Bissell Buzz 12/2016

Three more weeks to go!  Yes, the Fort will be still open for the public on a daily basis for 3 more weeks till September 3rd. So if you haven’t been to see the Fort this season, now is the time!  The weather is becoming slightly cooler too for such an outing.

Who was the first settler in Philips county?  This question is often asked by tourists visiting the Fort.  Ame Cole came to Kansas before the Civil War as a hunter and government scout and returned to Phillips County and settled near Long Island December 25th, 1869.  One brother, Al Cole, who later ran a store in Phillipsburg, and another brother, George, came to Kansas in 1871.

It is believed that Ame Cole was the first permanent settler in the county.  He homesteaded near the Norton county line west of Long Island and Al and George took claims just over the line in Norton county.  Stories of Ame’s experiences are legendary.  (Source – Phillips County Centennial by Cecil Kingery)

Cole Brothers

The Cole Brothers at the back – Al, Ame and George (from left to right)

On Friday at very short notice we held a demonstration workshop in our blacksmith shop.  A few people came by to see how items are being formed by this old tradition.  If you are interested in blacksmithing, we will be hosting another demonstration workshop on Saturday August 27th from 10 a.m.

This coming Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. we are hosting our Wall of Fame function. Everyone is welcome to attend our function at the Fort and celebrate Beth VanRoekel from Logan being our person for 2016.  I am sure most of our previous “Wall-of-Famers” will also be attending, should you wish to meet them as well.

And after closing we will be hosting our annual Chili Cook-off once again.  Please save the date – September 25th!!  We will soon be publishing more details about this fun fundraising event.

We once again want to encourage local residents to come and visit the Fort and see most aspects of the Prairie pioneer life being showcased.   You have to visit to hear the stories around some of the exhibits, making them really come alive. Our hours are Tuesday to Friday 9am – 4pm and Saturday 9am – 2pm.  Closed on Sundays and Mondays.  Regular updates and photos are posted on our Facebook page.

We can be contacted on (785) 543-6212 or on email at

Remember entrance is FREE. See ya at the Fort – hopefully soon!!

Ruby Wiehman – Curator