Russell Springs, ansas Sampler Festival

(Frank) Today Around Kansas looks at Russell Springs, a town that overcame the loss of being Logan County Seat in 1963; and turned the Courthouse into the Butterfield Trail Historical Museum in 1965. Next join us in thanking Marci Penner for her Kansas Sampler Festival; and enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson. We’ll end with a story about Kansas artist Jerry Thomas.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at

(Frank) Hey it’s early Wednesday morning, so guess what? I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. Welcome, good morning. (Deb) Good morning everybody and it’s been a wonderful February across the state and so much going on. And Spring is coming folks. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) The groundhog didn’t see his shadow, so you know I love the cartoon where the groundhog saw his shadow and somebody took a shotgun and blew him away. (Frank) I like the one where some German Shepherds saw their shadow and I ate him. (Deb) Yea, I love that. But he brought us good tidings this year, so it looks like we’re looking for an early Spring. And there’s so much happening. And of course, the first of March, the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. You saw the segment that Frank did a week or two ago. So, there’s still time to get tickets for the Kansas Music Hall of Fame, March 5 at Liberty Hall. So, just go to the Liberty Hall Box Office online or give them a call and you can get tickets. It will be a fantastic show. (Frank) Yea, it will. (Deb) Yea, it’s just really going to be awesome. So, what have you been up to Frank? (Frank) Oh you know kind of the same old, same old. The radio station keeps me pretty busy. (Deb) It does. (Frank) Yea. (Deb) We were talking when I was visiting with some folks out at High Plains Public Radio out in the western part of the state and I’ve done my time as a DJ. I was not a real good DJ. I was better at the talk show thing. But as a DJ I as kinda so-so. In fact, the guy who trained me a hundred years ago said I was the dumbest woman he had ever met. But all that aside we’ve done our time. I was young and so I guess I was a little slow to catch on, but I guess that’s why I’m not a DJ now Frank and you are. I wasn’t smart enough to do that. (Frank) But I have to tell the story on myself. I was in college and working at WREN radio at night and of course, we had Cardinal baseball. And I had heard, I don’t know how many games all the time we always had, so I’m reading the sports and I’m talking about the St. Louis Cardinals and I’m talking about their manager “Red Shawndiest.” I keep saying “Red Shawndiest.” And I get through, phone rings and it’s Max Falkenstien who was the General Manager and he said, “Who is the manager of the Cardinals?” I said, “Well Red Schoendienst.” And he said, “Why are you calling him Shawndiest?” So, we all learned someway. (Deb) Well the one that I had and I don’t know if I can even say it, now when I was News Director of a radio station in Mount Airy, I would say “interred” and my manager would call and say, it’s “intarred,” or, I’m still not sure which it is. But I was not saying it correctly. And obits were a big deal, remember when obits were… (Frank) Oh ya, you gotta read the morning paper, yea. (Deb) Yes and if the obits aren’t right, man people call you. And so he was always calling me about that stuff. (Frank) OK. Well anyway, we really do have some stories to tell you this morning and so… (Deb) It’s gonna be a lot of fun. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. Yea, there’s hope folks. Spring is on the way, so stay with us.

(Frank) And we’re back. Now, as you know I’m a native Kansan and I’m supposed to know a lot about Kansas. This young lady is not from Kansas but she knows about a place I’ve never been. And it’s gonna be her next story. So, I’m gonna let her kinda of tell you about a place called Russell Springs. And for those of you watching in Russell Springs, I apologize. (Deb) Well, I don’t know if they get our signal there. The reception is not too great in Russell Springs I don’t think, so they won’t be too offended. And that reminds me cause I do a lot of speaking all over the country, somebody said one time, I wish you would wear a sign when you leave the state that says, “Kansans Don’t Talk Like This.” You’re right, I’m not a native Kansan but I sure love it. And when I as out in the western part of the state I got to go to Russell Springs the other day. I had actually been before. It had been 15 or 20 years, but it’s on the old Butterfield Stage Route. So there is the Butterfield Trail Museum there. And it’s, I love it. I just love it. Tiny, tiny, tiny little town, but people working so hard to keep their history alive and everybody volunteers and they just you know, it’s just wonderful. I love it. And it’s overlooking the Smoky Hill Valley there and it’s just, I love it. So, you’re going to love seeing it too. The museum won’t open again til May. She actually, Debbie Mather came in and opened it for us just so we could get some pictures and stuff, but it will be open again, starting in May and will be open all summer. And so,and then there’s a nice little hotel. So, I’m going to tell you all about it so you can all make plans to go to Russell Springs. (Frank) Yea, and the Butterfield Stage Line is an interesting story all of its own. (Deb) It’s a great story. Stay with us. On a rise above the Smoky Hill River sets the Logan County Courthouse, the centerpiece of Russell Springs. It used to be bustling, when the business of government drew folks to the hamlet in droves. Russell Springs was the county seat for Logan County from its organization in 1887. Efforts to move the county seat to Oakley were defeated in 1937, 1945, and 1960, but, in 1963, Russell Springs lost the election, and the county offices were moved. It was thought that the building would be demolished, but a local historical association first met in the fall of 1964, and the former Logan County courthouse became the Butterfield Trail Historical Museum, opening on September 5, 1965. Some portions of the museum are just collections of stuff that belong to local residents, but I found two areas to be of special interest, the Messamore Fossil Collection and the courtroom. All of the fixtures were left when the court moved to Oakley and the court is a 45-year-old time capsule. The annual Butterfield Trail Ride to benefit the museum began in May 1967. Early each summer, there is a two-day event starting with a ride or walk of 10 to 12 mile section of the Trail, ending with a stay in Russell Springs for the night. We were about to go into Debbie Mather’s quilt shop when we ran into Mel and Kathy Herschberger. They own the Logan House, the original hotel built there in 1887. We had driven by on our way into town and I was thrilled to have the chance to see it. I asked if it was a B&B and Mel laughed and replied, “It’s a bed and bring your own breakfast!” There are nine guest rooms in the original part of the hotel and the addition has a kitchen, dining and family room. Kathy said friends have called it her “doll house.” Most of their clients are hunters or family reunions, but they do get the average traveler tired of chains and wanting to experience a different time and place. Debbie then took us through the Butterfield Trail Museum. It’s closed for the season, but will reopen for May. She opened it especially for us so I could take pictures to share with you today. The old courthouse, complete with jail next door, makes a wonderful museum and I vowed to come back and spend time in the library. One of the most interesting artifacts was a set of plywood wings that one enterprising gentleman from Winona built in the 1930s. The folks in Russell Springs are working so hard to keep their rich and unique story alive. It is well worth the drive.

(Deb) Welcome back everybody and of course while we’re talking about about making plans for Spring, Kansas Sampler Festival is coming up. And Frank and I have been privileged to spend some time at previous Sampler Festivals and could there be a more fun? There’s just nothing more fun. (Frank) It really is. You see if you really want to know about people in Kansas and products in Kansas, the Kansas Sampler Festival is absolutely fantastic. The last two years it was in Wamego and they had some of the biggest attendance they’d ever had. (Deb) It was wonderful. Wonderful. (Frank) This year it’s gonna be in Winfield and so make plans to go to that. (Deb) Beautiful park down there in Winfield. (Frank) Yea. (Deb) Right in the heart of the town. It’s going to be beautiful. (Frank) Yea. Unfortunately it’s going to be one of the last two I believe. (Deb) Oh, breaks my heart. (Frank) So, maybe somebody will pick up the… (Deb) I hope so. You know God bless her, Marci Penner, who, there just ought to be a statue in the middle of the Capital grounds to Marci because she’s done so much for rural Kansas and unifying communities and getting the word out and, but God bless her, I’m sure somebody else has got to pick up the baton and keep going. But yea, good things will come from all of the work that folks have done. (Frank) We’re going to have a booth there, so come see us. (Deb) Yes, come see us. (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. (Frank) Just as Marci said, the Kansas Sampler Festival was designed to bring communities and attractions from all over the state together to make it easy for the public to discover day trip possibilities. Whether you are looking for hiking trails, historic sites, natural landmarks, unique restaurants, off-the-beaten track eateries, architectural gems, hole-in-wall performing centers, artists-at-work, specialty shops, or have-to-be-there Kansas events, this festival is for you! Since the festival was taken on the road in 1998, several towns have hosted the weekend event. Pratt hosted in 1998 and 1999, then Ottawa, Independence, Newton, Garden City, Concordia, Leavenworth, Liberal, and Wamego. Winfield will be the host city for 2016 and 2017, the last two years the festival will be held. Marci Penner and her dedicated crew are owed a profound debt from Kansans across the state. She has shown us, in a very grassroots Kansas way, how much our state has to offer. We are grateful, Marci, for all you have done.

(Ron) Way down in south Texas, more than a hundred years ago, there was a feller practicing law in San Antonio. He got title to a cowherd in payment of a debt somehow, which was a problem cause he knew nothing about raising a cow. So he hired some local fellows to look after this herd, but they were pretty lazy, according to this word. They didn’t keep the herd together, and many want astray, and they failed to brand the calves that were born along that way. It was a losing proposition, as that lawyer could tell, so he gave up on that herd and decided he would sell. He sold the herd on terms they called Range Delivery, which meant the buyer had to catch those cattle running free. So the buyer went out and began to look around, claiming title to every unclaimed or orphan calf that was found. What makes this story part of an interesting trick is that the name of the lawyer was Samuel Maverick. So when the buyer went to gather stock on his business’s behalf, when he found a calf alone, he’d say, “That’s a maverick calf.” The term was used so much that Maverick became a word meaning anyone who is not part of the mainstream of a herd. So that’s the story of how the term Maverick came to be, from the plains of Texas, with Longhorn cattle running free. Happy Trails.

(Frank) And we’re back again. Wasn’t that fun visiting Sampler Festival? I can’t wait. Cannot wait to have a booth and see everybody come through. Frank, I think that you and I should have those cutouts you know where you can have your picture made and people can stick their face into our faces instead. Wouldn’t that be neat? (Frank) Oh yea, it sure would. (Deb) Or we could have the standup of you and me and people could have their pictures made with us, you know if we’re not there. (Frank) Uh hum. (Deb) Yea, we’ll work on that. I think that would be neat. (Frank) Alright. Oh my. You know Kansas is full of so much talent, past and present and I’m sure future. And so you’re going to be talking about another artist that people should know about. (Deb) Jerry Thomas. Just a Kansas treasure. And I do not say that lightly. Nobody loves Kansas more than Jerry. Nobody has done more to preserve its history through art and tell its stories through art and he started out doing wildlife things and moved on, he’s worked with everybody. He’s done, he’s been commissioned to do the stuff for the Governor’s Turkey Hunt and I’ll tell you all about it in the segment. But he and his wife LeAnn from Scott City, just incredible people generous with their time and energy and promoting Kansas and he’s working very hard on the El Quartelejo site down near Scott City. And we could not have a better ambassador, period. Just could not. Just awesome people. (Frank) OK. (Deb) Awesome people. (Frank) So, let’s take a look. (Deb) Jerry Thomas is as much a product of the High Plains of Kansas as Monument Rocks or the buffalo grass that stretches like buckskin over the landscape. A graduate of Scott Community High School, he studied business at Southwestern College in Winfield. At K-State, he pursued a master’s in Architecture, Community Planning and Development. In 1986, he became a full time artist and formed a partnership with other businessmen to promote his work. Jerry was drawn at an early age to the excitement and nostalgia of the Wild West, the wildlife, the trails and the history of the West, all became an important inspiration for Thomas and his paintings. His attention to detail and countless hours of research have become a hallmark of his images, which are displayed in many private and corporate collections. Since Jerry began marketing his work, he has garnered numerous awards and much recognition. His credits include designing the Kansas Wildlife Habitat Award, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Corporate Stewardship Award, and being named the Governor’s Turkey Hunt “Artist of the Year” following his colleague and mentor, the late Wayne Willis. Other honors include being named Kansas Ducks Unlimited Sponsor Artist, National Ducks Unlimited Guest Artist, and the Golden Waterfowl Artist for Waterfowl USA. He Designed the Kansas State Duck Stamp in 1992 and 1996, was named Kansas Wildlife Artist of the Year twice. He created the book covers for the Kansas fort series written by historian Leo Oliva. His painting, “The River”, for Kansas Wildscape Inc., helped to create the Zach Hudec Memorial Wetlands at Milford Reservoir. Jerry’s work is also featured in the recently published US Infantry Association Collector’s Edition Book. Other works include “Get Em Boys,” my personal favorite. Jerry commented that he was very humbled and honored to be selected as the Chairman of the venture to preserve, develop and promote our “one of a kind” national and state treasure, “El Quartelejo,” ruins, the Pueblo ruins in historic Scott State Park. Jerry’s gallery and collection is unique in so many ways, but most special because it reflects Jerry’s love and passion for Kansas and its profound history.

(Frank) And so it goes. Gosh we’re done again already. So, I’m Frank. (Deb) It’s gonna be March when we come back. (Frank) I know. (Deb) Can you believe that? (Frank) Spring’s coming. (Deb) Spring is almost here. I’m Deb. See you next time.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at

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