Page 1


| VOL 76





Allen House The

and other Iconic Kansas Homes

$5.00 / Display until 12/28/2020

O U R S P E C I A L H O M E A N D L A N D I S S U E // P A G E 3 0 Looking at Kansas history through community cookbooks // P A G E 3 6 Settling the often-hostile plains; one woman’s story of a new land // P A G E 4 0 Examining what we know about the earliest homes in our state

Oh Manhaan !

Trent Kendrick


home to huge celebrations that stir the passions of the community and attract nationwide visitors. While here, visitors should take advantage of amazing dining options and exciting city-wide attractions.


Scott Bean Photography K A N S A S L A N D S CA P E A N D N AT U R E P H OTO G R A P H S

7 8 5 - 3 4 1 - 1 0 4 7 | S C OT T @ S C OT T B E A N P H OTO . C O M

Proud Past – Brilliant Future Come Visit Eisenhower State Park Pomona State Park 785-528-3714 (Osage City Hall)


inside features



Indigenous people’s oral histories and archeological research provide insight into the first Kansas homes


Iconic Homes of Kansas Legends, photos and details of five historic, quirky, stunning or otherwise interesting homes in Kansas.



The Original Homes on the Range






Catch a show.



Walk in the wild.


See unique public art.

Download our App to customize your visit or call 1.877.725.4625

Visit our website to learn more!

• • •

• • •

• • •

• • •

• •

• • • •

• •

• • • •

• •


inside departments

07 08 10


PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP) KDWPT, Bill Stephens, Calah King, Shutterstock

Kansas Details | Cuisine Fine Food and Good Eats | Made in Kansas Must-have Local Items | Culture Arts and Experiences | Kansas Air The Freshness of Outdoor Life | Lens A Conversation with KANSAS! Photographers 20 | Reasons We Love Kansas Celebrating Unique Attractions 22 | My Reasons With Everett C. Weems 24 | Must See Upcoming Events to Enjoy



From the Editor

10 12 14 16 18



In this Issue

Wide Open Spaces 26 | The Kernza Fields The Land Institute in Salina works to create perennial grains for a sustainable agricultural future



30 | Taste of Kansas: A Heritage of Flavor A collection of community cookbooks highlights regional culinary history and “the ingenuity and adaptability of Kansas cooks” 36 | ‘A Lonesome Lot’ For Mary Hammond Sly and other Euro-American settlers who arrived in Kansas in the mid-1800s, life was unpredictable and full of loss



ON THE COVER Lights illuminate the exterior of the Allen House in Wichita. Photograph by Steve Rasmussen, courtesy Allen House Foundation

58 64

KANSAS! Gallery #KansasMag



Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Andrea Etzel


Laura Kelly GOVERNOR

Brad Loveless


Bridgette Jobe




Bill Uhler

Bob Cucciniello

Shelly Bryant

Nathan Pettengill




Joanne Morgan


Kalli Jo Smith

MARKETING, (785) 832-7264


Alex Tatro

Leslie Andres





Kathy Lafferty


Lisa Mayhew


KANSAS! (ISSN 0022-8435) is published quarterly by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66612; (785) 296-3479; TTY Hearing Impaired: (785) 296-3487. Periodical postage paid at Topeka, KS, and at additional mailing offices. Newsstand price $5 per issue; subscription price $18 per year; $30 for two years. All prices include all applicable sales tax. Please address subscription inquiries to: Toll-free: (800) 678-6424 KANSAS!, P.O. Box 146, Topeka, KS 66601-0146 Email: | Website: POSTMASTER: Send address change to: KANSAS!, P.O. Box 146, Topeka, KS 66601-0146. Please mail all editorial inquiries to: KANSAS!, 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66612 email:

featuring the work of over 400 local, regional, and national artists 825 Massachusettes Lawrence, KS 66044 785-843-0080

The articles and photographs that appear in KANSAS! magazine may not be broadcast, published or otherwise reproduced without the express written consent of Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism or the appropriate copyright owner. Unauthorized use is prohibited. Additional restrictions may apply.


in this


Creating Home

PHOTOGRAPHS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP) BriJoRae’ Pusch-Zuniga, Lora Jost, KANSAS! Magazine

KANSAS! Shoots

For this edition’s Behind the Lens section, we have returned to the work of photographer BriJoRae’ Pusch-Zuniga, who was also featured in 2018. Our reason for doing so is that Pusch-Zuniga was scheduled to lead this season’s KANSAS! Shoots event, a discussion on photography and visual representation of Black women in the media. Like our other KANSAS! Shoots events for 2020, this one has been rescheduled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We will have information on all 2021 KANSAS! Shoots events updated on our website as soon as it becomes clear when we can safely and responsibly host large gatherings.

To open our feature story on iconic Kansas homes, we asked Kansas artist Lora Jost to create an original work of art depicting her vision of home. She responded by illustrating a scratchboard, a technique where an artist scrapes off layers of black ink to create white lines. The traditional scratchboard is known for its stark black and white contrast though sometimes, as with this work, color is added. Jost’s scratchboard illustration shows a woman watching cardinals through her window. Warmed by a quilt and a fireplace, she sits in a room decorated with flowers, a photo of a loved one and a traditional wheat weaving. “The wheat weaving is an emblem of Kansas, a kind of folk art found in many Kansas homes,” Jost explains. “I made a thin red spiral line winding out of the wheat weaving heart which moves through the heart of the woman who is looking out the window, the heart of one of the cardinals, and the heart of the boy in the framed photo, as an interpretation of the classic phrase, ‘Home is where the heart is.’”

around the

Celebration Continues We hope you have enjoyed our themed 75th anniversary editions throughout 2020. We will finish our cycle of special editions in December when we release a special photography edition. Subscribers will receive this anniversary photography issue at no extra charge.


These are just some of the locations represented in this issue of KANSAS! Magazine.


15 48

Tuttle Creek State Park


Smith Center








49 Moundridge

Medicine Lodge




from the

editor I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent more time at home this year than I ever have compared to other years. And, putting aside the conditions and suffering that have forced us to isolate, I have learned to enjoy being at home. In March, I was home because of the shelter-in-place order; since then, my home has become a sanctuary. Being at home has made me more reflective, looking more inside than out and cherishing relationships. When I think of the word home, my mind immediately takes me back to my great-grandmother’s kitchen, now my parents’ kitchen, and watching her make chocolate chip cookies and being on standby as a taste tester, should she need it. These were magical childhood experiences, and I would give almost anything to have those moments back. After my great-grandmother passed away, her recipe box passed through the family, and not too long ago I became the new keeper. I’ve kept her recipes in it and have added contributions from my great-great aunt and my mother. Through the generations, our family has also integrated community recipes into our cooking. Reading “A Heritage of Flavor” (page 30) inspired me to go back through our family cookbooks; some of our favorites include Kansas Country Flavors from 1962 and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Latin and American Cookbook. I plan to cook more at home this winter and holiday season, and I look forward to going offline and turning to these treasured publications for inspiration. This winter season also marks the close of our 75th-anniversary year. I’m sad to see it go so fast. The special events we had planned for the year had to be postponed, so please watch for updates during 2021. What I’m most excited to share about for 2021 is that KANSAS! Magazine is growing from four issues a year to five issues a year. The first “new” issue will be our special 75th Anniversary photo gallery issue in December. Also, please note that starting in January 2021, our one-year subscription price will increase from $18 to $20, and our two-year subscription price will rise from $30 to $36. These decisions are never easy, but they will help keep the magazine sustainable. Subscribers will continue to receive the beloved annual calendar as well as the five issues a year. If you have any questions, please contact me at Again, the new rates do not go into effect until January, so if you purchase a gift subscription for the holiday season, it will still be at the current rate. From our family to yours, we wish you a warm and safe winter season,



KansasMagazine (get spotted; use #kansasmag to tag us)







SWEET OR SAVORY Cocoa Dolce Collections Wichita


Send Delicious Kansas this Holiday (800) 844-7494 (785) 873-3414 Where in Kansas?

Whiting | (785) 564-6759 | (785) 658-2602

Surprise snack lovers with a custom-made gift box of 6, 12 or 20 bags of savory Schlaegel’s popped popcorn. Mix popular flavors like caramel or cinnamon with amaretto, bacon and cheese, butterscotch, cotton candy, green apple, spicy cheddar, white chocolate cherry or other options. Or, choose one of their holiday tins in four sizes.



Check off your holiday gift list with baskets of food products made in Kansas and purchased from the convenience of your home. While many businesses offer their own online gift basket options, From the Land of Kansas in Manhattan and the Kansas Originals Market and Gallery in Wilson offer one-stop online shopping for a variety of local products. From the Land of Kansas, a state trademark program, offers two holiday gift options: the Konza Box and the larger Ad Astra Box. Each features a mix of honey, sunflower oil, sauerkraut, chocolates, jelly, mustard, and allergenfree items, according to Jannelle Dobbins, the program’s marketing manager. Information about each product’s company and its location in the state is included. “We’ve received messages from people who said ‘my kids all live out of state, and I can send them a little taste of home,’” Dobbins says. The Kansas Originals Market offers a large assortment of holiday baskets and boxes, all filled with full-size Kansas candy and snack items such as popcorn, fudge, trail mix, coated sunflower seeds, cookies, wheat treats, and honeytoasted peanuts. “The decorated boxes are really, really popular,” says Margery Lawson, CEO of Post Rock Opportunities Foundation, the nonprofit that operates the market. “Last year we used red truck boxes that were really cute.”





–Jannelle Dobbins (316) 315-0508

OPPOSITE The Ad Astra gift box from From the Land of Kansas.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY From the Land of Kansas

We’ve received messages from people who said ‘my kids all live out of state and I can send them a little taste of home.’”

By Cecilia Harris

Satisfy the sweet tooth of everyone on your list with an assortment of Cocoa Dolce’s handcrafted, artisan chocolates in a basket. You can also select the Coffee and Chocolate Basket, with a 16-piece cocoa lovers’ assortment of chocolates and house blend coffee.


made in kansas

POPPIN’ GOOD This group of Kansas producers offer comfort goods of all sorts, from snacks to skin care

MedZone Products, LLC Based in Lenexa since 2001, MedZone specializes in skin care products. But the big news for MedZone right now is their award-winning anti-chafing Face Balm for Masks. The travel-size balm is made from all-natural ingredients and can be used anywhere on the face and ears to prevent masks from chafing or causing chapped skin. MedZone also offers a variety of muscle rub creams, sweat wipes, anti-chafe sticks for men and women, blister prevention sticks, and saline wash. In addition, they sell hand sanitizer in a variety of sizes and even in bulk for businesses. Purchase MedZone products from their website or through a local distributor listed on their site. Soul Sister Ceramics Opened by Shanna Lindberg and Michelle Lindberg in Courtland, Soul Sister Ceramics offers ceramic jewelry and pottery they create from Kansas clay dug in the Flint Hills. “We’re soul sisters, not real sisters,” Shanna explains. “Our husbands are first cousins. We started hanging out at family events and became best friends.” The friends bought a kiln together and started selling their mugs and ceramic jewelry on Etsy. Two and-a-half years ago, they opened a shop featuring their art, plus other handmade items. “Our boutique features a lot of Kansas-made products,” Shanna says. Soul Sister Ceramics also sells Fresh Seven coffee from St. Francis and the skin-care and perfume Where in Kansas? line Rouge & Rye. They also offer Kansas teas, home décor such as throw pillows, and art. Soul Sister Ceramics, located at 328 Main St., is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and closed Sundays and Mondays.


OPPOSITE Bob Ralph stands in his corn field near Princeton.

“If any kids wanted to write me a letter, I’d return them a patch for free.” | (785) 222-0297


Princeton Popcorn Bob Ralph was raised a city boy, in the heart of Overland Park. But when he was growing up there in the 1980s, he frequented a patch of nearby farmland that became his touchstone to a rural future. “That’s my earliest recollection of anything rural. My mom would hold me up to the fence so I could pet cows.” That was the limit of his agricultural exposure. “Literally nobody in my family history had anything to do with agriculture,” he says. Still, he was fascinated by farming and the power of the American farmer to feed so many people. “I like the concept of putting a single seed in the ground and getting back thousands of seeds,” Ralph says. As he got older, he knew he wanted to farm something; he just wasn’t sure what. In 2004, he bought six cows and kept them on a friend’s land. Four years later, he bought forty acres near Princeton and made friends with the farmers at the local co-op. They were gracious enough to explain the business to him, making it very clear that farming is a love of the labor, with little, if any, profits. Having not come from a farming background, Ralph knew he had to be careful with his investment, which meant traditional row-crop farming was probably not an option. “Excuse the pun, but one day this question popped into my head: ‘Where does popcorn come from? I literally didn’t know.’” He went to his local grocery store, bought some unpopped popcorn kernels and planted them. “Over that summer I enjoyed so very much growing that popcorn,” he says, which was a patch of only a few square feet. But he was hooked. Today, Ralph grows 130 acres of premium “mushroom” popcorn. “That’s mushroom-shaped popcorn,” he explains. “My variety pops large and in a ball or mushroom shape. It doesn’t taste like mushroom.” Ralph’s venture into farming has been a huge success. Princeton Popcorn, named for the city, is now shipped all over the country and the world. Ralph raises the popcorn, cleans and packages it on-site. It’s available in 50-pound bags, 1- or 2-pound jars, and may be purchased from the Princeton Popcorn website, as well as online through Walmart, Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Princeton Popcorn also sells license plates, coffee mugs, iron-on patches and vinyl stickers with their logo, which are available only on their website. However, Ralph says,


PHOTOGRAPH Bill Stephens

By Amber Fraley





FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS November 27 | Manhattan

EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE Holiday celebrations and traditions

Families bundled in mittens, coats, hats and boots sip hot chocolate while enjoying a Christmas parade—it’s an image for one of the most beloved holiday traditions in several communities across Kansas. In Garden City, the Christmas Parade will mark its 20th year this December 6. Begun by three Garden City High School students as a project, the parade has grown to feature 60 to 70 entries, including floats, fire engines, squad cars and marching bands. The Winfield Main Street Lighted Christmas Parade, scheduled for December 12, typically features decorated tractors, cars and other vehicles, riders dressed in costumes on horses wearing jingle bells and lights, dogs adorned in holiday attire as they march with their owners down the streets, several school marching bands, and floats covered in gleaming lights, says Megan Beeson, Winfield Chamber of Commerce program coordinator. In Liberal, the Downtown Christmas Parade on December 5 will also feature bands, vehicles, and lighted floats and serves as the grand finale to a day full of activities that include a longstanding Folk Art Festival offering street entertainment and plenty of opportunity for shopping with handcrafted items and homemade foods in over 100 booths.

Stroll through the twinkling winter wonderland at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, where the bridge, shelters, and dozens of trees light up for the holidays through mid-January. The annual lighting celebration on December 4 will be a virtual event. (913) 477-7136 Because of health precautions in response to Covid-19, all events are subject to change. Please check the event websites for possible cancellations. Where in Kansas?




OPPOSITE The 68-foot holiday tree will continue to be an attraction for visitors to Manhattan’s 2020 holiday celebration.

SAR-KO AGLOW December 4 | Lenexa

Liberal | (800) 879-9803 Facebook: Winfield Main Street | (620) 221-2420 | (620) 624-3855 (785) 539-3800

Garden City


By Cecilia Harris

Manhattan’s festive holiday celebration at Blue Earth Plaza will feature its traditional centerpiece, a 68-foot Christmas tree, but this year the tree will include a music-synchronized light display that visitors can enjoy by tuning their car radios to 88.1 FM. The traditional pedestrian holiday plaza might be modified in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the entire plaza light display will be up and available for visitors to enjoy until New Year’s Day.



kansas air


ADVENTURE ... ON DAY ONE First Day Hike celebrations grow in popularity

For years, avid birders Barry and Ellen Jones have enjoyed the solitude of their annual mid-winter stays in a cabin at Tuttle Creek State Park. They also look forward to the afternoon of January 1, when they share the park with hundreds of people attending First Day Hike celebrations. “We really like the concept of starting out a new year by getting outside for a nice hike,” says Barry Jones. “It’s a pretty festive event with a lot of comradery. There are a lot of kids, a lot of families and a lot of pets. That’s fun to see.” Last year 21 Kansas state parks hosted First Day Hike events, opening their land for free admission on the first day of the year. Todd Lovin, Tuttle State Park manager, estimates between 400 and 500 people attended his event on January 1, 2020, making it probably the largest in Kansas. He credits the growth in popularity of the event nationwide, plus ideal weather. Some past First Day Hikes had up to 8 inches of snow or windchills near zero. The course for last year’s hike at Tuttle State Park passed through towering woodlands, around a scenic lake and along the Big Blue River before making a turnaround at the waterfall at Rocky Ford Fishing Area. Hikers saw bald eagles and a wide variety of waterfowl and songbirds. For birders and naturalists, seeing the wildlife was the highlight of several First Day activities hosted at the park.

WHERE? Here’s a list of the parks that hosted hikes this year. Most are expected to host hikes in 2021. For more details go to ksoutdoors. com, and click on state parks. Many state parks also have Facebook pages with event details. Cedar Bluff State Park Meade State Park Clinton State Park Milford State Park Cheney State Park Prairie Dog State Park Crawford State Park Perry State Park El Dorado State Park Pomona State Park Elk City State Park Sand Hills State Park Fall River State Park Scott State Park Flint Hills State Park Tuttle Creek State Park Hillsdale State Park Webster State Park Kanopolis State Park Wilson State Park Little Jerusalem State Park

“We do a lot of special things, like have snacks and hot chocolate,” says Lovin. “We give away T-shirts that are pretty popular.” The concept of First Day hikes began at a public area in Massachusetts in 1992. In 2011, the director of Massachusetts state parks suggested all states adopt the programs for their parks. Kansas parks climbed on board on January 1, 2012. In 2020, First Day hikes were held in 21 of 28 state parks. Nearly 2,700 people participated on the hikes that generally ranged from one to three miles. Tuttle Creek State Park had the highest attendance with an estimated 400 hikers. Perry, Meade, Cheney, Sand Hills, El Dorado, Elk City, Clinton and Pomona state parks each hosted 100 or more hikers. As well as getting the public to start a new year with good outdoor exercise, state park managers also hope First Day events encourage people to spend more time in Kansas state parks over the next 364 days. Seth Turner, El Dorado State Park manager, likes to start the First Day hikes in a campground below the reservoir’s dam, which is out of the wind and holds several of the park’s nicest rental cabins. “Sometimes we have a cabin open, and people like to go in and see them,” says Turner. “We like to have the people come out, have a nice time and maybe get them thinking about when they’ll come back again. It’s been fun.”


By Michael Pearce

Where Social Distancing is Welcomed

to advertise, contact Joanne Morgan | 785.832.7264




STATE PARK PASSPORT Kansas State Parks, largely user-fee funded, are great values. For a $5 daily vehicle permit, a family can spend the day hiking great trails, playing on a beach, and cooking up a picnic dinner. An even better option is the Kansas State Parks Passport Program. For an annual fee of $15.50, the passport allows anyone in that vehicle entry to the parks for the entire year. It can purchased through the county clerk when you’re paying property tax and registration fees for a vehicle, and the passport won’t expire until vehicle fees need to be renewed the following year. It’s a savings of $9.50 over a traditional annual vehicle park permit, which costs $25.50 and expires at the end of a calendar year.




Photography has gifted me with a desire to look deeper into things, people and places. Almost anything my eye finds appealing, at some point, my heart does as well.”


–BriJoRae’ Pusch-Zuniga OPPOSITE (CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP) Engagement shoot in Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado—Pusch-Zuniga’s home state before returning to live in Kansas. This portrait seems like it is taken in a rural location, but is actually one of Pusch-Zuniga’s favorite spots in the heart of Topeka at the corner of First and Topeka Boulevard. This extreme closeup features floral work by Topekan Kristen O’Shea and modeling by a longtime college friend of the photographer. This maternity shoot was done at Lake Shawnee in Topeka. Pusch-Zuniga photographed and officiated this elopement at Monument Rocks.

A conversation with KANSAS! photographers about their lives in photography Having grown up in Topeka, BriJoRae’ Pusch-Zuniga returned in 2010 to the Kansas capital, where—in addition to being an ordained minister—she runs a photography and video production company. Along with her husband, Entyse Pusch-Zuniga, she produces images and scenes focusing on joyful living, identity and nature. What is your favorite Kansas landmark to photograph? Forever, the Monument Rocks. Though I haven’t gotten to check out Little Jerusalem yet … so we will see how long “forever” lasts. Tell us about your best chance photo taken in Kansas. It was in Dunlap, near the Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park. There is a small rock stump in the ground near the entrance to the park. I felt drawn to capture it, so I took a photo, having no idea that it was at one point part of a fence post created by Exodusters. There is no sign—nothing to tell you this. I later found a book about the area and saw it the book, another photo of the exact same stump. Draw a map of Kansas, and pinpoint three locations that have significance for you or your career. Council Grove and Dunlap On an assignment in Council Grove a few years back, I discovered some of my family lived there and may have been Exodusters, something I’d never known before. Monument Rocks The site of my first published elopement photoshoot. I not only photographed the couple and wrote an article about their elopement but also was blessed to perform the marriage. It was an extremely special day. Wichita This is the site of my first photography-related speaking engagement, where I was asked to offer my input on the standard of representation of minorities in the travel journalism field.

What have you learned from being a photographer that you wouldn’t have learned otherwise in life? How to see and feel life more deeply. Photography has gifted me with a desire to look deeper into things, people and places. Almost anything my eye finds appealing, at some point, my heart does as well. I fall in love with the places and the people I capture because every place and person is something, someone I want to know better. People say seeing is believing. But you can’t truly believe in something until you know its story. What is the most common photography advice you share with amateur photographers? Never compare yourself to anyone else. It’s okay to be inspired by another, but duplicating what someone else has done is the first step to unbecoming exactly who you are meant to be, not only as an artist but even sometimes as a person. Guard your heart, and know God gave you your very own sight. What was your favorite photo shoot of your career? A friend of mine is having a baby soon, and I just captured her maternity photos. This woman is very dear to my heart as she used to model for me when we were in college. She was part of those formative years that solidified my belief in myself to follow my dreams. To look at those old images I took of her and look at these new ones just blesses me in so many ways. One, knowing how far my career has come, and even more importantly, how far we’ve both come in life. WINTER 2020 | KANSAS! MAGAZINE






1 20



Living Nativities

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY Countryside Baptist Church

By Cecilia Harris

reasons 1 JOURNEY TO JUDEA | November 20–22 and December 4–6, Overland Park This interactive outdoor experience at Countryside Baptist Church takes visitors through events of the Nativity and through the life of Jesus. Actors portray prophets foretelling the King’s coming, Jesus’ birth in a humble stable, the death of Jesus and the discovery of empty tomb. Advance tickets are required, but provided free on the website. | (913) 214-9734

Choose the plan that puts you first.

2 DRIVE-THRU NATIVITY | December 18–19, Emporia

This drive-thru event at the First Church of the Nazarene includes signs bearing Bible verses and actors portraying scenes such as a pregnant Mary journeying to Bethlehem, the newborn Christ in the stable filled with animals, and the visit by the Wise Men. The suggested donation is a nonperishable food item for the Salvation Army Food Pantry. | (620) 342-2858

Open enrollment is November 1 - December 15

NATIVITY | December 4–5, Paola 3 LIVING Isaiah prophesying the birth of Jesus, and Mary and Joseph journeying to Bethlehem are among 12 scenes and stations presenting the story of Christ’s birth in this free multi-guided walking tour created by the Lighthouse Presbyterian Church and the Hillsdale Presbyterian Church on the Miami County Fairgrounds. | (913) 294-2400

4 JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM | December 3–5, Rose Hill

Actors guide visitors along the stations of this 45-minute tour of first-century Bethlehem. Highlights of the event at Rose Hill Christian Church include taking part in a Roman census, encountering Roman soldiers on horseback, visiting a bustling marketplace, and watching the Holy Family, shepherds and Wise Men gather. Authentic costumes, sounds and smells enhance the experience. | (316) 776-0844

5 LIVING NATIVITY | December 12, Inman

The inn with no rooms available in Bethlehem, the sleeping Jesus in the manger, the angel’s visit to the shepherds, and the Wise Men’s long journey to see the Christ child all come to life with actors in period costumes and numerous live animals in Lambert Park at this drive-by event hosted by the Inman Chamber of Commerce. | (620) 585-2122

6 DRIVE-THRU LIVING NATIVITY | December 13, Topeka

A tradition for more than 30 years, this living Nativity of nine scenes is filled mostly with the children and youth of the First Lutheran Church. Animals at this living Nativity typically include a donkey, sheep and goats. Visitors receive audio devices to play in their car so they can follow along with a narration of the scenes.

Visit us at | (785) 272-5302 Where in Kansas? Overland Park

Paola Topeka

Rose Hill



Because of health precautions in response to Covid-19, all events are subject to change. Please check the event websites for possible cancellations

800-432-3990 KSM 7/20 An independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

1133 SW Topeka Blvd Topeka, KS 66629

my reasons My Reasons with ...

EVERETT C. WEEMS By Cecilia Harris


After growing up in Kirwin, in the northwest section of Kansas, Everett C. Weems lived in a number of states, including Nebraska, California, North Carolina and Illinois. The supervisor for nuclear procurement of the Wolf Creek nuclear power station now lives in Emporia, where he and his wife, Terry, co-chair their church’s annual living Nativity event. During the rest of the year, Everett and Terry often travel throughout the state. They regularly attend dinner theaters in Overland Park, as well as concerts in Salina, Emporia and Dodge City. Some of their favorite attractions include Fort Bissell in Phillipsburg, the Cathedral on the Plains (St. Fidelis Basilica) in Victoria, Butcher Falls near Sedan, the Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, the Sternberg Museum in Hays, and various state parks. “We try to go somewhere as often as possible, at least once a month, even if it is taking a 50–100 mile drive on the weekend through the Flint Hills. The Flint Hills is my favorite place,” says Weems. “It does not matter the season because there is so much to see and you can see a long way.”

We try to go somewhere as often as possible, at least once a month, even if it is taking a 50–100 mile drive on the weekend through the Flint Hills. The Flint Hills is my favorite place.”

–Everett C. Weems

Everett C. Weems and Terry Weems at Castle Rock

1 2 3 22

Being closer to where I grew up and to both my wife’s and my families. Living in the middle of the country allows us to be anywhere in the lower 48 states in a day or two drive, which gives my wife and me ample opportunity to see a lot of places in 7 to 10 days. Dirt and gravel roads. Having grown up in the northwest corner of the state, I learned to drive on dirt roads and enjoy the freedom and the sights. My thinking is a dirt road will take you somewhere.



The people. I was raised with a solid work ethic and had great mentors who taught me to respect others and to treat people as you want to be treated.


The sunsets and cloud formations. I have been to a lot of places and have seen beautiful sunsets and cloud formations, but very seldom do they compare to Kansas.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY Everett C. and Terry Weems

Everett C. Weems’ Top 5 Reasons for Loving Life in Kansas



Jam Out

Jayhawk Theatre


Death defying leaps, magical shows, and live music across the city. For more info check out Daredevil Feats Evel Knievel Museum


Kansas Ballet Nutcracker Topeka Performing Arts Center


Carroll Mansion


Stay > y Pla


Holiday Homes Tour December 6 | Garnett

The Garnett Public Library presents the Holiday Homes Tour. Get in the holiday spirit with a short road trip to decorated houses filled with Christmas decor.

Merry Prairie Christmas December 7, 13 | Colby The Prairie Museum of Art & History presents two evenings of holiday festivities. From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., visitors can enjoy hot cider as they take a stroll to view holiday lights in the museum’s country church, 1930s farmhouse, and one-room schoolhouse. Carolers will fill the air with song, and Santa may even make an appearance!

Hyde Park Luminaria December 17 | Hutchinson Take a drive through Hutchinson’s beautifully lit Hyde Park for its 35th annual Christmas Luminaria. Kids can also meet Santa at the corner of 20th and Washington, enjoy musical entertainment and horse-drawn wagon rides.


Kansas State Park First Day Hikes January 1 | Kansas State Parks Get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air at the start of the new year with free admission into Kansas’ beautiful state parks. Visit the Kansas Outdoors website on First Day Hikes for more information and to stay updated.

Artist Talk with Preston Singletary January 17 | Virtual Wichita Art Museum Cozy up indoors with your favorite sweater and a hot cup of cocoa to enjoy a virtual




exhibition of Preston Singletary’s Raven and the Box of Daylight. The online art talk and exhibition combines European glass blowing with new techniques and designs inspired by Pacific Northwest Tlingit culture.

Crossroads: Change in Rural America Tour January 23—March 7 | Independence The Smithsonian is coming to Kansas! Viewers can expect to see a national exhibition, as well as a local exhibit highlighting rural communities. The tour includes stops at six host sites. For additional tour dates and more information, visit the website.


Diamond Rio February 5 | Salina

The Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts presents Diamond Rio in concert. Tickets start at $39 and are available online.

Power Gravel February 14 | Olathe 3 Feet Cycling and Aristocrat Motors presents this classic bike ride starting at the Ball’s Price Chopper in Olathe. Bring a bike buddy, grab a paper map at the start and follow the gravel route options.

International Pancake Day Race February 16 | Liberal Join the ladies of Liberal and Olney, England, in a 70-year-old tradition as they compete against one another in timed races down the streets of each town—while flipping pancakes! Because of health precautions in response to Covid-19, all events are subject to change. Please check the event websites for possible cancellations


must see


must see FIND MORE EVENTS AT TRAVELKS.COM/EVENTS Because all events are subject to change, confirm with organizers before finalizing plans.

Hutchinson’s Hyde Park Luminaria will continue to light up the neighborhood this Christmas season with beautifully lit houses and glowing sidewalks.

wide open spaces

By David Clouston | Photography by Karen Mikols Bonar

The Kernza Fields The Land Institute in Salina works to create perennial grains for a sustainable agricultural future


other Nature’s a multi-tasker. Her forests, for example, provide a canopy for birds and mammals that scatter seeds, dig the leafand plant-strewn floor and fertilize its soil. It is a self-sustaining ecosystem that provides food for its inhabitants, year after year. At the Land Institute, a Salina-region nonprofit research organization founded in 1976, plant breeders and ecologists are working to apply this concept of natural ecosystems to staple crops of the Kansas plains. The idea is to eventually grow perennial grains, legumes and oil seeds alongside a variety of other long-lived plants in self-sustaining ecosystems, to create sustainable agriculture that mimics a natural environment and to escape the depletion of soil, nutrients and water supplies that many fear are threatening the future of industrial farming. Their first successful crop is Kernza, a trade name for the organization’s varieties of perennial grass related to wheat. Grain harvested from Kernza intermediate wheatgrass (scientific name thinopyrum intermedium) works deliciously as an ingredient in bread, cereals, snacks and more. It can be used as a whole grain, as flour, and can be malted or mixed directly into beer and whiskey, for example.

Our No. 1 export in the U.S. is soil. It washes away, it blows away. Our best nutrients are leaving with it. And yet, food security is the reason many of our ancestors came to this country.”

–Brandon Kaufman

OPPOSITE Stalks of Kernza grain stand in a field near Moundridge. ABOVE LEFT Brandon Kaufman works one of his Kernza fields near Moundridge. ABOVE RIGHT Close-up of the Kernza grain. Photograph courtesy Sustain-A-Grain.

Kernza kernels are 30–50 percent the size of wheat, but Kernza has more bran and fiber and fewer carbohydrates. It is an innovation that has won over some of the key decision-makers in the nation’s food industries, such as Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and social impact officer at General Mills. “We believe that Kernza has the potential to make a positive environmental impact on soil health and resilience by capturing carbon in its long roots,” says Melendez. In order for Kernza and other new perennial grains to become widely planted by farmers, they have to become financially sustainable. “Profits are highly dependent on location,” says Tessa Peters, director of commercialization for the Land Institute. “We are still trying to understand exactly how many years a grower should expect to see a crop when the grain is grown on production-scale acreages.” Much of a grower’s financial success can depend on whether they have a market for selling the forage and other grasses that would grow alongside Kernza. Profitability is also dependent on preventing a yearto-year decline in grain yields, she adds. “Currently we tell growers to expect four years before needing to rotate out of Kernza, but we are hoping that as we learn more about agronomic practices



wide open spaces

( fertilization, etc.), we may be able to extend the productive lifetime of a stand.” Brandon Kaufman, a farmer from Moundridge says yields of 1,000 pounds of Kernza grain (about 15 to 17 bushels) an acre is not out of the question. This is far less than the average winter wheat yield, which the United States Department of Agriculture estimates to be about 50 bushels an acre, but Kernza grain brings as much as eight times the current price of wheat per bushel. “One marketer could take tens of thousands of acres of production if we could grow it,” says Kaufman. Currently, Kaufman is working to meet this demand. He and Brandon Schlautman, a lead scientist at the Land Institute, are partners in a business they started in 2018 called Sustain-A-Grain. They plant wheatgrass on about 200 acres, spread out among fields ranging from 20–40 acres or more. Kaufman and Schlautman are also attempting what is hoped to be the next stage in Kernza crops—moving to biculture planting. By planting Kernza together with alfalfa, clovers, or chicory, farmers are able to diversify their fields, and in Kansas this means optimizing them for cattle grazing. “Our [ financial] safety net here is our cattle. It [Kernza] offers very high-quality forage,” Kaufman says. And because of Kernza’s growing cycle, fields can be grazed from November through mid-April, when ranchers are traditionally feeding hay—meaning no swathers, balers, or moving bales are necessary. When the grain is ripe, in late July, the wheatgrass is taller and forms a canopy over the forage crops, so it is no more difficult to harvest by a rolling combine than traditional wheat. Equally important, these types of regenerative agriculture practices have several specific environmental benefits. Because the perennial grains keep the soil covered, annual tillage is avoided and the farm fields are able to store extra carbon in the soil rather than release it into the atmosphere during the tillage. Also, compared to traditional crops, perennial grains such as Kernza have longer, deeper roots—extending more than 10 feet underground—that help



The Perennial Crop Learn more about the Land Institute’s Kernza perennial crop with these resources • offers a comprehensive overview of the Land Institute’s research into regenerative agriculture and perennial crops with excellent videos and feature content. Also visit for more info on how the institute is engaged in transforming industrial agricultural practices. • The short film “Unbroken Ground: A New Old Way to Grow Food,” produced by Patagonia Provisions, is part of the adventure clothing maker’s mission to support regenerative agriculture and sustainable food production. You can see the 22-minute documentary on for free. • Kansas Kernza growers Brandon Kaufman and Brandon Schlautman would like to hear from other farmers interested in growing perennial wheatgrass. Email them at sustainagrain@

capture more carbon dioxide. The release of carbon into the air, where it becomes CO2 and traps heat, creates a greenhouse effect responsible for raising the earth’s temperature. Scientists say this rise in temperature contributes to extreme weather and higher risks of infectious disease. A recent report from the nonprofit World Resources Institute calculates that if 10 million acres of farmland adopted regenerative agriculture practices, that land could potentially store 100–200 megatons of CO2 a year by 2050. These environmental benefits of perennial crops could also become a direct financial benefit to farmers if a system were legislated where they could sell carbon credits based on how much CO2 they’ve helped capture. Kaufman, Schlautman and others see a market for similar agriculture environmental credits for soil moisture sequestering (which reduces surface flooding and helps replenish underground aquifers) and nitrogen capture. Nitrogen fertilizer used to grow traditional crops promotes substantial leaching of nitrogen, contributing to surface and subsurface water contamination. “These things are more realistic than at any time in my career,” says Allan Fritz, who manages the wheat breeding program at Kansas State University and develops hard red winter wheat varieties for eastern and central Kansas. “Chasing nitrogen that otherwise might get released into the water table—the sustainability piece of this is becoming very important.” “It would be an incredible service that agriculture could provide, reducing or eliminating those types of problems,” Schlautman says. “Our No. 1 export in the U.S. is soil. It washes away, it blows away. Our best nutrients are leaving with it. And yet, food security is the reason many of our ancestors came to this country,” Kaufman adds. “People are not willing to change until it hurts their pocketbook,” he says. “Right now, there’s a tremendous opportunity to try new things because the market is so sour for traditional mainstream crops. … If we can start to mitigate some of that with resiliency in our soil and create diversified income streams off of each acre, we all benefit.”

t f i G e h t e v i G s a s n a K f o Celebrate the special relationships in your life this holiday season by treating your family and friends to a heart-warming gift box filled with goods from around the Sunflower State! Your purchase directly supports small Kansas businesses and promotes local Kansas communities.


$50 Konza Gift Box **Prices do not include tax and shipping. **If you are ordering a quantity of more than 10 gift boxes, please call 785-564-6759 to ensure your delivery can be fulfilled by December 25.

Each holiday gift box includes an array of delicious sweet and salty snacks, useful sunflower oil and so much more!

Ad Astra Gift Box

Order online at by December 10 for guaranteed holiday delivery!

wide open spaces

By Meta Newell West | Photography by Jason Dailey

Taste of Kansas

A Heritage of Flavor A collection of community cookbooks highlights regional culinary history and “the ingenuity and adaptability of Kansas cooks”


ansans have been sharing their recipes in community cookbooks for nearly as long as the state has existed. The tried-and-true recipes that make it into community cookbooks have delighted dinner guests and stolen the show at potlucks. They celebrate generations of home cooks, mostly women, willing to share their expertise. Looking over her collection of almost 500 of these culinary gems, retired librarian Louise Hanson says they “paint a picture of the surprising and fascinating story of Kansans and their food history.” Hanson estimates that there have been more than 2,000 community cookbooks produced in Kansas. They were sold to raise funds in support of a myriad of organizations including churches, synagogues, civic clubs, schools, and historical societies. They often reflect what was happening politically, socially, and economically across the state. The very first known Kansas community cookbook was produced in Leavenworth in 1874 as a fundraiser for a local charity known as the Kansas Home for the Friendless. The Kansas Home Cook-Book reflects how the ladies of Leavenworth supported a cause important to them during the post-Civil War hardships, using recipes for a purpose beyond their own personal use. This cookbook is also a testament to women’s abilities to manage and execute a business venture during a time when social and legal norms otherwise constrained them.

1945 Era Recipe In honor of the 75th anniversary of KANSAS! Magazine, Louise Hanson found an ice box cookie recipe in the 1945 O.E.S. Cook Book, produced by the Order of Eastern Star chapter in Wakarusa. Although about 85 percent of American households owned a refrigerator by the mid-1940s, the term “ice box” was still commonly used, as suggested by the recipe title. This recipe also indicates that Wakarusa home chefs continued to rely on the planahead approach that had gained popularity during the Depression. These make-ahead cookies were rolled and ready for baking as family treats or for drop-in friends. Think of them as an early version of today’s commercial “slice-and-bake” cookies.

OPPOSITE Louise Hanson has collected approximately 500 Kansas community cookbooks.

In the following decades, women worked with hometown printers to create numerous community cookbooks, but Hanson has identified many that were hand typed, mimeographed or photocopied. She has cookbooks with unique covers crafted from cork, wood, wallpaper and fabric. Some include hand-drawn illustrations and a trove of ancillary material including histories, personal reminiscences, poems, prayers, and household hints. The books frequently included home remedies, many using ingredients that raise eyebrows today. For example, one cough-cure recipe calls for a “muriate of ammonia and chloroform”—a potentially deadly combination. The quirks of local cookbooks faded when cookbook publishers became involved. Publishers made it easier for organizations to produce cookbooks, but they contained less original art and design, and more standardized formats and fillers. Costs of printing these cookbooks were sometimes offset by local, regional and even national ads. Today those ads can provide another window into the past. A 1926 copy of the Stafford Methodist Cook Book shows evidence of a booming economy, including at least two banks, three doctors, an optometrist, a photography shop, a theater, a bakery, grocery stores, and a multitude of other diverse businesses. Hudson Cream Flour, produced at the Stafford County Flour Mills Co. in nearby Hudson, purchased a



wide open spaces

full-page ad, and the Ladies Aid Society solicited funds from the Royal Baking Powder Company and the Ball Brothers Co., a fruit jar manufacturer. As Hanson peruses her cookbooks, she notices social changes indicated by something as simple as the changing ways the recipe contributors listed their names. “In the 19th century and well into the 20th, cooks named themselves with their married names, Mrs. Arthur Brooks, or Mrs. C.K. Netwiler. At a later period, a mixture of married names and given names was common, even in a single cookbook. For decades now, given names are the norm,” she says. Some names are more readily recognized than others. Senator Bob Dole contributed a recipe for bierock in the 1994 Baileyville State Bank 100th Anniversary Cookbook, produced in Seneca. Mrs. William Allen White of Emporia submitted a recipe for blackberry jam cake for a Neodesha cookbook, circa 1920. The recipes in Hanson’s collection also contain reminders of significant events from the time they were produced. Some of the 1970s books contain a recipe for a Watergate cake. Some recipes from the 1930s have modifiers in their titles like “poor man’s,” “Depression,” “frugal,” or “cheap,” an indication of concern for cost during hard times. Wartime cookbooks provided creative recipes like “eggless cake” when ingredients were rationed or in short supply. A cookbook compiled by the



Methodist Church women of Neodesha in 1947 includes a recipe for “Allsgood Pie,” a vinegar pie made with nuts and raisins. According to Hanson, vinegar pies were common in older cookbooks and used cider vinegar as a replacement for apples when they were unavailable. “This is a typical example of ‘making do with what you’ve got,’ a testament to the ingenuity and adaptability of Kansas cooks,” Hanson notes. The cookbook recipes can also surprise. While it’s easy to assume dishes eaten in Victorian times were prepared from locally or regionally grown products, Hanson’s collection shows there was significant consumption of food imported from afar. “One quite startling example of this is the abundance of oyster recipes in the 1870s and for decades thereafter. Entire sections of Kansas community cookbooks were devoted to oyster preparation of all kinds: stewed, creamed, scalloped,” she reveals. She attributes this unlikely phenomenon to the transport of thousands of barrels of oysters from east coast oyster beds via railroad. Another surprise is the appearance of alcohol in early Kansas cookbooks. According to Hanson, not only was alcohol a common ingredient but there also were sections dedicated to making cordials and wine. She goes on to explain, “The appearance of alcohol in cookbooks faded out after Prohibition. Interestingly, when Prohibition was lifted, alcohol never appeared, at least not commonly, in community cookbooks again.”

ABOVE Louise Hanson, a retired librarian, estimates that more than 2,000 Kansas community cookbooks have been created by various church and civic groups in the state.

Ice Box Cookies Yield: 7 dozen The recipe is as it appears in the 1945 cookbook with a few standardizations in the ingredient listings.

Ingredients • • • • • • • •

2 cups packed brown sugar 2 eggs, beaten 1½ cups finely chopped nuts 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 cups (or 4 sticks) butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon cream of tartar 4 cups all purpose flour


1. Add ingredients to mixing bowl, adding flour gradually and mixing well. 2. Knead (manipulate very lightly a few times) and shape into three (2-inch) rolls. (Extra flour can be used during the shaping process as needed if dough is sticky. Wrap rolls in wax paper and twist ends; rolls may also be wrapped in foil and frozen.) 3. Leave in ice box overnight. 4. Slice (¼-inch thick and place on greased or sprayed cookie sheet about 1 inch apart) and bake in preheated oven (350° is recommended) for 8 to 10 minutes (until edges are golden brown). 5. Cool on cookie sheet for a minute and then remove to a cooling rack. Original recipe submitted by Mrs. Elaine Carson of Topeka, Kansas

PHOTOGRAPH Shutterstock

(Optional mix-ins: 1 cup chocolate chips, chopped toffee or chopped pretzels; ½ cup dried fruit, toasted coconut or chopped candy canes; ¼ cup cocoa powder; 2 tablespoons sprinkles; 1 teaspoon instant espresso or spices, such as ground cinnamon or cardamom.)

wide open spaces

Recipes can offer clues to the state’s ethnic diversity; the dishes and ingredients often draw on the traditions of Mennonite, Volga German, Scot, Irish, Greek, Swedish, Jewish and other communities that settled in the state. Some of the earlier cookbooks sought to preserve the cooking of the homeland with instruction on how to adapt traditional recipes to available ingredients. Ethnic recipes also evolved over time due to changing taste preferences. Hanson traces meatloaf back to German-inspired scrapple that was made from scrap meat from a pig’s head, mixed with cornmeal and cooked for hours. While modern-day Kansans might cringe at the thought of scrapple, many enjoy some version of meatloaf, now a staple in contemporary community cookbooks.

Hanson has noticed that recipe names also have changed over time. Early Kansas cookbooks used straightforward titles—beef stew was beef stew, cherry cobbler was cherry cobbler. But, according to Hanson, “For several decades now, recipes have elaborated their titles. We now have ‘Sinful Cheesy Potato Bake’ and ‘Decadent Fudge Cake.’” That trend toward fancier names is a reminder that, while cookbooks provide clues to how people in a region were cooking and eating, the recipes may not always reflect typical meals. Cooks tend to submit their best recipes, such as popular desserts or special occasion recipes. Those that have precise measurements and instructions make it into the books; everyday recipes that are in a cook’s head, like those for ham and beans, gravy or even basic pot roast, are often omitted. Hanson, who continues to travel the state presenting programs on the state’s culinary heritage

Recipes can offer clues to the state’s ethnic diversity; the dishes and ingredients often draw on the traditions of Mennonite, Volga German, Scot, Irish, Greek, Swedish, Jewish and other communities that settled in the state. for Humanities Kansas, notes that people are drawn to community cookbooks, especially those from the places they know and love. Abilene resident Marcia Williamson uses her well-worn copy of the 1978 edition of Hugoton’s God Bless All Good Cooks as a way to stay connected with her hometown. She knows that Mrs. T.A. Dudley’s recipe for ham loaf will always be a crowd pleaser. The book is a source of many of Marcia’s prized and often-prepared recipes, one for poppy seed dressing submitted by her mom. As we have rediscovered over the past months of quarantine, the ability to create simple, practical and sometimes show-stopping meals is a much-appreciated skill. With a resurgence of home cooking, community cookbooks continue to provide a wealth of wisdom from generations past and present.



ABOVE The 1884 Kansas Home Cook Book is one of the earliest Kansas community cookbooks.

A Sample of

Kansas Community Cookbooks by Region Northwest

The 1991 edition of Prairiesta, Saga of the Plains celebrated the 120th anniversary of Russell by paying homage to the history, heritage and culture of Russell County and traditional Volga German cuisine. Its recipes include butter balls (a bread, butter and egg mixture added to soups), noodle casseroles that include cottage cheese, dumplings cooked with potatoes or green beans, beer pancakes, dried fruit soups, kolaches and a fruit-filled sweet dough called fruit ploughtz.

North Central

The Chapman Valley Demonstration Club compiled favorite recipes from their members and friends in the 1952 Come and Get It Cook Book. One Dickinson County resident submitted a seafood casserole that includes canned salmon and crushed potato chips, while another offered up macaroni bake. A three-ingredient salad recipe calls for cranberries, whipped cream and graham cracker crumbs. Sections near the end include a recipe for catsup and directions for how to sweeten stale lard.


A 1979 edition of the Garden City Cookbook was compiled and published by the Young Ladies’ Union, a division of the Community Church in Finney County, to celebrate the centennial of the church. Labor-intensive recipes like made-fromscratch cabbage rolls are included alongside dishes that rely, in part, on readymade ingredients. For example, the recipe for calico beans combines ground beef with bacon and three varieties of canned beans, and the hamburger pie uses Bisquick.


The Missionary Society of Victory Hills Church of the Nazarene in Wyandotte County created the 1967 cookbook Recipe Treasures. The book’s introduction includes this homespun poem: “Each time you turn the pages, Looking for something new to cook, Fondly remember each person, Who made possible this book.” Recipes range from made-from-scratch pecan balls to cereal-based six-week bran muffins.

South Central

Stafford’s 1885–1985 Centennial Cookbook is a collection of recipes from local citizens of the small town located in Stafford County. Local favorites like cinnamon cream pie are included, along with over two dozen gelatin salad recipes. The cookbook gives a nod to national politicians of the time, including U.S. Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum’s oatmeal muffin recipe and President Reagan’s favorite macaroni and cheese.


Recipes and Remembrances was published by Fort Scott’s Trinity Lutheran Church, located in Bourbon County. The 2017 edition celebrates the church’s 70th anniversary and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Contributors are highlighted by generation, with recipes of “Millennial” Amanda Thorpe’s Chicken Florentine Soup, “Turn of the 20th Century” Mrs. Wollenburg’s Peppernuts That Melt In Your Mouth, and “Baby Boomer” Cathy Werling’s Cherry Slice.



PHOTOGRAPH Bill Stephens

wide open spaces

By Marsha Henry Goff

‘A Lonesome Lot’

For Mary Hammond Sly and other Euro-American settlers who arrived in Kansas in the mid-1800s, life was unpredictable and full of loss


riginally from New York, Mary and John Sly had lived a year in Ohio with their two children before journeying in 1857 to homestead in Nemaha County, Kansas Territory. They knew the five-week trip via flatboat and ox-drawn covered wagon would be arduous, but it soon became more difficult than expected as Sly was three-months pregnant with their third child. The couple had decided to risk the journey because of the land. In a letter to her sister Elizabeth, Sly favorably compared their new 100 acres of Kansas land to familiar locations of their native upstate New York. Before the year was up, she was urging her sister and brotherin-law to join them in Kansas. “If you are coming the sooner the better,” she wrote, “for the country is filling fast and the first settlers have altogether the best chance. No man can hold but 160 acres and they have to be 21.” Sly did sound one note of caution about the mosquito-borne disease then known as “ague” and which we now call malaria. She suggested family ties could help overcome this disease. “If you do have the ague a few weeks we are here and may be able to lend a helping hand.” But malaria was a serious threat that affected almost every pioneer, including Sly’s family. She had given birth to her third child while suffering from the disease. She “employed a botanical physician, who lives

Author’s Note My great-greatgrandmother, Mary Hammond Sly, was born in New York in 1822 to parents who believed in educating their daughters as well as their sons. A school teacher before marriage, she faithfully kept journals every year of her life. The only surviving journal, spanning 1894–1900, was in my paternal grandmother’s possession. However, I am fortunate to have copies of several letters she wrote throughout those same years. This article is based on those letters describing her life as a pioneer.

OPPOSITE A blacksmith at Old Albany Days in Sabetha takes part in an annual celebration recreating pioneer life in Kansas. The daily scenes they reenact would have been familiar to Mary Hammond Sly.

four miles from us in Nebraska, he gave 16 pills to be taken in 8 hours and I have not had but one shake since and that was the next day after my little Catherine Elizabeth was born. A good old lady was obliged to officiate as M.D. as the doctor had just gone, thinking I could wait until in the night (I was glad he left though).” Caring for a husband and three children, all of whom had bouts of malaria, was hard for Sly, who was clearly accustomed to having household help and was distressed at being unable to find it. She eventually hired a 12-year-old girl and paid her three dollars for 10 days of work. The situation was so bad she admitted to her sister that “I was so discouraged as to make threats at one time,” but concluded that admission with her change of heart: “I am not sorry now that we are here.” “The climate,” she wrote, “is rather variable—subject to frequent changes of temperature, but generally dry and little fog or gloomy weather. Winds are generally high, but no more so than is common in all open prairie countries.” She notes that “coal abounds but is not of good quality although it is believed that heavier coal and better veins underlays the country, also that there is an abundance of building stone and limestone, sand and water.” The latter was found in streams and springs or by digging to a depth of 25 to 60 feet. To persuade her sister and brother-in-law to migrate to Kansas, she writes, “The soil is unsurpassed for fertility. On this point it would be hard to exaggerate.”



wide open spaces

Unique indoor display of over 200 antique and vintage Christmas Trees. November 1st through January 3rd 10-4pm Wed-Sat | 1-5pm Sun

(785) 887-6148

But the Kansas land was also gathering a different reputation. By 1858, Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune had dubbed the Kansas Territory “Bleeding Kansas.” The same Kansas-Nebraska Act that allowed the Slys into the territory also allowed residents of the potential state to vote whether they would become a free or slave state. A bitter demographic contest ensued between free-state and pro-slavery settlers hoping to swing the vote in their favor. A staunch abolitionist, Sly watched the political situation and expressed gratitude that the bloodshed in other areas had so far passed by her area of the territory. “Politically this region has been the most favored in the territory. It is strictly true there has been less excitement here than in most portions of Kansas. And this political quiet still continues,” she wrote in May 1858. “We are, I think, located for life, and mean to be contented and happy.” Their situation, however, was almost immediately undermined by politics. After the defeat of the Lecompton Constitution, which would have brought Kansas into the Union as a slave state, Southern extremists in Congress, backed by President Buchanan, passed a bill to resubmit the state constitution and threatened that if Kansas was made a free territory, the residents would lose 4,000,000 acres of public land grants, meaning the homesteaders would have to buy their land. Sly characterized the homesteaders’ feelings in an 1858 letter: “Everything seems to go off right since the rejection of the Lecompton Constitution, except for the fiendish revenge manifested by Buchanan’s late proclamation to sell all the surveyed lands in the territory. The people are forming mob laws for their protection—in some places, not here. James Buchanan, unless he repents, will die an unenviable death, unwept, unmourned, and perhaps unhung.” Kansans would reject the Lecompton Constitution in August, providing a victory for free-staters and abolitionists such as Sly. But soon, she would face a great personal tragedy. In September, their eldest child, five-year-old Cornelia, died of an undetermined ailment. Sly was heartbroken. She described seizures suffered by the little girl, one of which lasted the entire night before her death. “At first I felt that I could not give her up, but she suffered so much I was brought to beg of God to take her out of her misery,” she wrote to her sister Elizabeth. She told of the elderly woman who helped her make Cornelia’s shroud, and of the Baptist minister who “talked first rate” at her funeral, substituting for their Methodist preacher who was away at a camp meeting. Sly’s faith alone enabled her to get through the loss of her child. “I miss, wherever I turn, her smiling angel face. I have no comfort only on my knees in prayer to God. Still I would not murmur or wish her back. She is now and always will be happy. If she was dear to her earthly parents she is dearer to her Heavenly Father, and He gave her to us only for a short time and now He has seen fit to call her back. My heart says He


wide open spaces

doeth all things well. I hope to go to her, but she can never come to me.” A grieving Sly mentioned that Cornelia was first in the burial ground, “a lonesome lot lying close by our meeting house, right on the open prairie near dwellings…. I send you a lock of Cornelia’s hair. When you look at it remember her and her sorrowing mother.” As winter approached, her Methodist preacher asked to move his wife and three children in with them for the winter. Sly decided not to allow it because, “Mrs. Clark, is very fond of good things and many of them, and some nice hand to prepare the same betimes.” She remarked that the preacher’s wife “wears only seven hoops all the time and does not see how she could do without. They are in general use here, though not by me. I am becoming weary of following in fashion’s train.” By December 1861, war had come to Nemaha County, victimizing pioneers caught between anti-slavery Jayhawkers and pro-slavery forces. Each used tactics of terror. Sly had no use for either side. “The Jayhawkers are all around and we are expecting trouble from them as we have been threatened. I have a poor opinion of them, let them be on which side soever. We understand that North Missouri is all in rebellion again. We are afraid that as soon as the river freezes over they will step across into Kansas and make all the destruction possible. They hold such a deadly hatred to Kansas.” The expected attack from rebels didn’t come until 1864 when Confederate general Sterling Price led an expedition through Missouri in an attempt to force the state to join the Confederacy. In October, as Price and his troops approached what would become the crucial Battle of Westport, Sly observed that “the railroads are all in rebel hands in Missouri, or nearly so, Price in connection with others are playing Smash there. … Every able bodied man is called off after Price. The present hour for Kansas is a critical one indeed. Indians on the south and west, and rebels on the east and both trying to do her all the injury they can, still I hope she will escape a general extermination.” Price’s defeat at Westport, and then again at the Battle of Mine Creek, ensured relative safety and stability for Kansas until the end of the war in 1865. For a while after that, the area prospered. In the last letter in my possession, dated July 8, 1868, Sly writes that “farms are rising in value very fast, one that … could have [been] bought last year for $2,000 was sold for $5,000 in cash this summer.” However, her hopes may have been fading that her sister and brotherin-law would move to Kansas: “Now Charles and Lib tell us if you mean to come or not.” They eventually did, but the letters and journals detailing that settlement in Kansas have been lost. Our family has only the record of Mary Hammond Sly as an early Nemaha County pioneer. She lived another 39 years, dying in 1907 at nearly 85 years of age.


Nemaha County The first Euro-American settlement of Nemaha County began in 1854 after passage of the KansasNebraska Act as newcomers could claim 160 acres of farm land, then pay $1.25 per acre once the land survey was completed. The county then, as it is now, was primarily agricultural. In 1860, the year before the Civil War began, the county had a population of 2,436, but the population rose quickly after the Civil War ended as the Homestead Act of 1862 promised 160 acres of land to any head of household who would live on and improve the land for five years. By 1870, the population of Nemaha County had more than tripled. The county’s population rose each decade until it peaked at 20,376 in 1900 and then declined every decade since, now registering approximately 10,200. Source: History of Nemaha County, Kansas, Ralph Tennal, 1916; U.S. Census Bureau.





Indigenous people’s oral histories and archeological research provide insight into the first Kansas homes STORY BY AMBER FRALEY



WICHITA GRASS HOUSES At the age of 79, Stuart Owings, an elder with the Wichita tribe living on the Wichita reservation in Anadarko, Oklahoma, thinks he may be one of the last living Wichita with first-hand knowledge of grass house building. In 1975, Owings helped orchestrate the building of a grass house north of Anadarko. The biggest challenge, he says, was the gathering of the materials, which consisted of large pine poles, hundreds of locust and willow branches that had to be handstripped of bark, and finally, a huge supply of long-stem reeds to create the shingle-like thatch for the outside of the structure. Owings notes there is some disagreement among Wichita elders about what type of material the Wichita used over the 500 years that they are believed to have built these homes in locations such as along the great bend of the Arkansas River, west of the Flint Hills near present-day McPherson. “Some of them say you can use grass,” says Owings, who goes on to explain why he disagrees. “Years ago, some explorers who lived with the Wichita said they had domesticated a lot of wild animals—deer for one—that wandered around in the village. If you’ve got a house made of grass, what’s going to happen? They’ll eat it if they run out of food.” Owings believes that the beehive-shaped “grass houses” were most commonly built with reeds, some of which are called “swamp grass” and could easily be found growing near rivers. These reeds are much sturdier than prairie grass, and they wouldn’t have attracted deer. “Nothing will eat it because it’s too tough and there’s no food value,” Owings says. Traditionally, Owings notes, the Wichita would have used cedar for the large load-bearing poles, as cedar lasts longer and resists insects. “We contacted some Pueblo men, and they brought us a load of pine from New Mexico,” he says, detailing the building of the house near Anadarko. About 40 volunteers assisted in building that grass house. “We got the bending forks set first, four on each side. They’re about eight foot apart—depends on how big the grass house is—then we laid poles across [the tops of] each of those forks.” Once this center structure was created, Owings said they set a larger ring of thinner poles outside this structure, bending them inward. “All these poles meet at the center up at the top of the grass house, and they’re tied to one or two—or sometimes I’ve seen three—hoops of heavy grape vines,” explains Owings. During the building process, two doorways at least six feet high were left open on either side of the structure, one facing east and once



facing west, for spiritual purposes. “Mornings they’d pray to the east,” says Owings. The black locust and willow branches were then secured perpendicular to the pine poles to create a sort of scaffolding, “about two feet apart, all the way to the top,” says Owings, “and the grass bundles are laid against those.” While the men of the tribe would cut and set the poles, it was often the women and children who gathered the swamp grass and tied the bundles to the house, climbing the framework as they went. Starting at the bottom, the bundles were laid over top of each other, much like shingles, with the swamp grass about six inches thick near the ground. “As you get up higher on the grass house, the grass can be eight or ten inches thick. That’s why the grass house is cool in the summer and warm in the winter,” Owings says. A hole was left at the top for smoke from the cooking and heating fire to escape, though Owings says the tribe would’ve cooked and even slept outside during good weather. With regular maintenance, the grass houses could last for years, shedding rain and standing up to the winds of the Great Plains. Inside, bunk beds were located around the edge of the house. Higher up, the ribs of the house were used to hang supplies or hides, and to dry jerky. Though the central support poles of the grass house were always aligned with the points of the compass, Owings was taught that they had another, symbolic meaning. “Some say those are directional poles,” says Owings. “But where the four poles met, one of my grandpas told me that was like man laying on top of his grass house—two of those poles were the legs and two were the arms. They prayed to God to protect their home, and he said that’s what those poles are.” The grass houses of the Wichita were built to accommodate extended families. “Usually more than one family,” says Owings. “They would have grandmas and grandpas and in-laws and whoever they had room for.” When the Wichita had to leave their villages for hunting trips, they’d hide tools and other valuables in pits dug near the houses, and they’d camp in lean-tos or tipis with wooden poles and animal hides carried to the hunt. PAWNEE EARTH LODGES For much of the previous thousand years, the Pawnee were one of the largest and most powerful tribes of the Central Plains, with territory stretching from central Kansas up through Nebraska. The Republican River in Kansas is named for the Kitkahahki (Kit-KA-HAW-kee) band of Pawnees who were

OPPOSITE (FROM TOP) Two Wichita women stand before a traditional grass/reed home circa 1880–1890. An illustration shows the approximate position of homes in Blue Earth Village.

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY Kansas State Historical Society

Long before Euro-American settlers built soddies and farmhouses in Kansas, Indigenous people populated the area and built houses with native materials. Thanks to oral and written history, the connected memory of living tribe members, and the diligent work of archaeologists, we know what those structures looked like and roughly how they functioned in day-to-day life. These structures were successfully used for thousands of years and continued to be built for all the same reasons people still build houses today: comfort, safety, and community.

READ MORE To learn more about Indigenous housing, our experts recommend the book Plains Earthlodges: Ethnographic and Archaeological Perspectives edited by Donna C. Roper and Elizabeth P. Pauls, available through the University of Alabama Press, and Archaeology on the Great Plains, edited by W. Raymond Wood, available through the University Press of Kansas.

SEE ORIGINAL KANSAS HOUSING Pawnee Indian Museum State Historical Site 480 Pawnee Trail, Republic, KS 66964 (785) 361-2255 The Pawnee Indian Museum is built over the archeological site of the remains of a Pawnee earth lodge. Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead 13800 Switzer Rd, Overland Park, KS (913) 897-2360 Deanna Rose has a reproduction of an earth lodge and tipis open to visitors.


given the name “Republicans,” by French traders in the late 1700s. Virginia A. Wulfkuhle, former public archaeologist with the Kansas Historical Society and current editor of the Kansas Anthropologist newsletter, has spent many years studying the Pawnee, who built large earth lodges that held many people and even horses, when necessary. “Those structures were very impressive,” she emphasizes. “Big. Some were 40 feet across. When you think about how much timber that took, and sod, and the weight that understructure had to bear—tons—they knew what they were doing.” The Pawnee earth lodge had a robust frame of wooden poles and stringers covered with branches, dirt and sod, with one doorway that usually faced east. The lodges held extended families of as many as 30 to 50 people and were substantial enough to hold young men who perched on top to watch for approaching enemies. “The earth lodge house on the plains made a lot of sense, or they wouldn’t have been doing it for such a long time,” says Wulfkuhle. “I always think the settlers who came and built soddies and dugouts could have taken a cue from the Native Americans, but they resisted.” Every able-bodied person in the tribe helped to build the earth lodges, says Wulfkuhle. “Everybody worked on it, but in many Native American cultures—including the Pawnee—the women owned the houses,” she explains. “The earth lodge itself is a microcosm of how they viewed the cosmos. Their whole spiritual concept was reflected in the arrangement of the earth lodge. It was the semi-cardinal directions that were important. Each of those semi-cardinal directions had meaning.” Each post she says, was assigned a set of spiritual associations. “They had a color, an animal, a kind of corn, a tree, the elements of climate like wind and lightning, clouds and thunder,” Wulfkuhle explains. “And in the house, the activities were divided into areas—there were certain things you would do in one area of the lodge but not in others. The cooking was done centrally, and there were storage pits in the floor, too.” Additional storage was found underneath raised beds located around the edge of the lodge. The earth lodge was a place to sleep, eat and live during bad weather, and the extended entryway could even hold horses. With regular maintenance, the Pawnee earth lodge would last ten years or more. Like many people indigenous to the plains, the Pawnee would leave their earth lodges for weeks at a time to hunt bison, and during these times they would camp in tipis. KANSA EARTH LODGES Lauren W. Ritterbush, professor of archaeology at Kansas State University, says that the traditional structures of the Kansa tribe were bark-covered houses, influenced by the materials available to them in their original wooded homeland east of the Mississippi River. As they moved into the plains and what would become Kansas in the late 1600s, the Kansa began covering their wooden structures with sod as opposed to bark, and their traditional earth lodge evolved from an oblong shape to a rounder one. The earliest Kansa archaeological sites in Kansas are located in Doniphan County along the Missouri River. “Then OPPOSITE The Pawnee Indian Museum contains reconstructions of a Pawnee lodge house. Photographs courtesy KDWPT.

roughly around 1790, they moved to Blue Earth Village, which was just outside of Manhattan,” says Ritterbush. “We believe at that point they’re moving probably because of animosities with other tribes.” Their new site was a hospitable location near the confluence of the Kansas River and the Blue River, says Ritterbush. Life near modern-day Manhattan worked out well for the Kansa. “At Blue Earth Village we believe there were about 160 houses altogether, so it was a good-sized village,” says Ritterbush. “They had a population at that time probably between 1200 and 1900 people, and they all lived in that one village. However they did have enemies. The Pawnee to the north were their enemies, so they were threatened by raids occasionally.” Today, modern Manhattan has completely covered the Blue Earth Village site. “We’re really fortunate that in 1819, a group of scientists who were traveling with Steven Long up the Missouri River were sent up the Kansas River to visit the Kansa at Blue Earth Village, and they had two artists along with them. So we have some really good descriptions of earth lodges, and also the first-known illustrations of earth lodges from anywhere on the Great Plains are from that actual village,” says Ritterbush. From these illustrations we know the Kansa earth lodges were built by setting a smaller ring of large, ten-foot or so poles in the center, with beams connected to a larger, but shorter, outer ring of poles. Like the Pawnee lodges, the Kansas’ lodges held a firepit in the center of the house with a smoke hole in the roof. The outside of the lodges was covered with dirt and sod. Eventually, grass would have grown over the lodge, further strengthening the structure. Also like the Pawnee, the Kansa farmed corn, squash and beans, and would dry the corn and squash to eat throughout the winter. They also left their village for bison hunts, camping in tipis. “They would be gone for a lengthy time—certainly weeks if not months. They took a lot of things with them, but they would also store a lot of food in deep pits under the ground,” says Ritterbush. THE VISITATION Oral tradition holds, and archeological evidence supports, that the Pawnee and Wichita tribes are distantly related. “The Pawnees and the Wichitas are very close,” says Wichita elder Stuart Owings. “We still carry on the same practices we did a thousand years ago with the visitation.” Each year the Pawnee and Wichita come together and camp for a couple of weeks, switching back and forth from Wichita to Pawnee land. (Both tribes are now located in Oklahoma.) Each year the tribes meet, share meals, exchange gifts, dance, pray, and honor each other. The designated “tobacco man” from the visiting tribe makes up a pouch of ceremonial smoking tobacco to be presented to the leader of the hosting tribe. The tobacco is then smoked and shared ceremonially. “It makes a complete circle with the Wichita on the south side and the Pawnees on the north side,” says Owings, who served as the Wichita tobacco man for many years. Plans for the following year’s visitation are made before saying their goodbyes and pledging to meet again in the next year.




s a s n Ka

Legends, photos and details of five historic, quirky, stunning or otherwise interesting homes in Kansas.

ven after 150 years, Dr. Brewster Higley’s humble cabin still stands sturdy at its home on the range. It’s the site where the frontier doctor penned his legendary ode, beloved today as Kansas’ state song and as a frontier anthem nationwide. Higley homesteaded on the Smith County prairie in north-central Kansas, where he built his simple log and stone cabin in 1872 on the banks of West Beaver Creek. Moved by the grassland beauty, wealth of wildlife and spacious skies that surrounded him, Higley wrote the six-verse poem he called “My Western Home.” Tucked away and forgotten, the handwritten poem was discovered by a visitor when it fell out of a book inside Higley’s cabin in 1873. Two area newspapers published the piece, a friend set it to music, and a local band performed Higley’s song, which became known as “Home on the Range.” Its fame galloped across the country as pioneers and roving cowboys spread the tune along cattle trails and to towns throughout the West. Eventually, the Kansas legislature made it the official state song in 1947. Today, the inspiration for the song remains rooted in the prairie 18 miles northwest of the town of Smith Center, not far from the Kansas-Nebraska border. A carved limestone sign on K-8, named Home on the Range Highway, points the way west to Higley’s homestead. Rolling grasslands and fertile farm fields frame the 240 acres where, surprisingly, the doctor’s logand-stone cabin remains on its original site. Repurposed as a chicken house over the years, the aging cabin got new life in 2013, thanks to a fundraising and restoration campaign, spurred by a benefit concert by cowboy singer Michael Martin Murphey. The three exterior walls made of limestone and one of logs were



“How often at night when the heavens are bright With the light from the glittering stars Have I stood there amazed and asked as I gaze If their glory exceeds that of ours.” For Holthus, that stanza gives him a sense of the peace Higley felt while at the cabin and the inspiration behind the song. “That’s my favorite!” he says. “I don’t care if someone is from the city or country, when they hear the words, ‘Oh, give me a home,’ they’ll always think of their childhood home.”

OPPOSITE The Dr. Brewster Higley cabin can be seen in Smith County.


By Debbie Leckron Miller

restored. Inside remains starkly simple, with a handmade table and benches, chair, stove and loft, reminiscent of Higley’s days. A photo display details the refurbishing of the home that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “There’s a bench outside the cabin,” says El Dean Holthus, local driving force behind the restoration. “If you sit quietly out there, you can hear so many sounds of nature, maybe see deer or turkeys, and you get a sense of the peace that Higley felt there.” Holthus, 87, has lived his whole life six miles from the cabin, in a house his father built in 1914. Holthus’ aunt and uncle owned the “Home on the Range” property and saw to it, despite tempting offers, that the original cabin was never moved from its site. It’s now privately owned and managed by a community foundation, but is open free to the public, daily. Holthus, foundation president Mark McClain and other volunteers oversee the property. “Ours is the only combination log and limestone cabin remaining on its original site,” Holthus says. “But more impressively, visitors can sing that famous song on the site where it was written! There aren’t many places like that.” A two-mile nature trail meanders through the land. Interpretive signs along the way tell about the native grass, wildflowers, historic bridge, pioneer families and the awardwinning “Home on the Range” movie. Expansion work begins soon on additional hiking and biking trails, bridges and eventually an amphitheater. “I want people to explore the trails, enjoy the prairie and the creek, and get a feel for what inspired Dr. Higley,” says Mark McClain, who never tires of stopping by the site several times a week. “Visitors are really impressed with the cabin and its restoration,” McClain adds. “It gives them a real sense of Higley’s life when the song was created.” Visitors are on their own to tour the property, but Holthus loves meeting up with people who come from all over the world. “They walk in and just stand in the center of the cabin and look around, very respectful like it’s a church. When I see the reverence and appreciation they have for history, that’s my greatest reward,” Holthus says. “Many break out in song in the cabin or on the grounds.” Holthus, though, has a favorite verse of “Home on the Range”:

Honorary Home Picks LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE MUSEUM Independence The famous Laura Ingalls Wilder Home sits on a homestead just 13 miles southwest of Independence. The one log cabin preserves the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House books, and her family, who lived in the home in 1870. The home is also the birthplace of Carrie Ingalls, Laura’s younger sister, the third child to Charles and Caroline Ingalls. The cabin was reconstructed in 1977 and again in 2018 to reflect Laura’s own descriptions of the cabin and is now open to the public. The museum also features a one-room schoolhouse, post office and farm house from the same time period. CARRY A. NATION HOME Medicine Lodge This historic site was once home to a prominent woman from the Prohibition era. Here, Carry A. Nation devoted her life to helping the less fortunate and advocating against the use of alcohol by organizing the Medicine Lodge chapter of Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). After witnessing many saloons ignore Kansas’ law banning the non-medicinal sale of alcohol, Nation took it upon herself to enforce the law by destroying saloons around the state. The first saloon Nation destroyed was in Kiowa, Kansas. The Carry A. Nation Home sits within the Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum. Although Nation’s home is privately owned, those who visit the Stockade Museum can also tour Nation’s home. WARKENTIN HOUSE MUSEUM Newton The Warkentin House Museum in southern Kansas was once home to Bernhard and Wilhelmina Warkentin. Bernhard, an entrepreneur and successful miller, ventured from Russia to the U.S. before eventually building a home with Wilhelmina in Newton. Bernhard played a significant role in the community as he was one of three founders of Bethel College. He also played a major role in turning Kansas into a “wheat state.” The house is owned by the city, and tours are available to the public. Nearly 80 percent of the original furnishings remain in the home. WINTER 2020 | KANSAS! MAGAZINE 49

Honorary Home Picks



By Christine Steinkuehler ewis Fayette “LF” Garlinghouse was the right man, at the right place and in the right time—a Kansas homebuilder who created a model for popular, affordable homes at the beginning of a housing boom in the early 20th century. On July 28, 1906, the Topeka Daily Herald announced the opening of the Garlinghouse Realty Company at 608 Kansas Ave. Soon, this new firm was filling the paper’s real estate section with advertisements for homes, commercial properties and land for sale. For the fastest growing business in Kansas—For best houses—For least money—For any kind of investment— SEE Garlinghouse Realty. It wasn’t entirely commercial bravado. By 1913, LF Garlinghouse had obtained and platted a tract of land west of town named “Edgewood Park.” Here, he began selling lots and building bungalow-style homes. In 1916, LF released Bungalow Homes, a plan book for constructing houses that combined aspects of standard tract plans and customized options. This first book was predominantly photos and blueprints for 1- to 1½-story bungalows that Garlinghouse had built in the Edgewood Park area, making it a showcase of sorts for Topeka homes. To make the book possible, LF hired designer Iva Lievance to photograph homes and draw their layouts. A team of draftsmen would then draw customization plans to order.

By the 1930s, Garlinghouse had built over 6,000 homes in Topeka, and his business transitioned from building and selling real estate to primarily publishing plan books. Each book would continue to include a photograph, floor plan, description of the house, and approximate cost. The blueprints, which could be purchased for $5 to $10, detailed all materials and quantities needed for construction. Garlinghouse homes were known—and popular— for their large living rooms, breakfast nooks and brick fireplaces with built-in bookcases. Garlinghouse is also recognized for popularizing the airplane bungalow, a predominantly one-story home featuring a prominently raised secondfloor porch or room with numerous windows. By, 1945 Garlinghouse had sold more than 600,000 plan books worldwide, surpassing many of his rivals such as Sears and Wardway Homes. The company continues to operate today and still offers a range of home plans. The Garlinghouse legacy is different from the heritage of the other homes featured in this story. Whereas the other homes are celebrated for their uniqueness, the Garlinghouse homes are the embodiment of comparatively affordable and stylish housing. In that sense, Garlinghouse homes are not an iconic Kansas home, but rather the democratization of the ideal of an iconic home.

OPPOSITE Blueprints and catalogs of the Garlinghouse company show the wide range of home plans launched by Topeka real estate developer LF Garlinghouse.

SILO-ECO HOME Greensburg After a tornado struck the town of Greensburg in 2007, the devastation was evident. Over 95 percent of the town was destroyed, but one of the few things left standing was the grain silo. The silo became a symbol of hope during hard times and was later made into an energy and water efficient home known as the Silo-Eco Home. The home is now private but was originally owned by Greensburg GreenTown, a nonprofit organization, and designed by Armour Homes. It features 6-inch concrete walls, and its cylindrical shape can withstand a tornado’s high winds. photo-tour/greensburggreentown-silo-eco-home/view 1889 McINTEER VILLA Atchison Considered one of the most picturesque homes in Atchison, the 1889 McInteer Villa sits on a hill, like many in the area, and features an intricate Victorian-style architectural design. It was built in 1889 for Irish immigrant John McInteer for $14,000—nearly half a million dollars by today’s standards. The 131 year-old home, widely believed to be haunted, is available for tours and overnight stays. Guests who dare to visit can go to the website to purchase one hour, self-guided tours that will run from September 26 to October 31. Tickets are $10 per person.



owering above the corner of First and Vine, the Lebold Mansion in Abilene anchors decades of city history and connects the community to one of its very first structures. Here, on the west bank of Mud Creek, Timothy and Eliza Hersey made their home in a one-room dugout in 1857. Eliza gave birth to the first EuroAmerican settler born in Dickinson County and is believed to have selected the town’s name, which means “land of meadows,” “land of tall grass,” and “land of streams,” from Luke 3:1. The Herseys went on to construct a two-story cabin above their dugout home, along with a stable, a store, and a gristmill. Their property became an important stop along the Overland & Butterfield stagecoach line. Eliza served food to visitors while Timothy worked as a tracker, tended horses, and sold hay. Soon, the Union Pacific Railroad line would pass near their farm, carrying cattle from the Northern terminus of the Chisholm Trail to the East Coast. In 1869, Conrad H. Lebold, looking for opportunity, traveled to Kansas from Ohio. In partnership with Jacob Augustine, Lebold purchased the Abilene town site for $3,000 and established the National Union Land Office, which later became the banking firm of Lebold, Fisher & Company. In 1880, Lebold also purchased the Hersey’s 100-acre farm, located at the newly platted corner of First and Vine. He tore down their two-story log cabin but left the original dugout home, which became the foundation for a 65-foot cupola tower looking out over the growing city. Native Kansas limestone, transported from Russell and Ellis counties, formed the walls and tower of the massive structure. Constructed at a cost of $118,000, the 20-room mansion boasted 12-foot ceilings, inlaid floors, four flights of stairs, and bathrooms with hot and cold running water. The Abilene Gazette would tout the newly finished mansion looking over the “dreamy little stream of Mud Creek” as “the finest residence in Central Kansas.” Lebold went on to serve in the Kansas State Legislature and as mayor of Abilene. During the economic depression of 1889, however, he lost his bank, his home, and his extensive land holdings. He left Abilene for Kansas City and later moved



to Washington state, where he died of heart failure in 1906. In a court-ordered sheriff ’s sale, the Lebold Mansion was sold to George C. Sterl, who lived in the home until his death in 1918. From 1926–1945, the title to the Lebold Mansion was held by businessman Cleyson L. Brown and the Brown Memorial Foundation. Through the Depression and World War II, Brown not only based his telephone company at the mansion but also ran a boarding house for working girls, an orphans’ home and an old folks’ home there. Between 1945 and 1972, the Lebold Mansion was divided up into 17 separate rental units that shared 9 kitchens and 4 baths. In 1958, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers redesigned the “dreamy little stream of Mud Creek” into a flood-control project that changed the view from the Lebold Mansion tower considerably. Such were the conditions under which Kurt and Kathy Kessinger purchased the mansion in 1972. The Kessingers’ stewardship led to the National Park Service’s designating the Lebold Mansion a National Historic Site of architectural and historical significance. In 1974, Fred and Merle Vahsholtz purchased the property and embarked on a massive two-year restoration, bringing the Lebold Mansion back to its elegant single-family design. In addition to extensive interior preservation, they rebuilt the tower, constructed a carriage house, and surrounded the property with ornate wrought iron fencing. Between 1976 and 2000, thousands of visitors from around the world experienced guided tours of the renamed Lebold-Vahsholtz Mansion. Each room of the home was filled with Merle Vahsholtz’s extensive antique and tapestry collections. Tours began in the basement with a visit to the Hersey’s original dugout home, continued through each room on three separate floors, and culminated with an invitation to view Abilene through the windows of the tower room. After the Vahsholtzes’ deaths, the home transferred ownership three times before being ordered to a sheriff ’s sale in 2019. Currently owned by the Dickinson County Bank, the Lebold Mansion waits patiently through uniquely challenging times for the next phase of its future to unfold.

OPPOSITE The above drawing from Evert’s Atlas, shows the exterior of the Lebold Mansion in Abilene, Kansas in 1887. The photo below depicts the mansion in its form today.

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY (OPPOSITE, FROM TOP) Kansas Historical Society, Keller Photography & Design

By Patricia E. Ackerman



By Beccy Tanner “They weren’t just any family,” Ellington explains. “He owned the Wichita Beacon and was a governor of Kansas and later, U.S. senator.” Finished in 1918, the house was one of the last Prairie-style projects (with a low roofline and sweeping horizontal aspects) that Wright completed, but it retains a contemporary feel. “It is still considered a modern house,” Ellington notes. “Wright was so forward in his ability to design. He was one of those rare, creative people who are born with inventiveness.” Ellington says Wright’s spirit can be felt during a tour of the home. “There is an emotional connection, and then there is an intellectual connection,” Ellington notes. “You can see it on people’s faces. They come in and then they start picking up on how Wright did things—such as the cross ventilation of the house and how air flowed.” The Allen House is open by appointment. Reservations can be made online by going to “This is not a secret,” Ellington says. “It is something we want everybody to know. It is an important work of art by the greatest architect of the 20th century.”


ecognized as one of America’s most gifted 20thcentury architects, Frank Lloyd Wright built more than 500 homes, museums, places of worship and office buildings, eight of them included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. In Wichita, at 255 N. Roosevelt, Wright also created a tribute to domestic comfort. Known as the Allen House, this home exemplifies how Wright’s genius was applied to the “element of daily living,” according to Howard Ellington, restoration architect and director of the Allen House Foundation. “People can come here and see the furniture Wright designed. We have every piece of furniture that he designed, except for one that belongs to one of the heirs. All of our glass windows are intact—they weren’t sold off during the Depression, which a lot of people did to survive. The house is very complete and that’s what people find so enchanting.” Ellington says touring the home is akin to “going to a concert to absorb music,” view a famous painting or read a classic piece of literature. The Allen House remains one of Wright’s most intact and complete projects. Partly because of these reasons—as well as its distinct horizontal bricks— USA Today listed the Allen House as one of the nation’s top 10 Wright-designed homes. Wichita residents Henry J. and Elsie Allen commissioned the home in 1915.

OPPOSITE The exterior and interior of the Allen House are testimonies to the architectural genius of Frank Lloyd Wright.



he William Allen White House in Emporia, Kansas, is a beautiful 19th-century home with a surprising history that influenced the path of Kansas and the United States to this very day. The home, originally built by a lawyer, Mr. Almerin Gillett, was later bought by William Allen White after the stock market crash of the 1890s. The 3,000-square-foot home was initially a Queen Anne–style home, but after a chimney fire in January 1920, it was renovated into a CraftsmanTudor style, according to Ken Wilk, site administrator for the Red Rocks State Historic Site. The home is filled with artifacts and collectibles gathered by generations of the White family. Wilk, who has worked as a site administrator for the past 7 years, notes his favorite room is White’s study room. “It’s his room!” Wilk says. “All the features reflect his personality. Whenever I am in that room, I can imagine him there with some of his friends having a good time or working on one of his projects.” White was a writer and later the owner and editor of the Emporia Gazette. In 1896, White wrote an influential editorial titled “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” that earned international coverage. It argued against the populist movement of the time and called out leaders for letting the Kansas economy fall behind neighboring states. The article also grabbed the attention of Republicans, and it helped



President McKinley win the election. This led to White becoming a friend and adviser to Teddy Roosevelt and seven other U.S. presidents. Five presidents visited the residence, including Teddy Roosevelt, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge, according to Wilk. White and his wife, Sallie, were also known for their love of entertaining guests, Wilk says. The two filled the house with socialites, actors, politicians and locals. “William Allen and Sallie were very outgoing people who loved to have guests at the house. With William Allen’s notoriety, many famous visitors came to Emporia to see them,” Wilk says. Soon, Emporia earned a reputation as a quintessential Midwest town, and the Gazette was often looked to for the political perspective of White and the Kansans he represented. White went on to win two Pulitzers and was on the cover of Time magazine more than once. It was clear he had gained stature as a problem solver and political strategist. After White’s death in 1944, his son William Lindsay White lived in the home and continued to run the Emporia Gazette. In 2001 the family donated the home to the State of Kansas, and it opened to the public in 2005. Despite its renovation and slight modernization in the early 1920s, the home today sits just as it did then, still adorned with period furniture and artifacts from around the world, Wilk says. Notable rooms in the home include the living room, dining room and White’s study. Hundreds of books remain on the shelves—only a small portion of White’s collection. The dining room, a surprisingly small space, opens through double doors to the backyard, a spot for many family dinners. Upstairs in the study sits White’s desk, accompanied by a travel typewriter and fountain pen. Wrapping one corner of the home is a covered porch with an outdoor telephone. White apparently got so many phone calls that he had one wired outside. The home is open to tours Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.–5 p.m., April through the last Saturday in October. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for kids. Visit for more details.

OPPOSITE William Allen White often hosted guests in his garden and parlor.


By Justin Lister



K A N S A S !










as seen on

#kansasmag 2 jonathanadamskansas

1 run_quiltgirl_run

3 sng_photos

5 bruce.milroy

4 cdsocha



Select from

When you see the Lawrence Promise Seal you can rest assured that practices are in place to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Taking Flight

The Nadine Ramsey Story Raquel Ramsey and Tricia Aurand

• Outstanding service • Friendly prices • Statewide delivery MID-AMERICA



Manhattan, KS | (800) 950-3774

The inspiring story of a girl from Depression-era Kansas who overcame tremendous challenges and defied convention to become an elite pilot—one of the few American women to fly fighter aircraft during World War II. “This honest and heartfelt book chronicles the life of a woman who struggled to overcome the barriers of her day, and occasionally brushed the bounds of heaven.” Lisa K. Shapiro, author of No Forgotten Fronts: From Classrooms to Combat

312 pages, 74 black and white photos, 13 color photos, Cloth $29.95

Ebook edition available from your favorite ebook retailer.

University Press of Kansas Phone 785-864-4155 •

Image: Clinton Lake, Lawrence, KS


Holiday travel made easy!