Column published in Smith County Pioneer, September 11, 2014:

HOME ON THE RANGE
By El Dean Holthus

The Marshal of Dodge City, Allen Bailey, well known cowboy swing musician and radio personality of High Plains Public Radio has had an interest in the Higley/Home on the range Cabin for more than 15 years. He and I met in Wichita the fall of 2011 at the Kansas Sesquicentennial celebration; he was delighted to finally put a real person with the Cabin and expressed a desire to aid in any way when the time came that were ready to start the restoration process.

He along with his wife Cowgirl Janey backed up by The Ozark Alliance (Vaughn Family) from Missouri provided the musical entertainment at our July 4, 2012 celebration of the 140th anniversary of the Cabin’s construction.

Allen also paints with acrylics on Masonite and has presented his work on Facebook; the Trustees invited him to paint a portrait of Dr. Brewster VI in front of the Cabin. We have had only one photograph of Dr. Higley which we and everyone else was using in our publications and thought something new would be nice as a part of the re-dedication of the Cabin. Allen worked on this painting for several weeks sharing with Facebook users the development as he sent photos taken during different stages of his work; finishing about 10 days ago.

Marshal Bailey lives near Meade, Ks; Wakeeney, Ks is about midway between Smith Center and Meade so on Sunday, September 7, Kathy and I met Allen and Janey in Wakeeney to receive the painting.

The painting will be on display in the window of Graphics Central for everyone to enjoy. Marshal Bailey has donated the painting, the frame funded by the Ellen Rust Living Trust for the benefit of the Cabin and the Home on the Range Site. Allen, in his painting, has captured the essence of the nature of Dr. Brewster Higley VI as described by Margaret Nelson in her book, Home on the Range, where she wrote of Dr. Higley sitting outside his Cabin playing his violin or just enjoying the sights and sounds of his beloved homestead on the bank of West Beaver Creek. The painting will sold by sealed bid with the bids being opened at 11 am on October 5, 2014 at the HOR Site. No bid of less than $500 will be accepted; bids are to be mailed to El Dean Holthus, 9082 130 Road, Smith Center, KS 66967. Place the bid in a sealed envelope inside the addressed envelope. Bids must be received by October 4, 2014; they can also be hand carried to the Site and will be accepted until opening time.

Thursday of this past week Terry Bohm and the Stansbury brothers of Center Monument, Smith Center set the Bohm Limestone marker at their Wild Flower station of the nature walk. Center monument also set the Rotary marker, at Foot Bridge #1, in concrete. Ron Gibble visited to determine a location for his food trailer and shared his power requirements.

The Solomon Valley Players are planning on having a meeting on site Thursday September 11 to determine the location for their female gunfight on October 4, 2015. We believe this will be the first ever female gun fight and will finally “lay to rest” the authorship of Home on the Range. Brian Martin, who is providing the sound for the two days of the celebration, will also join us to review his plans for setting up.

I shared the following with the Smith Center Chamber members last Friday; we are expecting visitors to Smith County from many states to attend our re-dedication events. They will be coming to visit Home on the Range but they will also be guests of everyone in the North Central/Northwest counties of Kansas. We are strongly urging each of you to attend both days of our celebration; this will probably be the largest privately hosted event in the area in many years and it is essential that we have local support. Those coming from these great distances are excited about attending and expecting everyone here to be excited along with them.

If you have questions please call me at 785-695-2347 or cell at 785-476-5216 or Gerald Caspers at 785-697-2641.