Quindaro Underground Railroad Museum
My heart and my admiration go out to all of the people who are fighting an up-hill battle to transform a section of this old school house into a museum.
Quindaro, Kansas Territory, was significant in the state's history, and its story needs to be told. That is why this infant museum exists, and why archeologists have begun the arduous task of unearthing the town's buried secrets, and perhaps more of its story. At its peak, Quindaro was home to Europeans, Native Americans, and African Americans, all living together peacefully. Many of them worked together to free slaves from their cruel bondage. Its location opposite the towns of Parkville and Gladstone on the other side of the Missouri River made it a convenient embarkation point for escapees on the Underground Railroad to freedom. Many slaves made their escapes in winter, when they could simply walk across the frozen Missouri River.
I was privileged to tour the museum with guide Emmanuel Northern, a retired Santa Fe Railway worker with a keen interest in, and family ties to, the area's history. I found his accounts of the area's history fascinating, and hope that people of all races will become aware of Quindaro's existence. Because the museum is in its infancy, someone from the Vernon Multi-Purpose Center must now unlock the room and show visitors the collection of photos and artifacts. I did not tour the archeological digs, as it was a cold, windy day, and entrance is not allowed without permit from the city.
The school in which the museum is located has an interesting story of its own. Vernon School was opened in 1936 (then known as Colored School of Quindaro), closed in 1971, and was placed on the Register of Historic Kansas Places in 2004. Note - the third photo shown is from the bluff overlooking the Missouri River and the site of Quindaro. It is about a block away from the school building.
- Historical Travel
John Brown Statue
A bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was instrumental in this Italian-carved marble statue being placed in Quindaro in 1911. The location is the site of the early territorial settlement of Quindaro, and later the all-black Western University. Neither the town or the university exist today, other than the ruins which are now the subject of archeological digs.
John Brown was one of the most militant of the mid-19th century abolitionists. You can read more about this enigmatic character, controversial to this day, on my Osawatomie, Kansas, page.
- Historical Travel
The Woodlands - Dog Races!
If you're interested in dog races this is the place for you. It's located on the west side of Kansas City south of I70 off of I435.
You can watch live dog racing plus they also have live Simulcasting, and a short horse racing season from September 24 through October 29 (for 2005).
The funnest event of the year is the wiener dog races. In 2005 the date is July 31st.
They have several different dining options:
1)The Kennel Club Restaurant for fine dining
2)The Starting Box - Sandwiches, snacks & drinks
3)Woody's Deli had hot and cold sandwiches, soups, and salads
4)The Turf Club Restaurant is open during horse racing season only and serves premium lunch items.
- Family Travel
- Casino and Gambling
T-Bones - Watch a Minor League Baseball Game!
Going to watch the T-Bones is just as fun as watching the Royals, but better! It's a BRAND NEW stadium, the cost is less, it's closer for people living on the western side of Kansas City, it's easy to access, and it's near several new great restaruants, the Nebraska Furniture Mart, and Cabella's. Plus they have a lawn seating area that's fun for the kids - there's even a play area.
They do fun things to get the crowd involved between each enning, have cheerleaders, and clowns making balloon hats! Food is reasonable, and check out the website for dollar days!
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Strawberry Hill Museum and Cultural Center
A large number of Croatian immigrants flocked to the hilly bluffs on the west side of the Kansas River to work in the stockyards and meatpacking plants of Kansas City. This area became known as Strawberry Hill, and is still home to the descendents of many of these hardworking immigrants. The cultural pride of this tight-knit community continues to this day.
This museum and cultural center are in the heart of Strawberry Hill. On the March Saturday in which I visited, the genial caretaker was getting ready to close down so he could go to Mass at the church next door. We talked for a few minutes about the opportunities to see and hear some of the folk music and dance ensembles from the area perform, then I departed, promising to come back to get a tour.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
If you come in the summer,...
If you come in the summer, take the time to go to the SpiritFest. A wonderful outdoor festival with food and music.
Kansas City is noted for it's music. Home to the historic 18th and Vine district, and launching point of many great bands, the music at SpiritFest is amazing. The line-up gets better every year!
If you come in the fall,...
If you come in the fall, definitely take time to come see our Renaissance Festival.
Much like Festivals around the nation, the Renaissance Festival offers TONS of food, (try the turkey legs!) music, jewelry, crafts, and shows. Even if you aren't much of a history buff, this is entertaining in and of itself.
If you visit in the winter you...
If you visit in the winter you MUST stay to see the Plaza lighting ceremony or at least see the lights themselves.
Every Thanksgiving people rouse themselves from a turkey-induced stupor to head down to the Plaza and join hundreds of thousands of people watching the ceremonial lighting of the Plaza lights. Christmas lights make the Plaza a fairy-land all through the Christmas season.
In Kansas City one must visit:...
In Kansas City one must visit: The Plaza, Crown Center of Hallmark, The Mall of the Great Plains for shopping. For dancing go to Westport too many clubs to mention. For Art go to Nelson's Art Gallery for Dance go see the K.C. Ballet co. and the Kansas Regional Ballet Company very talent dancers. For hiking any of the many parks. We have FOUR professional teams Football -Chiefs, Soccer-Wizards (champions), Indoor soccer- K.C. Attacks, and Hockey - The K.C. BLADES
All of the above.....just tell me what you like and I will find it for you.
- Hiking and Walking
Surprisingly there is quite a...
Surprisingly there is quite a bit to see in Kansas City and surrounding area, especially a great deal relating to American Indians and the pioneer days of way back when. So here are a few suggestions: the Grinter State Historical Site (home of Moses Grinter, one of the earliest settlers in Kansas), Huron Indian cemetary (where many of the great people of the Wyandot Nation were buried after forced resttlement from the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio -- when it was much more beautiful and clean -- to Kansas), Line Creek Museum of Archaeology (located on the Hopewell Indian site), Wyandotte County Historical Society and Museum, Wyandotte County Lake Park, National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame, the Truman Library, Kansas City Museum, Science City at Union Station, American Royal Museum, the City Market and the Arabia Steamboat Museum, the Kansas City Zoo and the IMAX Theatre, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Focus on those things that interest you since most have some sort of admissions fee.
Kansas City Renaissance...
Kansas City Renaissance Festival is some thing you must go to. It begins in September on Labor Day and runs through mid October. I've been there three times and will be going again next year. Adding photos of it to a travelogue so you can see how fun it is.
Hundreds of people in period costume, great food, live entertainment, and crafts for sale. My favorite part is a rehab center for injured raptors that has a show with live hawks swooping over the crowd. The performers expect a donation at the end of each show but you don't have to give them any thing. I always give them a dollar or two if I like the show.
- Wine Tasting
National Agriculture Hall of...
National Agriculture Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs always reminds me of my grandfather when I go there. He was a farmer all his life. There are lots of interesting displays and an out large out door historical area to walk through.
Check it out at www.aghalloffame.com
Johnson County Museum of...
Johnson County Museum of History at 6305 Lackman Road is a nice museum. It is one of only dozens of museums in Kansas City. You could spend a week trying to visit all the museums there. You should at least try to see a few of the museums in the area.
Shawnee Indian Mission is used...
Shawnee Indian Mission is used as an educational center and museum. The mission originally was a school for Native American Indian children. Today local children from nearby schools come by bus to spend three days learning many of the same skills those indian children once learned. It is a way for them to see what it was like in the days gone by.
Well preserved buildings. Many antique items on display. If you are quiet and respectful they will let you watch the young girls and boys in their classes.
If you come visit Kansas City...
If you come visit Kansas City you should definitly visit the plaza.
On the plaza there are tons of shops, art galleries, and museums. The plaza is full of beautiful fountains and statues. A must see!