Bissell Buzz 2015/15
September 21, 2015
The Fort has been closed since Labor Day, but we have still had a few visitors who have requested a special tour. One such a visit was on Friday evening.
Rhonda Rupke-Bresnan and her son Alex John had carefully preplanned their visit to the Fort. They were travelling across the country from Virginia to Washington and decided to stay over here in Phillipsburg to enable them this visit. By special arrangement I opened the Fort for them at 7 pm. and in the lovely balmy evening atmosphere they took their time to browse through all the buildings. Upon my question when last they had been here, with glistening eyes she said: “Never! This has been on my bucket list for so long!” Well, Rhonda’s dad Ramon was at the forefront of moving the schoolhouse to the current location and the restoration thereof. Her emotions totally overwhelmed her when she stepped into the schoolhouse building. They also loved the Military Room as her son is in the Navy. She vowed to come again and bring her husband next time. We just love these personal stories – this is what makes Fort Bissell so special!
In the article published by the Review on August 15, 1985 reporting on the dedication of the building at Fort Bissell, her father was quoted as saying: “We feel that this school honors everyone who taught or went to school in a one-room school house”. To the Rupke brothers it was a dream come true, who purchased the old school house and financed the renovation project. The last year it was in use was in 1945-46 when there was only one pupil left. The last teacher was Ms. Wanda Dusin. I have seen many special moments play out in the schoolhouse this season, when memories and nostalgia overwhelm the visitors.
Please remember our Chili Cookoff this coming Sunday at 5pm. It will be an evening of fun, food and frolic. We want to invite all to come and try the various dishes and vote for your favorite. We will be catering for non-chili eaters too and have something sweet and also some music. We are also trying to arrange for a fun photo booth. This is a fundraising event towards some covered shelters for our wagons that have to brave all the elements of heat, rain and wind during the hot Kansas summer. It also will be the last chance to visit the Fort this season.
Ruby Wiehman – Curator