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Legacy h

SPRING 2011

T H E  

J O U R N A L  

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T H E  

R E N O  

C O U N T Y  

H I S T O R I C A L  

S O C I E T Y

in a bizarre turn of events a local editor is kidnapped…page 4

I 12 check out this new benefit of membership

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E 23 you’ll only find out at the new bisonte exhibit


THE JOURNAL OF THE RENO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

HISTORICAL SOCIETY STAFF (full-time)

Linda Schmitt, executive director, rchs lindas@undergroundmuseum.org

Mike Allen, finance manager, rchs mike@undergroundmuseum.org

Jamin Landavazo, chief curator, rchs jamin@undergroundmuseum.org

Gayle Ferrell, director of operations, kusm gayle@undergroundmuseum.org

4 a strange tale of kidnapping ...hutchinson editor nabbed at midnight

11 new directions...new benefits

...kusm now even more accessible

12 kusm celebrates its 4th birthday

...it’s come a long, long way

15 a look back at “legacy”

Tonya Gehring, docent supervisor, kusm

Tina Moore, administrative assistant, rcm

18 museum hits the road

tonya@undergroundmuseum.org

tina@renocomuseum.org

Lynn Ledeboer, curatorial assistant, rcm lynn@renocomuseum.org

Colleen McCallister, visitor services, kusm colleen@undergroundmuseum.org

Dave Unruh, maintenance supervisor, kusm dave@undergroundmuseum.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS John Doswell, president • Shannon Holmberg, secretary Charles Studt, treasurer • Michael Armour, president-elect Patty Foss • LeAnn Cox • E. Francis Habiger • Nan Hawver Todd Laffoon • Sherry Mundhenke • Tim Davies • Richard Shank Barbara Withrow • Jerry Wray • Mike Carey, ex-officio • Myron Marcotte, ex-officio • Lee Spence, ex-officio

...issues chock full of history & events

...exhibits open in county communities

20 busy calendar for kusm & museum

...ride the train and visit exhibits

22 a big thank you to our members

...and all our other supporters

Volume 23, No. 2 Legacy is published quarterly by The Reno County Historical Society, Inc. 100 S. Walnut St., P.O. Box 664, Hutchinson, Kansas 67504-0664 Distribution is free to RCHS members. For advertising or membership information, call 620-662-1184. © 2011 The Reno County Historical Society, Inc. ISSN 1045-3423 All rights reserved. The RCHS disclaims responsibility for statements of fact or opinion made by contributors. Third class postage paid at Hutchinson, Kansas.


ON THE COVER turpen and his guardian deputy sought refuge for a night at the local reno house. (1985.00.1046)

KIDNAPPED ...editor nabbed in bizarre fiasco By William D. (Bill) Rexroad, Hutchinson Historian

B ABOUT THE AUTHOR when we stated above that bill rexroad is a hutchinson historian, that isn’t quite the whole story. he’s also renowned as a musician, singer and storyteller! now, read bill’s account of this strange tale in hutchinson’s history, and you’ll find out how a murder in topeka set off this bizarre chain of events.

ack in the 1870s there was no radio or TV and, of course, no Internet. People got their news from a newspaper. It was not at all uncommon for a town to have more than one newspaper and for larger cities to have several. Hutchinson had three in the 1870s and even more in the 1880s and ’90s. By the 1890s nearly every little town in Reno County had a newspaper of its own. The newspaper editors of those days were a brazen bunch, to say the least. They took great pride in boldly exposing all manner of what they saw as wrong-doing, bringing down the high and mighty, and promoting their own political beliefs. One who was particularly outspoken and critical was J. Clarke Swayze, editor of the Topeka Blade.

INSULTING REPUTATION Swayze had a reputation for publishing insulting and defamatory remarks, especially about politicians and other newspaper editors. Frequent targets of his ridicule were John W. Wilson,

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former editor of a competing newspaper, and Floyd P. Baker, editor of the Topeka Commonwealth. Hardly a day went by during the early months of 1877 that Swayze didn’t publish some derogatory article about one or the other or both of them. Then, on March 27, 1877, Swayze ran a piece calling Wilson a “gambler” and a “pimp.” Late that same afternoon Wilson shot and killed Swayze outside his office in

broad daylight and in front of witnesses. Wilson was employed by Baker at the time of the shooting. It was widely known that the two of them were at odds with Swayze, and there were rumors that they had conspired in a plot to kill him. Indeed, Swayze had said in a letter weeks before his death that Wilson was being urged to kill him. The editor of the Kansas City

(See page 5)

turpen likely worked for some time in this hutchinson news building, ca. 1903. (1985.00.0300)


jason clarke swayze, editor of

Times had said, “They are going to kill Swayze.” However, if there truly had been a conspiracy to murder Swayze, it didn’t come out in Wilson’s trial for the shooting. He was acquitted after it was shown that Swayze himself may have instigated the shooting by brandishing his own gun against Wilson. Newspapers around the state carried the story of the shooting and trial. And, of course, they editorialized about it. Some condemned Wilson for the shooting and Baker for his suspected part in it. Others claimed that Swayze got what he deserved. A Hutchinson newspaper chimed in. W.J. Turpen, editor of the Hutchinson Herald, wrote the following: “His murder was deliberately planned and cowardly executed by the rogues he had exposed. His principal enemy was one F. P. Baker, publisher of the Topeka Commonwealth, who is a lottery swindler, an aboriginal knave, and whose very existence outside of the penitentiary is a sad commentary upon society. This Baker now descends hyenalike into his victim’s grave to pour the sacrilegious contents of a corrupt heart over his inanimate form.” Those were strong words – not just the name calling but also the implication that

the “topeka blade,” was only 47 when he was gunned down in 1877. his murder led

to the kidnapping of w.j. turpen of hutchinson. (image from kansas state historical society)

issued for his arrest on the Baker was involved in a plan basis that the alleged offense to kill Swayze. – publication of the newsBaker was a reputable citipaper article – occurred in zen of Topeka, although not Reno County, not Shawnee. so well liked by some other This prevented the Shawnewspaper editors because nee County sheriff from of his politics. Consequently, taking Turpen back to he was at times the victim Topeka, and ensured of slanderous accusathat any action tions like this one by turpen against Turpen Turpen. in and would have to To protect his out of be tried in Reno reputation, Baker jail County. brought libel suits Turpen was aragainst those who rested and bail was set at wrote such things. And $2,000. Citizens of Hutchinthus it came to pass that he son quickly offered to pay sued Turpen for what he his bail but he declined and had written. went to jail. He wasn’t there In early January, 1878, long, however, soon appearSheriff Wade of Shawnee ing on the streets of the city County came to Hutchinson in the company of a sheriff’s with a warrant for Turpen’s deputy. Reno County Sheriff arrest. But Turpen was afraid John M. Hedrick had rehe could not get a fair trial leased him from the confines in Topeka, a belief reinof a cell, declaring that the forced by the knowledge jail extended to the city limthat Swayze’s killer had been its. A deputy was assigned to acquitted. escort him while at large. Turpen’s lawyers went But then a few days later immediately to Reno County court and had a warrant

(See WITH A....page 6)

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turpen wrote in his newspaper that the herald would “get after evil-doers and imposters with a sharper stick than ever.”

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Yet another attempt made to seize Turpen (Continued from page 5)

this gentleman had the luxury of a lap robe to keep him warm in his buggy, unlike turpen whom the kidnappers smuggled out of town on a cold winter’s night. (1988.91.117)

another attempt was made to take Turpen to Topeka for trial. This time it became more physical. Deputy Sheriff McCall of Shawnee County came to Hutchinson and caught up with Turpen and his deputy walking along the street. McCall confronted them and attempted to seize Turpen from his deputy. As the two deputies scuffled, Turpen ran back to the jail, had himself locked into a cell and the key hidden. He stayed there for several days until he felt it was safe to go out again.

By now it was apparent that Turpen was in real danger of being taken back to Topeka against his will to suffer whatever fate might await him there.

EVIL-DOERS, IMPOSTERS But Turpen was not in any way subdued by these events. He wrote in his newspaper’s next edition that the Herald would “get after evil-doers and imposters with a sharper stick than ever. Stand from under!” Another attempt to whisk Turpen off to Topeka soon

followed. Word was spread around Hutchinson that once again a deputy sheriff from Topeka was on his way with a warrant for Turpen’s arrest. This was on Monday, January 21. 1878, and the deputy was to arrive on the train that evening. Turpen thought it would be safer not to spend the night at home where he could be easily found, so he and his guardian deputy took a room at the Reno House. The Topeka deputy did arrive by train that evening

(See page 7)

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the kidnappers – and turpen himself – spent several nights in the reno county jail. (photo courtesy of nation meyer)

and checked into a different hotel. On Tuesday morning Turpen was in his newspaper office when the deputy walked in, read his warrant, and told Turpen he was his prisoner. The Reno County deputy quickly pointed out that Turpen was already his prisoner. overcoat. Devendorf so as to lend an The three of them hurried As the three walked appearance of legality to the off to the courthouse and toward the courthouse, situation, perhaps hoping his were advised that Turpen Devendorf and Grant sudbadge would help them lure should be immediately denly grabbed Turpen and Turpen into the trap of their locked up in the Reno handcuffed him. They put planned abduction. County jail. And so he him into a waiting buggy Devendorf and was. The Topeka and took off headed east Grant went to Turturpen deputy left town out of Hutchinson. (A news pen’s residence, is tricked the next morning dispatch about the kidnaptold him he was into being and Turpen was ping said that Turpen was under arrest, and abducted. again released from also gagged. The editor of that he should go the confines of a The Hutchinson News immediately with cell. responded facetiously them to the courtAnd then on the night saying, “There must be a house. Believing he would of Friday, February 1, 1878, mistake about that, for every be safe going there, Turpen Turpen was kidnapped attempt to gag Turpen has went along with them. And – snatched up and carried proved a failure.”) thinking he would not be away by two men claiming Mrs. Turpen became suspigone long, he went out into to be officials of the law. cious when her husband did the cold night without his One was H.X. Devendorf, (See IN HOT...page 8) supposedly a traveling correspondent of Baker’s newspaper in Topeka. He said he How fortunate we are to live in a had been deputized to serve community with such diverse and an arrest warrant on Turpen. high quality amenities -- including The other was one Thomas the Reno County Museum and Jefferson Grant, a constable Kansas Underground Salt Museum! from Harvey County.

We’re proud to share our hometown with you.

Grant had no jurisdiction in Reno County but apparently accompanied

4 Hutchinson locations to serve you

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a hutchinson posse commandeered a hand car and headed off down the track, pumping as hard and fast as they could in pursuit of the buggy that carried turpen and his captors.

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In hot pursuit (Continued from page 7) not return, and she could see no lights in any of the courthouse windows. She immediately ran to find Sheriff Hedrick. Hearing her story, Hedrick knew that Turpen must have been kidnapped. They awoke a judge and quickly obtained an arrest warrant for the two abductors. The town was astir by now, with people gathering in alarm that one of their own had been taken in this

J9525-1 Hutch Legacy Mag -Spring11-7.5 x 5 2c ad .indd 1

way. Some of them were armed, ready to serve on a posse should one be organized.

ARMED TO THE TEETH Sheriff Hedrick deputized five men and put them under the charge of Deputy T.J. Reynolds. The six of them, armed to the teeth with pistols, rifles and a grenade, rushed to the train station and commandeered a hand car. It was half past midnight

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when they headed off down the track, pumping as hard and fast as they could in pursuit of the buggy that carried Turpen and his captors. Devendorf and Grant were apparently unaware they were being chased so they stopped at Burrton and went into a building there, possibly the railroad depot, and built a fire in the stove to warm up and rest. Turpen was shivering from the cold by then.

(See page 9)

3/30/2011 10:24:39 AM


these original illustrations by larry lambert, hutchinson artist, were commissioned by bill rexroad for this article. (thank you, bill!) h.x. devendorf and thomas jefferson grant kidnap “hutchinson herald� editor, w.j. turpen.

Minutes later the hand car arrived. The posse rushed in with guns at the ready and quickly subdued the kidnappers. It was still dark when they headed back toward Hutchinson. Devendorf was afraid a lynch mob would be waiting there for him. Deputy Reynolds told him that was unlikely but assured him that he would be protected if such were the case. Nevertheless, they left the hand car at the edge of town upon reaching Hutchinson and walked to the courthouse by a back way as dawn was breaking.

devendorf and grant flee in the get-away buggy with turpen.

KIDNAPPERS JAILED No mob or anyone else was out on the streets. Devendorf begged not to be put in jail and Grant protested confinement because he was an officer of the law. But their pleadings were of no avail. They were both put into a jail cell to await their court appearance. Their first appearance in court took place that afternoon. The courtroom was filled to overflowing with spectators whose high anticipation was dashed when the only thing that happened was that

the hutchinson posse boards a hand car to chase down the kidnappers.

(See IT IS...page 10)

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kidnappers devendorf and grant were ordered to appear in court on february 5, 1878. grant never showed in this reno county courthouse, ca. 1874. (courtesy kansas state historical society)

“It is an intensely, thrilling story...” (Continued from page 9) both men were bound over in the amount of $300 for their appearance to be tried. Devendorf was tried on Tuesday, February 5, 1878. Grant never showed up. The charge of kidnapping against Devendorf was

dismissed when the judge determined that the warrant he brought for the arrest of Turpen had been properly issued (although jurisdiction over Turpen was to remain with the Reno County court). Devendorf was released and

immediately departed, not to be seen again in Reno County. Turpen was never brought to trial in Reno County or anywhere else for the libel charge. The whole bizarre affair was aptly summed up by the editor of The Hutchinson News who wrote, “It is an intensely thrilling story that has adorned tales in nearly every press of the west.”

WHAT A MOVIE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN... Just imagine what a great old silent movie it would have made – a shooting on the street, a villainous kidnapping in the dark of night, the get-away buggy being chased by a posse pumping away on a hand car, all climaxing with the capture of the evil-doers and the glorious release of their victim. How exciting that would be! But, alas, movies hadn’t yet been invented when all this happened.

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you can access legacy issues at: www.renocomuseum.org www.undergroundmuseum.org

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Legacy goes digital; new member benefit

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his is the 94th fullybound edition of the Legacy magazine, and with it comes the transition to a new era. Regardless of how nostalgic we might feel, the world of the printed page is changing drastically. This is the day of the paperless office, the Kindle, and drinking a cup of coffee with your iPad. Many of us are being drawn into this high tech world, kicking and screaming, but we also embrace the idea of instant news, interactive capabilities and instant communication with friends and family all over the world.

We promise you, however, that enabling everyone to enjoy the Legacy online won’t diminish either the quality of the writing, the fascinating content or the appreciation that we feel for our members. In fact, starting immediate-

REACHING THE WORLD

ly, we’re offering an exciting new benefit of membership: Now, with your membership (regardless of the split between museums) you are able to bring guests who live outside Reno County to the Kansas Underground Salt Museum at the discounted rate that you enjoy. For each $100 membership donation, you receive a card with 10 punches. If you give $200, you receive 20 punches, etc. Each punch admits one at the discounted rate. If you’re a member from Reno County, you will not need to use the card for yourself, allowing you to

While we at RCHS have eagerly looked forward to and are quite proud of our beautiful magazine, we also see the possibilities that will be provided by making the Legacy freely available to readers all over the world via our museum websites and our social networking sites. This may require an adjustment from some longtime members of the Reno County Historical Society who are used to receiving the coffee table version of the Legacy with the knowledge that it is a benefit of society membership.

new membership benefit allows you to share the underground salt museum with more friends than ever before.

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give more to others. Members living outside Reno County, however, will have to use a punch for the discounted rate. It is our hope that this new benefit will not only make it easier to visit the salt museum multiple times but also add to the membership of the Reno County Historical Society. Your other membership benefits will continue as before: You have the opportunity to contribute to one or both museums with your membership of $40 or more, and you are invited to opening events at one or both museums, depending on your designation. If you donate $100 or more to either or both museums, you receive a 10 percent discount in the Reno County Museum gift shop, Jesse’s Corner.

not a member? join now and get the discounted admission rate to the kansas underground salt museum for those living outside reno county – plus all the other benefits of membership. to join, contact tina moore. 620-662-1184 tina@renocomuseum.org

ECONOMIC REALITIES The Reno County Museum is free to the public and we Linda Schmitt hope that it can remain so. Executive Economic realities have Director, made it necessary to change Reno County the Legacy but we are Historical choosing to embrace these Society changes as an opportunity. We hope that you will lindas@undergroundmuseum.org understand and continue to support our fine museums and the Reno County Historical Society, now celebrating its 50th year.

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rchs members enjoyed this amazing cake to celebrate the opening of the salt mine express underground train.

Wow! We’ve a come long way By Gayle Ferrell, Director of Operations, KUSM

A new salt strata wallpaper provides color and dash to welcome guests into the lobby of the kusm visitor center.

s I was riding as conductor on the back of the train a few weeks ago, there was a moment when we rounded a curve, I looked over toward the Dark Ride, and thought, “Wow! We have come a LONG way in just four years!” In our first year of business, we were named one of the “8 Wonders of Kansas.” Visitors from every state and many foreign countries have passed through our doors, including new friends from the salt mine in Loulé, Portugal, who said they

liked our museum more than those in Europe as we had kept it more natural and concentrated on salt mining.

Other memorable visitors have included “President Bush” (aka impersonator John Morgan); Salty the Saltasaurus; Jerry Lisenby from The Biggest Loser; Catwoman; Miss Salt Queen; and the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. From May 2007 through March 2011, we shared our passion with 222,959 visitors! This does not include attendance at special or after-hours events! The most visitors in one day was 647! The most on a Sunday (shorter hours) was 326! For a brand new, nonprofit, underground museum, that’s not too shabby! We’ve hosted many successful, fun and immensely entertaining Murder in the Mine interactive dinner theaters. Themes have included “We’re Off to Kill the Wizard,” “Murder on the Dis-

oriented Express,” “A Very Brady Murder,” and “The Spy Who Killed Me.” Remember the one when it snowed about 18” while everyone was underground? Speaking of successful, fun and immensely entertaining, how about all those scout overnights? What we hoped would be additional income once or twice a year has turned into six or more full-to-capacity nights each winter. Our “track crew” ripped out, hauled back, cut, shaped and laid about 4,000 feet of rail that was used to carry salt underground as early as 1923. Opening in March 2011 was the Salt Mine Express, an underground train ride that was our largest and most difficult project since opening to the public on May 1, 2007. In both cases, we stepped out in faith that “...if we build it, they will come.” I remember standing in the Dark Ride with a flashlight, directing trams where to turn during the first week we were open to the public. The Visitor Center that opened in July 2008 now includes a red accent wall, colored strata layers from

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(See page 13)


even salty, the saltasaurus, enjoys learning about salt and the underground mine while resting on a bench 650 feet below ground.

our logo, panels listing the current Board of Directors and full-time staff members, and Salt Circle recognition of major donors to our train project. The Ready Room now has the new and improved comfy, cushy chairs for a mere 32 persons. For more than a year, it housed office space for four employees, a copy machine, group checkin counter, ticket kiosk and waiting area for busloads of students and other visitors. I remember our excitement the day the underground toilets flushed!

SURVIVED TORNADO We survived a tornado cloud that came straight at the building and then passed over the top, hail storms that make it impossible to hear anything under a metal roof, wind storms that sandblast our vehicles, and torrential rain that flooded the parking lot over the top of car wheels. And then there are the snow drifts – sometimes inside the building! Wiley corner, step aside! THIS is the windiest corner in town! We happily sponsored a movie premiere underground, “The Happy Movie,” that was free to the public and included theater popcorn. The Great Room was transformed from emergency lighting and tram/trailer parking to soft jar lights, information boards, touchable salt rocks and Salt Secrets to explore. Red Rock Hunt!!! Someone

even brought a wheeled suitcase. Need I say more? It seems a lot more than four years ago that I watched seemingly miles of saltcrete being poured, acres of salt surfaces being wired for lights, emergency communication, fire protection, security cameras, phone outlets and networking. It seems eons ago that the fiber optic cable was finally run down the shaft so that the gift shop registers no longer had to use dial-up credit card processing. There are so many milestones KUSM has reached, so many obstacles that have been hurdled, so many accomplishments too numerous to list. I am truly blessed that there are a handful of staff members who have been here with me for the entire four years. That, too, causes me to say, “WOW.” Now it’s time to welcome the beginning of Year #5. There are rare times when it

800-760-5315

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just can’t be said any better than it already has been. Therefore, I’d like to quote myself from a previous article because, honestly, I can’t express my feelings any better: “I still consider it a privilege to be able to descend 650 feet underground every day and stand among salt walls and pillars that refresh my soul and refill my tank. No matter what challenges I face, that underground world remains my inspiration, my refuge, and my passion.”

jerry lisenby, top, who was on the tv show, “the biggest loser,” and his wife, lynne, rest on their bikes underground at kusm. jerry was making good on his promise while on the show to bike across america. the salt mine express train, above, is ready to take visitors into a more rustic area of the mine. all aboard!

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620-662-5315


A Legacy Retrospective By Lynn Ledeboer, RCM Curatorial Assistant

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ne hundred fifty years. That’s quite a long time. As Kansas celebrates its Sesquicentennial birthday this year, the Reno County Historical Society celebrates its 50th year. It is also the 25th year of the Reno County Museum (RCM) being in its current location at 100 S. Walnut. It’s a year of incredible milestones. And reaching another milestone is our quarterly Legacy magazine. Starting with this issue, Legacy can be accessed in digital form by all visitors to the RCM and Kansas Underground Salt Museum websites. As a result, the stories of our

museums and Reno County’s proud history will have a far wider audience. Just go to www.renocomuseum.org or to www. undergroundmuseum.org for the new, exciting digital version that will contain up-to-date exhibit, event and membership information, plus articles about past events and historical topics. In looking back at the printed Legacy issues, Volume 1, Number 1 was published in the Fall of 1989. A line drawing of Major General Jesse Lee Reno, courtesy of Pat Mitchell, graced the blue-bordered front cover.

fall 1989

Feature articles in that issue were “Who Was Jesse Reno?” by Mary Lynn Baker; “The Fox Theater: Ready to Make More Memories” by Martha Slater; “Reno County’s Museum” by Cherie Cook; and “Remember the Bisonte” by Pat Mitchell. Upcoming calendar events included not only local items but also those from throughout Kansas, including Wichita, Shawnee, Newton, Salina, Manhattan and Dodge City. According to Director Michael Knecht, the quarterly Legacy was an ambitious “first” for both RCHS and for any Kansas historical society

focus on collections ...fall 2004

(See THANKS...page 16) winter 1998

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it is our sincere hope that legacy has entertained, enticed and enlightened you.

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legacy wins the legacy magazine won first place awards on both state and national levels recently. awards were presented by nfpw, an organization of communication professionals. the judge in the national contest commented: “strong writing, lively design. i would look forward to seeing this magazine every quarter.” the magazine is designed and produced by jane lee communications, a kansas city pr firm.

Thanks to our supporters (Continued from page 15) in general. In his words, “Legacy is quite an undertaking for the Reno County Historical Society.” It is our sincere hope that this “undertaking” – the Legacy – has entertained, enticed and enlightened you. I have personally enjoyed the opportunity to serve in the role as in-house editor, content provider and organizer since 2007. I look forward to providing you with similar content on the World Wide Web. RCHS would like to thank all the contributors, sponsors

and members throughout the years who helped make the Legacy a much admired and award-winning journal. And thanks to our advertisers for their generosity and support. Without them Legacy would not be possible. They include First National Bank of Hutchinson; Martindell Swearer Shaffer Ridenour, Attorneys at Law; Morton Salt; Underground Vaults & Storage; Fee Insurance Group; Sturgeon Plumbing & Air Conditioning; Elliott Mortuary; The Commerce Trust Company; Central Bank & Trust Co.; and Hutchinson Credit Union.

We would also like to thank the staff of Mennonite Press for their dedication in getting the Legacy printed before deadlines! And last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank Jane Lee, our editor-in-chief for the last six years, without whom many of us would have had to haul out the thesaurus, Webster’s and our high school grammar books. So to all, thanks for creating a wonderful and lasting Reno County Legacy. Let’s look forward to seeing what RCHS can do in the future! (See more Legacy pages on page 17.) fall 2004

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a montage of images and a display case highlight yoder’s rich history on display at people’s bank in yoder.

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RCM ON THE ROAD By Jamin Landavazo, RCHS Chief Curator

WE’RE COMING TO YOUR TOWN april: south hutchinson pretty prairie june: sylvia, plevna august: turon, langdon october: arlington, abbyville december: buhler, medora february 2012: nickerson, partridge for details: 620-662-1184 www.renocomuseum.org a haven resident and rchs executive director linda schmitt, right, discuss the images on display in rcm’s “on the road...” exhibit in haven. rchs friend, lois schicklau, seated, treats visitors to her wonderful homemade cookies.

A handsome silver pitcher awarded to George Schlickau, Champion Wheat Grower of Kansas in 1926, sits in a small exhibit case tucked away in the Haven Public Library. Before being placed on display, it had been sitting on a storage shelf along with other artifacts at the Reno County Museum in Hutchinson for the better part of 25 years. Now it is displayed just miles from the Schlickau homestead, where it likely held a place of honor in George’s home before being donated to the museum. Returning an item such as this to its roots – to the community to which it once belonged – is the focus of a new series of Reno County Museum exhibits: RCM on the Road....

REACHING OUT Of the more than 30,000 items in the museum’s collection, the vast majority are in some way associated with Hutchinson. This isn’t surprising as the museum has been located in Hutchinson, the largest city in the county, for more than half its lifetime. Yet as we prepared to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Reno County Historical Society this year, the staff wanted to reach out to ALL communities in the county.

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We wanted to remind you that this is your museum, too, and that your history is alive and well, whether you live in Hutchinson or Turon. With that in mind, RCM on

those towns. The exhibits will be installed in high-traffic areas – such as banks and libraries – and will be available for six months to ensure that people have an opportunity to see them.

A CHANCE TO SHARE this unique horseshoe is featured in the yoder display.

the Road... was born. Every other month in 2011 and into 2012, two communities in Reno County will receive small exhibits put together by the RCM curatorial staff, featuring artifacts and photos associated with

A small exhibit-opening event will also be held in each town to give community members a chance to come and talk to the museum staff, share stories and history, hear about the events and exhibits that the Reno County Museum has to offer, and provide feedback about what they would like to see from the museum. Items exhibited in each community will vary widely. The first exhibits, installed in February in Haven and Yoder, feature everything from a dustpan from a time when

(See next page)


this haven wheat champion silver trophy still gleams in its display case at the haven public library.

telephone numbers only had two digits to a horseshoe that’s far from average. It is embedded with carbide steel nuggets to increase its longevity. While space and environmental conditions dictate much of what we can showcase, the quantity and quality of items play a role as well. While the primary purpose is to return artifacts to their communities and bring the museum to the people, we also want to highlight the fact that the museum has very few items that represent the culture and history of

many of the towns in our county. We continue to rely on the generosity of community members to donate items they believe might be of historical significance. You can be a part of ensuring that your town’s history remains vibrant for years to come. Whether you have photos of your town’s main street 100 years ago or promotional items from a store that went out of business four years ago, please feel free to contact the museum and talk with our curatorial staff about items

you are willing to donate. With the commitment of staff and county residents, we can ensure that the Reno County Museum can preserve and share the rich history of the entire county for generations to come.

CONTEST! The Reno County Museum wants you to follow us as we set out across the county, visiting towns large and small! And to make it even more fun, you can participate in our CONTEST – and win PRIZES! You’ll see other artifacts that represent your county, meet friendly faces near and far, and be entered to win a fabulous prize.

for six months. • Pick up one of the tri-fold flyers, “RCM on the Road... [town name]” at each of the exhibits. • Have your flyers validated at the Reno County Museum any time during our normal business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. • Once you have collected all of the flyers and had them validated, you will receive a prize AND be eligible to win our GRAND PRIZE!! • All flyers must be validated by September 16, 2012. The Grand Prize – to be announced – will be awarded on September 30, 2012.

Just follow these simple rules: • Visit the “RCM on the Road...” exhibit in each of the 14 communities in Reno County over the next year and a half. Two exhibits will open every other month, and each exhibit will be open

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a dustpan, a silver pitcher trophy, a wooden puzzle, a woman’s pocket watch and a sales mug contrast nicely to represent just a little slice of haven’s history in this exhibit.


guests enjoy thrills and hilarious comedy with the actors during an earlier “murder in the mine” mystery dinner theatre 650 feet underground. make your reservations now for “clue-less” on august 27.

A KANSAS UNDERGROUND SALT MUSEUM 9 am–6 pm Tues–Sat 1–6 pm Sunday closed Mondays open Monday, May 31 9 am–6 pm open Monday, July 4 10 am–6 pm last tour departs two hours before closing reservations strongly recommended call us or check our website for holiday hours. NEW SALT BLAST PASS our best deal includes gallery tour, dark ride (both handicapped-accessible) and new train ride. adults: $18 seniors (60+), aaa & active military: $16.50 children (4-12) & reno county residents: $12 children under 4 not admitted due to mine safety regulations. pricing available to add only dark ride or train ride to gallery admission. all prices include sales tax. special pricing for groups over 28 and school groups with arrangements made one week in advance. 3504 e. avenue g (at airport road) hutchinson, ks 67501

620-662-1425 toll-free 866-755-3450

EXHIBITS A & EVENTS

KANSAS UNDERGROUND SALT MUSEUM EVENTS Murder in the Mine

Overnight Scouting

“CLUE-less”

$30 per person Try an Overnight Scouting event for an exciting underground adventure. Scouts must be 10-18 years of age. Minimum one adult chaperone for each five scouts.

Saturday, August 27 Doors open at 5:11 p.m. For details and reservations: 620-662-1425 • 866-755-3450 Will it be Colonel Mustard in the Dark Ride...or Mr. Green on the train? Put your detective skills to the test – underground – in our popular interactive Murder in the Mine series. You must be 18 years of age or older to attend.

Available dates: 2011: October 8, November 12 2012: January 14 and 21; February 4 and 25 For reservations or information, call Tonya Gehring or Gayle Ferrell. 620-662-1425 • 866-755-3450

KUSM EXHIBITS Salt Mine Express – Now Departing! Hurry aboard to ride the thrilling new underground train. Experience the rustic side of the mine, right, while traveling on original rails and ties used underground. Don’t miss it!

Now Open! Permian Playground Admit it. You’ve always wanted to sink your hands into salt! Now you’ll have your chance. This new interactive display allows you to explore the incredible varieties of salt. First hand!

Salt Secrets (ongoing) Salt secrets finally exposed!

Myronmobile (ongoing) Come see the “Myronmobile,” from TV’s “Dirty Jobs” filmed in the Hutchinson Salt mine.

The Story of Underground Vaults & Storage (ongoing) View costumes and props from your favorite movies.

The Iodine Deficiency Disorder Story (ongoing) Explore the efforts of Kiwanis International and UNICEF in using salt to combat IDD.

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Take It with A Grain of Salt (ongoing) Discover how live bacteria were extracted from ancient Permian salt.

Mine Corridor (ongoing) Explore the general history of salt mining in Hutchinson, including mining equipment.

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CURIOUSER AND CURIOSER... these curiously dressed fellows, below, standing outside the old bisonte hotel, seem to be enjoying themselves. find out what it’s all about in the upcoming bisonte hotel exhibit opening june 16. (1993.137.13)

RENO COUNTY MUSEUM EXHIBITS RCM On The Road… See page 18 for dates in your community. The Reno County Museum hits the road in 2011! We will be visiting our smaller communities in Reno County and establishing small, temporary exhibits highlighting items unique to those towns. Our newest openings are in South Hutchinson and Pretty Prairie. More details to come.

Bisonte Hotel: The Best in the West Opening June 16 Visitors will have the opportunity to take a long-awaited look at one of Hutchinson’s most beloved memories – the Bisonte Hotel. This exhibit will bring the bustle and sparkle of the Bisonte to life. If you currently own an item from the Bisonte that

you would consider loaning to us for the exhibit, please contact Curator Jamin Landavazo at 620-662-1184. Get ready for your visit to the Bisonte exhibit with an RCM fund-raising dinner June 9 when authentic Harvey House recipes will be served. See EVENTS below.

“86.121” (Ongoing) Meet past Reno County resident Mildred Hobbs (donor #86.121) through the vast collection of artifacts she and her family generously donated to RCM. Follow the process as an artifact is donated to RCM and is finally featured in an exhibit.

A Few of Our Favorite Things

RCM EVENTS Sesquicentennial Events Throughout 2011 Look for more details on events and activities happening throughout the year to celebrate Kansas’ 150th birthday in 2011!

Fundraising Dinner June 9, Town Club Join us for fabulous dishes from actual Harvey House

recipes prepared by the Town Club on June 9. Then step back in time at the Bisonte Hotel exhibit opening on June 16. Watch for details.

Ice Cream Social July 21 Cool off with some ice cream in the RCM courtyard. What a nice way to enjoy the summer!

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(Ongoing) The Reno County Historical Society staff chose their favorite artifacts for this display. Most of these items have never before been on exhibit.

Transportation Gallery (Ongoing) Come enjoy the Schuttler wagon, an Amish buggy, the Indian motorcycle, sidecar and much more in this fascinating look at the past. Don’t forget, admission to the Reno County Museum is free!

RENO COUNTY MUSEUM HOURS 9 am–5 pm tues-sat closed sunday and monday free admission unless otherwise noted 100 S. Walnut 620-662-1184


Our 2011 members…keeping Salt Circle Donations of $1,000 or more for the creation of the Salt Mine Express train Charles E. Carey Memorial Fund Amy, Brooks and Mike Carey Collins Bus Corporation Data Center, Inc. Kroger/Dillon Stores First National Bank Hutchinson Clinic Hutchinson Salt Co., Inc. Hutchinson Credit Union Kansas Gas Service Linda Rostine Schmitt Strawn Contracting, Inc. The Hutchinson News Underground Vaults & Storage, Inc. Jerry and Joan Wray Underground Train Donors Donations of $100 – $750 for the creation of the Salt Mine Express train Bridgman Oil Company, Inc. Fee Insurance Group Financial Planning & Consulting Services, LLC Midwest Iron & Metal Co., Inc. President’s Circle ($1,000 – $2,499 corporate) Barkley Plumbing Corp. First National Bank Visionary ($1,000 and up) Mae Boggs James A. & Juliet L. Davis Foundation, Inc. Roger A. Fick & Shirley A. Fick Director’s Circle ($500 – $999 corporate) Bank of Kansas Catalyst Creative Services Fee Insurance Group Greater Hutchinson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Preserver ($500 – $999) Bob & Ruth Barker Ace & Betty Dillon Kerr Charitable Foundation Jeffrey & Maureen McAnarney Tucker & Nation Meyer Bob & Lou Peel Leo A. & Helen Weeks Rogers Donor-Advised Fund of the Hutchinson Community Foundation Merl Sellers

Sustainer ($350 -–$499) Mary F. & Albert Baker Memorial Trust Bethe & John Rimmer Donor’s Circle ($100 – $499 corporate) Advertising Specialties & Design Cargill Incorporated Commerce Bank Gravel & Concrete, Inc. KKB Properties, LLC Simpson Capital, LLC Promise Regional Medical Center Backer ($200 – $349) Stan & Lisa Barker Dr. Bill & Kris Davis Dan & Sharon Deming Frank & Sally Depenbusch Butch & Tremenda Dillon Donor-Advised Fund of the Hutchinson Community Foundation Ray E. (Butch) Dillon III Martha Fee Dr. Dan & Patty Foss Roger & Judy Hawk Earl & Molly McVicker Dr. Stephen Mills & Denny Vick Mollie A. Mitchell & John R. Wilson Kim & Cindy Moore Gary & Sherry Mundhenke Gary & Sue Poltera Gail & Mark Rassette Virginia Rayl Mr. & Mrs. Robert C. Summers Jim & MaryLou Sunderland Supporter ($100 – $199) Faye Abildgaard Don & Ann Adams Frank & Ardy Alexander Michael & Bonnie Armour Ed & Carol Berger Dennis & Jennalee Boggs Larry & Marilyn Bolton Norman & Gladys Bos Uriah & Diane Bueller Dick & Marie Buzbee Elwin & Margaret Cabbage Dianne & James Cannon Barbara Coats Mabel Collins Fred & Barbara Conner John & Marcia Corey Herchel & K.T. Crainer Bob D. & Sharon R. DeVault

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Carolyn & Dick Dillon Donor-Advised Fund of the Hutchinson Community Foundation Anita Drake Gene & Rhonda Elliott John & Jane Eriksen Dr. John Fan Richard & Jane Falter Bob & Annie Fee Frank & Bonnie Fee Del & Virginia Fesler Charlotte Galler Jim & Karen Gilliland Francis & Nancy Habiger Helen Hadley Jess & Mae Harder Sandra & Jim Haskell Jerry & Nan Hawver Elizabeth Hayes Ken & Jo Hedrick Lona Hinshaw Greg Hoefer Mr. & Mrs. Ed Hoffman Kyle & Shannon Holmberg Ed & Marjory Johnson Randy & Pam Johnston Kenneth & Barbara Keefer Lee & Joyce Kelly Ron & Raelene Kite Judy Langley Mr. & Mrs. Ron Leslie Brenda & Bill Leslie Marian Lundquist Dallas & Shirley Macklin Dan & Georgia Maxwell Douglas McGovern Wally & Joan McKinney Dr. & Mrs. Robert Morrison Dr. & Mrs. Jack Mull Rod & Bev Nash John & Chris O’Day Sam & Judy Ontjes Liz & John Oswald Dan & Brenda Pace James & Sharon Peterson Tom & Kyle Philbeck Gale & Georgia Premer Virginia Rayl William Rexroad Dr. David & Nancy Richman Harold & Janet Ryan Dr. Martha Sanders Lois R. Schlickau Warren Schmitt F.E. (Shep) Schoepf Dr. Gerald & Judy Schrater Jennifer Scofield Dick Siegrist Mr. & Mrs. Phil Simpson John & Peg Stephens Charles & Patsy Studt John & Dell Swearer Marilyn & Bill Swearer

Larry & Sue Wagerle Barry & Gale Wall Dr. & Mrs. Michael Wesley Barbara Williams Gary & Nancy Witham John & Barbara Withrow Dr. Jack & Donna Wortman Jerry & Joan Wray Cynda Wright Mary Anne Wright Friend ($40 – $99) Allen County Public Library Elaine Applegate Juanita Bacon Charles & Bonnie Benscheidt Mike Benscheidt Larry & Bonnie Black Gerald & Marie Blocher Tony & Connie Brauer Ann Brown Stanley & Katherine Brown Terry & Sarah Bruce Angeline Kiki Cappony Joann Cole Gerald Coleman Mr. & Mrs. Bill D. Collins Steve Conard Jane Cooper Maurice & Melva Cummings Glenna Dellenbach Ruth & Paul Dillon Donor-Advised Fund of the Hutchinson Community Foundation Mary Alice Hobbs-Ditgen Ed & Hazel Doherty William & JoAnn Drews Mr. & Mrs. Roy E. Dunn Jennifer Dyck Lewis W. Ediger Bob & Annie Fee Mike & Gayle Ferrell Barbara Frizell Esther Goheen Jerry & Janice Green John H. Hartford Steven Hawkins James & Barbara Hayes Heart of Kansas Quilt Guild Greg & Ande Henne Gladys Heter-Sargent Gay Hewitt Higgins Water Stanley & Betty Hoefer Martha Horton Gary & Peggy Hughes Hutchinson Public Library Charles Hyter Diane & Chuck Lee Bob & Charlene Lind Rita A. Lingg (More on next page)


us strong for the future Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Lowe Robert & Marian Lundquist Irene Martindell Lloyd & Ticky McAdams Wally & Joan McKinney Sally McPherson Kenneth & Marjory McReynolds Judith Mielke Peggy Miller Norma Mitchell Norman Morray Max & Carol Murray Bert Newton

Thank you! We would like to thank the following for their assistance and generosity:

• Lloyd Armstrong, furniture loan, Bisonte exhibit • Berry Material Handling, engine expertise, train • Joel Busch, Track Team, train • CK’s Lock & Key, keys, Bisonte exhibit • Delos V. Smith Senior Center, cloth, RCM • Lew Ediger, consulting, Bisonte exhibit • Travis Haneke, Track Team, train • Hutchinson Salt Company, rails and ties, train • Leadership Reno County 2010 Class, laying track, train • Tina Moore, chalk, Chalk Fest 2011 • Jim Siemens, woodworking expertise, Bisonte exhibit • Skateland Family Fun Center, passes, Chalk Fest 2011 • Dave Unruh, Track Team Captain, train • Wendy’s, coupons, Chalk Fest 2011 • Jerry Wray, Track Team, train; couch loan, Bisonte exhibit • Brad Thompson, Bridgman Oil, generator fuel and weed control • Hutch Transportation, snow removal • Southwest & Associates, metal gate fabrication, train • Alex Schmitt, Eagle Scout Project, Permian Playground

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Robert Nicklin Rep. & Mrs. Mike O’Neal Karen Orr Bill & Linda Pfenninger James Potter Dr. Vern & Aavon Powers Donna M. Pyle Mr. & Mrs. Russell Reinert Dr. & Mrs. Richard Robl Trish Rose Jack S. Rothwell Revocable Trust

Del Ruff Rowena Sampier Cliff Shank Richard Shank Jay Smith Phyllis Snyder Mr. & Mrs. Herb Soukup George L. Stallman III Ruth Stiggins Allen & Ila Stone Mr. & Mrs. J.B. Stuckey Pat & Maxene Thurman

Merlan & Florence Unruh Paul & Deb Waggoner Earl & Julia Weidman Dr. Gene Wells Mr. & Mrs. Clark Wesley Mr. & Mrs. Victor Willems Mr. & Mrs. Robert Winslow Ken & Glenda Vogel Jolene & Allan Yoder Richard Young Cleyon & Laura Yowell

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RCH celebrates state’s 150th The Reno County Museum shared birthday wishes and cake with the community on January 28, a day before Kansas celebrated its monumental 150th on January 29.

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Various organizations were present and informed the guests of upcoming Kansas Sesquicentennial activities throughout the year. Thanks to the following partners who helped sponsor the event: ArtisTree,

Cosmosphere, Bank of Kansas, Downtown Hutchinson, Fox Theater, Hutchinson Zoo, Mennonite Manor, Prairie Nutcracker, Quest Center, Y.M.C.A of Hutchinson and Kansas Underground Salt Museum.


THE STRANGE TALE OF AN EDITOR’S KIDNAPPING page 4

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reno county historical society p.o. box 664 hutchinson, kansas 67504-0664

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Permit No. 135 Hutchinson, KS 67501

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If your address changes, please call us at 620-662-1184. if you’re not a member and wish to join, please call us at 620-662-1184. and don’t forget to check out our web site at www.undergroundmuseum.org.

Legacy Spring 2011  

The Journal of the Reno County Historical Society