By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
FRANKLIN, Kan. —
An open house, a program and a dedication ceremony Sunday will showcase the continued grass-roots efforts of numerous area organizations and businesses working to develop the Miners Hall Museum as it prepares to be host for a traveling exhibit by the Smithsonian Museum.
Linda Grilz, a Frontenac resident whose father and grandfather worked in the mines, donated the new signage for the museum that amounts to huge banners that will be hung from the poles around the center. The city of Frontenac donated its bucket trucks and its services to install them.
Bob Mangile and Barb Robins, members of the Sperry-Galligar Audubon Society of Pittsburg, built a bench and installed it on the grounds earlier this week.
Boy Scout Troop 81 member Zachary Lambert organized the retrieval and rehabilitation of the 8,000-pound Dragline Bucket No. 304-23, which had been abandoned by the Wilkinson Coal Co. and was rusting in a field south of Pittsburg. It was donated to the museum by the Wilkinson family and moved by local National Guard members to Pittsburg Steel and Manufacturing Co. Inc., which sandblasted and painted it, moved it to the museum and placed it on a concrete slab that was donated by American Concrete and Broadway Lumber.
General Machinery & Supply Co. Inc., a 100-year-old Pittsburg business owned by the Mitchelson family, spearheaded this month’s exhibit. Called “Tools of the Trade,” it follows the theme of each monthly exhibit in the series titled “The Way We Worked in Southeast Kansas,” which in turn dovetails with the Smithsonian exhibit “The Way We Worked,” slated for May through June.
Activities will begin at 2:30 p.m. Sunday with a welcome and refreshments. The dedication of the dragline bucket will be at 3 p.m. Tim McNally, grandson of the founder of McNally’s Manufacturing of Pittsburg, will present “The History of Industry in Southeast Kansas” at 3:30 p.m., followed by a trivia contest by local writer and history buff J.T. Knoll.
Rebuilt on the former site of the meeting house for the United Mine Workers’ Association following the 2003 Franklin tornado, the Miners Hall Museum honors the heritage of the coalfields in Crawford and Cherokee counties. Admission is free. It is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.