"On the Brink of Medical Change..." Lost Kansas Communities Student Returns to Serve
By 2015-2016 Chapman Center for Rural Studies Intern
Each year, thousands of students graduate from K-State and move to bigger and better things outside Manhattan. However, one former student of Dr. Morgan’s Lost Kansas Communities class is doing bigger and better things after moving back to town. Dr. Taylor Funke, who recently began working at a Chiropractic office in town, is living in Manhattan again, and hopes to somehow give back to Kansas State University.
Taylor is from Osborne, a small-north central Kansas town. He was inspired to take the Lost Kansas Communities class due to his interest in other small communities. “My dad was a veterinarian; we would go on vet calls in the country and I would always find these little towns and cemeteries that were around there. I wondered ‘What was the story behind all of this?’ or ‘What used to be here?’”
Each student in Lost Kansas Communities researches and writes a semester-long historical study of a topic of their choice. Taylor had an interest in healthcare and after working with Dr. Morgan to choose a topic, was able to research the first hospital in Junction City. “It was great to meet people that were excited about what I was doing and helping to provide some history about Junction City”, said Taylor.
“[It was] the best class I had taken at K-State, hands down. I’ll be completely honest. I just loved learning about little things I never knew about history, in Kansas, especially. I found out some stuff about my hometown that I had never known… I really liked that we went on a lot of adventures around the area; we went to the Broughton site, we went to an old schoolhouse down by Wabaunsee [County] …We got to physically be with history… She also taught us the academic side to go along with that so we could connect some stories.”
Taylor described his experience in Dr. Morgan’s class as something he will never forget. His research of historical medical practices culminated into "On the Brink of Medical Change: The Junction City Hospital, Junction City, Geary County, Kansas, 1913 - 1921" and explored how the establishment of the hospital brought needed improvements to the area's health and prosperity.
Chapman Center Intern and 2016 Graduate, Anthony Porter, Leaves Written Legacy
By Dr. MJ Morgan, Research and Curriculum Director, Chapman Center for Rural Studies
Chapman Center for Rural Studies intern, Anthony Porter, a 2016 K-State graduate, Bachelor of Arts (BA) in history, left a written legacy of his time with us. Anthony’s study of the vanished community of Magic, Riley County, Kansas, appears in the May issue of Kansas Kin, published by the Riley County Genealogical Society (RCGS). “Magic: The Ultimate Vanishing Act” was an invited piece and marks the start of a fruitful collaboration between Chapman Center and RCGS.
We hope to offer more student work for inclusion in Kansas Kin as undergraduate researchers tackle the long-disappeared communities, villages, and trading centers of a lost Kansas landscape. Like many of our researchers, Anthony used both documentary and oral history sources, conducting interviews with Magic community descendants.
Through leads and contacts often suggested by RCGS, students learn to piece together the fascinating and sometimes quirky history of rural Kansas. Readers can also enjoy Anthony’s study of Magic in our Lost Communities Archive, at http://lostkscommunities.omeka.net/items/show/180.(Click the link, scroll down below the featured photograph, and click the printer icon on the black top bar above the pdf-copy of Anthony’s Magic paper. You can now print off and read Anthony’s paper at your leisure.)
Coming Soon: make sure to catch Anthony’s digital museum exhibit on the Quivira Society, an early 20th century amateur archaeology club in Wabaunsee County appearing later this summer in our Kansas History and Life Collection.
Passion for History Evident in Student's Small Pox Research
By Emmalee Laidacker, Chapman Center for Rural Studies Spring 2016 Intern
Every semester, students in Dr. Morgan’s Lost Kansas Communities class research a local history topic that interests him or her. Students then write an in-depth essay detailing the results of their semester-long research. For her project, “The End of an Old Enemy: Smallpox in Clay County from 1900-1925,” Shannon Nolan discusses the devastating effect the epidemic had on the small communities in Clay County.
Small towns were especially vulnerable to the spread of disease due to many hospitals and doctors often being poorly-equipped to treat contagious disease. Railroads had the catastrophic ability to transport disease from town to town with ease. Shannon also mentions specific cases of infection among unlucky residents in Clay County. Only two out of three people infected with smallpox survived, but the disease has since been eradicated with the last known case occurring in 1977.
Shannon is a sophomore majoring in secondary education with a focus in social studies. She chose to take the class due to her strong interest in history. Like all students, Shannon faced a number of challenges during the research process. “I’m not from Kansas, so I didn’t have any connections to any town or area in Kansas, and so I decided, instead of focusing on a lost community, I wanted to focus on a broader topic that would make more sense to me…”
Shannon discovered that there were a high number of smallpox cases in Clay County and decided it was the topic for her. Other obstacles Shannon ran into simply included a lack of information. “There were a few years that I couldn’t find any research from so that was pretty difficult… Also, pinpointing the exact reasons why this disease was stopping.” She visited Clay County museums in order to fill in the gaps in her smallpox story.
Despite this Shannon enjoyed many parts of the research process, including sifting through original documents. “I liked looking through all the old books that we have here at the Chapman Center and seeing the doctor’s notes first-hand; I thought that was really cool.” Shannon has always had a passion for history which is the reason she decided to incorporate her passion into teaching; it is the best of both worlds. “You get to teach but you get to teach what you love.” she said.
Spring Break 2016 in Western Kansas with New Friends
By Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, Chapman Center for Rural Studies Executive Director
While K-State students searched for their Spring Break refreshment, the Chapman Center’s Executive Director, Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, and KSU’s Kansas History Professor, Jim Sherow, headed west to forge new connections on behalf of Chapman Center for Rural Studies’ research. Our goal is to have at least one researched place name per Kansas county in the Chapman Center’s digital archive.
While the archived student work continues to grow each year, it is more difficult to find students who are willing and able to travel far to research. It is crucial we make contacts in these distant Kansas counties to support future students’ interviews and search for elusive histories not found online or in books.
This is especially true of western Kansas’ Lane and Ness counties which are among the least populated counties in the high plains. Many former town sites are found in these western counties and are quickly being lost to memory. Our Chapman Center contacts, Louise and Vance Ehmke, make their home in Lane County. They own and operate Ehmke Seed, a large and going concern dedicated to wheat, Tritricale (a wheat-rye hybrid), and their regional heritage. Over the years, the Ehmke’s have hosted an army of researchers looking for paleo Indian artifacts and stories of Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holiday. The Ehmke’s know much about the small surrounding communities which have seen better times: Ravanna, Eminence, Beersheba, Farnsworth, Nonchalant, Denmark, Hanston, and Speed. Each community has its own unique histories.
Early the next morning, a look through the Scale house window showed how important weather spotting is to residents of the high plains “where it takes three days for your dog to run away.” Along the way, they stopped to read the KSHS marker in honor of the homestead of George Washington Carver as he left Missouri for Kansas in search of an education. Carver later developed over 500 products from his agricultural-based research of sweet potatoes and peanuts alone!
Student Determination Opens Doors in Research
By Emmalee Laidacker, Chapman Center for Rural Studies Intern
Each semester, Dr. Morgan’s Lost Kansas Communities class researches and writes a study of lost Kansas towns in order to preserve each community’s memory. One recent student, Rachel Tucker, chose the Pearl Opera House, located in Alta Vista, as the subject of her study. Built in 1904 by a married couple who were early settlers in the town, the theater was an instant success with over 300 people in attendance opening night. The Pearl featured live performances as well as motion pictures, allowing residents of small communities to enjoy a new form of entertainment.
“When I was talking to Dr. Morgan about a research paper, I was telling her about my interests and I mentioned theater…she mentioned doing a small town opera house and as soon as she said that it just kind of clicked with me and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Rachel is a junior studying journalism, but is also working toward a minor in theater which provoked her interest in studying the opera house.
“I followed when it first opened and everything that went in there, not only theater productions, but since it was in a small town, a lot of times they used those spaces for all different kinds of gatherings. They even used it as a skating rink for part of the time; it’s very interesting to see what the community can do with a space like that.” said Rachel.
During the lengthy and complicated research process, all students are faced with obstacles of some form, but the roadblock Rachel surmounted was quite significant. She visited the Pearl three times with the hopes of getting to view the inside of the theater. The first two attempts, the store on the first floor was closed. “When I went to Alta Vista and saw the outside of it, it was just so exciting and I really, really wanted to try to get upstairs.”
Finally, the third time she visited Alta Vista, the store owner was present and allowed her to come upstairs to the second floor and finally look inside of the theater she had been studying throughout the semester.
“It was weird to be able to go into the space and see where everything that I was writing about had happened and taken place, so it was really surreal to see that…I was so glad that I had tried the third time to go, because it was really incredible.”
Rachel decided to take the class because of her long-time passion for history, but also because she found the title of the course very intriguing. Click to read Rachel’s paper, “Pearl Opera House: Phantom of the Flint Hills, Alta Vista, Wabaunsee County, Kansas, 1880s – 1970s“.
Oronoque: Out of the Ashes
“What comes to mind when you think of northwestern Kansas? Is it the rolling hills, prairie grass, fields of wheat and corn, or flowing streams? This paints a scene of Oronoque, Kansas.
Ten miles southwest of Norton off of Highway 383 we find the remains of what was once the town of Oronoque. All that remains is a single house, the rubble of previous ones, a cemetery, and the old lumber company.
Looking at it today you may not have thought it to be the image of success and enterprise. Venture back to 1885 and you would get a new picture entirely, one where farmers plowed their fields and the blacksmith pounded out a horseshoe. Listen as the whistle blows, alerting the town that the train is coming through. Hear the wind blow through the trees on a windy afternoon and hear the birds chirping their tunes of joy.
The story of Oronoque is filled with trials, of fire and depression, but more than its trials, this town tells a tale of perseverance. This is a story of a group of people not deterred by Mother Nature, but stronger than the trials they faced.”
Read more on our Lost Kansas Community website at http://lostkscommunities.omeka.net/items/show/178, Samuel Field, senior in secondary education, author, "Oronoque: Out of the Ashes".
Students in History of American Agriculture and Food Class Help Restore Maple City School House
Students in Dr. Bonnie-Lynn Sherow's History of American Agriculture and Food class recently traveled to Maple City, Cowley County, Kansas, to help restore the town site's school house.
AJ and Alan Halloway, curators of the school, welcomed the students who helped to organize and clean the building.
Maple City was once a "lively town" of nearly 75 residents, home to two grocery stores, two hotels, to livery barns and blacksmith shops; a carpenter shop, harness and saddle repair shop, and a barber shop. At one time, two churches joined the post office, school, and community hall where people gathered for dances, celebrations, and entertainment.
Field trip participants discovered everyday objects, schoolbooks, a flag, and stories of this lost town. Such educational adventures engage learners in the communities they study and help to bring the past to life.
Public History connects academic resources to a wider audience. Public Historians bring history to the public square.
In spring of 2015, Dr. Lynn-Sherow led her Public History class through several collaborative projects exploring Lost Kansas Communities, historic preservation, digital humanities, museum curation, and even Wikipedia.
One project involved developing a walking tour brochure for the popular Pioneer Bluffs prairie heritage site. Public History students visited the historically significant Pioneer Bluffs/Rogler Ranch, researched its history, and formulated a walking tour that is now available to visitors! They also explored the lost Kansas community of Comiskey. Patrick Moran said, "We are telling the story of ordinary people from an ordinary town. Not many people would stop and think 'hey, this is important'. It's a humbling realization."
Students also had the opportunity to write a Preliminary Site Information Questionnaire (PSIQ) used to determine whether a property is worthy of the extensive research and documentation required to launch a National or Kansas Register of Historic Places application.
The practice of public history includes writing books and publications, creating documentaries and movies; developing historical interpretation, and any number of modes among the digital humanities available to a wide and diverse audience.
Another project involved identifying a Kansas town with a sparse Wikipedia presence. Alex Good chose Kanopolis and was "amazed at how much information exists on Newspapers.com. Even the tiny town of Kanopolis provided a rabbit hole of information dating back to the 1800's for me to explore." Not only did Alex learn a great deal about Kanopolis, Kansas, (you can read his town update here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanopolis,_Kansas), he "learned to not be afraid to jump into something new, even if other people will see. A little time and decent effort...gave me the confidence to learn other practical applications."
If the experiences of these students are common, than Public History changes more than the perception of the wide "public" audience. The process of researching, evaluating, and communicating changes the history scholars engaged in Public History.
We do Biography!
With the Chapman Center for Rural Studies’ growing collection of lost community histories of Kansas (currently 147 and climbing), our undergraduate work is best known for recovering a sense of place. Tiny faded towns - from Doniphan County in the northeast to Hamilton County in the southwest -spring to life again as students research and write about them. Most of these places have no written history aside from a church history or a small entry in a county history. Yet Kansas is more than its lost communities and more than its current thriving ones!
Kansas has been built and sustained through the energy of a truly remarkable population, and here at Chapman Center, we also celebrate the lives of our people. Below are listed interesting bio-essays and the links to find them in our collections. These studies prove that there are no “just plain Kansans.” While their lives have not been illuminated until our students wrote about them, these are truly extraordinary, ordinary Kansans.
Quilter & Historian, Wabaunsee County
Ethel Mae Morgan: An African-American Biography Wabaunsee County, Kansas 1898-1989, by Lorraine Reimers http://goo.gl/TVNC1J
Small-town Clay County girl and Missouri State Representative
Generations of Achievement: The Family and Early Life ofOrchid Ramsey Jordan in Clay Center, Kansas, 1910–1928, by Haley Claxtonhttp://othercollections.omeka.net/items/show/34
1930s Professional baseball player, Clay County
Morgan Snyder (1909-1990): Clay Center's Contribution to Professional Baseball by Garrett Clerisse http://othercollections.omeka.net/items/show/31
Brown County farm boy & WWI soldier: launched a legacy of military service
George Earl Adams, Sr.: The Beginning of a Legacy, by Jessica Hermeschhttp://othercollections.omeka.net/items/show/33
Journalist and author of Small World, Long Gone, Chautauqua County
Avis D. Carlson (1897-1987): Not Simply an "Obscure Housewife" by Erin Strathehttp://othercollections.omeka.net/items/show/24
Union Army & Tennessee Colored Infantry veteran, successful Wabaunsee County farmer
A Look at the United States 101st Colored Infantry and the Free Life of John Sullivan http://goo.gl/49N8l9
Summer 2015 Busy with Research, Digitization, and Exhibit Development
The Chapman Center for Rural Studies welcomes three new interns (Alex Good, Trey Heitschmidt, and Patrick Moran) and one returning intern (Michael Spachek) for a summer of diving into history! We continue to partner with organizations across town and around the state. K-State senior, Michael Spachek, is learning to digitize the Wabaunsee County Historical Society & Museum's extensive collection of original glass plate negatives of settlers and places in the Flint Hills.
Alex Good, also a senior, is working to capture photos, slides, and documents illustrating the rich history of the Historic Rogler Ranch. The ranch began with a long walk from Iowa to Kansas in 1859 and today is home to Pioneer Bluffsprairie heritage education center.
Trey Heitschmidt, junior in History, is helping to research the Lost Towns of the Flint Hills for a Chapman Center and Flint Hills Discovery Center joint exhibit opening September 2016. The exhibit will offer visitors the opportunity to add their stories to the Lost Town studies featured.
Son of a career Army officer, Patrick Moran, is a transfer student who is working on behalf of the Chapman Center with the City of Manhattan and Fort Riley Cavalry Museum to honor Riley County veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States. The auditorium, dedicated September 1955, adjoins the Manhattan City Hall offices and City Commission Room. Patrick's work includes researching soldiers not currently remembered in the Peace Memorial.
Graduate Research Assistant for Digital Humanities, Katie Goerl, works directly with the interns and Chapman Center faculty to move our research, archives, and collaboration into the age of digital communication.
Field Research and the Chapman Center for Rural Studies
This spring, Dr. Morgan's classes visited the Rock Creek Valley Historical Museum where they met many of the Museum Board of Directors who explored exhibits with the students. The Lost Communities class also traveled to the Wabaunsee County Historical Museum, the Flint Hills Discovery Center, and the old Broughton town site. Field research is adventure!
Students enrolled in Chapman Center for Rural Studies' classes encounter a unique undergraduate learning laboratory as big as Kansas! With hands-on field research among museum collections, sites of historic significance, far-flung fields, small towns, and downtown, History comes to life.
Dr. Lynn-Sherow recently hosted her Public History class in Manhattan's restored Union Pacific Depot. This field research offered opportunity for students to experience the result of a successful public-private partnership in preserving historically significant sites (Teddy Roosevelt stopped at the Depot during his 1903 whistle-stop tour!) This class has also visited Chapman Center partner sites, Pioneer Bluffs in Matfield Green and the local Discovery Center; and will be returning to Pioneer Bluffs to finish research for a historical walking tour brochure.
Something New: the Spring 2015 Public History class coordinated their research of the lost town of Comisky, in Morris County. This team approach helped students to maximize their work, bounce ideas off of one another, and dive deeper into the nuances of the lost town and the people that influenced, lived, and died there. Look for a story later this summer about the Comisky experience.
The Chapman Center field research serves as a catalyst to engage students in the narrative of history. Exploring the places of history leads them (and us) to encounter the people, stories, and artifacts that helped to shape today’s Kansas.
Chapman Center Presents Alan Winkler with Bruntzel Award
The Chapman Center for Rural Studies is pleased to announce Alan Winkler, retired Wabaunsee County Historical Museum Curator, as the recipient of the 2015 Bruntzel Award. Named for Kansas author and first award recipient (2012), Melvin Bruntzel, this honor recognizes “excellence in preserving the people, places, and stories of Kansas Territory and the State of Kansas.” (photo at left: Melvin Bruntzel and Alan Winkler)
Mr. Winkler, a long-time resident of McFarland in north central Wabaunsee County, Kansas, has devoted hours of personal time to assist Chapman Center researchers. He collaborated with Chapman Center researchers to create a traveling museum exhibit on African-American Settlers of Wabaunsee County, to research and develop the Center’s Filling the Larder book, invaluably assisted in identifying key primary research materials for a number of projects, and has published articles about Chapman Center researchers in the Museum newsletter.
“Alan’s interest in local history developed when he compiled the book, McFarland: the First Hundred Years, for the town’s 1987 centennial celebration. Alan graduated from Alma Rural High School and attended Washburn University. He is a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict and worked three years for the Rock Island Railroad. He then worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber for 35 years. He has served in several capacities for the City of McFarland and two terms as a Wabaunsee County Commissioner.”
Chapman Center Research Director, Dr. MJ Morgan, nominated Mr. Winkler for the recognition. February 10, Dr. Morgan and Chapman Center Director, Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, presented him with the award before a scheduled meeting of the Wabaunsee County Historical Board as he was surrounded by family and friends.
A Rediscovered Legacy
Thanks to diligent research by Chapman Center Intern Michael Spachek, the once forgotten history of a substantial group of black farm families has been brought to life. Michael conducted research on African American land ownership in Wabaunsee County this past fall, discovering the complex stories of success and failure surrounding these remote tracks of land in the Flint Hills.
Michael's research uncovered the stories of twenty-six landowning African American families in Wabaunsee County near the turn of the 20th century. Michael recently traveled to these remote farmsteads with Dr. Morgan to photograph the land and gather more information. Through his research, Michael learned how to work effectively with large databases of census records and deed records. Much like finding a needle in a haystack, Michael discovered small pieces of information and skillfully turned it into an accurate narrative of these landowners' lives.
I was drawn to the topic because of the chance to discover stories about a group of people that disappeared and with little published work on them.
Michael's research was previously presented at our first annual Chapman Center Open House. We are also excited to congratulate him on the acceptance of his research to the Flint Hills History Conference, "Culture and Conflict," where he will present his research in March!
Undergraduate Research on Display
After an intense semester of research, our Fall 2014 interns presented their original research findings to a full room of professors, colleagues, family and friends from around Kansas and K-State. The intern’s research focus was the discovery of an obscured Kansas history, the history of African-Americans in rural Kansas. Interns met with differing degrees of success in their research, but each succeeded in peeling back the layers of history to discover diverse and untold stories.
Haley presented her research on the founding of Martin Luther King Jr. Park in nearby Junction City. Her tenacity served well as she discovered the challenges of rural research. Her primary research project explored the life of Orchid Ramsey Jordan of Clay Center. Haley discovered Orchid's rich story which included membership in the Missouri state legislature. (Haley was selected to present her research in Topeka at the Undergraduate Research Conference, Winter 2015!)
Blake's research focused on the “Manhattan Bottoms,” tracing the African-American community that rose up in the Bottoms between 1880 and 1920. He explored why the African-American population rose so sharply in 1890 and dropped off in decades following. Blake traveled several times to the Bottoms in southern Manhattan to discover this historic community’s unique story.
Jessica focused her research on a western route of the Underground Railroad which snaked its way through Kansas. This route included a section called 'The Manhattan Spur.' Jessica discovered several 'conductors' had to take their trails further west of the main avenue, the "Lane Trial to Freedom." These 'spurs' traversed Manhattan in Riley County, Wabaunsee, and Nemaha Counties before rejoining the Lane Trail further north.
Michael traced the histories of five land-owning African-American men in the Mission Creek township and was able to generate maps locating the specific plots of land these men owned. Michael's research has also been accepted at the Flint Hills History Conference, "Culture and Conflict"(Spring 2015).
We look forward to watching the continued success of Chapman Center for Rural Studies’ interns and eagerly await what the future holds for these bright young historians!
A Glimpse of Goodland
This past summer, The Goodland Identity Project sought to chronicle and celebrate the history of Goodland, Kansas. Students took part in the interdisciplinary project which was presented at a Town Hall Meeting in Goodland in October. One student, Jennifer Milnes, captures both historic and present-day Goodland in a photographic essay, documenting the growing town just a few miles from the Colorado border. Jennifer's photos celebrate Goodland's historic and evolving identity. A sample of her photography is at right.
Adams' Collection Research Honors Family of Veterans
Thanks to a generous donation from Brigadier General Bruce Adams (Ret.), Hale Library Special Collections at Kansas State University is now home to a collection of military records, letters, and documents that trace the military and family history of George Adams, Sr., George Adams, Jr., and Bruce Adams.
This past summer, returning intern, Jessica Hermesch, began working with the collection in the University archives to build a narrative of the family history, beginning with the service of George Adams, Sr., in World War I. Jessica has sorted through dozens of documents chronicling George Sr.'s career as a Corporal in K Company, with the 140th Infantry Regiment in World War I. The 140th, as a part of the 35th Infantry Division, took part in combat operations in the Muese-Argonne offensive. George Sr. also trained with the 353rd Infantry Regiment at Camp Funston, a garrison at Fort Riley.
Jessica's research focuses on the patriotism passed from Adams father to son. She hopes to construct a narrative chronicling how values were passed from George Sr. to George Jr., who flew as a reconnaissance pilot in World War II. Her work prepares for future research on George Jr.'s record in WWII as well as General Adams' military service. Both George Adams Jr. and General Adams attended Kansas State University and have deep connections to the University, including an Army ROTC scholarship.
One of the special items featured in the Adams Collection is the wallet that George Adams Sr. carried through France during World War I. The contents include currency, both French (Un Franc) and German (Eine Rentenmark).
At the top of the photo (right) is George Sr.'s Army registration card and a deck of cards. George Sr. passed the cards to his son, George Jr., who then passed them to his son, General Bruce Adams. George Sr. received the cards in 1917 before he left for Europe. General Bruce Adams was presented with the cards in 1998.
Jessica, whose family has its own military record, is interested in comparing how different families experienced the military. Jessica's great uncle served in World War II and his father before him in World War I.
The Adams also resided for a period in Seneca, Kansas, Jessica's hometown. According to Jessica, this shared location makes the connection to the Adams Collection even more interesting for her.
Michael Spachek, Jessica's colleague, contributed a war diary from his own family collection. She uses the diary to offer context for her work on World War I and learn more about the life of soldiers in Europe. Jessica's research, planned for completion in December, and the Adams Collection both seek to honor this country's veterans, past and present.
Six Months of Undergraduate Research Pay Off
MJ Morgan and students presented to an interested audience at the High Plains Museum on October 18.
Pictured right, Dr. Morgan and Will Lienberger prepare to present the culmination of several months of research.
Attendees represented Northwest Kansas Technical College, Goodland City Commissioners, Sherman County Commissioners, the Goodland Morning Radio program, Goodland Public Library, local ranchers and farmers; Goodland business owners, and new arrivals to the town as well as long-time residents.
After the talk, there were requests for the highlights, maps, and photos to be made available in a small publication. Dr. Morgan's presentation, "Goodland, Kansas: A Central Place Phenomenon, 1887-2014," was funded by a Kansas Humanities Council grant last spring. This has proven a wonderful opportunity for KSU students to become involved in an area of Kansas that has received little attention from universities and researchers.
Tuttle Creek Dam
The Tuttle Creek Dam stands as a landmark of Manhattan, just a few minutes drive north of the city. Tuttle Creek Lake, created by the dam, attracts all varieties of recreation, from fishing, boating, swimming, and camping, to hiking and nature lovers of all kinds. A Kansas State Park with four areas for outdoor recreation surround the lake. Yet, the now vibrant outdoor attraction was not always a welcome, much less enjoyable, sight. The Tuttle Creek Dam was borne from controversy, nestled in one of the greatest disasters in Kansas history.
The plans to build reservoirs in the Missouri River Basin date back to 1928, and plans for the Tuttle Creek Reservoir began to take shape in the 1930s. Yet construction stalled, with preliminary drilling beginning in 1944. Two decades of plans were expedited in 1952, a year after a devastating flood struck the Kansas River Basin. The Flood of 1951 swept across the plains of Kansas, destroying residences, farms, and towns, reaching Kansas City. Total damages amounted to nearly $750,000,000.
The next year, construction on the Tuttle Creek Dam began in earnest. The Big Blue River Valley was never to be the same, as towns dependent on the river system dwindled and were swept away, if not by the flood waters they were swept under by the damming of the Big Blue River, amid waves of debate and controversy. The research in this collection details the accounts of the small communities that thrived or were trampled under foot with the development of the Tuttle Creek Dam. Click on the images below to read the stories of the people and communities that struggled to survive in the Big Blue River valley.
The Goodland Identity Project: June - October, 2014
An art student with a love of landscape photography, an agricultural business major, a graduate student in women's studies and public history, and a GIS grad student specialist from the geography department: these talented students have tackled the far western town of Goodland, county seat of Sherman County.
They worked through summer and Fall 2014 semester to create materials for an October Town Hall Meeting at Goodland. Funded by the Kansas Humanities Council, the Town Hall Meeting is a collaboration with the High Plains Museum in Goodland. It brought townspeople together to learn about Goodland identity - historic and present-day - and to create an action plan for the future. As the humanities representative for the grant, M.J. Morgan, Research Director here, decided to invite KSU students to assist over the summer.
Jennifer Milnes and Will Lienberger grew up in western and north-central Kansas. Their feel for rural Kansas - its people, culture, agriculture, and landscape - brought a depth and reality to this project. Jennifer created a photo essay of Goodland on June 21 to mark the summer solstice. Her images of the town, bathed in the high lasting light of a western dusk, celebrate Goodland's evolving identity, 1887 – 2014.
One of the few western Kansas places that is gaining population, Goodland is part of the High Plains culture region, so far west it's on Mountain Time, just miles from the Colorado border. Short grass prairie, buffalo, sod houses, and homesteaders created the stories of its past: but what of the future? Imagining the future was part of the Town Hall Meeting as well. Chapman Center is proud to have contributed research and photography to this project.
Jennifer Milnes: "I was born and raised in the community of Norton, Kansas. I've been serving in the Kansas Army National Guard since 2002 and am also a non-traditional student at KSU majoring in art. As a first generation Kansan, I thought taking Lost Kansas Communities with Dr. MJ Morgan in the fall of 2013 would be a great way to learn more about my home state! Growing up in western Kansas, I wanted to be involved in the Goodland Project. Because of my love of landscape photography and American history, I thought this internship was the perfect fit."
Will Lienberger: "I am a senior at Kansas State University, majoring in Agricultural Business. After graduating, I plan on returning to my family's farm in north central Kansas. I will be the fourth generation to work on our farm, and my family is very involved with it. We farm around 3000 acres, mostly of wheat, but also use corn, soybeans and sorghum. My main emphasis on this project is to assist in the agricultural research on Sherman County tracts of land and property ownership, and also to look at crops, water sources, and soil types. I look forward to traveling to Goodland after studying the terrain and also to be part of the presentation."
Graduate students Katie Goerl, a former Chapman intern, and Tyler Link, a GIS specialist, also worked in imaginative ways. They assisted in image interpretation, caption wording, and map creation.
Eight diverse and talented KSU students worked on the Goodland Town Hall Meeting Project! They brought their training in art, history, agriculture, public relations, geography, and women's studies. Most of all, they brought their curiosity... and a passionate commitment to Kansas.
"As a Kansan and history lover, I am so happy to get this opportunity."
-- Tyler Link, geography graduate student, GIS specialist
Tweets from the Teens: A College Student and His Family Keep in Touch, 1906-1912: the Dave Redmon Historic Postcard Collection
One of the most interesting projects to come to Chapman Center in recent memory is the Redmon Historic Postcard Collection. With over 300 early twentieth century postcards kept by one young man until his death in 1947, this collection is invaluable for teaching students about rural Kansas during the Golden Age of Small Towns -- just before World War I. Dave Redmon, a KSU alumnus, BA in history and MA in journalism, donated this collection with the request that the postcards be viewed and used in our classes. He loves the idea that students will be working with what amounts to a social medium from 100 years ago.
Mr. Redmon's perception is that these postcards flew back and forth between a young college student at KU, Vane Brown, and his family in Parsons, functioning as a form of texting, tweeting, and Facebook postings. Frequently, the cards contain but a single line of a scrawled message: "Will be in town this weekend" or "Did you get my last letter?"
Sent for a penny on a train out of Parsons, a card could reach Vane at KU in a day. The images and cultural messages of the postcards themselves contain rich information about values, concerns, and patterns of belief. Cards sold in pharmacies, hotels, and railroad stations for five cents deliver clear (and implied) commentary about everything from cigars to the newest automobile models to male and female stereotypes and treatments for head lice! The profound social changes beginning to affect rural Kansas are evident in these cards, which also showcase the growing passion for travel and sightseeing.
Our long-term goal is to digitize this collection, but it will also be available in photo album form for classroom use. Check back soon to read intern Griffin Page's carefully researched provenance on the collection. Who exactly was Vane Brown? Why did he hold on to these cards? How did Mr. Redmon come by them? And most important, what can such a diverse array of images and often earthy humor tell us about Kansans in 1912?
The New CHS Website chronicling the different towns and counties across Kansas that our 2013 interns, Rebecca Hall and Billie Chesney, visited is finally live! Make sure you check it out. Chronicling Kansas Cooperatives Website.
Want to learn about Co-Ops? So do we! Watch this video and make sure to check out the CHS Intern's finished blog about their Co-op project!
In Loving Memory of Mark A. Chapman (1943-2014)
We lost a very close member of the K-State family early on the morning of April 18, 2014. Mark A. Chapman passed away after suffering a stroke a few weeks before (April 5). Mark was 71.
K-State's College of Arts & Sciences and Kansas State University as a whole will miss Mark very much. We will miss his generosity, intellect, creativity, and sharp wit.
He brought us the Chapman Scholars Program, and our first full-ride Presidential undergraduate scholarship, the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, the Chapman Art Gallery in Willard Hall, the Chapman-Mellenthin Vet Med Plaza, and he helped give us the All-Steinway designation in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. One of his favorite projects was the window transformation in the Great Room at K-State Libraries.
He was instrumental in many programs and facilities improvements in Athletics as well, including the Coaches Workroom in the new Basketball Training Facility and the Athletic Department’s annual Powercat Choice Awards.
We have so many great memories of Mark Chapman, and he has clearly left an indelible legacy on the K-State campus. We miss him already.
Generations of Success, A Photographic History of Kansas State University, 1863-2013
2013 marked Kansas State University's 150th year as the country's first fully operational land-grant university - and the first public university to open in Kansas.
Dr. Jim Sherow's Manhattan, a Photographic Journey
Manhattan, the latest book by Dr. Jim Sherow, Editing Manager of Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains and Professor of History at Kansas State University, was published in September 2013 as a part of the "Images of America" series from Arcadia Publishing.
It features a collection of 199 photographs and illustrations chosen from various local archives, including the Riley County Museum, the Special Collections Department at Hale Library, and the City of Manhattan.Gleaned from the thousands available, these carefully selected and arranged photographs provide a visual history of a unique and vibrant city nestled in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Check it out at Claflin Books and Copies and other businesses across Manhattan, such as West Side Market and Dillons!
Back to Top
The Chapman Center for Rural Studies is an undergraduate research-based center that provides hands-on experience in doing the real work of historians. We are located in 111 Leasure Hall in the heart of the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, KS.
The office hours are Mon/Tues: 10:30am-5:00pm, Wed/Thur: 8:00am-2:30pm, F: 8:00am-12:00pm.
Call us at (785) 532-0380.
Search through the Chapman Center's on-going project, the Lost Town Digital Archive: Lost Kansas Communities.
For more information, e-mail us at email@example.com or contact the director, Professor Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, at firstname.lastname@example.org