Column published in the Smith County Pioneer, June 19, 2014

By El Dean Holthus, Trustee

Saturday, June 14, 2014 was the 239th Anniversary of the founding of the United States Army and the 237th Anniversary of the Adoption of our United States Flag. It was special also to the Home on the Range Site as the date chosen, by the local Sarah Steward Chapter of the Kansas Daughters of the American Revolution, to dedicate a new flag pole and flag at the Site.

More than 50 were in attendance, with DAR members from all around the state and local members; many friends and neighbors from surrounding communities were also present. The program was opened by the local Girl Scout Troop leading everyone in the pledge of allegiance followed by Galen Larson leading us in singing the National Anthem. Galen as part of the closing, led the attendees in singing the State Song of Kansas, Home on the Range.

Betty Sears, recording secretary of the chapter is preparing a detailed story written with more detail about the DAR, their programs and Saturday’s program in detail.

The flag pole was donated by Gerald and Betty Caspers. The local chapter paid to have Haven Manufacturing sand blast, add needed attachments and cover it with a beautiful finish of powder coat paint. The local chapter purchased the American Flag and the Trust the Kansas Flag; these flags will be flown only on special occasions as we are not properly lighted to fly them 24-7 or to raise and lower them each day.

Gerald and I moved most of the furnishing into the Cabin last week; they will continue to be “tweaked” as time passes. The furnishings are going to be few and mostly handmade by Gerald; here again we are “guessing” as to what furnishings a single pioneer doctor might have had in 1872.

We continue to hear comments such as, “The Cabin just isn’t right now and I liked the ‘original ?’ furniture”. I will address these once again; the Cabin wasn’t right since 1954 because it was renovated when the loft was removed and the roof lowered. It could not have been left “as is” because the roof leaked, soil pressure was forcing in the north wall and water was seeping in. The “original” furniture was not original; it had been donated and placed in Cabin without any reference or connection to the Cabin or Dr. Higley and due to water damage was in no shape to be placed in the remodeled Cabin. Many of you may know this but the Trustees first meeting with the Kansas Historical Society was to determine if the Cabin was worth saving. We could have done nothing as some of you now imply and let it fall down BUT we took the instructions of Ellen Rust seriously to restore and save the Cabin. Today you and all other visitors can now view the beautiful Cabin restored believing it to be like the one built by Dr. Higley.

We have now have 24-7 video surveillance both on site and in the Cabin provided by NexTech Security systems. We are able to view the recordings from any one of 4 computers off site or on site with lap tops.
We had considerable tree damage on the Site from the Saturday night storm; Dean Panter and Zack Hiller cleared the entrance road but we have a lot of work to clear the nature walk. We have not made a detailed inspection of the entire Site but do know there was no damage to the Cabin and no water was blown in.

This is enough for tonight; coming in the future, information on geo caching, the nature walk and information stations.

Please visit soon.

(Click on image below to enlarge.)