Old Depot Museum, Records Center Hours and Restrictions as of September 12, 2021

We have expanded our hours at the Old Depot Museum and the Franklin County Records & Research Center. Please note that these hours and restrictions may change or be updated as state/local mandates require throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that museums and archives face special challenges during a pandemic because artifacts and archives cannot be sanitized without risking permanent harm to the object. Limiting exposure and allowing time for viruses and bacteria to die off naturally is an important line of defense in keeping staff, volunteers, visitors, and artifacts…

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March 8, 2022: Prairie Gas Stations

A dilapidated stucco building stands abandoned in a field. Many of the windows are boarded up. Part of the tile roof is missing.

Prairie Gas Stations presented by Judi Kirk Sunday, March 6, 2022, 2 p.m. Ottawa Memorial Auditorium 301 South Hickory Street, Ottawa, Kansas 66067   Judi Kirk loves early 20th-century gas stations. When she discovered that one of her favorites—a filling station on Highway 54 in Cairo, Kansas—was torn down, she made it her quest to photograph as many old Kansas gas stations as she could before they vanished. Her adventures in seeking out and photographing historic filling stations have been compiled into two books, Remnants: Prairie Gas Stations Remembered and…

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February 8, 2022: Osage Women, Gender, & Empire

An Osage Woman holds her child.

Osage Women, Gender, & Empire Presented by Dr. Tai Edwards Tuesday, February 8, 2022, 7 p.m. Online via Zoom and Facebook Live   Historian Dr. Tai Edwards will speak on the research she has conducted for numerous publications (including her book) on Osage Women and Empire: Gender and Power. She will address aspects of colonialism and its impact, Indigenous power, and gender roles in the context of the Osage experience in modern-day Missouri and Kansas. Dr. Edwards is a history professor at Johnson County Community College. Her research and teaching…

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January 30, 2022: Santa Fe depot architecture subject of virtual annual meeting

A train is pulled in to a Santa Fe depot. the Santa Fe logo and "Princeton" are visible under the gable of the depot's roof. People are gathered on the platform between the depot and the train. Passengers can be seen inside the train.

“Santa Fe Depots: Form and Function,” presented by Bob Walz 85th Annual Meeting of the Members of the Franklin County Historical Society  Sunday, January 30, 2022, 2 p.m. Via Zoom or Facebook Live   What exactly is a depot and what is it for? Using images of depots along the Eastern and Western Lines of the AT&SF Railroad, Bob Walz will examine the history of the development of Santa Fe depots, from repurposed boxcars to large, ornate depots and everything in between. Walz’s presentation will explore the architectural influences in…

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Holiday Hours

Text: Holiday Hours. Background Image features a winter scene with snow, a snowman, and evergreen trees.

Holiday Hours at the Franklin County Historical Society Both the Franklin County Records & Research Center and the Old Depot Museum will be open regular business hours through December 30. Please note: Masks are required for all visitors regardless of vaccination status. For more information on current rules and restrictions, click here. Special Hours at the Old Depot Museum: 12/24 (Friday) – CLOSED 12/25 (Saturday) – CLOSED 12/26 (Sunday) – CLOSED 12/27 (Monday) – CLOSED 12/28 (Tuesday ) – OPEN 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 12/29 (Wednesday) – OPEN 10…

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October 12: The Orphan Train Movement (Online Event)

A train has pulled into the station. A large group of people crowd around the train as passengers deboard.

The Orphan Train Movement presented by Kaily Carson Tueday, October 12, 2021 – 7 p.m. RECORDING AVAILABLE!   Between 1854 and 1929, 250,000 children migrated from the East Coast to the West and Midwest on orphan trains. Learn how and why the orphan train system developed, how it worked, and hear the stories of orphan train riders to Franklin County. This free online program is presented by Kaily Carson, curator at the National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia, Kansas. Image: An orphan train arrives in Blue Rapids, Kansas. Photo courtesy…

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POSTPONED: November 14: Main Street Richmond: 1880-1980 (online program)

An aerial view of a street lined with businesses and cars.

Main Street Richmond: 1880-1980 presented by Dennis Peters Register at Zoom or watch via Facebook Live   The small town of Richmond, Kansas, has changed a lot over the years. Changing businesses, shifting community needs, and destructive fires have shaped and reshaped the community. Dennis Peters, volunteer with the Richmond Community Museum, will present a history of Richmond through photographs in the museum’s collection. This program will be rescheduled as in in-person program in the spring of 2022.  

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FCHS receives Humanities Kansas SHARP Recovery Grant

TOPEKA – Humanities Kansas recently awarded a SHARP Recovery Grant in the amount of $7,164 to the Franklin County Historical Society in Ottawa, Kansas. Diana Staresinic-Deane serves as project director. Founded in 1937, the Franklin County Historical Society strives to preserve, present, and promote the history of Franklin County, Kansas, through its archives, programs, and exhibits at the Old Depot Museum and Dietrich Cabin. The SHARP Recovery Grants support Kansas cultural organizations that provide humanities programming and are facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus. Grants are for general operating…

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New exhibit explores transition from horse-drawn buggies to horseless carriages

Background: a photo of Central Street in Richmond, Kansas, showing both a horce and buggy and an automobile. The words "Horse Power" are in the foreground.

Horse Power Now through August 2022 at the Old Depot Museum   The Franklin County Historical Society’s newest exhibit, “Horse Power,” explores the transition from horse-drawn buggies to horseless carriages and how the automobile shaped our streets and our culture. The exhibit will be on display at the Old Depot Museum in Ottawa, Kansas, through August 2022. In 1899, the Ottawa Herald reported that “Franklin County has 6,622 horses. As yet, she has no automobiles.” “Horseless carriages” were still a rarity in Kansas; in 1900, Kansas ranked tenth in the…

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New Exhibit Features Historic Maps of Ottawa

Background shows a translucent image of the index page from the 1884 Ottawa Sanborn Fire Insurance Map. Text reads Our City in Sanborns: The City of Ottawa in Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1884-1924

Our City in Sanborns: The City of Ottawa in Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1884-1924 Now through July 2022 at the Old Depot Museum   The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps were first published in the 1860s to help fire insurance agents assess risk to commercial, industrial, and residential buildings and properties. Sanborn ultimately printed more than 50,000 editions of maps for 12,000 U.S. towns and cities through the 1950s. Because these maps were expensive—ranging in price from $12 to $200 depending on the year and the size of the city—communities often…

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