Celebrate summer on the prairie on the historic Mitchell Farmstead

Mt. Mitchell Heritage Prairie News Release

For immediate release

June 1, 2013

Media Contact: Michael Stubbs
(785) 256-6228


Mt. Mitchell Prairie Guards celebrate summer with open house at Mitchell Farmstead 

The Mt. Mitchell Prairie Guards will celebrate the arrival of summer at their annual open house at the Mitchell Farmstead and the Mt. Mitchell Heritage Prairie on Saturday, June 22nd from 9 am until 2 p.m. at 29213 Mt. Mitchell Rd. Wamego.

Diane Eickhoff and Aaron Barnhart will talk about their new book, The Big Divide: A Travel Guide to Historic and Civil War Sites in the Missouri-Kansas Border Region. The authors, an historian and a journalist, have spent the last 16 years driving back and forth across one of the least visible and most contentious borders in American history: the Missouri-Kansas state line. This political boundary produced the fierce border wars that gave the world John Brown, Jesse James, William Clarke Quantrill and Ride With the Devil.

Beginning at 9 a.m., docents from the Kansas Native Plant Society and Konza Prairie will be at the Mitchell Prairie to identify wildflowers and plants for visitors.

The Missouri Valley Impressionists Society will hold a “paintout” encouraging artists to come for the day to paint plein air, the practice of painting out doors on location.

Prairie Larkspur (musicians Chris Day and Janet Armstead) will be performing at the farm at 10 a.m.

The public will be able to view the log cabin that William Mitchell built in 1856, which soon after was used to hide escaping slaves seeking their freedom in Canada. The home has been recognized by the National Park Service Network to Freedom program as a documented Underground Railroad site of national significance.

The Mt. Mitchell Heritage Prairie is also a Network to Freedom site. The public is invited to explore Mt. Mitchell and its new trails, including a path to the ruts of the Topeka-Ft. Riley Road, which was the local route of the UGRR. Visitors can now stand in the very “tracks” of the Underground Railroad. The park is open from sunrise to sunset year-round. It is owned by Audubon of Kansas and managed by the Mt. Mitchell Prairie Guards. For more information visit: http://mountmitchellprairie.org

In conjunction with the celebration, at 7 p.m. on Friday June 21st, the documentary film Freedom Seekers: Stories From the Western Underground Railroad will be shown at the Kaw Valley State Bank Heritage Room, 1015 Kaw Valley Park Circle (just south of Highway 24 at the west edge of Wamego). The film uses family history, academic insights, dramatizations and archival material to weave together the history of the Underground Railroad on the 19th Century Western Frontier. The film’s producer, Gary Jenkins, will be present to answer questions after the screening. The event is free, however donations for the development of the Mt. Mitchell Heritage Prairie will be accepted.

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