Posted on August 28, 2017 at 4:15 PM by Emily Miller
Posted on August 28, 2017 at 4:14 PM by Emily Miller
In 1867, 150 years ago, a young entrepreneur named Joseph McCoy started a business that would become the heart of American myth and lore: the long-distance cattle drive. The Chisholm Trail was the route of McCoy’s venture, and began as a solution to an economic problem but ended as the romanticized subject of poems, songs, novels, and movies. This exhibit, The Chisholm Trail and the Cowtown that Raised a President, examines the rise of the cattle drive, its impact on the small frontier town of Abilene, Kansas, and its transformation into an enduring symbol of the open range era. It also examines the influence of the cattle trail in life and the life of a future president.
It is perhaps strange to imagine, a young boy born in 1890, the year the frontier closed, and brought to Abilene a few years later would be influenced by the Chisholm Trail. The last large herd of cattle had arrived in Abilene 16 years before Dwight D. Eisenhower was born. Yet, the history of the Chisholm Trail, Abilene, and Ike are intertwined.
The very land the Eisenhower family purchased, farmed, and lived on was at one time a cattle pen for longhorns arriving from Texas. During construction of the parking lot for the Visitor Center, an old blacksmith shop, dating back to the cattle drives was the subject of an archeological dig. Fragments of history from the past 100 years were discovered.
Along with the physical history surrounding Ike, the verbal stories of “Old Abilene” were passed on to the young boy as well. In his autobiography At Ease, Ike recounts the days of living across the street from Dudley, a onetime town deputy under Wild Bill Hickok. From an early age, Ike was surrounded by a romantic remembrance of the wild days of Texas Street and the cowboys fresh off the trail.
Cowboys who had ridden the Trail as teenagers were now middle-aged and passed their stories of “far horizons, winding rivers, faithful mounts, and thundering stampedes . . . “ on to the younger generations, like Dwight David Eisenhower. Soon, cowboys who rode the Trail would have their stories published. These stories turned into dime store novels that romanticized the cattle drive and the life of the cowboy.
When Ike decided to run for president in 1952, a combination of the pop culture cowboy, Ike’s hometown, and his even-handed “Middle Path” blended together and produced the unique title “The Man From Abilene.” First used in a campaign ad, the title would continue to be used to describe the President for the next eight years.
Posted on July 28, 2017 at 10:04 AM by Emily Miller
August 6, 1945 is a day that will live on in the memories of millions. It is a day that changed the world forever. It was the day that the United States dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, and the day that 90 percent of the city was immediately wiped out, along with 80,000 people, and tens of thousands of others in the days that followed due to radiation exposure. Three days later, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing another 40,000 people.
People are mixed in their opinions of the United States’ decision to use this new and extremely powerful weapon. While there is no doubt that it played a key role in pushing Japan to surrender — and ending World War II — the sheer destruction it caused is difficult to swallow and even to comprehend for many.