• Special to the Daily Leader
Inman — After a record-setting 19,146 votes, the Kansas Sampler Foundation announced the top 8 Wonders of Kansas History. The following, listed in alphabetical order, were the top eight vote getters.
o 1930s Dust Bowl to Gas Exploration, Historic Adobe Museum, Ulysses
o Boot Hill Museum/Historic Dodge City
o Council Grove, Santa Fe Trail National Historic Landmark
o Fort Scott National Historic Site, Fort Scott
o Historic Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth
o Historic Fort Riley, Junction City
o Kansas Museum of History, Topeka
o Kanza Tribe and Lewis and Clark’s Independence Creek, Atchison
More than 170 historical sites were nominated by the public but a selection committee whittled the list down to 24 finalists. Criteria required that a nomination represent significant history but also give the public something of visual magnitude to see.
Previously, the highest vote total came in the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine contest with 13,863. Kansas Sampler Foundation director Marci Penner said, “Once again, we had votes from every state in the union as well as from several foreign countries. The increased number of votes means more people learned about Kansas!”
Penner continued, “The results indicate that voters were most interested in history that dated back prior to statehood. The only entrant in the top 8 with ‘recent’ history was the 1930s Dust Bowl entry at the Historic Adobe Museum in Ulysses. Then, the Kansas Museum of History rounded out the Top 8 with an appreciative nod from voters.”
The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, the Kansas Underground Salt Museum and the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum were chosen as overall 8 Wonders of Kansas so they were not eligible in the History contest.
Designed to educate the public about what there is to see and do in Kansas and to encourage travel, the series of 8 Wonders contests are organized by the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation.
The eight rural culture elements used by the Foundation to help a town assess itself are each showcased in their own contest. Top 8 Wonders have been decided in Architecture, Art, Commerce, Cuisine, Customs, Geography, and now History. The overall 8 Wonders of Kansas were announced on Kansas Day 2008. Nominations for the final contest featuring “People” will be taken the month of July.
All contest results and information about each of the 8 Wonders can be found at www.8wonders.org.