Column published in the Smith County Pioneer, October 31, 2013

Time Capsule Placed in Historical Cabin
By El Dean Holthus

On October 17 another feature was added to the long history life line of the Higley/Home on the Range Cabin when a time capsule was placed in its walls. This was done at the request and direction of Len and Linus Schamber owners of Schamber Rehabilitation and Restoration of Damar, Kansas under the observation of Gerald Caspers and El Dean Holthus, Trustees of the Ellen Rust Trust. The Schambers have a long history of restoring historical properties in Kansas and were the general contractors on the Home on the Range project. Placing of a time capsule in their completed projects, in addition to excellent craftmanship, is one of their trademarks. In their work over the years they realize the importance, in restoration, is to have a documented history of work completed on the property in years past.

This time capsule is made of PVC pipe, sealed at both ends and can be opened only by cutting. The Schambers placed copies of the legal papers involved with the project such as architectural plans, bids, contracts, grant information, essentially anything related to the physical work on the Cabin. Gerald and I placed personal items particularly from the 140th anniversary celebrations and some from the time the site was operated by Ellen Rust. The capsule was then filled with news articles relating to the project and to the day.

50-100 years from now or the next time work is required on the Cabin this time capsule will provide the guidelines for restoration so its integrity might be maintained. There were a minimum of records for Mort Plunkett, Hill City architect, to research specific to the Cabin and for the Schambers in the actual on site work. Future workers on the project will have the advantage of the availability of construction information placed in the capsule.

This Cabin, on its original site, on the bank of West Beaver Creek, Pleasant Township, Smith County, Kansas inspired Dr. Brewster Higley VI to write a poem titled “My Western Home” which became the State song of Kansas, “Home on the Range”. Visitors to the site continue to be impressed, charmed and motivated as they spend some time by the restored Cabin; the latest being Len Schamber who, on July 1, 2013, sitting by the beautiful finished Cabin penned the following:
THE OLD WESTERN HOME
While I sat next to the old cabin door, twilight turned to darkness. Under the bows of the locust, the elms, the willows and the cottonwoods the fireflies appeared as out of nowhere. I heard the cry of a lonely coyote and a whole family of raccoons scurried across the meadows and into the woods. No antelope were seen but the fawn and its mother moved quietly through the trees barely visible in the dying light of day.

The evening was absolutely void of breeze and not a leaf dared move. The moment seemed sacred. Slowly the sky opened its arms and the stars sparkled brightly. The pervasive peace and calm moved me to sing a verse of the commonly known song, Home on the Range. I sang it again and again as if to call back the spirit of Dr. Higley. He was there. That emotionally distraught poet created a legacy of verse now known worldwide. His 141 year old home is now respectfully restored; there was a nod of approval as his spirit thanked those blest to be given the opportunity to rebuild his home.

This is not a common song about a common house. It is rather a home that embodies a spirit of mind and heart. Yes, here along the banks of Beaver Creek I can grasp the spirit of those days and nights long ago. The refrain sank deep into my heart as the now dark, star studded sky lifted me as if above the place and the moment. I was moved again to recall the verse of My Western Home and all was well with my creator as I sang; Oh give me a home………
Len Schamber
July 1, 2013
Len then penned the following poem with a refrain:

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
I sat on a chair
By the old Cabin fair
And I scarcely could take it all in,
The leaves of the trees
And the cool evening breeze
My spirit seemed floating on air.
CHORUS
Home, Oh take me home
Where my heart is content to be free
Where all I can feel
Is the heavenly peal
Of the peace they once felt long ago

The coons and the deer
And the crickets I hear
So gently I fell into sleep
And when I awoke
I saw curling of smoke
Warm fire in the old Cabin fair
CHORUS

Dr. Higley once penned
Thoughts and feelings within
Of life he once lived on the creek
Generations now know
How a man long ago
Saw beauty far more than skin deep.
CHORUS
Len Schamber
July 1, 2013