Saturday, April 16, 2016

Walking in Wichita!

Upon my arrival in Wichita, having time to myself and a beautiful early evening at hand, I took to the streets exploring the historic buildings along Douglas Avenue and into Old Town Wichita.

This post is VERY photo-laden and I hope you will pour yourself a cuppa and take the time to enjoy each one!  It’s a virtual Wichita Walking Tour through my eyes and the lens of my camera.

It only took a block before I noticed that there are amazing sculptures EVERYWHERE you turn.

What looks like normal passers by at first glance, turns out to be beautiful bronze statues, tucked in here and there on sidewalks, on benches, creating street scenes of Wichita past.

I was mesmerized!  I wanted to find them all!

From downtownwichita.org:

As one of the first cities in the United States to commission public art under a National Endowment for the Arts program, Wichita has literally taken art to the streets.
In 1991 the City of Wichita took a visionary approach by supporting the inclusion of public art in capital improvement projects. These actions along with generous donations from private citizens, business and community leaders have transformed Downtown Wichita into an area full of visual interest and energy.
Statue from the front!
The bronze statues donated by the Devore Family Foundation and placed along Douglas Avenue and the recently installed Sculpture WalkAbout in Old Town, a competitive year-long sculpture exhibiton of the region's premier three-dimensional artists, are just some of the fabulous pieces that decorate Downtown Wichita.
Numerous statues, fountains, monuments and memorials dot our parks, buildings and sidewalks. Art now adorns everything from bridges and street pavers to retaining walls and tree grates. This public display is a feast for the eyes and generates public awareness of the importance of art in our everyday lives.
This is just the most wonderful thing!
I left my hotel and started walking!
Stopping to appreciate redbud trees blooming purple.
Across the street is Century II convention center.
The Prairie Quilters hold their show here!
Tulips and pansies, SPRING in bloom!

A figure of a young girl and her cat – Hopscotch!
I admit it, I hopscotched right next to her!
The historical museum is in this building.
My time here didn’t work with the hours that the museum was open, but I loved looking at the building!  Check out these details:
Look close or you just might miss him!
Or this gargoyle! Yikes!  Look at those ears --
Passing some “Keeper of the Plains” replicas in an area where food trucks set up during the day.
The best kind of graffiti!
I’m trying!  Thank you for the affirmation!
A little guy and his push car!
Scooters along a path way!
And the story behind this one is likely my favorite --
The old soda fountain!
Here is a photo of the counter in it’s hustle and bustle days:
Woolworth’s counter in the 1940s!
I love the statue version, it’s almost like you can hear and feel the noise of a busy lunch counter in this city with so much history.  This counter is an important icon in Wichita.  I was relayed the following story: 
In downtown Wichita stood the Dockum drug store which was part of the national Rexall chain, including a lunch counter that only served white customers. On July 19, 1958, with ten well-dressed and polite students seeking to place orders while sitting at the lunch counter. Parks-Haun ordered a Coca-Cola from a waitress, who served it to her but then pulled it back when she realized that "store policy was not to serve colored people".
Students sat quietly all day at the counters, enduring taunts and threats from white customers. After three weeks, in early August, the manager came in and said "Serve them — I'm losing too much money". Historian Gretchen Eick called the Dockum Drug Store sit-in as setting "a precedent that really began what would be a very significant strategy — a strategy that would change the way business was done in the United States". Ultimately, all of the Dockum locations in Kansas were desegregated. [source]
A 20-foot-long bronze sculpture first announced in 1998 at a cost of $3 million marks the site of the successful sit-in, with a lunch counter and patrons depicting the protest.
Through looking this info up, I learned of more of these quiet sit ins across the south, including a Woolworth's in Greensboro, North Carolina, very close to where I live.  I didn’t live here then, but I am so proud that these folks gently stood up and sat in for what was fair and right.  Bravo!
Playing with balloons!
Jammin’ guitars!
That stool was built for selfie taking!
tall old buildings, flag flying!
The fox is after the birds!
You can’t help but smile when you see these!
Wolf with dinner?
This looks like it belongs in Philadelphia!
Such a beautiful evening, and these buildings!
Don’t forget to look down!

The OCD in me is a bit freaked out over those two mis-placed grey squares interrupting the white background.  And there is a missing black square between the two loops right above my right foot! Did you catch that? LOL!
Can you imagine this sight in the 1920s and 1930s?
I love old advertising on the sides of buildings.
And that sky!
A very cool ride!
A girl, her dog, and her pony.
Hello, I see you!
Beautiful brickwork in Old Town.
A sweet mother and child.
By this time I am as tired as this child, wanting to just curl in and call it a day.  Sun was setting as I made my way back to my hotel, saying goodnight to all of the statues I had encountered along my path.
Beautiful Wichita, you are a gem!
In the front entrance of the hotel I went.
Beautiful architecture, so happy this has been preserved!
Don’t you love these mouldings??
Sunset across the river from the window in my room on the 6th floor.
Wichita is a truly beautiful city, but what makes it even more so are the people I encountered during my stay there.  I loved it!  3 days full of workshops, two lectures, and time with special friends who came to see me while I was there.  This was definitely a HIGHLIGHT of my 2016!
Quiltville Quote of the Day!
How different life would be if we all walked away from gossip and verbal defamation. Let's make a habit of shutting off conversations that aim to tear others down.
Vintage Jacob's Ladder quilt found in North Carolina.
Today Mona comes to sew! And she is bringing some tops that she has finished recently!  Whowhooooo….let’s get this day going!
Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone!

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  1. Amazing and sweet statues throughout that walk! Hopscotch looks like a cat though :-)
    It's fun to see the ways you relax and entertain yourself when you're on the road. You make the most of each trip!

  2. Love your Wichita tour! Those beautiful statues are amazing!!! I love the idea of them all around the city..... With children playing!!!
    Thanks so much for sharing! Have a wonserful day sewing and laughing with Mona!!

  3. Anonymous10:00 AM EDT

    Cathy Odle
    Thank you Bonnie, for sharing the beautiful photos. Sometimes, it is nice to see your home town through anothers eyes. Wichita is a beautiful city.
    I loved my time in your workshops. Now off to work on my new UFOs. :)

  4. Thank you for the tour through Wichita............my mom was born in 1909 just north of Wichita in a tiny little town called McPherson. I could just imagine her going to Wichita and possibly sitting at that same lunch counter with the others. I had no idea Wichita was such a beautiful city. The next time I'm back that way I'll have to do the tour myself. I love reading your blogs every day..........you are amazing. Some day I hope to be able to take a class from you.

  5. Thank you for sharing, I love the statues and beautiful architecture.

  6. Wonderful photos! I enjoyed the tour Bonnie. It almost looks as though you had the town to yourself, you and the bronze statues.

  7. Ann Gillett10:38 AM EDT

    Thank you for the beautiful post. Wichita is a beautiful city. You make me appreciate more through your eyes. Thanks for taking the time to take pictures and showcase it.
    I love my workshop with you on Sunday. You are such a delight. Your knowledge and enthusiasm are over the top. You always make me more excited about my craft. So glad for the opportunity to take a class from you.

  8. Thanks for showing the statues of Wichita! My son is there for Engineer school. Love the little girl and the Hopscotch, and the selfie stool. I used to shop at Woolworths in our Mall. Those floors are great Border ideas for your Hexie project. Maybe the next one...LOL
    We have a foundry here in Walla Walla that does Bronze. Come take a walk with me through our town.

  9. Loved your walk! Bonnie you are so great to share all this with us peeps from far and away! It was like we were with you! What a great trip! Have fun with Mona! Friends are a wonderful gift!

  10. Thank you for the wonderful tour, I'm not really a city girl but Wichita looks amazing and I would love to visit some day. Also love your quote today , a moment at work yesterday was sort of like that-1 lady was saying to another I think there are more bad people in the world than good and as I walked by I said "we better get spreading some good then". What looks I got but then they grinned.
    Have a great weekend with Mona.

  11. Anonymous2:15 PM EDT

    The old Woolworth building in Greensboro is now a civil rights museum, and part of the original lunch counter is in the Smithsonian. Thanks for the tour of Witchita.

    Cindy in NC

  12. What a wonderful tour of Wichita!! Thank you sew much. I think the sculptures were my favorite. Great advice to be mindful of what we say about others. It is easy to be kind. It is always a choice isn't it? Enjoy the cabin and your time with Mona. Friends are just the best!! Hugs, Allison

  13. Kathy Hancock5:26 PM EDT

    Loved your walking tour of my birth town. My parents could have been at that Woolworth's lunch counter as they lived there in the forties. I was born there in 45.
    Kathy Hancock Plano, TX

  14. Thank you Bonnie for taking me on that wonderful tour, I get to 'go' to so many different & amazing places through your blog (not to mention all the fab quilting bits & bobs -- love it all)

  15. I didn't see a photo of it in your post, but one of my favorite statues in located near the Drury Hotel. It is a man in a suit with no shoes and his pant legs rolled up. He is just standing there reading a newspaper. In the summer months there will be water bubbling up through the sidewalk at his feet, hence his shoeless state. I always felt sorry for the poor guy in the winter though until one year somebody fixed him up some boots and a scarf wrapped around his neck!

  16. I like sculptures, but those look like a lot of trip hazards to me. Are they placed so that you don't get bumped or bruised by them? (can you tell I'm getting older and think like my now 97 yr old mother in law?)

  17. I Loved the "Virtual" tour of Wichita, Bonnie! I too love the history and the lovely old buildings, history of areas. We have an old school friend from Redwood Falls, MN that sends us pictures and history lessons, and sometimes asking for help identifying old buildings, people in old pictures, etc of that area. Some of these are frim the `1800's and early 1900's, so we always hope someone has the family history to fill in the gaps. It is fun to reminisce and also to learn new facts we didn't know before. Thank You for giving us this history and culture lesson today.

    Soldotna, soon to be Kasilof, AK

  18. Anonymous1:41 AM EDT

    Goodnness! I've eaten at that Woolworth's counter -- the city bus stop of the bus I rode home from High School on was on the corner of Woolworth's! The Rexall drugstore was catty-corner across the street form Woolworth's. Was a shoe store across Douglass from Woolworth's where I bought the most comfy gray pigskin fringed loafers! G! And Lerner Shops was down the street from there Wow --- What memories this brings up! Thanks for the pictures! However, there were NO statues nor decorated brick pavement, etc --- Hope people aren't walking around with their attention/faces on/in their cellphones so they'd trip!

  19. As a Kansan living in hilly and green Kentucky I sometimes really miss the big skies of Kansas. Wichita is my favorite antiquing town and my sisters, niece and I make time for a day trip there every time I visit. We lived in Wichita for two years and my youngest daughter was born there so it will always hold a very special place in my heart. Thanks for the lovely photos!!!!

  20. What fun to virtually visit Wichita! Bonnie, I am making Jewel Box blocks, aka Buckeye Beauty and I think that is the quilt under the quote for today. Doesn't Jacob's ladder have five 4-Patches and four HST's like your lovely Floribunda? sorry if I'm nitpicking but they are similar.

  21. Thanks for the tour of downtown Wichita. I have been there for a couple of years and always have loved the bronzes. They just make me feel good - even in pictures. I drove to Leavenworth, KS, (the first city in Kansas) last weekend from Pittsburg, KS, for a Quilt Study Group meeting. All the way I kept thinking about the beauty of spring in Kansas, the blue skies, the stormy skies, but the blooming of the prairie is one of my favorite seasons.

    I always enjoy your commentary as you tour America.

  22. Thank you for the tour of Wichita. I didn't know about the beautiful sculptures. It just happened that tonight I was working on Family History for my grandfather who was born in Wichita. So you post really means a lot to me. Boulder City NV has similar historical sculptures and if you haven't seen them, put it on your list on your next Vegas trip.

  23. Anonymous12:04 PM EDT

    Thank you for the tour of Wichita. In 2014 I and 2 of my friends attended the Longarm Quilt Machine show in Wichita. We are from South Africa. We met the most kind people at that show. It brings on wonderful memories! Rita Loubser Malmesbury South Africa


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