Back to the 80s – Jelly Shoes

Did you own a pair of these versatile shoes?

Jelly shoes made out of  PVC jelly  first appeared in the 1950s and 60s. They did not become popular until the 1980s.  After a debut at the 1982 World’s Fair, jelly shoes became a fashion must have! The popularity of the plastic shoe only grew from there.

Jelly shoes were cheap and came in a wide array of colors. At roughly a $1 a pair, it was possible to buy a pair that would match any outfit in the closet.

Join us at HCHM this Saturday, Dec. 7, 10-4 for 5 Places of Christmas. Our new exhibit, “Back to the 80s” is open and the museum is decorated 80s style!

The First Kansans

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

A question that we often get is a variation of “Which Native American  groups lived in Kansas?” Hopefully,  the following post will provide some answers.

Since there are no written records from the ancestors of current day Native Americans, we rely on what others, like Spanish explorers observed, and archaeological discoveries. A recent discovery by WSU anthropologist, Donald Blakeslee, has shed new light on Native American life and culture  on the Plains. The Wichita Indian settlement identified as Etzanoa, located near present day Arkansas City, Ks, gives evidence of a well established town much larger than was previously thought.

About the discovery, Dr. Blakslee noted:

“this was not some remote place. The people traded and lived in huge communities. Everything we thought we knew turns out to be wrong. I think this needs a place in every schoolbook.”

Throughout Kansas,  there is evidence of thriving communities pre-European settlement.

Native Tribes

Tribes that are considered native to present day Kansas include Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kanza, Kiowa, Osage, Pawnee and Wichita.

Indian Removal Act 1830

Beginning in 1803, the United States government proposed plans to move tribes from eastern United States to land west of the Mississippi. Finally, the Indian Removal Act passed in spring of 1830. The implementation of the act forcibly removed eastern tribes  to the west including present day Kansas.

Map survey of Indian lands by Isaac McCoy, 1830-36.

In 1829, the Delawares were the first tribe to sign treaties which gave them land in the Kansas territory indicated on the map by Isaac McCoy, 1830.

McCoy, a missionary to the Ottawa and Pottawatomie tribes of Michigan, agreed with US policy that removed Native Americans to land west of the Mississippi. He along with some Native American delegates explored the Kansas Territory. This map is a result of his survey.  The map was redrawn by H. J. Adams.

Courtesy the Kansas State Historical Society, Kansas Memory.

1856 Map of Eastern Kansas

The effect of the  Indian Removal Act of 1830 can be seen in the below map which includes a number of eastern tribes. Indian boundaries indicated on the 1856 map of the eastern part of Kansas include the tribes of Kickapoo, Pottawatomie, Kansas, Sac & Fox, Shawnee, Miami, Ottawa, Chippewa, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Iowa, Delaware, Wyandotte, Piankashaw, and Wea.

Map of Eastern Kansas, 1856. Courtesy Kansas Memory

Simplified Map of Historic Indian Locations

Historic Indians of Kansas, 1541- 1854.


In Harvey County

Beginning in 1855, surveyors worked to map  Kansas. The above surveyor note identified a “Kaw Village” in Township 22, Range 3 W 6th PM, 3 ch N.  The map below shows the location on the Arkansas River in Alta Township, Harvey County, Ks.


From HCHM’s Collection: Objects found in the area.

Along the borders of Harvey, Marion & McPherson Counties, evidence has also been found of Kaw life.

The Kaw

At one time the Kaw or Kanza had territory that covered about two-fifths of what today is Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. Beginning with treaties from the 1820s and 1830s, the Kanza lands were reduced until 1873.  At that time, the tribe was forced from Kansas to make more land available for white settlement. At that time, there were only about 500 members.

Today, the Kaw Nation has 3,500 members, many live in Kaw City, OK about 70 miles southeast of Wichita, Ks.

Native Americans In Kansas Today

Today, there are four Indian reservations – the Iowa, Kickapoo, Pottawatomie, and Sac & Fox – in Kansas.


For  more information visit  American Indians in Kansas  or the city of  Etzannoa.



The Old Basketball Gym – Walton, Kansas

Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

With fall sports winding down, it is time to thing about basketball!

Burrton High School Gym, 2017.

Today, most of the gyms student athletes play in are spacious with plenty of room for spectators, but this has not always been the case. Brian Stucky in his book Hallowed Hardwood: Vintage Basketball Gyms of Kansas described gyms built before the 1950s as  “old crackerbox basketball gyms . . .  with tiny courts, balconies, the wall for out-of-bounds.” 

Walton High School was one “crackerbox“gym and a recent donation of photos gives a glimpse into a time gone.

Walton High School after the gym and community building (white structure) was added on, ca. 1925.


Tip Off!

Walton Gym, ca 1945. Walton v. Sedgwick. #11 is Ozzie Schmidt.


Walton Basketball Team, ca. 1947. (lt-rt) Arnold Buhler, Ozzie Schmidt, Art Morris, Vernon Yoder, Marion Esau, Clinton Fisher, Laren Woelk, Jack Brubaker, Mr. Nosen.

1948 Team

Walton High Basketball team, 1948. Coach Arnold Buhler and Mr. Nosen


The Coach

Arnold Buhler

Arnold Buhler graduated from Bethel College and then enlisted in the army during WW2. When he returned home, he worked as superintendent for the Walton school system.  He was also the boys basketball coach.

Walton High, Nov. 1964, the edge of the community building and gym is visible on the left.