Bissell Buzz 2016/15

At the entrance of the Albright log cabin on our premises, we have the parts of an old chain pump.  Visitors often ask what it is and how it works.  How many of you grew up with one?  Or can still remember this?  They were quite common at homes throughout the 19th century.  They can also be found at homes built as late as the 1940’s and the brand names Boss and GEM were at the order of the day.  Using the roof as a rain collecting surface, gutters and downspouts delivered the water to the cistern.  It probably can also be called a water lift, as the buckets, also called cups, dipped into the standing water in the cistern and then was “lifted” to the surface.  The cups were connected to a chain, which ran over  a sprocket and was hand cranked. If you turned the handle too fast, it didn’t give the buckets enough time to fill and the flow was reduced.  If however you turned the handle at a steady rate, you would get a decent flow of water. How easy we have it today, by just opening a faucet and we have running water in our houses! Today these are often found in gardens and the little buckets in kitchens as ornaments. Many people have probably seen the little buckets and have no idea what their original purpose was.

Boss Chain Pump

The City Park adjacent to the Fort grounds now has a Frisbee Golf course – a wonderful addition and a source of enjoyment both for families and individuals.  We are however now having flyaway frisbees finding their way into our the stockade area.  Please note that there is a “No Trespassing” sign on the gate and no one is allowed to retrieve their frisbee from there.  Arrangements are in place that should this happen, you are to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 785-543-6885.  Frisbees will be collected regularly by a City Official and can be fetched from them.  This same information will be posted at the kiosk that still needs to be put up.   The Fort will also be installing CCTV surveillance cameras to identify anyone trying to enter the area without permission.

Although the official season for 2016 has come to an end and our gates are now closed for daily tours to the public, we still have one more function left for the year. Our fourth annual Chili Cookoff will be held on September 25th.  This will be a fun event with music being provided by Cowboy Bob.  Our Blacksmith shop will be in operation and our photo booth will also be available with a professional photographer to capture those special fun moments!  This is our only fundraising event for 2016, so please come and join us.  Entrance is by Free Will Donation.  Farmer’s National Bank have pledged to equal the amount of donations up to the first $1000.  A hearty thank you in advance for that support!!  For entry forms or information for team participation, please call H&R Block on 785-543-2239.  Closing date for entering a team is September 19th.

Our season for 2017 will officially open on Memorial Day, but school tours can be arranged to take place before that.  We want to encourage the schools to bring their pupils to come and enjoy learning about history that happened here where they live.  Regular updates and photos will still be posted on our Facebook page.  We can be contacted on 785-543-6212 or on email at

Ruby Wiehman – Curator