Duane Busenitz, Towanda, will give a presentation The Past, Present, & Future of the Whitewater Falls Stock Farm Barn. The farm was initiated by James William Robison, born in Scotland and became a Kansas farmer; he also involved himself in state government. Together with his sons, Robison purchased and with time farmed 17,000 acres in central Kansas. He built a great central barn at 433 NW Falls Road, Towanda. The barn was dedication on June 5, 1909. Two thousand invited guests were transported by special trains from nearby towns and cities and made merry at the largest barn dance ever held in Kansas. By 1911, the Whitewater Falls Stock Farm was the largest Percheron horse farm in the United States. Percheron and mules were sold annually at special sales events at the farm. Now, after decades of neglect and decay, the barn is currently being restored by the present owners, Duane and Amanda Busenitz. Presentation co-sponsored by the Friends of the Whitewater Memorial Library.
Tim Bumgarner, Principal, Frederic Remington High School, Whitewater, will discuss Education in Kansas: How it all started, where it has been and where might it be going? For decades, Kansas has been one of the leaders in education in the United States. They consistently rank in the top 10 in most measurable categories. In this discussion we will look at the history of public education in Kansas from the one room school house to our current system. We will then look towards the State School Board’s new vision for Kansas public education and the current new strategies and techniques being tried across the state.
Milton Claassen, MD, Newton will discuss The Heritage of the Abraham (1825-1910) and Anna (Bergmann, 1838-1917) Claassen Family. This will include life in West Prussia prior to coming to Kansas in 1877. After purchasing 320 acres along Henry Creek and while their home was being built, they stayed with the John Harder, Sr. family for a short time, before moving to a log cabin on one of the properties. Leaving a farm of about 74 acres in West Prussia and relocating to one of 320 acres here, must have been quite an adjustment. That family of six now has 1008 descendants, 306 of which are spouses.
Ron Wilson, Director, The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, Kansas State University will discuss Ruralpreneurs: Tumbleweeds and Talents in Kansas Communities. How can businesses succeed in small town Kansas? The answers can be found in what we have termed “ruralpreneurs,” – innovative entrepreneurs who have built successful enterprises in small town Kansas and strengthened their communities as a result. Highlighted will be real-world examples of Kansas entrepreneurs who have built businesses and created jobs and opportunities in a rural setting. Examples include Marysville, Garden City Downs, Neodesha, and more. The presentation also honors the emerging role of diversity, technology and telecommunications that have brought about so many changes in society. It also reflects the importance of a spirit of service and community. This fascinating, inspiring, fun and informative presentation highlights rural Kansans and builds pride in our state. A Humanities Kansas presentation.
Tyler Johnson, Historian, Emporia State University will discuss Kansas’s Unstoppable Pandemic: The Spanish Flu of 1918—1919. Towards the end of the Great War a new war began to be waged. That war was the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919 which has its origins in Kansas. As the Great War came to an end this new threat would wipe out more people worldwide then the war itself. Tyler Johnson will give insights into the origins of the 1918 Influenza virus, the national response to the pandemic, Kansas's fight against the Flu, and a few slides discussing Whitewater’s battle against the flu.
Rachel Roth, Naturalist and Certified Interpretive Guide, Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita will discuss The Great Blue Heron Rookeries on Henry Creek. For many years, the Great Blue Herons have built rookeries in the giant Sycamore trees on Henry Creek in Plum Grove Township. The adult birds fly out from these rookeries in the morning for miles in all directions looking for waterways to collect food; later in the day, these birds can be seen flying back to their rookeries. Ms. Roth will discuss the life-cycle and migrations of Great Blue Herons in our area.