Wingding 2014 Day18
Friday July 18
Smoky Hill Museum
Smoky Hill Museum
211 W Iron Avenue
Salina, Kansas 67401
Open: Tue-Fri: 12 - 5PM
Sat: 10AM - 5PM Sun: 1 - 5PM
free - donations encouraged
The Smoky Hill Museum is housed in a former 1938 art deco post office.
The Smoky Hill Museum is a small, high quality historical museum in Salina, Kansas. It does a superior job of telling some of the stories of Salina's businesses and past. Smoky Hill Museum isn't your typical local Historical Museum with random collections of objects that have more information about the person that donated them, then about the artifact and its context. The Crossroads of the Heartland tells Salina’s history by interweaving the sotry with experiences, tales, graphics, and artifacts.
Only a small portion of the Smoky Hill Museum's collection of over 20,000 artifacts from the 1800s to the present day are on display. There is a museum gift shop with a good selection of books about Kansas.
Most visitors to the Smoky Hill Museum will be satisfied with a one hour visit.
Why is the area called Smoky Hills?
There are several possibilities for the name.
According to an early edition of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, the word “Kansas” in the Indian vernacular means “Smoky Water.” This reference applies particularly to the stream commonly known as the Smoky Hill. Indians who lived and hunted along this stream for ages considered the Smoky Hill and Kansas rivers one and the same stream.
George Bird Grinnell, the historian, has a different version for the origin of the name. He says that a large grove of cottonwoods about twenty-five miles west of old Fort Wallace, an old camping ground and burial place of the Indians along the river, was a landmark in that locality and could be seen for miles. At a distance those trees appeared like a cloud of smoke, thus giving rise to the name Smoky Hill, which he said was given by the Indians.
In local legend the name comes from the smoky appearance of the area when seen from a distance.
In summary, early explorers and settlers, who noticed the blue-gray haze that hung among the sandstone bluffs and dark rock formations, gave the region the name Smoky Hills. Another legend tells of early travelers who thought the cottonwood trees swaying in the wind along the riverbeds gave the impression smoke hovering in the air.
How did Salina get its name?
The name Saline was given was given to the river, and later to the county on account of the salt marshes in this section. Saline refers to the high salt content of the river, which probably comes from the large salt mines farther south near Hutchinson. The name of the town, Salina, is probably a variation of Saline.
Pronunciation of Saline is Say - leen'. Salina is pronounced Suh - li' - nah.
What is the history of Smoky Hill Museum?
In 1879, town founder W. A. Phillips organized the Saline County Historical Society. Members were required to donate an artifact. When A. M. Campbell, another town founder, became secretary of the SCHS, he and his wife started collecting the artifacts in their home at 122 S. Ninth. Eventually, Campbell and his wife requested space for artifacts at the public library and the collection was moved there.
In 1956 the collection was moved to Oakdale Park and housed in the old swimming pool bathhouse. The Smoky Hill Historical Museum began operating as a history resource branch of the Salina Public Library. By 1984 responsibility for the collection was transferred to the City of Salina and when the City acquired the former post office building, the collection was moved to the basement while the building was being renovated.
The Smoky Hill Museum, located at 211 W. Iron, opened its doors as a free museum, operated by the City of Salina, to the public in October of 1986. In 1996 it was renovated to allow a better storage area for the collection of over 28,000 artifacts that are housed in the basement, which is climate controlled for proper storage. It is very unusual for a small museum to have this type of system. The most recent renovation was in 2005-2006, which included the installation of the permanent exhibit Crossroads of the Heartland. Currently, a special exhibit celebrating Salina’s 150th birthday is featured in the center gallery.
What is the connection between Camp Phillips, Smoky Hill Army Air Field, and Schilling Air Force Base?
By the 1940s, the Smoky Hills region found itself in the middle of World War II with the establishment of Smoky Hill Army Air Field (SHAAF) and Camp Phillips. Construction of the Air Field began in 1942. Originally built to support the B-17 “Flying Fortress” and B-24 heavy bombers, it operated for five years after the end of the war. It was deactivated in 1949.
Camp Phillips was named after Col. William A. Phillips, a town founder who served in the Civil War. It was established as an Army training camp and prisoner of war internment camp in 1942 and served an important role in preparing soldiers for World War II until 1944. It was dismantled in 1945-46.
Smoky Hill Army Air field was later transformed to train pilots and mechanics for the new B-29 “Super Fortress” heavy bomber and in 1951 was designated as a Strategic Air Command Base. On March 16, 1957, SHAAF was renamed Schilling Air Force Base after Col. David Schilling, a WWII fighter pilot. Schilling continued to provide a military influence in the Smoky Hills region until 1966 when the federal government closed the base.
What are “Waiting Wives?”
This term applies to a group of women and children who occupied the living quarters on Schilling Air Force Base after it ceased operation in 1966. During this time, America was becoming involved in the Vietnam War in Southeast Asia. Fort Riley in Junction City was a training area for the Army. As the soldiers were shipped overseas, their families became displaced, so many of them were brought to Salina to live in the housing units until the husband returned from his tour of duty. The area known as Schilling Manor operated from 1965-1974.
Who or what is Salina famous for?
Bill Graves Forty-third Governor of Kansas, 1995-2003
Graves was born in Salina and graduated from Kansas Wesleyan University and the University of Kansas in business. He became the Secretary of State of Kansas in 1990. In 1994 he became one of the youngest Governors in Kansas history. After his term as Governor ended, he served as President of the American Trucking Associations.
GlobalFlyer Aviator Steve Fossett set a world’s record in the GlobalFlyer for the first solo nonstop flight around the world on February 28-March 3, 2005. The flight lasted 67 hours, 1 minute and 10 seconds at an average speed of 342.2 mph over 22,936 statute miles. On March 17, 2006, he set an absolute world record distance over a closed circuit without landing. Both flights began and ended in Salina.
GlobalFlyer; Steve Fossett; Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic sponsor, celebrate.
H.D. Lee International retailer and manufacturer of Lee Jeans
Lee began his business career in Ohio. When he came to Salina, he opened a wholesale grocery business in 1889, but he is best known for his Lee Jeans and other workwear, western wear and casual wear. Recently, the downtown business district in Salina was renamed the “Lee District, Historic Salina Downtown.” The building that served as a warehouse for his wholesale business still stands in the “District.”
Paul Harvey Well-known radio commentator
Although Harvey was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he graduated from the University of Tulsa, he spent three years in Salina as a radio station manager. He is best known for his daily syndicated radio shows “News and Comment” and “The Rest of the Story.”
Steve Hawley NASA astronaut and administrator
Hawley moved to Salina with his family in the early 1960s. After graduating from Salina Central High School, he studied astronomy and received a doctorate degree. He was accepted into the Space Program and in 1984 he flew on the first flight of the space shuttle Discovery. In 1990 he was in charge of placing the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit on a Discover flight. He has recently retired from NASA and will begin teaching at the University of Kansas in Lawrence in the fall of 2008.
Tony’s Pizza This nationally-known brand began in Salina when Dick Barlow opened a small restaurant in downtown Salina. He named his pizza after his brother-in-law Greg “Tony” Paglia. In 1970 the company was purchased by Marvin Schwan who used a small fleet of delivery trucks to deliver pizza to people’s homes and later even grocery stores. Today, Tony’s Pizza, as well as Red Baron Pizza and other frozen foods are manufactured in Salina and delivered throughout the country.
First floor highlights include murals by David H. Overmyer, plus the ornate stenciling in the rotunda, and a view up toward the inner dome.
Features on this floor include murals by John Steuart Curry, the well known Tragic Prelude and Kansas Pastoral. Murals by Lumen Martin Winter are located in the rotunda, as are the four statues by Peter Felten, Jr. The ceremonial governor's office is one of the highlights of the tour.
The spectacular Senate Chamber in the east wing and Representative Hall in the west wing are important tour stops. The ornate Old Kansas Supreme Court in the south wing and State Library of Kansas in the north wing are equally impressive.
The east and west wing galleries offer a great view of the two beautiful spaces.
The dome murals by Abner Crossman can be viewed from fifth floor.
Historic tours are given Monday-Friday:
June - December
9 and 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.
The site was donated through the efforts of Cyrus K. Holliday, president of the early Topeka Town Company and one of the founders of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. In 1862 the company donated what has become known as Capitol Square. The legislature accepted the donation that year and authorized a building design by architect Edward Townsend Mix of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mix's concept for the Capitol was more than 300,000 square feet inspired by classical architecture and featuring a mansard roof.
In 1866 the state legislature passed House Bill 34 "An Act Providing for the Erection of the Statehouse." On February 14, 1866, Governor Samuel Crawford signed the bill into law. The statehouse committee also reviewed a concept from Kansas architect John G. Haskell, which Governor Crawford preferred. Haskell was hired as architect for the project and he made a number of changes to Mix's original design. The committee wanted the building to be fire resistant, to use natural lighting, and to attach the wings similar to the U.S. Capitol. The committee also wanted to incorporate the heating and ventilation techniques of monuments in the East. They authorized Haskell to explore other sites but to travel no farther east than Philadelphia. Haskell chose a classical style that was intended to give dignity to state government.
They began a search for appropriate building stone of sufficient quantity and accessible to transport to the building site in a timely manner. Limestone was identified near Manhattan in Riley County that would be appropriate, but no railroads existed to transport the stone to Topeka. They instead selected brown stone from a quarry on the bluffs along Deer Creek southeast of Topeka.
The east wing cornerstone was laid October 17, 1866. The brown stone did not harden sufficiently between quarrying and construction. Following a harsh winter in 1867, the cornerstone and foundation of the wing crumbled.
The stone was removed and harder limestone from Geary County was used to replace the foundation and continue construction on the wing. Limestone from Cottonwood Falls was selected for use elsewhere in the construction.
In 1869, while construction was still underway, state offices were moved to the new Capitol building from the Old Constitution Hall, now 427-429 Kansas Avenue. The legislature first met in the new Capitol in 1870. The east wing was finally completed in 1873 at a total construction cost reported at $480,000.
Work on the west wing, which is wider and longer than the east wing, was begun in 1879 and enclosed by 1880. A covered wood bridge, called the Cave of the Winds because of the draftiness, connected the two wings before the central building was in place. Limestone from Cottonwood Falls was used for the west wing. The wing was still under construction when the Kansas House of Representatives convened in 1881. The total cost of construction for the west wing was reported at $317,000.
Construction on the north and south wings began in 1883. The Senate chamber was remodeled in 1885 while the central building was under construction. Workers identified what they thought was a spring while digging the 25-foot deep foundation. Recent studies show the moisture seeps into the bedrock from the Kansas River. The contract for the roof and dome was let in 1889. A crack, caused by settling of the foundation, was repaired in 1890. With the emergence of the Populist Party in the 1890s, construction on the interior was interrupted.
Concepts for artwork in the Capitol's interior changed over the years. The original plans called for a fountain to be placed on the first floor rotunda; sculptures in the north and south pediments; and a large statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of vegetation, to be mounted atop the dome. Eventually, murals were added to the first floor, second floor, and fifth floor. Some of the original artwork became controversial and was replaced. Read more about specific artwork in the Capitol.
Construction on the Capitol took 37 years; the building was officially completed March 24, 1903. The total cost was $3,200,588.92.
Today the Kansas State Capitol is an impressive public monument as well as the working offices for the governor and legislators. A Kaw warrior, Ad Astra, was placed atop the dome in 2002, statues of four famous Kansans are located on the second floor rotunda, and murals by several Kansas artists are featured throughout the building. Several statues and memorials adorn the grounds. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
The Capitol measures 399 feet north and south and 386 feet east and west. It stands 306 feet from the ground to the top of Ad Astra's bow. The west wing is four feet wider and six feet longer than the east wing. The dome is 66.5 feet in diameter at the bottom of the copper dome and 54.5 feet from the beginning of the copper dome to the cupola floor. The cupola height is 23.5 feet. The Kansas State Capitol is approximately 17 feet higher than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.