Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcome 2016

As the year ended, we learned that the Baldwin City Signal was ceasing publication.  Many citizens of our great city were not surprised, but were disappointed.  It was with this announcement that we decided to take the gamble and launch our newest online publication.  With that we introduce to you the Baldwin City Gazette.
We welcome your press releases, birth, engagement, wedding and anniversary announcements. As well as obituary announcements.
Announcements, press releases and obituaries will be published as submitted. Please remember to double check for spelling, dates, times, extra spaces, etc. Please make sure all service information is changed to read in correct tense for publication. When an obituary is placed by a family member, we require funeral home or crematory contact information in order to verify the individuals passing before publication.
Announcements and Obituary submissions are $15 regardless of length (per insertion), and pictures are welcomed and encouraged. For those wishing to place classified advertising with us, the charge will be $5 for one week ($10 with a photo).
So with the onset of the new year, lets make 2016 the best year ever.

Another Small Town Paper Bites the Dust

The Baldwin City Signal announced that today's (Dec 31, 2015) paper would be the last issue of the paper.  According to the article, coverage for the area would be done by the Lawrence Journal World.
The World Company is ceasing publication of The Baldwin City Signal and shifting coverage of Baldwin City news and sports to the Lawrence Journal-World.
- Baldwin City Signal
It further said that,
Elvyn Jones, news editor of The Signal, will become a member of the Journal-World’s reporting staff. Jones will become the new county and area reporter, which will include coverage of Baldwin City council, school board, Baker University and other Baldwin-related news, said Chad Lawhorn, the Journal World’s managing editor.
- Baldwin City Signal
However, nothing was mentioned about the one reporter that was seen by some in the area. Even though the article mentioned that the Journal-World would continue to cover the Baldwin City signal, no one had been seen at the the city council meetings that we attended from the now defunct Signal.
“Being a seven-day per week newspaper, we’re going to be able to provide news and information to the Baldwin City community in a more timely fashion than we could with the weekly newspaper,” Lawhorn said. “I’m very proud of the work Elvyn and the staff of The Signal have done over the years. We’re excited about including that coverage in the Journal-World.”
- Baldwin City Signal
According to the same article, the World company is closing the Chieftain, which had served the Bonner Springs and Basehor communities. At the same time they plan to expand the Shawnee Dispatch from a weekly paper to two days a week.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

First Financial Institution Branch Office in Kansas

photographer Kevin Surbaugh
Branch Office
1201 Topeka Boulevard, Opened October 19, 1950
The first branch of any financial institution the state of Kansas
 A very modern facility for the time, this office was one of the first anywhere to offer a new innovation in convenience, an auto teller window.
The 50th anniversary of this successful office was marked by the addition of an updated drive-up facility. This office was established under the vision and leadership of former Chairman and President Henry A. Bubb, a national leader in the financial industry.  A long tradition of service from this and many other office locations continues under the direction of Chairman John C. Dicus and President John B. Dicus.

Huntoon and Topeka

Handicapped Accessibility:
The plaque is accessible to all, just outside the front doors of this bank branch. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Medowlark Lemon and his Ties to Northeast Kansas

On December 28, 2015 we learned that Meadowlark Lemon had passed away.  He was absolutely the best known of any of the Harlem Globetrotters.  However, what many may not realize is that he had many connections to not only the fine state of Kansas, but the northeast corner in particular.

  • In 1954 he played with the Globetrotters developmental team Kansas City Stars, before actually joining the Globetrotters the next year.

  • His childhood nickname (and that of his professional career) is the state bird of Kansas.

  • His grandchildren attended school in Avondale West Elementary in Topeka.

  • In the late 1990's his son George owned the Topeka Knights indoor football team.

  • Sources:
    New York Times
    Kansas City Star
    Topeka Capital Journal
    Meadowlark Lemon Biography - Official Website
    Harlem Globetrotters

    Saturday, December 26, 2015

    Area Blood Drives

    Here are the upcoming Red Cross blood drives throughout Northeast Kansas.

    January 5, 2016
    American Red Cross Kansas Capital Area Chapter
    1221 SW 17th St
    Topeka, KS 66604

    January 16, 2016
    Rawhide Harley-Davidson
    725 N. Rawhide Rd.
    Olathe, KS 66061

    January 18, 2016
    Bass Pro Shop Olathe
    12051 Bass Pro Drive
    Olathe, KS 66061

    Indian Creek Branch
    12990 South Black Bob Road
    Olathe, KS 66062

    January 22, 2016
    17200 W. 119th St
    Olathe, KS 66061

    January 27, 2016
    Pleasantview Building
    3107 S.W. 21st St
    Topeka, KS 66604

    January 28, 2016
    Immanuel Lutheran Church
    2104 Bob Billings Parkway
    Lawrence, KS 66049

    January 30, 2016
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
    2401 SW Kingsrow
    Topeka, KS 66614

    February 3, 2016

    Celebration Hall
    1737 S. Elm
    Ottawa, KS 66067

    February 5, 2016
    10 am-3:15pm
    Baker University
    618 Eighth St.
    Baldwin City, KS 66006

    February 6, 2016
    Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
    2211 Inverness Dr.
    Lawrence, KS 66047

    February 10, 2016
    Washburn University Law School
    1700 College Ave.
    Topeka, KS 66621

    Wednesday, December 23, 2015

    Black Jack Historical Site

    Just three miles east of Baldwin City is the site of the Battle of Black Jack.  One of many pre-Civil War skirmishes that took place throughout eastern Kansas.

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    This "battle" was part of the struggle to make Kansas a free state. In May, 1856, Proslavery men destroyed buildings and newspaper presses in Lawrence, Free-State headquarters. John Brown's company then killed five Proslavery men on Pottawatomie Creek not far from this spot. In retaliation Henry C. Pate raided near-by Palmyra and took three prisoners. Early on the morning of June 2, Brown attacked Pate's camp in a grove of black jack oaks about 1/4 mile south of this sign. Both sides had several wounded and numerous desertions before Pate and 28 men surrendered, Brown claiming he had only 15 men left. As evidence of civil war, this fight received much publicity and excited both the North and the South. 

    Erected by:
    Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission

    In Black Jack Park
    Marker is on U.S. 56 0.1 miles east of East 2000 Road.

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    South of this park are 18 acres of virgin prairie. Purchased 1967 by Douglas County from Russell Hays for a permanent prairie preserve and historic site. Evidence of Santa Fe Trail plainly visible. Original site of D.A.R, marker was near pioneer town of Black Jack ½ mile east.

    (D.A.R. marker) Inscription:
    Santa Fe Trail
    1822 - 1872
    marked by the
    Daughters of the
    American Revolution
    and the
    State of Kansas


    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    This replica of a 19th century log cabin was constructed in the fall of 1969 and dedicated in January of 1971. The cabin was constructed for the benefit of the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society for meetings and to display historical artifacts. Construction was funded by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. The logs were provided by Wilson Counts and sawed by Will Hey Sr.; the project was directed by Harvey Booth and Dayton Van Tries.

    Erected by:
    Santa Fe Historical Society

    In Black Jack Park
    Marker is on U.S. 56 0.1 miles east of East 2000 Road.

    (main) Inscription:
    First Battle between Free and Slave States fought on these grounds June 2, 1856

    (secondary) Inscription:
    Erected 1913 by Post 40 Grand Army of the Republic Women's Relief Corps #102

    Deeded to Kansas 1917

    In Robert Hall Pearson Memorial Park. 
    Marker is at the intersection of East 2000th Road and North 175th Road, on the right when traveling south on East 2000th Road. 

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Wednesday, December 16, 2015

    Tennessee Town Mural

    On the south-facing wall of a building owned by WCW Property Management at Huntoon and Lane is one of the newest murals in Topeka.

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    The building depicted on the left in the mural is the artists representation of what had been part of the shopping center on the same lot.  Though the building containing the mural is all that remains of the old shopping center, the artist wished to give an idea had been there.
    The building depicted in the center is Buchanan Elementary and is now the Buchanan Center.
    Then the building on the right side of the mural depicts the school at the center of  Brown v Board.
    Finally, the roads kind of gives a nod to the emerald city and is somewhat  of a metaphor to future growth.

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Jaime Colon

    More Information:
    Topeka ArtsConnect

    Wednesday, December 9, 2015

    The Twelve Days of Christmas" will cost you 0.6 percent more than last year

    Each year we hear reports about what it would cost to actually purchase the gifts in the song "Twelve Days of Christmas." This year is no different. So what are these reports saying this year?

    According to each of the reports the cost would be $34,131.

    - Partridge, $25; last year: $20

    - Pear tree, $190; last year: $188

    - Two turtle doves, $290; last year: $260

    - Three French hens, $182; last year: same

    - Four calling birds (canaries), $600; last year: same

    - Five gold rings, $750; last year: same

    - Six geese-a-laying, $360; last year: same

    - Seven swans a-swimming, $13,125; last year: same

    - Eight maids a-milking, $58; last year: same

    - Nine ladies dancing (per performance), $7,553; last year: same

    - 10 lords a-leaping (per performance), $5,508; last year: $5,348

    - 11 pipers piping (per performance), $2,635; last year: same

    - 12 drummers drumming (per performance), $2,855; last year: same

    CBS News (provider of full list above)
    Fox News
    USA Today
    Now you know, in case you wanted to get them for your true love.

    Monday, December 7, 2015

    Baldwin City Christmas

    Most every city in the country has a tree lighting ceremony. Some may make an evening of it. With numerous events surrounding the lighting ceremony. However, in Baldwin City, it is an all day event.
    This year that day was on Saturday December 5, 2015

    Starting with Breakfast with Santa (9 am) at the Intermediate Center (100 Bullpup Drive). The cost for this opportunity was $7, which supported the Baldwin City Recreation Commission. Breakfast consisted of all you can eat pancakes (from Chris Cakes™), sausage links and Tang™.
    Don Pratt; Baldwin City, catches pancakes flipped by Brent; Louisburg of Chris Cakes™.
    Photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Beginning at the same time (until 7pm) the Lumberyard Arts Center (718 High Street) hosted their annual Festival of Wreaths and Trees. Where participants decorate and donate one for display and silent auction, making a fun fundraiser for the Lumberyard Arts Center.
    Photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Then at 10 am, the first run (another run was at 1 pm) of the "Santa Claus Express" began at the Midland Railway (1515 High Street). Riders were able to see Santa in his own specially decorated passenger car (built in 1898), take pictures of their kids with Santa, while enjoying hot cocoa or hot cider as well as fresh baked sugar cookies for each passenger. Coach tickets were $14 for children (under 11) and $19 for adults (ages 12 and up). While first class tickets was $23 for children (under 11) and $29 for adults (ages 12 and up). Other runs of the Santa Claus Express are Dec 6 (10am and 1pm), Dec 11 (7 pm), Dec 12 (10am and 1pm) and Dec 13 (10 and 1pm). Even though the train is not handicapped accessible, the staff will attempt to help those with mobility issues to board the train.
    Photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    The annual Holiday Homes Tour began at 11am, tickets were $15 which supports the Baldwin City Community Emergency Fund. Which helps those in the Baldwin school district (USD 348) with assistance in times of crisis. That can include assistance with utility bills, rent, gasoline, food and medical expenses or aid after catastrophic events.

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Another project at the Lumberyard Arts Center (718 High Street) began at 1pm (and 4pm) was the Gingerbread House Party. With two classes, allowing participants to build their own gingerbread house for $15 per house.
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Then at 5pm the annual Holiday Chili Supper was held at Ives Chapel Methodist Church for a free will offering. At the same time over at the Lumberyard Arts Center the Victorian Carolers sang a number of Christmas classics to a packed house enjoying cookies and hot chocolate.
    Santa arrives on an antique firetruck at the tail end of the parade
    Photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    The days events began to culminate at 6 pm with the annual Festival of Lights parade near 8th and High. The parade ran through historic downtown Baldwin City and featured Santa Claus making his grand entrance on an antique fire truck. This year, the Grand Marshall was Dr. Dara Lowe,  who for the last four years has been a family physician at the Baldwin Medical Clinic (on High Street).  Her husband former city administrator Chris Lowe will be moving to Monument, CO, where he has accepted a new position as city manager.
    Christmas Tree
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    The tree lighting ceremony in the 700 block of High Street at 6:30pm and a spectacular first ever Baldwin City Christmas fireworks display, helped bring the night to the final events.  Where, kids had an opportunity to visit Santa, and have their pictures taken with the jolly old elf himself at 7pm. Not to mention the adults had a chance to win a raffle drawing for a 62" TV.  Proceeds from the raffle will go towards the Baldwin City Emergency Fund.
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

    Washburn Ichabod Statues

    Washburn University’s Mr. Ichabod mascot may be 75 years old, but he is proving he isn’t too old to step out on the town. The first in a series of 23 fiberglass figurines of Mr. Ichabod that will be placed outside Topeka businesses, organizations and schools was unveiled Monday morning in front of the Capitol Federal branch at 1201 S.W. Topeka Blvd.
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Each statue, which will remain in its location for a year, requires a $5,000 sponsorship by individuals or organizations. The cost covers the making, decorating, setting and maintaining of the statues, which are to be decorated in a unique fashion by a local artist.
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    The statue in front of the Capitol Federal location was painted by Topeka artist Barbara Waterman-Peters, who used the same tint of blue that the Capitol Federal building has on its trim and signage.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2015

    Santa Coming To Topeka by Train

    According to the Facebook event page, Santa Clause will arrive in Topeka via a Union Pacific Train at the Great Overland Station in North Topeka.   The time for this event is Sunday December 6. 2015.  Children will get to meet and have their photos taken with Santa for $3 per child, between 1 and 3.

    Date & Time:
    Sunday, December 6, 2015 from 1:00-3:00 pm

    701 North Kansas Avenue.

    “Friends of the Station” Members are FREE
    Children 12 and under are FREE
    Ages 13 and up is $3

    For more information:

    Sarah at 785-232-5533, ext. 13

    Tuesday, December 1, 2015


    When you drive down Highway 56 through Baldwin City, there is a historical marker just east of the city limits.
    Here, and for the next 300 miles west, Highway 56 roughly follows the old Santa Fe trail, and frequently crosses it. White settlement began in this area in 1854, the year Kansas became a territory, and in 1855 the town of Palmyra was founded. When Baker University was established on the outskirts in 1858 a new town sprang up. It was named for John Baldwin, an Ohio capitalist who in 1857 hauled a steam sawmill in over the trail. By 1863 Palmyra had merged with Baldwin.

    Local settlers were "Free~State" in the fight over slavery; several were captured in a Proslavery raid of 1856. Among Free~State leaders was Dr. Andrew T. Still, founder of osteopathy, whose theory of healing was developed here.

    Baker University, named for Methodist Bishop Osmon Baker, is the state's oldest four-year college. It houses the famous Bishop Quayle Bible collection and its first building, the "Old Castle", is now a museum.

    Erected by:
    Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission. (Marker Number 8.)

    US-56, Douglas County
    Roadside turnout about a half (.5 miles) east of  Baldwin City

    Handicapped Accessibility:
    Technically, there is no place to get out of your car. There is a place to exit the highway, to view the sign and then get back on to the highway.

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    Onion Domes in NE Kansas

    What are onion domes?
    First they are not a new kind of onion rings. In fact they are not food at all. According to Wikipedia,
    An onion dome is a dome whose shape resembles an onion. Such domes are often larger in diameter than the drum upon which they sit, and their height usually exceeds their width. These bulbous structures taper smoothly to a point.

    It is the predominant form for church domes in Russia (mostly on Russian Orthodox churches) and in Bavaria, Germany (German: Zwiebelturm (= "onion tower"), plural: Zwiebelt├╝rme, mostly on Catholic churches), but can also be found regularly across Austria, northeastern Italy, Eastern Europe, Mughal India, the Middle East and Central Asia.

    Other types of Eastern Orthodox cupolas include helmet domes (for example, those of the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod and of the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir), Ukrainian pear domes (Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev), and Baroque bud domes (St. Andrew's Church in Kiev).
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    Here in Topeka and northeast Kansas there are a number of onion domes. Most notably is the Charles Curtis House (museum), the house that served as the home to the Topekan, who would one day become Vice President of the United States.   The onion domes additions to the Charles Curtis House were added in 1888 by architect Seymour Davis (1869 - 1923).

    In addition, there are two that have long been removed from their original buildings and now sit in a yard in central Topeka.  The history of which, I have long wondered about.  They, in fact what got me to thinking about doing this article.

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Other onion domes that we have learned of exist in Kansas City, KS. A former Russian Orthodox Church that is now home to the Thieves Of Flight Dance Studios, features these architectural designs.

    The domes pictured can be seen as you drive in the area of 13th and Buchanan in Topeka, KS

    Friday, November 20, 2015

    Christmas Lighting Ceremonies in NE Kansas

    Each year, communities gather to light the communities Christmas lights. This year is no different. Here is a brief snapshot of the events happening this year around northeast Kansas.

    Baldwin City 
    The Festival of Lights Parade and Tree Lighting held the first Saturday of December each year. This year that is
    Dec. 5th.
    Parade begins at 6pm
    Lighting ceremony follows the parade Downtown at Eighth and High Street

    Holiday Lighted Parade & Mayor's Tree Lighting
    Nov 20th
    5.00pm - 7.00pm
    Haymarket Square, Cherokee Street and S 7th Street

    Christmas in the Park- 25th Annual
    Nov 30, 2015
    at Cornerstone Park
    215 N. Center St.

    Mayor Tree Lighting
    Nov 28
    on Main Street

    Overland Park
    Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
    Nov. 20
    5:30-7:30 p.m

    5:30–7:30 p.m.: Free hayrides and pictures with Santa (you supply the camera)
    5:40 p.m.: Beller Dance Studio
    6:10 p.m.: Check Presentation and Tree Lighting
    6:25 p.m.: At Kansas School of Classical Ballet: Selections from The Nutcracker, pictures with the Sugar Plum Fairy (you supply the camera) and Studio Open House. At the Clock Tower Patio: Dickens Carolers
    7 p.m.: Heartland Ringers
    at the Clock Tower patio in Downtown Overland Park

    Prairie Village
    Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting
    Corinth Square Shops 8262 Mission Rd
    December 3

    Miracle on Kansas Avenue
    Nov 28
    5:30pm – Tree Lighting Ceremony
    6pm – Parade

    Thursday, November 19, 2015

    New Hotel in Downtown Topeka Makes use of Historic Buildings

    Unlike others that have torn down older and even historic buildings to make room for new developments. The people behind the new hotel; recently announced, they would renovate four historic buildings to open a new 79 room hotel.
    On their Twitter account, they describe themselves as,
    A 79-room boutique hotel and restaurant concept with 10,000+ sq ft of event space that will occupy four historic buildings in downtown Topeka, KS.
    According to WIBW, a developer unveiled plans for perhaps the biggest addition yet, going five stories up.

    Plans to transform four historic buildings on South Kansas Avenue into a boutique hotel and restaurant are underway. Cody Foster, a co-founder of Topeka's Advisor's Excel, is expanding his view from the financial world to downtown Topeka.

    Foster announced his intentions for the Cyrus Hotel and Holiday Public House. The new venue featuring 10,000 sq. ft. of event and meeting space is named after the founder of Topeka, Cyrus K. Holliday.l
    The new hotel that will fill the historic buildings at 912, 916, 918, and 920 Kansas Avenue, will also include a five story tower that will be constructed. According to the Topeka Capital Journal
    For Foster, his work to renovate the historic buildings in the 900 block of S. Kansas Avenue is a project that builds on his belief in the capital city and what it can become. He gets a little frustrated with people — some who live here — who don’t see what it already is.
    “Nothing drives me crazier than when people say something like, ‘Why have you stayed in Topeka?’ ” he said. “Can we just stop asking that question? Why don’t you just rephrase it and say, ‘Tell us all the great things about Topeka.’ It’s almost like saying, ‘My God, I can’t believe you stay here.’ ”
    His vision of a “great, vibrant destination spot downtown” fits in with his positive feelings about Topeka, and, of course, with being a businessman here. A cool, hip destination spot at the city’s core will make it easier to recruit people to work for Advisors Excel, which currently has 350 employees.
    Most all the media reports indicated Foster quoted part of  a Holiday quote, in which the founder of Topeka said,
     "I am now thirty miles above Lawrence on the Kansas River assisting in starting a new town. We are just about in the central portion of the "settled" Territory and with perhaps the best landing and the most eligible site for a city in the entire country. ... So I think it must be, and in a few years when civilization by its magic influence shall have transformed this glorious country from what it is now to the brilliant destiny awaiting it, the Sun in all his course will visit no land more truly lovely and desirable than this. Here, Mary, with God's kind permission, we will make our home; and I have every reason to believe a home it will truly be." - Cyrus K Holliday
    Foster expects the hotel to open in the fall of 2017.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    Wicked Pony

    When driving into Baldwin City, it’s hard to miss the rearing horse and cowboy bronze statue on the front lawn of the Mid-America Bank. So what is the history of this statue? Who sculpted it. Those were the questions we sought to find out. After searching the internet and asking around town, we finally went to Mid-America Bank and talked with Jeff Hill, Vice-President of the bank. According to Hill, it is a replica of Frederic Remington's "Wicked Pony."

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    About the "Wicked Pony" statue:
    According to the article by Shannon  J. Hatfield, on the Remington Art website “The Wicked Pony” (1898) was inspired a past event that Remington witnessed. Where a cowboy attempted to wrestle the horse, after being thrown from the animal. An event, which proved dangerous to the cowboy, after being fatally kicked.
    Due to a fire only ten of the made, making this piece is one of Remington's rarer pieces.

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    About Frederic Remington:
    Frederic Remington (1861–1909) was an American painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer who specialized in depictions of the Old American West. Depicting the life of the cowboy during the 1880's and 1890's, in the opinion of many, better then any other artist of his time.
    Growing up in Canton, New York, he left college at the age of 19, looking for adventure in the wild west. He operated his own ranch in Peabody, KS (north central Kansas) until failure became a reality in 1886. At which time he returned to the east coast. That same year he was commissioned by Harper's Weekly to cover the governments war against Geronimo, in Arizona as an illustrator.
    He didn't actually start sculpting until 14 years before his death in 1909. His first clay sculpture, was “Bronco Buster” in 1895.

    Tuesday, November 10, 2015

    Quayle Rare Bible Collection

    The collection of rare Bibles at Baker University started when Bishop William Alfred Quayle, left his collection of 250 volumes, to Baker University, at the time of his death in 1925. The collection contains rare Bibles as well as other items such as handwritten scrolls, and bible translations that range in age from 2000 BC to the present. Not to mention, Bibles signed by every president since Harry S. Truman. The collection now includes 900 pieces.
    However, not every piece in the collection is displayed at any one time.  Each year, the curator carefully selects the pieces that will be displayed with that years theme (Sept 5, 2015-July 31, 2016 is King David: Poet, Warrior, Seducer & Murderer).
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    In the lobby, just before entering the collection are a few of the Bibles that were sent to each President since Harry Truman. 
    Bibles signed by President Obama (center), Ronald Reagan (top left),
    John Kennedy (top right) and Dwight Eisenhower) bottom right)
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Bible signed by President Obama. Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    In addition is a room from the Urishay Castle, in England near the border with Wales.  The original castle that this room was once part of, was inhabited by the Delehay Family in the late 19th century.
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Hours:         Saturday & Sunday 
                        or by appointment
                        CLOSED: All Holidays; July 4 & 5; August 1 - 31

    Admission:  Free


    Phone:         (785) 594-8414

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Location:    Collins Library at Baker University
                        518 Eighth Street
                        Baldwin City, Kansas 66006

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Handicapped Accessibility: The building is accessible, however it is street parking, which may make it harder to get to the sidewalk and/or curb cut. 

    Monday, November 9, 2015

    Lawrence Looking at Plastic Bag Restrictions

    If three environmental groups get their way Lawrence could become the first city in northeast Kansas to ban plastic bags.  In a recent article in the Lawrence Journal World,
    Members of the Sustainability Action Network, the Sierra Wakarusa Group and the Lawrence Environmental Teams United for Sustainability (LETUS) decided it was time to “stop talking and explore some actions,” said Thad Holcombe, a member of the Sierra group.
    image from Nation of Change
    The city’s Sustainability Advisory Board will meet Wednesday November 11, 2015 to hear the groups proposals. At which time they will decide whether or not to explore the matter further. If they do continue looking at the the issue, it will multiple months before a final decision.
    Previous attempts in the state of Kansas has failed.
    Prairie Village started studying a possible ban or fine late last year. Earlier attempts to ban plastic bags in Garden City and Roeland Park failed. - Lawrence Journal World

    Sunday, November 8, 2015

    Baldwin City Quilts of Valor

    Recently I learned of a group of ladies in Baldwin City who are busily working to make quilts to give to thirteen (13) Baldwin City area World War II veterans this Veterans Day (November 11, 2015). The effort is part of the nationwide, known as Quilts of Valor. Which according to their website,
    The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.
    The ladies plan to present the thirteen quilts on Nov.11 at noon at the Baldwin City Elementary School, Intermediate Center, 100 Bullpup Drive and at 2pm at Vintage Park, 321 Crimson Ave both in the city of Baldwin City.
    After the presentation, the ladies will pickup their needles and thread once again, to start making quits for those who served in the Korean War, according to Jo Cornelius. Whom I first learned about the group from.
    The local group can be found on Facebook as well.

    Saturday, October 31, 2015

    Bad News to Social Security and Medicare recepients

    Here at Northeast Kansas Magazine, we don't usually report the news. However, there is one news tidbit, that affects every single Social Security recipient in Northeast Kansas.
    According to the New York Times,
    The 60 million people on Social Security will not receive any cost-of-living increase in their benefits in 2016, the government said Thursday, but because of a quirk in federal law, nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries could have record increases in their premiums unless Congress intervenes.
    Even though most media reports the the news is only the third time in 40 years, that it has ever happened. The Real facts, that the same media bury within their stories, is that it is the the third time in six years (since 2010). The Washington Post, gets to it in the second paragraph, which is pretty early compared to most other news publications;
    It is only the third time in 40 years — all of them during the Obama administration — that the Social Security Administration has not increased its payments. The raises are tied to the consumer price index (CPI).
    Apparently, the Federal government blames it on lower gasoline prices. That's right, something that is a good thing for most American's pocketbooks, is being blamed for why the consumer price index is flat. Not trying to to take sides here, but only the government can turn a positive into a negative.
    The report gets worse. Medicare premiums could raise by $54 to $159 per month.

    White House press secretary Josh Earnest, was quoted in the Washington Post,
    the administration “is aware of this, frankly, unintended policy consequence resulting from the formula for calculating cost of living adjustments. And so we’re aware of this problem and it is something that we’re concerned about.”

    Earnest said the White House has had “discussions” with members of Congress about the issue “and our interest in trying to resolve it” but declined to elaborate.
    However, nothing thus far has been done, since the story first broke in mid-October.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015

    Haunted Lawrence

    I'm not a believer in ghosts, but as Halloween approached I thought it would be of interest to readers to see some of the areas ghost stories and haunted attractions. That said, lets take a look at the reportedly "haunted places," in Lawrence.

    The Eldridge Hotel
    According to the website, Haunted Places to Go, the Eldridge is one of the most popular haunted places in the state of Kansas.  Located at 706 Massachusetts in downtown Lawrence, the hotel is reportedly haunted, but not for the current building there. Rather, it is the previous "Free State Hotel," that was attacked on May 21, 1856 by cannon that started a fire in the hotel. It was rebuilt, only to again be set on fire during William Quantrill's raid on Lawrence on August 21, 1863.
    In the year of 1865, the hotel – which had been destroyed not once, but twice – was officially rebuilt and opened to the public. This time, it was blessed with a new name – the Eldridge Hotel. It was constructed using what remained from the previous hotel – a simple cornerstone. As time progressed, this hotel was considered to be the finest hotel that stood west of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, by the time that the year 1925 arrived, the structure was in disarray and needed to be reconstructed. It had played such an intense role in the history of the city that many felt it was only appropriate to bring it back to its original splendor. However, the years took its toll on the building once more by the era of the 60s. As a result, its doors were closed on the 1st day of July in the year of 1970.

    The hotel stood, barren and in disarray, for a decade and a half. In the year of 1985, many locals of the region decided that it would be appropriate to fix up the hotel and make use of it. It was at this time that renovations on the building started. Investors, along with a two million dollar donation from the City of Lawrence, started rebuilding the structure. The top four individual floors of the building were completely stripped and renovated and created an amazing forty eight suites that consisted of two rooms each. Additionally, the lobby of the building was also renovated and created in such a manner that it displayed the original elegance that it displayed in its earliest days.

    As with any building with a previous life, the renovations seemed to spark ghostly tales. When these renovations started, rumor quickly got around that the hotel was one of the most haunted places in Kansas. Many that worked on the building and several that worked for the hotel have shared numerous ghost stories – especially about the fifth floor. It is believed that the heightened emotions and tragic turmoil of the structure has created a spiritual based portal in the fifth floor. The specific room associated with this portal is identified as the number “506. In and around this room, strange experiences such as doors opening and closing on their own, electrical complications, and cold spots have been encountered.
    - Haunted Places to Go

    The Eldridge Hotel
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    Reportedly the cornerstone, mentioned above is in that room and that is why Room 506 is the portal to the spirit world.

    Haskel Indian Nations University
    According to those who believe,there are a number of locations at Haskell Indian Nations University, an 1800s institution built to help Native Americans assimilate with the mainstream population, that are rumored to be haunted. At the Bell Tower, students have reported a mysterious sealed-off wall in the basement and a feeling of being watched from above as they pass by. At Hiawatha Hall, the oldest building on the campus, a ghost supposedly opens and closes doors, even those propped open with a doorstop. At Haskell Auditorium, a ghost reportedly sits in the auditorium seats during shows, and a little girl has been heard crying backstage. In Pocahontas Hall’s basement, the ghost of a girl who once hanged herself here may appear hanging from the ceiling. And just south of Taminend Hall, ghostly crying has been heard at a small cemetery containing the remains of approximately 70 children who died during a smallpox epidemic.

    Sigma Nu Fraternity - Kansas University
    According to, the house that now houses the Fraternity, used to be the home of former Governor Walter Stubbs (who served 1909-1913) and his wife. Reportedly, after spending time in Topeka, Governor Stubbs came home (on April 22, 1911) to find the maid, "Virginia," hung in the third floor ball room.  He later found his wife rocking back and forth, traumatized by the death.  Reportedly, she hung herself, and her ghost has been seen throughout the house since.  Although, there is some question if she really did kill herself or if she was murdered.
    According to the legend, Stubbs' wife suspected her husband of having an affair with Virginia, so she killed the girl and trussed her up in the closet to make it look like suicide.

    The governor's wife was later committed to an asylum, according to one account of the tale.

    The story doesn't end there.

    As an added twist, the legend states that the governor had Virginia's cremated remains buried behind the large stone fireplace.

    Adding to the mystery is an engraved plate on the fireplace with a cryptic message that says in Gothic typeface, "The World of Strife Shut Out, the World of Love Shut In.".

    So there you have it.  Reported ghosts in Lawrence, and not to far away (about 11 miles) in nearby Stull, is the "Gateway to Hell," as we told you about last Halloween Season.

    Saturday, October 24, 2015

    Wooden Spoke

    We are on the search for the best burger in Topeka. Here is how we rate the burger joints that we will review. First we put heavy emphasis on where the joint is headquartered, Local (NE Kansas) will garner an automatic 10 bonus points. Kansas owned chains (headquartered in Wichita, Hutchinson, Pitsburg, etc) an automatic 5 bonus points and National chains (those headquartered outside the state) will garner an automatic 0 bonus points. The ten categories that we will use in our search for the best burger in Topeka will be 1.Burger Patties Quality, 2. Bun Quality, 3. Customer Service, 4. Garnish Quality, 5. Fries Quality, 6. Atmosphere, 7. Order Accuracy, 8. Cleanliness (Restrooms, Dinning area, Entrance, etc), 9. Building Accessibility and 10. Price. All categories will earn a score between 1 and 10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the poorest.

     Bonus Points: 10
    The Wooden Spoke is a Baldwin City icon, that we decided to visit during the Maple Leaf  Festival. The busiest weekend in this small Northeastern Kansas community. 

    photographer by Kevin Surbaugh

    1. Burger Patties Quality: 10
     We ordered the "Spoke Burger," a half pound burger served to your request.  There is no standard garnishment on this burger, except for what the customer requests. My wife and I ordered our burgers well done.  Mine had leaf lettuce and ketchup.  My wife ordered hers with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and ketchup.
    Both burgers were thick, thoroughly cooked (as ordered), seasoned with what the waitress described the owners secret blend of seasonings.  

    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    2. Bun Quality: 10
     The bun looked and tasted very fresh.

    3. Customer Service: 7
     Perhaps, we chose the wrong day to visit this restaurant.  Even though, we were seated by our greeter as soon as we walked into the restaurant, we were given our burgers, but were not given silverware or napkins, that others were given as soon as they were seated.  We were given menus and quickly decided on what we wanted.  However, it was 20 minutes after we were seated, before seeing our waitress.  It then took another 35 minutes to get our food.  Despite all this, the waitress seemed very friendly and courteous. 

    4. Garnish Quality: 10
     Fresh cold vegetables. 

    5. Fries Quality: 10
    The fries were hot, fresh and very delicious.  No complaints here.

    6. Atmosphere: 9
    Even though they have a full bar (yes you can even order a Margarita or Daiquiri), there is a strong family friendly atmosphere.

    7. Order Accuracy: 10
    Our order was delivered to us exactly as we had requested,  we can't say anything but praise in this category.

    8. Cleanliness (Restrooms, Dining area, Entrance, etc): 6
     The restroom was a mess, water was all over the floor.  While I was in there, it seemed someone was messing with the door.  When I came out, someone had taped an out of order sign on both the men's and women's restrooms.  Seems they were having issues, another reason this may have been a bad day to visit.
    The dining area was clean and well kept as well as the entrance area. 

    9. Building Accessibility: 4

     The first blaring problem was no handicapped parking spaces.  Since every space near the fairly accessible sidewalk was taken by cars without handicapped placards, it would be nearly impossible for someone in a wheelchair to enter the restaurant.  Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act requires such accessibility this restaurant has none.   For 1-25 parking spaces, there must be at least one signed location. For 26-50 spaces, there must be at least 2 parking spaces.  On the day we visited the parking lot was full, with at least 25 cars if not more in the parking lot when we entered. That being said, we would estimate there should be at least two spots designated handicapped parking.  Which means, they are in violation of the law signed into law by President Reagan.
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    10. Price: 9
    Considering the quality and amount of meat served the price was fairly reasonable.  Each burger was $7.79 and included the side of fries.  
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

    Before the tip we paid a total of $23 and some change, for two burgers/fries, 1 Coca-Cola™, 1 class of water and then a slice of turtle cheese cake that we shared for desert.
    photographer Kevin Surbaugh

     That cheese cake was as good as it looks.  Unfortunately, it isn't a category that we review.

    Total: 10.1

    Monday, October 12, 2015

    Louisburg Cider Mill

    Did you know in Louisburg, Ks there was a cider mill that MSNBC picked as one of the top 10 cider mills in America?  That Cider Mill is of course Louisburg Cider Mill™.  Unlike many apple cider brands, Louisburg Cider Mill's apple cider is not “watered down”. It is 100% apple cider.  Absolutely not watered from concentrate

    photographer: Kevin Surbaugh
    At the Mill location you can find a Country Store, Pumpkin patch and see an old commercial cider press. While there, you absolutely must try the fresh apple cider doughnuts. In addition to apple cider and doughnuts, they have many fruit jams and jellies. Of course you can't forget the Lost Trail™ Sodas and the Lost Trail™ Root beer is the best. 
    photographer: Kevin Surbaugh

    Location: 14730 K68 Highway
                     Louisburg, KS 66053
    photographer: Kevin Surbaugh

    Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-6pm
                Sundays 9am-6pm
               Year Round

    photographer: Kevin Surbaugh
    Website:Louisburg Cider Mill

    Phone:  913-837-5202

    photographer: Kevin Surbaugh
    Handicapped Accessibility: All buildings had ramps and was pretty accessible.  The grass was cut low enough that it didn't seem to be any problem. 

    Wednesday, October 7, 2015

    Topeka Zoo

    According to Wikipedia, the Topeka Zoo is a medium-sized zoo in Topeka, KS. According to the same article, the history of the zoo started in 1899 when the Gage Family donated 80 acres to the city of Topeka for use as public park. Over the years, the park has accumulated playgrounds, a swimming pool, a fishing lake, a mini train, a rose garden, and a carousel.

    The zoo was opened in the park in 1933. A number of additional exhibits were constructed over the next number of years, and in 1963 the city hired its first zoo director, Gary K. Clarke. The first major facility at the zoo was constructed in 1966 to house large mammals. Clarke went on to get many of the current exhibits constructed, including Gorilla Encounter (1985), the Koala Exhibit (1986), Lion’s Pride (1989), the Tropical Rainforest (1974), and Discovering Apes (in two phases first in 1981 and second one in 1985).

    Why is the Topeka Zoo sometimes referred to as the "World Famous Topeka Zoo"?

    At one time the Topeka Zoo was world renowned. Thus the name "World Famous Topeka Zoo". But why? The biggest reason is they had the first golden eagle bred and born in captivity (1971). Another reason is that the Zoo was one of the first indoor tropical rain forests in the United States (1974).

    Handicapped Accessibility
    The zoo is pretty accessible throughout the campus including most of the buildings.

    635 SW Gage Blvd
    Topeka, KS 66606
    Topeka Zoo

    History of Topeka Zoo Directors
    Gary Clarke (1963-1989)
    Hugh Quinn (1990-1993)
    Mike LaRue (1993-1998)
    David Mask (1999-2001)
    Mike Coker (2001-2009)
    Brendan Wiley (2011-present)

    Monday, September 28, 2015

    Little Free Library Project

    The Little Free Library Project is a nationwide;  scratch that, worldwide movement that got started in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. Filling it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it so he built several more and gave them away. Each one had a sign that read "FREE BOOKS."
    By the summer of 2010 the mission and purposes served by the little boxes of books started becoming clearer. The original models had all been built with recycled materials. Each was unique but all shared the theme of exchanging good books and bringing people together for something positive.

    In the few short years since, the movement has spread to all 50 states and even into some foreign countries. As I was researching this article over the last couple of years, I seen references to them being set up in the United Kingdom and France, among other countries worldwide.

    Below is a list of the libraries in Northeast Kansas that we know about. Some residences are putting up their own libraries so there may be more out there we haven't found out about. While our original thought, was to photograph each and every library, we eventually realized that would not be practical. So without further ado, here is the list we have compiled.  Feel free to use the comments below to add other libraries in northeast Kansas that we may have missed.  

    1.  5716 SW Westport Circle  
    2.  2614 SW 15th Street  
    3.  4117 SW 34th Street  
    4.  721 SE 35th Street  
    5.  1424 SW Lancaster 
    6.  2713 SE Michigan Ave  
    7.  4449 SE Pennsylvania Ave  
    8.  225 SW Yorkshire  
    9.  3324 SW Burlingame Rd 
      photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    10.  3914 SW 40th Terrace  
    11.  1800 SW Medford  
    12.  7810 SW El Cerrito Drive 
    13.  139 SW Kendall 
    14.  1202 SW Wayne 
    15.  2600 SW 8th 
    16.  1435 SW Boswell  
    17.  4400 SW 10th Avenue  
    18.  700 SW Jewell Ave.  
    19.  1110 SE Highland Ave. 
    20.  2515 SW Valley Brook Ln.  
    21.  1200 Orleans (In front of the Rainbow House)
      photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    22.  (Central Congregational Church) 1248 SW Buchanan
      photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    23.  The Toy Store on 21st Street
    24.  3415 SW 29th Terrace 
    25.  3320 SE Starlight Drive 
    26.  1176 SW Warren 
    27.  (Sheldon Head Start) 1155 Seabrook
    28.  700 SW Western 
      photographer Kevin Surbaugh
    29.  129 SW Roosevelt 
    30.  (Williams Elementary School) 1301 SE Monroe
    31.  1833 SW Lane 
    32.  3238 SW Oakley 
    33.  2012 Washburn 
    34.  141 West Fremont 
    35.  129 SW Buchanan
    36.  2019 SW Arnold
    37.  2053 S. Kansas Ave
    38.  1529 Jewell
    39.  107 Woodlawn
    1.   2018 Marvonne Rd
    2.  612 West 17th
    3.   733 Mississippi
    4.   2013 Vermont St
    5.   4724 Broadway Court
    6.   723 Illinois
    7.   4121 Goldfield Street
    8.   925 W. 29th Street
    9.   907 Murrow Court
    10.   1701 Barker Avenue

    Baldwin City
    1.   Tom Swan Park Demonstration Garden (near 8th and High)
    1.   88916 Ensley Lane
    2.   12913 Cedar Street
    3.   10404 Wenonga Lane

    1.   2100 19th Terrace
    2.   2717 Broadway Terr.
    1.   12900 West 101st Street

    Prairie Village
    1.   2709 W. 73 Street
    2.   4317 W 67th St
    3.   412 W 67th St
    4.   4916 W 78th Place
    5.   9101 Delmar St
    1.   314 Stanton Road

    Map of Little Free Libraries Worldwide