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Johnson County Museum

Phone: 913-715-2550

6305 Lackman Road, Shawnee, KS 66217

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Stories from the Great Depression in Johnson County, Part 2

Johnson County DepressionDust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry is a national traveling exhibition and program about the causes and aftermath of the Dust Bowl.  The exhibit and programs will be held at the Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th Street, Overland Park, Kansas, 66212 from July 2-August 16. A New Deal agency left a lasting imprint on a number of young women who came to Johnson County from across the Midwest to attend a special camp during the Great Depression.  The National Youth Administration (... - published on: 07/08/2014 - 9:17am

Stories from the Great Depression in Johnson County, Part 1

Johnson County DepressionDust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry is a national traveling exhibition and program about the causes and aftermath of the Dust Bowl.  The exhibit and programs will be held at the Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th Street, Overland Park, Kansas, 66212 from July 2-August 16. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 to provide work for millions of unemployed Americans during the Great Depression.  In Johnson County, Gardner Lake... - published on: 06/30/2014 - 9:14am

Jim Lane and “Bleeding Kansas”

James HenryJames Henry “Jim” Lane is a figure who in many ways has been lost to history.  His name does not ring familiar when mentioned to most people these days, but during his lifetime, Jim Lane was regarded as a hero and he had a town in Johnson County named after him.  Lane played an important role in determining the future of Johnson County and of Kansas during the pivotal years of 1855-1865. Jim Lane was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana in 1814.  He served in the Mexican-American War... - published on: 06/10/2014 - 1:32pm

Vigilante Justice in 1916 Olathe

Newspaper clippingMany people think of the early twentieth century in Johnson County as an innocent time, where residents worked hard and pursued a good life.  There were, however, certain incidents that may shock the casual observer of our area’s history.  One such incident was the case of Bert Dudley.  Dudley was the victim of the last known lynching in Johnson County.   Dudley’s lynching occurred during the early morning hours of September 21, 1916 at what is now... - published on: 05/27/2014 - 1:27pm

Taco Via Enjoys a Cult Following

Taco Via Restaurant“Countdown to Taco Via:  In 7 days I will board a plane and travel 1,300 miles for Taco Via. If I could teleport, I would.”  Posted by Adam Hutton on the “I Love the Taco Via!!!” Facebook page, April 24, 2014. Brooklyn, New York resident Adam Hutton grew up in Shawnee and returns home to Johnson County about once every 18 months.  Every time he visits, there is one mandatory stop on his itinerary; Taco Via.  On a recent trip, Hutton traveled directly from the Kansas... - published on: 05/13/2014 - 1:23pm

Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant: A City Unto Itself

Sunflower Plant ViewThe Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in northwest Johnson County functioned like an independent city because of its massive size.  Its infrastructure included a power plant, a water treatment plant, a hospital, a fire department, a security force, over 100 miles of paved roads, and 70 miles of railroad track.  The plant was roughly the size of the city of Leawood, and covered 15 square miles. The work at Sunflower was dangerous, requiring skill and focus to ensure everyone’s safety... - published on: 04/28/2014 - 2:06pm

El Salvadoreno in Downtown Overland Park

El Salvadoreno in Downtown Overland Park“This restaurant is bright, colorful, and clean, just like the houses in El Salvador,” Benjamin Sol says about El Salvadoreno, the Downtown Overland Park restaurant he owns with his wife, Blanca.  The couple opened the restaurant in October 2011, and it has become a gathering place for natives of not only El Salvador, but other Central American countries as well.  “Eating here either kills or increases their homesickness,” Benjamin says with a laugh about his Central American... - published on: 04/15/2014 - 9:50am

Building a Jewish Community in Johnson County

Jewish Community CenterJewish immigrants first arrived in the Kansas City area in the 1850s as the Kansas Territory opened for settlement.  Jobs in the expanding railroad and meat-packing industries attracted Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.  Many settled in the West Bottoms and established businesses in Armourdale in Kansas City, Kansas.  Two synagogues, Temple B’nai Jehudah and Ohev Sholom, were organized during the 1870s to accommodate the region’s growing Jewish population. Kansas City’s... - published on: 04/03/2014 - 9:44am

Johnson County’s “In Cold Blood” Legacy

In Cold Blood ActorTruman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” is sometimes called the first “non-fiction novel.”  The book documents the 1959 murders of four members of the Clutter family in Holcomb in southwest Kansas.  The two men ultimately captured and executed for the crimes play a major role in the book and in the 1967 film adaptation.  Although these brutal crimes took place over 350 miles away from the area, one man’s connection to Edgerton thrust Johnson County into the spotlight. Richard Eugene “... - published on: 03/18/2014 - 9:39am

Dickinson Drive-In Theatres in Johnson County

Shawnee Drive-inJohnson County became swept up in the drive-in movie craze when Dickinson Theatres opened the Shawnee Drive-In in 1949 and the Leawood Drive-In in 1953. The Shawnee Drive-In was located just east of Long Street on Shawnee Mission Parkway and was the first drive-in theatre in Johnson County.  The parking lot was able to accommodate 1,000 cars at a time, and sometimes as many as 4,0000 people enjoyed a film outside under the stars on a 60 foot by 40 foot screen.  The base of the... - published on: 03/04/2014 - 8:34am

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