Previous Kansas Heritage Series Events
Each winter, the Wilson County Old Iron Club hosts a 3 event series focusing on a different aspect of Kansas history and heritage. The premier series was held in early 2013. These are the topics presented since the inception of the series.
Click the buttons below for more information about our most popular topics.
2021 KS Heritage Series Cancelled due to COVID 19
The 2020 Kansas Heritage Series:
January 26 – “Ruralpreneurs: Tumbleweeds and Talents in Kansas Communities”
February 23 – “Kansas Legends and Folktales”
Grasshoppers so big that cowboys can ride them to herd cattle. Summers so hot that corn pops in the field. Rancher Henry Mudge wrecking pianos, shooting sheep, and fooling European dignitaries. Kansas is a place of big skies and tall tales, but these exaggerated narratives help us understand the character of our state and its people.
March 22 – “If These Walls Could Talk: Kansas Murals” - Cancelled due to COVID
The 2019 Kansas Heritage Series:
Jan. 27, 2019 - "World War I and Wilson County - We Remember" - Jeff Fehr
Jeff is a social studies teacher at Neodesha Middle School/High School. He and his students have been particularly focused on projects and research related to World War I and local veterans. Jeff’s grandfather, Herman August Fehr, served in the 117th Ammunition Train as a member of the 42nd Rainbow Division.
Feb. 24, 2019 - Foam on the Range - Isaias McCaffery
Kansas was on the forefront of the temperance movement, eventually becoming the first state to prohibit alcohol consumption. This enforced abstinence clashed considerably with many German, Czech, Irish, Italian, Mexican, Croatian, Greek, and Jewish immigrants who had settled in across the state. Indeed, anti-foreign prejudice helped drive support for prohibition in some areas. In response, ethnic communities frequently violated prohibition laws in an effort to preserve an important expression of cultural identity. Although Kansas breweries and vineyards were forced into neglect, immigrant communities improvised and persevered.
Presented by Isaias McCaffery. Isaias is a historian and the chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Independence Community College.
March 24, 2019 – “The Cherokee Trail in Kansas" - Brian D. Stucky
The Cherokee Trail is a well-documented but little-known 1849 Gold Rush Trail. It began in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, entered Kansas in Montgomery County, west of Coffeyville, passed within a mile of the “Little House on the Prairie”, into Chautauqua County within 25 miles of Fredonia, through Moline, just south of El Dorado, and joined the Santa Fe Trail near Galva. It led to Colorado and Wyoming where it joined the Oregon-California Trails, and ended in California. Brian Stucky will discuss the history and still visible parts of the trail, and efforts to mark and preserve it.
The 2018 Kansas Heritage Series:
Jan. 28 – “Water in Kansas: Past & Present” - Rex Buchanan
Early evidence of Native peoples in Kansas shows that they lived near springs, seeps, and rivers. Later, European settlers moved along water sources, and eventually cities were established in areas with plentiful water supplies. Even today, demographic changes in Kansas are the result of water. Recently the state government developed a 50-year water planning vision, identifying two major issues: reservoir sedimentation and the rapid drawdown of Ogallala portion of the High Plains Aquifer in western Kansas. This presentation highlighted how water issues today define much about Kansans in the future, just as it always has.
--Presented by Rex Buchanan. firstname.lastname@example.org Rex is the interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey and the author of books about Kansas geology and water.
Feb. 25 – “The Challenges and Joys of Prairie Living” – Jane Koger
Jane Koger, from Bazaar KS, is the owner of the Homestead Ranch in Chase County, a 4,000-acre privately owned ranch. She has turned her love of the Flint Hills into a lifelong dedication to preserving the Flint Hills’ pristine ecosystem. For more information about prairie living, check out her video, “Living Off the Grid, In Sync With Nature”. https://vimeo.com/133103528
--Presented by Jane Koger. Jane was born into a ranching family in Emporia, KS. Raised in Cottonwood Falls, she is a fourth generation rancher in Chase County.
Mar. 11 – “Water: Why Is It So Difficult to Conserve?” – Matt Sanderson
Water is the most precious natural resource, sustaining all life on Earth. Despite its value, freshwater consumption is not sustainable in many areas around the world, including Kansas. Why is it so difficult to conserve this vital resource? This presentation looked at the role of culture – our values norms, and beliefs – and consider their impact on “the water problem” and how they can help solve this issue.
--Presented by Matthew Sanderson. email@example.com Matthew is an associate professor of sociology atKansas State University.
The 2017 Kansas Heritage Series:
Feb. 19 – “Farming Then and Now: Changes and Constants”.
This farmer's forum provided opportunities to learn more about the agricultural heritage in our area, hear just how good the "good old days" REALLY were, and discuss the future of the agricultural way of life. It was not to be missed!
--Moderated by Mike Myers
Mar. 12 - "Angels of the Kansas Coalfields”
When coal was discovered in Southeast Kansas in the late 1860s, thousands came from all over the world to work the mines. The mix of nationalities created an ethnic geography unique to Kansas that came to be known as the Little Balkans. Miners faced hazardous working conditions, poor pay, and discrimination. In 1921, thousands of women marched on the coal mines in support of striking miners. The New York Times dubbed them the “Amazon Army”. This spirited act linked men and women together in one of the most dynamic pages in the history of American labor. Presented by Linda O’Nelio Knoll.
--Linda is an educator, author, and historian who researches the local history of southeast Kansas.
The 2016 Kansas Heritage Series:
Jan. 31 - Jim Gray, ‘Head ‘Em Up, Move ‘Em Out” The early days of ranching and trail driving required stamina and determination. The drover of yesteryear had little choice but to face the elements placed before him if he was to get his wild cattle to market. A thousand miles on the trail brought him into contact with all that nature could throw at him: lightning, flooded rivers, hail, tornadoes, and stampeding cattle were constant challenges. Today’s massive beef industry owes its beginnings to the mend and women who were bold enough to “head ‘em up and move ‘em out.”
--Jim is an author, speaker, promoter of cowboy heritage in Kansas, and executive director of the National Drover’s Hall of Fame.
March 6 - John Bayles - local history
April 3 - Conservation District Program - Toronto and Fall River Dam Basins
Fall River Dam
The 2015 Kansas Heritage Series:
Feb. 8 - Jeff Davidson, singer, songwriter, poet, and historian, sharing “Western Music that Celebrates Western History”. Combining a unique blend of songs, historical facts, and pictures, Jeff revisited the history of the west and its tremendous influence on the shaping of the U.S. economy, ideology and heroism.
March 8 - Reunion of Maple Grove School students. This rural school, established in 1871, was one of many in Wilson County. Historical information about Kansas, Wilson County, and early rural schools was also presented. The Maple Grove Rural School C-7 closed in 1969 due to school consolidation.
April 19 - “Green Fire” - an award-winning documentary film about Aldo Leopold, legendary conservationist.
The stage screen from the Maple Grove school is currently on display in the Town Hall at the Rollin 'Red' Vandever Memorial Park
Two structures that Maple Grove students attended
The 2014 Kansas Heritage Series:
Jan. 26 – “Orphan Trains in Kansas” Amanda Wahlmeier, from the National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia
March 9 – “Kansas Women, Work, and the Civil War” - Diane Eickhoff
“During the Civil War, employment opportunities for women opened up, from nursing (which had been an all-male profession until then) to army laundresses to spies. Women assumed clerical positions in the U.S. government; turned their homes into cottage factories to make blankets, bandages, and uniforms; and even disguised themselves as men in order to serve as combat soldiers on the battlefield.”
April 6 – “The Work Culture of Food in Early Kansas” - MJ Morgan
“Looking at Flint Hills communities founded before 1900, this talk explores early food production, preservation, and preparation and how those are closely linked to both culture and labor. Assumed familial roles in food preparation, the evolution of food culture when Old World practices were adapted to a new environment, and the way that labor practices required for food culture left traces behind in the land itself will be discussed. Surviving ice houses, spring houses, common pastures, community slaughterhouses, and whole-community canning events illustrate the rich food culture of early Kansas.”
Orphan Train Riders
The 2013 Kansas Heritage Series:
Jan. 27 - A Kansas Day Celebration
March 3 - “19th-Century Rural Kansas Women at Work” by Dr. Isaias McCaffery of Independence Community College
April 14 - “The Dust Bowl: Can It Happen Again?”, featuring an excerpt of “The Dust Bowl: the Greatest Man-Made Eco Disaster in U.S. History, as told by Ken Burns” and held on the anniversary of the infamous Black Sunday Blizzard of April 14, 1935.
The Dust Bowl