Monday, December 22, 2014

150 birthday countdown begins today

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 4/9/2014

Ideas for a sesquicentennial logo and souvenir coin have been minted for Ottawa’s 150th birthday celebration and are being unveiled to the community as civic leaders and steering committee members discuss their plans to mark the anniversary of the town’s founding in 1864. The community celebration is set for Sept. 6 — 150 days from today.  

Ottawa was founded by a private town company in fall 1864, with the original boundaries of Logan, Cherry, Seventh and Ash streets. The town company negotiated with the Ottawa Indians for the transfer of deed to 20,000 acres of the tribe’s reserve. The agreement allowed the area around present-day Ottawa to be opened to settlement, and the tribe received an institution of higher learning in return that would become Ottawa University.

Numerous activities have been planned to commemorate Ottawa’s 150th birthday celebration, Jeanny Sharp, editor and publisher of The Ottawa Herald and head of a steering committee organizing the community celebration, said.

Organizers are planning a community picnic with free birthday cake, presentation of a custom historical poster by a local artist, dedication of the newly enhanced Buffalo Woman statue at the Franklin County Courthouse and more as they begin the 150-day countdown to the celebration today.

“We are 150 days out from the actual community celebration so the details of many of the events still are being finalized,” Sharp said. “The public should keep an eye on the organization’s website for the latest details on events. We welcome others with ideas or a willingness to help on the day of the event to call (785) 242-4700 or email us at”

Among the possible events:

• Franklin County commissioners might put on an old fashioned watermelon feed or ice cream social along with a mock trial and open house at the Franklin County Courthouse upon the completion of the new HVAC installation there.

• The Ottawa Recreation Commission is planning a 5K run Sept. 6, organizers said.

• Car show enthusiasts are considering putting on a car show to generate funds for Ottawa High School’s junior class for after-prom festivities on the weekend of the Sept. 6 community celebration.

• Plaza Cinema is planning a special movie showing for the 150th celebration, though details are being finalized, owner Peach Madl said. Plaza Cinema also plans to have trolley rides to Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St., and downtown for passengers riding from Baldwin City to Ottawa on the Midland Railway train.

• The SWAN Arts Festival is planning a community cookout June 21 in conjunction with the other festival events. Tickets for the meal will be available in advance and a portion will benefit the festival and Ottawa 150 arts initiatives, Shawn Dickinson, one of the festival’s organizers and city commissioner, said. The cookout will be a great opportunity for the community to celebrate together and support the arts, festival organizers said. The festival weekend also will feature a variety of Ottawa entertainment and speakers highlighting Ottawa’s history.

• Skydive Kansas plans to have skydivers performing Sept. 6.

• Ottawa Main Street Association is planning an old fashioned ice cream social and best ice cream contest Aug. 16, Becci Shisler, program director, said.

“We will have music,” Shisler said. “We are also going to try and work the celebration into our Third Saturday events downtown, which will include music and art at [Edward E. Haley Community] Park and various events. We have commissioned the electric box at the park [Second and Main streets] to be painted with the official sesquicentennial logo by Gayle Norris.”

• The Ottawa Senior Center is putting out a 150-year cookbook that will include recipes from Ottawa residents.

• The City of Ottawa will plant trees Sept. 6 at Forest Park.

• The new Healthy Living Franklin County effort might be serving healthy food — probably watermelon — Sept. 6 at the park.

• A special sesquicentennial fireworks display will be presented.

“We’ve had members of the public recommend we have an event with horse buggy racing as once was done at Forest Park, old-time family sports such as croquet and gunny sack races, historical re-enactments and more,” Sharp said, “but we need more people to step up and help make all those things happen.”


A group of community leaders and the sesquicentennial steering committee adopted a logo for the celebration.

The design includes a band of artwork to resemble the beadwork of the Ottawa Indian tribe that inhabited the area before the community was established in 1864, committee members said. The design and pink, lavender and blue-green colors are representative of Great Lakes Indian beadwork, Deb Barker, Franklin County Historical Society director, said. The Great Lakes Indians included the Ottawa, Chippewa, Pottawatomie and other tribes that also settled in what became Franklin County. 

Historians note the designs began as embroidery patterns taught to Indian girls at missionary schools and were transmuted into the design language of the tribes themselves.

The logo will be used in all print and digital promotional efforts and on the sesquicentennial website. The logo also is featured prominently on static cling stickers being delivered for display purposes to each of the sponsors for the celebration.


A souvenir sesquicentennial coin has been created to commemorate the community’s 150th birthday. The coin, which was crafted courtesy of Hasty Awards, 1015 Enterprise St., Ottawa, includes the original Ottawa Town Company seal on one side and the sesquicentennial logo on the other side.

Ottawa architect Doug Loyd provided a photograph of a document that was stamped with the original town seal to use in creating the coin. The design was recreated by The Herald for the celebration. The coins will be available in limited quantities with proceeds from the sales to be put toward expenses for Ottawa’s community celebration in September, steering committee members said.

The coins will be available for purchase at the community event Sept. 6. To preorder souvenir coins, call (785) 242-4700.


The Buffalo Woman Statue, dedicated Oct. 7, 1989, on the Franklin County Courthouse grounds, 301 S. Main St., to commemorate the community’s 125th birthday, will be enhanced as part of the 150-year celebration, steering committee members said. The base of the statue is to be adorned with the original Ottawa tribe’s beadwork pattern.

Organizers are working out the details about how the beadwork will be incorporated into the statue’s base.

Dick Crooks, owner of Crooks Floor Covering, 636 N. Main St., Ottawa, has agreed to install some tile or glass stones to the pedestal base of the statue. Though Crooks said he doesn’t like to work in front of a crowd, he is considering doing the three-day installation in public, Jeanny Sharp, Herald editor and publisher and steering committee chair, said. Organizers would like to shoot a time-lapse video of the event, she said.

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