Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Varieties of local history

It's been a while since I had a chance to even update the blog. It also gave you all a chance to read up on "Mr. Q." October is conference season as well a the crunch time for local events. Given the climate of the Midwest, almost everything local that isn't holiday-related is crammed into 6-8 weeks in the spring and 6-8 weeks in the fall.

First there was the Kansas Humanities Council meeting in McPherson, KS. Although Belli Brothers is no longer a fixture with its joint model train and music store, McPherson is still a great place to visit.

Following that I attended the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference in Tulsa. Lots ot great sessions, especially about modern architecture. There was even a session about the preservation of the Tulsa neighorbood of Lortondale. Route 66, Art Deco Architecture, Jamil's Steakhouse, and other features make that city a great place to visit. A freeway system that makes absolutely no sense and confusing signage, but otherwise a good place to visit. Then the conference got to visit Greenwood, the African American neighborhood that was attacked in 1921 and the sight of one of the nation's worst race riots. My tour even got to listen to a survivor of the event, who was 4 at the time and remembered fleeing his home before the house got looted and burned. It is a story that Tulsa is just now starting to come to terms with. It even put a discordant note on the rest of the city: one wonders how many of those great Art Deco buildings along Route 66 had builders and occupants who took part in that race riot.

Then there was the Kansas Museums Association in Manhattan, KS. A good conference as well. They really pulled out all the stops for us there.

Then, last week, I was part of the centennial ceremony of the Harper County courthouse in Anthony, KS. It was sure brisk that morning but a good event. That afternoon, I got to be in the parade as one of the "dignitaries" at the morning's event. Sitting in the seat of a 1923 Ford model T, I got to participate in one of the ultimate of small town traditions: a main street parade. Talk about Americana.

The following day, I helped out at Temple Emanu-El's major community feed: deli days. Good as ever. This time, they made, in my opinion, the wise choice to have bagels and lox instead of chopped liver.

Now that the events are over, I "just" my my regular stuff to do such as teaching, work on the 1950s church article, and now a new project: a photo history of the Lebanese community of Wichita. Lots to do. Maybe I'll have Quentin update the blog from time to time.

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Danifesto said...

A dignitary eh? Tre chic! :)