Bissell Buzz 2016/11

On Saturday we hauled out or Chuck wagon from its shelter to show it off in the rodeo parade and guess what?  Yes, it rained on our parade!  It was fun none the less and always encouraging to see the huge numbers of people lining the streets to watch the parade go by and the children collect the candy thrown from the floats.

“Blacksmiths were essential members of any community. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, they created all iron or steel tools. The relatively high cost of such tools meant that most were repaired rather than being discarded. Local blacksmiths were responsible for these repairs. Without the blacksmith, no community could have survived for long.”


“Until the arrival of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere, the use of iron was unknown in that part of the world. Blacksmiths were among the first colonists in the New World, and initially they repaired the tools and gear brought from Europe. As the colonies achieved permanence, blacksmiths were needed to fashion new items for their communities.”(Kansapedia)

Blacksmithing is a dying trade, but to make your own items at the forge and anvil is really very special and would make treasured gifts.  Although we will only have the official opening of our Blacksmith shop at our annual chili cook-off at the end of September, we welcome interested parties to make contact with us to arrange a demonstration workshop before then.  The workshops will be driven by demand and can be arranged for a Friday or Saturday.  Young or old, anyone is welcome to come and learn.

This season we have heard from so many locals that have visited the Fort for the first time how surprised they were to see how much there is to see and experience at the Fort.  For those that don’t know, we have a total of seven buildings all filled with exhibits more or less related to the type of building. Except for the sod house and Heritage Hall, the rest were all moved from within Phillips County to their current position at the Fort grounds.  The other buildings are the one-roomed schoolhouse, station depot, general store and two log cabins.

We have only four weeks left before we close the gates again for the season.  However we still have our Wall of Fame function coming up on August 17th. Everyone is welcome to attend our function at the Fort and celebrate MaryBeth VanRoekel from Logan being our person for 2016.  And after closing we will be hosting our annual Chili Cook-off once again.  Please save the date – September 25th!!

We 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