Saturday, July 28, 2012

Historic Haskell Institute

I'm riding to work--through the drought as they say.  It is hot here in KS, mes amis!  Over 100 degrees for weeks!  This day I decided to take a few photos for you because we did have rain and things cooled down a bit.

This is the corner of 23rd Street and Barker Ave.  23rd is also K-10--a busy hwy to Kansas City.  At this busy intersection a cyclist has to be careful.  Even with a green for me to cross, people run red lights without the slightest care.

Also, on the way home, people turning left never stop for me in the large cross walk, even as its been recently painted and stands out.  People are at the light (usually on their cell phone) and I'm crossing when it turns green--even though I have the right away, most people speed through and will not stop.  I have to firmly hold out my arm as to say, "Stop!"  It has helped that I have a huge bright white flicky-light on my handle bars, and I aim in the faces of the motorists so they notice.  That usually works.

All the football players are back and have started practice--not outside yet but mostly in the weight room.  I see them all walking from the dorm over to Curtis Hall to the cafeteria to have breakfast as I ride into work.

I used to be able to take the cross-town bike and running path from The Little House right to Haskell.  K-10 ran right over the path.  But right when I started working at Haskell in early January, construction started up--so--I had to ride down busier Barker Ave.  The original bridge was a WPA project, and that bridge stood for many years!  It was getting quite old however, and I could see the wear and cracks as I rode underneath on my way to visit Little Egypt.

Click on to see a bigger image of the 1926 Haskell Stadium.  Olympian, Jim Thorpe, was here to play an exhibition game to dedicate the stadium.   I read it was packed full for that game--about 10,000 people.  Also, Haskell Stadium was the first lighted stadium west of the Mississippi.  A good chunk of the funding came from Oklahoma Oil Money--Indians that gained enormous wealth from oil and gas leases on their families land allotments.  A few of those Indians that donated about 2/3rds of the money (from Oklahoma) had attended Haskell.  A lot of funding also came from World War I Veterans--students also did a some of the work building the stadium.  It was a big deal, and I try to imagine what those days were like around here...

I'm riding my bike on the road that runs next to the stadium.  This is the back view of the main campus buildings.  From the far left to right--Tecumseh Hall, about 1906, in the middle is Hiawatha Hall built  in 1889, and then last on the right is the Auditorium, build in 1930 (as a WPA project.)

Here I am at the Haskell Library--not a very interesting building really.  Besides the collection of books, there's several classrooms, the main computer lab, and a large TV production studio.

My office--one of the hats I wear here is Catalog Librarian.  Those big red books are Library of Congress Subject Headings--still sometimes faster to use 'em rather than the web.

Besides the regal Red Tail Hawks that claim Haskell Campus as their territory, there are several pairs of small falcons.  If you're on campus and you're patient, you can often spy a quick glimpse of one on the  hunt.  Since it was a cool morning, they were out and enjoying the calm breeze.

Hiawatha Hall--has been unused now going on 20 years but recently I've heard rumor of a restoration.

This is the practice field, which was a brilliant emerald green from the over-night rainstorms we had here in Lawrence!  Now its starting to get muggy!

I have seen historic photos of ivy growing on the walls of Hiawatha, much like this one--I have no doubt that this ivy is well over 100 years old.  It gets cut and they try to get rid of it, but still parts of the root system survives and lives to grow another year--and another!

Olympian Billy Mills came from South Dakota to go to Haskell when it was a high school.   He was a high school track star then and State Champion as well.  He visits often and is revered--I hope I get to meet him some day!

Barker, the street I ride on to work, used to go through campus through the early teens, but here it remains as it has for over 100 years--a dirt road.  Haskell Institute, when it was a boarding school, had large farms on campus and the boys worked this land with horse and mule teams and later with steam tractors.

I believe this is an experimental plot maintained by the biology dept.

From here I'm walking out to the Medicine Wheel.  I'm feeling stronger and physical therapy has been helping my knee.  Since it was cooler today (like I said, weeks of 100 degrees!) I went for a walk over the noon hour.

Out here, or very close by--before there was a Haskell Institute (1884) both the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails passed over this part of campus--more so the Oregon Trail as I believe there were until recently (like 30 years ago) Oregon Trail wagon wheel ruts on the KU Campus.  Travel had ended on both trails almost 20 years before Haskell Institute was built.  By the early 1900s, the memory of the trails, and the route, were fading--being plowed over by farming.   The Nat'l Park Service, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, re-marked the trail with historic markers.  The NPS again remarked both trails in 1968.

Later, a swamp formed (now called the Baker Wetlands or the Wakarusa Wetlands) and Indian families would camp out here while visiting their children.  It was also the escape route to which run-away Indian children attempted to flee Haskell Institute--when it was a boarding school.  

Today, after walking a bit, Gentle Readers of This Blog I am suddenly out of the confines of my office and treading in the prairie grass.  There is a cacophony of birds and insects calling, singing, buzzing, jumping and flying.  Swift falcons dart over me and give me a piercing glare.  

Callie would love it out here!

Cheers!  Bruce

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