In its early days this theater hosted drama, vaudeville, masques, balls, concerts, and a variety of community events. At the close of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, Wamego banker J.C. Rogers purchased a number of valuable paintings and artifacts to be displayed in his theater. The Columbian remained open until 1950, and eventually the ground floor became the home of a furniture dealership. In 1989, concerned, progressive city leaders began the massive task of renovating the Columbian to its 1890s grandeur, a feat which completed in 1994. The work included cleaning and restoration of the valuable paintings obtained a century before. Unfortunately, I have yet to take any photos of these impressive works.
The Columbian is currently home to periodic dinner-theatre and other productions, and is available for meetings, banquets, and other private functions. It is also open for tours.
This mill is a familiar site on Kansas travel literature. Wamego's old Dutch Mill was built by John Schonhoff, an immigrant from Holland, in 1879, in a style reminiscent of his home country. One catch - business was poor because most of the land in the area was better suited for raising cattle than grain crops. He went out of business after about ten years.
Later, the windmill was disassembled, stone by stone, and rebuilt at this location in the museum complex area of Wamego's city park. It is on the National List of Historic Places. On certain days, you may see wheat ground to flour in the mill.
Unusually pretty park for a town of this size. Includes areas to play and to picnic, plus the old Dutch Mill and museum complex.
1300 Lilac Street, 2 Blocks West Of Hwy 99 On Hwy 24, Wamego, Kansas, 66547, United States
Good for: Solo
We had been referred to this little restaurant by a local, and found it to be a neat setting, and the food looked wonderful, but it was Sidewalk Sale Day in Wamego and the place was packed. We just did not have time in our schedule to stick around.
We did find another place on Lincoln (the main street) that was quite satisfactory and inexpensive. It was called The Friendly Cooker or something like that.
Favorite Dish: One of the specials of the day was bierocks, one of my all-time favorite foods. My mother learned to bake them while she was teaching school in a small German immigrant community. They are so simple - ground beef, chopped cabbage and onion baked into a bread roll - but so tasty.
On occasions while traveling through Spain's central plateau, I thought the terrain and weather resembled parts of my Kansas homeland, and wondered if wine grapes might ever be a cash crop there. In the past twenty or so years, wine has indeed become a sunflower state product.
One of those wineries is located in Wamego, and in keeping with the local trend based on The Wizard of Oz, is called the Oz Winery. Whether you are a vinophile or not, this colorful shop is an interesting visit. There are a number of unique, wine-connected products available and a wine-tasting bar.
What to buy: Duh - wine. You'll love some of the great labels: Run, Toto, Run; Witch in a Ditch; O.E.O.; Yellow Brick Road; Auntie Em's Prairie Rose; and numerous others including the familiar Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons, Zinfandels, Rieslings, Chardonnays, Pinot Gris, etc. (See the winery web site below for a complete listing.
What to pay: The prices of the wines I saw in stock began at $US20.
Unique home furnishings, gifts, antique furniture and accessories. Nancy, who normally passes by this type of shop, found several things of interest.
What to pay: ??? We didn't price or buy anything, not in the budget this day.
Shop devoted to Wizard of Oz-related memorabilia of all kinds. You can enter the gift shop without purchasing museum passes.
"Every spring the Wamego City Park, downtown, and many home gardens throughout town come alive with the vibrant colors of thousands of tulips. Many of the bulbs for these bright, early spring flowers came from Holland and are the backdrop for this April festival." - Wamego Chamber of Commerce.
Features over 150 craft vendors, free entertainment at the bandstand, and lots of activities for kids.