The Douglass Historical Museum is a hidden gem in a small town in Butler County. Come by to see what it was like in the early days of Kansas Pioneer Life.
The Douglass Historical Museum is located in the small town of Douglass, Kansas. A small town with a big history. From movie stars of the silent film era, to Presidents of the United States, Douglass has hosted a fair amount of well-known people. The Museum is jam packed with history from not only the City of Douglass, but surrounding towns and pioneer life in Kansas too. Stop on by and see for yourself.
The Douglass Historical Museum will be participating Christmas Around Town!
Just a reminder that the museum is open today from 1:00 until 3:00. Still so much to be done. But, if you haven’t seen the museum lately, well....you have not seen the museum lately!
The Douglass Historical Museum will be closed this Friday, November 1st. I will be away attending a funeral. the museum will reopen Saturday during our regular hours 10:00 to 2:00.
I want to thank the following people for donating through Facebook:
Andrea Jill Ball
Gail Flippo Luther
The Douglass Historical Museum is now a registered charity with Facebook, and they process our payments for free!
This is another photo that has been restored. This is Douglass in 1909 on third street looking east. I am just thrilled that we were able to restore this photo!
I want to thank Susan Wagerle of Hutchinson, Kansas for mailing us the issues of the The Douglass School News from 1938 and 1939. They have made good reading and I will be sharing some articles in the future!
This is a restored photo of House Hardware. The original was in pretty bad shape, and I marvel at the restoration.
House Hardware and Implement was purchased by George E. House from the estate of D.S. Rose in 1889. George had worked for Mr. Rose, a very successful and well-liked businessman, several years before Mr. Rose died as the result of an accidental gunshot wound.
Harold M. House joined his father in the business following his service in WWI. Harold House operated House Hardware from 1927 to 1967.
I scrolled through my posts on this page and realized I had forgotten to mention the four nice big windows we had put in over the summer! I realized we had to have new windows while I was cleaning one of them and it nearly landed on the sidewalk! Also, when it rained they leaked terribly. The old windows were about a quarter-inch thick. The new windows are low-e, and clear to keep the exterior appearance of the building looking friendly and welcoming. The new windows are 1/2 inch thick, of course have new seals and caulking, and really make a difference in the heat radiating from them when the sun shines in from the west. Just so grateful for our donors helping us improve the facility!
I want to thank all that have donated to the museum. Please know that we appreciate every single donation, regardless of amount.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Carl and Nancy Tosh for their steadfast and continuous support of the museum. Those checks coming in the mail have made me smile and continue on more times than you know.
I should also add that you can donate in person during business hours, or through the mail at:
Douglass Historical Museum
P.O. Box 95
Douglass, KS. 67039
We are so pleased with the kind remarks we received these last three weeks. Several have told us that we are the largest small-town museum they have ever seen, one told us that you would have to travel for miles to see a museum like ours. It has been fun meeting people, showing the museum, telling them the few stories we know about the items on display, and helping them with their genealogy searches.
Now that we are open, we thought it was appropriate to conduct a patron drive. We are very grateful for the support we receive from the county, and it covers most of our routine operating costs. However, if we are to continue our efforts to improve and market the museum, use archival materials to preserve items and documents, and maintain and improve our building, we are going to need support from the community and those who value the preservation and sharing of the history of our small town.
You can use the donation button above, you can make a donation in person at the museum, or you can mail a donation to the following address:
Douglass Historical Museum
P.O. Box 95
Douglass, KS 67039
Thank you, so very much, for the support you have shown us these last few months. I hope to see you at the museum soon!
Several of you have heard me tell the story of how I found this almanac in the museum. It was shoved into a very broken-down piece of furniture. Yes, 1774 was the year it was published. And, yes, it is still held together with the original thread.
The almanac most likely was donated to the museum by Daisy Shamleffer. Her mother was Alice True Shamleffer, and Daisy had donated quite a few items and historical records to the museum.
You see on the cover that Samuel True was born in October of 1774. I can only assume, as we have no records as to Peter True's parents names, that Samuel True was Peter True's father, uncle or grandfather. Peter True was born in 1815, so any of those possibilities are likely.
This item, along with many other treasures and stories can be seen and heard in the museum every Friday, 9:00-3:00, Saturday 10:00 - 2:00, or every first Sunday of the month, from 1:00 - 3:00.
Douglass Historical Museum's cover photo
UPDATE: You can also visit the museum by appointment, and I encourage everyone to do so! Please call 316-655-5888 or 316-746-2319 and we will find a time for you to visit!
I cannot seem to be able to alter the business hours on this page, so I will just tell you when we are going to be open. We are trying these hours, so they may eventually be changed but for now here are the hours the museum will be open:
Friday: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM.
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
The First Sunday of the Month: 1:00 - 3:00
Fantastic opening day for the museum! Thank you all for your supportive kind words. They meant so much!
We also need to give a huge shout out to Beran Concrete for the fine work they did pouring our concrete in the room we just finished. If you are in a wheelchair or a walker, you will now be able to see the museum more easily.
So, I am so grateful to Kathy and Becky at the Triangle. Several times while Donna Bates and I have working at the museum on all those hot summer days, they have fed us for free! They said it was the only way they knew to support our work at the museum. Cannot thank them them enough for all the good food that has kept us going!
Huuuge shout out to Mary Woydziak for coming by the museum and picking up a very large laundry basket of ironing!! I have known Mary for a very long time, and gotta tell you, she is still the best!
I am sorry I have not posted in a long time. We have been working very hard getting the museum ready for October 5th! We will be opening for Frontier Day! I will have more on our regular hours on another post. Now, the museum remains a “work in progress”, and will not be finished to our satisfaction October 5th. But.... there is progress. Here are the pictures, before and after of a room we just finished! We are so excited to fill it!
Does anyone know of someone, in the surrounding area, who takes ironing in? I have several items of clothing that I need ironed for the museum.
Today, I was in a Walmart check-out line in Augusta,buying lining material for display cases, when a gentleman and I struck up a conversation about the museum. When I was checked out, he asked if we took donations. I said yes, and he pressed a $20 in my hand. Good people wherever you go!
So, I was washing off the medicine bottles in the Dr.’s Office in the museum. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I drank something with an alcohol content of 69.54% by volume, I would not be feeling any pain! I also would not have a stomach lining, but I probably wouldn’t care!
Tonight, I am humbled by the work that so many in our community have done and are doing to support our museum. Just so very grateful. So proud of my hometown.
I have been remiss in thanking all of the people who have been so very supportive of our efforts at the museum. The city employees have let me interrupt their busy work day to come and move things. Dick Elder, Carrie Graves Shores, Nancy Tosh, Connie Mauk Stevenson, Rayma Essex Korber, and Craig and Janice Baldwin Duryea were generous enough to agree to sit on the museum board of directors. Leroy Dennis is making photo frames for some odd size old photos we want to display. The folks at the Senior Center are trying to identify people in old photos. There have been many in our community who have had given us stories, ideas for display, and kind words of encouragement. Donna Bates, has helped us move ridiculously heavy awkward items, help us clean up some pretty epic dirt, and made some truly great suggestions about display and just about everything else. And, finally, Jeff Taylor has been there every step of the way with his knowledge of the museum and construction, and encouragement beyond belief. Thank you all!
So, today I listened to an old man as he told he and his wife’s story of how they met and he courted her.
He was so shy and inexperienced that he watched her from afar for eight months before a friend of his happened to be employed at the same place put in a good word for him and a date was arranged. Well, she told him she could not see him until he met her parents. He said, okay. The first thing her father asked was what was his intentions towards his daughter. He replied that he had admired her for some time and that his intention was to marry her! Bold move!
He could not afford a lot of nights out. As she was the second oldest daughter of a family with many children, many of their “dates” involved playing softball and other games with her younger brothers and sisters in the beautiful area in her parent’s front yard.
For a year, they exchanged letters and in those letters they confessed their loved for one another and agreed to be married.
He wrote a poem about the story of their courtship and it was published in the local paper. He wrote a poem about his love for her on the occasion of their 25th anniversary that he tried to read at their church. But, he could not finish it for crying with the emotion of love for her.
Several times during his telling of this beautiful story he broke down and cried and we embraced in hugs.
My life is richer for these stories, for these experiences. Blessed to have the opportunity and the willingness to listen. Just blessed.
A telephone switchboard is a telecommunications system used in the public switched telephone network or in enterprises to interconnect circuits of telephones to establish telephone calls between the subscribers or users, or between other exchanges. The switchboard was an essential component of a man...
So, I found this interesting. I hope you all do, too.
In 1902, shortly after it was available, Douglass got telephone service. The switchboard and operator were located in back of the drug store. Below, I am posting photos of the switchboard and the 1925 and 1957 Douglass phone books. In July of 1957, direct dial was introduced. You can see the instructions for dialing a rotary phone, and the phone numbers that look a whole lot more familiar to many of us.
My husband Tom had this placed in an archival frame with archival paper after I fell in love with it! I found it in a box while I was cleaning. The license itself is absolutely straight in the frame, I just could not it straight in my iPad picture!
I know it has been a while since I have posted. So much work is going on in the museum, I forget that I am the only one seeing it! Today, I opened a trunk to see what was in it. It was empty. I was kind of disappointed as I had just had a good week of again rescuing some more badly stained clothing that turned out beautifully. But, then I read a card attached to this inside of the trunk. It was a card saying that Peter True and his family were coming here to enjoy the fine farmland in the Walnut Valley. Part of their journey was by river. When they were on the boat traveling down the river, the other trunk, which was a twin to the one in the museum, slid off into the river. I cannot imagine the loss of that carefully packed trunk and the things they lost in what had to be only seconds. Tough loss and tougher people.
Still working hard at the museum. Every day at go in, I am awestruck by the enormity and the skill of all the work that has been done in the museum before me. I am honored to be able to walk in their footsteps.
I am so sorry that I have not posted for some time. Please. Know that much is being done to improve and maintain our building and displays. We beg for and appreciate your patience during this time. It is an enormous undertaking and progress is being made.
Being in the museum has been like an treasure hunt for me. So many wonderful things were donated by people who saw their value and wanted to share it with generations to come.
This last week, I opened a trunk and found it packed with clothing. The items were in pretty bad shape, and when some of them were donated they were probably not in shape to be chosen for display. Most were donated by Mary Long in 1958.
But sometimes, you are just lucky. I brought home some of the items that were still structurally sound, but badly stained and moldy. As I have had some amazing luck cleaning some badly stained linens I had found in a drawer, so I decided to try and salvage the cotton and wool items that I found.
I soaked them for days, changing the water often. I used Oxy Clean. I know! But, they were really bad and this was my only shot to save them. I will tell you that the cotton in these items is superior to anything produced today! Without exception, all were saved!
These photos are of the nightshirts, the shirt waists, a skirt and matching shawl, baby items including a pretty fabulous Christening gown, and aprons.
Hattie Nash Adamson also shared some more of her memories of early Douglass in a letter accompanying her subscription renewal to the Douglass Tribune. Glen Kiser shared the letter in a piece for the Tribune. the memories she recalled are not in any chronological order.
She writes that she remembered when Douglass had three hotels: The Metropolitan Hotel, the Occidental Hotel, and the Douglass House. She recalls a time when there were five MD's residing in town and they all were busy, and at least two lawyers who had their own law offices.
She said she remembered a time when Douglass had at least five dry goods stores, two hardware stores, at least two grocery stores, two drug stores, numbers restaurants, a bakery, and one or more candy stores.
Hattie recalls the "town herd" being staked out on the "town site" or driven to pasture east of town by small boys.
She tells the story of Ned Stapleton, the only son of a prominent family, who ran away from home never to be heard or seen again. Hattie writes that the failure of the Wilkie Bank caused quite a panic, and that, while hunting rabbits with his son Delos, D.S. Rose accidentally and fatally shot himself while helping his son through a barbed-wire fence.
Finally, she wrote that Decoration Day, the Fourth of July, and even going down to the old railroad depot to see the evening passenger train come in were all important events that were very much anticipated and celebrated.
Who else is in this picture along with a mugging Steve Haaga?
Here is another: this is from my class. I am not pictured as I had Mrs. Joy for first grade and not Mrs. Darter. Glenda Davis Campbell could not look less interested in getting her picture taken!
In the museum, I found boxes of pictures that the former curators of the museum could not identify the people in the photograph. Now, I can pick out a few, and I could look them up in my personal library of yearbooks starting in 1964, but i thought you all might enjoy looking at these pictures and providing the names of the kids and teachers.
I am sorry I have not posted in some time, but I had a family commitment followed immediately by the stomach flu! But, all is well now and I am spending most days cleaning and reading at the museum. Every day, I feel like I am getting my feet under me.
Be sure to watch for the other posts I have today!
The first Douglass High School graduating class was the Class of 1886. The graduation ceremony was held in the Wright's Opera House. There were five graduates. Three women and two men. At least two of the women were married. One of the men, Byron Butler was an older gentleman, whom I assume farmed locally. Their graduation ceremony, on May 28, 1886 must have taken quite a while. Four of the graduates presented essays and the program included seven songs. The community, not the school, planned the ceremony. Miss Maude Haver was the president of this community group, Miss Gladys Harter was Vice President, and Ray Cronk was the treasurer. The committee chairmen included names that some of us old people who were raised here are familiar with. Including Mrs. Harry Reheis, Miss Alberta House, Miss Gladys Elder, Mrs. J.F. Bush, and Mrs. Walter Essex.
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