A little Kansas City Kansas ag History & Wizard of Oz Legacy!

Kansas City

On a hosted trip to Kansas City, Kansas I learned a bit of agricultural history.  While in the magical land of Kansas, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz found its way into most of our stops. Read on and learn about our wonderful visit.  See where farming and the Tin man intersect!

The Grinter Place Historic Site

Kansas City
We toured this historic farm site where Moses Ginter ran a ferry service.
Kansas City
Bill Nicks offers tours as Moses Grinter. He is entertaining and historic at the same time!

Moses Grinter is better known as Bill Nicks. That is who he is when not in costume! However, on August 2nd, he greeted and thoroughly entertained our group of travel writers as Moses Grinter. At the historic Grinter Place we learned this beautiful brick building was home to Annie and Moses Grinter. Bill as Moses Grinter walked through the building in persona and told us the story of their lives.  His wife Annie was a Lenape (Delaware) and he operated a ferry and a trading post. He shared, “You could step from America to the wilderness here.  The river was an impediment and in 1831, they asked me to run the ferry.”

Moses Grinter came to the area in 1829 with his wife Annie.  “She was a Delaware Indian and we had ten children,” Grinter’s persona said.  “Five made it to adulthood.  Annie’s mother was an Indian, and her father was a fur trader. Our children were educated. She wanted our children to be accepted.  Annie converted to the Methodist religion, but her last prayer was in Delaware.”

The Grinters built their house in 1857.  Everything to build the house came from onsite except for the glass.  They ran a trading post until 1860.  Their farm was called Lindenwood.  Moses Grinter lived to be 69 and Annie to 85.

The homestead was kept from ruin because it was purchased by the Hansen family and ran it as a restaurant from 1950 until 1968.  They were famous for their chicken dinners.

The Grinter house has a few original pieces of furniture and the rest are true of the period.  With this lovely house and its polished furniture and two-stories the best treasure of all is the tour by Bill Nicks!  The house is open six months of the year from March to October.  Log onto https://kshs.org/grinter_place for details.

Note, neither the Wizard of Oz or Dorothy  made their  debut at the Grinter Place, but there was surely a scarecrow somewhere out in the farm garden!

Wyandotte County Historical Society and Museum

Dave Hartman, the Director of the Museum greeted us along with Clarissa one of the volunteers. Dave even made a wonderful looking dessert.  I had to pass up because I had already had my sugar quota earlier when I couldn’t pass up a delectable cannoli at lunch at Italian Delight.

We had wonderful cannoli at Italian Delight after dining here at lunch. We were stuffed!

We toured the Wyandotte County Historical Museum in Kansas City.  The museum  houses one of the nations remaining Native-American dugout canoes.  It also has a rare 1903 American la France Steam Fire Engine.  I loved the gargoyles on display that came from fire departments.

Here we also saw an array of items from the Wizard of Oz on display.  A collector belonging to the Wizard of Oz Club shared her private collection and items were amazing.  We had fun posing and seeing all the iconic items that were made from this movie.  I learned that this was the most popular movie of all time!

Kansas City
I had fun posing along with other travel writers with the Wizard of Oz items at the museum!

We toured the Trowbridge Gallery.  Named for Harry Trowbridge, the founding curator/director of the Wyandotte County Museum in 1955, the Trowbridge gallery showcases his archaeological collections of Native American artifacts.  Indian history tied into our tours earlier in the day.  The Barker Gallery also tied into some of our earlier tours because the Gallery shared stories of the three immigrant tribes of Wyandotte County; the Shawnee, Delaware and the Wyandot. Website information states, “In the 19th century, these immigrant tribes migrated to the area of present day Wyandotte County. Highlights of the museum collection on display are a mid-1800s dug-out canoe, the Conley Sisters double-barrel shotgun and the tool chest belonging to James Parr, the first mayor of Wyandotte City (predecessor of Kansas City, Kansas).”

Kansas City
At the museum we saw agricultural and early Native American history.

The museum history was wonderful .  What I loved about this tour is  when you stopped one place, it helped fill in the blank about somewhere you had been before.  For more information about the Wyandotte County Historical Society and Museum, log onto  http://wycomuseum.org/WCM_aboutus.html.

National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame

Everyone in the group probably got tired of hearing me say, “I can’t wait to see the Ag Hall of Fame!”

I must say the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame more than lived up to my expectations.  The Center and hall was all decked out for Dorthyville.  The Wizard of Oz was being performed at the Providence Medical Center which is located adjacent to the center.  There was lots to do and see here.  In fact, I really need to go back and take my time through this Agricultural Mecca!

Kansas City
Collectors will love the array of machinery at the Agricultural Center.

Inside the Hall of Fame it was a quick run, so I didn’t get to see all the plaques on the wall.  I did learn though that the Agricultural Hall of Fame was federally chartered in 1960 and it honors individuals who have made outstanding national or international contributions to the establishment, development, advancement or improvement of agriculture. The website shares, “Every inductee has contributed to the success of American agriculture in some significant way, exemplifying the initiative and creativity that have made the United States the world’s leading agricultural producer.”

The Hall of Fame is right outside the 200-seat theater which is  made possible by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The area also displays information about members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters.

Onward we went and one of the amazing things I saw here was Harry Truman’s plow.  It was displayed though with an eerie green glow due to the Wizard of Oz lighting.  Maybe the Wicked Witch  cast a spell over it! The plow was in the Gallery area and some of the Oz items were set up here.  There were some amazing farming items that the collectors I write for would love.  There was a prairie schooner, a 1903 Dart truck, a horse-drawn mail wagon, traveling exhibits and kids play area. There were also some cool farm toys on display as well.

At the end of the day we came back to this area for wine tasting and had some wonderful Holy-Field International Wine!  The Holy-Field Vineyard and Winery began in 1994 when Michelle Meyer and her father, Les Meyer first opened the doors to Holy-field Vineyard and Winery.  They named their winery after Holy-field Road.

 Kansas City
At the end of the night, we had a Holy-Field Kansas Wine grown wine tasting party

Les Meyer has now retired and Michelle runs the winery offering delectable Kansas wine which we had the great opportunity to try!

I was in my element when we found our way to The Museum of Farming.  This area is more than 20,000 square feet of floor space.  Devoted almost entirely to large antique farm machinery and implements, here is saw an IH Model 14-A Cotton Picker.  I loved the fact that they had some historical placarding on the machine as well.  There was a 1908 International Harvester Type B tractor that was thought to be a Titan before. The museum had everything from planters to a Bear Cat Grind O Mix and more!  During our tour gentlemen that took us around explained what the different machines were used for, which was nice for those without any farming background.

Once we went outside there was a garden area to tour.  We had a chance to ride on a train that was a lot of fun.  We felt like kids all over again!  Then there was a tour of the Smith House an authentic 1890s farm home.   We made a quick run through the newly renovated Smith Event Barn which is used for exhibits and special events. The barn can be rented for business meetings, weddings and receptions.

Providence Medical Center Amphitheatre and  the Wizard of Oz Theatre Production

After a quick change back at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Kansas City Speedway our home away from home during our trip we made our way to a barbeque legend in the area, Arthur Bryant’s BBQ.  Here we tried some of the BBQ created by the legendary King of Ribs before heading off to the Wizard of Oz.

I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it.  This was huge.  The Providence Medical Center Amphitheater is a BIG!!!! open-air performance venue located in Bonner Springs, Kansas.  Located near the Kansas Speedway and Legends Outlets it has been open since 1984.  I would not have guessed it has been open that long because it looks brand new.

Kansas City
At the end of the night, we got to go on stage and have a behind the stage tour!

We learned that this is the first time that the Wizard of Oz sets have been allowed to be used in the area.  It was a great honor to see this performed in Kansas City for the first time.  The Providence Medical Center Amphitheater can host up to 18,000 people, including approximately 3,100 reserved seats and multiple open-air suite.  The seats were packed on the second night of the show.

The performance was amazing.  Talent was wonderful, and I loved seeing Dorothy and the cast brought to life.  The youngsters that portrayed the Munchkins were talented and endearing. Best of all, we got a backstage tour, and even got to stand on stage at the end of the night.  We felt like stars! What a wonderful way to wrap up our Wizard of Oz trail!

Kansas City, Kansas has a bit of everything in their museums and entertainment venues. I really just got a peak in this Famous Faces & Trailblazers trip.  You need to come and see for yourself all that this historic area has to offer!  Check in with the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau  for more information!


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