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Other News and Events
 
Changes in the FWMA Board
   
  For years now the Fort Wallace Memorial Association and its board members have been faithfully serving the county, ensuring that our museum is the best that it can be.  However, after over 30 years of dedicating his spare time (and then some) to the museum, board member Ernie Poe decided that it is time for someone else to take his share of the reins for a while.
   Poe has donated more to the museum than what was required of him.  Ernie donated his strength towards making the Sunderland-Poe Building what it is today, his talent towards ensuring that the stories that the artifacts in the museum represent are told, and his time going to rodeos, Grand Openings, and day-to-day business at the museum.  For the depth of his dedication, Poe has been declared an Honorary Board Member of this association
  Although Poe will be back in the saddle soon, business must go on and Adam Smith of Weskan, KS is ready to do it.  Named a new board member  at our July meeting, Smith is eager to begin work for the Fort Wallace Memorial Association.  We are positive that he will prove to be an excellent addition to the leadership of this association and look forward to seeing him on our board for years to come.
(July 2006)

Full Steam Ahead!
 
   No one will ever be able to say that we dawdled about getting this addition built!  In just a few weeks we had foundations laid, cement poured, wood frames up, blocks laid for walls and a roof in progress.  Now we’re just waiting for the finishing touches so we can start moving in Weiser’s collection. 
   Things are moving so fast, in fact, that the Board is beginning to make preparations for the dedication and grand opening ceremonies.  Although we cannot pin down a date for the Grand Opening until a bit closer to the completion of the project, we have special plans for September 17th.  On that day, the Masonic Lodge of Sharon Springs will hold a special cornerstone dedication ceremony. Using a time-honored tradition, the Masons will insert a time capsule into a block of the museum.
   Be sure to be on the lookout for more information in the coming months.  As soon as we have Floris Weiser’s collection in place, we’ll be sure to invite everyone to see it.
(July 2006)


Fort Wallace Museum Breaks Ground on Smith/Weiser Addition

    On Sunday, April 23rd, nearly 100 people gathered to share a magnificent spring day, homemade ice cream and excitement, as the Fort Wallace Museum broke ground on its much anticipated addition.  This new room, added to the northeast corner of the present building, will honor the memory of A.E Smith.  The room will feature the Floris and Viola Weiser Indian Wars Artifact Collection and the Historical Art of Jerry Thomas.
    Breaking ground were representatives of several organizations which have participated in the project, including:  Alan Hurlburt representing the Fraternal Order of the Masons; State Representative Virginia Beemer; Bruce Buck representing the Wallace County Commissioners; Joe Smith, donor of the addition; Jayne Humphrey Pearce representing the Fort Wallace Memorial Association; Floris Weiser, donor of the artifact collection; Jerry Thomas, nationally-recognized wildlife and historic artist; and Dean Dinkel, representing the Wallace County Foundation. 
    “Today we celebrate the vision of some truly outstanding people who have worked together to make this addition a reality,” stated Pearce in her opening remarks.  “These people have put together some sacrificial pieces of their effort and wealth to make something that will be of national significance here in Wallace County.”
    Jerry Thomas brought along a surprise exhibit of his two newest original paintings, which were enjoyed by the crowd during the ice cream social.  The two stunning paintings are on loan to the Fort Wallace Museum for the next month or so.  All are urged to visit the museum to enjoy the visiting artwork. 
    The initial dirtwork for the foundation of the addition proceeded the following day.  Completion on the project is anticipated by the end of the summer.
(April 2006)

Jerry Thomas Unveils Another Wonderful Painting
     
In a small ceremony  held on August 2nd at the Fort Wallace Museum, Jerry Thomas proved once again that he has a wealth of artistic talent.  His most recent painting, christened "Get 'em Boys", depicts Captain Albert Barnitz leading the 7th Cavalry in a charge against the Cheyenne.  This actual event occurred on June 26, 1867 as the 7th Cavalry headed over the hills northwest of  Fort Wallace to meet nearly 200 Cheyenne warriors.  Painted with intricate detail, this historical representation of the 7th Cavalry's first fight now hangs proudly above the front desk at the museum.  
     Jerry Thomas puts more than just paint into each of his unique historical creations.  Using photographs of the actual people he is depicting, he meticulously recreates the entire scene, from the uniforms and clothes to the landscape and wildlife.  Jerry has created several other masterpieces, each of them displaying a unique and important moment in history.

(Left to Right): Artist Jerry Thomas and Fort Wallace Memorial Association Board Members Ernie Poe, Thelma Jennings, Sherrel Harrison, Jayne Pearce, and Bud Allaman.
(August 2005)

Donations for Cenotaph Being Collected
     
The summer of 1867 saw more confrontations between the US Army and Indians than almost any other time in recent history.  Both sides won and lost many battles, with casualties stacking up rapidly.  The famed 7th Calvary that was stationed at Fort Wallace lost so many of their men that the remaining members erected a cenotaph to salute their fallen comrades. This monument, made entirely out of native chalk, stands proudly at attention in the center of the Fort Wallace Cemetery. Nearly 140 years old, this cenotaph is a staunch reminder of just how harsh frontier life was.
     Unfortunately, western Kansas weather has not been kind to this one of a kind monument.  Wind, rain, and sun have done much damage, rendering parts of the inscriptions illegible. Pieces of the monument are slowly crumbling and falling to the earth while entire portions of a bas relief eagle are missing.
     Now, thanks to the efforts of the city of Wallace, plans for building a shelter over the monument have been made and donations are being collected to defray expenses.  No actual work will be done to the cenotaph itself so that the historical value of the monument is maintained.  However, with the addition of this shelter, the 7th Calvary cenotaph will be able to stand up in memory of fallen soldiers for many years to come.
(August 2005)


Collection Offered to the Museum

     One of the greatest historical collections of artifacts of the 1860s
has been graciously offered to the Fort Wallace Museum for display.   Documenting the movements of the 5th, 7th, 10th, and 11th Cavalries with meticulous scholarship, this collection of artifacts from Fort Wallace is one of the most complete collections of its kind.  Amazingly, a single man single-handedly gathered, documented, and arranged this collection, and the results are astounding. For years this collection has had no real home where it could be properly displayed in context. Now the Fort Wallace Museum has the opportunity to showcase this extraordinary display.  Unfortunately, one major obstacle lies ahead before we can receive this collection.  The Fort Wallace Museum does not have enough space to display it.  Until we can find enough funds to build an addition onto the main museum, the collection must stay where it is, away from the public's eye.  
(August 2005)

Hats off to the Buffalo!
     If you haven't stopped by the museum lately, you probably don't know about our newest exhibit.  Thanks to Ernie Poe, the mayor of nearby Sharon Springs, the Fort Wallace Museum now has a life-sized sculpture of a buffalo, made entirely out of barbwire.  Although it doesn't have a name, it does have a lot of class.
     It all started with a picture in a magazine that caught Ernie's eye.  This picture featured a roadrunner that had been crafted out of barb wire.  Since seeing that photo,  Ernie had created a barbed wire roadrunner of his own, not to mention two cacti, numerous birds, a few pheasants, several lizards, a cactus or two, an oxen team, three horses, and a farrier to match.
     His newest creation, the as of yet unnamed buffalo, took two miles of wire to create and sits on a limestone pedestal three feet tall.  Most of the wire is coiled to make the buffalo look more authentic and a set of real buffalo horns completes the sculpture.  A barbwire fence with four limestone posts surrounds the entire sculpture,keeping children and adults alike from getting their fingers pricked.  Ernie has also helped to make two new signs advertising the Fort Wallace Museum. each a mile from the museum on either the east or the west side. Atop each sign in a metal cut-out of a buffalo.
     Although he has made what seems to be his crowning achievement, Ernie is not going to stop making sculptures out of spare bits of wire now, and as long as we still have space here at the museum, we're not about to make him.
(July 2005)

Pond Creek Stage Station Renovation Needed
     It's the oldest building in Western Kansas...and it's falling down.
     The Pond Creek Stagecoach Station was built in 1865.  This 140 year old building is showing signs of the strain that prairie winds and torrential hail storms have dealt it.  The second story floor is bowing, paint is peeling, doors are warping, metal plates hold pieces of the back together, and the once pristine trim is slowly submitting to gravity. Once the Museum allowed people to look around at the exhibits inside. Due to safety concerns, the public is no longer allowed to enter this dilapidated building.
    The Butterfield Overland Despatch (BOD) was the only mail route from Atchison, KS to Denver, CO in the mid-1860s.  The Pond Creek Station was a "home" or eating station.  Located approximately 1 1/2 miles west of Wallace, this station was renown for its excellent food, with the typical fair ranging from buffalo meat and venison to canned fruit and cakes.  Because of the high incidence of Indian raids, bullet holes from frequent Indian raids can be found in the wood.
     In 1866, the BOD was incorporated into the Platte River Stage Line, and the Pond Creek was no longer used as a stage stop.   A town formed around the stage stop, and Pond City later became the first county seat.  This renowned Stage Station was later moved to the town of Wallace where it became the first store for Frank Madigan.  This same stage stop was eventually moved to the Madigan ranch where it remained for a number of years.  The Madigan family later donated the Pond Creek Stagestation to the Fort Wallace Museum and this building endured its final move.  The Pond Creek Stagestation now rests on the west side of the main museum.  
    And now is the time for its resurrection.
    The Pond Creek Station is the oldest building in this part of Kansas, and there is only one other original BOD stage stop in existence.  Please contact us if you are interested in participating in the preservation of this important artifact!
(July 2005)

Books, Books, and More Books!
     Wallace native Jerome (better known as Pete) Bussen has always been somewhat of a local celebrity.  His "amateur" knowledge of fossils, rocks, layers of earth, and all things Indian has been of great value to the Fort Wallace Museum, and of great interest to our visitors.  Now Pete has his name in a book.
     Mike Everhart is somewhat of an expert on the aquatic life that once lived on (or technically above) what is Kansas today.  Pete and Mike have been in contact for many years,m each helping the other become more of an expert in a subject they both love.  for years, mike has maintained a website (www.oceansofkansas.com), and he has now written a book on the same subject.  This book, entitled Oceans of Kansas, was just recently published.  In the forward and in several other places in the book, our very own Pete Bussen is mentioned, and thanked.  This book is written in an easy to understand manner and is well worth reading.  The Fort Wallace Museum now stocks this book for sale in our gift shop.
     We are also interested in reprinting several great books that are no longer published.  There is a great demand to reprint these important local history books in paperback:
If you wish, please designate a donation toward these worthy projects!
(July 2005)

Fort Wallace Museum
Highway 40, Box 53
Wallace, KS 67761
(785) 891-3564
Site Created and Maintained by
Museum Staff and Volunteers
Contact us at:
museum@ftwallace.com
Now Open for the Summer Season!
9 am-5 pm  Monday-Saturday
1 am-5 pm  Sunday
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