Saturday, May 9, 2009

Belleville, Scandia, and Concordia

On Friday May 1, 2009, I spent the day in north central Kansas in Republic and Cloud counties.

I spent the morning in Belleville, first exploring downtown around the beautiful WPA courthouse, built in 1939. I noticed the township names marked on the outside windows. After leaving downtown, I travelled out the the east edge of town to Rocky Pond, where the Rock Island Railroad used the water for steam engines.

I visited the city park in Belleville, with several WPA buildings, including the bandshell, then went to the fairgrounds, home of the historic Belleville High Banks 1/2 mile racetrack. Here are the WPA stone grandstand and the historic round wood Floral building.

Next, I went to the High Banks Museum on North US-81 in Belleville. Here, the volunteer was very helpful as he took me through the museum explaining all the exhibits and race cars associated with the High Banks racetrack, which will be 100 years old in 2010.

I went west to Scandia for a good lasagna lunch at Tag's Bar & Grill, then explored the downtown business district and the architecture there. I also went up the hill to Riverview Cemetery at the north edge of town, one of the hilliest cemeteries I've been to.

Then, I went back to Belleville for a visit to the Republic County Historical Museum. Some interesting displays here, including outside displays of a one room school, a church and blacksmith shop. Also here was perhaps the largest tool collection I've yet seen at any museum.

By mid-afternoon, I went south to Concordia for a visit to the National Orphan Train Museum complex. This museum chronicles a few of the approximately 250,000 orphans moved by train from New York City during the period of 1854 to 1929.

Finally, after dinner, I went to the historic Brown Grand Theater in Concordia for a performance by the Diamond W Wranglers, whose home base is Cowtown Museum in Wichita. This was my first chance to see them, and I very much enjoyed the performance.

Some links:
My photo galleries:
Republic County:
Cloud County:

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