HERE ARE SEVERAL PHOTOS WE TOOK AS WE DROVE THROUGH TOWN in December, 2007.
Click the photo to see all of them.
Wellington* was chosen county seat of Sumner County** after a spirited competition with Sumner City. At the time, both were growing young cities of more than 10,000 people, but Wellington emerged victorious, and Sumner City gradually died out. One story I heard credits (or accuses) one of my great-uncles being involved in some shenanigans to re-route cattlemen on the Chisolm Trail away from Sumner City. One of those old family tales? I'm not sure. As a child I was told that if you flew over where Sumner City used to be, you could still see the outline of where the racetrack was. Tthere is currently no lingering evidence of Sumner City that I'm aware of.
I can just barely remember this court house's construction period. I know from photos that its predecessor was a fine old gem of a building, but can remember it being a shambles when I was young. Looking at this current view of the courthouse, I liken its appearance to many of those monstrous monoliths built in Stalinist USSR - functional, but ugly. For contrast's sake, I have also included a postcard view of the earlier structure.
I don't remember seeing this myself, but according to a guidebook, the lobby contains a display case with a skull of a Columbian Wooly Mammoth, an animal extinct for more than ten thousand years.
*Wellington is named after the Duke of Wellington.
**Sumner County is named after Senator Charles Sumner who led the opposition to extend slavery into the new territory of Kansas.
Yes, this does appear similar to many of the libraries in the country built with funds from the Carnegie Foundation. This one was built in 1915, and my great-aunt Lena Hackney was one of the first librarians in this location.
I cannot over-state the impact this library has made on my life. In my pre-TV childhood, I was an avid reader, and during the steamy summers would jump on my bike several days a week and pedal to the downtown library to exchange the five or six books I had devoured. I loved historical books - especially about the early days of the USA and its westward movement onto the frontier, as well as books about travel. There were never enough Richard Halliburton travel books to satisfy my appetite. If you have read my home page, you may know about my mother, and understand how she encouraged me to develop a curiosity about the world.
The library still stands, has been kept in marvelous condition (including added space), and continues to serve the young minds of Wellington. When last in town for a class reunion, I visited the library again, and felt a great sense of nostalgia for that fine old institution. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
HERE IS A GAS STATION in Wellington, if you are getting low on fuel. The prices you see were in effect on February 26, 2006.
CLICK THE PHOTO TO SEE WHAT THE GAS PRICE WAS AT THIS STATION ON DECEMBER 4, 2007!