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We were driving through Kansas, getting close to our destination of Colorado, wondering what is there to see in Kansas (would it offend those from Kansas if I answered that question with “not much”?). Our guide book said there was a Van Gogh located in Goodland, Kansas. Always willing to see some quality art, I decided to head over that way (oh, yeah, we were already headed that way…). So after an earlier stop to look at a penned up buffalo, we made our way along I-70 to Goodland.
Sure enough, bigger than life there stood Van Gogh’s Three Sunflowers in a Vase atop a massive easel. Right there, next to the Dollar General and the Pizza Hut. It is part of the Easel Project, the brainchild of a Canadian artist who hopes to have seven of these large easels with Van Gogh sunflowers on them all over the world. Kansas is one of three, with the other two being in Australia and Canada. You can find out more about this world-wide project at the Big Easel Project website.
And to make things even more special, this may be the only public place in the world that one can see this particular Van Gogh on display since the original painting, done by Van Gogh in 1888 during his stay in Arles, France, is a mere 73 cm x 58 cm (28 in x 22 in) and is now in a private collection somewhere in the United States.
Keeping my enthusiasm under control, I snapped a couple photos to prove I’d been there and we continued on our journey.
Sometimes, while you are traveling, it is the little (er…big) things that make the trip interesting (or at least breaks of the monotony of I-70 through Kansas)!
Written Jan 28, 2013
On the grounds of the Sherman County Court House in Goodland, Kansas, sits my favorite Kansas statue, this mixed metal sculpture by Greg Todd, dedicated in 1987. It pays tribute to the grit and spirit of the hardy pioneer families that settled the high plains, enduring harsh conditions to work the land. Sadly, generations later, their descendants would be forced to abandon many of these same farms and ranches due to the harsh economic conditions of a new era.
The (non-distinctive) blond-brick courthouse was built 1931.
Updated Feb 25, 2010
Address: 8th Street & Broadway
Nice little museum for whem you have an hour left.
The museum's headline attraction is a full sized, automated replica of the first patented helicopter in the United States.
Written Jul 19, 2007
Address: 1717 Cherry Avenue
Phone: (785) 899-4595
We drove many miles over dirt and gravel roads to this site to find nothing but the silhouette of one infantryman pointing his gun at one mounted Indian. I thought it sufficiently ironic to photograph this site with a No Hunting sign in the foreground. Later we learned that many historians don't believe this to be the site of the battle at all. Sigh.
In 1867 Lt. Lyman Kidder's ten-man patrol encountered Cheyenne Indians. His party's remains were later found by George Custer and members of his 7th Calvary.
The locals still call this the Kidder Massacre site; but to be honest, it was the site of a battle between two groups of armed men in which the Cheyennes were victorious, not a massacre in which a group of "savages" attacked a group of unarmed civilians.
Written Dec 6, 2007
Favorite thing: Goodland calls itself "the Sunflower Capital of Kansas." It's a good slogan, and there are a lot of opportunities for developing the theme. (Otherwise, Goodland is probably best known as the last Kansas town on I-70 before you cross into Colorado.)
A schoolteacher here conceived the idea of installing a large easel and giant "canvas" with Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" resting on it. It's not particularly visable from the highway, though, unless you're looking for it. And right now there aren't any real tourist facilities associated with the Van Gogh, just a parking lot close to a Pizza Hut. It might make a great place for a "Museum of Sunflowers," or even a hall with exhibits displaying some of the things that you can do with sunflowers.
Just an idea. . .
Written Sep 13, 2006