Archive for Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lecompton to celebrate its history with food, games, music and history

June 25, 2014


If you go:


Carnival, 6 to 10 p.m., $10 per night, $17 per weekend.

Lost and Found concert, 8:30 p.m., free.


5K Fun Run and Walk, 7:30 a.m. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. at the historic Lecompton High School building.

Pioneer Skills Demonstrations, 9 a.m. Guests can observers tailor, seamstress, blacksmith, broom maker and others at work.

Parade, 11 a.m. It will pass Lecompton Elementary, head north on Whitfield Street and east on Woodson Avenue.

"Road to Valhalla" documentary showing, 1:30 p.m. at the Lecompton High School building.

Carnival, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Shawn Ward & Straight Shot concert, 9 p.m. to midnight.

Most events will be in or near downtown Lecompton, along Elm Street, and the Territorial Capital Museum, 609 Woodson Ave. For a full schedule of events, visit

There was a time, in the 19th century, when Lecompton was an important place on the map. It's become a quiet town of fewer than 1,000 residents and it's faded from most atlases since then, but it still likes to throw a big party to honor its past.

The annual Territorial Days festival kicks off in Lecompton Friday in celebration of the town's history as the former Kansas Territory capital and the scene of a slave state controversy discussed in the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

A variety of activities will be featured. Games, food, music and carnival rides will be rolling both days. On Saturday, visitors can participate in a 5K fun run, hear a speech from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, view a documentary on Missouri-Kansas relations in the 1860s and watch a parade, among other activities.

Also available will be three new exhibits at the Territorial Capital Museum. One features digitized renderings of 30 19th century maps of northeast Kansas and the United States. Resident Raymond Giesman donated the maps to the museum.

The maps, dated from 1830 to 1861, include amusing details such as odd spellings — "Kanzas" — and the old names of Kansas counties, when some were named after southern leaders.

"Just about every one of these maps has 'Lecompton' on it, pretty large. Larger than Topeka and Lawrence," Lynn Ward said with a laugh. She volunteered to help digitize the maps.

Also on temporary display is an exhibit on General Order No. 11. Four days after Quantrill's Raid in 1863, Union Gen. Thomas Ewing evacuated 25,000 civilians from four western Missouri counties to create a buffer zone and avoid further bloodshed with Kansans. About 2,000 square miles were subsequently burned.

"It shows Missouri has a point of view on the border war that we as Kansans don't really know about," Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society, said. "I think they feel like their story was never told."

The Cass County Historical Society and Cass County Public Library in Missouri provided the exhibit. Another temporary exhibit on the Emancipation Proclamation, provided by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, also will be on display.

"I think it's a great environment to have family fun and learn about the national importance of Lecompton," Bahnmaier said of the festival.


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