- April 1, 2023: With the exception of small animals in the attic above
our room making noise through the night, we had a pleasant stay at the
Hampton Inn in McPherson, Kansas. The breakfast at the hotel is better
day began with an appointment to tour Geneseo City Museum in Geneseo, Kansas.
The museum is normally open only one afternoon a month, but one of the
board members had volunteered to show us around this morning. He said that
he would be waiting in his car on Main Street when we pulled into town
and he lead us to the museum selecting the streets which are in the best
museum occupies the former home of the man who collected most of the exhibits,
Dr. Elmer D. Janzen. The museum first opened in the 1960s, when Dr. Janzen
was still living in the home. The home and collection were turned over
to the community on his death and the museum was open for a number of years,
but eventually sat closed for many years. A new board was established to
reopen the museum in 2018 and the museum reopened in 2019.
visiting a small town museum, one of my goals is to find the unique parts
of the museum which may appeal to someone who doesn't have a connection
to the town. Unique parts of this museum include a large collection of
Boston Terrier figurines and half a room dedicated to flying saucer sightings
and people who reported meeting aliens or traveling other planets. Geneseo
now bills itself as the UFO Capital of Kansas and will host "Saucers &
Aliens" - Kansas UFO Day in Dimension "G" on July 1, 2023.
lunch we stopped at Made From Scratch in Wilson, which is currently open
only a couple of days a week. I had heard great things about the fried
chicken on their buffet, but today it was a German buffet centered around
bierocks, sausage sauerkraut, and perogies. I thought the sausage and sauerkraut
were good (particularly after asking for some mustard). I'm not a big berrock
fan and this one did little for me. I would have preferred a lot less dough
and more seasoning for the content.
bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich had a lot of great smoked bacon, nice
sliced tomatoes, and was served on a good house baked wheat bread. The
little bit of her bacon which I tried was my favorite part of the meal.
The potato chips which came with the sandwich were decent as well.
they were not accepting credit cards. It wasn't clear if that was today
only or a longer term change.
highlight of this trip was Fools-a-Palooza, the annual April 1 Lucas Art
Day. Everything was within walking distance of each other, so we parked
at the south end of Main Street and began at World's
Largest Things, Inc. It had been a couple of years since we were last
here and the interior has been completely redone. It appears well designed
to allow Erika Nelson to leave it open with minimal supervision.
little thing which really tickled me was the reproduction of a Google review
from 6 months ago in the front window, "Very small. Mostly has pictures
of large things. At least it was free."
continued up the street to Switchgrass, an art co-op with the work of 22
largely self taught artists. Two demonstrations were in progress: stained
glass by Janell Flores and palm leaf weaving by wheat weaver Doris Johnson.
Art which I particularly liked included dioramas by Barbara McCreery, and
stickers and notebooks by Jade Warden-Scott.
crossed to the other side of the street, admired the art cars on display
in front of the Grassroots Arts Center,
and went inside for the open house and unveiling of the temporary exhibit
"Wood and Wire: Ozark Folk Instruments." In addition to admiring the instruments,
we met the musicians of Still on the Hill (who curated the exhibit) and
one of the artists whose instruments are featured in the exhibit, Jim Lee.
They explained some of the things which had been done to create the unique
door, Erika Nelson was giving a "Community Mural Process Peek" at Woodpecker
Archives, sharing some of the research and planning which is going into
a new mural which will be on the Lucas Library.
stopped by the art show sale and concession stand at the Lucas Community
Center and purchased some cinnamon pecans and iced tea.
inaugural open house of of LeAnne Dalkac's Standing Dog Studio & Art
Gallery was up the street. We look forward to returning when there are
more works on display.
the street the DADA Muse’um and Old Blue Studio were open for the first
time when we have been in Lucas. Alan Vopat's art is on display and offered
for sale in the museum, which was open today for the first time since before
Covid. Some of the pictures had fallen while the museum was closed and
you had to be careful of broken glass on the floor.
door, Matt Farley was showing examples of some of his previous outdoor
art exhibits at the Old Blue Studio. There wasn't a lot to see, but it
was a chance to meet Matt and learn that he was creating an art environment
in the lot next door, where two pieces have been set up already.
were two open houses a block away on Fairview Street, so we walked over,
first to the home of Barbara McCreery, whose dioramas I had admired earlier
in the day at Switchgrass. She graciously showed us through her home, which
is decorated in part with her art, as well as having some pieces which
had just been completed and not moved to the gallery. There was a steady
stream of visitors and one of the recent pieces sold while we were there.
door at Garden of Isis, it was a rare opportunity to meet the artist who
created that work, Mri Pilar, whose art I have admired since 2005. It was
the first time I returned to the Garden of Isis
since 2011 and much of the work has changed over in the past 11 years.
Although I've appreciated it from the beginning, I feel the changes may
make it more accessible and may broaden the audience.
told us about how she began doing this kind of recycled art and the perfect
storm which came together to provide her with this space in Lucas. In the
intervening years, she has moved from Lawrence to Lindsborg and she no
longer drives, so her public appearances are limited.
took a bit of a break and I stopped by Brant's
Meat Market to purchase some frozen bratwurst to take home.
4:30, Still on the Hill performed a concert at the Lucas Area Community
Theater, using string instruments created by the artists in the "Wood &
Wire: Ozark Folk Instrument" exhibit. Kelly and Donna Mulhollan have devoted
much of their life to preserving the instruments and the joy they displayed
in the performance made it a lot of fun. Jim Lee whose instruments
are some of those featured in the exhibit, was also invited on stage to
play one of his beautiful instruments.
to get on the road and head toward home, we called Legacy Kansas in Abilene,
which recently opened in the old Brookville
Hotel space, and made a reservation for supper.
Kansas serves only two dishes and you select which one you want when making
your reservation. Their most popular item is the family style fried chicken
which Brookville Hotel was famous for: ½ chicken, relishes,
sweet sour cole-slaw, mashed potatoes and cream gravy, cottage cheese,
cream style corn, baking powder biscuits and home style ice cream. They
do not taste identical today, but are close enough (particularly the sides)
that I think most former customers will be pleased.
second dish is the same sides served with ground beef raised on the owner's
Munson Angus Farms. Two 7 ounce patties smothered with sautéed cremini
mushrooms and onions. I enjoyed the beef but probably wouldn't get it again.
It came with a nice white beef gravy which I liked. It isn't what I would
normally choose as steak and they don't ask how you want it cooked.
old Brookville Hotel was extremely fast at getting food on the table, which
is good for a restaurant where many customers are passing though town on
I-70, but at least tonight, the new kitchen was extremely slow. Our server
worked hard to be attentive and maybe get us our food faster than others.
The family at the next table were there ahead of us and their entrees didn't
come out until we were halfway through ours. The relishes came out right
away, but even though they knew our order before we arrived, it took over
30 minutes for the main dishes to come out. Even then, a leg was missing
from the 1/2 chicken and the small replacement leg (from a plate of legs
being taken around the restaurant) didn't come out until we were boxing
leftovers to take with us. The mashed potatoes were particularly good and
I am fond of the corn.
remember liking the on-site cranked ice cream more before, but it is clearly
still homemade and a treat.
on the highway, lots of controlled burning could be seen along I-70 between
Wamego and Topeka. The fire in the picture at the right was about a half
mile north of I-70 near Valencia. Controlled burns help manage weeds, reduce
the risk of wildfires and restore nutrients to the soil.