Monday, September 13, 2010

Announcing the Nominees for the 8 Wonders of Kansas People!

     It's time to vote for your favorite 8 Wonders of Kansas People, the last in a series of eight such contests designed to promote and encourage travel in the Sunflower State.  This list comes to us via the Kansas Sampler Foundation of Inman, Kansas, and is the result of public nominations and then a selection committee screening out of all but the best 24 nominees that reflect teh heritage and culture of Kansas over the past 149 years.
     A main criteria for every contest has been that somewhere there had to be something for the public to view about each nominee.  That criteria became even more important with the People contest!  There were a number of significant Kansans that didn't make the list simply because there is no publicly accessible display anywhere about them.  The citizens of Kansas has a great deal of work to do in this area.
     It was determined in the end by the selection committee to only nominate those not living for the People list.  So such names as Bob Dole or Barry Sanders became ineligible.   
     Some famous Kansans were ineligible because they had already been nominated in the other 8 Wonders contests.  This list included Dwight Eisenhower (Eisenhower Library, named as one of the overall 8 Wonders of Kansas), Gordon Parks (8Wonders of Kansas Art), John Steaurt Curry (8 Wonders of Kansas Art), Birger Sandzen (8 Wonders of Kansas Art), Buffalo Bill Cody (8 Wonders of Kansas Art), and others.

If you have any further questions on the contest, just e-mail

Here is the list of amazing Kansans nominated for the 8 Wonders of Kansas People!

The Amazon Army was a group of several thousand wives, sweethearts, and female relatives of striking miners who marched in December 1921 across the coalfields of southeast Kansas in courageous protest against unfair labor laws and practices. 1921. Crawford County.

Amelia Earhart was the first woman aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other aviation records but disappeared in a record-setting attempt around the equator in 1937. 1897-1937. Atchison.

Arthur Capper was the first Kansas-born governor, a 30-year U.S. Senator, a newspaper and magazine publisher (Capper's Weekly), and he established the Capper Fund for Children (Easter Seals Capper Foundation) with disabilities. 1865-1951. Garnett, Topeka.

Bernhard Warkentin, miller and banker, encouraged thousands of Mennonites from Russia to settle in South Central Kansas in the 1870s.  He imported and promoted the planting of Turkey Red winter wheat, helping make Kansas the breadbasket of the world. 1847-1908. Newton.

The Buffalo Soldiers were members of an all-black regiment in the U.S. Army. The first unit, the 10th Cavalry, was formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth.

Buster Keaton's trademark was physical comedy with a deadpan expression earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face." He was considered one of the greatest silent film comic actors and filmmakers. 1895-1966. Piqua, Iola.

Carry A. Nation was a hatchet-wielding crusader in the early 1900s as part of the Women's Christian Temperance Union campaign to prohibit alcohol. 1846-1911. Medicine Lodge, Kiowa.

Clyde V. Cessna, aviation pioneer, designer, and founder of Cessna Aircraft Co., had a dream to build and fly a full cantilever wing (single wing plane). In December 1911 he successfully flew his first plane, the Silverwing. 1879-1954. Rago, Kingman, Wichita.

Cyrus K. Holliday, one of the founders of Topeka, organized the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1859 and remained director until his death in 1900. 1826-1900. Topeka, Atchison.

Emil J. Kapaun, a priest and military chaplain is being considered by the Vatican for sainthood because of his exemplary service and dedication while being held in a Korean prisoner of war camp. 1916-1951. Pilsen.

Frederick Funston was the youngest brigadier general ever at age 35, a Medal of Honor recipient, and the "Man Who Saved San Francisco" after the earthquake and fire of 1906. 1865-1917. Iola.

George Washington Carver, an agri-scientist, botanist, educator, humanitarian, and inventor, was best known for discovering hundreds of uses for peanuts, soybean, sweet potatoes, and pecans and for developing crop-rotation methods. 1864-1943. Minneapolis, Beeler.

Haskell Indian Nations University was established in 1884 as a government boarding school to try to eliminate Native culture. Instead it has evolved into a university for Native students emphasizing Native culture, sovreignty, and self-determination. 1884-present. Lawrence.

Jack Kilby won the Nobel Prize in Physics for inventing the monolithic integrated circuit, commonly known as the microchip, in 1958, which paved the way for the modern information age. 1923-2005. Great Bend.

James Naismith was the man who invented the game of basketball and in 1898 started the University of Kansas basketball program. 1833-1939. Lawrence.

John Brown's abolitionist crusade in Kansas had a dramatic impact on both state and national history and kept the slavery issue in the forefront of political discussion which sparked the Civil War. 1800-1859. Osawatomie.

Joseph McCoy's approach to marketing cattle on the Kansas plains in Abilene transformed a fragmented cattle business into the national industry that it is today. 1837-1915. Abilene, Wichita.

Martin and Osa Johnson were pioneering wildlife filmmakers, photographers, authors, and explorers who traveled to the exotic realms of Africa, Borneo, and the South Seas recording cultures (that no longer exist). 1884-1937; 1894-1953. Chanute.

Mary Ann "Mother" Bickerdyke's heroic efforts as a nurse on the Civil War battlefield earned her great affection. Later she was a veterans' pensioner and advocate and helped many veterans settle in Kansas. 1817-1901. Bunker Hill, Ellsworth.

Olive Ann Beech was the first woman to head a major aircraft company and was the most successful female executive in aviation history. Her efforts led Beech to become a powerhouse aviation company. 1904-1993. Wichita, Waverly.

Walter A. Chrysler, a working man who rose to the top as an industrialist, pioneered many auto industry improvements. In 1925 he founded Chrysler Corp., which became the second largest automotive company in the world. 1875-1940. Ellis, Wamego.

Walter "Big Train" Johnson's record-setting performances as a pitcher from 1907-1927 with the Washington Senators earned him a place as one of the first five charter members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. 1887-1946. Humboldt, Coffeyville.

William Allen White, known as the "Sage of Emporia," from defending the 1st Amendment to fighting the Ku Klux Klan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper editor was the primary voice of the American heartland for almost five decades. 1868-1944. Emporia.

William Inge was a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright who affectionately dramatized the aspirations of authentic characters rooted in small town life. 1913-1973. Independence.

Be sure to vote for your top eight at  You can vote 3 times from one e-mail address or once by paper ballot.  Voting ends October 22, 2010 at midnight!