Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two Towns and a Tree

This past Tuesday, August 11, 2009, I attended a meeting at Inman, Kansas at the Kansas Sampler Foundation headquarters. The meeting was over fairly early and I was left facing most of an afternoon and evening in which to Explore the backroads of Kansas on my back home ot Osborne.

I took county roads from Inman north, then west, then south, and again west and ended up in the town of Alden, Kansas, population larger than I thought. This is one of those great little Kansas towns not located on any highway, and one I had not been back to in 29 years, when I helped make deliveries to the local cafe.

The downtown was quiet when I traveled through, but still as neat and clean as the rest of the community.

When you arrive a littler earlier in the afternoon chances are that you can stop at Alden's 1872 Depot Museum, a fine building displaying the pride this community still has in itself.

I then traveled west and north on a great county road that had stretches of wide open spaces interspersed with winding tree-lined curves. A classic Kansas Back Road!

Within a few miles I arrived at my destination - the community of Raymond, even smaller than Alden but still as neat and clean. This is a town that I had never been to before but had heard about all my life, as an aunt & uncle of mine farmed in the area for years. Driving the downtown area today one can still discover small town gems such as the Fire Department, seen above.

At the south end of the downtown area sits the former location of the Raymond State Bank. The building is still in excellent condition and is in the architectural style reminiscent of many bank buildings across the state.

Raymond was founded in 1871 and today has a population of under 100. The Raymond Post Office continues to serve the area.

A great hidden Explorer gem is the Raymond Elementary School, unique in its architectural style for a small-town school. Note the center tower-like structure!

From Raymond it was again cross-country for many miles on county roads until I made it to Wilson and the Made From Scratch Cafe. Had the homemade chicken fried steak dinner, with a tall piece of lemon pie. After waddling back out the car I headed north over the Post Rock Scenic Byway past Wilson Lake to Lucas, where having a little time to kill I decided to pull into the alley behind the Garden of Eden and up to the Chair-e Tree.

For those not in the know, the Chair-e Tree is just that - if you have an old chair and wish to contribute to great art, bring it here and artist/entrepenuer/thought-producer/ homeowner Erika Nelson will set it up and inside the large elm tree in her backyard.
Just prior to Tuesday Lucas had a major storm and the Chair-e Tree had substained some damage - or rather the chairs in it, judging from the litter now on the ground.
A wonderful Explorer swap you can now see on the Chair-e Tree: near the town of Wetmore in Northeast Kansas stands the Kissel Shoe Tree, where people are encouraged to nail their old pair of shoes and leave a message on them. On the Chair-e Tree I spied this pair of shoes, left by the Shoe Tree folks! Only in Kansas.

No comments: