Monday, September 24, 2012

Special Traveling Exhibit to Highlight the Orphan Train Riders to Kansas

We are very pleased to announce that the Dickinson County Heritage Center will be host to the traveling exhibit Orphan Train Riders to Kansas, October 6th through October 31st.

This special exhibit is made possible by the Thelma Starr Workman Estate, the Humanities Division of Cloud County Community College, and the National Orphan Train Complex.

The National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia (which manages the National Orphan Train Museum) had this to say about the exhibition: “The exhibit will feature photographs and information from the Anna Laura Hill collection. Hill was a placing agent during the Orphan Train Movement, making 163 trips to Kansas to place children.

“The exhibit will also incorporate photographs from depot scrapbooks that were compiled by the late Thelma Starr Workman. Workman was a teacher at Cloud County Community College for 28 years, and published a number of poetry, fiction, and local historical books. She was also a collector and promoter of local history, and a columnist for the local newspaper.”

The National Orphan Train Museum is dedicated to the preservation of stories and artifacts of those who were part of the Orphan Train Movement. The museum features displays of Orphan Train Riders, families who took the children, placement agencies and the agents who accompanied the children on the trains, and the more recent history of collecting the stories.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Volunteers Needed for the Chisholm Trail Day Festival!

The Chisholm Trail Day Festival (October 6) is always a fantastic event for the whole family to attend, but in order to meet the needs of our visitors, we need lots of help to make sure everything is up and running. We are once again asking our members to step forward and lend a helping hand. Here are the areas we need help with: 

Front Desk: 9 am—12 pm (2 people), 12 pm—2 pm (2 people), 2 pm—4 pm (2 people)

Food Stand: 8 am—11 am (4-6 people), 11 am—2 pm (8-10 people), 2 pm—5 pm (4-6 people)

Carousel Operators: 9 am—12 pm (2 people), 12 pm—2 pm (2 people), 2 pm—4 pm (2 people)

Carousel Tickets: 9 am—12 pm (2 people), 12 pm—2 pm (2 people), 2 pm—4 pm (2 people)

Information Tent: 9 am—11 am (2 people), 11 am—1 pm (2 people), 1 pm—3 pm (2 people)

Bounce House: 9 am—11 am (2 people), 11 am—1 pm (2 people), 1 pm—3 pm (2 people)

Museum Ambassadors: 9 am—11 am (2 people), 11 am—1 pm (2 people), 1 pm—3 pm (2 people)

Set up: Friday starting at 9 am, Saturday at 8 am

Clean up: Saturday, 4 pm—?

This is our biggest event of the year, and we need help from all of our members to make this a success. Please look at your calendar and see if you can help. Your help will keep this festival going and growing. Please call our office at (785) 263-2681 if you are available to help. We would be very happy to add your name to the schedule.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Work Days Scheduled for September 22 and 29

We’re having work days at the Dickinson County Heritage Center on September 22 and 29, 9:00am-12:00pm to help prepare our grounds for the Chisholm Trail Day Festival on October 6. We’ll be working on projects such as painting, trimming, weeding, cleaning, dusting, and a lot more. This will be a great opportunity to give back to your museum and community.

If you know any students who need community service hours for a club or organization, let them know, we’d be happy to have help from people of all ages. 

If you won’t be able to attend, or are not able to help with manual labor, another great way to help would be providing snacks or refreshments for our volunteer workers those days. Please let us know if you are interested in helping with our work days in any way.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Come to the 34th Annual Chisholm Trail Day Festival!

It’s time to saddle up and head to the 34th Annual Chisholm Trail Day Festival, on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at the Dickinson County Heritage Center, 412 S. Campbell in Abilene, Kansas from 9 am to 4 pm. The admission is $5 per adult and $2 per child (ages 3-12), sponsored by the Dickinson County Historical Society.

There will be lots of fun and activities for the whole family. We will have lots of live entertainment on the main stage featuring Classic Heart playing great music of the 50s and 60s, music that will really make you want to dance. Aaron Fowler of Wichita will also be on the main stage presenting a program entitled Oh Give Me A Home: Music and the Kansas Prairies. Our third performer on the main stage will be Dave “Zerf” Zerfas. Zerf plays Kansas Ballads and Old Cowboy songs. There will be great music and entertainment all day long.

This year the Antique Farm Show will feature International tractors and farm equipment. The special feature tractor will be International Cub owned by Gail Rodda. Registration begins at 8:00 am. There will be tractor games at 11:00 am and the Parade of Power will begin at 1:00 pm. Also there will be an antique tractor pull beginning at 2:00 pm.

There will also be a pedal tractor pull for kids four to twelve years of age. Registration will begin at 8:00 am and the pull will begin at 9:00 am. This activity will be free of charge.

If you love old cars then you won’t want to miss the Antique and Classic Car Show. There will be over 50 antique and classic cars on exhibit throughout the day. Anyone who would like to bring a car for the show is welcome to do so. Registration will begin at 8:00 am Saturday morning.

Come and learn how old crafts were done. We will have demonstrations on blacksmithing, chair caning, bread baking, molasses boiling, pioneer cooking, lumber sawing, and much more.

Inside the Heritage Center make sure you visit the Mud Creek Quilters demonstrating the art of quilting. As a fund raiser, the Dickinson County Historical Society will be giving away a beautiful hand quilted quilt at 3:00 pm. For a donation of $1.00 you will receive a chance on the drawing, or for donating $5 you will receive 6 chances for the drawing.

There will also be a special traveling exhibit entitled Orphan Train Riders to Kansas from the National Orphan Train Museum in Concordia, Kansas inside the Heritage Center.

For $1.00 kids of all ages will enjoy riding on the 1901 C.W. Parker Carousel powered by its original steam engine. This carousel is a National Historic Landmark, a National Historic Carousel, and was voted one of the top 8 Wonders of Kansas Customs. It is truly a national treasure and everyone will have great fun taking a ride.

If you like trains, come and ride the rails as the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad powers up their 1919 Santa Fe 4-6-2 “Pacific” #3415 Steam Locomotive. Relive the days of steam powered trains. The train will run from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on the hour.

During the day, visit Old Abilene Town and watch Wild Bill Hickok tame the streets of Abilene in 1871. Also you can take a ride on the Old Abilene Stage located in Old Abilene Town. On Sunday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Bill Burrows will hold a “Cowboy Jam Session” at the Alamo Saloon.

There will be children’s activities as well as arts and crafts booths, folk craft demonstrations, and the Farmers Market. Kasey the Clown and Timbo will also be roaming the grounds during the day.

Don’t miss out on the fun and the excitement at the 34th Annual Chisholm Trail Day Festival. For more information call 785-263-2681, check out our website, or visit us on Facebook

We would like to thank all of our sponsors for their continued support of the Chisholm Trail Day Festival.

Bert & Wetta
Solomon State Bank - Solomon, Abilene
Abilene Termite and Pest Control
Zey's Market
M & M Tire & Auto, Inc.
Family Eye Care of Abilene
First Bank of Kansas
First National Bank of Hope
Abilene Reflector-Chronicle
Great Plains Manufacturing
Wyatt Land Title Services
McKee Swimming Pools
Reynolds Real Estate
Mr. K's Farmhouse
Mid-Kansas Cooperative Assn.
Kenneth A. Hansen, D.D.S.

West's Plaza Country Mart
Pinnacle Bank
Webb Home Center
Holm Automotive Center

Smart Insurance
Duckwall-ALCO Stores, Inc.
Brierton Engineering

Thanks again! We'll see you at the Chisholm Trail Day Festival on October 6, 2012!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A New Face (of the Equine Variety) at the Museum

The Heritage Center is very pleased to announce that we have acquired a carousel horse due to a generous donation from Mary Feller. After repairing several of the horses for our 1901 C.W. Parker carousel, Mary’s husband, Don, was inspired to build four different horses based upon Parker’s patterns. This particular horse was an extra one created by Don, which Mary so graciously decided to donate to the museum. It is currently featured in our museum’s entrance and gift shop, welcoming guests as they enter the Heritage Center. We also plan to bring this carousel horse to festivals and events to help promote our museum’s many attractions to the public. Next time you are at the museum, be sure to take a look at this beautiful carousel horse!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Guest Post: April 24, 1949, Davis Brothers Lives Lost in the Line of Duty

Today's post is brought to you by Amy Feigley. Amy is a member of the Dickinson County Heritage Center staff, and also works as a paraprofessional educator.

Bill and Milt Davis were known as good ole boys. They spent the majority of their lives in Abilene, were very devoted to their families, and were known in the community as kind and generous. They were not only known as peace officers, but also as peace makers. They were both doing something that they truly loved.

Sunday, April 24, 1949 began as a normal day for Sheriff Bill Davis and his brother, Deputy Sheriff Milt Davis. Little did they realize that April 24, 1949 would be their final day. The Davis brothers were summoned to an early morning disturbance at a farm house southeast of Abilene. They had no idea what lie ahead of them. 

Charles K. Rush, a dairy farmer by trade, was known to many as a crazed man, berserk at times. He had spent some of his early years in a mental institution. People found him harmless.

But, on April 24, 1949, something sparked in Charles Rush like it had no other day. By the end of the day, Rush, along with Bill and Milt Davis, would be dead and three innocent by-standers would be wounded.

Mervin Franks, Fred Yuhl and Mrs. Mae Pettriess, also had no idea what that day would bring to them. But they, unlike Rush and the Davis brothers, were lucky enough to survive.

Mervin Franks was sound asleep in a downstairs bedroom and was awakened by the sound of a bathroom light. As he turned and looked in the doorway, there stood Rush, his brother-in-law, with a shotgun. Franks, after being shot, played dead to protect himself from Rush.

Fred Yuhl, who was a neighbor to Rush, was shot when he approached the house. His sole purpose of going to the house that day was to tell Rush about a garage fire. Shot in his neck, chest and right arm, he was able to survive that horrific day.

Mae Pettriess was employed at the time as Rush’s housekeeper. She was shot through the right shoulder and arm. She was considered the most seriously injured of the survivors. Her arm was saved, but she suffered from shock.

The Davis brothers were murdered by Rush as they tried to enter his home from different doors. Their bodies were burned after Rush set his house on fire. Rush’s charred body was also found in the remains of the house. It was believed at the time that he escaped and was still at large and in the area.

April 24, 1949 still probably lives in the minds of many people. A day they would soon forget is a day that will never be forgotten. The following year, a granite memorial was erected in honor of the Davis brothers and placed at the Abilene cemetery, where they are buried on a hillside. Over 1,000 mourners attended the funeral for the brothers. They were heroes of this town, loved by all and will not too soon be forgotten.