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N O S T U C FO AL S

Legacy h

WINTER 2014

  T H E   J O U R N A L   O F   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

murder after murder…all in the mine! but help is afoot…page 4

I 14 challenges arise every day in mine maintenance

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E 18 hutch pioneer e.l. meyer gazes out of rcm window


HISTORICAL SOCIETY STAFF (full-time)

Legacy h

THE JOURNAL OF THE RENO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Linda Schmitt, executive director, rchs linda@underkansas.org

Ashley Maready, chief curator, rchs ashley@underkansas.org

Gayle Ferrell, director of operations, strataca gayle@underkansas.org

Tonya Gehring, docent supervisor, strataca tonya@underkansas.org

Dave Unruh, maintenance supervisor, strataca

4 there’s been murder in the mine!

12 people say the strangest things

lynn@renocomuseum.org

Paula Dover, administrative assistant, rcm paula@underkansas.org

Kourtney Krehbiel, visitor services, strataca kourtney@underkansas.org

Myron Marcotte, mine specialist, strataca myron@underkansas.org

...one staffer tells all

13 meet ashley maready

dave@underkansas.org

Lynn Ledeboer, curatorial assistant, rcm

...and it always plays to a full house

...new curator joins rchs staff

14 never-ending challenges

...face mine maintenance director

18 who’s peeking out of those windows?

...early reno county faces emerge

21 a big thank-you to our members

...support when we need it

22 it’s a break-up we can all love

...both museums to benefit

25 workshops on your treasures

...helping you preserve your own history

26 new adventures scheduled BOARD OF DIRECTORS Richard Shank, president • Nan Hawver, president-elect Billy Klug, treasurer • Laura Snyder, secretary • Michael Armour • Tim Davies • Elaine Fallon • Mary Wilson • Bill Pfenninger • Carol Carr • Cris Corey • Katherine Goodenberger Arlyn Miller • Frank Alexander • Lee Spence, ex-officio Mike Carey, ex-officio • Harold Mayo, ex-officio

...safaris to heroes to dragons

Volume 26, No. 1 Legacy is published quarterly by The Reno County Historical Society, Inc. 100 S. Walnut St., P.O. Box 664, Hutchinson, Kansas 67504-0664 For advertising or membership information, call 620-662-1184. © 2014 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.


AND YOU THOUGHT THEY WERE SUCH NICE KIDS!

MURDER Mine!! in the

M By Gayle Ferrell, Strataca Director of Operations

urder? Mystery? Madness!! Seven years and 19 shows later, Murder In The Mine has been all three! It’s also been a roaring success! An interactive dinner theatre, often a murder mystery, it involves chosen audience members

reading character parts and everyone guessing "who dunnit." And it all happens 650 feet underground. To say that its beginnings were a challenge is an understatement. It was 2007, and the first Murder in the Mine (MIM) production was scheduled

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for Jan. 20. No problem, even though the Kansas Underground Salt Museum had not yet opened. No problem that there were only three toilets in the women's restroom topside and no restrooms underground. No problem that only emergency fluorescent light fixtures were


THE DINING HALL DECKED OUT FOR “MAYAN MADNESS” IS A BEACON OF LIGHT IN THE DARK CAVERNS.

wired in the Great Room where we planned to hold the production. Surely all that wouldn’t be a problem for our 175 guests and small troupe of trained volunteers. Upstage Productions from the Chicago area would provide the show – two actors playing multiple parts in scenes that parodied popular shows, movies, and/or famous personalities.

NO PROBLEM?? No problem up to this point. But maybe a problem with the winter storm that rolled into the area. Heavy snow limited visibility and created hazardous driving conditions. As guests – determined guests – arrived, we heard stories about guests helping each other out of the parking lot by pushing each other and digging down in the 6-7 inches of snow that was still falling at the rate of about one inch per hour. But underground the weather was great! Second, to make this fundraiser a little classier, the caterer had been asked to bring glass dinnerware – dinner plates, water glasses, silverware, dessert plates – and, of course, a full-service bar. Steam tables needed electrical outlets via extension cords. We had no running water under-

ground. Not only were the carts carrying all the tableware, at the end of the evening they also contained all the leftovers, garbage and liquids. Have you ever seen what happens when a cart of dirty dishes "shifts" while riding on the hoist? Take a moment to picture this: The load is being transported in the dark, precariously balanced because dirty dinnerware doesn't stack neatly. As

both topside and underground. Those three inches seemed like six when rolling cart wheels over it (they got stuck), and when asking guests to "watch their step." Guests tended to look everywhere BUT at that gap, so I tended to grab every arm that got on and off that hoist. One other detail stands out. Perhaps it is why I remember so many little details about this first event. That winter storm claimed

a result, “stuff” drips through openings in the floor of the hoist to the deck below. Not pretty.

the lives of three members of our community only a few miles from the mine. They were family to one of our staff members and one of our volunteers. I've gone into great detail about our first event to underscore how far we’ve come since then. That first event seemed

ABOUT THAT GAP.... Did I mention "the gap?" Before we opened to the public, there was a gap of about three inches between the floor of the hoist and the concrete floors

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(See OH, page 6)

THE AUDIENCE GETS IN THE SPIRIT – AND DRESS – OF THE EVENING.


MURDER TAKES MANY FORMS AND IS OFTEN CARRIED OUT BY CHARACTERS THAT MAY DEFY EXPLANATION.

oh, have we made progress! (Continued from page 5)

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT BATHROOMS COULD BE SO EXCITING!

daunting, challenging, impossible, tiring, overwhelming, and downright HARD TO DO. We didn't have speakers, microphones or a sound system. Although the acoustics are great for a vocal group, they are sorely lacking in the Great Room for a single voice or two to be heard above the clinking of dishes, the scraping of chairs, and the inevitable conversations among guests.

PROGRESS – YES!! This is how far we’ve come: n Bathrooms underground n Mop sink and drinkable water available n No three-inch gap at the floor of the hoist n Sound system with cordless microphones and wireless ear mics

n MIM located in the Stratacenter rather than the Great Room, so visitors can leave the museum as guests are arriving n Enough round tables to seat 250 guests n 250 NEW chairs…and they fold! n Experienced staffers n Track lighting aimed on each guest table and serving tables n Dressing room for the actors n Lower prices…and higher attendance n Consistently good, and hot, catered meals – delivered on time and professionally presented n Buffet-style service with nice disposable plates and sturdy disposable utensils n Cash bar that we run n No more mailing tickets or assigning hoist times n Actors who "totally get" our unique environment

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and challenges, tailoring their scripts to include mine references and underground jokes n And, once again, bathrooms…underground… that flush!

AND THERE’S MORE Other MIM events that year were "When Irish Spies Are Dying" on April 28 with 148 guests, followed by a James Bond spoof, "Who's Dying for Dinner" on July 28 with 117 guests. The price was $100 per person or $150 per couple. We scheduled two more shows in 2008. Guests were receiving gourmet cuisine on chinaware and Upstage Productions continued to provide the shows. At one of those events, I remember walking into the topside bathroom to


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IN 2011 WE HIT OUR GROOVE...SO WELL THAT WE STARTED OFFERING SUNDAY AFTERNOON PERFORMANCES.

u find large bags of shrimp thawing in the sinks. I guess we had agreed to provide appetizers for one of the dinners and the shrimp had been forgotten in the freezer. Oh, if only I had a picture of that! The show for 2009 was "We're Off to Kill the Wizard," and it seemed the right time to try something different for this home state theme. The price dropped to $50 per person and the menu changed to Kansas barbecue.

generated by these shows. When we booked a show for October 31, 2009, it was with a new company, Without A Net Entertainment (WOAN), owned by these two actors whom we dearly love. The management team

WE KNOW WE’VE ARRIVED WHEN COUPLES PLAN THEIR WEDDING RECEPTIONS IN OUR UNDERGROUND VENUE.

FINE DINING

AND THERE’S MORE There was one actor who seemed to be sent to Hutchinson each time. Joel Friend had performed at almost every dinner theatre, and we had also been seeing more and more of another actor, Erica Sharp. Their chemistry was, and still is, magical. They took a personal interest in seeing how we could grow from the funds

contract with the same actors, WOAN, and "found our groove" in 2011 with dinners scheduled each February and August. In fact, our groove was working so well that we added encore performances on Sunday afternoons to accommodate the large number of requests for reservations. We also started offering a discounted price for purchasing a table of eight.

at KUSM, now Strataca, had gained confidence in handling a large volume of visitors, large groups for events, and even overnights underground. The decisions we made regarding MIM made it a popular fundraiser. We

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We now hire the same caterer for each dinner theatre, and choose menus that can be served buffet style and fit in with our atmosphere. Knackies of Inman provides consistently excellent meals and customer service. They, too, understand our unique environment and needs, and make us feel that we are easy to serve rather than "alien" and "difficult."

(See SO MANY, page 8)

THINGS CAN GET PRETTY INTENSE WHEN IT COMES TO “MURDER” UNDERGROUND, AS IN 2012.


COULD MERRY-MAKING UNDERGROUND HELP OUR FRIENDS SURVIVE THE END OF THE WORLD, AS PREDICTED BY THE MAYAN CALENDAR?

so many murders, so little time (Continued from page 7)

We've had quite an assortment of characters 650 feet underground! In "A Very Brady Murder," Joel appear as Jan Brady of Brady Bunch fame! And TV detective Columbo came to life in "Disoriented Express" as Joel nailed every nuance, gesture and eyebrow! And then there was

Mayan Madness. It was a Friday night rather than the traditional Saturday. The date was 12-21-12, predicted to be the end of the Mayan calendar, and therefore the end of the world. People were spending millions to build bunkers and store canned food and survival gear in preparation for the “end.”

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We, too, were prepared. More than two years earlier, we reserved the day on our calendar to do "something"– primarily to prevent any survival groups from holing up in our safe little underground world. And so was born the show title, "Mayan Madness." Contacting Joel and Erica about 18 months in advance, I asked them to


DISCO FEVER GOES UNDERGROUND!

modify one of their shows to incorporate our theme. To say they were intrigued is an understatement. We had them at the word "madness."

this stuff up!) The event fell on the Friday before Christmas. There was no changing the date to help attendance. You can't change the date of the end of the world just because it is inconvenient! We had no idea if people would make time for this in their busy holiday plans, but we were sure having fun getting ready for it.

THEY SURVIVED! Staff members wore survival and combat gear. We ordered a spinning prize wheel and filled it with apocalypse events including Solar Superstorm, Gamma-Ray Burst, Pandemic, Mega-Tsunami, Alien Invasion, Robot Insurrection, Asteroid Impact and more. Each guest was allowed to spin the wheel for a prize – and boy did we have fun ordering the prizes! They ranged from granola bars to glow sticks to packable thermal

MAYAN PERFECT blankets to portable potties. Larger prizes given away in a drawing included a nice backpack and a book, "The Official Underground 2012 Doomsday Survival Handbook." (Seriously, we didn't make

Dave Unruh, Maintenance Supervisor, built a hanging light fixture that resembled a Christmas tree – or a Mayan pyramid! It was the perfect addition to our Mayan décor! We had 224 reservations!!! We tried to cap

(See YIPEE, page 10)

NOTHING LIKE A GOOD HARD HAT TO PROTECT ONESELF AGAINST THAT BRADY BUNCH. AND IT WORKED!

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SUCH A LOVELY COUPLE! WHO NEEDS MATCH.COM?

YIPEE! MORE MURDERS AHEAD

(wonder who’s next?)

(Continued from page 9)

it off at 200 but stretched it. After all, there could be no encore! We made jokes about getting out. We made jokes about staying under. So maybe this show was my favorite….

decision on the theme for our August 24 show. We had success with adding a December show in 2012 and 2013 so we are going to try it again – and add an encore performance!

STAY TUNED FOR 2014 EVEN SHERLOCK AND DR. WATSON MADE AN APPEARANCE TO SOLVE ONE OF THE DASTARDLY DEEDS IN THE CAVERNS.

There’s more ahead in 2014! The February 22 show is "Murd-ER," a medical mystery murder spoof based on TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs and ER. We haven’t made a final

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So this year we will offer shows on Friday, December 12, and Sunday, December 14, to specifically target company parties and give them a choice of days. It was unplanned and epic. Without A Net Entertainment performed their 13th show for us in 2013. Their 14th show will be in 2014. A few months ago I told Joel and Erica that I see them more than many of my own family


DON’T MISS OUR NEXT “MURD-ER” FEBRUARY 22. SEE PAGE 26 FOR DETAILS.

members and most of my friends outside work. We also have quite a few MIM guests who have attended numerous shows, and it feels like football homecoming when they walk through the doors.

OUR REGULARS! We can always count on Jason and Linda Korb to bring a table of friends

who impeccably dress according to each show theme. One couple, James and Jodi Dull, have been to every MIM except two. So to my work family and my MIM family – THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!!! I will cherish them forever. Now let's go make some new ones!!!

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DISCLAIMER My role in 2007-2009 was not as the primary organizer of these fundraisers. My memory is what it is, including the years of 2010-2013 when I took on the responsibility for their organization and success – or lack thereof.

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THESE FINE PERFORMERS JUST COMMITTED MURDER! WAS IT ACTING? OR WAS IT REAL?


No pets? “Sand” passes? ...what’s going on down there?

T By Tonya Gehring, Docent Supervisor, Assistant Director of Operations

he Merriam-Webster dictionary defines humor as a “funny or amusing quality, joke or funny stories.” This worried me, as I was asked to write about humorous happenings in my day-to-day life at the museum. Would readers appreciate my sense of humor? Hope so. Here goes:

each hard hat after every wearing. n With cross-ventilation of the mine, we often have an updraft at the hoist topside. When visitors wearing skirts or dresses cross the gap in the hoist, we remind them of the updraft to avoid any “Marilyn Monroe moments.” These are just some of

THESE GIRL SCOUTS ENJOY MAKING BATH SALTS AT A MARCH 2013 UNDERGROUND OVERNIGHT. CROSS-COUNTRY COACH AND MIDDLE SCHOOLERS SPRINT THROUGH THE CAVERNS, BELOW.

visit us each summer. The Ulster Project is a cultural exchange program where Northern Irish Catholic and Protestant teenagers are hosted by families in Hutchinson. It’s fun to watch our local kids introduce them to the museum. The wedding reception in 2011 was our first underground. I will never forget arriving home afterwards only to learn that an earthquake in Oklahoma had occurred while I was cleaning up underground. The tremors had been felt in Hutchinson, but not by me!

UNNERVED!

n We sell Strataca admission tickets, known as Gallery Tours. Ticket clerks often were asked for “Galley” Tours. The museum is not a boat. n We sell Salt Blast Passes, often mistaken for “Sand” Blast Passes. n Visitors often tell their spouse or children they cannot go underground after reading that “No Pets” are allowed. n Many visitors give a huge sigh of relief when they are told we disinfect

the more humorous stories that occur daily. Additionally, what I really want to share are some of my favorite tours and groups. I absolutely love working Anthony Middle School into our schedule. Jeff Eckelberry brings his cross-country team into the mine to run. Many students are new to the sport and I enjoy encouraging them when they cross the finish line. Another fun group is the Ulster teenagers who

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For the last several years we have hosted the Hutchinson Community College football team and their opponents in the Salt City Bowl on the Friday before the game. I also derive a lot of pleasure from telling the visiting team that they will be going 650 feet underground. Some of the large players are often the most unnerved at that prospect. I have spent an estimated 35 nights underground with boy and girl scouts. The adult chaperones are often as excited, if not more so, than the scouts. And, you might be surprised to learn how many persons snore and/or talk in their sleep! Whether humorous or enjoyable, and often both, these are just a few of my favorite Strataca stories.

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“DANGER” ... JUST PART OF THE JOB FOR NEW RCHS CURATOR ASHLEY MAREADY.

New curator

“getting out there”

“G

etting out there more!” This may not always have been Ashley Maready’s motto, but Reno County Historical Society’s new curator is doing just that. Ashley was born at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., but her family left Washington around 1984 for Alaska. Although fairly young, Ashley does remember having an Easter egg hunt in the snow with those brightly colored plastic eggs. Her family moved to Florida shortly after that and moved back to Maryland in 1992. It was while Ashley was in high school that she had a great history teacher who “…sparked something in me…” and solidified her choice of history as a career. Ashley obtained her undergraduate degree with honors and a dual major in history and philosophy from Hood College in

Frederick, Md. She earned her master’s degree in applied history from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa. During her internship with The United States Army Heritage & Education Center, the area that

a high school teacher sparked her interest in history especially “…hit me was object conservation.” She learned conservation as well as other museum concepts from accomplished mentors. In 2009 Ashley became Director of Conservation/ Collections Management and Internship Coordinator for the Wilson History & Research Center in Little Rock, Ark.

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She faced many challenges – establishing collection plans, organizing committees and developing concrete procedures until the center closed in 2012. It wasn’t long before the curator position opened at the Reno County Historical Society, and Ashley was heading west. Ashley had never heard of Hutchinson, and she was pleasantly surprised to find that “…all this was out here! But here I am and I really like it so far.” She will be able to explore more of Kansas with her partner, Mike Massie. She has more company at home with her four pet hamsters, one of which she rescued locally.

WHAT DOWN TIME?

If she ever has a little down time, Ashley admitted that “I live to read.” She also loves to make jewelry, enjoys cooking and taking long walks. Ashley would love to travel abroad and possibly even try skydiving or bungee jumping. She plans to continue advancing in the museum field, adding to her experiences and education by participating in workshops, conferences and seminars, such as the metal preservation workshop she once attended. Ashley hopes to “…get out there more…” both in the community and the museum world. We hope that RCHS will be a major collaborator with and benefactor of Ashley’s future adventures.

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ASHLEY PLANS TO EXPLORE MORE OF KANSAS AND PARTICIPATE IN SEMINARS THAT ENHANCE HER MUSEUM CONSERVATION SKILLS.


Working in the underground world of the mine

By Dave Unruh, Strataca Maintenance Supervisor

W Dave shares some of the more unique aspects of his daily life working 650 feet underground in Strataca – the Kansas Underground Salt Museum.

hat was I thinking when the job offer to work in the mine/museum came six years ago? After 27 years in the foundry industry, I thought that maintaining the hoist (the mine’s “elevator”) would be a challenge but not that different from other equipment I had cared for. Well, it has turned out to be “a whole ‘nother story.” Most of the hoist work is being done by someone else but the wide variety of other work in the mine still surprises me on an irregular basis. The first lesson I learned

was that it is dark down there. And you would think that if you put a light on your helmet you

wide variety of mine work constantly amazes

would be able to see. What a dimwit was I! You see, different lights put out different light. The first light I bought changed the color of the wires when I was working

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on our trams. Red wires looked orange, white had a green look, and blue and purple looked the same. Not a good scene when you have a bundle of 12 to 15 wires you are repairing. Also, one of my duties the first year was turning the underground lights ON in the morning and OFF at night. When you turn off the lights and YOUR light goes out, it is really dark!!! So a second light was bought that was brighter, better and did not change the colors but required me to go through four settings


ALTHOUGH THE SALT MINES ARE PERFECT FOR STORING MANY TYPES OF ITEMS, SALT AND MOISTURE TAKE THEIR TOLL ON METALS, SUCH AS THESE TOOLS THAT DAVE USES UNDERGROUND.

u to turn it off. Then a third light that had only two settings — red (great for trips down on the hoist) and bright white (great for close work). Now I could see to do tram maintenance. The seven trams and 13 trailers that transport our guests needed a little tweaking during the first two years. On the early Dark Rides, we sometimes had the tram lights go dim and the sound system act erratically that resulted in some rides limping back to the lighted galleries.

CREATIVE WIRING We found that of the eight batteries that powered the tram, only two ran the controls, sound system and the 10 lights on the tram and trailers. Naturally they ran down faster than the rest. So with a little rewiring (how many lights do you need on a DARK ride anyway??) the headlights stayed on!! Oh, I almost forgot, the public address (PA) sound system had to be electrically isolated from the frame of the tram or it would short out. The original bolts holding the system had plastic spacers to prevent this, but I discovered that plastic bolts did better yet. As the

Why did trailer 6A always have to be the last trailer for the speakers to work? Why did some of the trailers have trouble with the plug wiring that tied them to the next trailer?

NO CONNECTION!

original PA systems were replaced, we found that a different brand did not have to be isolated and was available locally. With the trams doing better, the focus moved to trailers and their darklyheld secrets.

800-760-5315

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Good thing I finally had a good helmet light to see what was happening. If you looked closely under the back of 6A, you found that wires there were not connected to the receptacle. The wires in the next trailer were meant to plug into this receptacle. A simple fix – until you ask, why are there two red wires? One is from the PA system but why is the white wire from the system now a black wire? Ah, such fun in the mine... It all could be seen with a good light. When I rode

THE HORIZONTAL BARS ATTACHING THIS ELECTRICAL BOX TO THE WALL, LEFT, HAVE TILTED UPWARDS ABOUT THREE INCHES DUE TO THE NATURAL RISING OF THE FLOOR. CONSTANT ADJUSTMENTS TO MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT MUST BE MADE TO ACCOMMODATE THESE NATURAL MOVEMENTS WITHIN THE MINE.

(See NEVER-ENDING , page 16)

620-662-5315


MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR DAVE UNRUH WEARS THE PESKY BUT INDISPENSABLE HEADLAMP WHILE SECURING A FENCE POST TO THE ROOF WITH A CABLE.

Neverending tasks (Continued from page 15)

in the back trailer on a Dark Ride, I could see that the plug problem was caused by trailer hitches that were made different ways. Some were bent to allow the plug to pass over them, and others were straight and hit the plug and wires. Another easy fix – make new hitch plates and life in the mine begins to look brighter.

ENDLESS BATTERIES Which brings to light another maintenance issue – batteries. I had to learn a lot about these. I was told that the salt miners had to water and feed their electric mules every day in the early years of

the mine, and we do the empty boxes of Arm & same today. Hammer baking soda. More than 80 car-type This was used to keep batteries are used in the batteries and cables clean. museum. The tram We still use that proand train battercess today, and ies need water it remains the more than every month cheapest meth80 car-type and more od of cleaning. batteries often during And speaking are used heavy summer of cheapest, I usage. And all found that with the cables need a batteries, which protective coating to went up in price from keep them from corrod$65 to $90 during one ing. If you forget, you will three-year period, a higher be replacing the cables priced battery is cheaper. within a year. And a batWe have had four supplitery manufacturer recomers of tram batteries. One mends a simple coating of brand cost $10 more but Vaseline instead of costly lasted twice as long! sprays. Out in the mine, I find MONTHLY TESTING There are also 70-plus battery-backed emergency lights underground that are checked monthly. Just walking around testing these will give you a couple of miles of exercise. And every day underground, we have about 200 battery flashlights that have to be checked periodically. It will never be totally dark in the

We’re proud to share our hometown with you. How fortunate we are to live in a community with such diverse and high quality amenities -- including the Reno County Museum and Kansas Underground Salt Museum!

4 Hutchinson locations to serve you

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this fence post had to be shortened when it became jammed up into the roof due to the natural shifting and movement of the mine.

u museum unless we make it so. The corrosion of tools and the metal-clad wires in the mine is another lesson to be learned. Tools and equipment do not rust unless you have about 65 percent humidity. The tools you use frequently will rust due to the moisture on your hands while the other tools that have the same salt dust on them will not rust.

ALUMINUM + SALT = CORROSION

the museum are cut a few inches short of the roof and checked periodically.

MOVING FLOORS One floor moved two inches in a year and all the poles had to be recut. If you have ever had a door in your house fail to close because the floor settled, you can imagine the challenge of keeping doors working in the mine. Putting up chain link fences was not on my re-

The aluminum covering on metal-clad wires will rapidly corrode when exposed to salt and moisture. So throughout the museum you learn to avoid putting aluminum against the salt and to paint the aluminum if you see corrosion starting. But of all of the things in the mine to maintain, I find the roof and floors most challenging. Why? Because they move!! It is a natural occurrence for the roof to slowly move toward the floor, and for the walls to scale or flake off. Items that I lean against a pillar or wall will get lodged tight if I do not move them for a few months. And a bracket or pole from the roof to the floor is a bad idea. All the fence poles in

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sume but is another task I have learned. Laying railroad track and bending pieces to make a curve have been added to my list of skills. Stringing holiday lights on a railroad engine was not part of any job I had before. Maintenance at the museum has never been boring, and I am anticipating new opportunities in the next year that allow me to have a blast doing my job.

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Revived windows feature famous faces peering out

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ver heard of the Reno County Museum’s Adopt a Window project? If not, By Tina Moore, here’s the inside scoop! Administrative Assistant, It was one of our bestWindow Project Coordikept secrets. But now nator, as told to we’re seeing a lot of Ashley Maready, community interest in our Curator recently transformed windows that resulted from a special – and ongoing – ON NOVEMBER 1, project! WAYNE MORGAN OF It all started during OAKLAND AVENUE one of my daily walks CRAFTSMEN CO., around the outside of the RIGHT, BROUGHT museum. I noticed some DOWN THE FIRST broken glass in one of our WINDOW OF THE ROSEMONT BUILDING. front evergreen bushes. I

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looked up and the frame of the window had weakened and bowed to the

point that a small pane of glass had fallen out of an upper story window. With the help of our Hutchinson Correctional Facility worker at that time, we installed a new piece of glass and braced the frame so that no more panes would fall out.

MANY DISTRESSED I then looked closely at all the windows around our Rosemont building (the east building) and noticed that several windows were approaching the


BY NOVEMBER 19, ALL THE SECOND-STORY WINDOWS HAD BEEN REMOVED AND REPLACED WITH WOOD, AND ASSIGNED THEIR RENO COUNTY IDENTITIES.

u same fate. I went through wood for each window. each upper story window, Wayne then spent three bracing them as needed. days working with me to We contacted Wayne remove the windows and Morgan with Oakinstall boards in their land Avenue place. Craftsmen Co. We then campaign fund for a quote launched a launched to fund to repair the campaign additional work windows. to help fund on windows I was ready additional work and eager to pull needed to comout the second-stoplete this project. ry windows along with The second-story Wayne. He explained what windows are now in our needed to be done to keep basement to be worked the windows weather-reon throughout the winsistant, so I purchased, ter. Thanks to the help painted and cut the of a capable volunteer,

the glass is out of the windows and the empty frames are now ready to have the paint removed. Wayne then will repair the frames, and the volunteer will return and place new glass in each frame. Each window will have to be primed and painted to seal it against weather damage. Once the second-story windows are back in place, we then will pull the first-floor windows for the same careful restoration.

(See RESTORED, page 20)

TINA MOORE AND ASSISTANT RECEIVE THE FIRST WINDOW REMOVED FROM THE NORTH SIDE OF THE ROSEMONT BUILDING BY WAYNE MORGAN, TOP.


Restored windows will last (Continued from page 19)

IN THE RENO AND MEYER WINDOWS, JESSE RENO IS VISIBLE IN THE UPPER-STORY WINDOW, WHILE E.L. MEYER GRACES THE FIRST-FLOOR WINDOW OF THE ROSEMONT BUILDING IN THE VESTIBULE ALONG AVENUE A.

Wayne is also going to construct wooden storm windows for each of the 34 windows so that they will hold up for many years to come. We want to thank all of the generous donors and volunteers who have “adopted a window!” We couldn’t have come this far without you. We are very proud of the progress made on this project thus far, and are excited to see the eventual completion of our window restoration! If you would like to adopt a window, contact any museum staff member. 620-662-1184

Window adopters *Volunteer **In-kind donor

Gladys S. Bos Gerald & Marie Blocher Dennis & Jennalee Boggs Mae Boggs *John Christian Dr. & Mrs. Frank Depenbusch Betty & Ace Dillon, Donor Advised Fund of the Hutchinson Community Foundation Ruth & Paul Dillon, Donor Advised Fund of the Hutchinson Community Foundation Tremenda & Butch Dillon, Donor Advised Fund of

the Hutchinson Community Foundation Dillons Stores Carolyn & Tom Elliott *Richard Ewing Roger A. & Shirley Fick First National Bank Patty & Dan Foss Barbara Frizell Chris Fuller Heart of Kansas Quilt Guild Lona Hinshaw *Cheryl Hockman Edward & Wendy Hobart The Hutchinson News Sherry & Gary Mundhenke

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Linda Pauls Bill & Linda Pfenninger City of Plevna RCHS Board of Directors George H. & Lois Schlickau Family F.E. Shep & Peggy Schoepf Bill & Jennifer Scofield **Sherwin-Williams Paint Richard G. Siegrist Ruth Stiggins Jerry & Ruth Ann Spitzer **Sturgeon Glass Sunflower Electric Supply Maurcena Wells Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Wiens Jack & Donna Wortman

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Thank you! Whether you are a Strataca Citizen or a Reno County Museum StoryKeeper – or both – you are supporting two great organizations that continue to preserve, educate and entertain visitors locally and from around the world. Thank you for your support!

Friends:

Whitey & Shirley Alpers Michael Benscheidt Jerry & Marie Blocher Gladys Bos Angeline Cappony JoAnn Cole Steve Conard Melva & Maurice Cummings Paul & Ruth Dillon Mary Alice Ditgen William & JoAnn Drews Joan & Roy Dunn Barbara Frizell Heart of Kansas Quilt Guild Sally Homes McPherson Charles Hyter Del Knauer Wayne & Polly Lowe Robert & Marian Lundquist Ticky & Lloyd McAdams Judith Mielke William Morand Karen Orr Cliff & Vicki Shank Jay Smith Laura Snyder Phyllis Snyder Ruth Stiggins Allen & Ila Stone Mr. & Mrs. J.B. Stuckey L.P. Thurman Paul & Debra Waggoner Charlene & Clark Wesley Richard Young

Supporters

Mildred Elaine Applegate Michael Armour *Charleen Bauer Dennis & Jennalee Boggs Larry & Marilyn Bolton

Margaret & Elwin Cabbage Fred & Barbara Conner Marcie & Richard Cooper Herchel & K.T. Crainer Sharon & Bob DeVault Carolyn Dillon Ed & Hazel Doherty Julane & Lewis Ediger Gene Elliott John & Jane Eriksen Jane & Richard Falter Annie & Robert Fee Bonita & Frank Fee *John Fredricks James Gilliland Esther & Wilbur Goheen Nancy & E. Francis Habiger Jim & Sandra Haskell Elizabeth Hayes Jo & Kenneth Hedrick Andrea & Greg Henne Lona Hinshaw Greg Hoefer Shannon & Kyle Holmberg Pamela & Randy Johnston Barbara & Kenneth Keefer Judy Langley Ron Leslie Dallas & Shirley Macklin Dan & Georgia Maxwell Stephens Mills & Denny Vick Norma Mitchell Wanda & Robert Morrison Jeanette & Jack Mull Rodney & Beverly Nash Judy & Sam Ontjes Linda & Bill Pfenninger Kyle & Tom Philbeck Vern Powers William & Virginia Rexroad Nancy & David Richman Del Ruff Lois Schlickau Bill & Jennifer Scofield Dick Siegrist Patsy & Charles Studt *Jeff Thorpe Sue & Larry Wagerle Gale & Barry Wall Michael & Kelly Wesley

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Barbara Williams June & Bob Winslow Nancy & Gary Witham John & Barbara Withrow Donna & Jack Wortman Cynda Wright

Backers:

Bob & Ruth Barker Ed & Carol Berger Bill & Kris Davis Dan & Sharon Deming Butch & Tremenda Dillon John & Kris Doswell Martha Fee Patty & Dan Foss Roger & Judy Hawk Jack & Ginger Koelling Mollie Mitchell & John Wilson Kim & Cindy Moore Sherry & Gary Mundhenke Sue & Gary Poltera Virginia Rayl Donna & Harold Swanson Jerry & Joan Wray

WHEN OUR MEMBERS RENEW, THEY WILL BE FREE TO JOIN RCM, STRATACA OR BOTH.

Sustainers:

Richard & Patti Shank Robert & Charlotte Summers

Preservers:

Tucker & Nation Meyer Helen Weeks Rogers Merl Sellers

Visionaries:

Mae Boggs Steve & De Anna Marshall *Greg Prevost

Donors’ Circle:

Bridgman Oil Commerce Bank Downtown Hutch Fee Insurance Agency First National Bank *JNB Trucking Shep Chevrolet

Directors’ Circle:

Bank of Kansas Greater Hutchinson CVB

*New members


Breaking up

T Linda Schmitt Executive Director, Reno County Historical Society

…benefits for both museums

hey say that “breaking up is hard to do,” and sometimes it’s sad. But in the case of our two museums it’s a change that we hope will reap great benefits for all. The Reno County Historical Society is an umbrella organization with two very different entities safely underneath. The oldest one, the Reno County Museum, has been in existence for more than 50 years. Its mission is to “collect, preserve, and interpret the history of Reno County, Kansas, and to inspire awareness and appreciation of the

past for present and future generations.” Strataca – The Kansas Underground Salt Museum – has existed for more than six years and has a much different mission: To “provide a unique, entertaining, and educational underground experience for visitors from around the world.” We have had to admit that combining membership for these two fundamentally different entities – a traditional museum with largely local ties and a world-class experiential attraction with mostly out-of-town patrons – is a misfit. It’s time for them to amicably go their separate ways and fundraise separately.

STRATACA

In January supporters of Strataca became “Citizens” and citizenship has its privileges. For the first time, Citizens of Strataca are able to visit the underground galleries for free during their membership year. They also may bring one to six additional guests for free depending on their level of support. The rides (the Dark Ride and the Salt Mine Express train) now cost $3.50 each. The Salt Blast Pass, our all-inclusive ticket that is normally $19, will be $7 for Citizens. It is our hope that this will encourage many from inside and outside Reno County to support Strata-

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ca and bring family and friends often.

RENO COUNTY MUSEUM

RCM has many longtime and loyal supporters, and we are very grateful for them. The museum, however, is suffering from a problem being experienced by many county and local museums. Younger families and individuals generally see traditional museums as warehouses for old stuff that is irrelevant to them. In response, we are now working to change RCM’s image so that it will become known as the place where “stories live.” Our supporters are now known as “StoryKeepers.” We will also introduce a series of workshops and programs to help families keep their own stories alive. StoryKeepers will be able to come to one or more of these workshops for free depending on their level of support, and will also receive free or discounted use of our facilities for special events. Our series, “Reno County Treasures: Talks, Tips, & Treats,” will begin Feb. 18 and be held every other month in 2014. (See page 25 for details.) Sometimes break-ups are challenging but often go on to reap great benefits for both parties. With your support, both museums will thrive in 2014.

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Strataca is  much  more  than  a  “museum  about  salt”  –   it  is  a  unique  underground  destination  headed  for   world  acclaim!    Already  popular  as  an  educational   museum,  we  recently  added  the  S alt Safari,  an   unsurpassed  authentic  mine  adventure  found  only  at   Strataca.  Hikers  get  up  close  and  personal  with  amazing   formations,  such  as  the  “Submarine”  crystal  wall,  that   have  never  before  been  accessible  to  visitors.  

           

Coming in  2014  is  the  design  and  construction  of  a  true  geology  exhibit  to   be  installed  in  phases  in  the  Stratadome.  Thanks  to  a  generous  donation   from  Shell  Oil  Company  we  will  finally  be  able  to   tell  the  story  of  our  salt  bed  in  an  interactive  and   impactful  way.  Our  “A  Miner’s  Life”  Exhibit  will   also  expand  as  we  add  stories  about  the  miners,   their  challenges,  and  their  accomplishments.      

From  educational  exhibits  and  student  programming,  to  subterranean   entertainment  like  our  interactive  “Murder  in  the  Mine”  mystery  dinner   theaters  to  scout  merit  badges  and  overnights,  to  adventure  hiking,  to  rides   through  amazing  mined-­‐out  areas  on  the  Dark  Ride  and  Salt  Mine  Express,  to   just  hanging  out  in  one  of  the  most  relaxing  and  rejuvenating  environments   imaginable,  STRATACA  HAS  IT  ALL!        

You can  become  a  Citizen  of  Strataca  by:   • • •

• • •

Purchasing an  annual  Citizenship   Donating  to  the  geology  exhibit   Remembering  us  in  your  estate  planning  with  a  bequest  to  the     Permian   Salt   Endowment   at   the   Hutchinson   Community   Foundation   Attending  special  events   Bringing  friends  and  family  to  visit   Spreading  the  word  that  we  are  HERE!  


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Reno County Museum                                                        

Where Your Stories Live! W

Become a StoryKeeper!

It’s 20,000   years   ago.   Imagine   a   woolly   mammoth   grazing  along  the  river   on  a  beautiful  summer  day  in   what   is   now   South   Hutchinson.   A   tooth   found   in   South   Hutchinson   and   now   on   display   at   the   Reno   County   Museum   inspires   this   story   of   an   ancient   Reno  County  inhabitant.       Our  museum   is   not  a   warehouse   for   “old   stuff”-­‐   it’s  a   place   that   ensures   that   our   stories   of   immigration,   hardship,   celebration,   innovation,   and   industry   will   live   on   and   continue   to   be   told.   In   2014,   RCM   will   explore   with   you   all   of   the   ways   we   preserve,   interpret,   and   cherish   the   stories   of   our  families   and   communities.  

One way  that  we  will  do  this  is  through  a  series  of  workshops   that   will  inspire  and  inform  you  of  how  to  preserve  your  own   personal   stories.   Do   you   have   a   treasured   piece   of   family   history  packed  away?  We  will  show  you  how  to  bring  its  story   to   life   and   preserve   it   for   your   children,   grandchildren,   and   future  generations.      

Help us keep your stories safe by supporting the Reno County Museum in 2014!

• • • •

Become a  StoryKeeper  with  your  donation   Contribute  to  the  Collection  Care  Fund   Adopt  a  window  in  our  Adopt  a  Window  Project   Visit  often  and  attend  our  events  

With your support in 2014, we can keep your stories alive for the future!


Workshops help keep your stories alive & well

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oin Reno County Museum staff and presenters for Reno County Treasures: Talks, Tips, & Treats – informal sessions helping you care for YOUR treasures. Most of the talks will involve a show-and-tell aspect – and sharing stories about your items. • Tuesday, February 18: Whatever Happened to Cousin Phil? Fading Family Photos 
 This includes photography history, tips for caring for your family photos, and a starter-kit for getting you on your way. (7-9 p.m.; registration required; $15) • Saturday, April 5: Hello, Dolly! Have Some Tea! Show off your cherished dolls and enjoy some tea at the museum. We’ll be bringing out a few of our special dolls from the collection. (3-4:30 p.m.) • Tuesday, June 10: Heroes, Helmets, & Holsters 
 Military memorabilia presents special preservation obstacles. Find out how to care for your items. (7-9 p.m.)

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• Thursday, August 14: No Dog Ears Allowed! 
 Do your books need a little TLC? We will start you on the proper way to mend and care for your heirlooms. (7-9 p.m.; registration required; fee to be determined) • Tuesday, October 28: Dragons, Gargoyles, & Cauldrons 
 Fun show-and-tell and special treats will provide

a haunting good time. (7-9 p.m.; fee to be determined) • Saturday, December 6: Trimming the Tree: Ornaments Past & Present
 RCM will display some special antique ornaments. Bring a special ornament to show off! (1-2:30 p.m.)
 All workshops will be at the
Reno County Museum.
100 S. Walnut, Hutchinson.

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DON’T LET YOUR CHERISHED OLD BOOKS LOOK LIKE THIS. ATTEND THE AUGUST WORKSHOP ON HOW TO MEND AND CARE FOR YOUR BOOKS. TO SIGN UP FOR ANY WORKSHOP:

620-662-1184


Murder in the Mine

Interactive Mystery Dinner Theatre STRATACA HOURS 9 am–5 pm Tues–Sat 1–5 pm Sunday closed Mondays last tour departs at 3 pm advance reservations strongly recommended

“Murd-ER” 6:30 p.m. Saturday, February 22 $55 per person / $400 for table of 8 Doors open at 5 p.m. Last trip underground: 6:15 p.m. Must be 18 years or older due to adult humor

This medical murder spoof includes characters from such TV shows as ER, Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs. Coming “Murders:” Aug. 23, Dec. 12

Salt Safari Mine Adventure Fridays, 1-4 p.m. Limit: 20 hikers Must be 18 years or older

This challenging, rugged hike will explore raw areas of the mine, cover many miles, and last up to three hours. Hike is not handicapped-accessible. Advance online reservations required. For details and reservations for all events: underkansas.org 620-662-1425 or 866-755-3450

allow about two hours for your adventure SALT BLAST PASS our best deal includes gallery tour, dark ride (both handicapped-accessible) and train ride: adults: $19 seniors (60+), AAA and active military: $17 children (4-12): $12.50 reno county residents: $14 strataca citizens: $7 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. 3650 e. avenue g (at airport road) hutchinson, ks 67501

620-662-1425 toll-free 866-755-3450 underkansas.org

STRATACA ATTRACTIONS The Shaft See this engineering marvel that houses the sixton double-decker hoist that transports visitors 650’ below ground. Stratadome Intriguing and palatial, experience the grandeur of this vaulted salt room. Play in the Permian Playground filled with a variety of hands-on salt. Salt secrets exposed! Mining Gallery See the Myron-mobile, a post-apocalyptic looking car driven by Mike Rowe, the host of the TV show “Dirty Jobs.” Discover modern day mining practices versus mining in the past. Find out what a day in the life of a miner is really like.

Harry’s Habitat (Dr. Vreeland’s Fluid Inclusion Exhibit) The world’s oldest living organism, nearly 250 million years old and once encapsulated inside a salt crystal, is a resident of Strataca. Learn about its discoverers, Dr. Russell Vreeland and his team. Salt Mine Express This 15-minute train ride is a narrated, guided tour through a part of the mine that was active in the 1940s and ‘50s. The Dark Ride Your personal guide delivers fascinating information on a 30-minute tram ride where you experience true “mining dark” and collect your souvenir piece of salt.

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GE Engine No. 2 One of only three such engines ever built, it is now on display outside of Strataca. Built in 1919, the train ran along a short railway line from 1928 to 1963 that provided switching services for the Carey plant and mine. The Iodine Deficiency and Disorder Story

Explore the efforts of Kiwanis International and UNICEF in using salt to combat the devastating effects of iodine deficiency. The Story of Underground Vaults & Storage View costumes and props from your favorite movies in this exhibit focusing on a unique underground storage business.


RENO COUNTY MUSEUM

EVENTS & EXHIBITS New for 2014! Reno County Treasures: Talks, Tips, & Treats

These fun, informal workshops will focus on education and preservation with a bit of show-and-tell and treats as well! Look for them every other month beginning February 18. Check out these exciting programs and watch for details:

February 18 – Fading Family Photos, 7-9 p.m.

October 28 – Dragons, Gargoyles, & Cauldrons. 7-9 p.m.

April 5 – Hello, Dolly! Dolls and tea party, 3-4:30 p.m.

December 6 – Trimming the Tree: Ornaments Past & Present, 1-2:30 p.m.

June 10 – Military item preservation, 7-9 p.m.

Reno County Historical Society Annual Meeting

August 14 – Book repair and preservation, 7-9 p.m.

April 7, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Reno County Museum. Please watch for more details.

RENO COUNTY MUSEUM HOURS 9 am–5 pm tues-Fri 11-5 saturday closed sunday and monday

new hope for those old dollies!

Chalk Fest

April 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The weather didn’t cooperate last year, but we have high hopes for this year’s fun, sidewalkdrawing event at RCM!

free admission unless otherwise noted

Ice Cream Social

July 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m Our annual sweet calorie give-away day at RCM is free to the public! Come out and enjoy...or until the ice cream is gone!

see these stickpins in reno county’s “jewelry box.”

EXHIBITS Tough, Rough & Ready: Reno County Tools A-Z

From 2011 to 2012, RCM travelled to 14 Reno County communities to display artifacts from those towns. The exhibits stayed up for six months. Now we are bringing this exhibit back to Hutchinson for all to see. Also we are accepting photographs of current and historical items relating to any of the Reno County cities. We’ll display them along with this exhibit.

This tool-tally awesome exhibit displays an amazing variety of tools that built Reno County from the ground up.

A Peek Inside Reno County’s Jewelry Box From rhinestones to fine gold, see what adornment Reno Countians have been wearing from the mid-1880s through the 1960s.

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Hail to the Hall: 100 Years of Convention Hall This exhibit traces the history of Hutchinson’s historic Convention Hall and officially displays the items from the Convention/Memorial Hall 1911 time capsule box.

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RCM on the Road… Comes Home

100 S. Walnut 620-662-1184

Transportation Gallery See the Schuttler wagon, an Amish buggy, the Indian motorcycle, sidecar and much more.

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email us snapshots of your community and we will post them along with the “on the road” exhibit. send to: lynn@renocomuseum.org.


MURDER & MADNESS IN THE MINE PAGE 4 reno county historical society p.o. box 664 hutchinson, kansas 67504-0664

return service requested

If your address changes, please call us at 620-662-1184.

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Legacy Winter 2014  

This issue of the Legacy traces the history of the Murder in the Mine fundraisers at Strataca - Kansas Underground Salt Museum.

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