Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 13

13 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 13 Monday 

9/21/2020 

This morning, after breakfast, I headed south 30 miles on NE-44 and US-34 to visit the Nebraska Paririe Museum located just north of Holdrege, NE.  This museum has indoor and outside displays that tell the stories of the lives and times of many of those who have been a part of the early development of Heldrege and the surrounding area, including the POW camp that was established near Holdrere during WWII. 

Now I headed 50 miles south on US-183, across the border into Kansas,  to visit the Fort Bissill Museum located in Phillipsburg, KS.  This museum was closed, but their website informs me that the old stockade fort was built to represent the 1872 fort used to protect early settlers.  It was not ever used by the military.  Artifacts are displayed inside the walls of the fort and include an 1872 log cabin, an 1887 one-room schoolhouse, and an 1885 general store, all of which were moved to the museum location over the years.

I continued south another 25 miles on US-183 to visit the Walter-Coolbaugh 20th Century House located in downtown Stockton, KS but it was closed.  So, I just took a photo to this beautiful mansion and headed on down the road to the next museum.

That took me another 40 miles south on US-183 to The Sternberg Museum of Natural History located just east of Hays, KS.  This large museum has two–floors filled with natural history displays that tell the stories  of the evelution of the Oceans of Kansas and the Central Great Plains area.  I was impressed with their live Rattlesnake collection which represents all 22 different species of Rattlesnakes found in the US.  The museum also conducts annual Science Camps for elementry, middle school, & high school students.

As I continued south about 25 miles on US-183 I came upon the Rush  County Historical Museum located in the Grass Park area of LaCrosse, KS.  This small museum is located in the old 1887 Santa Fe Railroad Depot and has on display artifacts and memorabilia related to the early history of LaCross and Rush County from the late 1800s.  In the same small complex there is the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum that tells the history of barbed with the display of 2000+ examples. There is also a restored 1907 one-room school house and a restored 1916 bank, both of which were moved to this location.

I thought I would never see the end of US-183, but I finally turned off at Kinsley, KS where I visited the Carnival Heritage Center. This museum is dedicated to the preservation of artifacts and memorabilia related to the traveling carnival companies that have made Kinsley their home from as early as 1907 to the 1980s.

Now I headed southwest 35 miles on US-50 to visit the Boot Hill  Museum, said to be, located on the original site of the old Boot Hill Cemetery in Dodge City, KS.  This is a great museum!  It is filled with literly thousands of old west artifacts and all kinds of memorabilia depicting the infamous Dodge City gold rush days of the 1800s.  

I had visited this museum, on another road trip several years ago, but things have changed since then.  They have added a new ticket and gift shop building, and have consolidated the original row of museum stores (each staffed with tour guides dressed in period costumes) into a single self-guided walk-thru type museum.

I was a tired and thirsty cowpoke today, but when I entered the Long Branch Saloon, there was no one to offer me a Sarsaparilla, or to play ragtime music on the ancient upright piano.  That was a real bumer, as I had been looking forward the that experience all day.  I was also disappointed that the museum was not conducting the Main Street Shootout dimenstration the day I was there.

Just across the street from the Boot Hill Cemetery was the Gun Fighters Wax Museum.  This small museum consists of full-size wax figures of the well known old west personalities such as Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Sitting Bull, and many others, that roamed this part of Kansas during the gold rush days of the 1800s.   

By now I was ready to head for the motel and get something to eat.  I settled for another quick and easy ‘Heat & Serve’ meal of Beef Tips & Grave in my motel room.  Yummm!  Then I recorded my days activities and hit the hay.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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