|Left: spiral ring, lay-flat edition; Right: limited edition hard bound|
With the spiraling price of gasoline, this spring and summer will find more of us looking for places to go and see that are closer to home. That, plus the on-going Kansas Sesquicentennial celebration, made for perfect timing the recent release of the 8 wonders of Kansas! Guidebook.
I give this book two hearty thumbs up, and not only will use it
extensively in my future travels, but have picked it up
from time to time just to enjoy the photos and stories.
Over the last couple of years, thousands of Kansans and fans of the Sunflower State have participated in elections sponsored by the Kansas Sampler Foundation* to select first the Original 8 Wonders of Kansas, then the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture, Art, Commerce, Cuisine, Customs, Geography, History, and People. All finalists from each category are represented in the guidebook, with special emphasis on the winning entries.
The organization and layout of the 8 wonders of Kansas! Guidebook are first rate, resulting in a very readable, easy-to-use book. The text is written by "Kansas' Number One Cheerleader," Marci Penner, who has the gift of writing engaging, succinct commentary. And who better to provide the photo illustrations than Harland Schuster, a farmer/stockman from Morrill, Kansas, an accomplished photographer who knows Kansas? This book contains over 800 (yes, 800) photos of the 216 entries, many of which provide a unique perspective on the subject at hand.
8 wonders of Kansas! Guidebook is available online from the Kansas Sampler Foundation, and at a number of locally-owned Kansas book stores. My numerous KC metro area readers should be able to find it at Rainy Day Books within a few days of the posting of this blog. It's already available at the Raven Book Shop in Lawrence and several locations in Topeka.
* The Kansas Sampler Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve, sustain, and grow rural culture by educating Kansans about Kansas and by networking and supporting rural communities. It is not to be confused with the Kansas Sampler chain of t-shirt shops.
If you are passing through Abilene this spring or summer, I encourage you to visit the Eisenhower Center, even if you have done so in the past. Between now and September 5, the Eisenhower Library is hosting an exhibit featuring the 8 Wonders of Kansas. I was surprised and impressed at the collection of Kansas artifacts made available to the Kansas Sampler Foundation and the library for this exhibit. The photos below give a brief introduction to the exhibit:
|Helmet and shoes belonging to Amelia Earhart, photo of Carrie Nation behind bars|
|Artifacts from the Dragoons at Fort Scott|
|Exhibits honor famous black Kansans George Washington Carver (above) and Gordon Parks|
|Gemini space suit and helmet from The Cosmosphere, Hutchinson|
|Antique horse from C.W. Parker Carousel, Big Jay|
Nancy and I timed our exhibit visit to coincide with the kickoff ceremony for the 8 wonders of Kansas! Guidebook, as did quite a few other folks. Many were people associated with the sites featured in the book, some were book store owners eager to pick up their first stock orders, and there were ardent Kansas Explorers like us.