More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

I am always surprised by the history and stories we learn and hear about as we travel. Once again, we have discovered more fascinating small town delights in Kansas. We so enjoy visiting the local museums and attractions in small towns we didn’t even know existed.


4124 NE Brier Rd.
Topeka, KS 66616

The quirky and most unusual Truckhenge is a series of grassroots art displayed over several acres. Truckhenge is very near Topeka, Kansas, and easy to find. You’re just not really sure what you’ve discovered when you get there, though.

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

Truckhenge was created by Ron Lessman in 2000. Ron had several trucks on his property and, in settlement of a legal battle with the County, he was required to pick the trucks up. His response was to create a fun and “in your face” gallery of art throughout his property.

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

He did pick the trucks up. Each one was lifted up off the ground but remained anchored with concrete, and they appear as megaliths coming out of the land. The trucks are spray painted in multiple colors and covered in quotes and slogans.

In addition to the trucks, Ron has created several sculptures made from beer bottles. They are standing along the path, a fantastic sight to see. A 30-acre fishing pond is another great feature here.

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

There is still more. In 2007 Ron added boats to his park. They also have been spray-painted and are covered in slogans and graffiti. The boats are anchored in the ground with the fronts raised into the air, just as the trucks are.

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

What a terribly interesting afternoon we spent here! Ron Lessman met us as we drove onto his property and very kindly walked us through his property, telling the stories of his sculptures and art creations. This very quick-witted man shared so many hysterically funny stories and tales.

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

After this enlightening day trip, we went back to Banner Creek Campground Reservoir, where Lilly and Tank had been enjoying the air-conditioned comfort of the RV. The following day we would move our home on wheels further south toward home.

Kansas Oil Museum

383 East Central Ave.
El Dorado, KS 67042

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

As we begin our trip the following day, a sign for this great Museum appeared in our path, so we turned in to take a look. As you will guess from its name, this Museum is all about the oil industry, particularly its history during the early 20th-century.

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

The Kansas Oil Museum is one of the largest museums in Kansas. There are many exhibits indoors, including a scale model of an oil refinery. An entire 1920s oil boomtown with replicas of shops, homes, and oil equipment is displayed outside.

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

This is one of the largest museums in Kansas. I expect this Museum is (or was, pre-Covid) frequented by school groups throughout the school year; it is a great learning opportunity. A research library is also located here.

Chisholm Trail Museum

502 N Washington
Wellington, KS 67152

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

This Museum occupies the historic Hatcher Hospital building, adding another piece of history to the Museum. The ChisholmTrail Museum, created in 1963, memorializes Wellington’s connection to the famed 1870s cattle route called the Chisholm Trail.

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

I did expect to see more exhibits relating to the Chisholm Trail, but the area devoted to this was relatively small. The Museum provides a terrific informational flyer that explains the history of the Chisholm Trail and discusses how it got its name and the people responsible for its existence.

You can read a scanned copy of the Museum’s flyer about the Chisholm Trail by clicking this link: Chisholm Trail Museum Celebrating Sumner County History.

There are, however, three floors chock full of exhibits in various separate rooms and in the hallways concerning local history. This was a fascinating and informative Museum that tells Wellington’s story. We spent quite a long time here.

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

Surgery exhibit from when this building was the Hatcher Hospital.

I thought it was interesting to see this literature display, from times gone by, considering our own quarantines today.

We could only visit here because of the parking information and assistance the Museum Curator, Carla, gave us that day. Carla provided us great parking information over the phone. She was kind enough also to meet us outside at the entrance to ensure we got to the correct place. Thank you, Carla!

Dalton Defenders Museum

814 Walnut Street
Coffeyville, KS

More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

My son-in-law mentioned a neat little Museum in Coffeyville, Kansas, he had once visited, so we made it a plan to travel through Coffeyville to take a look. We had no idea we’d find this little gem. The Dalton gang’s tragic story is wonderfully displayed at this Museum.

If you don’t remember your wild-west history, the Dalton Gang consisted of four notorious bank and train robbers. The four gang members were also brothers. During a botched double bank robbery attempt, the Dalton gang career came to a screeching halt on October 5, 1892.

The original Condon National Bank sits directly across from the Museum.

The jail and Death Alley where most of the shootout occurred.

The gang attempted to rob not one but two banks at the same time in Coffeyville! They had lived in Coffeyville a few years earlier. Even with masks on, they were quickly recognized in town, giving the fast-thinking townspeople enough time to arm themselves and attempt to protect their town.

A horrific gun battle took place in which eight men were killed and four wounded. Three of the Dalton brothers were killed. Emmett, although severely wounded, survived and spent 14 years in prison.

Oddly enough, after 14 years in prison, Emmett was paroled and moved to California. He became the author of books about his life, and even became an actor portraying himself in a movie based on one of his books, Beyond the Law. He died in 1937.

In addition to the Dalton gang history, the Museum contains exhibits related to Coffeyville’s history.

Leaving Kansas

After our Dalton gang experience, we returned to the RV, Lilly, and Tank and traveled down the road to see what we could see next. We are truly enjoying our excursions in the comfort of our little motorhome.

We never know what surprise or little-known but fascinating historical tidbit we will encounter during our small-town travels. Texas has a really compelling history, which is mainly all the state history I have ever known until we began our out-of-state trips.

What unique, amusing, and curious things we are learning these days. I’d love to hear about adventures you’ve had in unexpected small-towns you have come across. I am pretty sure I want to visit those places too!

More fascinating small town delights in KansasMore fascinating small town delights in KansasMore fascinating small town delights in Kansas

4 thoughts on “More fascinating small town delights in Kansas

  1. Pingback: Little Sweden in Kansas? | Always Want To Go
  2. Pingback: Airplanes, outstanding heroes, and peaches in North Texas
  3. I absolutely love hearing about these small town museums and quirky places. I envy your road trips!

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