“It Is About Life, My Life, Your Life” Life in the Ranchito

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

It has always fascinated me, even though back then times were  hard for many different reasons, the overall happy memories overshadowed the rough times.”

-Eli Flores as he reflected on his childhood  in a Valley Center Railroad Section House.

On October 20 and  on October 24, the museum will partner with the Newton Public Library to host Ranchito: A Sharing Program at the Newton Public Library

To accommodate as many people as possible  two different times are scheduled.  It is our hope that people will come to the Newton Public Library on either Tuesday evening (Oct.20) at 7:00 or Saturday afternoon (Oct. 24) at 2:00 to share their memories.

The community is invited to bring photos, documents and stories related to life in the Ranchito community in Harvey County. Photographs and documents will be scanned by NPL staff, and originals returned during the program. There will also be opportunities for audio recordings of individuals and informal group sharing. This is a program where the audience is the presenter.  Bring you photos, letters and memories, we want to learn what life was like in the ranchito communities in Harvey County.

Recently, Eli Flores contacted the museum and shared about a miniature model he had created of the railroad section house that he lived in as a child.  This section house was located in Valley Center, but it looks very similar to the photo of the ranchito in Newton.  Flores is lending the model to the museum for the sharing program.


Model of railroad section house constructed by Eli Flores based on memories of his childhood in Valley Center, Ks.

Section House, Valley Center, Ks. Photo courtesy Eli Flores.

Section House, Valley Center, Ks. Photo courtesy Eli Flores.

He also shared some thoughts on growing up in the Valley Center section house and the memories that came to the surface as he constructed the miniature.

I now feel I understand my fascination for railroads and the Santa Fe Railroad Section House in Valley Center, Ks.  They represented our Dad and Mom.  Seven of my sisters and brothers, plus myself were born in that section house.  It has always fascinated me, even though back then times were hard for many different reasons, the overall happy memories overshadowed the rough times.  This railroad section house and the trains were more about what one feels than about what one sees.  It’s about life, my life, your life and therefore about the responsibilities of life.  It was about living a life more than making a living.” -Eli Flores, 12/03/2008

Thank you to Eli Flores for sharing the miniature and the memories of his childhood.

What memories might you have to share? We hope to see you on Tuesday night or Saturday afternoon.

This is a free program sponsored by the Newton Public Library and the Harvey County Historical Museum & Archives.  The program will be held at the Newton Public Library.


call HCHM at 316-283-2221, e-mail info@hchm.org


the Newton Public Library at 316-283-2890