Jay Price

History commentator

Jay M. Price is chair of the department of history at Wichita State University, where he also directs the public history program.

His works include Temples for a Modern God: Religious Architecture in Postwar America, Gateways to the Southwest: The Story of Arizona State Parks, Wichita, 1860-1930, and El Dorado!: Legacy of an Oil Boom. He has co-authored Wichita's Legacy of Flight, the Cherokee Strip Land Rush, Wichita’s Lebanese Heritage, and Kansas: In the Heart of Tornado Alley.

He has served on the boards of the Kansas Humanities Council and the Kansas State Historic Sites Board of Review. He is currently on the board of the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum and the University Press of Kansas.

Ways to Connect

Wichita Music History Project Facebook page

A few years ago, I became involved with a group of musicians who wanted to document the history of rock music in Wichita. These guys had played in bands in the 1960s and 1970s and opened my eyes to a vibrant music scene in Wichita. Back then, young people flocked to clubs like the Penthouse, The Fireside Club, and Sound Sircus to listen to bands play, sometimes every night of the week. There were “battles of the bands” at the Cotillion and outdoor concerts at parks, the most famous (or infamous) being at Herman Hill.

Courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society

Recently, I was at the Kansas Historical Society looking through historic maps. One was from the Santa Fe Railroad from 1865. Back then, the company had just started the line to the south of Emporia and this map showed the proposed route. 

A few weeks ago, I gave a walking tour through the Fairmount neighborhood. The crowd and I had good conversations about noted buildings such as Fairmount Congregational Church and Holyoke Cottage.

The landmarks that aroused the most energy were a series of traffic barriers in the middle of certain intersections. These barriers prevent cars from driving down Fairmount to 13th Street or across 16th Street past Fairmount Park. I had been told they were put in to reduce congestion.

This commentary falls between Earth Day, April 22, and the anniversary of the Moon Landing on July 20. Both days mark a series of events that took place in 1969 and 1970, among them several efforts to create a flag to represent the planet Earth. There was already a flag for the United Nations as well as several concepts for a flag to represent the world or humanity in general. Now, just as people saw the earth from space for the first time, some wondered if there should be a flag for the planet as an entity rather than just a collection of peoples.

One of the more colorful figures in early Wichita was M.R. “Charlie” Cordeiro, who came to town as a scout for the army and later opened a saloon. His time here was turbulent, starting in 1869 with him killing a man out of self-defense. Later, he operated the Texas Hotel/Saloon/Restaurant, albeit in the face of lawsuits among other challenges. By 1874, his former Texas Saloon had been sold in a sheriff’s sale and by 1875, he was a leading member of a party searching for gold in the Black Hills, where some later reports suggested he was killed by Native Americans.

John 'Hoppy' Hopkins

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Allen Ginsberg, poet and Beat icon, coming to Wichita. Back in the 1950s, Kansas in general and Wichita in particular had produced an astonishing number of writers and artists who had gone to San Francisco to be part of the Beat scene. There were so many Wichitans involved that when Ginsberg received a travel grant, he made a point to visit Wichita on his tour of the Midwest.

One of the best things about living in Wichita is the chance to go to a year-round set of food fests. Most start as congregational fund

Fletcher Powell / KMUW

Next year, the Public History Program at Wichita State University will officially become the Local and Community History Program.

http://www.vet.k-state.edu/

While working on the African Americans of Wichita book project, I was struck by how many prominent figures of the 20th century were veterinarians. For example, Dr. Thomas G. Perry opened the first small animal hospital on Cleveland Street in 1921, later joining the faculty of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Other figures included Dr. G. T. Bronson, Tuskegee airman Dr. Don Jackson and Dr. T. E. McDonald.

Given that my father is a veterinarian, the number of animal doctors in the community definitely caught my attention.

What's In A Name?

Aug 11, 2015

Wichitans are getting used to flying out of Dwight D. Eisenhower Airport, now that the old name of Mid-Continent has been retired.

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