Monday, June 11, 2007

Lucy on Ice

We traveled to Wichita last weekend to see our niece, Lucy, ice skate in her first ever competition. She was terrific. If she was nervous you'd never know it; she smiled so brightly throughout her routine. No falls, either. Way to go Lucy! I promised I'd post the video I shot even if it's really raw and shaky.

Wichita is not a city I would consider visiting, but I was impressed with its "Old Town" where we stayed. It's not far from the waterfront of the Arkansas River which is experiencing a development boom. The downtown is sprinkled with whimsical bronze sculptures and murals. I would have liked to spend time studying the architecture. The romanesque 1892 City Hall building is especially beautiful. It was called, "The Palace of the Plains."

We stayed at the "Hotel at Old Town," a renovated brick building which once housed Keen
Kutter tools. It was known as the largest warehouse in the U.S. in 1906. We ate at a great place called the River City Brewery in another old building. We were told it once was a paper mill. We ate beneath a large buffalo head which reminded me of the book I recently finished, "The West," by Geoffrey C. Ward, the only coffee table book I've actually read cover to cover. I hadn't known Kansas was as much a buffalo country as the Dakotas and northern plains territories. Farther up the Arkansas River the town of Buffalo City (later renamed Dodge City) attracted hoards of hunters who shot the beasts from train cars for sport. The business of buffalo hides boomed. (pardon the alliteration) In the first three months of the town's existence over 43,000 hides were shipped east.

I have to wonder if the trophy over our table was one of those unlucky bison. He did look pretty worn and decrepit.

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