Guest post by Site Administrator Richard Gould, Pawnee Indian Museum. Richard has a phenomenal knowledge of the history of the Plains Tribes and of this Pawnee site. When you visit don’t hesitate to ask Richard any questions you may have. Click this link to visit the Kansas State Historical Society website.
Kansas does not have a Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids, or the Mayan ruins to visit and explore but what Kansas does have for an archeological treasure is the Pawnee Indian Museum State Historic Site located in the north central part of the state near Republic.
The Pawnee Indian Nation was one of the most dominant of the plains tribes and lived in the central plains region for many hundreds of years. They resided in two dramatically different kinds of dwellings; the iconic plains tipi but also the unique earth lodge constructed of a timber framework and covered with earth.
The Pawnee Indian Museum is not only a museum describing the rich history and culture of the Pawnee people but is also an archeological site of a late 1700s earth lodge village that at one time consisted of 40-50 lodges and as many as 2000 members of the Kitkehahki (Republican) band of the Pawnee Nation. Walking the grounds at the site one can still see the remains of 22 lodges, storage pits (Caches), and fortification wall. Seven of the lodge depressions have been excavated and the recovered artifacts removed and most can be seen in the site visitor center.
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I’m sure many of our followers head out on road trips with the latest GPS and electronic gadgetry, but our favorite way to navigate is with a good old fashioned map.
There’s nothing like pulling out maps and planning a road trip. Often times we end up going places we might never have contemplated simply because we see a stop on a map that looks interesting. I must confess we spend lots and lots of time with our maps months prior to a trip. Yes, sometimes the planning is almost as fun as the trip itself!
It’s also good to take along the trusty compass. I never worry about getting lost on our journeys as my sister Nancy is the expert on reading the compass, thanks to her years of hiking while working at summer camp.
Now for my favorite, the Tilley hat. If you do a lot of trekking on your trips, this hat is definitely worth the investment. It is made of hemp, repels rain, blocks UV rays, and has a lifetime guarantee. Inside the crown of the hat is a security pocket where you can put your identification, credit card, some cash, or whatever else you choose. Makes it nice if you don’t want to carry a purse or wallet with you. And for those of you who may be boating, the hat also floats, just in case it flies overboard.
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Greeter at Mt. Vernon
Two years ago I made a Memorial Day Weekend trip to Washington, D.C., specifically to attend the Mt. Vernon Sunset Celebration. I have to say it is the only spur of the moment trip I have taken, but it was worth the coast to coast trip.
There is a certain charm to Mt. Vernon in the twilight hours that is lacking during daytime visits. I imagine part of that is due to the reduced number of people attending the after-hours event and also just to the evening beauty of Mt. Vernon on the Potomac.
There are several forms of 18th century entertainment, including music on the Mt. Vernon portico, dancing in the gardens, and the lively tune of a fiddler. The dancers are quite willing to teach you the dance steps so that you can join in.
There are games on the lawn, wagon rides, and you might be lucky enough to see Lady Washington as you tour the mansion.
Wines and desserts are available for purchase. What better place for enjoying this scrumptious fare while overlooking the Potomac. I think Mt. Vernon was built on one of the most beautiful spots in America.
After your time out for refreshments, wander through the lantern lit lanes and tour the outbuildings and gardens of Mt. Vernon. Without the crowds of the day, with the costumed historians, and the slower pace of twilight, you can almost feel George and Martha moving through the lanes greeting their guests for a pleasant summer evening.
The sunset celebration is a Memorial Day weekend event and is May 25-27, 2012, from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information visit mtvernon.org.
While in Bismarck, North Dakota, the Frontier Travelers went searching for the gravesite of Grant Prince Marsh – probably the best river pilot of them all.
Born in 1834, Marsh began his career as a cabin boy and later a first mate on the Mississippi River steamboats. At one time, he was assisted by a young Sam Clemens.
Following the Civil War, Marsh captained the North Alabama, carrying fresh vegetables and other supplies to Fort Buford at the mouth of the Yellowstone River. During the Indian Wars of 1876, Marsh was put in charge of the Far West, accompanying General Alfred Terry and Col. George Custer in their campaign against the Sioux and Cheyenne.
Following Custer’s defeat at the Little Bighorn, Marsh carried the survivors down river to Fort Abraham Lincoln, opposite Bismarck. The Far West’s 54-hour, 710-mile day-and-night dash to Bismarck with more than 50 wounded troopers stands as the most remarkable exploit in the history of Missouri River steamboating.
The last notable event of Marsh’s career took place in April of 1883, when he transported Sitting Bull and his band from Fort Yates to Fort Randall. Following a brief stint in Tennesee, the riverboat captain returned to Bismarck where he died January 1916, in near-poverty. [Click to read more]