Best Preserved Frontier Fort in the West - Fort Larned Old Guard Newsletter

Message From The Chairman
      Happy New Year, New Century and New Millennium. If you have not renewed your membership please do so now.

      The Old Guard was founded and survives on the annual dues and volunteer work of its members. Your membership, contributions of money and time, and continued support for our projects are greatly appreciated. The Old Guard was established to enhance the historical value and programs of Fort Larned NHS. Everything we do is directed toward that goal.

      A copy of the April 28 annual meeting program is included with this issue. Thanks to the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail, a full day of informative activities is scheduled. It is another opportunity to showcase Fort Larned NHS and the Indian village on Pawnee Fork.

      Make plans now to be there. Please note that reservations are due by April 16. I look forward to seeing you there.

      There is no charge to visit the Indian encampment at the village site, which will be available for school field trips on April 27 and for the general public on April 28. A number of reenactors will be present to demonstrate village life of Plains tribes both days.

      Although the weather did not cooperate, a few people worked to begin the cleanup at the village site two different Saturdays in November. The many old tires and other debris in the main channel of Pawnee Fork were picked up. Much remains to be done with the North Fork channel and other [rash at the site. Another cleanup day will be scheduled in the spring to make the site presentable for the April 28 meeting.

      If you have suggestions for projects the Old Guard might consider, please send them to me. We are especially interested in possible activities that will increase visitation at Fort Larned NHS.

      Above all else, plan now to visit the fort and participate in some of the fine programs offered this year. Invite others to come or bring them along. One of the great treasures of our heritage is right here in central Kansas.
Leo E. Oliva, Fort Larned Old Guard Chairman

History Happened Here
      The next time you're visiting Fort Larned, spend some time in the Southwest Parks & Monuments Association bookstore. Sales benefit various projects at FLNHS.

      New on the shelves there is The Kiowas and the Legend of Kicking Bird by Stan Hoig. A selection follows:

      "On November 3, 1859, two men, a woman, and two children on their way to the States from New Mexico arrived at Fort Larned. They claimed the Kiowas had attacked them at Santa Fe Crossing, taken their oxen and cow, and plundered their wagon. The Kiowas, they said, were about to torture one of their men when some Cheyennes came up, stopped the proceedings, and made the Kiowas return their loot."

      For "the rest of the story," as newsman Paul Harvey would say, read the book.

Superintendent's Desk
We need friends like you
      Why belong to a "friends" group like the Fort Larned Old Guard? Some folks think that since National Parks like Fort Larned National Historic Site receive federal funding, there is no need for private support. However, there are many areas where a private support group can make a big difference.

      The Fort Larned Old Guard's stated mission is to provide support for Fort Larned NHS beyond that given by the Federal Government. This includes augmenting the Fort's interpretive programs, raising funds for special purposes, and promoting the preservation and interpretation of the Fort with the public and elected representatives. That last item is especially important. Park employees are expressly prohibited by the Hatch Act from using appropriated funds in any manner to lobby Congress for support. Of course, the members of the Fort Larned Old Guard are free to do so.

      There are more than 150 "friends" organizations serving the 378 areas within the National Park System. They do everything from provide volunteers for local programs to mounting multi-million dollar campaigns for capital projects. Since its founding in 1988, the Old Guard has had a very positive influence on the park. The current project to purchase and preserve the Indian Village on Pawnee Fork is an outstanding example. Without the support of the Fort Larned Old Guard and our other volunteers, Fort Larned NHS would not be the outstanding historic site that it is today.
Steve Linderer, FLNHS Superintendent




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