Park grounds are open daily from a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset. To find out more or become involved in activities at the Fort, please contact the park at 620-223-0310 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/fosc.
The 66th Annual Pioneer Harvest Fiesta, a celebration of rural America’s technology of the past, starts tonight with a parade of antique, and classic farm implements and much more.
The parade will be on Main Street through Fort Scott’s historic downtown on Thursday, September 29th at 6 PM.
Then Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, the Bourbon County Fairgrounds on south Horton Street, will be a scene of educational and historic exhibits, entertainment, vendors, food and arts and crafts.
New this year is a large model train display with little people in villages, according to Craig Shikles, president of the PHF board. It will be there at 9 a.m. on Saturday throughout the day. Other officers of the board: Larry Richard, Delphine Parks and Betsy Readinger.
Over 320 local students will be coming to the fiesta on Friday, according to Del Parks. “They will be able to do some hands-on stuff, she said.
There will be drag saw demonstrations, Baker fan demonstrations, tractors, gas engines, straw baling, wheat thrashing, corn husking/shelling, rock crushing, and saw mill operations on display.
The full weekend admission is only $5 per person and includes a collector button and Friday Bean Feed at 5 PM. Hours the fiesta is open: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Children under age 12 are free, however free admission does not include button. Prior year Collector Buttons available, $1.
There will be many food vendors including a chicken and noodle dinner provided by the First Southern Baptist Church, chili dogs provided by the local Eastern Star organization and biscuits, gravy and coffee will be sold at the information tent for breakfast at the Eddy Street entrance to benefit the PHF organization.
On Saturday evening, there will be a bull riding and mutton busting event to enjoy, although it is not a part of the fiesta, it will be located on the Bourbon County Fairgrounds.
Music to Enjoy
Ralph Carlson and Floyd Feezell have organized a great lineup of talent for the music entertainment at the fiesta.
On Saturday at 10 a.m. a band including Larry and Judy Snow, from Mound City, will be performing. The Snows play for dances and concerts in this area. At 11 a.m., the Hemphill Family Band will be performing. Jack, Sandy, Brad, and Kristen also perform in the area. They play different styles of music, but they do lots of country pieces.
At noon, there will be an open mike session. People who wish to perform may bring CDs with which to sing or bring their own instruments and/or voices to participate. The sound system will be controlled by David Oas.
At 1 p.m., a string group, The Prairie Sunflower Strings, will perform. The group consists of mountain dulcimers, autoharp, fiddle, guitar, and bass guitar. Members of the group who are local are Jean Strader, Marilyn Adcock, Joyce Love, Sandy Hemphill, and Jack Hemphill. Cherry Nelson, from Columbus, also performs in the group on the dulcimer. This group will also play at 3 p.m.
David Prickett, a local guitar player,will perform at 2 p.m. He plays and sings a wide variety of music. The music should conclude at approximately 4 p.m. on Saturday.
On Sunday morning, there will be a church service under the same tent. Rev. Joel Crippen, minister at the First Southern Baptist Church, will be leading the service.
Following the church service, there will be another open mike session. All are invited to attend and/or perform.
The community is encouraged to come out and listen the music while looking at all of tractors and enjoy shopping at the vendor booths both Saturday and Sunday.