Happy 157th Birthday, Kansas!!
Although Kansas was admitted to the Union in 1861, Kansas Day was not celebrated until 1877. After two weeks of gathering information on the geography, history and resources of Kansas, Paola public school students spent the afternoon of Jan. 29, 1877, making presentations and sharing maps and drawings with parents, friends and residents of their community. Alexander Le Grande Copley, was the teacher at Paola that year. In 1879 he became superintendent of the Wichita schools, and Kansas Day was then observed there. Copley attended county teachers’ institutes and state teachers’ association meetings and encouraged the teachers to celebrate Kansas Day. In 1882 at the first meeting of the Northwestern Teachers Association, it was decided that a small pamphlet should be published including information about Kansas, its songs and sample speeches suitable for the observance of Kansas Day. The 32-page booklet was simply called, “Kansas Day.” At the next State Teachers Association meeting in Topeka, every teacher took home one or more copies. Purchased copies went to 65 Kansas counties, and for a short time the booklet was used as a textbook in the state normal school at Emporia. The popularity of Kansas Day continued to grow and is celebrated by teachers and students across the state today.
Last Friday, Lakin second graders visited the museum to celebrate Kansas Day. They learned about the history of Kansas Day, some of the first inhabitants of this part of the state, the Santa Fe Trail, how Lakin got its start, how the pioneers lived, the schools they attended and the first businesses here. In conjunction with the event, the museum sponsored a coloring contest for the second graders and awarded one child from each class with a special gift. Congratulations to our winners: Desi White, Claire Barnhardt, and Idaly Martinez! All of the second graders’ coloring pages will be displayed at the museum during the month of February.