Tours of new exhibit to start Saturday at Tonganoxie Community Historic Site
On three Saturday afternoons, from 3:30-6 p.m. the Tonganoxie Community Historical Society and Museum will hold the tours of a new exterior exhibit, “The Spring at the Fairchild Farm.”
The exhibit showcases the remains of a spring that was used by travelers on the Leavenworth-Lawrence Road in the 1850s. The spring then became an integral part of a very successful dairy farm in Tonganoxie — The Frank Fairchild Dairy farm, where our museum is now located.
Visitors can come to the TCHS campus during the 2 1/2 hour time slot the next three Saturdays.
For many years, members of the Tonganoxie Historical Society & Museum have known about the spring and the importance it had to the Fairchild Dairy.
The project to create this exhibit was jump-started by a grant received from Humanities Kansas in the spring of 2019. The grant was written by one of the TCHS volunteers, Joy Lominska, who has taken the lead in creating and designing the exterior exhibit, as well as another interior exhibit on the spring.
Since then, TCHS received grants from Leavenworth County and from the Pete & Margaret Leighty Trust Grant, making this a true community project. The county funds were used to construct a driveway and parking area adjacent to the spring and new trees. The Pete & Margaret Leighty Trust Grant funded a concrete pad for the three new exterior signs that describe the spring, how it works, and its historic nature.
Humanities Kansas allowed us to rely on the expertise of two local Kansas experts – Dale Nimz, a local historian, and Rex Buchanan, a geologist retired from the Kansas Geological Survey. Both have been able to contribute to the background of the exhibit.
The exhibits focus on three points of interest. First, what is a spring and why is it important. Second, what part did the spring play in the local area commerce and travel. And third, how was the spring utilized by the dairy farmer, Frank Fairchild, and his son-in-law, Archie Knox.
The community is welcome to come to the Tonganoxie Community Historical Society site to tour the exhibit. The community can tour the remains of the spring and the spring house and view the interpretive signs.
A video conversation between Dale Nimz, Rex Buchanan, and Joy Lominska will be available to watch. This video will answer questions about the spring itself, as well as how the exhibit was developed.
Commemorative hand-turned wooden bowls will be available for purchase. These bowls were turned from a mulberry tree that grew into the foundations of the spring house in the late 1940s, when the spring was no longer necessary to the dairy and farming operations. The bowls were created by Perry Walters. Each is one of a kind – many include inlays of turquoise and deer antlers.
Plan to attend on any one of the last three Saturdays in September – the 12th, the 19th or the 26th, between the hours of 3:30 pm and 6:00 pm – at the Tonganoxie Community Historical Society & Museum, 201 West Washington, Tonganoxie, KS. The event is free and open to the public.
Social distancing will be observed and masks will be required.
For more information, contact Kris Roberts, 913-845-2960 or 913-704-7043.