changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration
& photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals
and art. Contact him.
- June 1, 2019: I photographed this new street mural in downtown Olathe,
Kansas, which was drawn using Sharpie permanent markers over the past weekend.
The bright linear design was created by Jay Shogo from Japan.
is expected to wear away, and a new piece will be commissioned each year.
from Olathe, we learned that Sueko (Sam) & Hugh have officially sold
the restaurant they have had since 1995! Sam's
Tastee Treat in Olathe has new owners as of July 1, 2019! The old sign
has been removed and the future of the restaurant has not been made public.
- July 4, 2019: We attended the annual Pancake Breakfast at Lenexa
United Methodist Church, before the Community Days Parade in Lenexa, but
the parade was canceled due to inclement weather, and we got out of town
a little earlier then we expected for four days of exploration of southwest
stopped in Emporia, Kansas for lunch at Commercial Street Diner. They were
very busy and we secured the last empty table. Although it doesn't look
like a diner or keep the long hours I am used to them doing, it does have
a huge, diner style menu.
food came out a little slowly, but was quite good. I wanted to try a featured
item and went with the $7.99 Barnyard Burger, which was topped with bacon,
fried egg & choice of cheese. I'm not a big fan of egg on a hamburger,
but it was still a good burger. Fresh cut fries were only 99 cents additional.
had the $10.49 broiled ham steak, which came with the choice of two sides.
The ham was very good as well. The grill marks almost looked like they
were painted on.
were pushing to get to the southwest corner of Kansas and, except for gas,
didn't stop until we got to Mullinville, where we photographed some of
the late M. T. Ligget's Kanza art.
Our friend, Erica Nelson of World's
Greatest Things is restoring some of the art, but was not working on
photographed the sunflower themed city signs as we passed through Minneola,
Kansas on our way to where Keiger Creek passes under US-160, 3 miles east
of US-283. The red stone bluffs along the creek and along ravines a farther
west are a striking contrast to the surrounding High Plains.
drove back to Big Basin Prairie Preserve Wildlife
Area, which the creek flows from, and took new photos to update its
next stop was the Mighty Samson of the Cimarron,
near Liberal, Kansas, The large 1939 railroad bridge is very impressive.
We tried to find some waterfalls a few miles away at Arkalon Lake Park,
but there was apparently no water flowing through the area of the the falls.
However, Linda took some good photos of a train crossing the Mighty Sampson
a few miles away, which we used both on its page and for a Facebook post.
I had confirmed that The Hamburger Place (a popular food truck in Liberal,
Kansas) would be open Independence Day evening, it was closed and we went
with the fallback of Ruffino's Italian Restaurant, in the old railroad
depot. The food was slightly above average and the service was slightly
below. They were not very busy.
spent the night at the Best Western Liberal Hotel & Suites in Liberal,
which I highly recommend.
Commercial Street Diner
A train crossing the Mighty Samson of the Cimarron
- July 5, 2019: Since I woke up early, I slipped out and drove back
east to the Mighty Samson of the Cimarron for some morning photos. Its
page had pretty limited photos in the past.
I returned for breakfast at the hotel, we went to Baker Arts Center in
Liberal, Kansas, which is in a former home in a quiet residential area.
There are three galleries and they all contained a temporary Gathered Glass
Exhibit of art glass created by local artists at Seward County Community
College. This was the final day of the exhibit, which had run about 6 weeks.
Many of the pieces were quite attractive and the prices were reasonable.
I wished we were shopping for gifts!
leaving Liberal we stopped at the Mid-America
Air Museum, to take new photos and see how the museum has changed since
I last visited it in 2006. There are a many fascinating aircraft here.
In my opinion, too many for the space they have. They are pressed very
close to each other and I feel like the museum would be more effective
with fewer aircraft more attractively displayed.
of the new features which looked intriguing at Mid-America Air Museum is
"Curiosity" Robotics Academy, which has programs for grades K - 8.
drove on to Elkhart, Kansas, the most southwest community in Kansas and
the county seat for Morton County. We photographed the unusual (for Kansas)
adobe city hall and several nearby features including the Olympic champions
monument near city hall, which honors local olympians Thane Baker and Glenn
had lunch at Big C's Cafe in Elkhart, where a a fun waitress served us
fried catfish, a M&S burger and hand cut fries. The burger was 1/2
pound served on Texas toast with Swiss cheese & mushrooms. All was
good and I would definitely eat here again, though nothing stood out.
drove west on A Boulevard, which runs along the state line to Eight
Mile Corner, to the Tripoint Marker which marks the junction of Kansas,
Colorado and Oklahoma. As we had heard, the 1903 windmill marker, which
had stood next to the tripoint when we were last here in 2011, collapsed
a few years ago in a storm.
in Elkhart, we visited the Morton County Historical Society Museum. It
is only open on weekdays so we had not had a chance to visit it before.
My favorite part of the museum was the paintings of local scenes and history,
that are around the top of the walls in the front room at the museum
we asked about plans to replace the marker at Eight Mile Corner, we were
told there has been no discussion of doing that.
were running a little ahead on our schedule, so we added a stop at the
1930s WPA arch bridge in rural Morton county, northwest of Richfield, Kansas.
The impressive 5 arch bridge didn't look as impressive from the road itself,
and we actually went a mile beyond it before seeing the we had driven too
drove back to Rolla, Kansas to photograph a mural and a cute sign that
we had spotted on our way through town earlier in the day. The "Western
Kansas Wind Gauge" can be found next to US-56
up US-56, we toured the Stevens County Gas & Historical Museum in Hugoton,
Kansas and wandered around the rest of town as we killed time until 5PM
when Jet Drive-In opened. Although it is called a drive-in, there is no
outside service. You order at a counter and the food is brought out to
your table. Cash only!
tried the burgers, which were pretty good, along with onion rings and French
fries, neither of which were fresh made.
we drove north out of Hugoton it started raining and near the county line
it became a downpour. We drove on to the Stanton County Museum in Johnson
City, Kansas. Johnson City is the name that the first postmaster registered,
but it appears that most people living here call it Johnson, Kansas and
that is what we saw on some signs including county road signs.
was now hours after the museum was scheduled to close, but the Director
of the museum, Katie Herrick, had agreed to meet us. This museum was the
smallest of the four we visited today, but I felt it had nicer displays
and does a wonderful job of telling the history of the region. There are
several buildings on the grounds which have been moved here, including
a depot and a small grain elevator. Those other buildings aren't at their
best right now, as they are full of items which had been stored or displayed
in another 2 story building which was destroyed by a storm last year.
main building is a handsome native stone structure which was built by the
WPA in 1935. It adds to the character of the museum, while creating challenges
for using the building as a museum.
a pleasant 75 minute visit, we drove to Ulysses, Kansas to stay the night
at Corporate East Hotel/
Baker Arts Center
Mid-America Air Museum
Eight Mile Corner
Morton County Historical Museum
WPA Arch Bridge
Western Kansas Wind Gauge
Stanton County Museum
- July 6, 2019: Our first stop of the morning was at the Haskell County
Historical Society & Museum on the county fairgrounds in Sublette,
Kansas. It wasn't scheduled to open until this afternoon, but the curator,
Darlene Groth, had agreed to meet us and let us photograph the museum for
KansasTravel.org. The museum fills a large, two story building, plus three
buildings which were moved to this site: The Johnson House, Santa Fe and
Independent School, District #40.
of the more unusual displays in the museum was a combined collection of
framed arrowheads and art made from arrowheads.
a pass through Sublette and a stop for photos in Copeland, we drove on
to Dodger City, Kansas, to the Boot Hill Museum, a non-profit museum started
in 1947, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the Old West,
The museum is in the middle of a expansion construction project, but the
work did not impact our experience.
the museum is probably best known for gunfight recreations and evening
can-can show, I enjoyed the exhibits in the 1947 Boot Hill Building and
tucked into the building behind the old west "Front Street." We arrived
a half hour before the gunfight and it was easy to fit in, but there are
only 2 gunfights a day and visitors should time their visit to include
this signature event.
was at Kate's in Dodge City. We arrived a little before 1PM. The small,
windowless bar & grill had every table taken, but we had the stools
at the bar to ourselves. Better yet, I had a chance to speak to the woman
at the cash register and learn some of the history of Kate's, which I haven't
found elsewhere online.
favorite dish was the chili burger, which was recommended online by several
people. I was a little surprised when it was served, not on a bun, but
open faced, on two slices of white bread, one on top of the other.
was great! In fact it is being added to our list of Best
busy as they were, it was 2PM when we left Kate's and too late to visit
the Carnegie Center for the Art, so we drove about 9 miles southwest of
Dodge to visit the 1904-1930 Amish Cemetery. Most of the burials were infants
or children, often listed with the name of their father, but not their
mother. A couple of graves are marked as "Unknown Infant God's Child."
grave is in a corner, far from the rest and oral history says that it is
the grave of a woman who died while her party was passing through.
returned to Dodge City to visit the Second Avenue Art Guild, which is a
very nice art gallery. We had originally budgeted the rest of the day and
evening to visit some other Dodge City attractions, but never heard back
from our request to visit them, which had been filed earlier in the week
with the Dodge City Convention & Visitors Bureau. With no other stops,
we canceled our Dodge City hotel reservation and drove on to Wichita.
we approached Wichita, Kansas, the rain came, first light and then torrential.
It was so heavy that many vehicles stopped at the side of the road.
We pulled over a couple of times, but didn't feel safe parked at the side
of the freeway with the poor visibility and moved on. We postponed visiting
the attractions we were headed for and checked into a new motel, the Comfort
Inn East, and chilled in the room for an hour.
was still raining hard when we went out for supper at When Pigs Fly BBQ,
but it let up before we got to the restaurant. Although it was just a few
miles from where we were in the the tremendous downpour earlier, they had
not had rain.
Pigs Fly was on our radar because of the many votes they received in the
USA Today vote for best BBQ in Kansas, which took place in May. When Linda
asked the person at the counter what they recommended and the cashier learned
we had never been there before, he had the kitchen prepare a small plate
with bite size servings of brisket, turkey, two kinds of sausage, pulled
pork, rib meat, baked beans and sauce. Really a nice thing for them to
chose pork ribs, jalapeno cheddar sausage, baked beans and creamed corn.
It was a very nice meal. I liked the beans, but really liked the creamed
corn. Both meats were very good and I an glad we had sampled some in advance,
because otherwise I would probably have ordered the hot links, which I
didn't like as well.
returning to the hotel, we photographed several of the nice murals on or
near Douglas Avenue. We also stopped by the world's largest mural, which
was painted last year on a grain elevator on 20th Street. A train was stopped
on the tracks, blocking access and obscuring the view of a third of the
mural. We waited about a half hour, but the train never moved and we gave
Haskell County Historical Museum
Boot Hill Museum gunfight
chili burger & fresh cut fries at Kate's
Samples at When Pigs Fly
- July 7, 2019: I slipped out early, to try again to photograph the
world's largest mural on the Beachner grain elevator in Wichita, Kansas.
The Horizontes Mural was painted last fall by the Colombian street artist
GLeo. With the train gone, I was able to get closer to the elevator and
take some photos which were just partially obscured by railroad cars and
some low mounds. Getting good photos of the mural will require a drone
or getting permission to go on the Beachner property.
leaving the area, I photographed a number of other murals and a pocket
park, called "Rosa Park," which I have since found no information about.
at the Comfort Inn East it was time for breakfast and we took advantage
of the hotel provided breakfast including an omelet station.
checking out of the hotel, we went to Central Riverside Park to get additional
photos of the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit and the nearby art installation which
has been dubbed Stonehenge Jr. There was a man with two small children
at the Wildlife Exhibit and his little boy took Linda's hand and they went
from cage to cage, looking at all of the birds and turtles together.
had lunch at Stroud's Restaurant & Bar, which opened in 1993 in the
Wichita Wine Barn. It has been listed on out Unique
Kansas Restaurant Page for many years, but has not had a page of its
own. That is something I will soon correct. This Stroud's was started by
the same people who started the Stroud's in Kansas City, but ownership
changed at all the locations, many years ago and there is no connection
today. The ones in the Kansas City metropolitan area don't don't even acknowledge
that this one exists.
tried the family style pan fried chicken which all of the Stroud's restaurants
are famous for, chicken gizzards and something unique to this Stroud's,
KA-BOOM chicken wings.
I wanted to try the gizzards. Although I told her twice, the server brought
livers by mistake and I didn't want to take the time for the preparation
of another order. The chicken is prepared the same way as the KC restaurants
and the mashed potatoes and gravy were similar. The chicken soup had only
small bits of chicken, no bite size pieces.
wings were OK, spicy, but not something I would have again. However, that
sauce was great for dipping the livers and I would be tempted to order
chicken livers with KA-BOOM sauce sometime in the future.
prefer the cinnamon rolls at this location to the ones in KC.
attractions were now open and we drove to the Wichita museum district.
First to Exploration Place,
a hands on science museum on the bank of the Arkansas River. I had not
been here since 2008 and although the page we have devoted to Exploration
Place has had the information updated several times, the photos were badly
out of date.
temporary Ripley's Believe It or Not! exhibit was quite interesting, but
my favorite part of the museum was largely unchanged, the 1500 square foot
Kansas In Miniature, with more than 51 animations, 125 buildings and 200
period vehicles from Kansas in the 1950s.
return visit to Exploration Place was followed with a revisit of another
museum, Old Cowtown Museum,
which has about 40 buildings which have been relocated to create an 1870s
frontier downtown. My last visit here had also been in 2008. That visit
was in the fall and there were few events taking place, but this time was
more interesting. We saw a Flamenco show, a can-can show put on by the
Delano Dollies, and a much larger gunfight performance than we saw at the
Boot Hill Museum yesterday.
the programs and their times are constantly changing, so it would be wise
to call the museum in advance to find out what is happening the day you
plan to visit, so you can schedule the time to coincide with what interests
followed the museum visit with a quick stop at the Nu-Way
Cafe to get a wonderful root beer frostie for the drive home. I love
the house made root beer blended with ice cream at this this famous 89
years old. crumbly burger restaurant.
KA-BOOM wings and chicken livers at Stroud's
Kansas In Miniature
Old Cowtown gunfight
- July 10 2019: We added new pages devoted to Keiger
- July 11, 2019: I had a second meal at Wild
Frontier BBQ which opened in Olathe, Kansas four weeks ago. I had pulled
pork, pulled chicken a coleslaw, repeating only the wonderful fresh cut
French fries from the first visit. The smoked pulled pork and tangy slaw
were both very good. The chicken was too dry.
a new review of Kate's in Dodge City, Kansas.
Wild Frontier BBQ
- July 13, 2019: We added new pages devoted to the 1873
Ellsworth County Jail in Ellsworth, Kansas and the Amish
Cemetery near Dodge City.
- July 19, 2019: We headed out straight after work, for a 30 hour overnight
visit to central Kansas. We needed to be in Junction City, before a restaurant
closed at 7PM, so we made just one brief stop, to photo an arch bridge
over Clarks Creek, just a mile south of I-70.
was a revisit of Korean Garden. A restaurant
I love, but which has very limited hours, Korean Garden is closed Sunday
& Monday, open 11-2 Tuesday - Thursday, and only open until 7PM on
Friday & Saturday. But for the hours, it is my favorite Korean restaurant
had Ojinguh Bokum - stir fried baby squid is a spicy sauce which made me
want to lick the dish.
was still time to visit an 1895 Katy truss bridge over Lyon Creek and stop
by Geary Lake Falls, both south of
Junction City. There wasn't much water at the falls, but it was still peaceful
spent the night at Best Western J. C. Inn.
- July 20, 2019: I was up early and visited Fort
Riley as soon as the visitors center opened for the morning. This was
a chance to go through their procedures, which have greatly changed since
I last visited the Fort, and to check on the temporary museum which is
in place while the United States Cavalry Museum and the Fort Riley 1st
Infantry Division Museum are being remodeled.
a few photos at the Post Cemetery, I returned to the Best Western to get
ready for the day and have the complimentary breakfast.
drove to Hildebrand Farms Dairy, northwest of Junction City, Kansas. The
farm and milk processing facility has tours on Tuesday through Saturday
by appointment and we joined about 15 other people on a tour which took
over an hour. The milk processing is only done on weekdays, so the guide
just explained how the equipment in the bottling plant and milking building
is used. The milk is never touched by human hands and the only time it
is even exposed to air is the second while it goes into the bottle.
tour included a visit to an open sided barn where the 150 cows presently
producing milk are kept and the barn with recent calves. The tour concluded
at the Farm Store, where samples of three flavors of milk and soft serve
ice cream were included in the $5 tour.
addition to Hildebrand Dairy products, the store sells beef and sausage
from their cattle, as well as some other meat and Kansas cheeses. Fortunately,
we had planned ahead and had a large cooler with nothing in it, but ice.
returned to I-70 and continued west, with a stop for lunch at the Hickory
Hub BBQ in Salina, Kansas. This is about the 4th time we have dined at
this excellent BBQ restaurant. The parking lot was full, but there were
still a couple of free tables. We had pork ribs, spicy hot Polish sausage,
and burnt ends, accompanied by baked beans, onion rings and battered French
ribs had excellent flavor from a sweet rub. The meat was pealing back from
the bone, but not actually falling off. The sausage reminded me of smoky
links. I didn't find them to be very spicy, though there was a little heat
in the finish.
burnt ends were not like Kansas City burnt ends. They were chopped fine,
almost ground, and had sauce mixed in, reminding me of a Sloppy Joe. They
aren't bad, but they aren't what I am looking for in burnt ends and a meat
I've had at some Ethiopian restaurants.
of the meat needed sauce, but I did like the rich, sweet sauce on the fries.
The was little difference between the regular BBQ sauce and the "intense."
beans were sweet and had several chucks of what appeared to be bacon.
onion rings were the best part of the entire meal!
continued west on I-70, getting off at 206 to stop at Kansas Originals
Market, which has art and other products made by Kansans. One room is set
aside as a tasting room for Smoky Hill Winery, and after sampling several
of them, we took advantage of the 10% discount on a case. We liked the
Christmas Wine, Simply Peach, Vidal Blanc, Vidal Blanc Ice Wine and Czech
drove north, past Wilson Lake, to Lucas, where our first stop was at World's
Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest
Things. We lucked out and Erika Nelson was in town, so it was open. Erika
is a talented artist with many, often quirky, projects. Presently she is
spending week days in Mullinville, restoring the art of the late M. T.
first became aware of Erika because of her World's Largest Collection of
World's Smallest Versions of World's Largest Things Traveling Roadside
Attraction and Museum. World's Largest Things is an ongoing project in
a store front, across the street from the Grassroots
Art Center It is a little hard to describe, but we will be adding a
also revisited the Grassroots Art Center,
to get photos to freshen its page, then bought Czechoslovakian bologna
, smoked meats and Jaternice at Brant's Market
in the next block. The 97 year old meat market closed early last year,
only to be purchased by people who got all the recipes and reopened last
summer. This was our first time back under the new ownership and things
drove back past Wilson Lake, to stop in the community of Wilson and take
more photos of the World's Largest Czech Egg and visit the interesting
Midland Mercantile & Art Gallery a few doors away. They offer a nice
selection of Wilson/Czech Egg souvenirs.
was sorry to see that it appears that work on the old Wilson Opera House,
which burned a number of years ago, appears to have ended.
drove on to Ellsworth, Kansas to have supper at Pretty
Boy Floyd's Steaks & Shine, which we first visited last year and
quickly became our favorite steak house in this region of the state. The
speakeasy themed restaurant has great decor, service food and prices. Linda
repeated the 4 ounce fillet she enjoyed last time. while took advantage
of a special, to try both chicken fried steak and chicken fried chicken.
Linda's meat was cooked perfect. I liked the chicken fried steak a lot.
The chicken fried chicken, not quite as much.
supper, we had asked some employees at the Good Samaritan Society - Ellsworth
Village for help locating the Mother Bickerdyke Memorial Cemetery. It took
several people and several phone calls to locate exactly where it was.
did find the cemetery south and west of the Society, on a hill overlooking
Ellsworth. The small cemetery is the final resting place of 32 women who
were Civil War nurses, widows, or daughters of Civil War veterans. The
women died from 1902 - 1919. The individual grave stones do not have names,
but there is a larger monument from 1961 with the names.
was the final stop of the trip and we drove home.
Temporary museum at Fort Riley
Hildebrand Farms Dairy
Pork ribs and onion rings
Smoky Valley Winery
World's Largest Czech Egg
Chicken fried steak & chicken fried chicken
Mother Bickerdyke Memorial Cemetery
- July 22, 2019:
We added a ne page devoted to Mother
Bickerdyke Memorial Cemetery in Ellsworth, Kansas.
- July 24, 2019:
We totally reworked our page devoted to Lyndon
Leaders 4H Club's public sunflower fields near Scranton, Kansas. The
name is now Eleanor's Sunflower Festival and they now charge $5/person.
The sunflowers are expected to bloom later in 2019 and the fields will
be open from August 30 to September 15 on Friday through Sunday, plus Labor
Day. Closed Monday -Thursday.
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