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small town

big heart Baldwin City’s quality of life invites you to look at the Community as a plaCe to Call home‌

F o r a D ay, o r F o r a L i F e t i m e ! home of the maple leaf festival & Baker wildcats!

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2016 Fall/Winter

24 20

Hometown district

Baldwin High School alumni flock home to teach in a school district they have loved since they were students.


the battle of black jack Remembering the “first fight of the Civil War” 160 years later






Baldwin City Library partners with Pulitzer on events for their shared centennial


Prize-winning celebrations

12 fr


Baldwin City Events history












John Brown’s

From Roads to Leaves


at Black Jack Battlefield 160 years ago


sidewalk Renaissance The city helps connect the community by increasing the number of walkways.


learning the trade

Baldwin High School students take advantage of technical training in vocational programs



Chamber MEMBERSHIP listings



Baldwin High School alumni flock home to teach in their longloved distr ict.



Helping connect the community by increasing the number of walkways in town.

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ON THE COVER John Brown reenactor Kerry Altenbernd at Black Jack Battlefield and Nature Park. Pitts Photography


Baldwin City Living

D ear R eader s , My fondest memories from my K–12 education (spread out over four states) are of the many teachers who helped me make breakthroughs in tough subjects or spent extra time with me on challenging days. Especially in those early years where you’re just finding your footing in a social sphere outside of your family’s home, you lean on the person who makes you the most comfortable—your teacher. We learned in this issue of Baldwin City Living that teachers often have those same memories of their own teachers. When we spoke to Baldwin High School alumni who now teach in their home district, USD 348, they shared that the bonds they formed with their former teachers, the friendly community vibe and great education they received lured them back home to continue the tradition. We spoke with only six, and there are at least 20 teachers in the district who graduated from BHS. The people in Baldwin City really care about improving the lives of others living here. We see this not only with returning teachers but also with city efforts to make the town more easily navigable by increasing the number of walkways. It’s not surprising new sidewalks improve the safety of those getting around on foot. Writer Leigh Anne Bathke explores how sidewalks act as the “lifeblood” for a community in many ways. Once again, we have another issue full of our friends and neighbors who are working to make our community the best place to live and care for our families. We hope you enjoy the fall/winter 2016 issue! —Nadia, Editor

Where arts and community come together Baldwin City Living is produced by Sunflower Publishing in cooperation with the City of Baldwin City, Baldwin City USD 348, and the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce. Editor: Nadia Imafidon | Art Director: Jenni Leiste Copy Editor: Leslie Andres Contributing Photographers: Brian Pitts, Susan Pitts Contributing Writers: Leigh Anne Bathke, Gwen Conover, Richard Wellman, Liz Weslander

space rental art classes rotating exhibits engaging events General Manager: Katy Ibsen All material and photographs copyright Sunflower Publishing, 2016. Baldwin City Living releases twice a year. For editorial queries: Nadia Imafidon (785) 832-6342 | For advertising queries: Joanne Morgan (785) 832-7264 |

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718 H igH S t. Baldwin C ity, KS 66006


baldwin city library

2016 Fall/Winter

Happy Birthday! This year the Baldwin City Library turns 100, along with the Pulitzer Prize program.

That same year, Joseph Pulitzer established the Pulitzer Prize with the hope that the awards would inspire excellence in the areas of journalism, literature, drama and education. To mark its centennial this year, the Pulitzer Prize Board collaborated with the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The two organizations worked together to offer grants to 46 state humanities councils for Pulitzer Prize-themed projects. The Kansas Humanities Council chose Baldwin City Library as one of 10 organizations to receive these funds, earmarked for the library’s Pulitzer-themed centennial celebration events. Cynthia Beall, vice president of the board of directors for the Friends of the Baldwin City Library, says the board started early in the year discussing how the Friends could help with the celebration of the library’s 100th anniversary and then heard that the Kansas Humanities Council had announced the opportunity to participate in the 100th anniversary celebration of the Pulitzer Prizes. “The Pulitzer Program honors excellence in literature and other areas, so it seemed like a perfect match,” Beall says. “We are grateful that the Council agreed and funded our application.” The Baldwin City Library has come a long way since 1916. Its current facility at 800 7th St. is 9,000 square feet and has more than 23,000 items, including books and other media. The library’s 2013 expansion included, among other features, the addition of the Kansas Room, which contains primary resources on local history, including genealogy and house records.


celebrations Baldwin City Library partners with Pulitzer on events for their shared centennial Story by Liz Weslander | Photos by Pitts Photography

In 1916, two important organizations were born: Baldwin City Library and the Pulitzer Prize program. This fall, the centennials of these two will come together as the Baldwin Library celebrates its 100th anniversary with three Pulitzer-themed events that are funded in part by the Pulitzer Prize Board. The Baldwin City Library opened in August 1916 after Baker University professor W.H. Garrett, inspired by a children’s library he had visited in Cambridge, Massachusetts, led the effort to create a children’s library in Baldwin. Garrett wrote, “I thought how fine it would be if the children of Baldwin could have access to some of these inspiring books.” The library opened in an office in City Hall, which was located in the basement of the People’s State Bank, 801 High Street, with just 75 children’s books on a shelf. By December of that year, the collection had grown to 200 books.

Save the date

William Allen White: The Kansas of His Time Excerpts from the one-man theatrical production, The Sage of Emporia, performed by Jack Wright, theater director at the University of Kansas Tuesday, October 25, 7:00 p.m., Baldwin City Public Library Free and open to the public





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Come Play with Us!


the Baldwin City Recreation Commission has proposed building a Community Center that will offer a safe place for kids to go after school, on the weekends and over breaks. a place for seniors to go to socialize, walk and take advantage of an indoor pool year-round without worrying about weather, travel or sidewalks. a place for all ages to exercise before work, during theCENTER day or in evening. BALDWIN CITY COMMUNITY | the VIEW FROM STREET 08.04.2016 we invite you to learn more about the Community Center and what it has to offer, along with how it will be paid for and about the membership fees. a mailing to all residents in UsD 348 will be made in the near future that will offer a number of public meetings along with more concrete figures and information, so that you can make an informed decision on both the sales tax and Property tax proposals. to get more information contact steve at 785.594.3670 or

Adult Adventures

sociAl GAtherinGs

community events

youth experiences

- Dinner Theatres - Winery Tours - Casino / Bingo - Lunch Bunch Trips

- Breast Cancer Walk - Maple Leaf Festival - Maple Leaf Run - Breakfast w/ Santa - Festival of Lights Parade

- Pinochle - Hand & Foot - Dominoes - Pitch - Luncheons /Special Events

Active Adults - Yoga & Chair Yoga - Martial Arts - Pickleball - Fitness Classes - Racquetball - Slow-pitch Softball - Basketball - Volleyball - Open Gyms - Indoor Soccer

- Basketball - Flag Football / Volleyball - Soccer - Mother & Son Dance - Daddy/Daughter Date Night - Before/After School Program and Kids Day Out Trips | 785-594-3670 | 705 High Street Baldwin City, KS


baldwin city library

2016 Fall/Winter

Baldwin City Library Timeline Baldwin City Library opens in City Hall, located in the basement of the People’s State Bank, 801 High Street. The library’s collection consists of 75 children’s books, but grows to 200 by the end of the year.


Books for adults are added to the library’s shelves. Tax levy is raised to 50 cents, allowing the purchase of additional books and an improved cataloging system.




Friends of the Baldwin City Library is established.



Library undergoes 3000 squarefoot expansion that includes the construction of the Kansas Room, expanded storage, and an adult reading room.


Baldwin City Council passes 25-cent tax levy to support the library, which had previously been funded entirely by donations.

Library moves into newly constructed building adjacent to City Hall. During the ’60s, the library expands its services to include a summer reading program, story hour, large-print books and paperbacks.

Library moves to its current location at 800 7th Street.

“The Pulitzer Program honors excellence in literature and other areas, so it seemed like a perfect match.” — Cynthia Beall

The first of the three celebration events in Baldwin was an August 30 panel discussion addressing “Today’s Media in an Election Year: Information, Insight and Finding Truth.” The panelists were Harold Jackson, the editorial page editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and a former Baker University student; Stephen Koranda, statehouse bureau chief for Kansas Public Radio; and Dave Helling, multimedia reporter for the Kansas City Star. Jackson was part of a team of three writers who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for an editorial campaign in The Birmingham News that analyzed inequities in the Alabama tax system. The second event was a writing workshop on September 7 at the Baldwin Library titled “Flying through the Alphabet: A Poet’s Tools.” Marti Mihalyi, assistant professor of English and writerin-residence at Baker University, led the


workshop. The workshop focused on the sounds and texture of language and was an invitation to “fall in love with words again,” Mihalyi says. The centennial celebration culminates on October 25 with a one-man theatrical performance titled William Allen White: The Kansas of His Time. The event is billed as an “informance”—part presentation, part performance—given by Jack Wright, emeritus professor and theater director at the University of Kansas. Wright has spent decades studying the spirit and character of William Allen White, the first Kansan to receive a Pulitzer Prize. For many years Wright played the role of White in The Sage of Emporia, a one-man play written by Kansas City editor and author Henry Haskell. Wright’s “informance” will include excerpts from the The Sage of Emporia.

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community sidewalks

2016 Fall/Winter

Walking Town In the past five years, more than two and a half miles of new walkways have been constructed in town.

S i dewal k

Renaissance The city helps connect the community by increasing the number of walkways. Story by Leigh Anne Bathke | Photos by Pitts Photography

Perhaps the prettiest sidewalk in Baldwin links the park next to the train depot to Orchard Lane. Actually a trail, it meanders through the woods behind the houses lining High Street and along the Baldwin City Golf Course. Walk 20 feet down it off Main Street, and you won’t even realize you’re near the middle of town. From his second-floor office in Baldwin City Hall, Glenn Rodden can see the importance of sidewalks and how they connect a community. “There are always people moving around on them downtown,” says the Baldwin City administrator. “Sometimes it’s for exercise, sometimes it’s for economic reasons, sometimes it’s social. But

regardless of the reason why, people appreciate and use them.” Over the past five years, Baldwin City has experienced a bit of a sidewalk renaissance, with more than two and a half miles of new walkways and trails constructed throughout town. Sidewalks play an important role in connecting people to their community, whether they are families walking along busy Sixth Street to Signal Ridge, folks gathering for a summer Art Walk near the Lumberyard Arts Center or kids biking to the Intermediate Center. “Sidewalks are vital to maintaining a vibrant, active community,” says Christi Darnell, city council member. “They attract people, especially families. People looking to move here want to see a connected


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Baldwin City Living

walk to the library and the pool. He wants to ride his bike to his friend’s house. Sidewalks, new ones and improved ones, are important steps to building safe connections.” Rodden says it’s been his experience that the more sidewalks in a community, the better.

community. I’m happy to see the changes in town, especially the newly repaired sidewalk along High Street. It was disconcerting to me to see residents walking in the street because the sidewalks were too difficult to navigate.” It is a priority for Baldwin City Council, Darnell continues, to develop a comprehensive sidewalk plan to connect to Prairie Spirit Trail (so that there’s the continuous 100 miles of bike trail that connects to the Flint Hills) and to connect neighborhoods to important destinations in the community and to schools. Sidewalks are still the lifeblood of a small town, even today. Pedestrians get around safely, whether headed to a park or a downtown restaurant. Businesses see economic benefits from shoppers taking a stroll downtown. Active residents have a place to exercise. Children can walk to see friends in other neighborhoods. Teri Ediger is especially excited about the sidewalk along Sixth Street. “It’s all about safety, especially for families like mine,” says Ediger, a mother of three children, Collin, 12; Addison, 10; and Britton, 5. “In the summer, there are large numbers of children roaming free, which is great about our town. But I worry when they have to walk in the road. My son wants to

“Sidewalks are vital to maintaining a vibrant, active community.” — Christi Darnell

“There was a time when sidewalks weren’t considered important,” Rodden says. “Now city planners and residents are recognizing how much sidewalks contribute to improving the quality of life in a community.” Baldwin resident Kisa Nichols agrees, especially when it comes to remaining physically active. “I try to walk every day for exercise,” Nichols says. “The new sidewalks give me a chance to change up my route. I can walk by houses and buildings, but I can also walk by ball fields filled with kids and past wildflowers. Walking through town gives you a new perspective on Baldwin City. I feel lucky to live in such a beautiful place.”

Pedestrian Plan In 2014, local planners and volunteers took a closer look at how pedestrians and bike riders move around the cities and towns of Douglas County. “We have been charged with providing a comprehensive pedestrian plan for Baldwin City, Lawrence, Eudora and Lecompton,” says Jessica Mortinger, senior transportation planner with the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization. “So we embarked on this task by taking surveys, marking the miles, counting the users and establishing what repairs might be necessary in each community.” A draft of the Douglas County Regional Pedestrian Plan is available online, outlining several aspects for improving Baldwin City sidewalks, including: • A discussion of existing plans, policies and efforts in the city regarding sidewalk use and maintenance and how these might work with this regional plan; • Priority routes that, when completed, would connect major destinations such as schools, parks and downtown areas; • Applying for funding from the Safe Route to Schools program; • Encouraging more walking and exercise throughout the city by providing maps and keeping existing sidewalks clear. There are still several steps before the plan will be placed before the Baldwin City Council for approval, Mortinger says. This plan recognizes that communities have a lot of financial responsibilities and sidewalks may not always be at the top of the list, she says. “Local governments need to put money toward what’s most beneficial, but this plan helps them recognize that sidewalks are important to communities. And when they do decide it’s time to improve, there’s a plan available to give direction. But we know it has to be a local decision.”

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USD 348

vocational programs

2016 Fall/Winter

L ear n i n g the


Baldwin High School students take advantage of technical training in vocational programs Story by Gwendolyn Conover Photos by Pitts Photography

Scott Harman, student at Baldwin High School


Baldwin City Living

USD 348

Ben Morgenstern is a self-described “morning person.” But that’s not the only reason he was perfectly happy to arrive an hour early nearly every day of his senior year at Baldwin High School. While some of his classmates were still asleep, Morgenstern boarded a school bus to Washburn Institute of Technology in Topeka where he studied welding. “I didn’t like the traditional classroom setting that much and would rather be doing something I enjoyed,” Morgenstern says. Cole Wolff, who caught the early bus to study automotive repair at Washburn Tech, agreed that the longer mornings were worth it. “Everyone there was sort of like me,” Wolff says. “They really liked turning wrenches and diagnosing cars, so that made it more fun.” After three hours of technical training in Topeka each morning, Morgenstern and Wolff ate a packed lunch on the ride home and arrived back at the high school just in time to participate in regular required classes in the afternoon. Baldwin High School principal Rob McKim says that up to 12 students from the high school have taken advantage of off-site vocational programs at Washburn Tech each semester, choosing to study welding, diesel mechanics, automotive repair, and other

“I didn’t like the traditional classroom setting that much and would rather be doing something I enjoyed.” — Ben Morgenstern

offerings. In addition to the Washburn programs, several Baldwin High students have spent their mornings in the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program at Neosho County Community College in Ottawa. Janine Crisp, a senior at Baldwin High last year who earned her CNA license, thought the Neosho County program was a good opportunity to test the waters for a long-term career path. “I’ve always thought I wanted to be a nurse and for me it was kind of like a practice to see if I liked it,” Crisp says. “You follow actual nurses so you get to see what it’s really like.” McKim points out the off-site vocational programs also have a financial advantage. “Senate Bill 155 came into effect a few years ago, and since then the state will pay for tuition for students still in high school who take classes at technical/vocational schools or community colleges in certain areas of study,” he says. Morgenstern, Wolff, and Crisp went through their programs at a lesser expense than if they had taken the classes outside of high school. Before committing to the more intensive training of an offsite program at Washburn or Neosho County, most students take individual vocational classes at Baldwin High School. “Some kids come in and realize they love welding or cabinet making,” says Tom Harman, who teaches several industrial technology classes at the school. Even if students aren’t interested in those areas as a career, Harman says, he has seen students use the skills they learn to start a hobby or a side job.


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USD 348

2016 Fall/Winter

New Skills “Some kids come in and realize they love welding or cabinet making.” —Tom Harman, industrial technology instructor at BHS

“I’ve even had students come back and say they’ve used what they learned in class shopping at Nebraska Furniture Mart,” Harman says. “They can understand how something’s put together and if it will stand up over time.” Morgenstern, Wolff, and Crisp are all off to college this fall, and they all count participation in vocational programs as an important part of their high school experience. Morgenstern is attending Pittsburg State University to take part in their diesel mechanics and heavy equipment program. Wolff is back at Washburn getting his associate’s degree in industrial technology—a feat he can accomplish with only one additional year of study, he says, thanks to his work at Washburn during high school. Crisp attends Baker University, where she is studying nursing. All three students would recommend the vocational programs they participated in to current and future Baldwin High School students. As Morgenstern puts it, “The more education and technical skills you have, the better.”

home - auto - life

Senate Bill 155

Senate Bill 155, which became Kansas law in 2012, provides tuition and transportation reimbursement for high school students taking college-level career and technical educational courses. According to the Kansas State Department of Education, incentives are available for students who earn certifications in certain highdemand occupations such as welding, carpentry, plumbing, nursing assistant, automotive mechanic, computer support specialist and others. Baldwin High School industrial technology instructor Tom Harman has seen a number of Baldwin students take advantage of the bill. “It’s a good deal,” he says. “In some cases, it can be up to a $13,000 value.”

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Downtown BalDwin City 913-486-0061 |



baldwin city events


[1] B l u e g r ass & B B Q

A fundraiser for Lumberyard Arts Center, Blues & BBQ provides guests with pulled pork sandwiches, sides, drinks and dessert, in addition to really great local entertainment. Enjoy performances by Truckstop Honeymoon, Sky Smeed and Wakarusa River Band. Donations accepted. Lumberyard Arts Center, 4:30 p.m.–10 p.m.

[15–16] Map l e L e a f F e s t i v a l

Local organizations raise funds during this twoday festival with crafts booths, plenty of food vendors, a parade, antique cars and more to celebrate a successful harvest. See event schedule,

[23] B r e as t Can c e r Wa l k / Run

Baldwin City Recreation Commission holds a walk/run where all donations go to the Lawrence Memorial Breast Center and a local fighting breast cancer. Individual participants are $15 and a family of 4 is $50. Baker Methodist Church, 2 p.m.

2016 Fall/Winter



“ W i l l i a m A l l e n Wh i t e : Th e K ansas o f H i s T i m e ”

Ch r i s t m as Can d l e l i g h t V e sp e r s



This presentation, by Jack Wright, is a part of the “Celebrating Centennials” series at Baldwin City Public Library supported by the Kansas Humanities Council. Baldwin City Public Library, 7 p.m.


The music students will bring you traditional sounds of the holidays at Baker University’s 86th annual Christmas Candlelight Vespers. Rice Auditorium, 2 p.m. & 5 p.m.

Map l e L e a f N u t c r a c k e r

S an t a C l aus E x p r e ss

All aboard! This ride with Santa features a 22mile round trip from Baldwin City via Norwood to Ottawa Junction, traveling through scenic eastern Kansas farmland. See website for ride times,

Baldwin Academy of Dance & Voice performs the Maple Leaf Nutcracker at 2:00 preceded by the Maple Sugar Gala with a silent auction, sweets, crafts and photos. Performing Arts Center, 1 p.m.


[12] 2 9 t h A nnua l Ch o c o l a t e Auction

Get your hands on a few chocolate goodies—as well as donated art and other gifts—just in time for Valentine’s Day. Lumberyard Arts Center, Noon


[3] Festival of Lights Parade & Tree Lighting

Let’s welcome the holiday spirit with the annual parade welcoming Santa Claus to town, and a magical lighting ceremony to follow. Eighth and High streets. 6 p.m.


All events subject to change


2016 Fall/Winter

F r o m R o ad s

to Leaves The Santa Fe Trail Picnic that preceded the Maple Leaf Festival Column by Richard Wellman

Most people familiar with Baldwin City are very familiar with the Maple Leaf Festival. The first Maple Leaf Festival was in 1958, but what you might not know is that Baldwin used to a host a similar annual festival before that time. It ran for 11 years and became known as the Santa Fe Trail Picnic. The first picnic started on August 1, 1930, as a celebration for the completion of 4 miles of concrete highway from Baldwin to what we now know as Baldwin Junction. This was another step in creating a U.S. highway (now US-56) roughly following the Old Santa Fe Trail. The celebration started at the Junction with speeches, followed by a caravan of cars that drove over the new concrete highway to Baldwin. A basket dinner was then held on Baker University’s campus, and four different bands entertained. This particular section of road was celebrated because of a new design characteristic that included three-inch-high wings on the edge of the road surface. The wings protected the shoulder from erosion from the rain run-off. According to a news article, it “lifted Baldwin from the mud barrier” giving an all-weather outlet for Baldwin residents to get to Lawrence or Ottawa. The road east of Baldwin was still a “mud road” to Johnson County, so it was impassible during wet times. The National Old Trails Road Association held its annual meeting in conjunction with the completion of the highway link. An estimated 5,000 people attended the festivities that first year.

In 1931, the celebration of the Old Santa Fe Trail honored the history and traditions of the trail. The American Legion and Rotary Clubs took the lead in organizing the event. It was held on August 27, 1931, again with a basket dinner on the Baker campus and games for the children. The celebration also included tug o’ war, speeches and a firemen’s water fight. No carnival concessions were allowed; only local groups could offer refreshments. It was proposed to make this an annual event. A Santa Fe parade and pageant were added as features the following year. The Ledger of August 19, 1932, stated, “There are parades and parades, but the historic pageant put on by Santa Fe Trail boosters at the annual picnic last Friday morning in Baldwin was more than a parade, it was a visit into the past when the Old Trail was not an all-weather road but merely a few wagon tracks. It was not for those disinterested in the history of the settlement of the West but it was a flawless reproduction of the development of the modes of travel and life along the Trail as remembered.” The parade featured old-fashioned clothing, 10 covered wagons, about 80 people on horseback, as well as an encampment of Pawnee Indians from Haskell. More than 5,000 attended and many enjoyed the street dance at 9 p.m. In May 1941, the organizing committee announced the initial meeting to plan the 1941 picnic after a successful run of 11 years. However, only five people attended the meeting, including just three representatives from the civic clubs. Those five attendees decided that they were not sufficiently motivated to do all the work without the support of the town organizations. No one stepped forward to lead a continuation, so the tradition ended.


In the Archives A notebook collection of copies of the Santa Fe Trail Picnic news articles from The Baldwin Ledger have been assembled and are available at the Baldwin City Public Library. Much of the information has been condensed for this historical summary.


1c3, common carrier Come in today to see Emily, Martha, Sheena, Grace or Cassie nsportation history as an a train ride – bring the City, Overland Park, arby communities. er every year.

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rse evening Dinner Meals & casual Sunday 3-course me nisce as you travel in our 1940’s decorated cars /midlandrailway and Era Music 1515 City, KS trainsHigh on aSt. lineBaldwin originally constructed in 1867. Train ridesDepot feature an over 20Phone (913) 721-1211 (785) 594-6982

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mile round trip from Baldwin City via “Norwood, Kansas” to Ottawa Junction, Kansas, traveling through scenic Eastern Kansas farmland and woods via vintage railway equipment. The Midland Railway

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Photos by Pitts Photography

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Veronica Abel Most likely to raise a teacher (see next page…)

BHS Class: ’79 Activities: Basketball, volleyball, band, musical theater Attended Baldwin Schools: 2–12 Current position: Second-grade teacher, Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center Veronica Abel was raising her children and working in daycares and preschools when she realized she wanted to teach professionally. “When I returned to college in the ’90s to get my teaching certificate, it was with the goal of working in Baldwin City schools,” she says. “I never put my application in at any other district. This was the place where I wanted to make a difference.” Abel has taught junior high, fourth grade and fifth grade and although she loved it, she knew when she started teaching second grade that she had found her niche. “I love the little ones,” she says. “They really are like sponges. And when you teach and teach something and then they get it—it’s the best feeling in the world.” Abel never had the chance to teach her own children, though she says when she did her student teaching in fifth grade, she came home to parent her own fifth-grader. “But that’s okay,” she says. “I was in the same building with some of my own children. I was near them if they needed me. And somehow I inspired my daughter, Ashlea, to teach. Now we teach in the same building and I’m so proud of her. She’s a natural.”

Robyn Johnson Elder “In my job, I get to do home visits with the little ones, and it’s my favorite part. In what other job do you get to drop into people’s lives, read some books, play some games and make an impact far beyond a one-hour visit?” BHS Class: ’80 Activities: Tennis, Pep Club, student council, Drama Club, band, choir, teacher’s aide Attended Baldwin Schools: K–12 Current position: Parent educator with USD 348 Parents As Teachers program

“I was very surprised that we decided to stay in Baldwin City. Everyone who grew up here was looking to move out. This is such a great little community, and the schools are fantastic. This was where we wanted to raise our children.”


Leaving Baldwin City was the top of Robyn Elder’s priority list when she started to look at colleges. “I thought I was ready to go,” she says. She made it as far as Kansas State University for one year, then got homesick and came home. “I left the Baldwin City cocoon for a while, but I came back,” she says. “I was comfortable and confident in the education I received here and that’s why I stayed. I liked what was happening, where the district was going. And when I had kids, I knew there wasn’t a better place for them to go to school.” As a parent educator, Elder relishes her role in helping parents and children navigate their first three years of life. From car-seat safety to age-appropriate activities to cognitive development strategies, Elder pulls from both her life and professional experiences. “The hours are weird. Sometimes I work weekends. But there’s nothing else I’d rather do. I’m making a difference in some lives,” she says. “And because I live here and my children went to school here, I have a vested interest in this community.”

Erik Bailey “I’ve worked other jobs, but I went back to get my teaching degree because I wanted a job that meant something, that made a difference. Teaching in Baldwin City gives me that, and I can see the impact I make on my students.” BHS Class: ’87 Activities: Cross country, student council, basketball, debate, tennis Attended Baldwin Schools: K–12 Current position: Seventh-grade reading teacher, Baldwin Junior High School Erik Bailey says teachers inspired and encouraged him at every level of his public education. “The education from Baldwin Schools has always been excellent, with teachers that truly care. Merrie Skaggs read Where the Red Fern Grows to my fourthgrade class and gave me a true appreciation for reading,” he says. “And Mike Curran not only encouraged me to participate in basketball when I lacked confidence my freshman year, he also taught me and both my children how to drive.” One benefit to teaching and living in the same district is that you might end up with your children as your students. “I’ve taught both of my children in seventh grade,” says Bailey. “And it’s no secret that I enjoyed it immensely. I tried to keep a respectful distance, but I loved having the opportunity to see them with their friends and see them involved in school. Once I scheduled a test on Emma’s birthday. I didn’t have a choice, so I wrote ‘Happy Birthday’ on the board to make it up to her. That’s the only time I didn’t treat her like every other student.”

Ashlea Abel Troth Most likely to become a teacher like mom

BHS Class: ’03 Activities: Cross country, track and field, yearbook Attended Baldwin Schools: K–12 Current position: First-grade teacher, Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center Ashlea Troth works in the same school as her three biggest influences: her mother, her daughter and her first-grade teacher, Debbie Wallace. “This so wasn’t my career plan,” she says. “I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I never thought I’d move back to Baldwin City. When I left, I thought I’d be gone forever, then I got pregnant and all I wanted to do was come back home. That says something about the education system here, doesn’t it?” She returned to Baldwin City six years ago, working first as a media specialist, then teaching kindergarten. Now she’s moving up to first grade the same time as her daughter. “I love having her in the same building. I can see her, give her a hug and then let her have her day,” Troth says. “Last year, her kindergarten teacher had been my first-grade teacher. Debbie Wallace had such an impact on my life, how wonderful is it that my daughter had that same opportunity?” As for her mom, Troth can’t see teaching without her nearby. “My mom and I have a crazy close relationship. She’s my security blanket,” she says. “I look up to her in every way.”


“I thought it would be weird, teaching where I went to school. But I love it. I love when my students see me out, and they’re surprised I have a life beyond the classroom, that I don’t sleep at the school. They see me at the pool and they’re just baffled.”

Baldwin City Living’s cutest married couple

Kit Harris BHS Class: ’91 Activities: Wrestling, football, cross country, golf, musical theater, student council, journalism Attended Baldwin Schools: 6–12 Current position: English teacher, journalism teacher, and wrestling coach, Baldwin High School It’s the long-term relationships that keep Kit Harris motivated. “When I first started teaching at BHS, my classroom was right next to Jeanne Scott, who taught me journalism in high school,” he says. “There are so many people at the high school who were there when I was a student. I think that says something about the strength of this school district. At first

“When I taught at a larger high school, I could walk down the halls and see maybe six kids I knew. It’s not like that in Baldwin. Here, I know every kid. And I talk to them, ask how they are, how their parents are, know what they’re involved in. That’s a special thing I didn’t find anywhere else.”

it’s weird, working with these people who influenced you. But soon you start seeing them as colleagues and family. It’s the same with the students. It’s a great opportunity to influence their lives.” In small schools like BHS, students have the opportunity to participate in lots of activities, something Harris enjoyed when he was in school. “High school kids can be pulled in a lot of different directions,” he says. “But they also get the chance for a lot of different experiences and to build relationships with a lot of different kids. That’s a positive. Learning how to build relationships is important to society. Society needs good schools and schools need good people.”


Sarah Harris

“Even on the worst days, my students can brighten my entire world. I can’t picture doing anything else.” BHS Class: ’92 Activities: Basketball Attended Baldwin Schools: K–12 Current position: First-grade teacher, Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center Sarah Harris has spent her entire education career in Baldwin City, starting as a kindergarten student and now as a first-grade teacher. She loves that her students are going to have the opportunity to excel in the same district she did. “So many teachers had an impact on me,” Harris says. “My third-grade teacher, David Paden, was awesome. I remember having a lot of confidence that year. I didn’t think I was good at math and that year, I thought I was a genius. He really knew how to encourage me, and that has definitely influenced how I teach. It can be tricky sometimes, figuring out how to inspire your students. You have to help them recognize that they all have talents and strengths, and sometimes you have to try harder with some things.” Today, having a career teaching first-graders goes far beyond teaching her friends and stuffed animals on a basement chalkboard. “I think I always wanted to teach young children. I love the variety,” Harris says. “It truly is never the same day twice, and there’s never a dull moment. My students keep me entertained in ways I never dreamed possible. As first graders, they may not remember me when they get older, but I hope they remember they had fun in first grade while they learned a lot.”

Black Jac The Battle of



John Brown in Kansas May 30, 1854

Remembering the “first fight of the Civil War” 160 years later

Story by Leigh Anne Bathke | Photography by Pitts Photography


he Black Jack Battlefield and Nature Park is idyllic now. The grass—crisscrossed by mown trails—struggles to return to natural prairie. Trees shade parts of the site. The past is palpable when you stand still in this often seen, seldom explored section of U.S. history east of Baldwin City. “It’s an important site for Kansas history,” says Kerry Altenbernd, president of the Black Jack Battlefield Trust. “You can still see how a battle was decided. You can stand where these men fought. It’s hard to deny history when you can reach out and touch it.” The Black Jack battlefield area has changed since June 2, 1856, when two armed militias fought. However, the creek where abolitionist John Brown and his men fought to keep Kansas free is still there, as is the clearing where it is believed U.S. Deputy Marshal Henry Clay Pate and his pro-slavery men surrendered. “Many historians believe the Battle of Black Jack was the first fight of the Civil War,” says Altenbernd, who often performs historical re-enactments as John Brown. “The United States was headed toward a fight over slavery since Thomas Jefferson was forced to remove a passage questioning its further existence from the Declaration of Independence. Politicians were fighting over it. Citizens were

The Kansas-Nebraska Act, signed by President Franklin Pierce, allows white settlers in territories entering the union to vote whether to be free or slave states.

November 29, 1854

Kansas holds its first election. Armed pro-slavery forces from Missouri flood the state to intimidate voters and stuff ballot boxes.

Early spring, 1855

Several of John Brown’s sons, recruited by abolitionist groups in the northeast, arrive in Kansas to fight for its free statehood.

October 7, 1855

John Brown arrives in Kansas at the request of his sons. They asked for help, writing, “They needed weapons more than they needed bread.”

fighting over it. Newspapers were fighting over it. But it was here in 1856, where the first shots were exchanged, in an almost equal fight, between Free State and proslavery militias in the United States.” Whether you believe these were the first shots fired in the Civil War, there’s no question the events in this Santa Fe Trail campground strengthened the march toward it. “Before Black Jack, there were small groups or one man committing sackings, raids and massacres. Bleeding Kansas was happening,” Altenbernd says. “But there wasn’t anything you could define as a battle, until June 2, 1856. This was the first firefight. This was a battle with military tactics. This was a battle between two groups of people fighting on the issue of slavery. That makes it an important milestone.” Abolitionist John Brown came to Kansas in 1855 to end slavery’s spread. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed settlers to decide whether to allow slavery when their territory joined the United States. Thousands of “Border Ruffians” came to Kansas to influence, and in some cases steal, elections in favor of slavery. Anti-slavery “Free Staters” began to fight back by encouraging abolitionists from across the country to converge on Kansas. The territory was in chaos.

December 1 1855

During the Wakarusa War, Brown and his sons defend Lawrence from pro-slavery Border Ruffians.

May 21, 1856

Pro-slavery forces raid Lawrence, killing one man, destroying the Free State Hotel and two Free-State newspapers.

May 24, 1856

John Brown, his sons and their followers commit the Pottawatomie Massacre, killing five pro-slavery settlers, in retaliation for the Lawrence raid and Sumner’s beating on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Although letters written about the attacks claimed Brown participated in the actual murders, Brown only said, “I did not [commit the murders]; but I do not pretend to say that they were not killed by my order, and in doing so I believe I was doing God’s service.”

June 2, 1856

During the Battle of Black Jack, John Brown and his forces find Henry C. Pate and his men camped along a creek. Brown attacks, eventually taking Pate and his men as prisoners. Brown took his prisoners to Prairie City where he negotiated terms for prisoner exchange and surrender.

June 5, 1856

Col. Edwin Sumner and Lt. J.E.B. Stuart arrive from Fort Leavenworth and order Brown to disband his militia and release his prisoners.

August 30, 1856

At the Battle of Osawatomie, Brown and his men fight General John W. Reid. Brown’s son Frederick is killed. Brown retreats with most of his men to watch Osawatomie, an abolitionist town, burn. This battle solidifies Brown’s reputation as an ‘abolitionist firebrand.’

September 1856 A guided tour of the battlefield conducted by John Brown reenactor Kerry Altenbernd who told the history of the battle and the Bleeding Kansas era at Black Jack Battlefield and Nature Park.


Brown leaves Kansas to raise more money for his fight against slavery.

Becoming John Brown

“There were counties on both sides of the border involved in the events of Bleeding Kansas,” says Deborah Barker, member of the Black Jack board of trustees and executive director of the Franklin County Historical Society. “Our focus has to be on both sides of this story. During that time period, slavery was such a huge issue, subscribing to the wrong newspaper could get you beat up.” Tension between the two groups continued to rise. Skirmishes turned deadly, with the burning of buildings avenged by the murder of settlers.

branch, constantly shifting locations to make Pate believe he was outnumbered. “Brown did a good job using this military tactic,” Altenbernd says. “He shot Pate’s horses and mules, which effectively ended Pate’s ability to escape. And when Pate thought reinforcements were coming from Lawrence, he waved the white flag.” Although Pate initially wanted a truce, Brown took him and his men as prisoners, ending the battle after three hours. Several men had been wounded, but no one died.

John Brown’s victory The Battle of Black Jack was the result of two such interactions. In May 1856, proslavery invaders burned buildings in Lawrence, including the Free State Hotel. To counter this and other attacks, Brown, his sons and other settlers committed the Pottawatomie Massacre, hacking five pro-slavery settlers to death. “Although Brown never admitted to taking part in the attack, his son says he was there,” Altenbernd says. “Brown truly believed that anyone who believed and supported slavery was a soldier in the cause and needed to be fought. And he came to believe armed revolution was the only way to achieve this.” Henry Clay Pate went after Brown to arrest him for the massacre along Pottawatomie Creek. He had previously held two of Brown’s sons and was camping at Black Jack Springs. Pate heard the Free Staters were coming, so he’d positioned his wagons near the creek and set up sentries on the hillside. Brown and his abolitionist forces attacked Pate at dawn, forcing the pro-slavery forces to take cover along the eastern branch of the creek. Brown’s men took over the western

Preserving the site Brown’s victory at Black Jack bolstered his reputation as a guerrilla fighter. Letters and stories describing the battle were passed along from soldier to relative, creating a record still being researched by historians today. Robert Hall Pearson, who fought with Brown in the battle, later purchased 240 acres of land including where the battle had been fought. He and his descendants preserved the land for 150 years. Today, Black Jack Battlefield Trust owns the property. In 2003, the site became the Black Jack Battlefield and Nature Park and was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2004. In 2012, the site was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark. “It’s important to preserve sites like these, where you can be surrounded by history,” Barker says. “The expansion of slavery and the opening of the frontier are important to this area. Because this site is so easily accessible, you can walk the grounds, hear the stories and realize how complicated these issues were, and how it helped bring us to where we are today.”


Kerry Altenbernd assumes the identity of abolitionist John Brown from the outside in. “I’m always nervous, not as much as I used to be, but still … I do have butterflies until I walk out in front of an audience,” Altenbernd says. “I’m thinking about doing a good job—doing justice to the old man.” Since 2006, he’s honed this character with the right outfit, accurate props, and new facts and has brought to life to a character buffeted by a time of vast upheaval and questionable eyewitness testimony. “The original research I’d done to get into character wasn’t always positive,” he says. “I was wondering if I shouldn’t rethink performing as him. Then I read about Martin White, who killed John Brown’s son, Frederick.” Brown had the chance to avenge his son’s death during a raid in Missouri, but chose not to kill White. “He said killing White would serve no purpose for the restoration of human rights,” Altenbernd says. “When I heard this story, I knew John Brown was more than the man I had heard about. I knew I needed to do more research.” He starts his transformation with the clothes, always the same outfit, no matter if it’s a cold day in January or a humid one in August. First come the black trousers, long-sleeved white shirt and heavy boots. A black, historically accurate bow-tie-like cravat that “buckles” in the back goes at his throat. Next comes the heavy dark great coat and a wide-brimmed wool hat. In his hand goes an authentic slant-breech Sharps rifle. When he steps out in front of the audience, he is John Brown, leading tours and sharing battlefield facts with Brown’s abhorrence of slavery. It’s captivating, seeing history come alive. “Once I walk out and say the first line—my first word even—I’m not me anymore,” he says. “The conversation starts in my head, then I speak, ‘You may have heard of me, you may have an opinion. I don’t care what you think of me, but I do believe in the truth. As the Scripture says, the truth will set you free.’”

Robert Hall Pearson Farmhouse, which was built in 1890.


2016 Fall/Winter

2016 BALDWIN CITY Chamber of commerce membership

A/C Heating and Cooling

A&H Air Conditioning and Heating 1717 College Street 785-594-3357 Dunco Heating & Cooling 1729 Bullene Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66044 Lawrence, KS 66044 785-594-7137

Accounting and Tax Services Douglas County Treasurer 1100 Massachusetts Street Lawrence, KS 66044 785-832-5275


Ad Astra Alpacas 168 E 1700 Road 785-594-6767 Baldwin Feed Co., Inc. 1600 High Street 785-594-3351 Heritage Tractor, Inc. 915 Industrial Park Road 785-594-6486

Alternative Health

Blessed Be-ings Lightwork Kim Turner 785-640-6727

Animal Shelter

Prairie Paws Animal Shelter, Inc. 3173 Hwy K68, Ottawa, KS 66067 785-242-2967


Zimmerschied Architecture Jay Zimmerschied 901 Branchwood Drive Lawrence, KS 66049 785-550-5743


Baldwin Academy of Dance and Voice 711 High Street 785-594-3949 Lumberyard Arts Center 718 High Street 785-594-3186 Re•vive STUDIO 1025 PO Box 402

Assisted Living

Vintage Park at Baldwin City 321 Crimson Avenue 785-594-4255


Baldwin Automotive Service Center, Inc. 131 Baker Street 785-594-9944 Gregg Bruce Auto and Performance 601 High Street 785-594-4088


Baldwin State Bank 721 High Street 785-594-6421 Kansas State Bank 602 Ames Street 785-594-7500 Mid America Bank 802 Ames Street 785-594-2100


Seventh Street Hair 809 7th Street 785-594-7144 Whitney’s Hair Salon 701 High Street 785-594-6626


Maceli’s Inc. 1031 New Hampshire Street Lawrence, KS 66044 785-331-2096 Optimal Living 519 Ames Street

Chamber of Commerce

Worden United Methodist Church 294 E 900th Road 785-594-7598

Clubs and Nonprofit Organizations American Legion, Llyod Beaton Post #228 803 High Street 785-594-2530

Baldwin City Business & Professional Women PO Box 503 785-594-3832 Baldwin City Rotary 785-594-3169 Baldwin Lion’s Club PO Box 543 Douglas County Community Foundation 900 Massachusetts Street, Suite 406 Lawrence, KS 66044 785-843-8727 Friends of the Baldwin Library PO Box 565 785-594-3411 Lawrence Douglas County Valor Inc. PO Box 1841, Lawrence, KS 66044 Maple Leaf Festival Committee PO Box 564 785-594-7564

Eudora Chamber of Commerce 1402 Church Street, Eudora, KS 66025 785-542-1212

United Way of Douglas County 2518 Ridge Ct., Ste. 200, Lawrence, KS 66046 785-843-6626

Lawrence Chamber of Commerce 646 Vermont, #200, Lawrence, KS 66044 785-865-4411

Vinland Fair Association 1690 N 790 Road 785-594-2525

Ottawa Chamber of Commerce 109 E 2nd Street, Ottawa, KS 66067 785-242-1000 Wellsville Chamber of Commerce PO Box 472, Wellsville, KS 66092 785-883-2234


Baldwin First United Methodist Church 704 8th Street 785-594-6612 Ives Chapel United Methodist Church 1018 Miami Street 785-594-6555

Economic Development Baldwin City EDC 814 Ames Street 785-766-9505


Baldwin Junior High School 400 Eisenhower Street 785-594-2448

Baldwin Education Foundation P.O. Box 67 785-594-0404 The Rainbow Experience, Inc. 115 6th Street 785-594-2223


Baldwin City Blues 19706 W 63rd Terrace, Shawnee, KS 66218 913-268-1142 Bonnie Plumberg Autobiography Facilitator 7 E Rockwood Drive, Ottawa, KS 66067 785-865-8720 Kansas Belle Dinner Train Inc. 215 Ames Street 785-594-8505


The Cranberry Market 111 6th Street 785-594-3111

Funeral Services

Lamb-Roberts Funeral Home 712 9th Street 785-594-3644


Baldwin Medical Clinic Dr. Cristina Goodwin 810 High Street 785-594-6412


Baldwin City Dental - Chris Leiszler, DDS 414 Ames Street 785-594-9834 Baldwin Family Vision Clinic 3111 W 6th Street 785-594-2200 Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center 200 Maine Street, Ste. A Lawrence, KS 66044 785-843-9192

Historical Society

Black Jack Battlefield and Nature Park 163 E 200 Road, Wellsville, KS 66092

Baker University 618 8th Street 785-594-8308

Midland Railway Historical Society 1515 West High Street 913-721-1211

Baldwin City USD 348 708 Chapel Street 785-594-2721

Santa Fe Historical Society 203 Silver Leaf Lane 785-594-3169

Baldwin City Living

Home Health Care

Angels Care Home Health Amy DeWitt 318 Main Street, Ottawa, KS 66067 785-242-3100 Douglas County Visiting Nurses Assocation 200 Main Street, Ste. C Lawrence, KS 66044 785-843-3738

Home Improvement

Arrowhead Hardware 318 Crimson Avenue 785-594-3000 Cromwell Environmental/ Cromwell Solar 615 Vermont, Lawrence, KS 66044 785-749-6020 D & S Door Company 115 Signal Oak Court 785-242-4814 Lyon Construction Company, LLC 1772 North 200 Road 785-594-3138

Visit for Baldwin City Business Directory Farm Bureau Financial Services 721 8th Street 785-594-1055 Integrity Midwest Insurance, LLC 1540 Wakarusa Drive, Ste. D Lawrence, KS 66047 785-856-5100 Jardon Insurance 705 8th Street 913-486-0061 Mary Wiscombe American Family Insurance 707 8th Street 785-331-4353

Internet Service Providers

Mediacom Communications Corp. 717 High Street 785-594-7570 RG Fiber 713 High Street 785-594-5414



Edward Jones Pete Carr 452 E 1100 Road 913-856-8846

Independent Living

JC Grayson Chris Graham 721 8th Street 785-594-1054

Rooftop Construction, LLC 3986 Thomas Road, Wellsville, KS 66092 913-238-9112 Bauer Inspection and Consulting Services 1315 Maple Leaf Court 785-594-7420 Orchard Lane & Jersey Street Management Office 1016 Orchard Lane 785-594-6996

Individuals Linda Ballinger Craig Davis Teri Ediger John Fowler Senator Tom Holland Donald Nutt Krista Rowlett Gerald Sanden Peter Sexton Patty Wiseman


Baldwin Insurance Services 604 High Street 785-594-6822

Liquor Stores

Callahan’s Retail Liquor 310 Ames Street 785-594-3555 JBC Liquors, Inc. 916 Ames Street 785-594-0514


The Lodge 502 Ames Street 785-594-3900 Three Sisters Inn 1035 Ames Street 785-594-3244


Custom Mobile Equipment, Inc. 439 E High Street 785-594-7474

McFarlane Aviation 696 E 1700 Road 785-594-2741

Rice Precision Manufacturing 401 E. High Street 785-594-2670

Memory Care

Comfort Care Homes of Baldwin City, LLC 813 8th Street 785-594-2603

Online Retail

Tammy Luvs Bling by Sas Spurilla 785-214-0109


Auburn Pharmacy 400 Ames Street 785-594-0340


KSK Photography 315 Blaze Boulevard 913-226-0074


Bisel, Inc. dba Minuteman Press 1404 E. 24th Street, Ste. B Lawrence, KS 66046 785-842-2656

Property Management Hayes Properties LLC P.O. Box 455 785-248-3883

Baldwin Golf Association 1102 N. Main Street 785-594-3351


Homestead Kitchen & Bakery 520 High Street 913-208-7196 Jo’s Diner 516 Ames Street 785-594-3123 Moose’s Backwoods BBQ and Catering 522 Ames Street 785-594-7427 Mr. Goodcents Subs & Pasta 912 Ames Street 785-594-2399

Retreat Center

The Light Center 1542 Woodson Road

Senior Citizen Services

Douglas County Senior Services 745 Vermont Street Lawrence, KS 66064 785-842-0543


Antiques on the Prairie 520 High Street 785-594-7555 Quilters’ Paradise 713 8th Street 785-594-3477

Living Space, LLC 715 High Street 785-594-2659

Social Service Organization

Skyview Apartments PO Box 203 785-766-0218

Special Events Facility

Real Estate - Commercial

Kirsten Flory-Colliers International 805 New Hampshire Street, Ste. C Lawrence, KS 66044 785-865-5100

Real Estate - Residential

ReeceNichols Preferred Realty 3801 West 6th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044 785-856-6200 Stephens Real Estate 703 High Street 785-594-2320


Baldwin City Recreation Commission 785-594-3670

CLO’s Midnight Farm 2084 North 600 Road 785-979-1889 Stony Point Hall 1514 North 600 Road 785-594-2225

Title Company

Executive Title 608 High Street 785-594-9090


City of Baldwin City 803 8th Street 785-594-6427 Kansas Gas Service 2720 2nd Avenue, Leavenworth, KS 66048 913-758-2737

Website Services ReTek, LLC Staci Tabler 785-409-7400

T H e m O r e - T H a n - O n e - C O m Pa n y i n S u r a n C e a g e n T

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Phone: 785-594-6822 Fax: 785-594-7558 604 High St., P.O. Box 303 Baldwin City, KS 66006



Teaching and Learning for Excellence

Baldwin City Primary Center

(785) 594-2721

715 Chapel Street

Baldwin City, Kansas

Baldwin City Living Fall/Winter 2016  

John Brown's Victory at Black Jack Battlefield 160 Years Ago

Baldwin City Living Fall/Winter 2016  

John Brown's Victory at Black Jack Battlefield 160 Years Ago