State and National Historic Sites in KS

Deb) Welcome back and Frank and I are always encouraging you to get out and see the state and there’s so much to see and do of course. And again, following up on a theme of what to get people for Christmas, there are memberships available at the friends’ groups that support a lot of our state and national historic sites. But there’s a few in particular I wanted to share with you today. And the Parks and Tourism asked me to write a blog for them a while back and we’ll share that link for you. They wanted me to name my ten favorite sites and I thought, well that’s the way to make enemies, you know, win friends and influence people. So, what I did was preface what I wrote about by saying if it’s a state site or if it’s a national site, it’s so designated for a good reason. And those are places that you just ought to see. Period. So, with that being said, what’s your favorite state or national site? (Frank) Oh boy… (Deb) What’s one you love to go see? (Frank) Well I think, the Tall Grass Prairie. (Deb) Oh yea. (Frank) I mean it’s a beautiful, beautiful place. It’s been well preserved. And you can go there and just kind of spend a couple hours or you can go there and actually spend a week if you want because of all the hiking and camping trails and all that. And any time of the year is a good time to go there because it changes with the seasons. So, Tall Grass Prairie, I think is…now that’s a national site… (Deb) It’s beautiful. (Frank) It’s a beautiful place. (Deb) It’s beautiful. When my sister came out to visit a few years ago, that’s one of the places I took her to because it so much exemplifies the prairie and that era, when the farmhouse was built there. So that’s a beautiful, beautiful site. Now, one of my favorite state sites is the Pawnee Indian site, in Republic County, because it’s on an actual site of an Indian Village. It’s so unique. It’s one that is sort of off the beaten path So, a lot of people don’t pass it every day. You have to sort of be on your way to get there. But that’s one, everybody’s got to see that one at some point. So, let’s take a look at a few others. The story of Kansas is interpreted through dozens of historic sites around the state. Each tells one piece of the story whether it is westward expansion, the struggle for statehood, or the rich and varied cultures that have called Kansas home. There are four National Park Service sites: Forts Scott and Larned, Brown V Board, and Nicodemus. In addition, the Tallgrass Prairie Natural Preserve celebrates the grassland ecosystem of the Great Plains. Five nationally recognized trails cross Kansas: the Santa Fe (with more miles in Kansas than any other state); the Pony Express; the Oregon; the California; and Lewis and Clark. Signage and sites along the way, in addition to pre-recorded audio tours, are available for the explorer. The Kansas State Historical Society administers several sites including its museum and the newly restored statehouse. They are Constitution Hall in Lecompton, Fort Hays, Grinter Place, Hollenberg Station, Kaw Mission, Shawnee Indian Mission, Pawnee Indian Museum, Red Rocks, Home of William Allen White, and Mine Creek Battlefield. Self-guided sites are Iowa and Sac & Fox Mission, Pawnee Rocks, and Marais des Cygnes Massacre site. Partner sites are Cottonwood Ranch, the First Territorial Capital, Goodnow House, and the John Brown Museum. Merely listing these names gives you an idea of the variety of eras and stories represented at each of these places. Many of them have Friends Organizations and gift shops. Support those with your dollars. Take the kids. Take the grandkids. Pick up a National Park Service passport and encourage your family to begin collecting the stamps from across the nation, Kansas first. Often, we plan trips to experience something new when we haven’t even experienced what we have here at home. Click your heels and repeat, There’s no better history than in Kansas, There’s no better history than in Kansas, There’s no better history than in Kansas!

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