Column published in Smith County Pioneer , July 17, 2014:

By El Dean Holthus

Saturday 25 members of the Hays Recreation Commission visited the Home on the Range Cabin as one stop on a tour of Smith County historic sites; the tour was arranged by the Smith Center Chamber of Commerce led by Joan Nech. It was a great group of people with a keen interest in the Cabin and Site; several walked a portion of the walking trail with many saying they were looking forward to returning when the information stations are completed. They and everyone who has visited have made favorable comments about the furnishings.

We have ordered a prototype of the data station information plaques that is 24” X 36” aluminum with the print and pictures covering 22” X 34”. Terry Bohm and Mary Lattin visited the site to review the sites and plan their respective stations along the Trail.

Mitch and Tami Holthus, Home on the Range boosters in the Kansas City area, were home for the week-end and enjoyed playing 18 holes of golf at the Smith Center Course; they deeply appreciated the use of Vernon Reinking’s gof cart.

Andrew McCrea of Farm Journal Media interviewed EL Dean and Karen Panter for his radio show called “American Countryside” which airs locally on KFRM 540 AM and KRVN 880 AM. He will air the Home on the Range segment prior to our October event.

Gerald and Betty Caspers, El Dean and Kathy Holthus representing the Ellen Rust Living Trust hosted John and Sara Devine and Staci Sanders from Fort Riley and Mitch and Tami Holthus, Basehor, Kansas with a pizza picnic at the Site. Mitch works as a fund raiser for the Site and Tami is our web Site Master and heads up our internet marketing for Home on the Range. The support of John, Sara and Staci is best described in Sara’s write up which follows:

Mr. Holthus,

Thank you again for everything and such a wonderful visit. We are already looking forward to our next opportunity to visit out that way!

-Sara Devine

My write up for you is below:

My name is Sara Devine. I grew up in Hoxie, Kansas. My mother took me to numerous historic and cultural sites when I was younger to give me different perspectives growing up. It’s no surprise that she took my brother and I to the Home on the Range Cabin 16 years ago when I was 8 years old. Sixteen years later, I returned to the cabin of my own accord.

My husband, John, and I learned of the Home on the Range cabin together at the Kansas Sampler Festival in Wamego, Kansas. We met Mr. Holthus and spoke with him about the cabin. The conversation eventually turned to geocaching. He said he had placed a cache at the cabin. We told him as geocachers we would be by eventually to see the site and find the cache. I looked on for the cache but could not find it. I contacted Mr. Holthus to inform him and he said there was a cache. Together, we eventually understood that there was a physical cache on the property but had not been logged online. Mr. Holthus allowed me to create the online portion of the cache.

I was excited to do this for such a gentleman as Mr. Holthus. His passion for this cabin is evident in every conversation I have had with him. Our society today is less concerned with history and its preservation than it was when I was younger. I am passionate about learning about and experiencing history.

Geocaching has been an activity that I can do outside with my husband as a team. This hobby has brought us to many historic places and taught us lessons that we would of otherwise not known. This is why I was excited to work with Mr. Holthus to place a geocache on the grounds. The cache will inevitably bring cachers to the area, teaching them about the state song of Kansas and the gentleman who settled here. Awareness of historic sites helps preserve them as well.

The cabin is lucky to have Mr. Holthus, a forward thinking, history loving gentleman whose primary concern for this site is it’s preservation for future generations. My husband and I, along with our friend Staci Sanders, were honored to meet and work with Mr. Holthus and his family to bring awareness to the cabin in an unconventional way.