One of at least three large cemeteries within the city limits of Ottawa, Kansas, Hope Cemetery has many historic and artistic monuments and mausoleums. Aside from being the final resting place of many prominent Franklin County citizens, it is also a showcase of Midwestern Victorian cemetery art.
I’ve lived in Ottawa, Kansas, for over a year now. I love it here, I really do, but as I was driving to Manhattan, Kansas, for the North Central Kansas Library System book fair, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape. Recent and desperately needed rains have permeated the Flint Hills prairie, filling previously dry streams and greening up the grasses. There is something about this area of Kansas that resonates with me, and my heart ached just a little to realize how much farther away the Flint Hills are from my new home.
I took a moment to stop and take in the scenery from the scenic overlook on Highway 177 just south of Manhattan. The fog left behind by the morning rain did nothing to mar the view.
Because most Kansas towns were platted during or after the Civil War and were designed to be railroad-friendly, few of them have an honest-to-goodness town square. (Think of the town square in the show Ghost Whisperer and you’ll know what I’m talking about.) However, Garnett, Kansas, really does have a town square, with four main streets surrounding it. In the center is the beautiful and historic Anderson County Courthouse.
The courthouse was designed by Kansas architect George Washburn, who designed many other courthouses, including the Franklin County Courthouse in Ottawa, Kansas. Completed in 1902, this fanciful Romanesque Revival building is still serving its original purpose and anchors both the square and the town.
After last year’s drought, this spring’s series of rainstorms have been a welcome sight. I especially love driving through the countryside during these times, where nothing impedes the view of the clouds rolling in. Many Kansas storms seem to follow the I-35 corridor, and I ran into the rain turning at Beto Junction (the intersection connecting highways to Burlington, Emporia, Topeka, and Ottawa) on my way to Burlington.