Monday, June 28, 2010

The Great Flood of 1993

Kansas City flood levels in 1844, 1951 and 1993 as shown at
Westport Landing on the Missouri River in Kansas City.
Photo by Americasroof 2006
"It cannot be tamed, curbed or cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it will not tear down, dance over and laugh at. The Mississippi River will always have its own way, no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise...” -Mark Twain

"Wild rivers are earth's renegades, defying gravity, dancing to their own tunes, resisting the authority of humans, always chipping away, and eventually always winning."- Richard Bangs, River Gods

1993 marked an amazing midwestern weather phenomenon. A heavy wet winter, spring and summer throughout the upper midwest and a stagnant weather system inundated the lands until they could not hold it and the tributaries to the Mississippi River swelled and burst through levees. Through our connection to the Mississippi River via the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, northeast Kansas experienced 100 year record level flooding. Thanks to advanced warning systems and continuous updates there were no lives lost in Kansas, but many were displaced and crops were lost.

Wikipedia article Impact of the 1993 Flood on Kansas from the NOAA

Maps and Images
Significant River Flood Outlook

Reports and Studies
United States Geological Survey (USGS):

After the flood
Cleanup guidelines and issues to consider from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)

After a Hurricane or Flood: Cleanup of Flood Water by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Flooded septic systems from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Article by: Kim Harp. Please use the "Comments" link/box below for questions and comments.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Civil War Battle Sites

Kansas statehood came less than three months before the beginning of open hostilities in the American Civil War. For the next four years Union and Confederate troops fought a devastating war that took the lives of over 600,000 combatants. During this same time Kansas struggled to develop a state government in the midst of guerilla warfare that might have rivaled some civil conflicts in the world today.

Although the conflicts in Kansas were generally small in comparison to what was being played out to the east there were several battles within the new state. Below are links to resources, graphics and information on Civil War battlefield sites in Kansas as well as some general Kansas Civil War information.


Civil War Battles in Kansas
(A map and list of the four major Civil War battles in Kansas. Includes a summary of basic information on date, location, casualties, major combatants and outcome)

Civil War Timeline of Events in Kansas
(Skirmishes, raids and battles are listed)

Kansas in the Civil War
(Kansas State Historical Society)

Kansas in the Civil War
(Kansas Genweb)

Kansas Memory
(Original documents, manuscripts and graphics provided by the Kansas State Historical Society)

Centennial of the Civil War
Kansas Historical Quarterly
Spring, 1965 (Vol. 31, No. 1), pages 62-66

(Library holdings of the Kansas State Historical Society, State Library of Kansas, Kansas Supreme Court and Washburn University)
Kansas -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865


The Battle of Fort Blair, sometimes called the Fort Baxter Massacre, or the Battle of Fort Baxter was fought on October 6, 1863, near the modern-day town of Baxter Springs, Kansas.

Battle Summary (National Parks Service)

Fort Blair and Baxter Springs Massacre

William Quantrill Attacks Baxter Springs, Kansas

"Incidents at Baxter Springs on October 6, 1863"
by Lary C. Rampp
Kansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 36, no. 2 (summer, 1970), p. 183-197
(Get a copy of this article via interlibrary loan from the State Library of Kansas)

The Lawrence Massacre, also known as Quantrill's Raid, was a rebel guerrilla attack by Quantrill's Raiders, led by William Clarke Quantrill, on the pro-Union town of Lawrence, Kansas. Quantill's Raid on Lawrence in 1863 is well known through books, articles and motion pictures.

Battle Summary (National Parks Service)

Eyewitness Reports on Quantrill's Raid
Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains
Summer 2005 (Vol. 28, No. 2), p. 94-103

Erastus D. Ladd's Description of the Lawrence Massacre
Kansas Historical Quarterly
Summer 1963 (Vol. 29, No. 2), pages 113 to 121

In Pursuit of Quantrill: an Enlisted Man's Response
Kansas Historical Quarterly
Autumn 1972 (Vol. 39, No. 3), p. 379 to 391

The Battle of Marais des Cygnes took place on October 25, 1864, in Linn County, Kansas during Price's Missouri Raid. It is also called the Battle of Osage, and the Battle of Trading Post. It proved to be the first of three interconnected actions on this same day, all involving elements of Major General Sterling Price's Confederate Army of Missouri and the Union's Provisional Cavalry Division commanded by Major General Alfred Pleasonton.

Battle Summary (National Parks Service)

Price's Missouri Expedition

Price's Raid and the Battles of Linn County

Report of Maj. Gen. Sterling Price

Books/Articles on the Battle
(Holdings within Topeka ATLAS Consortium libraries)

"On October 25, 1864, approximately 2,800 Union troops attacked and defeated about 8,000 Confederates along the banks of Mine Creek. This was one of the largest cavalry battles in the Civil War and a major battle fought in Kansas."

Battle Summary (National Parks Service)

Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site

Mine Creek Battlefield Foundation

Books/Articles on the Battle
(Holdings within Topeka ATLAS Consortium libraries)


Diamond Springs
(Report of a small skirmish at Diamond Springs)

Article by: Bill Sowers
My thanks to Roy Bird for supplying some of the links in this article
Please use the "Comments" link/box below for questions and comments.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Vacation Kansas!

The summer looms ahead of you like a two lane highway cutting a rolling path across the Flint Hills. What to do? Where to go? Your bank account nixes any trips to far off locations. You look around waiting for a passing twister to lift you up and deposit you in Oz but the sky is a clear, deep Kansas blue without a cloud in sight.

How about vacationing in Kansas? You'd be amazed at what the Sunflower State has to offer in sights, sounds and friendly people. You can tour the state on prolonged journeys or take short day/weekend ventures. Chances are good you'll spend a lot less money and surprise yourself in discovering Kansas up close.

So put down those "impossible dream" brochures and thumb through the possibilities listed below. Kansas spreads out before you, a patchwork quilt of festivals, lakes, rodeos, museums, galleries, racing, music and good times.

Official site of the Kansas Travel and Tourism Division, Kansas Department of Commerce. The Division's Tourism site promotes all aspects of Kansas as a place to visit and enjoy providing information on lodging, dining, directions and suggestions on what to pack Some areas of interest:

--Free Publications
(Supply contact information, fill out the online form indicating your specific interests and receive maps and guides on places and activities in Kansas)

--Trip Planner
(Select a time period, your interests and an optional location and this planning tool will assist you in planning your excursion)

--Yellow Brick Road Trips
(A wonderful way to plan a trip or just see what the different regions of Kansas have to offer. Use the map or the menu on the left to select a journey and then print off an itinerary of places to visit. Offers coupons and suggestions on what to pack and mapping your trip)

--Kansas Adventure e-newsletter
("Kansas Adventures is the official Kansas Tourism e-newsletter. Subscribers receive periodic e-mail updates on the latest Kansas travel news, events, festivals, attractions, vacation packages, and special offers")

--Kansas! magazine
(Quarterly magazine with stunning photography and interesting stories of places and people in Kansas)


Kansas Scenic Byways
("Kansas has nine scenic byways, two of which are National Scenic Byways. In addition to being beautiful drives, the byways each have a fascinating history and an abundance of activities to enjoy")

8 Wonders of Kansas
("The purpose of the 8 Wonders series is to help the world get to know Kansas and to encourage the public to explore Kansas")

Historic Tours of Kansas
Kansas State Historical Society
("Plan your trip into Kansas history by choosing a region, theme, highway, or site name. Learn about accomodations for group tours")

Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks
Hunting, fishing, boating, lakes, parks, etc. Be sure to check out the video on the Flint Hills on the main page as well as other Kansas wildlife and Parks videos on YouTube)

Some National Parks Service sites in Kansas
(A short list with links provided by the National Parks Service. A more complete list of national historic landmarks is available from the Kansas State Historical Society)

GeoKansas... Places to Visit
(Photos and descriptions of sites of geologic and other interest in Kansas. Provided by the Kansas Geological Survey. The website also includes a Field Trips page with guidebooks)

Natural Kansas
(Your portal to the many Wildlife Watching opportunities found here in the heart of
the Great Plains of North America)

Kansas Flint Hills
(Discover one of the most underrated natural attractions in the United States)

Kansas Chambers of Commerce
(Check out individual communities in Kansas. A directory of some of the chambers in Kansas. Includes a website when available. Provided by the State Chamber of Commerce)

Article by: Bill Sowers
Please use the "Comments" link below for questions and comments.