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HomeCommunityFree history lecture series to resume at museum

Free history lecture series to resume at museum

The Finney County Historical Museum has announced eight new history programs, starting Jan. 11 and Jan. 17.

People who attend the next series of free history lectures at the Finney County Museum in Garden City can count on wading into the bloodiest county seat war in Kansas, learning about life for everyday soldiers at frontier forts along the Santa Fe Trail, diving into the history of Lake McKinney, hearing stories of the Windsor and other historic hotels in Garden City and discovering how the Arkansas River has affected farms and communities along its 1,469-mile route.

The eight programs have been scheduled as part of the History at High Noon and Evenings at the Museum series, and they’ll take place at noon the second Wednesday and 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month, January through April.  One segment in the series is offered through the Humanities Kansas cultural organization.

The January presentations include “But the Blood: A Novel based on the true story of America’s bloodiest county seat battle,” by Western Kansas author Stephen Morefield, a Leoti pastor whose book focuses on the violent 1887 struggle in Wichita County.  The program will be given at noon Jan. 11 and 7 p.m. Jan. 17.

Admission is free and those who attend should use the museum’s north entrance.  Beverages and cookies will be provided, and listeners are welcome to bring their own lunch or dinner, if desired.  Like the recent autumn lectures, the new series is sponsored for the FCHS by the Western Kansas Community Foundation.  

February sessions include “Fort Life in Western Kansas,” by Museum Education Coordinator Johnetta Hebrlee, at noon Feb. 8; and “A Day in the Life of a Fort Soldier,” at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 by Troy Krehbiel, a Finney County native, farmer, outdoorsman and National Park Service living history volunteer for the Fort Larned National Historic Site in Kansas and Bent’s Fort National Historic Site in Colorado.

Both March programs will address the key southwest Kansas resource of water, with one provided by Humanities Kansas.  Hebrlee will offer the noon program March 8 about Lake McKinnney, a reservoir and one-time recreational site operated in Kearny County for many years by the Garden City Company.

The 7 p.m. Humanities Kansas program on March 21 is being presented by Hannes Zacharias, entitled “Rediscovering the Arkansas River.”  

Zacharias is the Robert A. Kipp professor of municipal administration at the University of Kansas and has personally navigated much of the Arkansas River.  Zacharias, who has Dodge City roots, is planning to talk about the embattled river’s history since the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, including its rapids, dry streambeds, diversion for irrigation and even barge traffic.

April’s sessions will feature consequential lodging establishments going back to Garden City’s earliest days.  

The museum education coordinator is preparing “Historic Hotels in Garden City” for noon on April 12.  The 7 p.m. program April 18 will be offered by Brian Nelson, president of the Finney County Preservation Alliance, with updates about the well-known Windsor Hotel and efforts to save and restore the 133-year-old downtown Garden City landmark structure.  Nelson, a member of the Garden City High School faculty, will also talk about upcoming Windsor Hotel events.