Documenting history for future generations plays an important role in a community. It creates a civic record and defines the characteristics that bind us as a community. In 2019, the Trego County Historical Society celebrates its 50th anniversary as the guardians of our collective history with a year-long series of events, beginning with an open house on Sunday, May 5that 1pm-4:30pm.
The History of the Museum
The Trego County Historical Society, the governing body of the museum, was established on April 23rd, 1969. The first official meeting occurred on May 5th when the Articles of Incorporation were written and nine directors were elected. The leadership team was made up of President S.W. Gibson, Vice President Ray Purinton, Secretary Alveda Adams, and Treasurer C.S. Kolacny. Other board members were Walter Tawney, Warren Hardin, Rudy Spitsnaugle, Newt Tidball and Hilda Halbleib.
With a mission to bring together people interested in the county’s history, Historical Society members vowed to discover, collect, and preserve the history of the area through articles, books, pictures, letters and artifacts.
This year, the museum will be hosting many special events and programs that will highlight the best of the Trego County Historical Society’s work. To start this anniversary year, an open house is scheduled for Sunday, May 5th, the same day the Historical Society was created fifty years ago.
During the open house you can tour the museum and see the many artifacts collected over the past five decades, including the Purinton collections in the new Kenny Hacker Gallery. Donated by Leonard & Irene Purinton and Ray & Leona Purinton, the two exhibits contain prehistoric fossils, a western tack and gun collection, tools, pottery from the Purinton Pottery Company, and an array of other artifacts.
The Trego County Mural
Also found in the gallery is a beautiful floor-to-ceiling mural that encompasses the 141 year history of Trego County. Created by local artists, the big, beautiful Western Kansas sky is the backdrop for images of our founding fathers, a steam locomotive, buffalo, and the Cheyenne tribes who roamed the land.
More Events to Come
Today’s board has planned a year-long celebration with events that will present Trego County’s history from many different perspectives.
On Sunday, June 9th, Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe of the Kansas Sampler Foundation will be presenting a fun, interactive program called “Exploring in Kansas” to tell the tales of their four years touring 626 Kansas communities. Learn about the architecture, art, commerce, cuisine, customs, geography, history, and people they found along the thousands of miles they traveled through our state. Their recent book “Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers” is a guide to preserving and sustaining the rural culture of Kansas. You can pick up a signed copy at the event.
The presentation is co-sponsored by WaKeeney Travel & Tourism and the Trego County Historical Society & Museum. Information about more events to come will be available in May.
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Trego County Historical Society on Sunday, May 5th from 1pm-4:30pm. It’s a chance to step back in time to the days when our rural communities were just beginning to make their mark on this great land.