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

Website:       http://www.bakeru.edu/quayle  

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.