Kansas Oil Museum opens new center with full weekend of history

By The Active Age | March 22, 2023

EL DORADO — The Kansas Oil Museum will host two history-related events in its new Energy Education Center this weekend.

The entire season of “Kansas Crossroads—The Story of Wichita,” will air in half-hour increments beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday. Attendants are invited to come and go as they please, with refreshments available throughout and a dinner served at 6 p.m.

Researched, written and hosted by Ken Spurgeon and Suzanne Walenta, the 12-installment series starts by following Butler County pioneer James R. Mead as he moved west to become one of Wichita’s founders. Progressing chronologically, it tells how oil from Butler County played a crucial role in Wichita becoming the “Air Capital of the World.” The series originally aired on KWCH Channel 12 an and CW Channel 33.

Organizers are eager to show off the education center’s state-of-the audio-visual equipment. The event is a fundraiser to help the museum purchase some more needed equipment. A $20 donation is suggested. For more information, call (316)321-9333.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, the museum will host a presentation by Jack and Pat Fletcher, authors of “The Cherokee Trail Diaries.”

The Fletchers spent 25 years researching the Cherokee Trail, which is the longest branch (at 900 miles) of the California National Historic Trail. It ran from Tahlequah, Okla. through Kansas and Colorado to Fort Bridger, Wyo. It’s the only gold-seeking and emigrant trail named for Native Americans.

The Fletchers, who have produced two volumes of the “Cherokee Trail Diaries” (1999 and 2001), hope to have the route designated as a National Historic Trail.

The event is free.