The Kansas Sampler Foundation announced the 24 finalists for the 8 Wonders of Kansas History. In alphabetical order they are:
Council Grove Santa Fe Trail National Historic Landmark
More than 170 historical sites were nominated by the public but a selection committee whittled the list down to 24 finalists. Criteria required that a nomination represent significant history but also give the public something of visual magnitude to see.
The Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center, the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, and the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum were chosen as overall 8 Wonders of Kansas so they were not eligible in the History contest.
The public is now invited to vote for their top 8 choices for the History contest. Voting has started and will continue until June 15 at midnight. The public may vote online at www.8wonders.org or once by paper ballot. Ballots can be picked up at one of the finalists or by calling 620.585.2374. One e-mail address may be used three times to vote. Public vote will determine the top 8 Wonders of Kansas History.
Information about each finalist can be found by clicking on the picture of any finalist at 8wonders.org.
The contest purpose is to educate the world about Kansas and to encourage travel in the state. Foundation director Marci Penner said, "Orphan trains, stagecoach stops, land races, forts, and a successful effort to end segregated schools are just a part of the assortment of topics presented around the state. All of these places are built for visitors and for sharing the Kansas story. Keep this list on your refrigerator this summer and go to as many as you can!"
The History contest is one in a series organized by the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation. The eight rural culture elements used by the Foundation to help a town assess itself are each showcased in their own contest. Previously, the top 8 Wonders have been decided in Architecture, Art, Commerce, Cuisine, Customs, and Geography. After History, the last contest will feature People. The overall 8 Wonders of Kansas were announced on Kansas Day 2008. All results can be seen at www.8wonders.org.
BRIEF STATEMENT ABOUT WHY EACH FINALIST WAS CHOSEN:
The Historic Adobe Museum's display of the 1930s from the Dust Bowl Days to gas exploration is a finalist because it tells the story of human survival to industrial boom.
Black Jack Battlefield is a finalist because many historians agree that this battle fought between Free-State and Pro-Slavery men was the beginning of true civil war combat in Kansas, making it where the American Civil War began.
Boot Hill Museum and Historic Dodge City are a finalist because the Santa Fe Trail, buffalo traders, cattle drives, and lawmen made the city famous then -- and now.
Brown versus Board of Education National Historic Site is a finalist because the site was one of four schools represented in the landmark lawsuit that ended racial segregation in public schools, and because of the interpretive exhibits.
The Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum is a finalist because it depicts the history of the largest and last land rush (race for land) in the history of America.
Constitution Hall is a finalist because the events that transpired inside the walls of this two-story, wood-frame building were, without a doubt, major events leading to the American Civil War.
Council Grove is a finalist because it is a Santa Fe Trail National Historic Landmark town and is the site of a 1825 treaty that led to an intersection of cultures between Kaw Native Americans and Kansas pioneers.
El Cuartelejo Pueblo Ruins are a finalist because they are archeologically significant as the northeasternmost pueblo ruin in the United States, dating from 1650 to 1750 A.D.
Fort Hays State Historic Site is a finalist because the fort was a major player in helping to settle Kansas and the West, and the original blockhouse is one of only a few left in the nation.
Fort Larned National Historic Site is a finalist because it is the best-preserved authentic frontier post in the American West.
Fort Scott National Historic Site is a finalist because of its unique place in the formative years of the state beginning in 1842, its role in the western expansion of the nation, as well as the Bleeding Kansas, and Civil War eras.
Historic Fort Leavenworth, established in 1827, is a finalist because it is the oldest U.S. Army post west of the Mississippi River in continuous operation and has been historically known as the "intellectual center of the Army."
Historic Fort Riley is a finalist because the post has played a vital role in the settling and defense of our nation since 1853.
The Home on the Range Cabin is a finalist because in 1871 Dr. Brewster Higley wrote the words to what would become the Kansas state song near here.
The Kansas Museum of History is a finalist because it tells the state's colorful story featuring early people, trails, settlements, Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War, trains and towns, early 20th century, and the recent past.
The Kanza Indians and Lewis and Clark shared a common area at different times, making Independence Creek a finalist for the 8 Wonders of Kansas History.
The lead and zinc mining exhibits at the Baxter Springs and Galena museums are a finalist because from 1870 to 1945 the region was rated as the leading producer of lead and zinc concentrates in the world.
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site is a finalist because the original 1865 limestone farmhouse is the only working stagecoach stop left on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.
The Mid-America Air Museum is a finalist because it helps tell the story of Kansas' aviation history and is one of the largest general aviation museums in the country.
The National Orphan Train Complex is a finalist because it is the only museum in the country that focuses entirely on the Orphan Train Movement.
Nicodemus National Historic Site is a finalist because it is the oldest and only remaining all-Black town west of the Mississippi River.
The Osage Mission Museum is a finalist because it tells about the Osage Mission, established in 1847, and how it was the most important and influential frontier settlement in southeast Kansas; and its missionaries established more than 100 mission stations in Kansas and beyond.
Pawnee Indian Museum State Historic Site is a finalist because it is one of the only museums in the Central Plains that tells the story of an indigenous tribe.
Smoky Valley Roller Mill is a finalist because it is the oldest operational roller (flour) mill in the Midwest and the only one with all of its original equipment in place.