1966 Letter Sent To Atchison County Citizens: The Atchison Kiwanis Club and Sunflower Kiwanis Club invite you or representatives of your organization to attend a community wide meeting to be held on Tuesday evening, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the new Science Hall auditorium at St. Benedict's College. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the organization of an Atchison County Historical Society. There is support in the community now for the formation of such a society that could preserve and promote historical items of value and the history of Atchison and Atchison County. Leavenworth and Jefferson Counties now have county historical societies and the Kansas Legislature has passed legislation to assist in financing local county historical societies.... The first organizational meeting was held February 15, 1966 in the Science Hall at St. Benedict's College. That night 51 people, including then Mayor Joe Carrigan, came out to boost the cause to found an organization dedicated to preserving our community history. At the second meeting the Temporary Organizing Committee elected a slate of officers: Ralph Martin, president; Claude Warner, vice-president; John Gerardy, treasurer and Blanche Houston, secretary. With the help of local attorney John May, Rev. Peter Beckman, Bob Peterson, Harry Hixson, Rev. Roger Rumery, Rev. Angelus Lingenfelser, Robert Jacobson, Mrs. O.P. May, County Commissioner Robert Lykins, Atchison Mayor Joe Carrigan and Edgar Langsdorf from the Kansas State Historical Society, the organization of the Atchison County Historical Society began. That night the Charter Membership drive began with Vivian Crawford Lutz becoming the first dues paying member of the Historical Society. By the end of the March 16, 1966 meeting there were 15 members paid at $2 each for active members and $5 for contributing members giving the new organization a starting bank balance later that week of $39. The original committee continued work throughout 1966 and by early 1967 the necessary steps to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation were in place with Blanche Houston, Claude Warner, Charles Spencer and John May signing as incorporators of the Atchison County Historical Society. With the formal incorporation papers filed the first official officers of the Atchison County Historical Society were elected: President-Claude Warner (replacing Ralph Martin who had moved his business to Texas); Vice-President-J. Robert Jacobson; Secretary- Blanche Houston; and Treasurer- John Gerardy. With officers elected and by-laws in place on April 25, 1967 Kansas Secretary of State Elwill M. Shanahan officially recognized the establishment of the Atchison County Historical Society, Inc. with the mission to, "preserve, promote, record and share the history and historical artifacts of Atchison County." That basic mission has been the guide for all the years of work since - to establish a museum and build the collected artifacts to tell the story of the rich history and culture of Atchison County, Kansas. Charter Members With the organization now in place the new officers took on the goal to build a large base of Charter Members. The goal was set at 500 members for the newly established Society with dues set at $2. The Charter Membership drive continued from the original 1966 members through 1967 and 1968. While the goal of 500 members was not met, the society established itself with a widespread membership base of 469 memberships, with Gertrude Growney becoming the final Charter Member on July 1, 1968.Establishing a museum Now that the Atchison County Historical Society was established the next goal was to develop a museum and begin building the collection of artifacts, records, and information. The first public display of artifacts was in the old Priory Building at St. Benedict's College beginning April 1, 1968 with 570 items in the collection. The exhibition space was then moved to the National Guard Armory in early 1968. While these spots gave some public display the society wanted a permanent museum for the community. In late 1968 the Helen Ostertag Home, 409 Atchison Street, finally became the home to the Historical Society and played host to society meetings, socials, displays and one of the first events held by the Atchison County Historical Society, a "Society Tea" on December 15, 1968 featuring a grand march, historical costume contest, music, vocal groups and style show, with over 40 prizes given out for best costumes for men, women and children. In 1972, the first true museum site was acquired with the property at 1440 N. Sixth Street sold to the Historical Society by the Atchison County Commissioners for $1. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on the site overlooking Dam #1 on October 15, 1972 with Senator Theodore Senborn, president of the Kansas State Historical Society turning the first shovel of earth. By summer of 1973 the new museum was open with displays highlighting the varied history of the county. The museum operated at N. Sixth Street with a mix of paid and volunteer staff and began to build the collection under the stewardship of Father Angelus Lingenfelser, who served as president of the Historical Society from 1973 through 1992. The need for storage space and need for protection for large items that would not fit in the museum lead to the construction of a second building east of the museum site. The storage facility housed fire equipment acquired by the Historical Society and is still in use as an offsite storage facility today. The Historical Society remained at the N. Sixth Street location until 1989 when five years of negotiations with the Santa Fe Railroad resulted in the opening of the refurbished Santa Fe Freight Depot. The joint project of the Historical Society, and the City of Atchison, (with the Chamber of Commerce added at the last to oversee the Visitor Center) was five years in the making, but the resulting project saved the last remaining Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe structure in Atchison and resulted in one of the true landmark sites in all of Atchison County. Cloud L. "Bud" Cray, Jr., and Father Angelus of the Historical Society are credited with getting the deal done that ensured a new life for the old depot. The Santa Fe Depot Trustees, the oversight body charged by the City of Atchison with facilitating needed capital improvements to the Depot, came out of the original Santa Fe Depot Restoration and Utilization Committee headed by William Stillings. The original Depot Trustees included: Stillings, Catherine Ryan, Joe Turner, Rev. Angelus Lingenfelser, Dave Sutley, Dorothy Frischenmeyer, Jim Barnett, Pat Knoch and Evah Cray. Later sub-committee members were added including Patt Stansberry, who led the fund raising, which eventually raised over $425,000 toward renovation of the Depot. Frank Fogler, Luella Wagner, Denise Morrison, members of the American Legion, Priscilla Scholz, Connie Scholz and many other volunteers helped with the move to the new museum in the Depot and were invaluable in getting the museum ready for the grand opening on May 19, 1989.Highlights of the Atchison County Historical Society 1989-2002 Co-sponsored "Women Writers on the River 1850-1950" with Missouri Western to document the important work of women writers in Atchison and other places along the Missouri River. As a US Bicentennial Project the "1883 Andrea History of Kansas" was reprinted in a gilt edged two-volume set. This unique reprint still serves as a great resource on the history of Kansas, making the original publication available for many more years to come. The edition was extremely popular selling over 3,000 copies and going through three printings. Today a few remaining sets of this unique publication are still available for sale. Through the years the Atchison County Historical Society has published numerous historical pamphlets telling the story of Amelia Earhart, the Pony Express, Early Mills, Theatres and Arrington Health Springs. The Historical Society has published a newsletter since its early days, with over 24 years (now over 37 years) worth archived in the Museum office with an index began by a student worker in 2001 to aid in accessing the information that has been published over the years. Through the years the Atchison County Historical Society has extended its mission to help other historical museums and organizations in Atchison. The Evah Cray Historical Home Museum, which is now a fully separate 501(c)(3) organization, grew out of the Historical Society through the leadership of Evah Cray. The Historical Home Museum used this affiliation to develop a strong identity, which now stands on its own and serves as a unique attraction showcasing a Victorian Era home. Long affiliations with the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum and the North East Kansas Railroaders have benefited all involved with all today being strong organizations with diverse missions, which add to the ability of our community to preserve our rich heritage. Today the Atchison County Historical Society has a collection of over 15,000 items and counting, including one of the largest weapons collections in Kansas, the largest exhibited collection of Amelia Earhart Artifacts in the country and a museum housed in a National Register listed facility. The Atchison County Historical Society modified its organization in 1994 when the board of directors hired the society's first executive director. Anne Grego-Nagel took the job and helped stabilize the society financially and moved it into a more professional mode. Her work in this direction helped to keep the society going through a highly publicized inside-job theft that affected both the Historical Society's collections as well as those of the Evah Cray Historical Home Museum. Grego-Nagel's dedication to developing a database of the collections in the aftermath of these events moved the society to a new level of efficiency and stability that is continuing to be built upon to this day. Chris Taylor took over the post as executive director in 1999 when Grego-Nagel left to pursue other options. Since that time the board and staff have moved forward with plans to develop an archival storage facility, which will be completed in 2002 and has continued the museum redesign plans began several years ago. The Atchison County Historical Society is taking a leading role in working with other city and county organizations to take the stories of our county's rich history beyond the walls of the museum. The Historical Society has received a National Endowment for the Arts Planning Grant to develop plans and resources toward development of the Atchison Heritage Art Trace (AHArT) which will highlight our county's history and culture using the visual arts. The White House Millennium Council today recognizes the AHArT as a Community Millennium Trail. In 2000 the Museum Office and space for researchers and volunteers was completed. Through participation in the Atchison Community Information Network beginning in 2000 the Atchison County Historical Society has been able to upgrade its computer systems to take advantage of new technologies and in 2002 has developed its first web site. To those still reading - this 2015 AtchisonHistory.org will be the fourth unique website design developed to expand our reach and make use of the changing modalities of the Internet - this site is aimed at working no matter how you browse the world wide web - computer, tablet or smart-phone. In 2001, with the support and resources of the Adair/Exchange Bank Foundation, the Atchison County Historical Society began hosting periodic internships with Benedictine College students. Through 2002, three interns Kelly Whelan, Andrew Werring and Justin West have served internships, helping develop programs, catalogue materials, and all have researched and published their research on topics concerning the history of Atchison County. The future (at least in 2002) 2002 will see the Atchison County Historical Society take some long strides to toward the society's long-term goals. Grants and local fund-raising will allow for the development of a portion of the Museum Annex (storage facility on N. Sixth Street) to be a fully climate controlled museum storage facility to extend the life span of the many records and artifacts in the Historical Society collections. The first steps in the museum redesign will take place in 2002 and 2003 with the first project addressing areas which will facilitate both new exhibit space as well as needed storage in the museum. Preserving Independence Creek Lead by dedicated volunteer, Ladd Seaberg, a project to acquire the site of the July 4, 1804 campsite of the Lewis and Clark expedition on Independence Creek will be accomplished. Seaberg took on the project, acquired grant support from the Kansas Dept. of Travel and Tourism, donated to the project himself and encouraged others to help bring the first phase of the project to fruition. The site will eventually be traversed by a hiking and biking trail which will complete a 10-mile loop to the Atchison Riverfront, will feature a re-creation of a Kanza dwelling and signage noting the importance of the site spanning the Atchison and Doniphan County lines. The Smithsonian comes to Atchison (for the first time - 2015 marks the 4th Smithsonian exhibit to come to town) The future holds much in store for the Atchison County Historical Society, with a Smithsonian Institution exhibition, "Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future" coming to the Museum in the Depot from November 15-December 27, 2002. The exhibition, co-sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council, should draw some of the largest crowds ever to the Museum if past Smithsonian Museum on Main Street programs are any indication. Planning for 2004should be a memorable year for everyone in Atchison, with both the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial and Kansas Sesquicentennial taking place that year. Plans approved by the Atchison County Historical Society Board of Directors call for several projects to be complete by this time and a full slate of programs and educational opportunities to be on tap throughout 2004.This article was written in 2002 to mark the 35th year of the Atchison County Historical Society. As we approach 2017 we will be updating this information for our 50th Year. Portions of this article came from correspondence with the first president of what would become the Atchison County Historical Society, Ralph Martin; a brief history of the Historical Society written by Father Angelus Lingenfelser; research by Gail Ann Fox, current Historical Society Board member; and research by Chris Taylor, ACHS executive director.
Ralph Martin, John Gerardy, Vivian Lutz, Mike Lawless, T. W. Sullivan, Mrs. 0.P. May, Mrs. Chas. Houston, John A. Adair, Mrs. Jack Robinson, Mrs. Wm. H. Muchnic, Mrs. Art Miller, Robert Jacobson, John B. Garside, Father Peters, Charles Spencer, Mrs. Irene Bird, Mrs. Addison Mize, Mrs. W.M. Lehman, C. Marshall Warner, Mrs. M.L. Walters, Mrs. R.D. Holder Mrs. Clarence Thistle, Mrs. John Adair, Mrs. P.A. Brown, Mrs. Edwin Wulff, Edwin Wulff, Hazen Shaeffer, Father Angelus, Mrs. Allen Bilderback, Glen Nichols, Bob Lykins, Judge Edwin Page, Hank Muchnic, Mrs. Katherine S. Mize Sr. , Jane Poindexter/ Mrs. Fast, Mrs. John Mize Jr.1967 Gen. A.D. Warnock, Fred Martin, Mrs. Wm. A. Roe, Gordon W. Taylor, Mrs. Robert Low, Mrs. Irma Thistle, Father Roger, Frank Hunn, Mrs. Frank Hunn, Mrs. Willard Roger, Arthur Armstrong, Willis Armstrong, Father Rodger Ramency, Mrs. Robert Todd, Mrs. C.E. Akers, Mrs. Fel Stuart, Frank Hamilton, Mrs. Willetta Barker, Mrs. Amanda Palmer, Edmund Page, Mrs. Jack Robinson, Mrs. Lee Edwinson, Arthur Mitz, Helen D. Baird, Furman Rogers, Thomas Muchbanbeck, Mrs. John Gerardy, Henrietta Makins, Mrs. Leonard Banker, Mrs. Edward Back, Mr. Scott ___________, Mr. Claude E. Zacharias, Mrs. Willitta Louise Zacharias, Evelyn Clayton, Mr. O.W. Brown, Mrs. O.W. Brown, Mr. Arthur Armstrong, Mrs. Lavonia Armstrong, Mr. Arry Woolstore, John Jacobson, Mrs. John Jacobson, Mrs. F.W. Tanner, Mrs. Mary Finnegan, Mr. Lee Edwuson, Mrs. Elsie Edwuson, Mr. Charles Spencer, Mr. M,P. O’Keefe, Mrs. M.P. O’Keefe, Mr. Joe Carrigan, Mrs. Joe Carrigan, Mr. Robert Staley, Ruth Hanson, Kay Conrad, Helen Stanton, Nall A. Sharp, Mr. Joe Dyer. Florence Dyer, Raleigh Roland, Father Angusline, Agnes Grouniger, Catherine Roth, Mr. Anthony E. Roth, Mr. Raymond Jones, Mrs. Virginia Jones, Leon W, Henderson, Ruth L. Henderson, Fred Dyer, Mr. And Mrs. Clark Criss, Mary Belle Dyer, Harold Dyer, T.S. Easterday, Mrs. Joan Berger, Robert Berger, Guy Galley, Fred P. Messina, Mrs. Nadine Messina, Francis Bush, Mary Bush, Harold Parker, Mr. Edwin A. Marshall, Mrs. Muriel Marshall, Mrs. Hilda Henry, Mr. Mark Henry, Mr. Thomas Armstrong, Mrs. Margaret Armstrong, Mr. Paul Armstrong, Mr. Floyd Armstrong, Mrs. Mary Armstrong, Mr. Fred Needham, Mrs. Mary Needham, Rev. Angelus Lingenfelter, Mr. Clem Tuggle1968 Mrs. Al. C. Ruhlman, Mrs. Rowena M Ruhlman, Mr. Karl A Scholz, Mrs. Frances J Scholz, Mr. Gene Rygaard, Earl Means, Bill Putthoff, Mrs. Ruby Royer, Mr. Willard Royer, Mr. C L Cray Sr, Mrs. Sally Cray, Mr. M Scott Knoch, Judy Knoch, Gordon Taylor, Irene Bird, Mrs. F I Stuart,, Mrs. Robert Low, Mr. Robert Low, Jennie Hawk, C U Underwood, Mrs. Lila Underwood, Mrs. Joe Schuele, Mr. Joe Schuele, Mr. John Neson, Naomi Bilderback, Floyd E Ruchule, Sally Greenlund, Norma Jean Roland, Mrs. Ruth Young, Mr. John Adair, Mrs. Grace S Adair, Mr. Wm Roe, Mr. Steadman Ball, Mrs. Eleanor M. Ball, Mrs. W M Lehman, Mrs. Herbert N Brown, W T Davis, C R Stowell, Darrell Morton, Carl Frischenmayer, Vernon T Highfill, Courtney Turner, Frank G Todd, Gertrude H Todd, Mr. Walter Yost, James A Huss, Clarence K Huss, Toni Enich, Dan Enich, Marie Leacy, Mrs. W C Linville, D.A. Moore, James H Mullins, Mrs. W L Walters, Charles Stutz, Alice Stutz, Charles D Armstrong, Mrs. Charles D Armstrong, William E Stillings, Rolly Freeland, Alice M Hoffman, Julian Jimenez, William H Nass, Mrs. Wm H Nass, Dr Charles H Young Mrs. Charles H Young, Juanita Gonzales, John Ramos, James B Clements, Tina Clements, Mrs. Clarence Stauffer, William B Ervin, Joan Klein Ervin, Graham Lukens, Gary MacGregor, Robert E Hundley, Mrs. C E Akins, Mrs. Eula Brown, Mrs. Ralph Pfouts, Rev Charles L Hanson, Lenard Koetter, John William Davis, Mrs. Dorothy Sutter, Jackie Christian, Frances Nusbaum, Clara Nusbaum, Estella Max Trischenmeyer, Mrs. John Gibbens, Mrs. Oscar Dahl, Mr. Oscar Dahl, Morris Nielson, John T Dowling, Agnes I Dowling, Francis Dowling, Lorraine Dowling Alva L Downing, Grace Roach, Elizabeth Smith, Amy Cahill, John Mize, Mrs. John H Mize, Stella Pelties, Michael Watowa, Paul H Blythe, Mary Boldridge, Mrs. William Cormode, Edith Holden, Nelle Bylthe, Helen Ritner, Jessie Blythe, Maj J L Zorn, Mrs. Herbert Brown Mrs. Albert Clem, Melvin A Smart, Mrs. Blanche E Groff, Mrs. Louis R Wilber, Louis Wilber, Ethel Stanley, Mrs. John Clingan, William Glamann, Mrs. William Glamann, Glenn M Heider, Thomas E Storm, Mrs. Henry C Klastermier, Mrs. Minnie M Berges, Mr. Ordo Berges, Mrs. Harold Scheopner, Mrs. Lucy E Wright Mrs. Margaret E Brown, Mrs. Kent Gaylord, Mrs. Rose Harrington, Mrs. Arthur Easterday, Arthur Easterday, Mrs. Gordon McMillin, Frances Linville Hubard, Mrs. Alisse Reinhard, Mrs. Bernice Hisle, Ralph Hisle, Francis Christ, Goldie Tosterude, Evelyn Christie, Mildred Kiehl, Mabel Royer, Mr. Alfred J Mangelsdorf, Mrs. Alfred Mangelsdorf, Ernest N Underwood, Mrs. John McCourt , Ann Hansen Mrs. Frank Skerritt, Mrs. Esther Krigbaum, Emma Higley, Helen Merritt, Jack Challiss, Lucy Challiss, Bev M Hicks, Lola Hicks, Gilbert J Zackoche, Alela E Zachoche, Bonnie L Hunt, Nancy Ebbrecht, Eugene Shufflebarger, Carole H Greenlund, Nelson C Greenlund, Nelson C Greenlund Jr, Horace F Chandler, Herman Putthoff, Robert L Binkley, Janet Harrison Smith, Charles Robinson Smith, Mrs. Olaf Gigstad, David Zeits, Jack Robinson, W G Vanderweide, Mrs. Maurice Knoch, Eleanor Thomas, Earl Thixton, Rose Putthoff, Ella Mae Stutz, Leo J Danaher, Ruthanna H Danaher, Gordon McMillan, Col Roger Fitzwater, Dr Charles Brady Mrs. _________ Brady, Mrs. Gerald Foley, Mr. Gerald Foley, Katherine G Ramsay, Ronald H Ramsay, Ethel V Shaeffer, Glenn M Shaeffer, Mr. Clancy Miller, Mrs. Clancy Miller, Ida S Schurman, Mrs. Sue W Gehring, F P Gehring, Dr L E Hart , Jean A Hart, Richard P Arensberg, Emma Lou Arensberg, Richard L Arensberg, Marcia Arensberg, Werner B Levin, Marlene E Hoffman, Albert Wagner, K B Strafuss, J Dean Miller, Mrs. John C Keas, Mr. John C Keas, Margaret E Coupe, Anna L Coupe, Mary J Coupe, Gladys S Waggener, Balie P Waggener, Charles S Miller, Clement O’Neil, Chester L Mize, Mrs. Chester L Mize, Mr. Lowell F Dagenais, Mrs. Lowell F Dagenais, Mrs. Hubert Bell, Paolucci Grocery/ Mary J Begley, Dr Winstan L Anderson, Mrs. Winstan L Anderson, Dr E. J. Bribach, Cloud L Cray, Mrs. Cloud L Cray, Doris Buckley, Dr Wayne O Wallace, Ruty Kieffer Wallace, Mrs. Howard Lockwood, Mr. Howard Lockwood, Anne C Dobbin, John M Dobbin, Mrs. Elsie Howls, Mrs. Oliver C Lena Auchard Sr, Mrs. Joe Gallagher, Mrs. Ralph Weik, Mr. Ralph Weik, Francis Hyde, Wilma Whimey, Mamye Wrothwell, Dr Spencer Fast, Mrs. Spencer Fast, Henry C Jacobsen, Mrs. Henry C Jacobsen, Althea Brox, Floyd Schuele, Buck O’Keefe, J W Lowry, Charles Slattery, James Slattery, Mr. Richard P Senecal, Orville Suterland, Claude Speck, Mrs. Claude Speck, Dr Frank Bosse, Mrs. Frank Bosse, Lloyd E Bell Maie Overmiller, Otis Overmiller, John T Growney Md, Gertrude Growney , Mrs. Evan W Townings, Mr. Fredrick W Stein Jr, Mrs. Evelyn Stein Jr, Mr. Fred W Stein Sr, Mrs. Helen Stein, Mr. John S May, A D Warnock, Mr. Richard E Ellis, Mrs. John E Moore, Mr. Norman Maugle, Mr. Gerald Runyan, Dr C H Jacob, Mrs. Mary Jacobs, Mr. James L Kidwell, Mrs. Marian Kidwell, Mr. J Paul Allingham, Mrs. Winney Allingham, Mr. Rod Dierking, Mr. Kenny Allen, Mr. Larry Kruger, Mr. Skeets Thompson, Mrs. Mabel L Smith, Mr. John E Smith, Mr. Herbert Mall, Mr. George Diebolt, Mrs. Mary Lou Diebolt, Mrs. Helen K Hughes, Mr. Forest E Hughes, Mr. Harry L Buckley, Mr. W H Bodendoerfer, Mrs. Mary E Bodendoerfer, Virginia M Robertson, Mr. Frank E Lentz, Mrs. Thelma Lentz, Frank A Folger, Mr. Robert Lykins, Mr. William H Grippin, Mrs. Larraine Grippin, Mrs. Cora A Signor, Florence Peuker, Beulah L Baumann, Bev Baumann, Nettie C Hubbard, Rev C F Caulkins, Rolf E Hoekens, Mrs. Rolf Hoekens, Mr. Edger Butler, Lena H Brown, Mr. Ralph H Martin, John Heiser, Mrs. John Heiser, Edith E Bilderback, Roy E Cormode, Mrs. Roy Cormode, C Marshall Warner, Mr. Sam Blythe Sr, Mr. Horry Kew, William Muchnic, Mrs. William Muchnic, Mr. Richard Drury, Mrs. Richard Drury, Speed W Stanton, Madalyn F Stanton, Miss Gladys Cooper, Alma Warner, Dr F A Donavan, Mrs. Paul Byrd, Mrs. William Smith, Mr. Ralph G Shearer, Mrs. Irene Shearer, Father Peter Beekman, Mrs. Mark S Hulings, Mrs. George L Wolf, Mrs. Carl L Harman, Miss Ethel Turner.