After the demise of the fort the Guardhouse was used as a private home and then apartments before becoming the Kanopolis City Museum and eventually the Fort Harker Guardhouse Museum. I was nine years old the last time I had been in the building, and it sure has changed!
The view from the second floor of the Guardhouse, looking east across the old parade ground. The trees in back center right is the location of the Commanding Officer's Quarters, the eastern edge of the parade ground.
The Fort Harker Museum houses several unique artifacts. One of these is an actual hardtack biscuit, brought back to Kansas at the conclusion of the Civil War by veteran Joseph Thayer. Hardtack was infamous during the War for its toughness and total lack of flavor. This particular biscuit picture here celebrates its 145th birthday next year, and doesn't look a day over three months!
This is a map of the layout of Fort Harker against the city plat of Kanopolis, Kansas. It shows to good effect how much of the old fort building sites currently lie under the city.
Historical Walk tour guide Jim "The Cowboy" Gray, Center, confers with others on last-minute questions before starting the tour.
The Historical Walk on the go. Many stories were told of the earlier Fort Ellsworth and the changeover to the current site of Fort Harker.
The Historical Walk ground to a halt in front of the Commanding Officer's Quarters when Warren Robinson of Hutchinson, Kansas appeared. Warren is a descendant of Trooper Rueben Waller, who was in the rescue column that relieved Forsythe's Scouts at the Battle of Beecher Island. Warren in turn was introduced to Marilyn (Day) Child, descendant of Scout Barney Day, who was in the battle. The descendant of a Scout got to thank the descendant of a Trooper for the rescue 141 years after the fact.
After the Historical Walk it was time for the Fort Harker Days Parade. The crowds started lining the streets in as much shade as they could find.
The Ellsworth County Historical Society entered a great float depiciting the history of the county as a whole.
Even the Elkhorn 4-H Club got into the Fort theme.
The Svaty Family walked in the parade in support of Don Svaty, up for reelection as the area's State Representative. Walking in back of the family is Josh Svaty, former State Representative and current Kansas Secretary of Agriculture.
Parade watchers of all ages and types watched intently as the next chance for candy and other goodies came up the street!
The Smith Family Reunion was evidently a large affair this year!
Even Smokey the Bear showed up for the parade.
Have You Hugged Your Vet Lately?
The Wild Women of the Frontier were not to be denied their chance to be in the parade!
After the parade's conclusion the crowds descended on the City Park, where vendors had their wares cooking and driving hungry people wild. I would show you a photo of the succulent Beef BBQ Sandwich I had, but it was devoured way too fast for the camera shutter.
The United Methodist Church ladies outdid themselves on homemade pies. This cherry pie was made with cherries picked locally right off the tree - pits and all!
Another dessert alternative was the Tiger's Blood Shaved Ice. Yum.
It was with one last blast of the cannon that all agreed it was time to call it a day. A great weekend overall at a great Kansas event!