Public access area in neighborhood - please use during daylight hours only. BYOP
The Underground Railroad and geocaching are a perfect fit. We want geocachers to follow the route of freedom seeking slaves who traveled the secret trail and found refuge with Station Masters as they made their way north. Gary Jenkins and I have combined our talents at historical research and geocaching to create a GeoTrail along this clandestine "underground railroad" path.
Permission was obtained from the Director of the Vernon Center, Bernadette Walker Harris. The Vernon Center has a small museum about this area. The museum director is Luther Smith (Cache permission by Mr. Smith).
The John Brown statue was erected on the campus of Western University in 1911. The funds for this statute were collected as small donations from African-Americans, mainly washer-women, packing house workers, laborers, housekeepers, chauffeurs and the like. This was very courageous at the time because Jim Crow laws was in full force during this time.
Western University was originally founded in 1865 as the Freedman's University. This was a Presbyterian school for newly freed persons. They closed in 1877. In 1881, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) reopened the school as Western University. The church followed the Booker T. Washington Tuskegee Institute model with a curriculum of vocational training. All Board members were African-American. AME Bishop William Tecumseh Vernon was the president. The first school emblem was a four-leaf clover with four Hs, a sunflower and a gold center with the school's initials. The philosophy was to educate the head-hand-heart for the home.
The school first received state funding in 1899. As a result of the state funding, Kansas students received tuition discounts. Western’s 1916-1917 catalog listed enrollment at $8.50 per month for room and board; $1.50 in trade fees, Kansas students were exempt; $1 one-time entrance fee, and $1 gymnasium fee per semester. Laundry, textbooks, and uniforms were not included.
Western University’s renown grew after hiring Robert G. Jackson. A music major at the University of Kansas, Jackson built the music program at Western. After joining the university in 1902, Jackson created vocal, orchestra, and band programs. He formed the Jubilee Singers. They gained national acclaim, performed in every state, at Chautauquas, and even traveled to Africa for a series of programs. By 1920 the music program maintained rigorous requirements with mandatory private lessons and practice of three-and-a-half hours per day by.
During the depression, funding from both the state of Kansas and private donations began to decline. Severe damage from a tornado continued this decline. In 1943, with WW II in full swing, Western University closed its doors for the last time.
Congrats to FTF ET42!!