Archive for Thursday, December 6, 2007

County’s Christmas Open House to include lessons in history

December 6, 2007

— Figures from Leavenworth County's past will come alive this week as part of the county's annual Christmas Open House at the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

The event, which is from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, will, as always, provide residents with a chance to meet and greet county employees and enjoy holiday refreshments.

This year, however, the open house will also include historical re-enactments of various Leavenworth personalities through time.

County Counselor-at-Large Keyta Kelly, who chaired the open house committee and will perform herself as opera prima donna and Coca-Cola model Hilda Clark, said the event "should be both entertaining and educational."

A troupe of 15 other community volunteers will join Kelly in performances in the courthouse rotunda, the commission chambers and on the basement floor.

The volunteer performers have been rehearsing since October in acting workshops run by Joyce Thierer and Ann Birney of the "Ride Into History" historical performance group.

Performances include Lillian Akins as Adeline, a young wife of an Army officer stationed at Fort Leavenworth circa 1830; Carolyn Burton as Cathay Williams, the only documented female Buffalo Soldier; Diane Collins as Tillie Abeles, the wife of a prominent business owner in the 1860s; Judith Day as a woman who watched Abraham Lincoln speak in Leavenworth; Ellen Ferguson as Lizzie Allen, a young black woman who shook hands with Abraham Lincoln; Sally Hatcher as Rosa Anthony, who lived in 19th-century Leaven-worth; Carol McCullough as Harriet Cushing, who founded a orphans asylum in 1868; Vivian Ross as a laundress in the Mexican War era; Bob Spear as Buffalo Bill Cody; Mike Stephenson as Judge H. Miles Moore; and Daniel Stueckemann as Reuben Basehor, a founder of the city of Basehor.

Aileen Seeman, Anna Mary Landauer, Rachel Kelly and Laura Elkins will also perform continuously throughout the night as the Smith Ladies Aid quilting circle, which made quilts and organized other projects to aid area families in need during World War II.

Friday's event is sponsored by a slew of Leavenworth County merchants and individuals, with additional funding, in part, from the Kansas Humanities Council.

For more information on the open house, call Keyta Kelly at (913) 684-0441.

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