(Frank) Today on Around Kansas we’re in Wamego, course the home of the Oz Museum, the Columbian Theatre and this year, the 25th anniversary of the Kansas Sampler Festival. You never know what you’ve going to run in to here, there’s a lot of new things and maybe something old. Sorry, I’m referring to the camera.
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(Frank) Well, now we can’t be at the Kansas Sampler without talking to the person that’s responsible for the Kansas Sampler and that’s Marci Penner.
Hi Marci. (Marci) Hi there. (Frank) And there’s a reason we’re here too.
Stumpin’ for Kansas cause she is probably Kansas’ biggest fan. So tell us
how this all got started. (Marci) Well, my Dad and I had written a Kansas
Weekend Guidebook and we had a book signing party on our farm, near Inman, a small town. And we invited places in the book to come set up in one tent. And of course it rained and sleeted and it was on our farm and a thousand people came. And we knew then that the public wanted to know what there is to see and do in Kansas. And at that event I stood on a real stump on the Penner Farm. Now I have a mobile stump. But we move it around the state and it’s a good thing. (Frank) So, it’s in Wamego this year and it will be here again next year, right? (Marci) After it left the farm, we’ve been in a town for two years before we move on. So when we go again in 2015. (Frank) Wow, and do you have the dates for it already? (Marci) It will be the first full weekend in May, that is probably May 2-3. (Frank) Well, let’s hope it has great weather like this weekend turned out to be. (Marci) This has been the most beautiful weekend and the park is gorgeous and the exhibitors have been open arms to all the public coming through, so it’s been just what we want it to be, which is a living brochure of Kansas, to inspire people to travel the state year around. (Frank) All right. Well thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule and talking with us here, so keep Stumpin’ for Kansas. (Marci) Thank you so much.
(Frank) We are at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Kansas Sampler and you never know who you’re going to run in to here. And these guys, well at least now they are back from going around the world. Tell us who you are. (Lori) I’m Lori Spiker and this is my husband David Spiker. (David) Hello. (Frank) And what season were you on the Amazing Race? (David) We were on season nine, which was filmed in 2005, and aired in early 2006. So, it was quite a while ago already. (Frank) And you guys actually made it all the way around. But you came in…? (David) Seventh place. We didn’t make it all the way around. We made it to Sicily and that’s where we got outed.
(Frank) OK. (David) It was a disappointment. (Frank) Anyway, you’ve got to come to the Kansas Sampler cause you never know who’s going to be here.
(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas. We’re here at the Kansas Sampler Festival.
It’s a beautiful day and El Dean Holthus has this gorgeous display for the
Home on the Range Cabin, just in time for everybody to plan on October 4 and 5 when the cabin is rededicated. El Dean great to have you with us
today. And you’re a trustee of the trust that actually owns the cabin right
now, so why don’t you talk a little bit about what you guys have gone
through in restoring the cabin and what’s going to happen with it. (El
Dean) Well what we did as soon as we became owners and operators of it in 2008, we immediately had to decide whether to save it or to restore it. And so we started then the processes of fund raising. And we started then with applications for grants, and course the grants that you get now have to be matching funds, so then we went to work to seek funds and then we had publication with Beccy Tanner in the Eagle. (Deb) Isn’t she great? (El
Dean) That as a result of Marci Penner’s eight wonders, picked up by Orin
Friesen, which triggered the fund raising events, and in two years through grants and donations of individuals, we raised $113,000 to have the cabin restored. (Deb) Isn’t that something? (El Dean) And it was restored on July 13, which would have been the eve of the 141st anniversary of it being built. (Deb) Isn’t that wonderful? What great folks we’ve got. OK now, real quickly where is the Home on the Range cabin and what is its claim to fame?
(El Dean) Well, it’s claim to fame is first, that it was built by Dr.
Brewster Higley the sixth. He is the author of My Western Home, which became Home on the Range, which is the state song of Kansas. So he built the cabin, wrote the song there. And then it became…after it became the state song of Kansas then the cabin received its notoriety. And now where it’s located… the location is one mile west and seven miles north and one mile west of Athol, Kansas. Now I’ve got to get that one in. But if you don’t know where Athol is, maybe you’ll know where Smith Center is. So, it’s eight miles west of Smith Center and then seven miles north on K-8 and it’s in the rural, a truly rural, because it’s 20 miles from the nearest large
town. (Deb) Isn’t that wonderful? (El Dean) And the large town is 1,500
people. (Deb) It’s a beautiful, beautiful site and what a great history.
And of course, Home on the Range is one of the few state songs that people around the world know because it has been recorded by everybody, it’s just a… what a great representation for Kansas to have that as a state song. And what a fantastic project to restore this cabin. (El Dean) And the
important thing about it Deb, is that it’s on site where Dr. Higley built
it and it’s set up to be perpetually there and perpetually cared for. (Deb)
Right. (El Dean) Now, Michael Martin Murphy is one of our supporters and boosters for that. I didn’t appreciate what it was until one of these
singers came up there and on site and able to sing the song, at its
birth date. So that was a great thing. You bet. (Deb) Isn’t he great? (El
Dean) He’s great. (Deb) You guys have done a great job in bringing together some really wonderful people. Orin Friesen, all these guys that truly care about this place, and this song. And we’ll see you all there on October 4th and 5th. So make sure that you can attend this once in a lifetime event.
Thank you El Dean. (El Dean) Thank you. (Deb) It has been wonderful
visiting with you. (El Dean) You bet. (Deb) We’ll be right back with more
of Around Kansas.
(Deb) Welcome back to the Kansas Sampler Festival and another old friend, Doug McGovern. Doug, great to have you with us. Doug portrays Alexander Gardner and for those of you that aren’t familiar with the history of photography or the history of the American west, or the Civil war or any number of things, Alexander Gardner, incredibility famous and significant photographer. So Doug, why don’t you tell us how you got into portraying Mr. Gardner? (Doug) It started when I got interested in stereo photography.
(Deb) And for folks that don’t know, what is stereo photography? (Doug)
Stereo photography is taking two images, the same as you would see through your eyes and finding a way to project them through your eyes so that it combines back into a three dimensional view. (Deb) So, when you are going through the antique stores and you see those cards that have the two images, that’s… (Doug) Stereo cards… (Deb) A method of photography?
(Doug) It is and over 2/3 of the photographs in the Civil War were taken
that way. (Deb) Wow. (Doug) Because of the realism it provided. (Deb) Uh huh. (Doug) And I had gotten interested because I was chasing my Great-Great-Grandfather and I took pictures of where he was and with a single camera it doesn’t show anything and with 3D you could see the ruts in the road that was grown over. (Deb) Well, so many of us with the sci-fi flicks and all those things think that 3D is something new, but obviously that’s not true. (Doug) Actually the idea and the study of what stereo vision was, was started before photography. One of the earliest photos that was taken, was to prove that each eye saw something slightly different. (Deb) Wow, isn’t that interesting? So, you also, not only are you into the
photography, but the equipment itself. (Doug) As happens when you do a
historical person performance every time you turn around there is something else that demands some understanding. (Deb) Right. (Doug) Like, if I’m talking about taking picture so the battlefield and how difficult it was, then I best know what it really took to make the glass plate sensitive and develop them and to then get them ready to print. All standing out in the middle field full of dead bodies and dead horses. (Deb) Wow. (Doug) And without that, it’s very difficult to portray what really was going on.
(Deb) Sure. (Doug) So the next step is to build up a mock darkroom and then the next step is, and the next step is… (Deb) Right. (Doug) And in the process I’ve accumulated one of a whole lot of different things. (Deb) And
the stereographs to view the photos with. (Doug) Stereos both old and new, you can still find a lot of them. Some of the originals are still
occasionally found. Price ranges from a couple of dollars to several
thousand dollars depending on their rarity. (Deb) Now, you’re going to do some classes, so let’s talk about that because this is something really… it’s
a great opportunity to learn more about this. (Doug) One of the things that I kept getting comments on was while this looks like it’s real… how do
you do this? (Deb) Uh huh. (Doug) And it turns out, given today’s
technology, it’s not as technically difficult as it was, and working to
develop a class that still is going to be in process, the next several
times I teach it, will be completely different I’m sure. But it starts out
in the morning with a little bit of the history, a little bit of Alex and a
little bit of some of the of the hardware. And then we send as many people
home as are getting bored. And then we talk about really what does it take
to make a stereo photograph, which required me to unlearn all of the trick
I learned to take good flat panel photographs. And then everybody takes
their camera and we go out and take pictures. (Deb) Oh, that’s going to be
great. (Doug) Then we get ’em back together and load it into the computer
monitor and run it through a stereo photo maker and maybe touch it up with Adove Photoshop. Registered trademark there! And come up with a stereo photo that they took. (Deb) Now, how do people find out about this? Website, Facebook? (Doug) It’s been posted at several places on Facebook.
It’s going to be held at the Hollenberg Pony Express Station, which is one of those Kansas places that’s irreplaceable. (Deb) Absolutely. (Doug) It’s an original Pony Express Station that is still original. (Deb) What a great
experience to be able to do some stuff there. Well, we’ve got some other
folks to visit with, so we better run. Doug, thank you so much. (Doug)
Thank you Deb. (Deb) You all stay tuned; we’ll be right back.
(Frank) We’re having a lot of fun today at the Kansas Sampler Festival in
Wamego and of course it’s about the Land of Kansas. There are a lot of
products that come under that brand. But I am going to let Stacy with the
Department of Ag tell us about that. (Stacy) Today we were really excited
that this weekend we were able to connect with Kansas Sampler Festival and feature some our members here at the From the Land of Kansas tent and throughout the festival grounds. So, we actually have 23 members of the From the Land of Kansas program that are all here at the festival grounds.
(Frank) Wow. Now how does someone get into that program? (Stacy)
Absolutely, the From the Land of Kansas is a state agriculture trademark
program. And our goal is that we get to support Kansas ag businesses from farmers/ranchers, restaurants, agritourism, manufacturers and processors, which include beer breweries and wineries, which some are here at the Sample Festival. As well as it can also include ag equipment manufacturers, food product manufacturers and then we also work with restaurants. So, if anyone is interested in joining they can look up our website at fromthelandofkansas.com and they’ll have all of our contact information and information about the qualifications. (Frank) Well OK, you anticipated my last question there. So, thank you Stacy. I know you have to get back in the tent. (Stacy) Yes, thank you we’re excited to be here at Sampler Festival.
(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas and another old friend, Aaron Barnhart. And he and his lovely wife Diane Eickhoff have authored this invaluable guide to the Kansas/Missouri border, it’s called the Big Divide and this is a must have for tourists or historians or just anybody with a curious mind.
So Aaron, how did you guys come to put this book together? (Aaron) Well, we spent a lot of time driving around Kansas and Missouri. My wife has been a historian for about ten years, in a late career change and she tours and speaks regularly for the Kansas Humanities Council. (Deb) Right. (Aaron) And she doesn’t drive, so I’m her driver. And for many years, I was a journalist at the Kansas City Star. And we always said that if I moved into the family business of history, that this would be the guide that we would want other people to know about because we feel that Kansas/Missouri border region history is a great undiscovered area and that people have absolutely no idea just what incredible amounts of history happened right here, that affected not just the region, but had an impact on American history.
Obviously Lewis and Clark’s travels but in fact, all the way through the
20th century. Several key, what we call hinges of history, turned right
here in the border region and you know what the great thing is Deb, we now have some of the most outstanding museums, historic sites and battlefields that tell those stories, at anytime and anywhere in America. (Deb) Well, the… some of the things that you share in here may be some of those lesser known or out of the way little museums, so give me an example of a couple of those that you may have discovered along the way. (Aaron) Well, a couple of them that come to mind immediately were here in Kansas today. And of course, the place where people always say around here, that the Civil War started was not out east at Fort Sumter, but outside of Baldwin City at a little place called Black Jack. And that’s where shortly after the Pottawatomie massacre, for which John Brown was justly made infamous, a federal marshal tried to arrest Brown. And instead he rounded up a band of farmers from Douglas County and they defeated this federal force in what was considered the first ever armed skirmish between pro-slavery and anti-slavery sides and this happened in 1856. So, that’s the one we always tell people about. (Deb) Right. (Aaron) But on the Missouri side we always like to say Kansans need to know more about their Missouri history and vice versa. These two sides, and if people watching this are unaware, this is the bitterest border battle in America, probably because so much happened here that was so contentious. But the discovery that we made was that in fact, Missourians don’t understand Kansas history and vice versa. So the other site we always like to tell people about is the Island Mound State Historic Site. (Deb) Oh, isn’t that great? (Aaron) It’s fantastic. And what I love about it, this is a place where African American soldiers fought and died for their freedom for the first time anywhere. So while Union generals out east were still trying to decide whether black soldiers deserved to be outfitted and sent off to fight the South, out west here, Jim Lane organized a Kansas militia and sent these guys off to chase off Bushwhackers because he needed those men. And what’s great about this Deb is that the history sat dormant for 140-150 years until it was brought to life again, not by Kansans, but by Missourians. (Deb) Isn’t that great?
(Aaron) And so it’s in fact over in Missouri where the state historic site
was recently dedicated to remember the first black soldiers to fight in the
American Civil War and it’s one of the sites we’re proudest of in the Big
Divide. (Deb) OK Aaron, real quick, how can people find your book? (Aaron) Well of course they can find it on Amazon and I invite them also to visit thebigdivide.com because we sell it at a number of local stores in the area and that supports local history as well when you do that. (Deb) Great.
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