Main Street - 500 Block South and City Park - Ottawa, Ks.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 38° 36.697 W 095° 16.132
15S E 302453 N 4276120
This marker is located in front of 434 S Main Street.
Waymark Code: WMF9MG
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 09/15/2012
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member GEO*Trailblazer 1
Views: 3

This marker is part of the downtown Ottawa Tour. This tour has markers that are all along Main Street along the sidewalk. Text of the marker as it will not fit in the marker text area.

In 1872, Ottawa's literary ladies started a library. As the collection of books grew, it was administered by Julia Walsh. She served as the community's first librarian from 1872 - 1882 and from 1887 - 1905. At the time, the library moved around the downtown area, usually in second story rented rooms.

When millionaire industrialist Andrew Carnegie offered to build library buildings in towns to fund their upkeep, Ottawa's architect, George P. Washburn, drew the plans and the golden brick building across the street in City Park was the result. It served the community's leaders from 1903 - 1996, and then it became the Carnegie Cultural Center, home of the Ottawa Community Arts Council and the Suzuki Strings.

The Schools at 5th and Main. Ottawa's first school house was built in 1866 at 3rd and Walnut where a city parking lot now stands. It suffered a tornado and an earthquake, and cracks appeared in the brick walls. Besides those problems, the population of Ottawa school children was doubling yearly. In 1872, the school district built Central School at 5th Main. Immediate criticism of this school included the idea that the stairs, which connected the three floors, were too steep for the health of young girls. In 1898, the building was rebuilt on the same foundation, but with only two floors. This school, called Washington, would split the school-age population with the "ward" or neighborhood schools also being built around town. Then in 1917, a new High School was built south of the Washington School site.

In 1927, a new junior high school was build on the site of the old Central and Washington schools on the southwest corner of 5th and Main Street.

A new high school and middle school was built were built south of 11th and Ash in 1966 and 1999, respectively. The 1917 and 1927 were no longer used as schools.

City Park, part of the original plat of Ottawa dated 1864, once stood on both sides of Main Street. However, the city fathers soon offered the west side for educational purposes, and in 1903, the Carnegie Library was built on the east side.

Through the park flows the little creek called "Skunk Run." Originally called "Park Creek," its nickname came from its chief inhabitants. In 1960, as preparations began to celebrate Kansas' centennial [1961], the 1859 Dietrich Cabin was moved into the park as a memorial to the county's first settlers.

City band concerts bring citizens to the park on summer evenings, though many stay in their cars to hear the music, honking to applaud the band. Festivals and weddings are held here regularly. A dangerous "microburst" storm hit the park in 1999, felling many of the old trees.

The Leslie Tinnon Case

On the site of this kiosk, a drama took place that would have a role in the history of civil rights. The first building on this site was a tiny, one-room church for the "Campbellites" now called Church of Christ. The building was then attached to the stone Presbyterian Church built here in 1867. It can just be seen to the left of the church in the photo, left. After the construction of Central School across the street, overflow students were taught in many buildings including this one, which became known as the"white school house." The name referred to the paint, but the students inside were a segregated class of black students, the children of recently freed slaves who had travelled to John Brown's Kansas. In 1880, several of the parents, including Elijah Tinnon, brought a lawsuit to have their children educated in integrated classrooms. The trial court judge Nelson Stephens issued the first and nearly the only 19th century holding that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution barred segregated schools. The case traveled to the Kansas Supreme Court, and although the order to integrate was upheld, the district didn't comply immediately.

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Valentine said this in his opinion, "Is it not better for the grand aggregate of human society, as well as for individuals, that all children should mingle together and learn to know each other? At the common schools, where both sexes and all kinds of children mingle together, we have the great world in miniature; here they may learn human nature in all of its phases, passions and feelings, its loves and hates, its hopes and fears, its impulses and sensibilities; there they may learn the secret springs of human actions... but on the other hand, persons by isolation may become strangers even in their own country; and by being strangers will be of but little benefit either to themselves or to society."
Marker Name: Main Street - 500 Block South and City Park

Marker Type: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Marker text:
This marker is on the sidewalk on the corner of Main and 5th Street. This marker was placed by the Franklin County Historical Society and the Franklin County Convention and Tourism Bureau See Long Description for the marker text.

Marker Location: Franklin

Name of agency setting marker: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Year Marker Placed: Not listed

Official Marker Number: Not listed

Marker Web Address: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Must log an original UNPHOTOSHOPPED picture of you or your GPSr at the marker. Please tell some background of what you learned or how you found the marker.
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