Scott County Historical Society

National Register

The Battle at Punished Woman's Fork was designated in 2007 as a historic location on the National Register of Historic Places.   The historic event took place on September 28, 1878~~~the last major Indian battle in Kansas. The battle site is located just North of Scott City at the South edge of Scott Lake State Park.  El Cuartelejo Archelogical District was placed on the Register much earlier, in 1966.

Become a Member of SCHS!

The Scott County Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the history of the Scott County area and educating the community and visitors about the function of El Quartelejo Museum and the Jerry Thomas Gallery and Collection.

Throughout the almost 90 year existence of SCHS, individuals, families, and businesses have supported the Historical Society’s efforts. These generous people help to continue the work of the Historical Society and assist in maintaining the building and grounds, keeping the facility open to the public, guiding group tours, hosting programs for all ages, and raising funds for improvements.

There are three membership categories:

Individual    $10.00

Family         $20.00

Business     $50.00

SCHS Board of Directors

The first meeting of the Scott County Historical Society was held on January 12, 1931. A number of Scott City, Kansas citizens and early settlers were interested in perpetuating the early history of Scott County and Western Kansas, which led them to meet at the old Steele home to make plans for a new organization.


The following officers were elected:    


President: Elmer Epperson

Vice President: J.K. Freed

Secretary: Mrs. Clarence Dickhut

Treasurer: E.E. Coffin


For almost 90 years, Scott County residents have shared a common dream: to have a museum building in which to preserve and exhibit Scott County's rich and unique history. Thousands of hours from volunteers and the generous donations of Scott County residents and interested persons have kept the dream alive, and brought much of it to fulfillment.  The work continues, with inspiration from those members who have watched the growth and development of the society and grounds for many years, and with the ideas and efforts of new advocates.

Those serving presently on the Board of Trustees of the Scott County Historical Society are:

Patsi Graham, President

Alan Graham, Vice President

Ruth Dunn, Secretary

Ernie Smith, Treasurer

Jerry Thomas, Artist in Residence

Marilyn Dryer

Richard Duff 

Marian Nolan


October 2021 News

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October 2021

Whew . . .we survived summer – and even September, which can sometimes be challenging.  Not too many days of high winds and dust/pollen-filled air this year.  How lovely to begin October with rain, and the arrival of those Blue October Skies!


And lovelier still to be able to look forward to gathering again to enjoy special events coming up this month and beyond.  By winter, we’re hoping to set up the jigsaw puzzle table in the foyer again.  We had many visitors who ‘got stuck’ on their way in or out, vowing they’d find just one piece . . .


Our annual Member Appreciation Day, hosted by the historical society board of trustees, will be held on Sunday, October 24th at 2:00 p.m.  Guest speaker will be the ever-popular Jim Hoy, who has entertained us with his Western lore on at least three previous occasions.  The topic of the day will be Cattle Trail Cowboys, which will tie in perfectly with Stephanie’s Pop Up Museum which will be available for viewing including hands-on interaction beginning October 12 and through October 24th

In 1866, over 200,000 head of cattle made their way out of Texas north.  Not only did Kansas Cowtowns profit, but the myth and legend that followed the men who drove the herds has lived on through today. 

What was life like on those cattle drives?  How did young men survive hours in a saddle and months on the dusty trail? What kind of danger lay ahead of them as they started up the trail? Explore these questions and more with the hands-on activities, songs, myths, and more!


Beyond that special event, we look forward to the Christmas Open House on Sunday, December 12th, with the Sugar Plum Sale running from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.  The Sugar Plum Sale is our only fund-raiser of the year (well, except for Giving Day, but that’s another paragraph!) and we really need your participation – both to furnish holiday cookies and candies for the sale, and to buy plates filled with other folk’s delicious cookies and candies!  This sweet-treat shopping frenzy has been a popular holiday tradition at El Quartelejo Museum for 19 of our 21 years.  It was definitely missed last year. 


The annual Community Foundation sponsored Giving Day will be held on November 11th.  Last year’s response from our membership was fantastic – donations totaled over $6,000, which really boosted our spirits in a year that saw us closed for ten weeks in the spring, and with limited visitation through the rest of the year.   Watch for details on how to make your donations through this community fund-raiser.  It’s a great way to support many of your favorite non-profit organizations in our community.


We are pleased to be able to offer a place for the Quilts of Valor organization to make their presentations to our military veterans.  Another of those inspiring ceremonies will take place on Saturday, November 20th, at 2:00 p.m.  Please support this worthy cause with your presence at this impressive ceremony.


The SCHS memorabilia exhibit in the temporary gallery has been dismantled and a new exhibit will be in place by the time you arrive for the Member Appreciation Day on October 24th.  The exhibit will feature the philanthropy of area community foundations and their contributions.  This unique traveling exhibit is a great way to kick off a season of thanks-GIVING.


Please welcome new members, Kent & Kerri Johnson, Bonney Lake, WA; Ron & Ronna Cunningham, Kent, WA and Carol Bain, Ness City, KS.  And a sad goodbye to member, Keith Burgess, who passed away recently.


Upcoming Events – Put on your calendar now

Pop-up Museum – October 12-24

Member Appreciation Day – Sunday, October 24 ~ 2:00 p.m.

GIVING DAY – Thursday, November 11

Quilts of Valor – Saturday, November 20 ~ 2:00 p.m.

Sugar Plum Sale – Sunday, December 12 ~ 1:30-3:00 p.m.



August 2021

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It’s hard to believe this year is more than half over.  Did time go this fast last year when our lives were ‘on hold’?  It would be interesting to know how your life was affected by the Pandemic of 2020.  Maybe we should start collecting stories.  Do you have one to share? 

It seems like much of May was geared toward the first weekend in June.  But what a memorable weekend that was!  The all-school reunion brought scattered family and friends home to enjoy being together, but also to share in the excitement of the unveiling of the remarkable statue of our remarkable town founder, Maria DeGeer.  Jerry Thomas is known around the country as a fine artist, but he is making a new name for himself with his bronze sculptures.  Over 200 attended that unveiling, and another 150 were at the unveiling of new paintings and artifacts in the Jerry Thomas Gallery that same afternoon.

It has taken many years, and consistent promotion and education to see Maria DeGeer take her rightful place in the history of Scott City.  We are not aware of any other town in Kansas that was founded by a woman, and it has taken much too long for her name to be recognized locally.  She was an amazing woman, and we are proud to tell her story in her own exhibit at El Quartelejo Museum.  Come get acquainted!

We had many visitors through the reunion weekend, and were pleased that many of the duplicate copies of SCHS annuals we offered for a donation, found new homes.  We have a full set of annuals on our reference shelves, so if you need to look something up in one of those yearbooks, we’re happy to let you browse through them.

We can tell that CoVid restrictions have eased up considerably, as the museum visitation has increased.  Many of our visitors are camping in the State Park and they are truly awestruck by the beauty of that oasis on the plains, and the fascinating historic sites in the area.  Their amazement continues as they tour our galleries.  We are often told that El Quartelejo Museum and The Jerry Thomas Gallery are among the finest galleries in the state.   We are so fortunate to have the financial support of our local government agencies which makes it possible for us to present and preserve our unique history in such an excellent manner.

While there are no special events planned through the summer, our doors are open 1-5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and there Is always something you may not have seen before.  We are looking forward to at least two and maybe three special programs this fall and winter, and we certainly plan to hold the ever-popular Sugar Plum Sale this year in December. 

               The SCHS Memorabilia Exhibit is still in place in the temporary gallery, but it will come down soon.  If you haven’t been out to see it, better come by. 

               We are sad to say goodbye to member, Larry Turpin.  We will miss his friendly smile.  And please welcome Linda See, a returning member.

El Quartelejo Museum/Jerry Thomas Gallery – Cool!

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