Archive for Saturday, June 28, 1997

LECOMPTON TERRITORIAL FLAG UNFURLED

June 28, 1997

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— Lecompton officials will unveil a new flag showing the city's historic past as a former Kansas territorial capital.

It's about 143 years late.

But a seven-color Kansas territorial flag finally will fly today at Lecompton, which was Kansas' territorial capital prior to statehood.

"It stresses our historic past," Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society, said Friday.

The flag will be dedicated at 1:30 p.m. today as part of the Lecompton Territorial Capital Festival Days celebration. The ceremony will take place in the chapel of the Territorial Capitol Museum, 609 Woodson. U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., and Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh will speak at the dedication, Bahnmaier said.

The new flag incorporates the territorial seal authorized by Territorial Gov. Andrew Reeder in 1854 as an embossing stamp.

Lecompton artist Ellen Duncan used the territorial seal to design the flag, with the assistance of Tim Rues, curator of Lecompton's Constitution Hall, Opal Goodrick of the local historical society, and Bahnmaier.

Bahnmaier said they decided to put the territorial seal on a red field to differentiate it from the blue flag Kansas adopted after becoming a state in 1861.

"It gives us our own flag and stresses the past," he said.

Lecompton, about 10 miles northwest of Lawrence, gained national attention in the 1850s, when territorial lawmakers adopted a constitution that would have brought Kansas into the union as a slave state. The constitution, which later was voted down, helped inflame tensions between slavery advocates and abolitionists.

The flag features a seven-color impression of the Kansas Territorial Seal on a red background with "Lecompton, Kansas" printed in gold. The territorial seal carries the Latin phrase "Populi Voce Nata," or "Popular Will of the People."

Bahnmaier said about 50 of the flags, which sell for $120 each, have been ordered, and 30 of those already have been purchased.

Those wishing to purchase a flag can contact the historical society at 887-6148, he said.

Festival activities today include tours of the Territorial Capitol Museum and Constitution Hall.

In addition, pioneer history demonstrations, guided walking tours of Lecompton, carnival rides, food, games, arts, crafts and music will be offered.

Events begin with a pancake feed at 6:30 a.m. today and culminate with an evening concert, which will end at midnight.

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