Saturday, September 10, 2011


After a short stop in Kansas City over the Labor Day weekend, we made our way south to Paola for our much-anticipated air conditioner repair. The good folks at A-Z Mobile RV Repair made quick work of the job, so we found ourselves with a couple of extra days to spare. We decided to spend them at Melvern Lake, which is located just north of I-35, between Ottawa and Emporia. Today we decided to take a short day trip to nearby Emporia to locate an important piece of Paul's family history. Along the way on this gorgeous day, we stopped in don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it Olivet to pick up a geocache and take what we think is a mighty fine shot of the state flower: the sunflower. Now, that's Kansas!

We checked the Emporia State University football schedule before we left. On this September Saturday, the Hornets are playing an away game. So, the campus and the football field were very quiet during our visit.

Paul's great grandfather was a professor of Geology at ESU for more than 40 years. You can find his name in several spots around campus.

Wooster Lake and Wooster Bridge, also named after Great Grandpa, provide a beautiful and peaceful setting near the center of campus.

Wooster Rock is embedded in concrete at the base of a monument just up a hill from the lake. Great Grandpa discovered this boulder with five planed sides and glacial markings in the 1880s near Eureka, Kansas, which was significantly farther south than any previously known penetration of glaciers in Kansas. The boulder sat in his classroom for years, and Great Grandpa was known to challenge ESU's biggest, strongest athletes to pick up the little thing. It weighs more than 400 pounds!

On the east side of the lake, we made a very special geocache find. The little "micro" cache in Paul's right hand is named Wooster Lake. The cache description offers a bit of history about Great Grandpa.

Emporia is also home to one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas People: William Allen White. Born in Emporia, William Allen White became an editorial writer for The Kansas City Star in 1892. Three years later he bought his old hometown newspaper, the Emporia Gazette and became its editor. Throughout his career as a newspaper editor, author and politician, White gained a reputation as a spokesman for middle America. Today, the School of Library and Information Management at ESU bears his name. As graduates of the William Allen White School of Journalism, we were eager to check out another local site that commemorates the life and times of this famous Kansan.

The William Allen White Home is a State Historic Site. Built in 1888, the house was known as Red Rocks. The red sandstone covering the first floor is believed to have been quarried in Red Rock Canyon in Colorado Springs. White purchased the home in 1901. In 1915, White wrote his friend Frank Lloyd Wright and asked him to "do over" the house. Six years later, the former Queen Anne was transformed to a Tudor Revival. White lived in this beautiful home until his death in 1944. During that time, the White family hosted several U.S. Presidents and many prominent Americans. If those walls could talk!

While visiting the White house, we checked to see if there were any geocaches nearby. It turns out there was one sitting on the North porch. Can you spot the cache?

Paul made quick work of this historic find at this very stately home.

We found a total of five geocaches on our day trip. The last was at the base of this picturesque trinity of crosses where the road to Lake Melvern meets the interstate.

Five caches + Exploring bits of family and state history in our native Kansas = One fun day!


Judy and Emma said...

Fun is not a word I've ever associated with Kansas before. :)

~~Sue and Doug~~ said...

a great day trip down memory lane!..never knew that Paul had such a famous great grandpa!!