Russell County Historical Society Hosts What's Up in Russell Coffee

Historical Society Whats Up 11-17-20 1
Historical Society Whats Up 11-17-20 1

The Russell County Historical Society hosted Tuesday's Russell Main Street, Inc. What's Up in Russell Coffee at the new Autos, Agriculture and Academics Museum at 9th and Kansas.

Attendees heard from Russell County Historical Society President Tim Boxberger. Check out a recap of his speech below:

Prior to 1868, this land that was to become Russell County was an undisputed possession of Indians, buffalo and the like. Russell was then founded in April 1871 by the "Northwestern Colony" from Ripon, Wisconsin. Russell was named for Captain Avra P. Russell, second Kansas Regiment. Originally, the now City of Russell was named Fossil Station by the railroad. A railroad station was sitting right north of the historic museum.

We have a great history here in Russell, Kansas and the historical society works at sharing and preserving our history, now and forever. The newest historic museum was once the Grover Thacker's Auto Shop building, which has been completely transformed. The transformation has been possible through volunteer hours including the RCHS Board of Directors. The Board of Directors currently serving are Aldean Banker, Margaret Walter, Dylan Palma, Susan Shank, Mike Blanke, Maggie Holloway, Steve Boxberger and Tim Boxberger.

The team of volunteers have spent the better part of the last year continuing putting in hundreds of hours and following through with the dream that was created for this building over four years ago. RCHS is also responsible for a number of properties including the Oil Patch Museum, the Fossil Station Museum, the Heym/Oliver House, the Gernon House and our newest museum, Autos, Agriculture and Academics, located at 825 North Kansas Street. The museum includes early days of Russell County with agriculture, farming, transportation, education and the barn area, sponsored by the Russell County Farm Bureau.

The RCHS has kept up the pace of the previous year with the focus on the newest museum. RCHS understood this was going to be a difficult task to balance our dedication to all the properties, keep things rolling and get the progress here done. They strive to work for the best interest of the county and with the understanding of making a better place for future generations.

A year later with much done, RCHS find themselves looking back. Two and a half years ago the now updated property sat empty, yearning for improvements. Which flash forward to today the improvements have been made and the property brought back to life. The newest improvements include a handicap accessible sidewalk out front, the barn area, which was created by Sam Schmidt and Gerald Machin, with the creation of handcrafted barn doors, the individual stalls and vignettes. They are continuing to work on fixtures and displays for the museum areas inside. Jan Dyer, Susan Shank, Susan Krug and Raeleen Reinhardt are working to label and identify everything. Kenny Hollinger and the Zweifel family have donated wagons, Gerald and Sam have added a work bench, limestone area and the chuckwagon box. The Banker family donated the showcases for our wood working area with box and tools, used in the county and donated by Irene Coffeen. Gerald built the bottom to the Hollinger Drug Store case in the front room and so much more. This project as you can tell has been a group effort. Tim Boxberger made sure to thank all of those that have helped to make the project come to life.

Continuing on, the RCHS had applied for and received money from Dane Hansen, RCACF and additional donors to work with the City of Russell, Russell Main Street, Rotary, PRIDE and others to make available to the public a visitors center and splash pad with a future park area for all to enjoy. JR Modlin donated the removal of the unsafe building and the City removed the gas tanks from under the structure. Progress is continual with the goal of completion prior to Prairiesta.

Next summer with Prairiesta 2021, RCHS will sponsor bringing up the time capsule buried in the front of Fossil Station 50 years ago, as well as collecting items for the 2021 time capsule. Currently, RCHS heritage demonstrations are looking for volunteers. If interested, contact Susie Krug.

(Information courtesy RMSI and RCHS.)

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