Category Archives: History

42nd Annual Candlelight Tour Tickets On Sale November 1

Be an Active Part of History this Holiday Season


Wednesday, November 1, 2023, tickets for Fort Scott National Historic Site’s 42nd Annual Candlelight Tour go on sale. Tickets are available by calling the fort at 620-223-0310 (with a major credit card) or by stopping by the Visitor Center on Old Fort Blvd. Tickets are $8.00 per person and non-refundable, children 5 and under are free. It is recommended that you get your tickets early to ensure your choice of tour times, as this event frequently sells out.


The 42nd Annual Candlelight Tour is Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2, 2023. Tours on December 1 will begin at 6:30 pm and leave every 15 minutes until 9 pm. On Saturday, December 2, the tours will start at 5 pm with the final tour leaving at 9 pm. Please arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to park, present/pick up your ticket, and get oriented. Participants are advised to please dress for the weather and conditions, as the entire tour will be outside and on sidewalks.


1,000 candle lanterns illuminate the site and reenactors (including you) bring the fort to life.

This year’s tour is about Health and Wellness. During the tour, you will be immersed in ways people have historically been provided the opportunity to be healthy and embrace happiness, despite their struggles.


From November 1-March 31, Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, will be open for its winter hours of operation.  The site exhibit areas and visitor center are open daily from 8:30 am-4:30 pm. The park grounds are open daily from ½ hour before sunrise until ½ hour after sunset. For more information about Fort Scott National Historic Site programs or become involved in the candlelight tour, or other activities, please contact the park at 620-223-0310 or visit our website at




Credit Photos as: NPS Photo/C. Brenner

Killers of the Flower Moon Free Movie Premiere in Fort Scott Oct. 20

Killers of the Flower Moon Free Movie Premiere in Fort Scott


Friday, October 20, 2023, the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site, Inc. and Fort Scott National Historic Site are sponsoring the premiere of Killers of the Flower Moon, as a part of the nationwide release. The free premiere showing is at 6:40 p.m. and is hosted by the Fort Scott Cinema, 224 W 18th St, Fort Scott, KS 66701.

The free tickets are available at the box office at show time.


In the late 1800s, oil was discovered on the Osage Indian Reservation in present-day Osage County, Oklahoma. The members of the Osage Nation earned royalties from oil sales through their federally mandated “head rights,” and, by the 1920s, the richest people in the world were members of the Osage Nation. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off.

The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

FBI agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. This conspiracy of theft, terror, and genocide helped launch J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI.

This film is an adaptation by Director Martin Scorsese of the book Killers of the Flower Moon, a narrative nonfiction by David Grann.


There are 25,288 Osage Tribal Members who live across the globe, with just under half residing in Oklahoma. In “Killers of the Flower Moon”, the language you hear is taught by Osage Nation Language Teachers, the traditional clothing you see is made by Osage artists, and the landscape is the Osage Nation Reservation. They are not relics. The Osage Nation is a sovereign Nation that is thriving. A people of strength, hope, and passion, honoring the stories of the past and building the world of the future.


This is but one series of the many traumas experienced in Native American history. The National Park Service encourages you to be part of the discussion and learn more at,, or This event is a portion of a series of programs and events around the Native American Experience that Fort Scott National Historic Site and the Friends of the Fort have been hosting such as Wahzhazhe, the Osage Ballet.  Additional programs are to be announced soon.


Fort Scott National Historic Site’s, a unit of the National Park Service, exhibit areas and visitor center are open daily from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The 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




Image of Mollie Burkhart.  Credit Photo as: The Bismarck Tribune, June 16, 1926

Cato Kids’ Day

The annual Cato Kids’ Day will be presented to 4th and 5th graders from local elementary schools by the Cato Historical Preservation Association on Thursday October19th from 9 a.m. to2 p.m. 


Cato, Kansas – The annual Cato Kids’ Day will be held on Thursday October 19th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Cato, Kansas.  Fourth and Fifth graders from local elementary schools will be bused to Cato to see presentations on life in the 1800s and Cato history.  The presentations will include the one-room school house, pioneer kids’ games, covered wagons, blacksmithing, 1800’s weaponry, cowboys, native Americans, drovers, and the Gettysburg Address.  Schools participating include Mettles, Meadowlark, Lakeside and Westside (Pittsburg), Bronaugh, Liberal, Uniontown, Frontenac, Northeast, St. Mary’s (Fort Scott) and Girard.  Approximately 650 students are expected to attend.

A separate event, Cato Days, will be held for the general public on Saturday October 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Cato is located between Pittsburg and Fort Scott. Take Hwy 69 to 720 road and follow the signs.

The Cato Historical Preservation Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the buildings and past of Cato and surrounding areas.



Lowell Milken Center News: Updates From October

New Unsung Heroes Emerge from

2023 Discovery Award Competition

The Grand Prize winner of the 2023 Discovery Award Competition is Sasha Allen from Eden Prairie, MN. Sasha’s extraordinary documentary, 3-6-9 KID: How Child Spy Agnes Láckovič Saved Hundreds from the Nazis, left us in awe! Learn more about Sasha by checking out this excellent article, Student Spotlights Unsung Hero Stories, by Hannah Ward at the Star Tribune. Photo by SHARI L. GROSS Star Tribune staff

3-6-9 KID: How Child Spy Agnes Láckovič Saved Hundreds from the Nazis masterfully relates the powerful impact of this 17-year-old unsung hero, who courageously saved the lives of hundreds of Jews and other endangered people during WWII.

The first-place winner of the 2023 Discovery Award Competition went to Paige Franzen, Kadence Huck and Callahan Levi from Nashua-Plainfield High School in Nashua, Iowa. Their powerful documentary, Why Not US? Dr. Christine Grant’s Heroic Pursuit of Gender Equality, is fascinating! Learn more about these multi-talented students by checking out this clip from KCRG-TV9 News at 9.

Pictured are Suzy Turner (the Talented and Gifted teacher and National History Day advisor at Nashua-Plainfield Jr/Sr High School), Callahan Levi, Kadence Huck, Paige Franzen, and Norm Conard (Executive Director of the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes). Photo by Jennifer Kalainoff

Why Not Us? Dr. Christine Grant’s Heroic Pursuit of Gender Equality tells the story of Dr. Grant, the first women’s athletic director at the University of Iowa, and the significant impact she made in advancing gender equality in women’s sports.

ARTEFFECT News and Updates

Call for ARTEFFECT Submissions!
The 2023-2024 ARTEFFECT Competition Submission Portal Opens Wednesday, November 1, 2023. This competition invites student to honor Unsung Heroes through the visual arts and is open to all U.S. and international middle and high school students.

*   Learn How to Submit
*   View Past Winners
*   Download the Lesson Plan
*   Watch the ARTEFFECT Promo Video

Learn More about ARTEFFECT

Fellows News and Updates

2014 LMC Fellow Brian Langley brought his daughter to the LMC.

It was heartwarming to see Brian share the magic of the LMC with the next generation. Their visit reminded us that our community is not just about work; it’s also about family and cherished memories.

Brian shared that his class has done unsung hero projects every year since completing his fellowship at the LMC. Thank you, Brian, for being an inspiration and for sharing the stories of unsung heroes with your daughter and with your students!

Thanks to Leslie Sullivan, a 2021 LMC Fellow, for showcasing the Unsung Heroes projects at the Engage Carolinas Milken Conference in Charlotte, NC.

Your dedication to highlighting these heroes is genuinely inspiring!

We celebrated World Teacher Day on October 5th, honoring our LMC Fellows and educators from all corners of the globe for the incredible, lasting impact they make on their students’ lives.

We hope you will express your gratitude and thank a teacher who’s made a difference in your journey.

LMC News and Updates

Fall at the LMC has been nothing short of a whirlwind, from the exciting Discovery Award announcements to marking significant dates and gearing up for the festive holiday season. In case you missed them, here are some standout highlights we’ve saved just for you in this edition!


During this #HispanicHeritageMonth, we shine a spotlight on these remarkable unsung heroes featured at the Lowell Milken Center, whose contributions have left a lasting mark on history:

Sylvia Mendez: An advocate for educational equality, Sylvia, along with her family, bravely helped initiate the desegregation of California schools, paving the way for future generations. Sylvia was the subject of Separate Will Never Be Equal, the 2021 ARTEFFECT Certificate of Excellence award-winning project by Zoe Spikerman from Parker School in Waimea, Hawaii.

Elizabeth Catlett: A talented artist and sculptor, Elizabeth used her gifts to reflect the strength and beauty of the African-American and Mexican-American communities. Elizabeth was the subject of Dr. Elizabeth Catlett: Artist To Some, Activist For Many, Unsung Hero To All, a 2023 Discovery Award-winning documentary by Loup County HS student Angel Estrada.

Ralph Lazo: Ralph, a Mexican-American teenager, voluntarily enrolled in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II to support his friends and neighbors. Ralph was the subject of Ralph Lazo: The Voluntary Prisoner, a project developed by 4th graders in Shannon Garrison’s class at Solano Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles.

We celebrated the anniversary of the beginning of

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project.

The following is a note from Norm Conard LMC’s Executive Director, and the teacher behind the project.

It has been an incredible journey since the inception of Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project, which began 24 years ago. On September 23, 1999, a group of dedicated students from a small, rural Kansas high school embarked on a mission for the National History Day program. Little did they know that their efforts would have a profound and lasting impact on the world.

Over the past two decades, the heroic actions of Irena Sendler continue to resonate powerfully through her story, as told by those students. Our mission to share this remarkable tale with the world has only grown stronger.

Norman Conard



Dive into the LMC Newsroom to explore the incredible media coverage of the Discovery Award announcements from across the nation.

Discover the buzz and excitement that’s been generated nationwide!

Pioneer Harvest Fiesta Starts Today at Bourbon County Fairgrounds

Come and visit the Pioneer Harvest Fiesta!  Today is the first day!  The quilt show opens from 9am to 4pm today and Saturday.  Sunday’s hours are noon to 3pm.  There are many beautiful quilts to admire.  Cassino Richardson is here with her fabrics, precuts, books and more.  Erica of Nine Patch Quilt Shop has a variety of Christmas gifts and ideas to choose from.  Watch Bobbi Schroeder do wonders with her quilting machine.  At 1pm Saturday come to listen to Paul Milks as he tells us of his journey with Cross Stitch.  He has beautiful designs for you to see.

Don’t forget the bean feed Friday evening complete with cornbread and all the add ons.  It is free with a Pioneer Harvest 2023 Collector button.  $5 gives you a button which gets you in the show all three days.  What a deal!  There is also a car show on Saturday off Eddy Street at the north end of the fairgrounds.

Submitted by Jackie Warren



The annual Cato Days will be presented by the Cato Historical Preservation Association on Saturday October 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Admission is free.



The annual Cato Days will be held on Saturday October 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Cato, Kansas.  This free event is presented by the Cato Historical Preservation Association to promote Cato’s pioneer history.

Cato Days starts with registration at 9 a.m. followed at 9:30 by old time hymns performed by Ralph Carlson and Friends in the historic Cato Christian Church.  Ann Rawlins will talk about the history of the church.  At 10:45, in the Old Stone School, Anna Portwood Swank, Elizabeth Portwood Thompson and Jamie Thompson will talk about the school and Jerry Lomshek will discuss Cato’s early history and its involvement in Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War.  Musical entertainment will be presented outdoors at 11:45, where drinks and ham‘n beans cooked by Bob “Buck” Rowland of Arma will be available.  At 12:30 there will be a raffle for a beautiful quilt donated by Sue James of Texas.  All proceeds go to the preservation of Cato’s historic buildings.  The highlight of the event will be the hayrack wagon ride to various local sites of historical interest at 1 p.m.

Fourth and Fifth graders from local schools will have their own Cato Day on Thursday, October 19th.

Cato is in the northern part of Crawford County off Hwy 69.  From Hwy 69, turn west on 720th avenue and follow the signs to Cato.  Directions can be found at .  Cato is an open-air museum and its buildings are only open to the public a few times a year so don’t miss this unique opportunity to spend an afternoon of entertainment and enlightenment in historic Cato.  The Cato Historical Preservation Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the buildings and history of Cato and the surrounding areas.



Murder and Mayhem at the Fort on Halloween Night

Looking for some added Halloween fun?

Tuesday, October 31, 2023, join Fort Scott National Historic Site guides for a special candle lantern walk called the Murder and Mayhem at the Fort Lantern Tour, according to a press release.

There is no cost to the public.

Tour guides from the 1840s-1860s, will share some of the lesser-told tragedies and macabre events that were far too common in Fort Scott’s 19th century.

“There was violence and tragedy that happened at the fort during the 1840s to the 1860s,” Carl Brenner, FSNHS Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management, said. “The fort was the whole town during this time, and there were 1,000s of soldiers here during the Civil War.”

They will talk, in period costume, about some of those events.

Tour guides are Carl Brenner, Barry Geertsen, and Jessica Nielsen-employees at the Fort, and Matthew Wells, a member of the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site.

These four special Halloween lantern tours will start every 30 minutes beginning at 6:30 pm at the visitor center.

Space is limited and required reservations will open Friday, October 13, at 8:30 a.m. Contact the park at 620-223-0310 or visit the website at

Those with reservations, please arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to park and get oriented, according to the press release. Participants are advised to please dress for the weather and conditions, as the entire tour will be outside and on sidewalks.

“We’ve been planning this for several years,”  Brenner, said. “But staff turnover precluded us from moving forward. All our pumpkins are in a line now and we can move forward.”

Carl Brenner.

Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, exhibit areas and visitor center are open daily from 8:30 a.m. to  4:30 p.m. The 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




Fall Means Pioneer Harvest Fiesta

Fall has arrived and that means it is time for Pioneer Harvest Fiesta.

A parade on Thursday evening, October 5 at 6 p.m., starts the busy weekend.

Come join us at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds with activities for all ages.  Groups of school children will be there on Friday to see how their ancestors had to work hard to harvest their crops, saw the wood, crush rocks and more.  Demonstrations will be throughout the show, October 6, 7, and 8.

Live music and a Sunday morning service will be in the entertainment tent.

The quilt show will be in the Myers Building.  Quilts can be brought for display on Thursday, October 5, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.   The quilt show will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday during Pioneer Harvest Fiesta and noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Please call Jackie Warren for more information 620-224-8161.

A car show is being added to Pioneer Harvest Fiesta!

The 25-year-old or older vehicles will be on exhibit Saturday, October 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., parked at the north end of the fairgrounds.

For more information, please call President Craig Shikles, 417-425-4552 or Vice President Larry Richard, 620-249-4385.

If you would like to be a vendor, call Delphine Parks, 262-416-6720.

Flood of ’86 Remembered: Author John Freed at Hedgehog INK on Oct. 3

John Freed. Submitted photo.

John Freed was a graphic arts and photography instructor at Fort Scott Community College in October 1986, when the levy on Mill Creek burst.

Mill Creek feeds into the Marmaton River in the current Riverfront Park area.

On October 3, 1986, after nearly 20 inches of rain in 3 days, the Marmaton River crested at 52.5 feet, breaking the previous record set in 1915, according to information on the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce website.

The Fort Scott Cattle Sales Company released 250 head of cattle from their pens, according to the website. These cattle swam in the water, and three ended up on the roof of a home in Belltown, the area east of the cattle sales company.

Three cattle released from the cattle sale barn escaped the flooding Marmaton River by swimming to the roof of this house. John Freed took this photo. From the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce website.

The area between the Marmaton River Bridge on North National Avenue and U.S. Highway 54 was covered with several feet of fast-moving water.

Freed started taking photos of the historic event on the afternoon of October 3.

This was the beginning of his publication of the book, which is mostly a photo album with stories and poems from residents about the historic event, entitled the ’86 Flood. We Booked It Just For You.

He sponsored a photo contest for the book and over 1,500 photos were submitted by community members.

The stories of the flood were from local Fort Scott students and a few adults.

“Kids wrote the stories,” Freed said. “The superintendent of the schools made it mandatory that elementary, middle, and high school kids had to write an article for the book. The Catholic school students contributed as well. Fort Scott Community College students sent a few articles.”

“A few Panamanian students attending FSCC saw a bunch of Kansas National Guard helicopters that brought flood victims to the college because it was higher ground,” he said. “They thought America was being invaded. They wrote some stories. Theirs are written in Spanish, translated by the college Spanish instructor.”

“I resigned from FSCC and started my print shop a short time after the flood,” he said.  The print shop was located on Main Street, in a space now occupied by Papa Don’s Pizza.

The book was a long-term project.

“I  designed it, put it together,” he said. “It took weeks and I had considerable help from volunteers,” Freed said.

Freed judged the photos, and local English teachers judged the stories, and prizes were awarded to students for their contributions to the book.

The book was published in 1987.

A page from the book. Submitted photo.

In commemoration of the flood stories, he is promoting the book again at an author’s event at Hedgehog INK Bookstore at 16 S. Main Street on Oct. 3 from 2-4 p.m. There will be copies of the book for sale for $8.95, the original cost of the book in 1987, the year it was published.

“I want to encourage people that wrote in the book, to come a get a copy, if they don’t have one,” Freed said.

Gordon Parks Celebration Lunch & Learn Events: Oct. 5-7

Sending on behalf of Chamber Member Gordon Parks Museum….

Lunch & Learn Events!

Gordon Parks Museum is hosting a Gordon Parks Celebration Lunch & Learn Event!

Thursday, October 5th, 2023 at 12pm

“Learning from Gordon Parks”

Ann Dean, Freelance Photographer and Artist will talk about Gordon Parks Documentation of American life and culture. In this presentation Ann discusses the impact and inspiration found in Parks’ books: Our program is brought to us by Humanities Kansas.

Friday, October 6th, 2023 at 11:30am

“Harlem Renaissance and the Renaissance Man”

Randal Jelks, Professor of African and African American Studies and American Studies at University of Kansas. This presentation will share the history, journey, and connection of two titans of the early 20th century – Langston Hughes, a poet and a playwright, and Gordon Parks. Our program is brought to us by Humanities Kansas.

Friday, October 6th, 2023 at 2:30pm

“Back to Fort Scott, Now”/”I Needed Paris


Michael Cheers, Associate Professor, San Jose State University, Shreepad Joglekar, Associate Professor, Kansas State University and Jason Miccolo Johnson, former Professor, Savannah State University. This presentation of the “Back to Fort Scott, Now” project, is the re-imaging and tribute of Gordon Parks photos that he had taken in Fort Scott, KS in 1950. And an update and photos of the “I Needed Paris” project that took a group of African American photographers through Paris, traversing the same streets and neighborhoods as Gordon Parks did in the 1950s.

Saturday, October 7th, 2023 at 11:30am

“History of the Hawkins/Plaza School and All-School Reunion”

This presentation and event will explore the history of the (1884-1956) segregated Hawkins/Plaza School that Gordon Parks attended. We will also honor former students that attended either school throughout the years. Join us as we take the journey through time to learn about the school(s).

See dates, times, and full schedule at

Questions? Call us at 620.223.2700, ext. 5850

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce | 231 E. Wall Street, Fort Scott, KS 66701

Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes Sept. Newsletter

September 11, 2023                                    Volume 10

We know you all are filled with anticipation for the upcoming announcement of the Discovery Award winners, and we appreciate your enthusiasm!

Please mark your calendars for the updated announcement date: Wednesday, September 20th. We promise it will be a day filled with celebration, inspiration, and the recognition of outstanding students and their Unsung Hero Projects.



ARTEFFECT Ambassadors is a new online fellowship with a stipend of $1250! Tailored for educators working directly with K-12 students, the ARTEFFECT Ambassadors program aims to foster the visual arts. During the 2023-2024 school year, Ambassadors participate in online modules exploring the diverse stories of Unsung Heroes from history. They will complete a capstone project to make an impact on their classrooms and communities.

Applications due: September 18, 2023.

Learn more:


Recently, the Milken Educator Awards newsletter featured a wonderful article titled “A ‘Life-Changing Experience’: 2023 Fellows Explore LMC’s Unsung Heroes.” We encourage you to click the linked article to gain insight into what an LMC Fellowship entails and to discover some of the highlights from the Fellows’ week in Fort Scott, Kansas.

Skubitz Plaza Mural Completed

Ist Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment mural. August,2023.

The local historic depiction of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment is completed.

The mural faces the Fort Scott National Historic Site, the place of the mustering of the regiment during the American Civil War.

St. Louis artist Cbabi Bayoc worked on the mural for a week in August with temperatures over 100 degrees.

The new mural was created by Cbabi Bayoc, pictured here in a submitted photo.

“The project took six days to complete,” Bayoc said in an interview. “I started spray painting the sketch on Monday and made final touches on it Saturday afternoon. The only long day was Wednesday which was crucial in getting it done on schedule.”

He worked from afternoon to evening because of the location of the mural on the north side of the building. That week of August 2023 the community experienced over 100 degrees daily.

“The heat was a definite factor,” Bayoc said. “It cut my days shorter than I am used to spending on murals of this scale. Also the rail and the steps made for some interesting body maneuvering to get the soldier on the left and the banner bottom middle done.”

Bayoc describes his work and its meaning.

“I chose the soldier with the flag because black folks always hoped going to battle for the country would gain their rights and respect as citizens,” he said. “The ad (To Arms! To Arms!) was crucial because putting guns in the hands of black soldiers was crucial to the (Civil War/slavery) times and foreshadowed their being the first regiment to see battle. I like the line created by the rifle and what it adds to the design. Their name and regiment number flank the left side and of course, elements from the battalion flag provide the backdrop.”

 Fort Scott left a good impression on the artist from St. Louis.

“The folks we interacted with were warm and inviting,” he said. “My wife and I thought the downtown was gorgeous. We look forward to returning in October.”
The revealing and acknowledging of the mural will be during the annual Gordon Parks Museum Celebration the first weekend in October.
To learn more about that event:

The public is invited to join the “Free To Serve” mural unveiling on Friday, October 6 from 4 to 4:30 p.m.

This is in honor and tribute to the regiment’s sacrifice and willingness to serve during the Civil War.
The mural is located at the north downtown building at 9 South Main St, near Skubitz Plaza, facing the Fort.

“We will veil the mural before out-of-town guests arrive for the Gordon Parks celebration for a more grand reveal, but until then the mural is available to be photographed,” Rachel French, coordinator of the project for the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Downtown Division said.


The Kansas Department of Commerce Office of Rural Prosperity awarded funding for the project, along with several local benefactors.