A native of Overland Park, Kansas, Bret is a junior majoring in Animal Science at Kansas State University who became interested in history after taking Dr. Morgan’s Lost Communities class. Bret applied for the Brunswick Internship because he was interested in the way that American recreation has changed over the past century. He finds it fascinating how pool and bowling are just as much an American past-time as baseball and apple pie! Bret hopes to continue with his studies and graduate with a history minor.
It was a windy field trip to the prairies of northern Wabaunsee County for the fall 2012 Lost Kansas Communities class. On October 23, fifteen students gathered with 1880 plat maps, compasses, long-distance scopes, early census data, and other materials to examine a long-vanished school landscape.
Working from the site of Bean School, District #3, burned in a prairie fire a few years ago, students tackled the reconstruction of quite a few landscape features. They figured out walking distances, homestead boundaries and survey lines, placement of stone and Osage orange fences, likely home sites, directional flow of creeks, sites of 19th century springs, old stock trails and ponds, and likely rates of farm persistence.
This class finally hammered out some puzzling aspects to Bean School landscape! Dr. Morgan had to restrain a few students from climbing over fences and hiking up dry streambeds, all on private property.
For two hours on October 13, seven historical societies and Chapman Center interns, directors, and assistants shared ideas and frustrations about “doing history” in 2012. Members and volunteers of active societies in our service area came to visit the Center for an autumn tea and exchange forum. We enjoyed meeting guests from Wabaunsee County Historical Society, Geary County Historical Society, Clay County Historical Society, Rock Creek Valley Historical Society, St. George Historical Society, Riley County Historical Society, and Riley County Genealogical Society.
Intern Aaron Melby presented his research on patterns of territorial Kansas crime, a project made possible through the cooperation of Wabaunsee County Historical Society. Angela Schnee discussed the Pool Table Research Project and shared her GIS map of pool table distribution in early 20th century rural Kansas, research again made possible through leads and contacts primarily provided through our county affiliates. MJ Morgan overviewed our developing website and collections; she also mentioned upcoming Chapman projects in 2013.
Special Honoree Mr. Melvin Bruntzel was the recipient of the first Chapman Center Bruntzel Award for Preservation of Kansas History; Mr. Bruntzel’s three-volume reference set of lost Kansas communities, over 9,000, represents a truly staggering commitment and dedication.