The Stilwell

707 N Broadway
Pittsburg, KS 66762

From the times of horse and buggy to cell phones and the information age, the world around The Stilwell has changed significantly. Since 1890 she has stood the test of time and the elements.

When the Stilwell was founded Idaho and Wyoming were yet to be admitted as the 43rd and 44th states; (3 July, 10 July 1890). Our nation was growing and through the years the Stilwell changed too. Servicemen leaving for war, and returning home stayed here through the years, and the Stilwell has played a role in Kansas as well as American History. Find out more at http://www.hotelstilwellkansas.org

The historic Timmons Ballroom inside the Hotel Stilwell features 2,500 square feet of meeting space with a capacity of 120 for dining or 180 for a meeting. The Timmons Ballroom has tables, chairs, serving accessories, catering kitchen and is ADA accessible.


The Hotel Stilwell’s history runs back to 1889, when a board of trade sought funds to build a high-class, metropolitan hotel to rival those in Chicago and St. Louis. Funds for the hotel came together through the work of railroad tycoon Arthur E. Stilwell, who agreed to sell bonds in the amount of $75,000 and secure interest from his associates in the east. For securing the funding, Stilwell was honored with the dedication of the hotel in his name.

In its early days, the Hotel Stilwell expressed the energy and strength of the growing town. Industrial and mining operations were rapidly expanding around Pittsburg, and the new hotel promised widespread attention. Documents from the Kansas State Historical Society explained that the Stilwell was “the first [hotel] with sophistication and style, the first that could be pointed to with pride by visitors and residents alike. It was the center of social activity for many generations of Pittsburg citizens.”

As the founders had hoped, the Hotel Stilwell soon received statewide attention. Responding to a miner’s strike in December of 1919, Governor Henry Allen temporarily moved his office and living quarters to the hotel for closer access to miner’s union officials. Other visitors to the hotel included women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony and famed lawyer Clarence Darrow, who visited the hotel while concluding the Scopes Monkey Trial. The trial’s final verdict was so recent, Darrow held a press conference at the hotel during his 1925 visit to answer questions from reporters.

Hotel Stilwell Notable Visitors

If any part of the hotel has seen more notable visitors, it has to be the second-floor balcony. Sitting just above the grand arched entrance, the balcony was the site of President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech during a tour of Kansas in July of 1900. Roosevelt’s speeches during this tour tended to focus on praising Kansas troops and prosperity in the Midwest, although a long speech in Emporia turned political, with the president discussing the Philippine war for independence from under U.S. control. Roosevelt exclaimed his opinion in the speech: “Our flag is up in the Philippines and it shall never be hauled down.”

After World War II, the Stilwell began to see more permanent visitors on limited incomes instead of overnight visitors. The hotel was closed in 1975 as its condition deteriorated, and subsequent owners began to renovate the building for future use. Dr. and Mrs. Wilson Rigler purchased the building in 1979 and on April 30, 1980 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hotel Stilwell Today

Stilwell Heritage and Educational Foundation director Laura Carlson and local author Kathleen DeGrave, whose 2010 book “The Hotel Stilwell: A Tale of Mortar, Money and Memories” say this period in the hotel’s life lasted until the 1990s, when building permits were issued to renovate the building into 44 apartments. “There were some doubters and croakers in 1890 when Arthur Stilwell built the hotel, and there were doubters and croakers in 1992,” Carlson said.

Despite all doubt, the project was successful in saving the hotel, which is finding new life as an apartment complex with a uniquely rich background. In addition, the Stilwell’s Timmons Ballroom still hosts wedding receptions and banquets.

Anyone interested in reserving the ballroom can contact the hotel for information.

PSU Veterans Memorial Amphitheater

1909 S Rouse Ave
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 235-4762

Plaza includes 3,400 engraved pavers, reflecting pool, and a retired Moving Wall – a replica of Vietnam War Memorial Wall that traveled the country.

The permanent location of one of three Moving Wall structures, the Pittsburg State University Veterans Memorial Amphitheater is located on the east end of the university’s campus. Since it was dedicated on Memorial Day in 2004, more than 100,000 visitors have walked through this tribute to all veterans.

The memorial was designed as a park setting to accommodate individual contemplation and provide a setting for educational programs, memorials, and other special events.

The Moving Wall is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Three structures were created. Due to wear, one was retired and put on permanent display at the PSU Veterans Memorial Amphitheater.

The memorial also includes a reflecting pool with an eternal flame, patriotic bronze sculptures, and more than 1,000 engraved granite pavers paying tribute to veterans and veterans’ organizations.

Pittsburg Public Library

308 N Walnut St
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-8110

A rare Andrew Carnegie library without elaborate, ornate decorations, or his name – both were compromises with area miners angered with his involvement.

The Pittsburg Public Library first opened its doors on January 18, 1902, when the west wing of the city office building was used to house the small collection of books. The citizens quickly realized the value of such an institution, and the library’s popularity grew so quickly that by 1907 the Board of Trustees began looking for ways to secure funds for a larger building.

Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie was already well known for his philanthropy towards libraries across the country, and the Pittsburg library community approached him for much needed support. His donation of $40,000 angered the miners of the area and in order to appease them, the Board agreed to leave the Carnegie name off of the front of the proposed building.

The architectural firm of Patton and Miller of Chicago was hired to design the building with S.S. Geatches serving as contractor. The new building, completed in 1912, was one of the few Carnegie libraries built in Prairie Style architecture, another concession to the miners who did not want an elaborate, ornate facility. The building features an exterior of Carthage limestone and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The library operated for many years in the original Carnegie building, but it was eventually outgrown as well. A one-half cent sales tax was passed in 1994, and plans to build an addition and renovate the historic Carnegie building were put into place. The library underwent an extensive addition and renovation in 1996-98. The firm of Glenn Livingood Penzler (now GLPM Architects) of Lawrence, KS, designed the project, and the contractor was R.E. Smith Construction of Joplin, MO.

Characteristics and details of the original building have been incorporated into the addition, and the furnishings reflect the Arts and Crafts style made popular during the early 1900’s. Restoring the glory of the original building without disturbing its historical integrity earned the architectural firm of Glenn Livingood Penzler an award from the Kansas Preservation Alliance.

Mined Land Public Wildlife Area: Pittsburg (History)

Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-3173

MLWA Unit #1 (Fishing Lake)
Access via US-160/North County Road just east of US-69 (North of Frontenac)
An easy to access popular fishing & picnicking spot. Five boat ramps. Adjacent to the Bob Grant Bison Herd pen. Area donated by a mining company in 1926. Includes a 1950’s era picnic shelter.

MLWA Units #2, 3 & 4 (Litchfield)
Access via NW, NE & SE corners of S 260th St & E 570th (East of Pittsburg)

MLWA Units 5 & 6 (Quail Farm)
Access via KS-126 just west of 190th St; and, 560th Ave west of 200th St (West of Pittsburg)

MLWA Units 7 & 8 (Whitmore Pits)
Access via S 180th St just south of 540th Ave, both west and east side of road (Southwest of Pittsburg)

Miners Hall Museum

701 S Broadway
Franklin, KS 66735
(620) 347-4220

Showcasing immigrant & coal mining history, MHM is on the site of the 1921 women’s march known as the Amazon Army, which inspired national labor/social reforms.


The Miners Hall Museum is located in Franklin, Kansas. The Museum is home to hundreds of mining artifacts, a mining library and research area, as well as quarterly exhibits and programs. The Museum is also the site of the nationally known Amazon Army March. In the summer of 2013 the Museum hosted the Smithsonian traveling exhibit “The Way We Worked”. Admission is always free.

Miners Hall Museum is an exhibition located within the Franklin Community Center & Heritage Museum in Franklin, Kansas. The museum is home to hundreds of mining and bootlegging artifacts, the “Spirit of the Little Balkans” mural, a mining library and research area, as well as quarterly exhibits and programs. The Museum is also the site of the nationally known Amazon Army March.

The center & museum was built shortly after the devastating tornado of 2003 which destroyed much of the community including the former Franklin Community Hall.

Amazon Army March

The museum sits on the site of what was once Union Hall, where in 1921, thousands of wives, daughters, mothers, sisters and sweethearts of striking coal miners in Southeast Kansas marched in protest against unfair labor practices in the local coal mines. The women, mostly immigrants from southeast Europe, halted work in the mines for three days. The women’s march made headlines across the nation and the New York Times christened them the “Amazon Army.”

Arma-Franklin Sidewalk

Across the street from the museum is a three-foot wide sidewalk that stretches 1.7 miles from Franklin, north to Arma. At the time it was constructed in 1936, the Franklin Sidewalk connected the two rural mining communities, and at one point was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “longest sidewalk connecting two communities”. The sidewalk was listed on the Kansas Register of Historic Places in November 18, 2006, and on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior on March 16, 2007.

Frontier Military Scenic Byway & Jefferson Highway

The museum sits on the route of what was once a military trail used by the Army to transport troops and supplies between frontier forts. The 167 mile path connects Fort Leavenworth to the Oklahoma border. In the 1910’s, much of what was this military trail in Kansas, including the area through Franklin, eventually became part of an automobile highway known as “Jefferson Highway”, which stretched from Winnipeg in Canada to New Orleans, Louisiana. This path is now along U.S. 69. The military trail was designated a state byway by the Kansas Legislature on June 15, 1990.

Miners Memorial

200 N Walnut St
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-8310

A tribute to those who settled Crawford County. Includes a pavilion and the Miner Memorial, a larger-than-life bronze statute of a miner accompanied by granite monuments inscribed with the names of miners who worked in the Pittsburg-Weir coalfields.

The purpose of Miners’ Memorial is to honor the work and lives of the coal miners in the Weir-Pittsburg Coal Field. Construction of the Miners’ Memorial has been accomplished with local and regional funding.

The Memorial features a larger-than-life-size bronze statue of an era miner. There are nine black polished monuments flowing in an arc to the right of the statue. The first stone is an interpretive marker on the south side, and accompanied on the north side with the map of the Weir-Pittsburg Coal Field. The remaining eight monuments contain the names of miners who have been submitted by their families and friends. A star beside their name indicates that the miner died as a result of working in the mines.

Across the street from Immigrant Park.

Memorial Auditorium & Convention Center

503 N Pine St
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-7827

Open since 1925, was designed during the excitement of the excavation of King Tutankhamun’s Tomb so is a rare example of Egyptian Revival Style architecture.

Old meets new in this historic 1925 theater with modern amenities. Check our website for upcoming theater productions, ballets, vendor events and art exhibits.

The Memorial Auditorium & Convention Center is truly a community center providing an attractive, state of the art venue for the performing arts as well as a pleasant place to have a private gathering, fundraisers, meetings, small conventions, wedding receptions and more.

Lincoln Park

813 Memorial Drive
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-8310

Originally used by Civil War veterans, became a city park in 1906. Jefferson Highway Tourist Campground ran from 1925-1935 at band shell’s current location.

Brief History of Lincoln Park

Originally a gathering place for Union veterans of the Civil War to host annual meetings and events. Named for President Abraham Lincoln, those veterans sold the park to the City of Pittsburg in 1906.

Additional acreage was added over the decades; and, a plan for the park was designed in 1908 by renowned Kansas City architect, George E. Kessler, who had designed Hyde Park and the park and boulevard system in Kansas City, and had been the chief architect and designer of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Kessler laid out Lincoln Park’s roads, trails, playgrounds and locations for various structures including the park auditorium, now Lincoln Center, and the bandstand, now the J.J. Richards Band Dome.

The auditorium was started on Aug 18, 1910 and dedicated the weekend of Aug 13-15, 1911. It had a large porch with columns wrapped around the outside, which were removed during a remodel of the auditorium in the 1970’s.

In 1936 improvements to the park were made, many using Kessler’s designs, including the addition of a Rose Garden, Lily Pond, Greenhouses and off street parking.

In the 1950’s a swimming pool and wading pool were added on the south side of the park. These were removed and replaced with a much larger water park style swimming pool in the late 1990’s.

Kiddie-Land a small amusement park was added in the 1960’s and is still there.

Four Oaks Golf Course was added to the northwest end of the park in the 1970’s.

Jefferson Highway Garage

408 N Locust St
Pittsburg, KS 66762


Jefferson Highway linked Canada to New Orleans from 1915-1925. Built in 1915, this Jefferson Highway Garage once served automobiles traveling the highway and the structure maintains its original signage. The building continues to serve Pittsburg as a nonprofit kitchen, The Lord’s Diner.

Jimmy B's Saloon

202 N Locust St
Pittsburg, KS 66762

A saloon & beer garden with occasional live music. Built in 1904 to sell tombstones & monuments, is an example of folk architecture. The exterior includes hand carved stone figures of prominent American folk heroes including George Washington, Mark Twain & Belle Starr, as well as Kansas legends, including Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, Carrie Nation and the Bloody Benders.

Hance White (1854-1926) built the building and operated out of it using the name Hance White & Son Marble Works, then Pittsburg Marble Works, and it grew to be one of the largest marble works in the Midwest by the 1920’s, with marble and other stone being sent their from quarries throughout the world.

Hotel Besse

121 E 4th St
Pittsburg, KS 66762

Seen from miles away, Pittsburg’s skyline has been defined by this 12 story Late Gothic Revival architectural ornament building since 1926.

Always surrounded by buildings that have averaged four stories, the construction of the Hotel Besse was funded without any outside assistance, and it opened on June 14, 1927, intending to “stand as a monument to the civic pride of Pittsburg”. According to the Pittsburg Sun in 1925, during its construction, “an individual, apparently attempting to measure into the sky the height of the new structure, said yesterday as he gazed skyward: ‘Gosh, a feller is liable to sunburn his tonsils trying’ to see the top o’ that place when they get it done.'”

In addition to the grand ballroom, private dining rooms, and hotel rooms, commercial tenants on the ground floor over the years included a coffee shop, cigar stand, beauty shop, a radio station, and various offices, including the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce.

The Besse Hotel closed to visitors in 1979, and was renamed the Besse Apartments in 1980. By 2006, few tenants remained and after three arson fires, the remaining tenants were ordered to vacate the building. The Besse Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008, and is once again undergoing renovations for future use.

Graham's Castle

601 Grandview Heights Terrace
Pittsburg, KS 66762


In Pittsburg, Kansas, the unique architecture of the home at 601 Grandview Heights has captured the imagination of people passing by for generations.

In 1934, it was built on the outskirts of town with no running water, using an unusually shaped concrete roof to pool rain water, and built with recycled brick, concrete & steel – much of which was pulled from area mines – and a windmill with batteries generated and stored electricity.

Outsiders have called it “The Flying Nun House” because of its shape, but locally, it’s more commonly known as “Graham’s Castle”, named for its original owner and designer, Staneart Graham. Local historian Eugene DeGruson bought the home in the 1960’s and it remains in his family, though it was vacant for nearly 20 years. Its current owners occasionally open the home for tours, use as an Escape Room, and other events.

Frisco Event Center

210 E 4th St
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 249-3491

Of six depots built by Frisco Freight in Pittsburg, Kansas, only one remains. A depot has been on the 210 East 4th Street site since 1876, and after decades of barely being used, it has been restored and is now the Frisco Event Center. The current building was built in 1902; and, after a fire, the brick portion on the east end was built in 1917. The facility has a capacity of 200 to 220 people with tables.

Franklin-Arma Sidewalk

501 Lasota Street
Franklin, KS 66735
(620) 347-4220

Believed to be the longest sidewalk connecting two towns in the U.S., the sidewalk is along Business U.S. 69 from Franklin to Arma, originally a military trail, then Jefferson Highway. The 1.7 mile mostly paved sidewalk connected the two rural towns in 1936 following school consolidation and was built by the WPA.

Franklin residents relied on services and schools to the north in Arma. Jefferson Highway/U.S. 69 was paved in 1922-23. High speed traffic made pedestrian travel deadly especially for children. The 1.7 mile, 3-foot wide sidewalk was built in 1936 and is believed to be the longest sidewalk in the U.S. connecting two towns.

Franklin Historic Sidewalk is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places as a means of transportation for education and commerce related activities. A marker at the Franklin Community Park, which is midway, denotes the listing on the Historic Register. Other informative signs along the sidewalk denote its significance. It has also become well known for it’s listing in either Guinness Book of World Records or Ripley’s Believe it Or Not as the longest sidewalk connecting two towns in the United States. Many early residents remember the excitement as newspaper, radio and television carried stories about this record. The story about the sidewalk appeared in Life Magazine circa 1938. Constructed in 1936 with federal funding assistance, the Franklin Sidewalk connects two rural mining communities in Crawford County — Arma and Franklin. The three-foot wide sidewalk begins at the south edge of Arma and stretches south 1.7 miles to the south edge of Franklin, and runs parallel along the east side of Business Highway 69.

Crawford State Park

1 W Lake Rd
Farlington, KS 66734
(620) 362-3671

Crawford State Park attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually. The 500-acre park includes a 150-acre lake, and is locally known as both “Crawford Lake” and “Farlington Lake”. The area includes a lakeside cafe, cabins and campsites, numerous recreational opportunities, and a spectacular view with plenty of water to explore and fish.

Rooted in history and home to 80 residents, there are two recorded archaeological sites in the park, including the remains of a 19th century U.S. military outpost. The lake was built in the 1930’s over a four year period by 200 young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps as a recreation destination. Operated by the State of Kansas, the park is also cared for in part by a volunteer group, Friends of Crawford State Park.

Lake View Café
2 Lake Road
Farlington, Kansas
(620) 362-4131
Open seasonally on the bank of Farlington Lake in Crawford State Park.

Cabin Rental, Camping & RV’s
Ideal for family reunions, club camp outs, and other group activities, Crawford State Park offers five lakefront rental cabins with all the comforts of home, and six campgrounds, that are shaded by mature cottonwoods and oaks and redbuds in a beautiful lake setting. All are available year round by reservation.

Cabin and campsite reservations are first come, first served, and are taken at ReserveAmerica.com or by calling the park office at (620) 362-3671 during office hours.

All cabins are ADA accessible, air conditioned and heated, have bathrooms with showers, kitchens are complete with stove, refrigerator, microwave, pots and pans, dishware and utensils, and have a grill, fire ring, and a picnic table. The SHADY REST offers three full-size beds, two twin beds, and a bunk bed. The NORTH WIND, MORNING GLORY, and THE LANDING offer one bedroom with a full-size bed and a futon. The front rooms offer a twin-size Murphy bed and a sofa.

Campsites & RV
There are 28 primitive campsites, 38 electric only sites, 25 50 amp/water sites, and 20 30 amp/ water sites. All campsites have a spectacular view of the lake. For your convenience, there are three bathhouses, and a dump station for RV’s.

On The Lake
While youth enjoy a sandy swimming beach and playgrounds, pleasure boaters, kayakers, tubers and water skiers enjoy the lake, and anglers enjoy fishing, using docks and two boat ramps to fish for channel catfish, crappie, and striped bass, supplied by a national fish hatchery located below the dam.

The ADA compliant playground at Crawford State Park’s beach area was installed in 2006. The playground consists of numerous swings, three slides, two sets of climbing stuctures, and a playhouse. Access to the beach swimming area, shelter house, bathroom facilities, cafe, and marina are within easy walking distance.

Located where the Cherokee Lowlands meet the Osage Cuestas, and on the edge of the Ozark Plateau, Crawford State Park provides a variety of landscapes seen throughout Kansas all in a single state park, making the four hiking and biking trails very popular. Redbud trees offer spectacular beauty in the spring along with a wide variety of colorful wildflowers, birds, and butterflies. The lush foliage of the surrounding forest is a naturalist’s delight.

Farlington Fish Hatchery
Farlington Fish Hatchery below the dam was built shortly after the lake was completed.

Permits Required
State Park vehicle permits are required for the Crawford State Park.

For more information, check the website or contact the Crawford State Park Office by calling (620) 362-3671. Office hours: Off Season hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summer hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday.

Crawford County Historical Museum

651 U.S. 69
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-1440

The largest museum in the area. Thousands of pioneer, mining and bootlegging artifacts. Visit our authentic one-room school and grocery store.

Explore the colorful history of Crawford County and it’s residents through the interesting exhibits. Indoor displays feature vintage clothing, photos, coal mining and farming artifacts, printing exhibits and horse-drawn vehicles. Outdoor exhibits include a one-room school house, an authentic neighborhood grocery store, and coal mining steam shovel.

Colonial Fox Theatre

407 N Broadway St
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 235-0622

Experience the magic of this historic treasure and see firsthand restoration efforts of a classic movie palace! Concert dates & Tour requests available online.

Built in 1919, the Colonial Fox Theatre is nominated for its association with Pittsburg’s entertainment history and for its Italian Renaissance Revival architecture. Between the two world wars, the Colonial Theatre, as it was called before the 1950s, was one of several theaters that anchored downtown entertainment and nightlife in southeast Kansas’ largest city.

Arma Centennial Mural

604 E Washington
Arma, KS 66712
(620) 347-4125

The Arma Centennial Mural depicts the rich history of Arma, Kansas. The mural was done by local painter Gary Lofts, who, along with his wife Susan, was the driving force behind the project. Dedicated August 8, 2009, the mural includes a miner, a mule used in the mines, a representation of the Missouri Pacific Railroad that operated in the area, the Mine Recovery Station, the local depot, a church, the local veteran’s memorial, a Model T owned by a local resident, and the school mascot. The piece covers a brick wall dating to 1907 and overlooks the site of the former Arma Hotel, which was demolished in the 1960s.