Scott County Historical Society

July 2018 Newsletter

July 2018 Newsletter


Wow!  What a spring and summer we are having at El Quartelejo Museum and the Jerry Thomas Gallery & Collection!  Special events have been offered for folks of all ages and all interests, and we hope you have enjoyed one or more of them.

               April brought the Annual Meeting of the Scott County Historical Society, with a return visit from popular speaker, Sara Richter.  She spoke about the innovative ways Plains women (and men) survived the Dirty Thirties.  Great photos enhanced her interesting presentation.

               May filled the galleries with end-of-school tour groups, and included several historic sites bus tours.

Read more: July 2018 Newsletter

May 2018 Newsletter

We have wonderful events scheduled for the summer and you won’t want to miss any of them.  The first special program will be Saturday, June 2nd, at 2:00 p.m. when Stephanie Fisher will present the last of the Trunk Talks, but this time it will be designed especially for adults.  The June trunk, furnished by the Kansas State Historical Society is Kansas Women and Their Quilts.  We’re calling this program “Pieces of the Past,” and plan to display some of the quilts in our collection.  All ages are invited to stop in during the week of June 5 – 9 to explore this trunk with the hands on activities that come with it.  Stephanie will be available each day from 1:00 to 5:00 to talk about the trunk.

Read more: May 2018 Newsletter

February 2018 Newsletter



It was early in January when I started thinking it was time for a newsletter.  Seems like just a couple of weeks ago, but here it is – February! Time used to march – now it flies!


We finished 2017 in fine style.  The Holiday Open House and Sugar Plum Sale was such a fun event!  


Three 8’ tables held an amazing array of delectable cookies and candies, and sales were brisk.  In spite of a chilly day and two major anniversary celebrations in town that afternoon, we had a good turn-out, and an excellent sale, bringing in over $1155.00. 

The four raffle prizes went to: Barb Hutchins: Tava’s German Chocolate Cake.  Charlene Hughes: Barb Dickhut’s quilted table runner. Bill Simpson: Dean Fairchild’s handcrafted Nativity scene.  Charlene Hughes:  Historical Society’s Goodie Plate.

Large cookie and candy plates were delivered to City Hall, the Courthouse, and The Scott County Record. THANKS to each of you who brought goodies, bought goodies, or helped in any way!


Now it’s onward and upward, with great anticipation of another year of special programs and events, and ever-increasing visitation.


We hosted 84 fourth graders for a tour on Kansas Day.  (You DO know when Kansas Day is, don’t you?)  They only have an hour to spend with us, so we use five tour guides, each beginning a group in a different area of the galleries and rotating to end up around the old pump organ, where everyone sings our state song.  (You DO know what our state song is, don’t you?) 


Our program director, Stephanie Fisher, is doing a great job in many ways, currently offering monthly “Trunk Talks” to four groups.   The February trunk, is Kansas and the Civil War.  So much great history, presented with hands-on materials.  Traveling Trunks are furnished by the State Historical Society, and are being funded by a grant from The Western Kansas Foundation.  The homeschoolers will meet on Wednesday, Feb. 7th at 1:30 p.m.  Other students and adults will meet on Saturday, Feb. 10th at 1:30.  Both at El Quartelejo Museum.


Our next special event will be the annual meeting of the historical society on Sunday, April 22nd.  Returning as guest speaker will be Sara Richter, with a program titled “Getting’ by by Makin’ Do – Plains Women of the Dust Bowl.”  An appropriate topic for Earth Day!  We’ll send a reminder closer to date, but put this on your calendar now.


We’re already planning something special for June Jaunt (June 2nd) and for a summer workshop for children directed by the ever-popular Thad Beach, June 28-30th.  More information later on.


We have been given some generous donations through the past few months, and recently received memorial funds from the family of Arlene Beaton.  All such gifts are greatly appreciated, but we especially encourage you to think of the historical society to honor your loved ones, both living and deceased.  It is our mission to collect, preserve, protect and display the history of Scott County, and a memorial gift is a great way to link the life of our cherished citizens with our unique history.


KUDOS to our exceptional historic sites tour guides, Dennie Siegrist, Larry Hoeme and Jerry Snyder.  Our Western Vistas Historic Byway Tour  has been rated second out of ten of the best guided tours in Kansas! Check out for details.


REMINDER: We continue to ask for photographs of our veterans for a permanent collection.  Any veteran of any era, in uniform if possible, and with information of rank and years of service.  If the response is adequate, we would like to display those photos for Veteran’s Day or some other appropriate time, but our main desire is to have those irreplaceable photos permanently collected, filed and protected.  Please help with this project.


There will be an election for board members at the annual meeting of the historical society on April 22nd.  If you are interested in being nominated for a position on the board, please contact Patsi Graham, president, before March 15th.  Call 620 872 5912 (museum) or 872-3523 (home).


The Scott County Historical Society is a growing and active organization, with a current membership around 240.  Thank you for supporting the society with your dues and your volunteer services.  All you do is greatly appreciated.

November 2017 Newsletter


Newsletter – November 2017

Well, how did you like the ‘trick’ Mother Nature played on us early Halloween morning?  I don’t remember ever Trick or Treating with my kids in the snow.  Of course, by noon the snow was gone, but it was (and still is) pretty cold for this time of year.  Forecasters are predicting lots of snow this winter.  Hey!  Didn’t they say that about this time last year, too?  Let’s hope we don’t have to wait until April 30th next year!

Enough with the weather.  This year is spinning to an end and we have only one more special event to look forward to (out here) – the annual Holiday Open House and Sugar Plum Sale.  That date is Sunday, December 17th from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.  This is our only fundraiser of the year, and we need your favorite Christmas cookies and candies for the sale, along with several people to help.  Please call the museum 872-5912 to let us know we can count on you.  Oh, and we have some nifty items in our gift shop – great stocking stuffers!

We have a new exhibit in the temporary gallery – Not a Christmas collection this year, but 100 years of newsworthy events from 1917 to 2017.  From the beginning of WWI through those decades ending in 7’s.  Interesting to research those years, and, hopefully, you will find it interesting to walk down memory lane with us.  Come in and check it out.  And we invite you to write down events you believe will ‘live on in history’ from the year 2017.

Although you were invited to bring in your baby/little kid photos for an exhibit this summer, this request went largely ignored!  So – no cutesy photo display of our members.  Now we’re hoping for a better response for a different kind of photo.  We would like to collect as many photos of our veterans in uniform as possible.  Any veteran, any service.  This might be an exhibit at some point, but we are mainly interested in adding these valuable historic photographs to our archival collection.  You don’t have to give up your photo – we’ll copy it.  Please, please help us with this important project.

We are very sorry to say goodbye to Christine Evans, a faithful member and volunteer for many years.  Please welcome new members Rita Smith, Marie Fletcher, Joel and Anya Kasselman family, Andrew and Heather Davis family, Landon and Angie Frank family, Brett and Darci Berry family, Tom and Judy Russell, Scott and Aleta See, John and Joan Shirley and Donald Fisk. 

As we come to the end of the year, please consider a tax-free donation to the Scott County Historical Society.  We’ve had good response to requests for funding the new roof and for LED lightbulbs, and we often receive grants for special projects, but funding is always vital to maintain our beautiful galleries.  Your year-end donation will help us and you, as all donations are tax-exempt.


Holiday Open House/Sugar Plum Sale – Sunday, December 17th 1:30-3:30 p.m.


July 2017 Newsletter


July 2017

Hmmm, well I could start out this July newsletter by reminding you that just seven weeks ago we had more than a foot of snow on the ground, but would that make today’s 100+ degree high feel any cooler?  Probably not.  Oh well, this too shall pass. . .

Time for an update, and I hardly know where to begin.  It’s been a whirlwind of activity out here since before the June Jaunt.  The first ever kid’s summer activity, organized by our newest employee, Stephanie Fisher, was a program featuring “Baby Bob” a fossilized baby T-Rex.  Around forty children had pre-registered – more than 70 showed up!  Fortunately, most were accompanied by parents, so there was no lack of adult supervision, and the kids had a great time learning about digging for fossils.

That was the morning of the June Jaunt, and the meeting room was filled again for an afternoon presentation by Bob Detrich, the paleontologist who discovered Baby Bob in Montana, in 2013.  His program was most interesting and entertaining.

The ever-popular Historic Sites Guided Bus Tour on June 4th filled both VIP buses and included, for the first time ever, a stop at Little Jerusalem.  Special arrangements had been made for that stop, as that historic site is not yet open to the public.

The next weekend we were open for the first day of Biking Across Kansas participants, pedaling from Tribune to Dighton on June 10th.  Many of them stopped to take advantage of a cool place to rest and a welcome drink of water.  They enjoyed our gallery exhibits and complimented us highly on the fine quality of our facility.

The second summer activity for kids was held July 7th, with more than 45 children attending the geology workshop, led by Stephanie and Steven Fisher.  Registration for the three summer programs is $5 per child, per event, but members of the historical society, at $20 per family membership for the year, get in free.  Consequently, we have added 19 new family memberships and one business membership to date, with one more summer activity still to be held in August.  Stephanie’s experience in building programs like this, coupled with her enthusiasm, makes her an invaluable addition to our staff.

On July 6th, we hosted a tour group of sixty folks who were participating in the Ft. Wallace 150th Anniversary Exposition.  They had spent the day exploring the historic sites between Oakley and Scott County, and arrived at the museum, hot and hungry, around 4:30.  They enjoyed the galleries as well as a catered dinner, before heading back to Oakley.  Most of them were enjoying the celebration at Ft. Wallace, where Jerry Thomas unveiled his newest work of art - a life-size bronze statue of Scout, William Comstock, at the Ft. Wallace Museum. 

Jerry Thomas continues to amaze us all with his broad range of artistic gifts.  From his little bird prints to the bold creation of large bronze sculptures, his talent and his passion for historical accuracy combine to enhance his body of work.  Congratulations, Jerry, on your impressive sculpture now on display at Ft. Wallace.

Among the recent donations to the museum is a small dedication booklet for the Friends Church which once stood near 7th and Main Street.  Many of you will remember that large gray brick structure as the Methodist Church for long years before the new church was built on 5th Street, but originally, it was built by and for the Friends Church.  The booklet is a bounty of information we had never seen before.  Built in thirteen months in 1910, at a cost of around $13,000, the book describes the use of each floor of the structure; the main auditorium for worship, and the basement, designed to be used as a gathering place for social organizations such as the YMCA, complete with a ladies rest room and bathing facilities.  On the lot to the south, the Friends community started construction of an educational building, but that was never completed, and that lot became the location of the high school, built in 1930.  There were many steps leading up to the worship auditorium, and a large porch where the high school band sometimes played summer concerts.  That would have been in the late 30’s, I think.  I only remember that because my older brother and sister were in Paul Grover’s concert band at the time.

We never know what wonderful treasures will come through our doors on any given day.  And many  donors don’t  realize how vital those items may be to make some historical connection we’ve been trying to work out.  Keep them coming!

Once again we have to say goodbye to some faithful members: Louise Parkinson, Wanda Depperschmidt  and Janet Marcy.  These special ladies will be missed.

Please welcome new family members: Jan and Kim Wilkerson, Aaron and Holly Beaton, Katie Cornlius/the Mayo Family, Clint and Amy France, Warren and Trisha Harkness, Jennifer Orr, Randy and Stacy Rogers, Steve and Valyndia Payne, Monica Beeson, Mike and Tricia Goode, Coleen Malek, Jeremy and Nicole Turner, Adam and Elisha Winter, Matthew and Emily Lightner, Aaron and Megan Dirks, Anastacia Gossman, Matt and Alex Fox, Joel and Danielle Edwards, Myles and Elizabeth Vulgamore, Armando and Edith Tarango, and Turner Sheet Metal.

Upcoming Programs for Kids and Families:

Artists!  Our last Summer 1st Friday is an opportunity for kids to talk, draw, and learn from our very own Artist, Jerry Thomas.  Jerry will share how he gets inspired and pass that on to our budding artists.  There will be time to tour the Jerry Thomas Gallery and Collection as well as visit with Jerry following his workshop.  Participants will receive a drawing pencil and paper to take home.  Older artists, ages 10 and up, can learn how to make a pocket sketchbook.  This workshop is best for kids ages 8 and up, but younger artists may attend with the help of an adult.  Cost is $5 for non-members and FREE for members.

Trunk Talks Coming This Fall! Beginning in September, we will host programs centered around Kansas State Historical Society’s Traveling Resource Trunks.  These trunks bring the history of Kansas to us in a unique and educational way.  Each trunk focuses on specific topics in Kansas history and include high-quality reproductions of historical artifacts, primary source documents, photographs and more.  This will be a wonderful educational opportunity for kids and families alike with lots of hands on activities.

•             1st Wednesdays:  For homeschooled and school aged children at 1:30 pm.

•             2nd Saturdays:  For families and kids of all ages at 2:00 pm

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