Yesterday was one very busy day for us, but it was worth it because we got to see and do some very neat things, we covered some new territory, and we discovered a very nice small town with a lot to offer RVers.
We were up and out the door early, hoping to beat the predicted rain and thunderstorms, since much of what we wanted to do was outdoors. Our first stop was Fort Larned National Historic Site, known as the Guardian of the Santa Fe Trail. The 1860s-era fort was established to protect the wagon trains and traders who carried goods and supplies westward to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and furs and gold back east on their return trips. We spent a couple of hours dodging the occasional shower as we explored the old barracks, post hospital, quartermaster stores, and officers’ quarters. Fort Larned is well worth a visit, and if you are a history buff like we are, you’ll love the place.
From Fort Larned, we drove a couple of miles down the road to the Santa Fe Trail Center, an interesting museum dedicated to telling the story of the famous trade route that helped spur America’s westward expansion. The museum complex includes displays on the traders who used the Santa Fe Trail, and the soldiers and settlers who followed in their wake. There are also several buildings, including a typical settler’s sod house, historic church, railroad depot, and the one room L’Dora School. Fans of the old television series Gunsmoke will be interested to note that actor Milburn Stone, who played Doc Adams, was a student at the school when he was a child. The Center also had a nice collection of early-day farming equipment and antique tractors.
Our next stop was the Central States Scout Museum, an amazing collection of Boy Scout memorabilia dating back over 100 years. What a neat find in a small town like Larned, Kansas!
We’ll have feature stories on Fort Larned, the Santa Fe Trail Center, and the Central States Scout Museum in an upcoming issue of the Gypsy Journal. So if you’re not already a regular reader, subscribe today.
After a quick lunch, we went back to the fairgrounds, hitched the Explorer to the back of our motorhome, and drove 150 miles north to Concordia, where we stopped for the night at a city park that has paved pull through RV sites with 30/50 amp electric, water, and a dump station. There is no set fee, but there are envelopes and a drop box for donations. We put $10 in the drop box, but watched the next three RVs that came in ignore it altogether. One older fellow said “It’s not a real RV park, so why should I pay? Taxpayers pay for this.” That’s right you cheap SOB, local taxpayers pay for it so RVers will have a safe, comfortable place to spend the night!
Concordia was a delightful find. Besides the campground, it is home to the National Orphan Train Complex, dedicated to the 250,000 orphaned, abandoned and homeless children from New York City and Boston who were shipped to rural communities across the country to hopefully find them new homes. It is said that 1 in 25 Americans has a connection to somebody who rode the Orphan Trains between 1854 and 1929.
Concordia is also home to the historic Brown Grand Theatre, which at one time was the biggest and best theater between St. Louis and San Francisco.
Another handsome structure is the Nazareth Convent, home to the Sisters of St. Joseph since 1903. The magnificent five story building features beautiful stained glass windows and an extensive collection of art and artifacts.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, the wall of the Cloud County Museum Annex features the Whole Wall Mural, the longest sculpted brick mural in the United States. The images depict the history of Cloud County, Kansas and their detail is amazing.
And then there’s the World War II prisoner of war camp! We had planned on just a quick overnight stop before we continue on to Blue Ox, in Pender, Nebraska today. But needless to say, we’ll be getting a late start. We’re going to spend some time getting to know this friendly and interesting town before we pull out!
Thought For The Day – Sometimes the prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets, and the kindest hearts have felt the most pain.
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Wow…that is an impressive town!! Too bad, some people are so ungrateful and greedy…but that is why others always have to “take up the slack” too!!
We have never RVed in Kansas, didn’t think there was much there worth seeing. Boy, we were wrong…thanks for sharing!
Just up the road from Larned is Fort Hays. A very interesting place to visit also if you are into the history of our country. As far as the cheap b====== not paying for a space that is why we are paying high prices elsewhere to make up for those kind.
What interesting places will have to try and get there. Love that kind of history. I can’t understand if you can afford a big rig, why are people so cheap when it comes to campgrounds that charge very little for a night with hookups. I sure would pay $10 to park overnight in a campground, but not $25 and up. If you can’t afford something then you shouldn’t be RVing.
I hope that cheap SOB has a big blow out up the road . people like him are the reason many towns now have ordances about parking on parking lots etc overnight…..
Hey, Nick, we stopped in Concordia, KS for a quick overnight on our way south last year, great little park, we did leave some money in the donation box. During the night I woke to my husband snatching his clothes on, grabbing the 45 and heading to the door, I yelled, “what’s wrong???” He said, “someone’s trying to steal the jeep!!!” The minute he opened the door and turned on the outside lights we heard running and then a car roaring off. Stupid buggers–guess they didn’t realize Mike had the jeep locked on as tight as Fort Knox and that we sleep right over that jeep–Mike felt the punks jerking on the hitch. Thanks for the info about the orphan train–maybe next time we will have time to explore a little.
One older fellow said “It’s not a real RV park, so why should I pay? Taxpayers pay for this.”
Among the human conditions you can’t fix is CHEAP ASS
That is one cool town! thanks for sharing…hated to hear about the cheap SOB’s that took advantage of a great town’s park facilities..the city parks are great if you can find them..we need to look for more of them…