Sunday, February 28, 2016

Taking A Sunday Drive #17

Kansas, Land of Ahhs (Oz). Kansas, The Sunflower State. Or Kansas, Bleeding Kansas - the one that made me most attentive as a young person reading about the violence and chaos over deciding whether Kansas would enter the Union as a slave state or a free state. It entered as a free state, January 29, 1861. The state is named for the Kansa tribe of Native Americans.

I became enamored of the Flint Hills of Kansas when I saw them on the way to Texas in 1979. And even though I've never seen them except from the Kansas Turnpike (I-35) on the bit where it cuts through Chase County, two of my all-time favorite books are set in the Flint Hills - Janice Graham's Firebird and PrairyErth by William Least Heat Moon.



Most of our trips have been through, rather than to, Kansas. We have stopped at both Old Fort Hays in Western Kansas. (Going to Colorado.)
(Picture of the guardhouse.)


As well as spending some time at the Fort Scott National Historic Site. (On the way to Oklahoma.)
I remember going into a few stores in downtown Fort Scott while there.
We had also toured the new (1998) visitor center at Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site near Pleasanton during this same trip.
The Battle of Mine Creek, also known as the Battle of the Osage, was fought as part of the Civil War in October, 1864.

Northeast Kansas was the one area we went to specifically. First to Atchison, Amelia Earhart's home town where I had my picture taken with her statue. This is in the downtown pedestrian mall, a pretty three block long area of shops.




Then I made Bud drive past some of the ornate mansions so I could ooh and aah and take pictures. This 25 room, Victorian castle is on North Fifth Street.





While the 'haunted' Waggener House is on North Fourth Street. This house is also known as the Gargoyle House for its many gargoyles. One of the red ones is faintly visible on the roof.




The Federal prison in Leavenworth was something Bud wanted to see. This is the picture I took from the street showing the front of the main building.

Near by is historic Fort Leavenworth, the first permanent white settlement (1827) in the future state of Kansas. There is a National Cemetery for Veterans here as well as many monuments.
This photo of Bud was taken at the Buffalo Soldier Monument.

Both these towns lie along the Missouri River and offer some lovely views.



I think the most unusual and surprising thing I ever saw in Kansas was fence posts made out of limestone. In a needs must situation on the treeless plains, this was the inventive answer.



I still want to see the Chalk Pyramids in western Kansas someday. And Mushroom State Park and Rock City. I have the feeling those ancient formations would cause me to say that famous line: "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."

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