Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2005

Savoring Baldwin area’s history

August 11, 2005

There's no doubt on what one of the best attributes about the Baldwin area is. That's history.

Two fine examples of that are at center stage this week. That's Baldwin City's First United Methodist Church, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary, and the Vinland Fair, which is pushing 100, but is only a spring-chickenish 98.

If it weren't for the Methodist Church, where would we be? Hard to tell. It was the church that brought Baker University about and Baldwin City grew up around it. Our hats go off to those who had the vision to make this all happen.

It was another 50 years before the Vinland Fair came along, but aren't we all better off for it almost a century later? Of course, we are. The fair is a step back in time, somewhat. There is no carnival, none of the present-day frills that other fairs have.

No, the Vinland Fair is family fun at the very heart. Good, clean family fun. And, it's not too much of a leap that the good Methodists who started this area off to its good path weren't involved there, too.

It's time to celebrate Baldwin's outstanding heritage -- again. Baker and Baldwin's birthdays aren't too far off, either. The celebrations will continue.

And, another exciting possibility for celebrating our history is making progress in Washington. Just in the last few weeks, the historic designations were approved for much of eastern Kansas, including Baldwin.

It's still a ways down the road before we could see a National Park type designation and corresponding visitor center for the historic Black Jack Battlefield, where the Civil War really began, which is east of the city. But, at least that history is being more readily accepted and publicized. The tourists can't be far behind.

Baldwin's rich heritage provides the flavor that makes this town, this area, what it is. Soak it in and enjoy.

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