Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2007

Speakers to reveal history

September 6, 2007

Local experts will lead Eudora residents in a trip through the city's history in a series of sesquicentennial speeches.

The weekly talks will start at 3 p.m. Sunday at Eudora City Hall, 4 East Seventh St.

Eudora Sesquicentennial committee member Martha Harris organized the speakers as a way to let the community learn more about the past.

"We want to not just celebrate the Paschal Fish early days, but it's the whole past 150 years," Harris said. "That kind of got us brainstorming things over the last 150 years."

Harris organized four separate talks happening each week from now until the Oct. 5 and 6 sesquicentennial celebrations during EudoraFest.

Indian perspectives

Residents might already know some about the Shawnee chief Paschal Fish. He sold land to a group of German settlers that eventually became the city. His daughter, Eudora, became the city's namesake.

But what was his life like? How did the Shawnee tribe influence the area?

The first sesquicentennial speaker, Bertha Cameron could shed light on those questions.

"I just want people to get acquainted with him as a person and to understand his life," Cameron said.

Cameron is a member of the Shawnee Tribe and has studied Shawnee influence in the area.

Her talk "The Life and Times of Paschal Fish," will cover what is known of Paschal's life, family and work.

"I was hoping just from her experience and her connection to the tribe, (the audience) can pull together how people lived at that time," Harris said.

Eudora at war

During World War II, Eudora experienced a population surge as many employed at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant called the city home.

The plant's lasting impact on the community will be the topic for the talk at 3 p.m. Sept. 16 at the City Hall.

Dr. Steve Jansen will present "Eudora and World War II."

"The Sunflower ammunition plant directly changed Eudora because it was just such a huge influx of people that came to work at the plant and live all over in the area," Harris said.

Jansen still travels to the nursing homes to talk to people who served at the plant, Harris said.

His talk also will cover the overarching implications of the conflict to the community including the widespread shortages, Harris said.

German heritage

The city's true founders were a group of German settlers who acquired land and steadily worked to build a sustainable community.

Almost every early member had a trade or a role in making sure Eudora was a success.

Their story and accomplishments will be highlighted the following week at 3 p.m. Sept. 23 at the City Hall.

Kansas University professor Dr. William Keel will present a Kansas Humanities program called "The German Settlers of Eudora."

Keel teaches German at the university and takes particular interest in German settlements in Eastern Kansas. He will cover the history of the Germans who founded Eudora, why they came and how their influence shaped the city.

"I'm not sure what he's going to come up with, but it will be interesting because he knows a lot," Harris said.



There's a certain note a person's voice takes on when they talk about Roberta Nottingham, Harris said.

It's sort of a dreamy quality, she said.

Because the former teacher, and namesake of Nottingham Elementary School, has touched so many in the community, Harris found it would be fitting to base the final sesquicentennial talk on her. It would be more interactive than the previous talks, Harris said.

"I'm hoping it's a discussion and kind of a sharing," she said.

"Remembering Miss Nottingham" will be presented at 3 p.m. Sept. 30 at the school, 1428 Elm St.

"I think it's important to remember Miss Nottingham in the building that was named after her," Harris said.

Harris hopes to have photos and mementos of Miss Nottingham on hand. Anyone wanting to bring items also is encouraged to do so.

All presentations are free and open to the public. For more information about any of the presentations, call Harris at (785) 979-4588.

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