Category: Hays

Hays

Forsyth Library & Special Collections Display

The library on the campus of Fort Hays State University features three floors of books, magazines, periodicals, research materials, audio books, government forms, newspapers, microforms, newspapers, historical documents and reference materials. The Library also has several unique displays that visitors can learn about the German Heritage of Ellis County through The Center for Ethnic Studies and the Catherine Model Buildings display.

Lawrence Weigel, a noted local folklorist, donated a substantial portion of his personal collection of materials on the Volga Germans to The Center for Ethnic Studies. When combined with the variety of publications from the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, this collection provides a rich source for research and educational materials for visitors to browse through. There are also a variety of pertinent reference works, bibliographies, pamphlets, journals, newspapers and dissertations published in the United States and abroad. General histories, church histories, parish registers, family histories, diaries and genealogies, obituaries, works on folklore, folk music and art make up the core of the collection. In addition, the collection contains numerous maps, photographs of bridal couples, individuals and groups. Several video documentaries and recordings of folk music and interviews are also available.

The Model Buildings display in the Special Collections Room of Forsyth Library consists of twenty-five buildings and their outbuildings from the town of Catharine. The collection includes St. Catherine Catholic Church, the school, the Sisters Convent and several houses. One of the houses is a replica of the Dorzweiler family home in Katharinenstadt, Russia. St. Andrew Episcopal Church, located north of Hays, is also represented by a model building. The models were built by Ellis County resident Jerome Schmidt, who began working on the first miniature building in 2001. In 2008, after he completed nearly 30 structures, he donated his collection to library. A description and short history for each building is available for viewing.rnThe model of the Walker Army Airfield that is on display at the Forsyth Library was completed in October 2000 by Fort Hays State University student Steve Arthur. The Walker Army Airfield was located in Ellis County, about 2 and 1/2 miles northwest of Walker. Although the land where the airbase was once located is currently on privately owned property and not open to public access, the road leading west from the town of Walker is a gravel county road that goes past what use to be the main entrance gates. The old abandoned smoke stacks, several remaining hangar buildings and many concrete foundations are visible from the road. The miniature airbase display shows the relationship of locations for several of the hangars, barracks, supply buildings and other structures that would have been located west of the main airbase runways. rnThe Walker Army Airfield began operations as a satellite field of Smoky Hill Army Air Field located in Salina. Construction on the Walker Airbase began on September 14, 1942 and within two months they had completed enough to allow for limited occupancy and the first military personnel from the Smoky Hill Army Air Field arrived. In February 1943, the airbase was given its own independent mission when the 2nd Air Force organized the 6th Heavy Bombardment Processing Headquarters. Later that year, training of B-29 crews for combat duty began and in August, the first B-29’s were brought in for training purposes. The training program of the 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing continued to be the mission of the airbase until September 30, 1945. With the victory over Japan in August 1945, the number of training stations were decreased and eventually disposition of property became the main activity of the base during 1946. It was transferred to U.S. Army District Engineers on December 19, 1946. rnFor more information about the Walker Army Airfield and the B-29 Bomber in Kansas, visit this website. www.shptv.org/b29/rnAdmission: Free Admission rnHours: 8 am to 4:30 pm. Closed on Friday during the summer. rnAddress: 600 Park – South Campus Drive rnPhone: 785-628-5901rnWebsite: http://bigcat.fhsu.edu/future_students/virtual_campus/sites/forsyth.shtmlrn

Frontier Park

The area that surrounds Big Creek on the southwest edge of Hays at one time was part of the original Fort Hays U.S. Military Post. After the Fort was closed on November 8, 1889, this land became available and on March 28, 1900, the United States Congress granted the State of Kansas the right to dispose of the property. The law required the land to be used for a State University, agricultural experiment station and public park. For 79 years the park was operated under the auspices of the state. In 1979, the City of Hays assumed responsibility of the park, upkeep and development.

Today, Frontier Park is a very scenic natural looking recreational area with a creek that winds through the 89 acres of land. The park also features several walking trails, bridges, picnic and playground equipment, 4 shelter houses, 18-hole disc golf course, modern restroom facilities and plenty of large shade trees. On the west end of the park is the City of Hays buffalo herd and on the east end is the Dusty Glassman baseball complex.

Hays Aquatic Park

The Hays Aquatic Park is the ideal place to cool off and enjoy some summer fun. The H.A.P. is located on approximately 3.5 acres of land and is located at 4th & Main. There are three bodies of water (lazy river, leisure pool, multi-purpose pool) and two water slides. You can enjoy a leisurely float down the lazy river in a single or double tube as you wind around the water slides and past a waterfall. All of the water in the complex is heated and the zero depth entry leisure pool is ideal for the toddlers and families with little ones just starting to learn to swim. Other features include a concession area, shade deck, several sun decks and a children’s play area which is ideal for making sand castles. The Aquatic Park can handle as many as 3000 visitors, but practical summer operations are around 1000 to 1800 guests.

Rolling Plains Motor Speedway – RPM’S

Rolling Plains Motor Speedway – RPM’SrnEllis County Fairgroundsrn1344 Fairground RoadrnHays, KS 67601rn785-639-RACE (7223)rnPromoter, Rod Bencken, rn785-672-0123 rnTrack email info@rpmspeedway.net

Hours: Varies – Races generally start at 7:30 pmrnAdmission: Call for gate fees.rnwww.rpmspeedway.net

This is a multi use facility for concerts and all motorsports such as tractor pulls, demolition derbies, tough trucks, motorcycle events and many other functions. The racetrack is a 3/8 mile high bank clay oval dirt track. The racetrack promoter brings in URSS 305 Sprints, IMCA Modified, Stock and Hobby Stock and Bomber races. The grandstand has a seating capacity for more than 4000 people, with restrooms, concessions and a souvenir shop are located on the grounds. The stock car racing season begins in April and continues through October. rn

Thomas More Prep-Marian

“Give us four years and we’ll give you a lifetime!”rnFully accredited Catholic High School that offers both a boarder and day program.rnSmall student-teacher ratio and family atmosphere.rnExcellent educational and extra-curricular opportunities.rn86% of our graduates receive college scholarships.rnLocated a peaceful and friendly community.rnCollege prep and multi-leveled curriculum.rn

Walking Tour of Art Displays

Nearly a dozen art sculptures are located on the beautiful campus of Fort Hays State University.

This self guided walking tour is a great way to enjoy the beautiful artwork on the FHSU campus. The interactive map link shows the location of the various pieces of artwork including the unique “Pieces of Our World” sculpture located in front of Tomanek Hall. The first sculpture to look for is “Interlude,” located on the south side of Rarick Hall near the main entrance. “Interlude”—sculpted by FHSU artist Gary Coulter—was dedicated May 5, 1994. The work is meant to portray the strength found in all women. A grant from the Jean Stouffer Fund at FHSU paid for the molding and casting costs of the 357-pound bronze sculpture.

Across the promenade, located in front of Martin Allen Hall, you will notice “Deeply Rooted.” This provocative work was sculpted by FHSU artist Linda Ganstrom and was dedicated October 2, 1999. The work was influenced by the writings of George A. Kelly, a professor of Psychology at FHSU from 1931-1943 who later taught at Ohio State University and Brandeis University. He became widely known as a personal theorist, clinician, and teacher. Sculpting and construction costs were paid for by a grant from the Jean Stouffer Fund at FHSU.

Across the street to the south of Sheridan Hall is a sculpture of native limestone by local artist Pete Felten. It was dedicated in 1997 and is called the Contemplation Garden Sculpture and features a teacher and student.

Another major sculpture is located in front of Tomanek Hall. “Pieces of Our World,” otherwise known as the Dalton/Kellerman fountain, honors two former FHSU administrators, Stanlee V. Dalton and James V. Kellerman who both served as registrar for a combined 57 years and together signed more than 35,650 diplomas. Mr. Dalton served as registrar from 1936 until his retirement in 1971. Mr. Kellerman became registrar in 1971 and served in that position until his retirement in 1995. “Pieces of Our World” represents children’s views of science. It was cast in bronze from original pieces created by over 200 middle school students from the Hays area. FHSU faculty and students cast and welded the bronze pieces to complete the sculpture. The project was supported by the Jean Stouffer Fund.

Located on the second floor of the FHSU Memorial Union is the locally famous painting by artist Bruce Burkholder titled – “History Holds the Future.” Burkholder began working on this 4′ by 8′ oil-alkyd linen mural painting in 1986 and continued to work on it off an on for the next 23 years. It was completed on October 2, 2009, and in June 2010 it was added to the other framed pieces of art displayed in the Memorial Union.

Copy and paste this link below to view the campus map. rnhttp://www.fhsu.edu/about/campus-map/

Walker Air Base Display

The model of the Walker Army Airfield that is on display at Forsyth Library on the campus of Fort Hays State University was completed in October 2000 by Fort Hays State University student Steve Arthur. The Walker Army Airfield was located in Ellis County, about 2 and 1/2 miles northwest of Walker. Although the land where the airbase was once located is currently on privately owned property and not open to public access, the road leading north and west from the town of Walker is a county road that goes past what use to be the main entrance gates. The old abandoned smoke stacks, several remaining hangar buildings and many concrete foundations are visible from the road. The miniature airbase display shows the relationship of locations for several of the hangars, barracks, supply buildings and other structures that would have been located west of the main airbase runways.

In 1942, airfield sites with runways long enough to handle the B-29 Bomber were established at Great Bend, Pratt, Salina and Walker. The Walker Army Airfield began operations as a satellite field of Smoky Hill Army Air Field located in Salina. In this capacity, Walker was used merely as a spill over field in the performance of Smoky Hills’ mission of processing heavy bombardment crews for over seas shipment. Land was purchased by the government from individual land owners and additional areas were leased from the Union Pacific Railroad for the location of storage yards. In planning the field, the water supply was a particularly difficult problem. Principally because this site was judged by the state’s geologist to have the most difficult water situation of any spot in the state. A proven supply was made available from the City of Hays system located 12 miles away.

Construction on the Walker Airbase began on September 14, 1942 and within two months there was enough completed to allow for limited occupancy with the arrival of military personnel from the Smoky Hill Army Air Field. In February 1943, the airbase was given its own independent mission when the 2nd Air Force organized the 6th Heavy Bombardment Processing Headquarters. Later that year, training of B-29 crews for combat duty began and in August, the first B-29’s were brought in for training purposes. The base was somewhat of a final staging area after crews had been assembled. The men came to the Walker Airfield to learn to work together for the bombing runs and practice gunning. The training program of the 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing continued to be the mission of the airbase until September 30, 1945. With the victory over Japan in August 1945, the number of training stations were decreased and eventually, disposition of property became the main activity of the base during 1946. The base became officially inactive on January 31, 1946 and it was transferred to the U.S. Army District Engineers on December 19, 1946.

To learn more about the Walker Airbase, we encourage you to see the memorial marker on the north side of the Hays Public Library. It pays tribute to the men and women who served our country at the airbase. The Library and the Ellis County Historical Society Museum also have materials and photographs of the airbase. A framed painting of the Walker Base is on display at the Hays Welcome Center – 2700 Vine, and you can drive around the perimeter of the former airbase property just to the north and west of the town of Walker. Because this is private property, absolutely no visitor access is allowed, but from the county gravel road, you can see many of the building foundations, two hangars and other taller structures that are now crumbling and falling down.

For more information about the Walker Army Airfield and the B-29 Bomber in Kansas, visit this website. www.shptv.org/b29/

Ghost Town of Rome -Townsite Marker

The short lived town of Rome was established in May of 1867, which was approximately 3-4 months prior to founding of Hays City. The details surrounding the rise and fall of this small town are not clear. The first inhabitants of Rome appear to have been the Lull brothers from Salina, Kansas. Whether they were the town founders, emissaries of the founders, or simply the first businessmen remains a question. Also unclear is the roll William Cody played in the town’s history. Some accounts credit Cody and his partner, William Rose, with the founding of Rome. Cody as a scout for the Army and Rose as a railroad contractor may have had information that could have led them to choose the site as a good location for a town, as neither the railroad nor the Fort were in the area when Rome was first settled. It was in June 1867, that Fort Fletcher, which was located approximately 15 miles east and south of present day Hays, was relocated (and renamed) to the current site of Fort Hays.

Simon Motz, an early citizen of Rome, who then became the first Hays mayor, arrived in Rome in June 1867. At that time, records tell of a two story hotel being built by Joe Perry, a 4 room house and a large stone business under construction by Cody and Rose. A week later, according to Motz, Rome had a population of 500 and his description of Rome as a “tent city” indicated that most of the businesses were probably canvas structures. When the Butterfield Stage Line opened a station in the Perry House, the future of Rome seemed good, but cholera hit that summer and decisions made by the railroad did not help the fledgling town. W.C. Webb, who apparently had the authority to locate depots for the Union Pacific Railroad Eastern Division, began selling town site lots east of Big Creek. This rival town company of Webb and a man named Phinney Moore, had wanted to be made partners with Cody at the Rome town site, but when Cody refused, they encouraged the development of a new town approximately a mile east of Rome. By July of 1867, Rome had over 2,000 citizens and continued to grow until August when the town of Hays City was established. By the time the railroad arrived in October, many of the businesses of Rome had already relocated to Hays City or farther west along the railroad. The last businesses moved out of Rome in the spring of 1868. Visitors to this location will see the stone marker on the western outskirts of Hays that shows the approximate location of the Rome town site. There is a bronze historical marker that provides a information about Rome, and nearby is the railroad bridge crossing Big Creek that was once known as “Hangman’s Bridge”, the site of several hangings in the early days of Hays City. Those who care to explore the area around Big Creek and the Rome location will find hiking trails that cross beneath the 12th Street Bridge and south through the Fort Hays State University Campus.

Historic Hays Driving Tour

A self-guided driving tour to over 30 locations throughout the community provides the opportunity to see some of the most important landmarks, historic sites and points of interest in Hays.

The tour begins at 27th & Vine, across from the Hays Welcome Center. Drive past Mount Allen Cemetery or enter from the south and see the only cemetery in Kansas to have two old fashioned tree swings with wooden seats. rnThe land for the Mount Allen Cemetery was provided by Martin Allen, an early resident and businessman of Hays City. Mr. Allen’s daughter Clara, died in February of 1874 and he did not want her to be buried in the cemetery located just north of Hays City (now known as Boot Hill) where the “roughs”, criminals and other desperados where buried. Clara Martin and many of the early residents that died in Hays City are buried in the northeast corner of the block, which is the oldest part of the cemetery.

Boot Hill Cemetery – Site of the first cemetery in Kansas to be called “Boot Hill”. Many of the outlaws were buried here from 1867 to 1874 and later moved to the Mount Allen Cemetery.

Kennedy Middle School – Named after Senator John F. Kennedy who visited Hays on Nov. 20, 1959 during his successful presidential campaign. At the time of Senator Kennedy’s visit, the school was still called Jefferson West. It was later renamed Kennedy School in 1969 in honor of the late president.

Gospel Hill – The area near 13th and Fort was known as “Gospel Hill” because of the concentration of churches located at one time in this area. Today in this area of downtown Hays, the Baptist and Catholic churches continue to have active congregations and their churches are visible near this intersection.

Ellis County Military Memorial – This memorial honors the soldiers from Ellis County who gave their lives while serving our country.

Downtown Historical Markers – Twenty-five bronze plaques mark the route for this self-guided walking tour that provides information about the historical buildings in downtown Hays.

8th & Fort – Before the arrival of the interstate in 1969, Highway 40 (8th St.) was the main east-west road through Hays. At one time, this route had several hotels and gas stations and was used by thousands of travelers coming through western Kansas.

Philip Hardware Store – Initially built in 1874 as a dry goods store by Hill P. Wilson, this stone building was home of the government land office from 1875 until 1877. In 1894 the building was acquired by the Philip family and for 103 years, four generations of the family operated it as a hardware store.

Chestnut Street District – The road in downtown Hays City that is now known as Main Street was originally called Chestnut Street in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. By 1930, the streets were renamed at the request of the postal service for a more orderly naming scheme. Chestnut Street was renamed “Main Street”. The historic markers, buildings and streets in the Chestnut Street District provide visitors the opportunity to step back in time and relive the history of downtown Hays.

Hays Arts Center Gallery – The Center is the home of the Hays Arts Council, Kansas’ first such organization. Various exhibits and opening receptions are held throughout the year. The Five State Photography Exhibition is February to mid-March. The last Friday of April marks the opening of the Smoky Hill Art Exhibition and the annual Spring Gallery Walk.

Liquid Bread Brewing Company – The restaurant/brewery showcases the original brick walls, exposed ceiling trusses, rustic floors and brand new steel and glass around stainless steel vats in the brewery and the expo kitchen. It features regionally inspired handcrafted beers and comfort food with unique twists.

Hays Public Library – A nationally-recognized leader for outstanding per capita usage, renovated and expanded in 2003 to match the original 1911 Carnegie library. It is also home to a dynamic young adult section, a beautiful gallery, a bookstore and an extensive Kansas collection with information about Hays, Ellis County, the western U.S., genealogy, Volga Germans, and Hays historical walking tours.

Ellis County Historical Society Museum – A variety of permanent exhibits, artifacts, displays, photographs and new exhibits throughout the year tell the story of Hays, Ellis County and the early pioneers. Includes the first stone church in Hays, a harness shop and gift shop.

Volga German Haus – This house was built from information obtained through diaries and other documentation passed down to the descendants and is furnished with authentic household items which were used by the Volga German settlers.

Fort Hays State University – Founded in 1902, the university sits on a campus of 4,160 acres of land that once was part of the Historic Fort Hays frontier military post. FHSU is academically superior to many comparable universities. It offers students an electronic learning and living environment, and is richly endowed by heritage and tradition.

Country Schoolhouse – Fort Hays State University – This one room schoolhouse was built in 1874 of native limestone. Displays, documents and artifacts are on exhibit.

Frontier Park – 89 acres of scenic and natural recreational areas with a creek that winds through the park. The park also features several walking trails, bridges, playground equipment, 4 shelter houses, disc golf course and plenty of large shade trees.

Buffalo Herd – This small herd of buffalo is a remnant of the vast herds which once roamed the plains of North America.

Historic Fort Hays – Visit the original blockhouse, guardhouse and officer’s quarters. A visitor information center provides exhibits and artifacts about the fort and military history.

Historic Church Tours

There are more historic German Catholic churches in Ellis County then any other county in Kansas. They were built of native limestone over 100 years ago and you are welcome to visit these impressive churches and enjoy the beautiful stained glass windows, craftsmanship, statues and majestic altars. You can begin your tour at whichever church works best to fit into your schedule, but a suggested route would include: Depart Hays and travel south to Schoenchen. Visit St. Anthony-Schoenchen, Our Lady Help of Christians-Antonino, St. Mary’s-Ellis, St Joseph-Hays, St Francis-Munjor, St Catherine-Catharine, St Ann- Walker, St. Fidelis-Victoria, Holy Cross Church-Pfeifer.

Coming from the west: St. Mary’s-Ellis, St. Joseph-Hays, St. Anthony-Schoenchen, Our Lady Help of Christians- Antonino, St Francis-Munjor, St Catherine-Catharine, St Ann-Walker, St. Fidelis-Victoria, Holy Cross Church-Pfeifer.

Coming from the east: St Ann-Walker, St. Fidelis-Victoria, Holy Cross Church-Pfeifer, St Catherine-Catharine, St Francis-Munjor, St. Anthony-Schoenchen, Our Lady Help of Christians-Antonino, St Joseph-Hays, St. Mary’s-Ellis.

Because several of the churches are locked during the day, we suggest calling the number listed for each church and make sure the local contact person will be available to have the church unlocked for you or can meet you for a tour.

http://www.haysusa.com/churches1.pdf

Hays City was founded in fall of 1867 and the first churches in Ellis County were built during the late 1870’s and 1880’s. The majority of these first churches were small wooden frame structures that were later replaced by larger and more impressive limestone rock churches. Because many of the first citizens were railroad workers, saloon owners, soldiers and even desperados, the early days of Ellis County were wild and dangerous. With the arrival of Volga German settlers and other religious families in Ellis County, the community gradually quieted down as these pioneers brought with them strong religious and family beliefs. Immediately upon completion of their simple homes, the people began building their church to hold worship services. The hardworking people that settled in this area were proud of their faith and it is evident in the beautiful churches they built in Ellis County.

A visit to the beautiful historic Volga German and Bukovina German churches in our area will provide you with a glimpse of our history and an understanding of the strong religious values of the early settlers in Ellis County. The Roman Catholic influences, artistic gothic style and beautiful stained glass are the most dominant features, yet each church is unique in it’s own way. The individual history and stories that can be learned by visiting these churches is very fascinating and it makes one appreciate their beauty even more. The foresight and hard work that went into building these churches proves they stand as a symbol of faith for our early pioneers. We invite you to visit each of the churches, but keep in mind that most are active parishes with Sunday services, weddings and other religious activities that take place on a daily basis. The website link provides information, photos and contacts for each of the churches. It is recommended to call each church contact person in advance to arrange a tour or to make sure the church will be unlocked.

Other historic churches you may want to visit in the area: United Methodist Church – Hays & Ellis, St. Andrew’s – Northwest of Hays, St. Joseph – Liebenthal, St. Mary’s – Gorham, St Mary Help of Christians – Loretto.