Column published in the Smith County Pioneer, March 27, 2014:

HOME ON THE RANGE
By El Dean Holthus

Special days for the Home on the Range site are continuing to mount as we had another one on March 15, 2014 when the senior senator from Kansas, Pat Roberts and his party, visited the Cabin. 42 people greeted the visitors; 41 from Smith and Phillips County and one from California. Sen. Roberts addressed the group on various subjects including that he is a fourth generation Kansan, his Great Grandfather started the newspaper in Oskaloosa which is now the second oldest paper in the state. I and Gerald Caspers as Trustees of the Ellen Rust Living Trust presented the Senator a model of the Cabin, designed and constructed by Gerald. These models are collector items with each being numbered and are given only to special friends of the Home on the Range Site. Kathy Holthus, Trish and Lindsey Campbell served cookies, coffee and water to the visitors. The cookies were baked and decorated as sunflowers by EthelBelle Sears. Austin Allen, Tanner and Lindsey Campbell helped with the parking of cars; after the official party left Austin and Lindsey each directed a group of visitors over the proposed nature walk.

Gerald and I deeply appreciate Senator Roberts taking time to visit rural Kansas and Home on the Range in particular; he took the time to visit with any who wished to share their thoughts with him. A special thanks to all who helped in publicizing the visit and for attending. Tad Felts, of KKAN/KQMA was the only media representative; he and Bob Yates are real friends of the HOR Site. Tad and Harold Stones, who grew up in the Lebanon area and organized the visit, were students together at Fort Hays State.

Many readers have viewed the 1/3 scale model of the Cabin we pull in parades and use for static displays and may have asked as you looked in the door or window, “Where is the furniture”? We have addressed your question; Gerald has made a small table and bench and a rope cot which Louis Frazier of Smith Center Building Center installed in the Cabin; Louis also installed the small stove from the Cabin that was donated by the late Russell Frazier to Pete and Ellen Rust. Louis was the only one at Smith Center Building Center small to fit through the little door of the cabin.

A side story to the Frazier stove; Eugene Frazier, eldest son of Russell, after hearing of plans to restore the Cabin expressed his concern about the little stove. We assured him that it would be properly cared for. We determined that would have been too small to be authentic in our plans for furnishing the restored Cabin. We believe we have found a way to continue to honor Russell’s memory and all the Frazier family for their gift to Home on the Range and provide an opportunity for the public to share in their gift.

Currently there are only two official events scheduled in 2014for the HOR Site, our re-dedication of the restored Cabin October 3-5 and the dedication of a new flag pole on site and re-dedication of the DAR plaque near the Cabin. Gerald Caspers has donated the pole, it is to be powder coat painted by Haven Manufacturing and the base will be designed and set by Joey Stansbury and his crew from Center Monuments. We have asked Zack Hiller to help us set the pole. The base costs are being paid by the local Sarah Steward chapter of the DAR, Joyce Jones, President, with most of the labor being donated or funded by the Trust.

Save June 14, 2014, Flag Day to attend the dedication and help the local ladies honor the Flag of our Great Nation. Joyce or I will have more program details as they develop but I would share one thing I have heard; Dr. Brewster Higley VI has been invited to share some stories during his medical practice time in the county.

I am surprised at the number of local people who have not taken the opportunity to visit this restored masterpiece. Why is it special? Even it wasn’t the home of Home on the Range it is special in that it is more likely than not, the only combination log and limestone building in the USA ON ITS ORIGINAL SITE. Gerald and I urge everyone to come and enjoy YOUR Cabin.