The gift shop at the museum offers a variety of items such as mugs, tote bags, caps, T-shirts, magnets, book-marks, as well as a nice selection of ornaments depicting the railroad, trail and Kansas heritage.
Our first publication, The Osage County Farm Burlingame, Kansas 1939-1941, is also available. It is a transcription of the diaries kept by Walter Howe of Burlingame during his tenure as the superintendent at the county farm.
Mr. Howe kept a diary or notes from 1906 until 1965. The entries while at the county farm describe the orchard and huge gardens that were grown, the livestock raised, the fields planted and harvested, his daily trips nearly every afternoon to town, at least once, the ever-changing, unpredictable Kansas weather, the never-ending work at the farm, interaction with neighbors, friends, family and towns people. The farm accounts, in his handwriting, are also included.
This was the end of the “dirty thirties” era and pre-World War II. It was a time when life was simpler, neighbors helped neighbors, families were close and farming was still done by sometimes using horses. Radio was the modern technology for providing entertainment and news. Many ladies belonged to “club”, a form of neighborhood social gathering where they shared a fellowship of purpose and friendship.
A list of “inmate” names was not included in the diaries, but mention was made of arrivals, departures, deaths, visitors and chores performed by some living there. However, such a list has been compiled from these diaries and other sources, though it may be incomplete, and is provided as an appendix to the narrative.
It has been over thirty years now since the Osage County Farm closed. Perhaps many know nothing of its existence, its history or its purpose. Hopefully some insight into the life for those who lived there and the hard work required in making the farm as productive and self-sufficient as possible and an understanding of the farm will be realized.
As Mr. Howe so routinely and faithfully penned in his diary daily, little did he know that nearly 70 years later these entries would be among the most important first-hand documents and few remaining records regarding the Osage County Farm. They are of paramount value in recording a portion of the county farm history.