Local landmark nominated for special designation

Saturday, April 24, 2010
An 8th Wonder? The Fort Scott National Historic Site has been nominated as a candidate for one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas History as named by the Kansas Sampler Foundation. Anyone can vote for their favorite candidate at www.8wonders.org. The Friends of the Fort Scott National Historic Site nominated the facility.

INMAN, Kan. -- It was announced Thursday at the Kansas Sampler Foundation headquarters that the Fort Scott National Historic Site has been named a finalist in the 8 Wonders of Kansas History contest.

More than 170 historical locations were nominated for the contest and only 24 were chosen as finalists. According to a statement by the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the 24 finalists will compete for votes from the public, hoping to make it into the top eight.

"We're very honored to be included with a number of different wonderful sites across the state of Kansas," FSNHS Chief Park Ranger Kelly Collins. "It is exciting to be nominated and we hope that everyone will vote for Fort Scott National Historic Site."

A re-enactor at one of the many living history events presented at the Fort throughout the year. --file photo

According to the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the purpose of the contest is to educate the world about Kansas and to encourage travel in the state. Collins said she hopes that the FSNHS's inclusion as a finalist will go a long way in getting some exposure for the site.

"I think it will raise awareness ... many people throughout the state probably aren't aware of our site," she said.

As awareness increases, so should the number of visitors to the site. As the FSNHS continues to work on new developments, Collins said staff at the site would like to see more guests visit.

Reed Hartford represents the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site at an event hosted by the Kansas Sampler Foundation in Inman, Kan., on April 22, during which the 24 finalists nominated for the 8 Wonders of Kansas History were announced. More than 170 nominations were made, according to a press release from the Kansas Sampler Foundation. --submitted photo

"That certainly is a possibility and I hope that is the case," she said.

According to the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the FSNHS was chosen as a finalist because of its unique place in the formative years of the state beginning in 1842, its role in the western expansion of the nation, as well as the Bleeding Kansas and Civil War eras.

Voting for the 8 Wonders of Kansas History has begun and will continue to midnight on June 15. Voters must choose eight of the 24 finalists. Voting is open to anyone regardless of age or location. Votes may be cast online by visiting www.8wonders.org or by submitting a paper ballot at one of the finalist locations or by calling (620) 585-2374. One e-mail address may be used three times to vote.

"I encourage everybody to go online and vote for Fort Scott National Historic Site," Collins said. "There are certainly a lot of wonderful places in the running but we would certainly like to be in that top eight."

The 8 Wonders of Kansas History contest is one in a series which highlights the eight rural culture elements used by the Kansas Sampler Foundation to help a town assess itself. Previous contests which have already been concluded 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture, Art, Commerce, Cuisine, Customs, and Geography.

According to the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the final contest titled 8 Wonders of Kansas People will take place after the history contest has concluded. The overall 8 Wonders of Kansas were announced on Kansas Day 2008. All results can be seen at www.8wonders.org.

The 24 finalists for the 8 Wonders of Kansas History (in alphabetical order) are:

* 1930s Dust Bowl to Gas Exploration, Historic Adobe Museum, Ulysses

* Black Jack Battlefield, Baldwin City

* Boot Hill Museum/Historic Dodge City

* Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Topeka

* Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum, Arkansas City

* Constitution Hall State Historic Site, Lecompton

* Council Grove, Santa Fe Trail National Historic Landmark

* El Cuartelejo Pueblo Ruins, Scott County

* Fort Hays State Historic, Hays

* Fort Larned National Historic Site, Pawnee County

* Fort Scott National Historic Site, Fort Scott

* Historic Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth

* Historic Fort Riley, Junction City

* Home on the Range Cabin, Smith County

* Kansas Museum of History, Topeka

* Kanza Tribe and Lewis & Clark's Independence Creek, Atchison

* Lead and zinc mining, Baxter Springs and Galena museums

* Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site, Olathe

* Mid-America Air Museum, Liberal

* National Orphan Train Complex, Concordia

* Nicodemus National Historic Site, Nicodemus

* Osage Mission Museum, St. Paul

* Pawnee Indian Museum State Historic Site, Republic County

* Smoky Valley Roller Mill, Lindsborg

"Orphan trains, stagecoach stops, land races, forts, and a successful effort to end segregated schools are just a part of the assortment of topics presented around the state," Kansas Sampler Foundation Director Marci Penner said. "All of these places are built for visitors and for sharing the Kansas story. Keep this list on your refrigerator this summer and go to as many as you can."