Archive for Thursday, October 13, 2005

Our Lansing Museum

October 13, 2005

In 1987, members of the Atchison Pride Committee came to help Lansing get a Pride Committee started. One of the ideas the Atchison group gave us was starting a group to preserve Lansing history. Several Lansing people picked up on this immediately, and the Lansing Historical Society was formed.

One of the first ideas that came up was getting a building to house a museum. At that time, the Santa Fe Depot was leased to the Leavenworth County Co-Op and was used to store fertilizer. Santa Fe Railway wanted the building removed, and our historical committee tried to figure a way to save the building. The only solution was to move it to a new location. Thanks to the efforts of state Rep. Martha Jenkins, a location was found on state property on East Kansas Avenue, where the depot is now located.

It took many donations and fund-raisers - such as pie socials, ham-and-bean dinners, a circus, fish fries, and a raffle for an original painting of old downtown Lansing - to raise enough money to build a foundation and have the building moved.

The depot was in such bad repair that it took months, which turned into years, to replace the floor joists to make it structurally sound. All the old plaster and lathe was removed and replaced with Sheetrock. The windows were all replaced, and the west wall had to be rebuilt. The tin roof was removed and replaced with shake shingles. A wonderful deck was built. The list goes on and on.

From throughout the country, nearly every person and every business with a Lansing connection donated money, materials or labor to this project.

The grand opening was on July 10, 1999, more than 10 years after the first idea. For the past six years, volunteers have been responsible for all the open hours and upkeep. Now we are moving into a new era. The city of Lansing will take over the operation of the museum on Jan. 1, 2006. The Lansing Historical Society as we know it will continue intact, and volunteers still will be needed. There is a never-ending endeavor to collect artifacts and pictures of Lansing history.

Stop by on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. before the museum closes for the winter season.

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