Column published in the Smith County Pioneer, April 3, 2014:

HOME ON THE RANGE
By El Dean Holthus, Trustee

It was a very quiet week at the Home on the Range Site; with nearly everything involving around planning for future events.

Garoleen Wilson, Director of Economic Development visited the site today (Sunday) on horseback for the purpose of scouting the area for a possible major trail ride in 2015. It would involve riders from throughout the state. The Ride would begin and end at the Cabin with a Chuck wagon steak supper and Cowboy concert. Dennis and Glenda Ratliff sponsored a similar ride several years ago when they were the tenants on the site.

The first on site event will be June 14, when the local Sarah Steward Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will dedicate a new flag pole on the Site. Gerald Caspers has donated the pole, Haven Manufacturing will install necessary hardware, sand blast, prime and powder coat paint the pole. After it is set Joey Stansbury and Center Monuments will design and install an appropriate base and marker. This pole will provide the opportunity to fly, on site, an American flag and Kansas Flag on special occasions. Joyce Jones is organizing the program.

Phone calls and Emails have been exchanged as the program for the re-dedication on October 3-5 takes shape. The professional musicians are set, the large tent ordered and Cindy Tuxhorn continues to take reservations for vendors. I have visited with the First Sergeant of the Nicodemus Detachment of the Buffalo Soldiers who have voted to have their summer encampment at the HOR Site on the first week-end in October. We are waiting for details on the funds required to have them visit us. This will be a great opportunity to observe how the soldiers of the frontier lived and trained.

We urge everyone to come home the first week-end of October to Smith Center for Homecoming on Friday night and complete the week-end by attending our program at Home on the Range. Those attending will have the opportunity to see the restored cabin and the layout of the nature walk, enjoy high quality entertainment and other special acts.

Work continues on the information stations along the nature they will include one with the story of Pete and Ellen Rust, another with the story of Rotary Club involvement with HOR, another the story of the Alpha/Omega bridge on 90 Road, Wendell and Terry Bohm have planted a wild flower plot, the 4H council will plant a native grass plot and Mary Brien Lattin is installing a tribute to her pioneer ancestors who lived in the area along with Dr. Higley. These are only the ones we plan to complete by October, more will be added.

We have 2 foot bridges to complete; Clark Lambert, local Rotary President, is working with Dr. Roger Marshall, Kansas District Governor elect, in planning a work day to involve as many Kansas Rotarians as possible to help us finish the bridge project. Materials have been ordered and were funded by the Smith County CVB.

As area schools plan field trips we invite you to consider a visit to the National Historical site right in your own back yard. Give Gerald or me a couple of days lead time before you plan to visit.

Kathy and I are firming up our plans to attend the Kansas Sampler event in Wamego the first week-end in May. This will be the inaugural show for the newly furnished model cabin.