Historical Society seeks new facility
With hopes of building a city museum, the Basehor Historical Society will take bids from contractors for a proposed multi-purpose center, Basehor Historical Society President Jerral Cooper said.
The Historical Society will take bids on the project and make a final decision Wednesday. From there, the group would have to gain some funding through grants and bank loans, Cooper said.
" We are going to try and get some grants but we are also going to have to submit something to the bank in order to show we are in existence and we have some method in mind to repay them," Cooper said.
A total cost for the project has not yet been determined, although Cooper said it could be anywhere from $750,000 up to $2 million for the complex. A museum does not support itself, so the convention center is where the Historical Society would make its money, Cooper said.
While the Historical Society has not begun construction on the actual building, it has already broken ground in a ceremony in October of 1999. The ceremony came after Basehor residents Ray and Anne Breuer donated a 10-acre tract of land located at 158th Street and Parallel Road as a benevolent gift to be the building site for a Leavenworth County Regional Conference Center and Basehor Museum, Cooper said.
Cooper said that several sites were considered prior to the Breuer's donation but the decision to build on the Breuer property was an easy one.
"With the land coming for free and the fact the area was convenient and accessible for the public, it made the decision a lot easier," Cooper said.
The Basehor Historical Society was formed in 1984, but the idea for a museum wasn't explored until 1996 when 10 local people with a vision for the future of the Basehor area came together with their ideas and a plan for a museum was conceived, according to Cooper.
Since then, the Historical Society has been busy. A capital fund-raising project was started in 1997 and soon after former Community Education Director Beverly Dumler sold daffodils and gave the $2,000 proceed to the building project. In 1999 Cooper submitted an application for a $10,000 grant to the KC 150 Legacy Fund. The application was submitted on behalf of the Historical Society and the Basehor Pride Committee to be used for a Basehor Brothers Memorial to honor Ephraim and Ruben Basehor. Ephraim Basehor was the town founder in November of 1889.
Before it's founding in 1889 the Basehor area was known as the Prairie Garden Community and that, along with other facts, is what the Historical Society hopes to get out with the building of the center, Cooper said.
The basic concept of a historical society and museum is to perform a significant and valuable service to the community through the preservation of historical records and artifacts that will keep alive the town's spirit of national heritage, according to a Historical Society statement.
Cooper said the museum will receive most of its artifacts and historical records through donations. He said the museum would be especially interested in anything used in the everyday living of the early townspeople such as tools, clothing or furniture.
According to Historical Society estimates, the project would be more than 37,000 square feet and feature a museum, theatre, meeting rooms research facility and conference area. Cooper said he wasn't sure if there would be a museum curator, but there would be full and part-time employees as well as a number of volunteers.
The Basehor Historical Society meets once every month and its next meeting will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 28, at the First State Bank and Trust in Basehor. During the meeting, the Historical Society will hear from guest speaker Michael Pace, who currently serves on the Tribal Council of the Delaware Indian Tribe.