“From Emporia”

Thursday, my book club and I visited, Red Rock, the home and grounds of  William Allen White, in Emporia, Kansas.

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Our tour was arranged and guided by my good friend and fellow author, Beverley Olson Buller who published, From Emporia: The Story of William Allen White, and Prairie Peter Pan: The Story Of Mary White. Beverley’s knowledge of the White family, and their history gave our tour a personal touch as she shared her much of what she’s gleaned while researching her books, and communication with White’s descendants.

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White was a world-renowned journalist and author. He bought  the Emporia Gazette in 1885.

IMG_20131212_110553_586Seeing his private home office and typewriter he used to do much of his writing was a real treat. We all agreed it was an inviting, and comfortable space–everything you’d imagine a newspaper publishers study/office would look like.

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Our illustrious book club, L-R, Linda Benninga, Kem Nicodemus, Beverley Olson Buller, Carolyn Moore, moi, Aileen McCune, and Brenda Leaned. We have been friends and colleagues forever. Well, maybe not that long, but it seems like it.

White used the editorial format of his newspaper to share his views on topics of the time. His fiery editorial, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” published in 1896, attacked the Populist movement for its negative influence on the state and gained national attention. White would later become more sympathetic to the Populists’ viewpoints. It was at this time that White befriended future president Theodore Roosevelt. http://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/william-allen-white/16139

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The Whites loved to entertain. Their home was known for welcoming the common man or woman, as well as presidents, authors, and movie stars.

White’s home has been well maintained, and in keeping with the desire to stay true to the White’s occupancy of the home, much of the original furnishings, art work, books, personal photographs, and those taken with dignitaries, Teddy Roosevelt,  Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, are only a few displayed throughout the house.

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Aside from all the historical information we gathered, we also enjoyed a day together as old friends reminiscing about our teaching days and what contributions the middle section of the country has provided to our country, as a whole.

Of course we indulged in a great lunch at Amanda’s bakery & cafe http://amandasbakeryemporiaks.com/ in the old Kress building in downtown Emporia, after which we walked a few doors north to  the Town Crier Book Store http://www.towncrierbookstore.com/.

Next, we crossed the street to the The Sweet Granada: A Chocolate Cafe http://www.sweetgranada.com/ to sample some, to die for, chocolate delicacies.

The historical Granada Theater is http://emporiagranada.com/ next door. Built in 1929, it is a beautiful example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.

It’s amazing to me what small town America has to offer if we only take the time to check it out. With the internet it is so easy to do a little investigating into your own local surroundings. Take a chance… you might be surprised at what you find.

Photo’s by KRE

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