HPPR Arts, Culture & History

History:
prehistory
Native American history
early exploration
trails and railroads
homesteading
community settlement
farming & farm life
Dust Bowl era
ghost towns
personal remembrances & biographies

Culture:
ethnic groups
religion
language
cuisine
traditions
values
folklore
myths
humor

Arts:
literature
folk art
visual arts
music
theatre
events & festivals

Matthew Staver / New York Times

The New York Times reported this week on a hidden treasure in southeast Colorado—what the Times called “a dinosaur lover’s dream.” Picketwire Canyon is located on the Comanche National Grassland south of La Junta.

Darren Braun / Texas Monthly

This month Texas Monthly published a brief feature on the Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s headdress. The most well-known of the Comanche, Quanah’s name is still spoken with reverence in West Texas. He died in 1911, but the headdress he wore is now in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, in Canyon, Texas.

The headdress is “a magnificent assemblage of 62 golden eagle feathers, each trimmed at the top with red turkey or rooster hackles and horsehair.”

telegraph.co.uk / Alamy

From Kansas Agland:

Editor's note: This story published Aug. 15, 2010.

DIGHTON - One can see for miles across the flat High Plains. There are few houses. Few people. And with small towns dotting the landscape, there are few streetlights obstructing the view of a starry night.

Star of the Republic Museum via Portal to Texas History

In light of the standoff in Oregon, KUT has published a reminder that Texas has seen its own share of standoffs. In fact, the state’s most famous battle spawned yet another siege of its own 70 years later. In 1908 a Daughter of the Texas Republic barricaded herself in a decrepit building that had once served as the Alamo’s convent.

A Bright Spot in Waco

Jan 13, 2016
woodway-texas.com

 A trip to central Texas included an opportunity to explore the Carleen Bright Arboretum near Waco.  Established in the summer of 1999, this multi-purpose public space invites residents and tourists alike to explore the various gardens, classrooms, and community buildings.   HPPR listeners are invited to come along for a quick tour!

Kansas Historical Society / kansasmemory.org

Fans of High Plains history might be interested in a major new biography of George Armstrong Custer, entitled Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of New America. Author T.J. Stiles takes a different approach with his book. He tells Custer’s story up to—but not including—the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Public Domain

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. In celebration, Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in southeastern Colorado is waiving its admission fees for all of 2016. Starting last week, the national park will be free to all visitors. “We think of this as a gift to both the traveling public and local folks,” said Park Superintendent Alexa Roberts. She added, “It seems like a great way [for] those from the local area who have not visited recently to reconnect with the national park here in their own backyard.”

Mysteries and Thrillers to Read by the Fire

Dec 31, 2015
Alice Popkorn / Flickr Creative Commons

As the snow falls and the nights grow colder, The Guardian has published a list of the year’s best crime novels and thrillers, perfect for curling up with and reading by the fire.

A Popular Kansas Guidebook Receives an Update

Dec 31, 2015
Kansas Sampler Foundation

A popular ten-year-old explorer’s guide to the state of Kansas is receiving an update, reports the Garden City Telegram. WenDee LaPlant and Marci Penner have been working on the book Kansas Guidebook for Explorers 2 for almost four years.

Leading up to his December 28th show in Amarillo, High Plains Morning host Jenny Inzerillo speaks with country songwriter and artist Robert Earl Keen about his latest album, Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions. For more than 30 years, Keen has been defined by his singular style as a songwriter and performer – celebrated by fans for his slice-of-life narratives and complex characters. His latest album digs up the roots of country by resurrecting popular bluegrass standards, breathing new life into every classic track. 

Kansas Historical Society / KPR

Of regional interest, a recording of the voice of the inventor of basketball has been discovered, reports Kansas Public Radio. A University of Kansas researcher uncovered the rare audio recording of Dr. James Naismith, talking about the very game he invented.

exploya.com / Creative Commons

Million years ago Western Kansas was covered by a great inland sea. The sea left chalk behind, creating the great formations known as Monument Rocks, now a national park in Gove County. It also left vertebrate fossils, like sharks and fish. This huge inland sea had a powerful effect on the land to the west—and the dinosaurs living there. Member station KPR says the best place to see the chalk left over from this sea is at Monument Rocks, or at Castle Rock in eastern Gove County.

Slideshow: Christmas Paintings by the Masters

Dec 25, 2015
Public Domain

Poem: "A Ballad Of Santa Claus" by Henry Van Dyke

Dec 24, 2015
Tarja Mitrovic / Flickr Creative Commons

Here's a poem for the Holiday by Henry Van Dyke:

Among the earliest saints of old, before the first Hegira,
I find the one whose name we hold, St. Nicholas of Myra:
The best-beloved name, I guess, in sacred nomenclature,—
The patron-saint of helpfulness, and friendship, and good-nature.

Poem: "Christmas Greetings" by Lewis Carroll

Dec 24, 2015
Creative Commons

A poem for the holiday by Lewis Carroll:

Christmas Greetings

Lady dear, if Fairies may
For a moment lay aside
Cunning tricks and elfish play,
'Tis at happy Christmas-tide.

We have heard the children say -
Gentle children, whom we love -
Long ago, on Christmas Day,
Came a message from above.

Still, as Christmas-tide comes round,
They remember it again -
Echo still the joyful sound
'Peace on earth, good-will to men!'

library.ndsu.edu

 One of the bonuses of teaching for so many years is that I’ve learned much from local speakers who have shared their knowledge with my students and me. In  1986, Lawrence Weigel, a regional historian from Victoria, began a tradition of speaking to my classes about local Volga German Christmas customs. Even though my grandma’s family came to America from this region, I’d never heard about the character called Belznickel that Mr. Weigel brought to life in my English classroom.

White Treasure

Dec 11, 2015
williamsburgartnexus.org

Holidays remind many of us of either family or cultural customs that connect us to generations long past. By following old family recipes, we can savor treats our ancestors have served for decades or maybe even hundreds of years. For instance, my husband’s Swiss ancestors have been making and giving linzer tarts at Christmas time long before they migrated from Switzerland to the United States. After analyzing my own great-grandma’s stash of old recipes, the English side of my family has baked date cookies and breads as well as Christmas puddings for eons.

Harper, W. D. / Library of Congress

HPPR stumbled across these photos that provide a magnificent look into the working lives of cowboys on the XIT, FDW and JA ranches in the Texas Panhandle, as well as other ranches in New Mexico over 100 years ago.

Over the past few decades, we’ve all been watching the wrong film version of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the original production was filmed twice—once in a new format called “Todd-AO,” named after entrepreneur and innovator Mike Todd, and then again in CinemaScope.

Sad Monkey Railroad Finds a New Home in Canyon

Dec 7, 2015
The Canyon News

An important part of many happy Palo Duro Canyon childhood memories has found a new home, reports The Canyon News. The Sad Monkey Railroad was a small train that made a short circuit through the canyon to the delight of thousands of children over many years. And now the train will be displayed near the town square in Canyon, Texas.

aberdeencommunitytheatre.com

While folks in northern and western Kansas might be a long way from the bright lights of Broadway New York City style, we enjoy our fair share of drama on the boards.  Our actors and actresses are youngsters in our communities, and our directors are often teachers by day and drama coaches by night and weekend. Local wizards of the sewing machine and serger, forensic coaches, carpenters, welders, and likewise talented people are costumers, set builders, and backstage help.

HPPR stumbled on an interesting artifact in The New York Times archive last week. The clipping is from 1909, and reports on a group of Comanche County Texans who captured a white possum and sent the animal to President Taft. The letter accompanying the critter read, “Understanding that you are fond of ’possum we have secured a white one, a very rare specimen, and are sending the same to you to-day by express, with compliments of your Texas friends.”

commons.wikimedia.org

Skip discovers a rare and special holiday tree whose relatives are actually older than Methuselah.  

Holiday Recommendations for Young Readers

Dec 1, 2015
CKAROLI / Flickr Creative Commons

The San Jose Mercury News published a great list last week of recommended holiday books for young readers. Leo, A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett is a gentle spooky tale and a beguiling story of acceptance. In If You're a Robot and You Know It by David A. Carter, preschoolers will have great fun clapping hands and stomping feet along with the robot.

Frozen Memories

Nov 27, 2015
cookbookcherie.wordpress.com

A friend’s Facebook post of her daughters holding a big bowl of fresh snow and smiling expectantly reminded me wintry weather isn’t only about driving carefully, shoveling drives, and making snowmen.  It’s also about adding milk, sugar, and vanilla to jillions of miniscule crystals to create something that glides across taste buds and slides into memory.

Who forgets the first time their mom or dad  watched huge flakes fall, saying, “Hope there will be enough to make snow ice cream.”   If deep drifts formed, that parent headed to the cupboard containing  mixing bowls and extracted the big one.  After that, a voice commanded, “Put on your hats, coats, gloves, and boots.  It’s time.”

Poem: "How Far You Are From Me"

Nov 27, 2015
Creative Commons

From The Texas Observer: Eloísa Pérez-Lozano’s poem, ‘How Far You Are From Me.’

I’ve never had to swim through el río like you,
your clothes heavy with water and hope
as you wade carefully against the current.

I’ve never had to run like hell from la migra
Or have a sixth sense for avoiding trouble
Because even a whiff of it makes you sick.

Wichita Photo Exhibit Explores Legacy of FSA

Nov 26, 2015
Larry Schwarm

The Wichita Art Museum is currently showing an exhibit with roots that run deep through Kansas, reports member station KMUW. The show is entitled “No Mountains in the Way.” The idea behind the exhibit was to photograph Kansas the way it was portrayed during the Great Depression, with the photographers of the Farm Security Administration. The black and white images of farmers, haystacks and shop fronts provide a look at rural Kansas as seen through the lens of three photographers.

Bless Your Hearts, Here's a Thanksgiving Poem

Nov 26, 2015
christmasman / Creative Commons

From The Poetry Foundation, a poem about a common High Plains saying.

Bless Their Hearts

By Richard Newman

At Steak 'n Shake I learned that if you add

“Bless their hearts” after their names, you can say

whatever you want about them and it’s OK.

My son, bless his heart, is an idiot,

she said. He rents storage space for his kids’

Conserve Confusion

Nov 25, 2015
www.goodtoknow.co.uk

This holiday season that is generally dedicated to cooking and eating has brought on the need for a bit of research into the art of canning, serving, and naming fanciful fruit spreads.  So before setting down to a series of Thanksgiving  feasting, we'll look for answers to questions about the differences among jams, jellies, preserves, compotes, conserves, marmalades, and fruit butters.  Though they do have their differences, take it from me that they can all be delicious.    

Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

Nov 24, 2015
William Brawley / Creative Commons

Woman’s Day magazine has published a helpful list of “29 Tips Towards A Stress-Free Holiday.” Among some of our favorites: Throw away your shopping list and focus instead on creating special moments with friends and family. Treat loved ones to a holiday show, for example, or breakfast at a fancy hotel. Another idea: Bring out books to easily add a seasonal touch. Display an illustrated volume of A Christmas Carol on the fireplace mantle.

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