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Archive for Saturday, February 2, 2008

The great eight

Lecompton may not be among the official “8 Wonders of Kansas” but it’s still tops in our book.

February 2, 2008

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The competition was stiff, but it still was a little disappointing that Lecompton's Constitution Hall historical site didn't make the cut to become one of the official "8 Wonders of Kansas."

The list released on Tuesday, Kansas Day, included many of the state's most popular attractions: The Eisenhower Museum, the Kansas Underground Salt Museum and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, but Lecompton and its nationally significant history failed to make the list.

Lecompton boosters did their best to promote the site in the statewide ballot, but they were philosophical this week after the results were announced. They were complimented to be among the 24 finalists and were in pretty distinguished company among those not chosen among the final eight. Those included such notable landmarks as the Garden of Eden in Lucas and the Chase County Courthouse in Cottonwood Falls.

For pure historical significance, it would be hard to beat Lecompton, which was the center of activity and debate over whether Kansas would be brought into the union as a slave or free state and therefore a focal point of events leading up to the U.S. Civil War.

People of this area still are proud of the work Lecompton residents and other area supporters have done to promote and interpret this chapter in history through events and programming. In fact, this year's "Bleeding Kansas" series is now in progress and will include first-person portrayals of significant historical figures on Sunday afternoons throughout February at Lecompton's Constitution Hall.

The good news about the "8 Wonders" contest is that it probably helped raise awareness statewide of the two dozen attractions that made the finals. Too many Kansans don't take time to appreciate the scenic and significant "wonders" of Kansas and the contest was a good reminder that we should be proud of our state and its heritage.

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