Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Joyland Carousel – Exposing Hidden Connections

I have never been to the Joyland Amusement Park founded by the Ottoways in 1949.  Although still active until 2004, I simply never had a reason to check it out.  As a child, my amusement park exposure was limited to school playgrounds,  county fairs and carnivals, but I loved the carousels.
I also love seeing lost things found and restored.  So when the Joyland carousel was donated to Botanica, my ears perked up.  As a member of Botanica, I have been following the plans to relocate and restore this wonderful icon.  It seems her new life will be as close to heaven for a carousel as it can get:  In the midst of well tended gardens in a secure protected structure.  Bravo!
Hidden Connections
Even though any direct personal experience with this carousel and Joyland is non-existent to date, I feel a connection on several levels.  Levels that, to the non-discerning eye, are not even there.
First, as as I said, I love seeing things of value restored.  Value, not just in monetary terms, but value at a deeper more visceral level.  Thus our passion for restoring our historic home, Maison Steinbuchel.
Second, as written about in a previous post, the land Botanica sits on was originally a part of the Stackman-Steinbuchel-Hahn homestead, the family for whom our Kansas Historic home is named.
Third, the the connection to the Chance family.  This family is behind the Chance manufacturing company.  It was the Joyland train that sparked the emergence of this Wichita based enterprise.
Aviation, Flight and Air Traffic Control
This connection too, is more visceral than direct, but it is special.  You see, I knew Mary Chance Van Scyoc, but not in the way you might think.  It was not through the amusement park connection but rather through air traffic control.
I met Mary in the 1990s through my local Kansas 99s chapter, a global women’s pilot organization founded by Amelia Erhart.  Mary was an accomplished private pilot and quite a personality.  It was later I discovered she had been the first woman air traffic controller at Denver Airways Control Center, the predecessor to the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center where I began my air traffic career.  She was also the first woman controller at the Wichita Airport Traffic Control Tower, where I later worked on staff and in supervision.  Mary paved the way for me.  She was an inspiration not only as an air traffic controller, but as an early woman pilot, even learning to fly helicopters in her late 60s!  The last time I spoke with her, she was still active and overflowing with life.

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The Abstract – Maison Steinbuchel’s Personal History

abstractWe have the original abstract of our Kansas Historic Landmark home dating back to the land grant of 160 acres from the Osage Land Trust.  In past BLOG posts, I have told how three individual lives, immigrants from France and Germany, converged in Wichita, Kansas.  How through love, hope, taking risks and even tragedy ended up as three blood lines merged into a family for which the Steinbuchel house is named. It took eight-teen years from the time the land was acquired via land grant, divided, plated and developed until 1905 Park Place was built in 1888.  It was another nine-teen years before the blended Hahn-Stackman-Steinbuchel family made it their home in 1907.  

Land Treading and Transfers
The land grant was to Mr. George Sharp in 1869 with the final document signed By President Ulysses S. Grant on April 15, 1873.  Over a period of 18 years the land was divided, sold and eventually plated into the city of Wichita.  Imagine, 160 acres less than two miles north of downtown Wichita!  In those 18 years, the land sales and transfer went something like this:
  • 1870 – Land designated for grant from the Osage Trust Lands which were bought in 1820 via treaty
  • 1873 – 160 acres, which included the land our house is on, was granted to Mr. George Sharpe
  • 1871 – 40 Acres of the original grant was sold to Mr. William Polk
  • 1872 – A portion of the land was sold to to Doc Lewellen – the same Lewellen who had the trading post a few blocks south.

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The Steinbüchel Homestead – Saint Marks, Kansas

Maison SteinbüchelSaint Marks, a Kansas State Historic Landmark and our home, is named for the family of Hermann Frederick Steinbüchel, the second husband of Marie-Louise Hahn. Previous posts, told how this all came about.  Further details are documented in the book “A Living Gravestone” by Elisabeth Gouldner, his daughter.  Hermann and Karl Steinbüchel two brothers from Germany, came to the United States around 1868 under somewhat strained circumstances.  In the book, the author mentions the situation then, in an appropriate discrete and kind manner, moves on.  She simply says “Herman then left his position with the paper and publishing company (in Cologne) and with Josephine and Karl sailed for New York”.
Once in the United States, Hermann, age 24 and Karl, age 26, worked on a farm in new Jersey.  Hermann soon moved  on to work in a syrup factory working two shifts saving all the money he could.  He then owned a tavern for a short while.  At some point they moved to Kansas, Herman (now dropping the double “n” in his first name) was naturalized as a United States citizen on July 21, 1874.  He and Karl applied for and received a 160 acre land grant in St. Marks, Kansas, 20 miles west of Wichita.
 The Homestead Cabin
Saint Mark's
This house, near St. Mark’s, was built, according to county records, in 1890. Although some modifications, updates and additions have been done, it represents the size of a two-room homestead cabin.
They each built a two room cabin and became farmers.  However, Herman found early on that farming and a diet of prairie chickens did not suit him.  He found a position with the German-American Life insurance Company of San-Francisco as their agent for the State of Kansas.
Apparently Karl continued tending the farm.  Herman, recognizing its future value, persuaded his father Karl to bring the rest of the family to America and take over the claim.  His father agreed, as he was needing a change.   The death of his wife Helena, Herman’s mother, from pneumonia and the lingering  embarrassment over Josephine’s situation gave this opportunity for a clean start in the new world worth the effort and risk.

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The Farm, House and Bridge – Peter Stackman’s Legacy

Praise the bridge that carried you over-George Colman
The simple hearth of the small farm is the true center of our universe-Masanobu Fukuoka
Peter Frederick Stackman was the first husband of Marie-Louise Hahn, the matriarch for which the Kansas Historic Landmark, Maison Steinbuchel is named.  In a previous post I outlined his pioneering role in the early development of the core of Wichita.  Stackman Drive, that runs from the Murdock entrance to Riverside Park along the river to where several apartment complexes built by his son still stand, remains.  I was curious about the exact location of the original farm house.  In the process of researching, a number of details about the farm location came to light.
The Stackman Bridge and Dam
View of the dam today
 In the book,   “A Living Gravestone” by Elisabeth Guldner, she mentions playing by the dam near the bridge as a girl.  This would have been in the late 1800s.  In the Tuesday, July 21, 1931 edition of the Wichita Eagle ( page 2):  

“City commission yesterday voted to name the new Central avenue bridge for Frederick P. Stackman, father of Mrs. Rene Gouldner. He died 34 years ago at age 46 but had already amassed considerable holdings in Wichita real estate. Mrs. Gouldner was then but a child and remembers that the Little river was just a small creek, and the cattle feeding ground was on the site of the municipal pool. The Stackman farm of 130 acres in Riverside purchased by her father in 1882 was then “out in the country.”   Mr. Stackman moved to Wichita in 1873 from Topeka.”

 Then in the Friday, October 2, 1931 Wichita Eagle (page 5) there is a mention that “The new Stackman bridge over Little river on Central was opened to traffic last evening. Cost was about $75,000.”
The Bridge Today
Stackman Bridge and the Dam today
Today when leaving Riverside Park, driving south on Nims just past the roundabout, there are three bridges:
 The Woodman bridge has a plaque historically appropriate.  For some reason, the Stackman bridge has a plaque dated 1986, naming it the Central bridge.  My, but we do have short memories.
 farmOn the north side of the Stackman bridge is the dam.  I am sure many changes have taken place from the late 1800s, even from the 1931 redo until today.  None-the-less, the original farmstead had at least one bridge with a dam on order to cross the Arkansas River which flowed through the original land grant.  The National Bridge Inventory does not acknowledge this as a significant location even though once named for a key Wichita Pioneer.  We know better.

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A Story of a Blended Family : Marie-Louise Hahn Stackman and Herman Steinbüchel

A Story.  My father used to say that stories are part of the most precious heritage of mankind.  — Tahir ShahIn Arabian Nights

Maison Steinbüchel, a Kansas State Historic Landmark, our home, is named for the family of Herman Frederick Steinbüchel , the second husband of Marie-Louise Hahn.  I have been digging into the details of the three families that converged to live in this landmark as told in the book “A Living Gravestone” by Elisabeth Guldner, Herman’s daughter.  Other posts have outlined Marie’s marriage to Peter Stackman, their journey to Wichita as well as Herman Steinbüchel ‘s parallel journey to the area.
The time-line of Herman’s journey to Kansas where he met Marie-Louise
1867 – Left Cologne, Germany and traveled to New York with his brother and sister, Karl and Josephine
1867 – Worked on a farm and in a Syrup factory in New Jersey
1870 – Moved to Kansas
1874 – Became a Citizen of the United States – applied for a Land Grant in Kansas
1876 – Became the agent for the German-American Life Insurance Company for the state of Kansas
NOTE:  The dates above are from a combination of the book and Bureau of Land Management Records.  I do not know what the author based her dates on, as she does not say.  When dealing with family histories, dates do not always line up. There are no doubt ships records and census data that could more precisely validate Herman’s movements, but that effort remains for a future date. 

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