Day 23: Grey Day in SW Kansas

Much cooler — high maybe 80?  But pretty nasty grey and rainy for the most part.  Until the last couple hours.  So not the prettiest of pictures — but still better than nothing until I can get out here the next time.  I’m writing this the morning after as the sun is just coming up.  On one side, those nasty black clouds and the other side more promising with clear mixed with orangey.  The orangey sky is where I’m heading.

The dogs and Sparkle are all great.  Just want to bang out this post before I get too backed up.  Definitely socializing tonight and won’t have time to post.

I stumbled upon another former Ku-Ku restaurant.  This one in Garden City.  They botched it up with that box in front and the reroofing didn’t help.  Here’s another one and the info in the caption:

A couple old motels hanging on in Dodge City:

This one also at the Bel-Air — nice day, huh?

I had a mild bout of food poisoning or something and wound up spending more time in Kinsley than expected.  I think it might have been that egg sandwich?  But I’m all better now.  I prowled around town a bit as I recuperated and found this small town mid-century bank.  Note a very live-able 73 degrees – but I’ll take the sun and 100 degrees over this.

From Larned:

Another from Larned.  I’ve seen a lot of these plastic Carrier signs in Kansas:

From downtown Pratt.  Probably their nicest Art Deco building and they’ve mucked it up with this crappy sign/clock:

Let’s call this one “Moderne Building with Trailer”.  No way to avoid it.  Maybe on a sunnier day in the future, they’ll have moved this thing. 

A Valentine diner in Ellinwood:

Two chainsaw wood carvings in McPherson.  This woman doesn’t seem to be standing near a school.  There is a church across the street but I don’t think that’s the connection.

And in front of Central Christian College — mascot I presume:

I briefly visited with Erika Nelson of World’s Largest Things…

who was in Newton working with some folks on a big mural downtown.  They’ll be painting it until mid-September.  A lot of prep goes into it.  This color mock-up is roughly what it will look like (taken from above, ladder visible at bottom of photo):

One of the guys she’s working with did this wall mural in Hutchinson.  The one in Newton will be about the same size:

Erika’s art car, “Scout”, was there at the gallery where the planning is taking place. I could not get a good shot of it since it was in a tricky spot and the sun was not in my favor.  Suffice it so say there are lots of dinosaurs and other critters embedded in tar, children’s ponies in the back pierced by arrows, astroturf, etc. and “Combat Generica” emblazoned on the side.  Here’s another photo of Scout but it still doesn’t show much:

It wound up being a very quick meeting since she was hard at work.  I was to return at night to witness the outline being projected and painted onto the wall.  But there was a problem with the measurement of the projected image and so the work was called off for the night.   So my revisit to Newton did not happen.  I was greatly disappointed — maybe enough to return there after my dinner/drinks in Winfield tonight?  We shall see.

Let’s close with some photos from Hutchinson.  Just moments after I snapped this photo, the business owner came out of the office screaming and waving and clapping his hands — and I just drove off slowly like he didn’t exist.  Sheesh!

A very nicely preserved example of the Astro Motel chain.  Here are a couple vintage images for comparison:

Last one — love the blocky shaped letters:

Next post will be a double then on Tuesday night.

12 thoughts on “Day 23: Grey Day in SW Kansas

  1. Ouch! Like The Peoples couldn’t find their Bank in a town of 9400 without that appendage out front. Maybe no one owns a thermometer. Yeah, that must be the answer.

  2. “Orangey sky” The only time I’ve ever heard that was a song by The Cars called “Bye Bye Love”. As soon as I read your post the song got stuck in my head.

  3. Love the Thunderbird and Bel Air Motel signs of Dodge City. And I really like the chainsaw wood carvings. I think I’ve seen them on “Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations”. If you haven’t seen that show on your local PBS station, please look for it. It’s your style.

    • A couple of comments on the chainsaw carvings… yes, they are the work of Gino Salerno. The tiger is the mascot for Central Christian College. On the back of the tiger is a heart with initials carved in the wood; the initials of the man & his wife who donated the primary funds to carve the tiger. They carved their initials on a tree on campus when they were in college and wanted a memory of that. The teacher statue stands next to an empty lot where Wickersham Elementary School once stood. The teacher is affectionately known as Miss Wickersham. The wood shop class from the high school maintains her with repairs, paint, etc.

      • Thanks for the info! I don’t have time to do any real research on trips like this. The photos & posts are done at the end of VERY long days of driving and shooting. So I appreciate your chiming in with the facts.

  4. Why do some of the foreign owers of motels hate pictures taken of their signs? I’ve never figured out what the problem is.
    That is a nice Astro motel. Glad it was kept intact.

  5. The school marm is standing on the corner of Wickersham School Park – there used to be an elementary school on that block “Wickersham Elementary School.” We have an annual county celebration every 2nd Friday of May call “All Schools Day” and the carnival sits on that site every year. Originally, the holiday recognized graduating 8th graders in the county and grew to include h.s. seniors as well; the parade is well attended; app. 10k people line Main Street to see the parade in the AM. A great tradition and all kinds of events that week!!

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