Ft. Scott, Great Overland Station

(Frank) Today Around Kansas takes a look at Ft. Scott, the national historic site that includes twenty historic structures, a parade ground and much more. Then we go to the Great Overland Station in Topeka, designed by renowned architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood. Next enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with a story about the Museum of World Treasures in Wichita. Stay tuned!Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Frank) Oh my, here we are Wednesday. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. The day before Thanksgiving. (Deb) Can you believe it? Where has the year gone? (Frank) I know. (Deb) And we’re obviously in the newly decorated Dillon House. All ready for the holidays and the staff from David Porterfield’s, beautiful, beautiful shop over in Westboro, have been hard at work transforming the Dillon House and you’ve got to see it through the holidays. You’ve just got to come see it. It’s just incredible. So, there’s a lot of stuff, you know, there’s gonna be a lot of family around, a lot of days off and kids out of school, so we want to share with you today some of the things you can do around Kansas to get the kids out and see some places. A lot of those places will be decorated for the holidays and doing special events. And one of those is the town of McPherson. (Frank) McPherson, yes. (Deb) McPherson. And remember there’s no “fear” in McPherson. I learned that. (Frank) It is McPHERson (Deb) It is McPHERson. I learned that pretty quickly after moving to Kansas. There’s no “fear” in McPherson. And of course, they’ve got that gorgeous statue of General McPherson on his horse out there on the courthouse square. It’s just a beautiful town anytime of the year. But during the holidays they consider themselves the “Light Capital of Kansas.” So, they’ve got trolley tours all throughout December. There’s three or four tours an evening, I think. You’ve gotta check out their website. Just drive on over there, cause it’s just so pretty. But they have various nights where they offer several light tours and the trolley goes around and I think you can rent the trolley for private events that time too. You know, take the family and rent the trolley and go sing carols and see the lights. It’s a beautiful time to do that. (Frank) And yea, McPherson. A lot of places around Kansas, of course, even here in Topeka, the Festival of Lights out at Lake Shawnee again, this year. And of course, they always add something to it. So, if you say, “Well, I’ve already seen it.” Well, no you haven’t seen it, you need to go see it again. (Deb) And you know I’ve volunteered at the Festival of Lights a couple of times and that is one of the most…there are a lot of community events, but that truly is community. It’s for a great cause. It brings together so many different folks, of all economic levels. You know you’ve got folks that have 10 kids crammed into the car that come and see the lights. But you’re right there’s always something new added. It’s always beautiful and it’s just a wonderful time. And if you’ve…volunteer opportunities always. (Frank) And in Topeka there are a lot of neighborhoods that decorate in tandem with each other. And so it’s fun to kind of jump in the car with the family and drive around Topeka and they’re all over Topeka. But you’ll see some spectacular lights and decorations. (Deb) And of course, Potwin is the…Potwin is our Victorian neighborhood in Topeka and to see those Victorian homes and they’ve… bless that community for all the trouble they go to and all the inconvenience they go to while their streets are just lined with bumper to bumper cars through the holidays to see the lights. God bless ’em for doing that, because what you decorate, how you decorate is your gift to the community. And so, it’s a really great time of year and we look forward to sharing a lot of it with you. We’ll be right back.

(Frank) And we’re back. (Deb) It’s almost turkey day. (Frank) So, yes. And well, I don’t know if I should bring up the controversy over turkeys or not. I hope you got a turkey, cause you know there was a shortage. Maybe it’s turkey day and maybe it’s not for a lot of families. But, the whole idea of course is getting together with families and being thankful for the blessings that you’ve got. (Deb) And you know I think you should be thankful for all the wild turkeys we’ve got in Kansas. And by golly, you can go hunt one. (Frank) That’s right. (Deb) We’ve got so many wild turkeys. (Frank) Ah, anyway. So we hope that you will have a very, very happy Thanksgiving. (Deb) Make friends with a hunter today. If you are missing a turkey for tomorrow. Make friends with a hunter. That’s the plan. (Frank) Yea, bring back really old traditions. Get one. (Deb) May take a little tenderizing, but you know you’ll be OK. (Frank) Anyway, we’re gonna talk about a place called… (Deb) Fort Scott. (Frank) Fort Scott. So, it’s located of course, in Kansas. (Deb) Of course, southeastern part of the state. Fort Scott is one of the oldest communities in the state. And the first weekend in December every year the National Historic Site at Fort Scott has a candlelight tour. That is one of the best events around the state. Now, get your tickets now. It maybe be too late already. But it’s never too late to go see the fort. But you walk in and it’s like scenes from whatever time they pick out. It’s like you just walked into the middle of their lives and whatever era they decide to interpret. So this year, it’s 1865. So 150 years ago. And it’s of course, a beautiful site and…but let’s just take a look at some more about Fort Scott. Built in 1842, Fort Scott was named for General Winfield Scott, hero of the Mexican War. It was located on the frontier, on the military road that connected Fort Leavenworth to Fort Gibson in present day Oklahoma. Fort Scott became one of a chain of forts intended to protect the new settlers from the Plains Indians, as well as to protect the Indians from the rapidly increasing number of settlers migrating from the eastern United States. The United States government had intended to reserve permanent Indian lands west of the Missouri River and had moved Eastern tribes to the central United States. This plan soon gave way, however, to the competition of settlers continuing to encroach on the Indian settlements. Fort Scott’s most active days were between 1842 and 1853. Lack of materials and other setbacks delayed construction of the buildings and soldiers slept in tents. Aside from a few whiskey peddlers and prostitutes, few civilians lived at the fort. Officers had brought their personal slaves with them. Five miles East in Missouri was a grog shop that supplied soldiers, and quite a few courts-martial resulted from soldiers’ going AWOL at the shop. The desertion rate from the fort was high. Boredom, irregular pay, and hatred for military life were poor incentives for loyalty. Hunting was a popular pastime; “wolf chasing and duck hunting” was the only way one officer could tolerate the place. The army deemed the post unnecessary and auctioned the buildings to civilians. It was put into service again during the Civil War and used until 1873. The fort fell into disrepair until 1965 when the National Park Service stepped in with the money to make repairs. The current national historic site protects 20 historic structures, a parade ground, and five acres of restored Tallgrass Prairie, inside the city of Fort Scott.

(Frank) And so now you know more about Fort Scott. And let’s kind of shift over into Topeka a little bit. (Deb) Back to NOTO. (Frank) Back to NOTO, yea. And of course, NOTO is adjacent to now a destination and you’ve probably heard about it, the Great Overland Station. And if you haven’t been there it really is a site to see itself. But of course now that we’re entering the holidays, it’s an extra fun place to be. And especially this weekend cause Santa is coming to town. (Deb) Santa is coming on December 6th to the Great Overland Station. And of course he won’t be falling out of the sleigh, pulled by reindeer. The Union Pacific will be… (Frank) Woo hoo! (Deb) Woo hoo…will be bringing Santa Claus to town. So, that’s a great event and we’ve been talking, Frank, for the last couple of weeks about gift ideas other than just buying people stuff. So, you can buy a membership to the Great Overland Station. And that’s a great family gift. Once more, you know, think about something you can give the whole family. And every year they do, they have events throughout the year. They’ve got a great kids room. But when Santa Claus arrives on the train, I’m telling you, that’s pretty exciting. (Frank) Yea. And also, in case you don’t know, the Great Overland Station is kind of the cornerstone for an entire riverfront development. (Deb) Yes, yea. (Frank) I know it’s been approved now and by 2017 you’re going to see that entire area completely transformed. (Deb) Oh, it’s going to be so exciting. (Frank) Yea. (Deb) Let’s take another look at the Great Overland Station.
(Frank) Decades after the Union Pacific reached the capital city, a beautiful new passenger station opened in North Topeka. Designed by renowned architect, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, it was reported to be “one of the finest passenger stations on the line.” With its 34-foot ceiling and ornate glazed terra cotta ornamentation, the elegant building is perhaps the finest representation of classic railroad architecture in Kansas. The last passenger train left the station May 2, 1971. The building was later remodeled for railroad offices, abandoned and damaged by fire. Then Railroad Heritage stepped in to save the building. Not only was it not demolished, it was restored to its former glory. The UP donated the building and money was raised for the project. In 2004, it once again opened its doors as a community landmark. It houses exhibits on railroad history, Kansas history, and famous Kansans. A model railroad attracts kids of all ages and the playroom is a favorite. Membership has its privileges so join and visit often to catch changing exhibits. Not only is it a museum, it is a popular site for weddings, events, including Santa’s arrival on the Union Pacific every season, festivals, the heart of a very active community and a monument to the railroading history of Kansas.

(Ron) Modern society has become very removed from agriculture. Some modern consumers think their food just comes from the store and don’t make the connection to the farmers and ranchers who are the original source of that production. Someone came up with the phrase I like, “If you eat, you are involved in agriculture.” This is a poem I wrote titled, “Give Thanks, Three Times a Day.” Each one of us should be thankful all day long, for the blessings our good Lord has brought along. But I’m especially thankful when I take my meal time seat, for the farmers and ranchers who bring us food to eat. Our farmers work hard to produce a crop, with yields that they will try to top. We’re blessed as we sit down to eat, that farmers grow corn, soybeans and wheat. When we want a healthy drink as smooth as silk, dairy farmers give us good fresh milk. Livestock producers are another winner, providing healthy protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They help make lots of food that’s great, like steaks, burgers and bacon on our plate. So, at mealtime I bow my head for grace, while the thought of food puts a smile on my face. For all the good food they bring our way. If you eat, you can thank a farmer or a rancher today. Happy Trails.

(Frank) And we’re back. Another note since we did talk about NOTO and all of that. The NOTO Arts District in Topeka is the 800 and 900 blocks of North Kansas Avenue and kind of the side streets too. And during the holidays of course, the shops and art galleries are open and if you haven’t been there, be sure to go because they are a lot of fun things there to find. And of course, the decor…some of it is like period and all that. So anyway, visit the NOTO Arts District and I’m gonna put a plug in for WRENradio.net. During the holidays we have a Beatles exhibit in our studio. Tony Wedeking had brought his collection and we’ve got it on the walls over there. So, it’s another thing to do. (Deb) Oh so much. So much. And if you’re headed down to Wichita or if you live in Wichita, make sure that you go up to Old Town, which is just…Old Town itself is an experience. Go to Old Town and visit the Museum of World Treasures. And it has such incredible exhibits all through the year. Special exhibits. So again, go to their website and see what they’ve got going on. But it’s just such a kid-friendly place. And it’s another place, it’s really geared for an entire family experience. You know they’ve got these mummies, which are just…where else can you go see mummies in Kansas? And there’s just something for every level. You know if it’s just a kid walking through to see dinosaur bones, they’re happy. If you’ve got Grandpa who really wants to spend some time in the ancient exhibit or looking at Civil War, Indian War stuff, there’s just something for every age group. And it’s just a wonderful museum and we’re really blessed to have that in Kansas. It truly is a world treasure. And it’s right here in our midst. And it’s just an awesome place. Of course, if you go down to Wichita too, there’s so much … (Frank) Oh yea. (Deb) Kid’s Museum. (Frank) The Riverfront. (Deb) And then you’ve got the Old Cow Town, which Christmas time again, is so much. Just spend the weekend in Wichita. Just go down. Tell ’em we sent you from Around Kansas. Let’s take a look. The Scarecrow’s pitchfork. A T-Rex. Egyptian mummies. Roman coins. Greek vases. How did treasures from all over the world wind up in Wichita? Well, it began with the passion of two collectors, Dr. Jon and Lorna Kardatzke. Jon began collecting when he was a 16-year-old student and later practiced family medicine for more than 35 years. Throughout his life and career, he and his wife traveled extensively around the world, visiting historic sites and collecting artifacts. In 2001, they started the Museum with their personal collection. Not only did they donate artifacts, they gave untold hours of their time to make the museum the destination it has become. The museum first opened as the Museum of Ancient Treasures in a downtown building. As the Museum began to attract more visitors, it also focused on education. In the process, the Museum began to attract more lifetime collectors that shared Kardatzke’s passion for history; realizing the scope and aim of the Museum, the collectors were eager to display their own collections in the Museum. In less than a year, the size and diversity of the Museum’s holdings had changed. It had grown to more than thirty individual private collections and spanned numerous significant events and cultures from prehistory to the present. Spurred by the purchase of three complete fossil dinosaur skeletons, the Museum was forced to look for a larger space to exhibit its vast and growing collection. The Museum relocated to the “Farm and Art Market” in Old Town, Wichita in 2003 and was renamed The Museum of World Treasures. The new building is a reconstructed three-story warehouse that was completely renovated to house the expansive museum collection. There are now over 300 collectors who have their items on display at the museum.

(Frank) Well another one is done. And tomorrow is Thanksgiving. So we’ll just say Happy Thanksgiving. (Deb) Very Happy Thanksgiving. And I want to remind you my daughter is over here in the shadows…don’t buy a Tofurkey tomorrow. (Frank) So anyway, Happy Thanksgiving. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’ll see you somewhere….(Both) Around Kansas.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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