These courageous people discovered a harsh, challenging land, not at all as promised. A woman who was a member of the first group to arrive (after walking 30 miles from the railroad!) stated her disappointment this way, "I looked with all the eyes I had. 'Where is Nicodemus? I don't see it.' Her husband pointed out various clouds of smoke coming out of the ground and said, 'That is Nicodemus.' The families lived in dugouts ... 'The scenery was not at all inviting and I began to cry." I can only say POOR THING! These people left the lush, rolling hills of Kentucky for this harsh land with bitter winters and scorching summers. Some persevered, some returned back to the railroad community 30 miles away, some returned to Kentucky.
By the mid-1880's Nicodemus was a bustling community. It had churches, a bank, a couple of hotels, general store. Several of the townspeople worked, to no avail, to get the railroad to come to their town. Failing that, then suffering through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, the town began its demise. What was a town of 200-300, is now a "neighborhood" of 12 residents.
They are a proud people whose roots run deep. One weekend each summer, people return to remember their ancestors and reacquaint themselves with those who have moved away. Nicodemus is now a National Historic Site, another important piece of our country's history.
The school - built in 1918.
African Methodist Episcopal Church - built in 1885.
The First Baptist Church - built in 1901. The wing on the left is in use today.
St. Francis Hotel/Fletcher Switzer Home - built in 1881. Now a private residence.
A nearby dugout. How would you like to call this HOME?
Shirley May's Deli & Catering seemed to be the only non-fast food place to get lunch.
We thought that since there flowers growing outside, it must be OK.
We think this was Shirley May.
Drove to a nearby park and enjoyed a very tasty lunch of sandwiches and salads.
So hot and very excited at the sight on storms on the prairie!
I've always wanted to stop in Goodland, KS to see the Van Gogh "sunflower" painting. This reproduction is one of only seven in the world and was done by the Goodland Rotary Club in celebration of the Rotary Club Centennial in 2005. The artist was Camron Cross, a Canadian artist, who was devoted to painting one Van Gogh on each of the seven continents. It is fitting that Goodland was chosen because of all the nearby sunflower fields. The painting is 24' x 32' and stands on an easel that is 80' at its peak and weighs 40,000 pounds. That's some piece of art!
A magnificient GOLDEN SUNSET at our stop for the night, Golden, CO.
The next day we would fly to Los Angeles.