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Archive for Sunday, June 24, 1990

AREA FESTIVAL OFFERS LESSON IN HISTORY

June 24, 1990

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— With its red-and-white chapel, the Lane University Museum here has provided a special setting for many weddings over the years.

But Saturday's wedding was extra special, Lecompton residents agreed.

They turned out in droves during Lecompton's annual Territorial Days celebration to see the re-enactment of David Eisenhower and Ida Stover's wedding, staged in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the couple's son, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The original ceremony was held on Sept. 23, 1885, in Lecompton, probably in the same chapel, said Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society and a member of the Territorial Days committee.

Eisenhower met his wife-to-be in 1883, when they both came to study at Lane University in Lecompton. Dwight was born in 1890 in Denison, Tex., and the family moved to Abilene in 1892.

David Eisenhower and Ida Stover were portrayed in Saturday's re-enactment by State Sen. Wint Winter Jr., Lawrence, and his wife, Mary.

WINTER WAS decked out in a black hat, tie and tails, while his wife wore a blue dress modeled from the Eisenhower's wedding photo. She completed her outfit with an antique broach borrowed from the museum's collection.

Organizers tried at first to get the late president's grandson, David Eisenhower, and his wife, Julie, to star in the re-enactment, Bahnmaier said. Although they were interested, he said, the Eisenhowers couldn't make it to Lecompton.

Winter was a natural second choice, he said.

"Wint Winter is a special person for people in Lecompton," he said, explaining that Winter's grandparents homesteaded on a farm south of Lecompton in 1854, and the family has maintained ties to the community ever since. The family helped secure funding for the museum, Bahnmaier said, and Winter's father and Sen. Frank Gaines of Augusta purchased the historic Constitution Hall and donated it to the Kansas State Historical Society to ensure its preservation.

WINTER WAS all smiles after the ceremony as he and his wife greeted wedding guests.

"I was a little less nervous this time," he said as the guests filed by to shake hands and get their wedding cake and punch. For one thing, he said, he and his wife have been married 12 years and their children were present this time around.

"It's really special to be honoring the Eisenhowers and Lecompton and the history here," Winter said. "That's a special thing for my family."

Also participating in the re-enactment was Wayne Stover, whose grandfather was Ida's brother. Stover, who now lives in Topeka, grew up in Lecompton.

The "Eisenhowers" were married by the Rev. Don Flanner of the Lecompton United Methodist Church, just down the street.

FLANNER SAID he's presided over at least three other wedding ceremonies in the Lane University chapel.

"It's such a pretty, attractive place. I think of a Valentine's Day wedding or a Christmas wedding," said Flanner, who also serves on the Territorial Days committee.

Maxine Dark Bisel of Lecompton worked on and off for the last three weeks to make the wedding dress.

"I felt she wore it well," she said of Mrs. Winter.

About 2,000 people made the trip down "Eisenhower Memorial Drive" to Lecompton Saturday for the annual Territorial Days celebration, committee member Roy Paslay said.

The three-mile stretch of Douglas County Road 1029 running north from U.S. Highway 40 to Lecompton received the special designation this year for the Eisenhower centennial.

DOWNSTAIRS from the wedding chapel, Lecompton Postmaster Vicki Roberts and others were busy selling commemorative Eisenhower stamp cancellations.

"Once this is over, the (cancellation) stamp will be destroyed," Mrs. Roberts said. Marie Traxler, who was a postal clerk in Lecompton for nearly 10 years, estimated that at least 700 stamp cancellations had been sold so far, and they had more than a half-hour before closing time.

"It's fun," Mrs. Roberts said, "because we know no one else is going to have this cancellation. . . . I'll be going into a stamp collector's shop one day and I'll open up a book and this will be there."

A two-act play entitled "Ida," was also planned for Saturday. Lecompton resident Howard Duncan wrote the two-act play, which is about the lives of Ida Stover and David Eisenhower.

BUT NOT ALL of the Territorial Days activities centered around Eisenhower history. The Missouri Civil War Re-enactment Assn. staged a re-enactment of the battle of Fort Titus Saturday afternoon and presented a pre-Civil War style show at 3 p.m. at Lane University.

The Territorial Days celebration also offered a daylong softball tournament, horseshoe tournament and mud volleyball tournament, children's games, bingo, an ice cream social, talent show, music and a street dance.

The celebration is scheduled to continue today with another re-enactment of the Battle of Fort Titus, at 2 p.m. The day also will offer more food, crafts and games.

Lecompton is about 10 miles northwest of Lawrence.

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