St. Aloysius Church Historic Site

953 W, KS 47
Girard, KS 66743

Church built in 1881 was replaced by a larger building for use in 1907, but original building was kept. Larger building was struck by lightning, destroyed in 1982, and remains stand. Both buildings built in a Vernacular Gothic Revival. Cemetery is also on the property.


According to legend, in 1869, Father Phillip Colleton, was caught at this site by a furious hail and thunder- storm. The frightened priest took refuge under his saddle and vowed that if his life was spared, he would build a church on this spot. The fervent promise resulted in the establishment of St. Aloysius, Greenbush. The first Catholic Church erected in Crawford County was a wooden frame structure completed in 1871. Located on the Historic “Mission Road”. The church was destroyed by a storm in 1877. Parishioners quarried limestone from Hickory Creek and completed the second church in 1881. The first resident pastor, Father F. M. Verdan, arrived in 1882 and served the church for fifty years. A larger church was needed and completed in 1907. The 1881 church was converted into a community building. The third church stood for 75 years as a landmark before it was struck by lightning and burned in 1982. The ruins remain. The 1881 church was renovated into a place of worship. Thus the second church became the fourth church on March 9, 1986 and served the people until it closed in 1993. Father Colleton’s promise will continue.

St. John's Episcopal Church (Girard History Museum)

300 S Summit St
Girard, KS 66743

A community of people trying to preserve historic sites and educate people about the unique history of Girard. A hotbed for socialism during the mining era, Girard was the home to Julius Wayland and Emanuel-Haldeman-Julius’s “Appeal to Reason”l, then the largest socialist periodical in the country. Haldeman-Julius also created the Little Blue Books, small paperback books that made literature available to the masses at a cheap price – a venture that landed him on the FBI’s “enemies list”.

Sharon Kay Dean Recital Hall inside McCray Hall

East Lindburg St
Pittsburg, KS 66762

The Sharon Kay Dean Recital Hall is inside McCray Hall on the campus of Pittsburg State University. The Recital Hall features a newly rebuilt Steinway concert grand piano, and a 3-manual, mechanical action Fisk Opus 106 organ, constructed in 1995. Built in 1929 and originally called “Music Hall”, the building was rededicated in 1961 in honor of the department’s second chairman, Walter McCray.

Saint Francis Hieronymo Catholic Church

208 Washington St
Saint Paul, KS 66771
(620) 449-2224

Visible for miles and founded in 1847 as the Catholic Osage Mission to educate Osage children. Romanesque Revival building has five altars and numerous stained glass windows. The grounds include gardens, statues, stone bell tower, and walkway. The bell in the 1947 bell tower was brought to the mission in 1847 and is believed to be the first church bell used in Kansas.

PSU Veterans Memorial Amphitheater

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

The PSU Veteran’s Memorial Amphitheater features a one-half-size replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, a 250-seat amphitheater and thousands of engraved pavers.

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Hotel 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

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.

Hepler Ruritan Club Annual Rodeo

200 W Farlington St
Hepler, KS 66746
(620) 368-4720

Held annually on July 3 & 4 at the Hepler Ruritan Rodeo arena, big cash prizes bring the top bull riders from across the country to this small town, where this rodeo is the event of the year. Bring your hat, your boots, and your appetite, and be ready to shed a tear during the National Anthem.

Historic Franklin-Arma Sidewalk

1275 S Broadway St
Franklin, KS 66735

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.

Girard History Museum

300 S Summit St
Girard, KS 66743

Three buildings on site, including 1888 Episcopal Church with original stained glass windows; on National Registry of Historic Places. Open Tue-Sat 9:00a-3:00p.

A community of people trying to preserve historic sites and educate people about the unique history of Girard. A hotbed for socialism during the mining era, Girard was the home to Julius Wayland and Emanuel-Haldeman-Julius’s “Appeal to Reason”l, then the largest socialist periodical in the country. Haldeman-Julius also created the Little Blue Books, small paperback books that made literature available to the masses at a cheap price – a venture that landed him on the FBI’s “enemies list”.

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.

Downtown Girard Square

100 S Summit St
Girard, KS 66743
(620) 724-8918

Downtown Girard is built around a traditional courthouse square. The statue of a deer and a marker on the southwest corner of the square commemorate the founding of the city on the site where Dr. Charles H. Strong, the founder of the city, killed a deer. Girard was also home to the socialist newspaper “Appeal to Reason” and the “Little Blue Books” of classic literature. Many of the downtown buildings have bronze plaques giving a brief history of the site.

History of the courthouse:

Founded in 1868, Downtown Girard is built around a traditional courthouse square. Plaques throughout the area provide a brief history of the community. A statue of a deer commemorates where the city founder killed a deer and proclaimed that spot to be designated a new town. Mistreatment of the region’s coal mining workers led to Girard based publication of the socialist newspaper “Appeal to Reason”; and, long before Wikipedia, 300 to 500 million “Little Blue Books” were printed and delivered from here. These small, cheap pocketbooks brought classic literature and other common sense knowledge to the working class.

Crawford County Historical Museum

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

The largest museum in the area. Thousands of pioneer, mining & bootlegging artifacts. Visit an authentic one-room school & 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.

Civil War Memorial

Cherokee Cemetery
Cherokee, KS 66724
(620) 457-8413

Civil War Union Soldiers memorial at Cherokee Cemetery. Erected in 1912 Grand Army of the Republic Shiloh Post 56 in memory of soldiers of War of 1881-65.

The grave of Shiloh Post 56 member Allen Reese is located within the Cherokee Cemetery. Born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1844, Reese died March 25, 1918. A former slave, Reese enlisted in Co. D., 16th U.S. Vol. Inf. Following the Civil War he moved to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, before settling in Cherokee. A member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church for 45 years, Reese had served in nearly office in his local church, and was a local preacher and a class leader at the time of his death.

Cato Historic Stone School House

1153 N 200th St
Arcadia, KS 66711
(620) 232-6944

The first schoolhouse in Crawford County was a log cabin built at the same location in 1867. Classes began in 1867 and continued through 1955. The Cato Historical Preservation Association maintains the schoolhouse as a historical attraction, with free admission, as a symbol of education.

The still standing one-room, vernacular stone, school building was constructed in 1869 with classes being held there until 1955. The Cato School is in the Historic Public Schools of Kansas multiple property submission as an example of the one-room country school property type dating from the early statehood period (1861-1880).

Founded in 1854, Cato is believed to be the first community built in the Southeast Kansas area, and it has the distinction of having the first grist mill in Crawford County, the first coal mining operation, the first school in the county, and the first County Fair. Cato was never a large town, reaching its peak population in 1910 with 112 residents.

An old, one-room, stone school house built in 1869 is on the National Register of Historic Places. The stone school house, the Cato Christian Church built in 1915, and a stone bridge that was once on the stage coach route, are all that remain of the community.

Cato Days
Each year the Cato Historical Preservation Association spends one weekend reminding residents and tourists of the pioneer days. The festival includes tours of the pioneer era community, live music, food, and re-enactments, occasionally “including a shoot-out between Missouri border roughians and Kansas lawmen”.

Carnie Smith Stadium, Brandenburg Field & Prentice Gudgen Track

1705 S Joplin
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-7000

The home of the Pittsburg State University Gorillas, Carnie Smith Stadium opened in 1924 and is recognized as one of the premiere venues in NCAA Division II. Built in a Classical Revival style, a Classical arcade dominates the west side of the stadium. A decorated 6 foot tall ironstone wall encircles the stadium.

Full name: Carnie Smith Stadium, Brandenburg Football Field, Prentice Gudgen Track

Nicknames: “The Jungle”, “The Pitt”

Seating: 8,343
Executive suites: 24
Record attendance: 11,910 (October 20, 2012)
Surface: MondoTurf (installed July 2012)
Scoreboard: 40’x70′ video board dubbed the “JungleTron”

Built: 1923
Opened: 1924
Renovated: 1989
Expanded: 2001, 2006

In addition to numerous NCAA Division II regular season and playoff games, Carnie Smith Stadium has been the home to Kansas High School state championships, the Kansas Shrine Bowl All-Star game, and two National Junior College Athletic Association championship games.

Carnie Smith Stadium also features the Prentice Gudgen Track. This historic track and field facility has hosted many events at the youth, high school and collegiate levels, including the MIAA Track and Field Championship.


Construction begins with volunteer labor during the summer of 1923. $100,000 was donated by students, alumni, faculty and citizens of Pittsburg to build the stadium. To insure its completion by the start of the 1924 season, faculty members were eventually required to help work up to eight hours per week.

1924, October 11
Originally named Brandenburg Stadium, in honor of William Aaron Brandenburg, the first president of the University, the first varsity football game was held between PSU (known as Kansas State Teachers College) and Baker University, in front of approximately 4,000 fans.

The University announced the field would continue to bear the name of PSU’s first president, but the stadium would be called Carnie Smith Stadium, in honor of the legendary PSU football coach who led the Gorillas to two NAIA national championships (1957 and 1961) and six conferences titles during his tenure from 1949-66.


A $5.7 million expansion provided by private funding added 2,700 seats, including new club seating on both the East and West stands, and 16 luxury sky boxes added to East stands. Stadium capacity grew from 5,611 permanent seats to 8,343. New restroom, concession stand and ticket booth facilities added. An elevator, handicap accessability and other ADA improvements made. Home and visitor locker room upgraded. New media room added.

A $2.5 million expansion provided by private funding added eight luxury sky boxes to West side of the stadium.

A $1.7 million upgrade through private funding unveiled the “Jungletron” video scoreboard, the largest replay board in NCAA Division II.

Bleacher Report listed Carnie Smith Stadium as one of the “Top 50 Stadiums to See Before You Die” and one of the “Top 20 College Football Atmospheres in the Country.”

Carona Train Depot & Railroad Museum

6769 NW 20th
Scammon, KS 66773
(620) 396-8594

Carona Depot and Railroad Museum features a diverse collection railroad memorabilia including the actual depots from Carona and nearby Boston, Mo., numerous working rail cars, the Downes Collection, folk art collectors pieces, special events and train rides.

The Heart of the Heartlands Museum Complex is located in the former mining community of Carona, Kansas.

The complex includes the museum building; the restored Missouri Pacific Depot from Carona, Kansas; the restored Missouri Pacific Depot from Boston, Missouri; a collection of railroad locomotives and cars including the cosmetically restored KCS Steam Locomotive #1023; and, a railroad signal display.

The outdoor displays are open for viewing at any time.

The museum and depot buildings are open for visitors on the first and third full weekends (Saturday and Sunday) of June, July, and August, 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM, or by appointment.

Heartland members are dedicated to providing railroad histories, short excursion train rides and motorcar excursions during the year. We have established a museum in Carona, Kansas to preserve railroad memorabilia.

The group has restored three depots: a Santa Fe Depot in Cherryvale in 1991, a Missouri Pacific Depot in Carona in 1996 and a second Missouri Pacific Depot (The Boston Depot which is now also located on our grounds in Carona). The Cherryvale depot, built in 1910 is now operated by the SK&O Railroad. The freight room in the north end of the depot is the home of the Cherry Valley Model Railroad Club, which meets every Friday evening. The Carona depot, built in the 1940s, was used as a passenger depot until the early 1960s. At that time the depot was sold and moved 1/4 mile and used as a hay barn. The John Thompson family graciously gave the depot to the Heartlands organization. It has now been moved close to the track and restored with the help of many area volunteers and Heartland members. The Boston Depot was built in 1882 in a then thriving community of Boston Missouri. It was put out of service in 1932. Our group moved it to its current location on October 7, 2005.

Big Brutus Inc.

6509 NW 60th St
West Mineral, KS 66782-0025
(620) 827-6177

World’s largest electric shovel honors the region’s mining heritage. New exhibit: Original 1920s shovel that inspired design. Admission charged. Hours vary.

Named to the National Register of Historical Places in January 2018, Big Brutus put the oooohs and aaahs in the backyard of the Heartlands. Miles before you reach this retired giant — you can see it on the horizon south of West Mineral, Kansas.

Standing beside it makes one aware of how fragile he or she is. The statistics give the hard cold picture — Bucyrus Erie model 1850B second largest electric shovel in the world 16 stories tall (160 feet) weight 11 million pounds boom 150 feet long dipper capacity 90 cu. yds (by heaping, 150 tons — enough to fill three railroad cars.) maximum speed .22 MPH cost $6.5 million (in 1962) There is more to Big Brutus than cold steel and long shadows falling across the Mined Land Wildlife Area.

Big Brutus is not just a symbol of the past, but an eternal tribute to the mining heritage of Southeast Kansas and to miners all across this nation who toiled to support their families. On July 13, 1985, Big Brutus was dedicated as “a Museum and Memorial Dedicated to the Rich Coal Mining History in Southeast Kansas.”

In September 1987 The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) designated Big Brutus a Regional Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, the 10th since 1971 to be so designated. On January 5, 2018, Big Brutus was named to the National Register of Historical Places.